The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04/05-67

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: Post-Secondary Funding - Restore, Mr. D. Dexter 5830
Fin.: Gasoline Prices - Regulation, Mr. K. Deveaux 5831
TPW: Main-à-Dieu Highway - Repave, Mr. R. MacKinnon 5831
Educ.: Post-Secondary Funding - Restore, Ms. D. Whalen 5832
TPW: Hwy. No. 256 (Pictou Co.) - Renewal/Replace, Mr. C. Parker 5832
TPW: Candy Mtn. Rd. (Mineville) - Repave, Mr. K. Colwell 5833
NSPI: Rate Increases - Oppose, Mr. W. Estabrooks 5833
Educ.: Tuition Fees - Reduce, Mr. K. Colwell 5833
Educ.: Tuition Fees - Reduce, Mr. W. Estabrooks 5834
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission, 2004 Annual Report,
Hon. B. Barnet 5834
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Chataway, Mr. John: Death of - Tribute, The Premier 5834
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3045, RCMP Officers Schiemann, Johnston, Gordon & Myrol:
Service - Thank, The Premier 5836
Vote - Affirmative 5837
Res. 3046, Pope John Paul II: Death of - Tribute, The Premier 5837
Vote - Affirmative 5838
Res. 3047, Educ.: History Teachers' Efforts - Recognize, Hon. J. Muir 5838
Vote - Affirmative 5839
Res. 3048, Thomas Bernard, Dr. Wanda: Order of Can. - Appt.
Hon. B. Barnet 5839
Vote - Affirmative 5840
Res. 3049, Agric. & Fish.: Nappan Research Sta. - Operation Continue,
Hon. E. Fage 5840
Vote - Affirmative 5841
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 144, Gaming Control Act, Mr. D. Dexter 5841
No. 145, Elections Act, Hon. M. Baker 5841
No. 146, Cross-border Policing Act, Hon. M. Baker 5841
No. 147, Youth Justice Act/Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. M. Baker 5841
No. 148, Justice Administration Amendment (2005) Act, Hon. M. Baker 5841
No. 149, Video Lottery Terminals Moratorium Act, Mr. D. Graham 5841
No. 150, Assessment Act, Mr. W. Estabrooks 5841
No. 151, Water Royalty Act, Mr. H. Theriault 5841
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3050, Richmond MLA: Leader in the House of the Liberal Party -
Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 5842
Vote - Affirmative 5842
Res. 3051, Educ. - C.B.-Victoria Reg. Sch. Bd.: Lbr. Dispute - End,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5842
Res. 3052, Canyon, George - Juno Award, The Premier 5843
Vote - Affirmative 5844
Res. 3053, Can.-N.S. Offshore Accord: P.M. Martin/Prem. Hamm -
Commend, Mr. R. MacKinnon 5844
Vote - Affirmative 5844
Res. 3054, Blue Mass - East. Passage KOC: Organizing - Recognize,
Mr. K. Deveaux 5845
Vote - Affirmative 5845
Res. 3055, Volunteer Wk.: Vols, - Thank, Mr. Michel Samson 5845
Vote - Affirmative 5846
Res. 3056, Great Village Sch. - Anniv. (100th), Mr. W. Langille 5846
Vote - Affirmative 5847
Res. 3057, Justice: Youth Violence Prevention Strategy - Initiate,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5847
Res. 3058, Morrow, Jim/Mermaid Theatre - Portia White Prize,
Mr. L. Glavine 5848
Vote - Affirmative 5848
Res. 3059, Westville Gentlemen's Hockey League - Championship,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 5848
Vote - Affirmative 5849
Res. 3060, Fitzgerald, Kelly: Boston Marathon - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Corbett 5849
Vote - Affirmative 5850
Res. 3061, Gallivan, Jenny: CBRM - Contribution,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5850
Vote - Affirmative 5851
Res. 3062, Sinclair, Nicole - Nat'l. 4-H Citizenship Seminar,
Mr. R. Chisholm 5851
Vote - Affirmative 5851
Res. 3063, Hfx. Reg. Police - Operation Sch. Zone/Anti-Bullying Campaign,
Ms. J. Massey 5851
Vote - Affirmative 5852
Res. 3064, Cromwell, Jacqueline: Prov./Commun. - Service,
Mr. K. Colwell 5852
Vote - Affirmative 5853
Res. 3065, Canso Causeway - Anniv. (50th), Hon. Rodney MacDonald 5853
Vote - Affirmative 5854
Res. 3066, Knox, Matthew - Rhodes Scholarship, Ms. M. Raymond 5854
Vote - Affirmative 5855
Res. 3067, Educ.: Int'l Students - Fees, Ms. D. Whalen 5855
Res. 3068, D'Entremont, Francios J.: West Pubnico RD - Service,
Hon. C. D'Entremont 5856
Vote - Affirmative 5857
Res. 3069, TPW - Road Evaluation: Objectivity - Employ, Mr. C. Parker 5857
Res. 3070, Charlton, Ashley - Nat'l 4-H Citizenship Seminar,
Mr. S. McNeil 5858
Vote - Affirmative 5858
Res. 3071, Mouzar, Mary: Commun. - Commitment, Hon. K. Morash 5859
Vote - Affirmative 5859
Res. 3072, Volunteer Week (04/17-04/23/05) - Vols. Thank,
Ms. M. More 5859
Vote - Affirmative 5860
Res. 3073, Educ.: Debt Relief/Student Fin. Aid - Prioritize,
Ms. D. Whalen 5861
Res. 3074, Truro Jr. A Bearcats - Hockey Championship, Hon. J. Muir 5861
Vote - Affirmative 5862
Res. 3075, P.E.I. Gov't. - Snair's Bakery: Support - Congrats.
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5862
Res. 3076, Sackville Dr. Business Assoc.: AGM - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackvill-Cobequid) 5863
Vote - Affirmative 5863
Res. 3077, Windsor Home Hardware - Award, Hon. R. Russell 5863
Vote - Affirmative 5864
Res. 3078, Justice - LEAD: Establishment - Congrats., Mr. G. Gosse 5864
Vote - Affirmative 5865
Res. 3079, Glube Cup: MLA Hockey Team - Victory, Hon. B. Barnet 5865
Vote - Affirmative 5866
Res. 3080, Casino Hotel - GHBLN Award, Mr. J. Pye 5866
Vote - Affirmative 5866
Res. 3081, Hatt, Josh - South Shore Idol, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 5867
Vote - Affirmative 5867
Res. 3082, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Affs.: Condo Prop. Assessments -
Equality, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5867
Vote - Affirmative 5868
Res. 3083, Hope-Simpson, Lila - Prime Minister's Award,
Hon. D. Morse 5868
Vote - Affirmative 5869
Res. 3084, Haase, Martin Rudy - Nature Conservation Award 2004,
Ms. J. Massey 5869
Vote - Affirmative 5870
Res. 3085, D'Entremont, Viateur L.: West Pubnico FD - Service,
Hon. C. D'Entremont 5870
Vote - Affirmative 5871
Res. 3086, Fin. - Fishing Families: Capital Gains - Allowance Raise,
Mr. C. Parker 5871
Res. 3087, Cameron, Scott: Truro Sport Heritage Soc. -
Coach of the Year 2004, Hon. J. Muir 5872
Vote - Affirmative 5872
Res. 3088, Nat'l. Volunteer Wk. (04/17-04/23/05) - Vols.: Contribution -
Recognize, Mr. R. MacKinnon 5872
Vote - Affirmative 5873
Res. 3089, Alice Housing - Donner Fdn. Award 2004, Ms. M. More 5873
Vote - Affirmative 5874
Res. 3090, Education Wk. 2005: Organizing Committee - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5874
Vote - Affirmative 5875
Res. 3091, Cobequid Commun. Health Ctr.: 24-Hour Service - Plan,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackvkille-Cobequid) 5875
Res. 3092, Educ.: Marconi Campus - Health Fair Awards, Mr. G. Gosse 5876
Vote - Affirmative 5876
Res. 3093, Hfx.-Dart. Bridge Comm'n.: Service: Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 5876
Vote - Affirmative 5877
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 43:
Educ.: C.B.-Vic. Reg. Sch. Bd. - Strike
Ms. D. Whalen 5880
Hon. J. Muir 5881
Mr. D. Dexter 5885
Mr. G. Gosse 5887
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5889
Hon. C. Clarke 5893
Mr. R. MacKinnon 5896
Mr. F. Corbett 5897
Mr. Gerald Sampson 5901
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5903
Mr. Michel Samson 5907
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 19th at 2:00 p.m. 5909
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3094, Webb, Amy: Outstanding Female Athlete Award -
Truro Sport Heritage Society, Hon. J. Muir 5910
Res. 3095, Bartlett, Brian "Chub" - Truro Sport Heritage Merit Award,
Hon. J. Muir 5910
Res. 3096, MacCormack - Truro Sport Heritage Soc. Honour Roll,
Hon.^J. Muir 5911
Res. 3097, Starratt, Ken (Deceased): Harness Racing - Contribution,
Hon. J. Muir 5911
Res. 3098, Trites, Sterling - Truro Sport Heritage Soc. Vol. of the Yr.,
Hon. J. Muir 5912
Res. 3099, Educ.: Sch. Staff - Wage Parity, Mr. D. Dexter 5912
Res. 3100, Enright, D'Arcy - Chester Dist. Rep. Vol. 2005,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 5913
Res. 3101, NSP: Prop. Tax - Payment, Mr. D. Dexter 5913
Res. 3102, Bay Landing: Tsunami Relief - Fundraising,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5914
Res. 3103, Cuming, Mark: Sch./Commun. - Commitment,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5914
Res. 3104, Moore, Tara: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5915
Res. 3105, Whidden, Caroline: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5915
Res. 3106, Gilbert, Maryanne - Parrsboro Rep. Vol. 2005, The Speaker 5915
Res. 3107, Marshall - Springhill Rep. Vol. 2005, The Speaker 5916
Res. 3108, Whalen, Sandra - Oxford Rep. Vol. 2005, The Speaker 5917
Res. 3109, D'Eon - Argyle Rep. Vol. 2005, Hon. C. d'Entremont 5917
Res. 3110, DeYoung, Edwin: Commun. Dedication - Thanks,
Mr. W. Dooks 5918
Res. 3111, MacCall, Clayton "Bud" - Col. Co. Vol., Mr. W. Langille 5918
Res. 3112, Group Savoie Hockey Club -
Westville Presidential League Championship, Mr. J. DeWolfe 5919
Res. 3113, Parliament - Human Res. Comm.: Report - Heed,
Mr. B. Taylor 5919
Res. 3114, Fin.: Personal Income Taxes - Decrease, Mr. B. Taylor 5920
Res. 3115, Milley, Reg - Hfx. Airport Authority: Work - Recognize,
Mr. B. Taylor 5920
Res. 3116, Offshore Revenue: Gov't. (Can.) - Release, Mr. F. Corbett 5921
Res. 3117, MacDonald, Lorne - Mulgrave Rep. Vol. 2005,
Mr. R. Chisholm 5921
Res. 3118, Rhynold, Mary - Guysborough Co. Vol. 2005,
Mr. R. Chisholm 5922
Res. 3119, Horton, Keith - Dist. of St. Mary's Rep. Vol. 2005,
Mr. R. Chisholm 5923
Res. 3120, Grant, Roger - Canso Rep. Vol. 2005, Mr. R. Chisholm 5923
Res. 3121, Kentville Town: Model Vol. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 5924
Res. 3122, Dickie, Gerald - Kings Co. Mun. Vol. 2005, Mr. M. Parent 5924
Res. 3123, Kentville & Dist. Kinsmen Club - Kentville Rep. Vol. 2005,
Mr. M. Parent 5925
Res. 3124, Brown, Joan - Cumberland Co. Vol. of the Yr. 2005,
The Speaker 5925
Res. 3125, RCMP Officers Schiemann, Johnston, Gordon & Myrol:
Death of - Tribute, The Speaker 5926
Res. 3126, Hyslop, Bob - Cumberland Co. Vol. of the Yr., The Speaker 5927
Res. 3127, Laurie, Rick - Springhill Business of the Yr. Award,
The Speaker 5927
Res. 3128, Alain, Sgt. Tracy - Cadet Pin (5 Yr.), The Speaker 5928

[Page 5829]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Ms. Joan Massey, Mr. Daniel Graham

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

Before we begin the daily routine, the honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, you will have received a letter from me a couple of weeks ago informing you, and through you to the members of the House, of the resignation of the member for Cape Breton West from the Liberal caucus, and also in that same letter this member had informed the Leader of our Party that he no longer wished to be the Deputy Speaker of the House, representing our Party obviously. So I would ask the House this evening to approve the appointment of the member for Halifax Citadel as the Deputy Speaker representing the Liberal Party.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

5829

[Page 5830]

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

On behalf of all members, I certainly want to welcome and congratulate the honourable member for Halifax Citadel, I know he'll bring great wisdom to the Chair when he has the opportunity to fill the seat. It's his choice whether to wear the hat or not. (Laughter) Anyway, congratulations to the honourable member for Halifax Citadel. I look forward to working with you, sir.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause of which reads:

"Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia to:

� Legislate a progressive reduction of tuition fees at Nova Scotia's public post-secondary institutions;

� Increase post-secondary education funding;

� Implement a system of needs-based, non-repayable grants;

� Call on the federal government to restore federal funding for post-secondary education and to negotiate a national agreement on standards of quality, accessibility and mobility for post-secondary education."

Mr. Speaker, there are 132 signatures of residents of Halifax, and I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 5831]

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to do an introduction prior to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. DEVEAUX: Thank you. In the west gallery is Charles Oakey and his wife, Mona. Charles is the driving force behind this petition of over 1,200 signatures in our community with regard to gas regulations. I wonder if they could rise and be acknowledged by the House for their work. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause which reads:

"We, the undersigned of Eastern Passage, Cow Bay and surrounding communities are concerned that there is no consumer protection with regard to gas prices. Prices have jumped as much as 7 cents in one day, making it very difficult for anyone on a fixed income. We therefore ask that the province of Nova Scotia to regulate gas prices.

We want put into place a threshold so prices could not rise more than 2 cents and anyone who wanted to hike prices higher than that would have to apply to do so."

I have affixed my signature and, as I said, there are over 1,200 signatures on this petition, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition regarding the repaving of the Main-à-Dieu highway. The operative clause is:

"The highway through Catalone to Main-à-Dieu community is in a very deteriorated and hazardous condition. It is many, many years since this highway has been completely repaved. It is not only unfit to drive on but is extremely 'unsafe'. It is part of the Marconi Trail and therefore, very important to our tourism industry."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to the petition which has approximately 300 names.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 5832]

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition that is signed by 120 residents of Halifax concerned with the high and ever-rising cost of tuition. I will just read the operative clause again:

"Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia to:

� Legislate a progressive reduction of tuition fees at Nova Scotia's public post-secondary institutions;

� Increase post-secondary education funding;

� Implement a system of needs-based, non-repayable grants;

� Call on the federal government to restore federal funding for post-secondary education and to negotiate a national agreement on standards of quality, accessibility and mobility for post-secondary education."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature thereto.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the drivers and residents along Highway No. 256 in Pictou County, who are very concerned about the deplorable condition of their road. The operative clause reads:

"We the undersigned, call upon Premier John Hamm and the Honourable Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation, to provide sufficient funds and order the renewal/replacement of the road structure of highway 256, from the Pictou Colchester County line to Lyons Brook." and along the full length of this highway.

There are 621 signatures on this petition and, Mr. Speaker, I, too, have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 5833]

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby beg leave to table a petition stating:

"We, the undersigned petitioners, feel that both the Mineville and Candy Mountain Road need to be repaved (not patched) along with the bridge replacement at the location of Partridge River to Lawrencetown River connecting Candy Mountain for the concern and safety of Mineville residents."

There are 226 signatures and I affix my name to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from 2,608 residents of the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect. The operative phrase reads: "We the undersigned are opposed to any power rates for Nova Scotia Power based upon their lack of service." I would like to recognize Deborah Paris from the community of Lakeside who has collected this petition personally and I have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby beg leave to table a petition signed by 120 residents of Nova Scotia concerned with the high and ever-rising cost of tuition. I have affixed my name and signature to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South on an introduction.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention, and that of the members of the House, to the west gallery this evening. We have with us the Leader of the Liberal Party, Francis MacKenzie, who has joined us this evening to see how the Legislature operates prior to taking a seat here.(Laughter) I would like to ask the members of the House to give him a warm welcome, and also to his Chief of Staff, Pernille Boulter. (Standing Ovation)

[Page 5834]

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery this evening.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition of 120 students from throughout the HRM who have signed a petition entitled, Reduce Tuition Fees. I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to table the 2004 Annual Report for the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, today I remember a colleague who sadly is not with us this session, our friend, John Chataway. Today I pay tribute to John, who, just prior to the Christmas break last year, was participating fully as the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, as a dedicated member of the Standing Committees of Veterans Affairs, Law Amendments and Public Accounts.

He was an MLA for four and one-half years, a Minister of the Crown, an educator for three decades, a municipal councillor for 14 years, a loyal member of the Chester Heritage Society, an historian and a man with a love of life, who was kind to both friend and foe, a man who worked tirelessly to promote and preserve his community's rich heritage and character, a man with a deep love of history and politics, with a special love for the words of Sir Winston Churchill.

[7:15 p.m.]

The common thread in all of the paths chosen by John was giving back to others. After White Juan, the Minister for EMO introduced a resolution in this House which was

[Page 5835]

passed unanimously. It related a story from a Chester-St. Margaret's family. The minister said that when all delivery methods had been exhausted on that miserable winter day, John trudged through huge drifts of snow for 45 minutes to deliver medicine to 19-month-old Madison Miller of Simms Settlement, Lunenburg County, who was running a dangerously high temperature. The child's mother described John as the kind of MLA who went above and beyond the call of duty.

There was no effort that John was not willing to help with and if his talents were not required, his positive spirit was always there for support. John would make us chuckle when, as he stood in this House to speak - most often to bring forward an idea, an achievement or a concern on behalf of the people of Chester-St. Margaret's - he would say "My last name might be Chataway, but I promise not to chat-away too long."

Well, I will be true to John and end here, but not without a quote from Winston Churchill who once said, "Everyday you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb." While his life was cut short, his list of contributions is long. Thanks for all you gave us, John. We know you enjoyed the climb.

Mr. Speaker, following comments from my two fellow Leaders, I ask for your indulgence to allow a moment of silence to remember the life of our friend - John Chataway.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would just begin by saying that I would certainly like to associate our caucus and myself personally with the eloquent remarks of the Premier with respect to Mr. Chataway. He was considered a gentleman by his colleagues of all political stripes. He cared very deeply for his constituency and for the Province of Nova Scotia and his passing is a tremendous loss.

As is often the case, Mr. Speaker, you don't really get a sense of what people contribute, unfortunately, until you attend their funeral service and as I said at that service and the litany of accomplishments that he had over his lifetime was extolled by his friends with such great affection that you couldn't help but admire what he had accomplished and the things that he had turned his mind to over those years.

Mr. Speaker, his extensive service to his community, his dedication as an educator for 29 years and his service as a municipal councillor are all things that I know that that community is grateful for and we are certainly grateful for the service to his province that he gave from his seat in this Legislature.

[Page 5836]

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our Leader, Francis MacKenzie, and the entire Liberal caucus, I also wish to take this opportunity to express our sorrow on the loss of a dedicated member of our Legislature - Mr. John Chataway. John was clearly a member for the people. His hard work on behalf of our province will not be forgotten. The dignity he brought to this House as an MLA, and always as a devoted Nova Scotian, gives new members and aspiring politicians something to look up to.

I, along with our Leader and several colleagues from our caucus, attended John's funeral and quickly learned how much he was admired by his friends and his constituents. I must say though, on a personal note, that I was a bit alarmed when his brother rose to give his eulogy that it was only then that I was informed by one of his caucus colleagues that John had an identical twin brother. After spending some time with John, you quickly learned that he cared deeply for people. He once visited a constituent in the hospital. He introduced himself to the other gentleman in the room who happened to be my godfather who was recovering from cancer treatments. John would often ask me how he was doing and was always pleased when I informed him that he was doing quite well.

John is missed here today and will be for sessions to come. It is my hope and the hope of our caucus that John Chataway's memories and stories will fill the halls of this Legislature for years to come. On behalf of our Leader, Francis MacKenzie, and our entire caucus, I express our deepest sympathies to the Chataway family and his constituents in Chester-St. Margaret's. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I ask all members to rise for a moment of silence for the late John Chataway, MLA.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3045

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

Whereas, last month, Canadians lowered flags to half-mast in memory of the four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers killed in the line of duty in Alberta; and

[Page 5837]

Whereas citizens from coast to coast joined in unison with the families to mourn these brave young men whose lives were extinguished all too soon; and

Whereas the magnitude of this tragedy reminded all Canadians of the risks our police forces take each day as they put their lives on the line in order to maintain law and order in our communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature stand for a moment of silence to officially recognize the lives and legacies of fallen RCMP officers: Constable Peter Schiemann, Constable Lionide Johnston, Constable Anthony Gordon, and Constable Brock Myrol. May we give thanks for their young lives, and for their brave and selfless service on behalf of their community and their country.

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 ask all members to stand for a moment of silence, please.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3046

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

Whereas on April 3, 2005, the world mourned the loss of Pope John Paul II who died at the age of 84 in Vatican City; and

Whereas Pope John Paul II led an extraordinary life, and inspired millions of people with his concern for human rights and especially the rights of children; and

[Page 5838]

Whereas many Nova Scotians, regardless of religious affiliation, fondly remember the Pope's visit to Halifax and the Maritimes in 1984 and felt blessed by his presence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature pause for a moment of silence to remember the life of this important religious and moral leader whose legacy as a champion of human rights will live on.

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 ask all members to rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3047

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

Whereas April 17-23 is Provincial Education Week in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas every year during education week we recognize the work of teachers and others who are dedicated to educating young Nova Scotians; and

Whereas this year we are highlighting teachers who help students recognize the history that surrounds them in textbooks and museums and in their homes, families and communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize our teachers' efforts to help students appreciate history and actively investigate the history that surrounds them.

[Page 5839]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre on an introduction.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery is a constituent of mine, Ms. Betty Rich. Betty is a tireless working on behalf of the disabled in this province, but more particular a tireless worker on behalf of her son, Joe, who's in care and it's indeed Ms. Rich's position that he's not getting the care he deserves, but Ms. Rich comes here yearly if not more often really to seek justice for her son. So I ask Betty to stand and receive the welcome of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our special guest to the gallery this evening and hope she enjoys the proceedings.

The honourable Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 3048

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

Whereas Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, Director of the Maritime School of Social Work and an African Nova Scotian, has been appointed to the Order of Canada; and

Whereas Dr. Thomas Bernard has researched and worked tirelessly in the areas of anti-racism and many other areas that affect the lives of African Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Dr. Thomas Bernard was granted the Order of Canada on February 8, 2005, with an induction ceremony to be held at a later date;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Dr. Thomas Bernard for her untiring efforts to build links between academics, practitioners and the communities, especially the African Nova Scotian community.

[Page 5840]

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 Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 3049

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

Whereas the federal government is proposing to discontinue funding for the Nappan agriculture station, the oldest experimental farm in Canada; and

Whereas this facility is a centre of excellence for research critical to the beef and crop industry in the Maritime Provinces; and

Whereas the Cumberland Country Federation of Agriculture fully supports the federal government through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada continuing the operation of the Nappan research station with an expanded budget, especially during this BSE crisis;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House request Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to continue to operate the Nappan research station for the benefit of all livestock producers in the Province of Nova Scotia as well as Atlantic Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 5841]

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

The motion is carried.

[7:30 p.m.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 144 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Gaming Control Act, to Authorize a Binding Plebiscite Respecting the Operation of Video Lottery Terminals. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 145 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 140 of the Revised Statutes, 1989. The Elections Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 146 - Entitled an Act to Facilitate Interjurisdictional Policing in Certain Circumstances. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 147 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 38 of the Acts of 2001, the Youth Justice Act, and Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 148 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Administration of Justice. (Hon. Michael Baker.)

Bill No. 149 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1998. The Video Lottery Terminals Moratorium Act. (Mr. Daniel Graham)

Bill No. 150 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes, 1989. The Assessment Act. (Mr. William Estabrooks.)

Bill No. 151 - Entitled an Act to Require the Payment of a Royalty on the Bottling of Water. (Mr. Harold Theriault)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

[Page 5842]

RESOLUTION NO. 3050

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

Whereas the honourable member for Richmond has been named Leader of the Third Party in this House by Liberal Party Leader Francis MacKenzie; and

Whereas this is an expression of Mr. MacKenzie's confidence in our colleague for Richmond, and an expression of confidence in the younger generation who are taking up positions of responsibility; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are well served by the fact that men and women of all Parties accept positions of significant responsibility;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the member for Richmond upon being selected by Francis MacKenzie to be his Party's Leader in this House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3051

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

Whereas one of the goals established by the Department of Education is to provide learners with opportunities and tools for rewarding and successful learning experiences; and

Whereas since April 4, 2005, all schools in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board have been severely impacted by a labour dispute and as of last week all schools, with the exception of one, have been closed indefinitely; and

[Page 5843]

Whereas the Minister of Education has been far too silent on the impact this labour dispute is having on the students and their potential to succeed;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature urge the Minister of Education to actively play a role in ensuring that students attending classes in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board return to the classroom as quickly as possible.

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3052

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

Whereas the Juno Awards annually celebrate the incredible talent in our nation's music industry - an industry growing by leaps and bounds each year; and

Whereas, in this year's award program, George Canyon won the category of Best Country Recording for the production One Good Friend, his first Juno Award; and

Whereas while Mr. Canyon's success shot skyward thanks to his tremendous showing in last year's Nashville Star contest, his true secret for success seems to be a combination of hard work, an incredible talent, and the fact that neither he nor his family and friends would ever give up on his ability to have his music recognized nationally and internationally;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature applaud this former Hopewell, Pictou County, resident on the receipt of his first Juno Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5844]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3053

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

Whereas it has been more than 20 years since the original Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Accord was signed; and

Whereas the original agreement was flawed, and significantly disadvantaged Nova Scotia both economically and socially; and

Whereas on January 28, 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin and Premier John Hamm signed a tentative agreement that would ensure Nova Scotia receive a fair deal on offshore revenues;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Prime Minister Paul Martin and Premier John Hamm for their leadership and statesmanship on this critical matter affecting all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 5845]

RESOLUTION NO. 3054

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

Whereas the men and women who serve our country and our communities work tirelessly to protect us both here and abroad; and

Whereas the Knights of Columbus Father Joseph E. Mills Council held a special mass known as a Blue Mass to recognize the service of those who serve on our behalf on April 16, 2005 at Our Lady of Assumption Chapel at 12 Wing Shearwater at 2:00 p.m.; and

Whereas the Blue Mass is an opportunity to celebrate the work of our military personnel, police officers, firefighters and Coast Guard staff, and to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the Knights of Columbus Father Joseph E. Mills Council of Eastern Passage for organizing the Blue Mass to recognize those who serve on our behalf.

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 in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3055

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

Whereas the week of April 18, 2005 has been designated Provincial Volunteer Week to honour and thank Nova Scotian volunteers; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has the highest per capita number of volunteers in the country; and

[Page 5846]

Whereas volunteers, volunteer agencies and organizations contribute selflessly to making Nova Scotia the best place in the country to live;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature thank Nova Scotia's thousands of volunteers for their continuing contribution to our communities and province as a whole.

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3056

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

Whereas on November 8, 2004, Great Village School in Colchester celebrated its 100th Anniversary; and

Whereas the Great Village Historical Society sponsored an open house in celebration of the school's 100 years educating the community; and

Whereas the school, built in 1904 at a cost of $4,000, has served the community well, with thousands of students and hundreds of teachers passing through its doors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Great Village School on 100 successful years, and wish them many more years of happy teaching.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5847]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3057

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

Whereas, quite legitimately, there is growing concern for public safety following a rash of swarmings involving youth in the metro area; and

Whereas there is growing public and parental concern for children's safety in the school system, where there have been and continue to be many incidents of bullying; and

Whereas this government's response has been totally inadequate in terms of its role and responsibility in this matter, deflecting attention to the federal government or leaving municipal governments and school boards on the hook for remedies;

Therefore be it resolved that the Hamm Government show some leadership and accept its own responsibility in youth violence prevention by initiating an integrated, province-wide youth violence prevention strategy.

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 Kings West.

[Page 5848]

RESOLUTION NO. 3058

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

Whereas the Portia White Prize is presented yearly to a Nova Scotian artist who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in art; and

Whereas Jim Morrow, from the Mermaid Theatre in Windsor, has been awarded the $25,000 Portia White Prize in recognition of over 27 years of enhancing children's lives through theatre; and

Whereas Mr. Morrow's unique abilities have brought international attention to teaching and mentoring abilities, which is truly in keeping with the dedication shown by Portia White to young developing artists of her time;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the contributions to children's theatre made by Jim Morrow and the Mermaid Theatre, congratulate his success on winning the Portia White Prize, and wish him every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3059

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

Whereas the 2004-05 Westville Gentlemen's Hockey League Champions were the Campbell's PharmaChoice Hockey Club; and

[Page 5849]

[7:45 p.m.]

Whereas the PharmaChoice Hockey Club participated in the exceptionally well-known Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament in Cape Breton this year, winning all four games and tournament honours; and

Whereas despite the year-long dispute involving NHL club owners and players, hockey is alive and well across Canada and in Pictou County with the Westville Gentleman's Hockey League being just one prime example of what a great game hockey really is;

Therefore be it resolved that congratulations be extended by all MLAs in this House of Assembly to the champions of the Westville Gentlemen's Hockey League for 2004-05, the Campbell's PharmaChoice Hockey Club.

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. 3060

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

Whereas today marked the 109th running of the Boston Marathon; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians have raced and won this prestigious race; and

Whereas one former Nova Scotian, Kelly Fitzgerald, with the support of her husband David, and children, Brendan, Cullan, Cavan and Breagh, ran the Boston Marathon for the first time today;

Therefore be it resolved that this House and all its members congratulate Kelly Fitzgerald on her hard work and tenacity in training for and competing in the 109th running of the Boston Marathon.

[Page 5850]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 3061

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

Whereas Cape Breton Regional Municipality is very proud of its many dedicated volunteers; and

Whereas on April 15, 2005, Recreation Nova Scotia held the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Awards Ceremony which recognized 67 volunteers and four speciality award recipients; and

Whereas Jenny Gallivan of Glace Bay, a respected volunteer in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, was honoured for her outstanding service to the community in many capacities within the school system and elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their best wishes and congratulations to Jenny Gallivan for her outstanding contributions to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 5851]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3062

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

Whereas Nicole Sinclair from Goshen, Guysborough County, is one of seven 4-H members who went to Ottawa to learn about Canada's political process; and

Whereas these Nova Scotian delegates joined 55 other 4-H members from across Canada to examine their rights, roles and responsibilities as Canadian citizens; and

Whereas the theme of this year's National Citizenship Seminar was Borders and Opportunities, the 4-H members also learned about current issues the federal government is working on in relationship to immigration;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Nicole Sinclair and the other six 4-H members on a successful trip and hope they carry their knowledge with them into their schools and 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.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3063

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

[Page 5852]

Whereas last November I had the opportunity to attend one of the Halifax Regional Police Force's town hall meetings, which was held in Prince Andrew High School and was very well attended; and

Whereas data analyzed from these town hall meetings from the past three years shows that the communities of Dartmouth, Halifax, Bedford, Spryfield, or any other community in between, share the same main concerns such as traffic safety, youth issues, race relations and police visibility; and

Whereas over the past year the Halifax Regional Police have taken steps to address community concerns by implementing Operation School Zone, conducted in September 2004 during the first full week back to school at which time they issued 191 summary offence tickets, and school programs such as Continued Anti-Bullying Campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Halifax Regional Police for their continued efforts in listening to community safety concerns and taking necessary steps to address these concerns through programs such as Operation School Zone and the Anti-Bullying Campaign.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 3064

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

Whereas Jacqueline Cromwell rose from humble beginnings in Upper Hammonds Plains to be a role model for all women regardless of race, colour, religion or creed; and

Whereas Ms. Cromwell has spent a lifetime giving freely of her talents, abilities and passions to enhance the lives of others; and

[Page 5853]

Whereas Ms. Cromwell is a humble, graceful, woman of dignity who inspires all women to be the best they can be;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House honour Jacqueline Cromwell for her lifetime of service to her community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to draw to the attention of the House two visitors in the gallery opposite. We have visiting tonight with us the current Warden of Richmond County and the past Warden of Richmond County and a current councillor. Please welcome Richie Cotton and Gail Johnson. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3065

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

Whereas a commemorative stamp to celebrate the Canso Causeway's 50th Anniversary was released earlier this month in Port Hastings by Canada Post; and

Whereas a picture of the Canso Causeway is easily recognized across the country and instills a sense of pride and familiarity to all Cape Bretoners; and

Whereas when you drive across the Causeway for the first or last time, you know you are part of something special and always remember a certain feeling of home;

[Page 5854]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House celebrate the Canso Causeway's 50th Anniversary by taking pride in and acknowledging this beautiful and picturesque landmark.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 3066

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

Whereas J.L. Ilsley was established in 1970, for the education of the high school students of Spryfield, Herring Cove, Sambro and environs; and

Whereas the Rhodes Scholarship was created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, to enable a select few foreign students to study at Oxford University, those who demonstrate high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigour; and

Whereas Matthew Knox graduated from J.L. Ilsley and is now a highly accomplished undergraduate at Dalhousie University studying the effects of heat on athletic performance, while being a keen hockey player, coach, camp counsellor and a volunteer with the Chebucto West Community Health Board;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Matthew Knox on being the first graduate of J.L. Ilsley High School to win the Rhodes Scholarship (but probably not the last) and wish him continuing success as he begins his studies at Oxford University.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5855]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin with an introduction if I could. We have in the gallery with us today student leaders from Dalhousie University and they are both the incoming and outgoing Executive of the Dalhousie Student Union. I would like to just read their names and perhaps at the end they could stand for recognition. We have: Jerad Gallinger; Curtis McGrath, who is the outgoing President of Dalhousie Student Union; Tara Bertier; Jonathon Wilson; Chad LeClaire; Ezra Edelstein; Phil Duguay; Mark Zepes; and Jenn Bond. Also, I don't want to miss Joanna Lasky, who is the executive director of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Association and that association represents students from Dalhousie, Acadia, St. F.X. and Saint Mary's Universities. (Applause) There's one other student leader in the audience too, I'd like to acknowledge and that is Danielle Sampson from the Canadian Federation of Students, if she would stand as well, all by yourself. (Applause)

I think we are very fortunate to have such dedicated and helpful youth that are working in that area.

RESOLUTION NO. 3067

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

Whereas the federal government has announced new initiatives to better attract, integrate and retain international students in Canada; and

Whereas these initiatives include allowing international students to work off campus which will give them valuable experience in Canada and provide them with more opportunity to continue their studies and afford their higher tuitions; and

Whereas the new memorandum of understanding between Nova Scotia's universities and the provincial government has specifically excluded international students from an agreed-upon tuition cap.

[Page 5856]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House call on the government to re-examine the impact of higher tuition fees for international students and to urge universities to show restraint in implementing these increases.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 3068

HON. CHRIS D'ENTREMONT: M. le Président, par la présente, je vous avise qu'à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la resolution suivante:

Attendu que les pompiers volontaires sont essentiels à notre service d'incendie rural.

Attendu que le service d'incendie de Pubnico Quest (assuré par des pompiers volontaires) a débuté il y a 55 ans.

Attendu que le service d'incendie de Pubnico Quest a récemment honoré Francois J. d'Entremont, un member fondateur, pour ses 55 années de service actif au sein du service d'incendie.

Par consequent il est résolu que tous les membres de cette assemblée se joignent à moi pour féliciter et Remercie Francois J. d'Entremont pour toutes ses années de service dévoué.

M. le Président je demande qu'une motion ne soit pas nécessaire et que la resolution soit adoptée sans délibérations.

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

[Page 5857]

Whereas volunteer firefighters are the lifeblood of our rural fire service; and

Whereas the West Pubnico volunteer fire department began 55 years ago; and

Whereas the West Pubnico Fire Department recently honoured Francois J. d'Entremont, a founding member for 55 years of active service to the department.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations and thanks to Francois J. d'Entremont for his years of dedicated service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3069

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

Whereas the Finance Minister has promised increased capital spending on highways, roads and bridges across Nova Scotia this year; and

Whereas many of our secondary roads are in deplorable condition and are absolutely unacceptable; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are looking for fairness in allocating highway dollars and want the politics taken out of paving.

Therefore be it resolved that this government use fair and objective criteria in evaluating all roads in Nova Scotia and that a list with a time line be established so that the people of this province will know where their roads stand in the overall picture.

[Page 5858]

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. 3070

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

Whereas the 34th Annual National 4-H Citizenship Seminar was held in Ottawa on April 4th to April 14, 2005; and

Whereas Ashley Charlton of Annapolis County was one of the seven delegates representing Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 55 4-H members from across Canada were in Ottawa to examine their rights, roles and responsibilities as Canadian citizens and to find out how youth can influence the political process and the political Parties that make up the Canadian Government.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ashley Charlton and all the delegates from Nova Scotia and thank them for representing our Province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

[Page 5859]

RESOLUTION NO. 3071

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

Whereas volunteers truly are the heart of the community; and

Whereas Mary Mouzar was chosen as a representative for the Region of Queens to attend the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Awards Ceremony in Halifax on April 12th; and

Whereas Mary, who is the editor and publisher of the popular Queens County Times Web site, was chosen because of her dedication to a number of organizations including; Parents of Wickwire Home and School Association and the Kids on the Move Society.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Mary Mouzar for her commitment to her community and for being chosen to represent the Region of Queens at this very special event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3072

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is highlighting the significant contribution of its volunteers during Volunteer Week, April 17-23; and

Whereas many communities depend on volunteers and their organizations to provide essential services and programs; and

[Page 5860]

[8:00 p.m.]

Whereas all Nova Scotians benefit from the increased quality of life provided by these volunteers and their community groups;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature thank all volunteers during Volunteer Week 2005, and commit to supporting and working with the voluntary sector in this province to further build its capacity to serve Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, again, I have a few introductions, if I could, before my resolution. I would like to introduce one member that I missed from the Dalhousie Student Union, who is Ray Yang, a political researcher. I saw so many in the gallery, I missed Ray, so I would like us to welcome Ray as well. Welcome. (Applause)

As well, in the gallery, we have members here from the Private Licensed Administrators Association of Nova Scotia, Childcare Centres. Their headquarters is in the Clayton Park riding, so I have the privilege of introducing them today. I would to introduce Pamela Streeter of Creative Kids; Carla Chapman-Taggert, Krista Chapman and Carl Chapman of Duck, Duck, Goose Daycare; Michelle Redmond of Christopher Robin's; Pat Roberts from Mount Pleasant Nursery School; Bronwyn Richardson, Dutch Village Road Childcare Centre; and Heather Hansen-Dunbar, who is also a constituent of mine and owns and runs the daycare, Kids R Kids.

The Private Licensed Administrators Association has asked for childcare programs around the province, all of their owners, to write to their MLAs to tell their stories. (Applause)

[Page 5861]

RESOLUTION NO. 3073

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's post-secondary students are suffering under the burden of ever-increasing debt loads; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's post-secondary institutions have the highest undergraduate tuition rates in the country, and these rates exceed the national average by an astounding $1,800; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's post-secondary students struggle to remain in university and achieve their full potential;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House call on this provincial government to set a course of action that makes debt relief and student financial aid a funding priority.

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 Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3074

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 Truro Junior A Bearcats won the 2004-05 Maritime Junior A Hockey League Championship; and

Whereas the Bearcats defeated the heavily-favoured Yarmouth Mariners and the 2003-04 winners, the Campbellton Tigers, to win the championship; and

Whereas the 2004-05 Truro Junior A Bearcats, with eight rookies in its lineup, is a young team whose players demonstrate hard work, commitment to winning and perseverance;

[Page 5862]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Truro Junior A Bearcat players, Head Coach Shawn Evans and his staff, owner Stuart Rath, and the entire Bearcat organization on winning the Maritime Junior A Championship, and wish the team continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3075

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

Whereas the Government of Prince Edward Island has demonstrated insightful initiative by providing funding for Snair's Golden Grain Bakery; and

Whereas this landmark Nova Scotia Bakery will be relocating in the Summerside area of Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas our province has lost this family-run community-based business after more than 60 years of operation in Black Point, Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Government of Prince Edward Island for its support of Snair's Bakery.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 5863]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 3076

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 the community of Sackville has grown immensely over the past several years with an increase in population and a growth in the number of businesses in the community; and

Whereas the Sackville Drive Business Association held their first annual general meeting on Monday, April 11, 2005 to elect a board of directors; and

Whereas the association represents the interests of all businesses in Sackville by promoting the region and working with the residents to address issues such as security, street improvement and beautifications;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislative Assembly congratulate the Sackville Drive Business Association on holding their first annual general meeting and thank all the businesses that are getting involved in promoting and improving the community of Sackville.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 3077

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

[Page 5864]

Whereas Windsor Home Hardware, located at the Fort Edward Mall in Windsor, was recently recognized as one of the best Home dealership stores anywhere in Canada; and

Whereas Windsor Home Hardware was chosen from among more than 1,000 stores nationwide as achieving the highest standards in retailing, merchandise presentation, staff performance and overall quality of the store; and

Whereas to receive a national "Proud of My Home" Outstanding Retailer award, a store is judged on different variables, including customer service, staff training and participation in dealer network initiatives;

Therefore be it resolved that Windsor Home Hardware President, Jeff Redden and his dedicated staff be commended by all members of the House for their outstanding commitment to customer satisfaction.

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3078

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

Whereas Tuesday, March 29, 2005, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Edgar MacLeod announced the launching of the Law Enforcement Aboriginal and Diversity Network (LEAD); and

Whereas this program is designed to encourage multicultural groups, Aboriginal communities and police services to build strong relationships and work together to make communities safe and secure; and

Whereas this network could be utilized in Cape Breton dealing with issues arising in a diverse community;

[Page 5865]

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the Legislative Assembly congratulate police agencies for establishing Law Enforcement Aboriginal and Diversity Network that will allow them to be able to share information of policing issues and cultural competency.

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. 3079

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 weekend the first Glube Cup charity hockey tournament was held at the Halifax Forum to raise money and food donations for Metro Food Bank; and

Whereas this tournament, named in honour of retired Chief Justice Constance Glube, featured a team of judges, a team of Crown Prosecutors, a team of defence lawyers and our own team of MLAs and friends; and

Whereas the MLA team consisting of: Danny, David, Billy and Jack Graham; David Wilson, NDP; Kerry Morash; Brooke Taylor; Geoff Regan, MP; Mark Gwynn; Stu Tibbets; Gordon Hebb; and I claimed victory for the first Glube Cup;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the teamwork and the skill of the MLA hockey team and thank organizer Frank Hoskins for his efforts in organizing this event. As evidence to support this resolution, we hold up the cup. Here it is.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member would realize there are to be no props in the House, but since it's such a good cause. (Interruptions)

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 5866]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3080

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

Whereas the first annual Greater Halifax Business Leadership Network fundraising event was held on March 21, 2005; and

Whereas at that event, the GHBLN honoured the Employer of the Year who demonstrated a commitment to hiring, accommodating, retaining or promoting a person with a disability in their workplace; and

Whereas the Casino Hotel management was presented with the Employer of the Year Award for their proactive initiative in promoting a person with a disability in their workplace;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate the Greater Halifax Business Leadership Network and the Casino Hotel for recognizing the valuable assets persons with disabilities bring to their place of employment.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

[Page 5867]

RESOLUTION NO. 3081

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

Whereas music is such an integral part of our culture; and

Whereas the South Shore Idol contest provides an excellent venue for performers to showcase their talents; and

Whereas Josh Hatt of Forest Heights Community School in Chester Basin, Lunenburg County, was named the 2005 South Shore Idol;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating South Shore Idol, Josh Hatt, and the remaining 10 finalists: Genoa Bell, Jonathan Whynot, Mahdyna Sada, Elizabeth Dolliver, Mark Wheatley, Simon Gordon, Shauna Slauenwhite, Julianna Davidson and Dallas Power for their excellent performances.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3082

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

Whereas rising property tax assessments that far outpace the annual rate of inflation place a very heavy burden on homeowners, especially those on fixed incomes like seniors; and

Whereas this government's half-hearted attempt to address the financial hardship imposed by runaway property assessments inexplicably excludes condominium owners from realizing even temporary benefit like other homeowners; and

[Page 5868]

Whereas just like other homeowners, many condominium owners have seen their assessments increase substantially, in some cases as much as 50 per cent or 60 per cent in the past two years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations immediately bring forward measures that would see condominium owners treated on an equal basis as other homeowners with respect to property assessments.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 3083

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

Whereas Lila Hope-Simpson, the owner of Home and Heart Child Development Centre in Wolfville, has been the recent recipient of a Prime Minister's award for excellence in teaching and early childhood education; and

Whereas the award recognizes that teachers and early child educators play key roles in child development, laying the foundation for lifelong learning and, ultimately, a stronger Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Canada's Minister for Social Development was recently quoted as saying, "Childhood educators provide children with the kinds of critical experiences and learning that will affect them for the rest of their lives."

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly congratulate Lila Hope-Simpson for her outstanding award and her devoted approach to early childhood education.

[Page 5869]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3084

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

Whereas on October 23, 2004, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust held its 7th Annual Dinner and Silent Auction at which Mr. Martin Rudy Haase became the recipient of the Nature Conservation Award 2004; and

Whereas the Nature Conservation Award recognizes outstanding individuals, organizations or businesses that have demonstrated a dedication to conserving the province's natural heritage by contributing to the conservation of special natural areas on private land and raising awareness about the value of nature conservation on private land; and

Whereas Mr. Haase was the first landowner to donate a conservation easement to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and has forged a path for others to follow while inspiring and encouraging other landowners to protect their land;

Therefore be it resolved that this government congratulate Mr. Haase on receiving the 2004 Nature Conservation Award and thank him for doing his part to protect our natural areas.

[8:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 5870]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 3085

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, please bear with me, this one will sound familiar except for one part.

M. le President, par la présente, je vous avise qu'à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que les pompiers volontaires sont essentials à notre service d'incendie rural;

Attendu que le service d'incendie de Pubnico Ouest (assuré par des pompiers volontaires) a débuté il y a 55 ans;

Attendu que le service d'incendie de Pubnico Ouest a récemment honoré Viateur L. d'Entremont, un member fondateur, pour ses 55 années de service act if au sein du service d'incendie;

Par conséquent il est résolu que tous les members de cette assemblée se joignent à moi pour féliciter et remercier Viateur J. d'Entremont pour toutes ses années de service dévoué.

M. le President je demande qu'une motion ne soit pas nécessaire et que la resolution soit adoptee sans délibérations.

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

Whereas volunteer firefighters are the lifeblood of our rural fire service; and

Whereas the West Pubnico volunteer fire department began 55 years ago; and

Whereas the West Pubnico Fire Department recently honour Viateur L. d'Entremont, a founding member, for 55 years of active service to the department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations and thanks to Viateur L. d'Entremont for his years of dedicated service.

[Page 5871]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3086

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

Whereas strong fishing families are vital to the rural economy in coastal Nova Scotia; and

Whereas with ever-increasing values of fishing boats, gear and licenses, it is becoming more costly to pass on the family business from one generation to the next; and

Whereas the capital gains allowance for fishing families remains at $100,000 as compared to five times higher than for farmers and other small business people;

Therefore be it resolved that this government work with their federal counterparts to raise the inter-generational capital gains allowance to $500,000 for Nova Scotia fishing families.

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 Minister of Education.

[Page 5872]

RESOLUTION NO. 3087

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

Whereas Scott Cameron, a teacher at the Cobequid Educational Centre, was named 2004 Coach of the Year by the Truro Sports Heritage Society at its 21st Annual Sports Heritage Award Dinner; and

Whereas Scott Cameron, in 2004, became the interim head coach of the CEC Football Cougars and led the team to an undefeated regular season and an appearance in the championship game; and

Whereas Scott Cameron has also been active with high school hockey, track and field, the CEC Safe Grad Program, and also sits as a Director of Lavers House;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Scott Cameron on being named 2004 Coach of the Year by the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and wish him continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3088

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

Whereas April 17-23 is National Volunteer Week, with this year's theme being Volunteers Grow Communities; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is one of the leading provinces in Canada when it comes to volunteering; and

[Page 5873]

Whereas there are 150 church, school and community volunteer organizations among the residents . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor. You may start over.

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

Whereas April 17-23 is National Volunteer Week, with this year's theme being Volunteers Grow Communities; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is one of the leading provinces in Canada when it comes to volunteering; and

Whereas there are 150 church, school and community volunteer organizations among the residents of Cape Breton West;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and congratulate the valuable contribution made by these unselfish 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 Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3089

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

Whereas Alice Housing provides safe and secure housing and support for women and children who are survivors of abuse in our community and from other areas of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 5874]

Whereas the Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services was established to both recognize and reward excellence and efficiency; and

Whereas performance in 10 areas of operation is evaluated among the hundreds of non-profit organizations that apply across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the board of directors, staff, volunteers and clients of Alice Housing for winning the 2004 Donner Foundation Award for Excellence in the Provision of Basic Necessities and wish them well in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3090

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

Whereas Education Week 2005 began today with an awards ceremony at Pier 21 recognizing the accomplishments of 23 history teachers and 4 educational partners from across the province; and

Whereas the theme of this year's Education Week is History: Look in Your Own Backyard; and

Whereas teachers work hard every day to offer quality education to the students under their care;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Education Week organizing committee, recognize today's awards winners, and thank Nova Scotia's teachers for their dedication.

[Page 5875]

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 3091

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 in a recent survey, 87 per cent of Nova Scotians listed health care wait times as the one issue they would like to see at the top of the government agenda; and

Whereas the families served by the existing Cobequid Multi-Service Centre have been waiting more than 20 years for 24-hour access to emergency medical care; and

Whereas medical emergencies don't just happen before 10:00 p.m., and currently those patients needing medical attention after hours must go to already overburdened emergency rooms at QE II, Dartmouth General, Colchester Regional or Valley Regional, adding to wait times;

Therefore be it resolved that this government commit to 24-hour service, the full-time utilization of all emergency room beds, and to increase the number of emergency room nurses and doctors and the utilization of nurse practitioners to meet the demand for care when the new Cobequid Community Health Centre opens in the Fall of 2005.

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.

[Page 5876]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3092

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

Whereas on Thursday, March 31, 2005, at the Marconi Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, the 3rd Annual Health Fair was held; and

Whereas students from the School of Health and Human Services, along with a number of health professionals, offered a wide range of information to fellow students and members of the public; and

Whereas the focus of the fair was to promote all aspects of a healthy lifestyle as well as to demonstrate the diversity in health promotion;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislative Assembly congratulate the students of the School of Health and Human Services, Marconi Campus, and the area health professionals for sharing their insight with the community about healthy living.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3093

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

Whereas the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is a vital transportation link between Halifax and Dartmouth; and

[Page 5877]

Whereas since the construction of this span over Halifax Harbour, Dartmouth has witnessed economic growth and prosperity, the likes of which could not have been imagined; and

Whereas the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is celebrating its 50th birthday and shows no sign of slowing down on its responsibility of being a key transportation link between Halifax and Dartmouth, thanks to the Bridge Commission;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate members of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission for faithfully serving the motorists and maintaining a solid bridge structure.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we go to Orders of the Day, the honourable House Leader for the Liberal Party.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby serve notice as per Section 43(2) of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly with a request for this House to entertain an emergency debate.

I move that the business of the House be set aside for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance. The matter is as follows:

On April 4, 2005, the positive educational experience to which students attending classes in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board are accustomed was negatively impacted as a result of strike action. As of April 14, 2005, 53 schools in the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board have been ordered closed indefinitely. One school remains open. We have heard many parties involved speak to their respective needs, rights and challenges. Sadly, no one to date has spoken out for the needs, rights and challenges being experienced by 18,500 students in our province. As members of Cabinet and legislators, this is our collective responsibility. While students are our primary focus, it is important to note that government has played a direct role that requires both action and accountability.

[Page 5878]

The Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, is directly responsible as he provides funds to school boards. The minister must be held accountable. Further, in Section 43(4A), it goes on to say, ". . . the Speaker also shall have regard to the probability of the matter being debated by the House within a reasonable time by other means."

Mr. Speaker, the size, scope and urgency of this quality education issue dictates that the time for debate is now. Students are being denied a quality education. Their needs and challenges deserve to be heard. Each day that passes means another day that students are not in the classroom where they belong. Each day that passes increases the likelihood that students may not be able to graduate. We can no longer waste time. This issue deserves emergency action.

Now, Mr. Speaker, before you rule on this, I would ask the indulgence of the House to allow the Government House Leader, before we debate this issue, should you allow it, to give the order of business for tomorrow and then we can go into the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: I will rule on the request first and then allow the Government House Leader to do tomorrow's hours and order of business.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South has requested an emergency debate under Rule 43. The request was in the Speaker's Office according to the time limits - two hours prior to the opening of the sitting and, as well, after reviewing the rules and the requests by the honourable member, I determined that the subject is proper to be discussed and that I am satisfied it's a matter that should be discussed and decided by the House.

I will just briefly read a short paragraph out of the honourable member's request, ". . . the positive educational experience to which students attending classes in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board are accustomed was negatively impacted as a result of strike action. As of April 14, 2005, 53 schools within the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board have been ordered closed indefinitely. One school remains open."

Now, I ask the House if the members do support this motion as put forward by the honourable member for Cape Breton South.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Very well, we will proceed with the emergency debate. I would ask the honourable Government House Leader now to give tomorrow's hours and the order of business.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the House will meet tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. and sit until 6:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine and Question Period is Public Bills for Second Reading and because these bills are not yet on the

[Page 5879]

order paper, the bills that we will be proceeding with are the Elections Act, the Cross-border Policing Act, the Motor Vehicle Act and Youth Justice Act and the Justice Administration Amendment (2005) Act, that's Bill Nos. 145, 146, 147 and 148.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, maybe for clarification, my understanding is that an emergency debate will be held after we adjourn the House, is that correct, or is it usually after the business is done? So I don't know if that's pre-adjournment or post-adjournment. Maybe we can get a clarification?

MR. SPEAKER: My understanding was that we would do that today, but it will be after the adjournment of the House because no quorum is required and we would proceed then.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the clarification. I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is the House adjourn until 2:00 p.m. 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.

We will now proceed to the emergency debate as put forward by the honourable member for Cape Breton South. As members would realize, members are allowed the maximum of 15 minutes to debate, one per member on the issue.

[8:30 p.m.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 43

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

[Page 5880]

EDUC.: C.B.-VIC. REG. SCH. BD. - STRIKE

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place this evening to address a very important issue, an issue of urgent public importance. For the 18,500 students who attend classes in Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, every day that passes increases the likelihood that they may not be able to graduate or gain the knowledge they require from this year. All but one of the schools in that school board have been forced to close. Students in Grade 12 are particularly vulnerable, feeling the added pressure that preparing for post-secondary, university and other careers brings upon them. Their future is in jeopardy. As of last Thursday, they've been ordered closed indefinitely.

I had the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to go to Cape Breton last week, on Thursday and Friday, in order to meet with the school board superintendent and the chair, and also with the CUPE representatives, representing members of the unions that are on strike. What was very clear was that we've talked a great deal and heard about the concerns of those parties that are involved, of the school board, of the union members and of the union itself. We've talked of their respective needs, rights and challenges, but sadly we have not been speaking about the rights and needs and challenges of the students themselves and of their parents, because when you close all of the schools in a particular area like this and impact 18,500 students, you can be sure that their parents have been sent into a tailspin, trying to ensure that the children are safe during the day, that their work requirements are being met, that they're not being left in care that's insufficient. So, there are a lot of people being impacted in terms of their own daily activities, from the younger children, and there's also a question of what the older kids are doing and how are they going to be making up the lost time and keeping up with their work.

Mr. Speaker, Premier Hamm noted in the Blueprint for Building a Better Nova Scotia that education is the cornerstone of a strong economy and is vital to personal growth and professional success. He further noted that one of the government's priorities is to focus on the student. Well, let's be clear, it's the provincial government's responsibility to ensure that Nova Scotian children are given a good education, and it is the provincial government's responsibility to ensure that our schools remain open and our students are in the classroom.

If students are a priority, Mr. Speaker, why has the Minister of Education turned a blind eye to this situation? Why is the minister neglecting those students? Today, students within the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board are left to learn on their own through e-mails from teachers and homework packages. That is simply unacceptable. It's not going to pull them through to the level that they require to proceed, especially those students in Grade 12 who undoubtedly will still be asked to sit their provincial examinations. The impact on their future is very clear, they are in jeopardy. What about the special needs students? Every day now they've had no care at all. It's clear that the teacher assistants care very much about what happens to them, but with this labour dispute they've been left out completely. They are clearly very vulnerable. Despite this, the government has done nothing. It's just unacceptable.

[Page 5881]

Government knows that they play a greater role than just ensuring that quality education is being delivered. This role demands action and accountability. In 1999, the government promised to develop a funding formula that would assist school boards experiencing declining populations, as is the case in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. Six years later this government finally did decide to act. Last year they announced that a funding formula would be developed and would be implemented this fiscal year. The recommendation has now been given to government, but contrary to the commitment they made, full implementation as promised will not happen. For those school boards experiencing declining enrollments, the years of underfunding have taken their toll.

Mr. Speaker, it's not just us as an Opposition Party who believe that the Minister of Education should be held accountable for his lack of action. Many of the parents in the Cape Breton Region are also calling for intervention, they're calling for the government to become involved; in fact the school board and the CUPE members have said the same thing - that it's the government's responsibility to step in and help resolve this matter.

I am particularly struck by the students themselves who are, as I say, missing countless days. The semester system alone, which I could speak on for some time, creates a lot of problems and we talk about the missed school time that they get through even the odd snow day and so on, but this is compounded many times over, because in this case we're talking about two weeks that have already passed. Students have been out of the classroom a long time and now the younger students as well, going on one week, and this just can't be allowed to continue.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the government get involved in this dispute and help us find a resolution as quickly as possible, because the futures of 18,500 students are in jeopardy and there are countless hours of worry and concern from their parents and from the teachers themselves who are unable to continue with the education of these kids. So I would ask very much that the Hamm Government get more involved and show some concern for this situation, because it's extremely important in the Cape Breton regional area.

As I say, in my trip there it was very clear, there were a lot of young people without occupation for this time. The school board seems to feel very, I guess cornered in a sense without more direction from the Department of Education, and CUPE would like to see some action on the part of government to get involved and help make a resolution. So really, in this case, this is not something that can be allowed to languish and continue and I urge the government to do more about it. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'll be sharing my time with the member for Cape Breton North.

Just to clarify, I understand I have 15 minutes, is that correct?

[Page 5882]

MR. SPEAKER: That's correct, yes.

MR. MUIR: Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry to be quite frank, that this emergency debate has had to take place. As the Minister of Education, there's nobody I don't think in this province who would be more concerned with the education of those students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board than me.

Mr. Speaker, also having been in professional education throughout my career, to be quite frank I find education to be an extremely, perhaps too valuable commodity to be at the centre of a labour dispute. But we are there, and that we have to recognize. I want to say that this government is very much concerned about the situation. We appreciate the difficulties that students are going through at this particular time. I've been a parent - actually I have four children who completed public school - and I know that as a parent, had my children been denied access to the full quality of education that I know would be available to them if the schools were functioning as they should be, I'd be disappointed too.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that as the Minister of Education, and as a parent and as a former educator, I have a great deal of sympathy for the parents, and, in particular, the students up in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, for the situation that exists there now.

Now I also appreciate and respect the rights of the workers. Government is in an interesting position. The employer in this case is the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. The union represents a certain number of the - well actually the support staff I guess you would say up there, but the employer is the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and the workers who are on strike are represented by CUPE.

Mr. Speaker, there is a collective bargaining process, and we have said from the beginning we want to respect the collective bargaining process and we have done that. The respect of the collective bargaining process calls for the discussions and the negotiations to be between the employer, in this case the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, and the labour organization which represents the striking workers, which is CUPE.

I want to put it on the record, although the government respects the collective rights, it doesn't mean that the government is not disappointed with the situation that exists up there. This is not good for our province, it's not good for the students - we understand that. But, Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that the offer that was presented by the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board to the CUPE workers was very similar to the offer that was accepted by CUPE workers in three other school boards - the Chignecto Central board, the Valley board and the French language board; the offers were very similar and the workers accepted them. They didn't come to the Minister of Education nor the Minister of Labour, whoever it was, and say, look, get involved in the collective bargaining process. You take over the collective bargaining process and settle this for us.

[Page 5883]

The collective bargaining process worked there. The employer and the employees sat down at the table, they presented their proposals, they resolved their differences - and to be quite frank, both sides were winners because schools continued and the students didn't have their education interrupted. That's how the collective bargaining process should work.

There was difficulty up in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and last week my colleague, the Minister of Labour, asked the conciliator to call the parties back to the table and he did. He called them back, I think it was last Friday, they sat down at 6:00 o'clock and I am told that they bargained, sat down and discussed the issue for 20 hours. They discussed the issue for 20 hours and at the end of that time, it was an agreement by the two parties that there would be an offer on the table. Quite frankly, I don't know all of the details, but there was some difference between the offer that was first put on the table and CUPE agreed to take that offer to their membership.

Unfortunately, the vote has been taken and CUPE rejected that offer. So, unfortunately, that strike is not over and the parties are going to have to get back to the table and try to resolve it.

I want to put on the record - it's easy for CUPE to look at the government and say, government, you're the problem. But, I want to tell you, during the amalgamation discussions in 1996 when the Liberal Government was in power and put those boards together, classification and salary issues were addressed then and CUPE was at the table at that time. If there is a discrepancy in their opinion between the salaries now, perhaps CUPE should be answering the question to its membership, why. How many contracts have been signed between CUPE and its employees having to do with school board employees since 1996?

It is a matter between the employer and the employees. But I also want to say, one thing that emerged over the weekend which I did not know - in its rhetoric and in its advertisements and in its position, CUPE was looking for parity. But, it never defined parity, it never presented what parity was. That never went on the table in all those discussions - parity was not defined. (Interruptions)

No, no. You mean to say the president of CUPE is now at your table instead of Mr. Clarke?

Mr. Speaker, what happened on Friday night, I'm told, is that parity was finally defined, finally defined by the union, which was the highest salary for any classification in the province regardless of what labour organization represented the employees. There are a number of the classifications in that Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board where other workers, the wages, the salaries, are at or above the provincial average, Mr. Speaker. I'm told, although I don't know the details, but I suspect that what had been advanced in that Friday marathon would have advanced a number of the workers in that group closer to the provincial averages, those who are not there or above it already.

[Page 5884]

[8:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this is indeed unfortunate but the collective bargaining process has to unfold. The unfortunate part about the collective bargaining process here is we have school students being affected by it. It isn't the teachers who are on strike. Fortunately, the teachers and the school board have tried to make arrangements where the students can pick up homework packages, get instruction on a regular basis and the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has tried to publicize that as best it can, but I want to tell you that's not the same thing as being in a classroom and having the teacher there in front of the students. It is unfortunate.

The schools are not operating because it's very difficult to keep schools clean to a standard which is acceptable to the Department of Health, much less acceptable to the students and the parents of those students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. One of the disappointing things that I've heard from that situation is that schools get dirty but on the other hand, there were some deliberate acts by people to make those schools a lot dirtier than they would be. I know that the members on the other side of the House have heard those same stories that I have, including pouring oil in one of the stairwells. I believe that was reported in the paper, and those are unfortunate situations, really unfortunate situations. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, the issue is very uncomfortable for government. It's uncomfortable for the Minister of Education and I'm sure it's very uncomfortable for the Opposition Parties, particularly those MLAs whose family, friends and students are affected by that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You're about to hear from them.

MR. MUIR: You're about to hear from them and anyway, Mr. Speaker, you know, the collective bargaining process, I would encourage CUPE and the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board to get back to the table and try to work it out. That has been our message all along, this is a matter between the employer and the employees and if the collective bargaining process is to unfold as it should, then they have to work that out. (Interruption)

Well, somebody said, Mr. Speaker, what would that be if it was in Truro? I want to tell you that would be the same thing, but I want to also tell you that this is one of the points, is that there were CUPE members in other parts of the province who accepted similar offers to that made to those employees up in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and they were CUPE workers. They were represented by the same labour organization as up there. So my point is that it's possible to get agreements. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get one up there - I should say they haven't been able to get one up there.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Up there, it's not up there.

[Page 5885]

MR. MUIR: Well, in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: It's not up there.

MR. MUIR: Okay, and I stand corrected on that one and I acknowledge the member for Cape Breton South. I also got a letter today, Mr. Speaker, admonishing me for using that word and I don't use it with any disrespect. If it was down in Yarmouth, I would probably say down there.

Mr. Speaker, it is a very difficult issue. Collective bargaining is a matter between the school board and the CUPE local. I don't know what role the members of the Opposition have played in encouraging both sides to get back to the table. I heard the call, I believe from the member for Cape Breton South, for a conciliator. I heard the call for something else from another member. The conciliator did call the parties back to the table, as per his suggestion. There were a number of things. If the parties can make requests of my colleague, the Minister of Environment and Labour, I'm sure he'll consider them very carefully.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable minister's time has expired.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my intention is to share my time with the member for Cape Breton Nova, if that's acceptable to the Speaker. The first thing I have to say is the one thing that's abundantly obvious from what the Minister of Education has just said is that if we were not in a minority government right now, we would be in the same position that we were in with health care workers when the Bill No. 68 debate was on in this House. That's where we would be today, with an attitude like that minister has toward this situation. That's where we would be.

The reality of this, Mr. Speaker, is that the Minister of Education and the government, the members on that side, are responsible for the education of the children who are stewards of that school board. They bear the responsibility of ensuring that the workers, the support staff in that board are properly paid, that they receive a fair collective agreement. That is the responsibility of the government.

A number of times through his speech, the minister was all too happy to try to paint CUPE Local 5050 as the problem in these negotiations. Mr. Speaker, that could not be further from the truth. The support staff, the workers there with the CUPE local have attempted, time and again, to make the minister see that all they are asking is to be treated fairly, to be treated reasonably, and not to be told that simply because they happen to be across the Causeway that their work is worth less, that just because they are across the Causeway they should be paid less. That is the message of the Minister of Education.

[Page 5886]

So the reason why we have that situation is because of the way that the minister has acted in refusing to simply say - and I don't even know why it is, Mr. Speaker, I really don't know why it is, why it is that they want to go through the charade of having different tables across the province to bargain with the workers who do the same jobs. They hire lawyers to work those tables. They could save money just on the collective bargaining process itself, if they would simply agree to bargain all of the boards at the same time. It's a loss to me.

The minister tried to somehow paint CUPE as some kind of a villain. He mentioned the contracts that were signed back in 1996. Well, my recollection is that at that time the Wage Restraint Act that had been put in place by the former Liberal Government was in full swing, and those contracts, when they were sold, were no-money contracts. They weren't about what these ones are about. These are about fair negotiations, seeing that these people are paid fairly.

I want to spend a few minutes, and I know my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova, whose constituency is very much affected by this, wants to speak, but I just want to say the minister talks about education as a commodity and students as a commodity, well, I think his characterization of this is entirely inappropriate, because it is not a commodity that can be bought and sold on the shelf, it's not something like buying bricks and mortar. These are intangibles; this is the delivery of education to the children of our province, and his refusal to become involved at a time when it's clear that the parents, the students, the school board, the teachers and the support staff, are clearly in need of the assistance of the Department of Education and their willingness to bargain fairly is not understandable; in fact I would go so far as to say the unwillingness of the government in this regard is incomprehensible.

It's incomprehensible because if they truly cared about the well-being of the students in those schools, if they truly cared about allowing the teaching staff in that board to do their job. If they truly cared about the support staff in that school board, then, Mr. Speaker, they would in fact be involved, instead of acting like a shadow, because that's the way they act. They're outside of the board. They say we have no responsibility for it whatsoever, but the minister is keenly involved behind the scenes. He knows about the terms of the contract, he knows, or thinks he knows, what parity was and what wasn't being negotiated at the table because he's being reported to by somebody else. He is, in fact, hearing, he is in fact closely involved, but anytime anybody calls him up on it, he wants to say we have nothing to do with this. We know it's not true, and we know it wasn't true in the other labour cases that have come before this House.

Mr. Speaker, these are people they want to contract out, the cafeteria work. They're asking for concessions from CUPE Local 5050, they're just clearly not willing to consent to, and if they were truly concerned about what's going on in that board they would be living up to their responsibility; in fact the largest responsibility among the parties which would be to end the stalling and to ensure that there is an appropriate contract reached in that dispute.

I'd now like to turn this over to my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova.

[Page 5887]

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, as a parent of a child who is not attending school, I know the stress that it has put on many parents in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, and especially those parents with children with special needs, when you have principals sending home notes to parents of children with special needs telling them not to send their children to school. We as Canadians have the right, in the Charter of Rights, to have our children educated, and the Minister of Education is ultimately responsible. Although he may say he's not responsible, he is responsible. He is not outside the board, he pays the board, and that's the problem to start with. This board has been underfunded since day one. You cannot fund a board on enrolment - a board has to be funded on needs, the needs of the students who attend that board.

Mr. Speaker, in 1992, a teaching assistant in the Cape Breton District School Board made $11.71 per hour. Here it is 2005 and they make $13.35 per hour - they received a $1.67 raise in 13 years. And to hear that minister stand up in this Legislature and talk about not being responsible for this. After four years of wage freeze, after losing an hour off their contract, a teacher's aide would get paid 6.5 hours. Now in the school board they get paid 5.5 hours. They don't take home $19,000, as was reported in the Cape Breton Post, they take home $15,000. It has become very dirty, when the board takes out ads telling people that if the contract they had accepted at 2.9 that they would be the same as other school boards.

Well, in the Chignecto School Board, they got rid of the cafeteria workers. Their jobs are gone; they're no longer there. We are fighting down there for jobs, not to give up cafeteria workers. These are jobs, these are people who live in our community and help educate. You see by the importance why these schools are closed today - they're closed because this board has been underfunded for many years and this board cannot negotiate a fair contract. He's talking about contracts and negotiating a contract.

[9:00 p.m.]

Wage parity. We know that wage parity is out of the question in this. When a teacher's aide in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board makes $13.35 and a teacher's aide in Halifax makes $27 for the same job, where is the wage parity in that? The same responsibility, the stress and the undue hardship caused by this strike. I've been on the picket line, I've been on the picket line the first day they walked out and went to every school in my riding and spoke to everybody on that picket line and listened to them. I listened to their concerns - wage parity. Their concern is that they know they do the same job as anybody else. We have wage parity in health care. We have wage parity in long-term care. A teacher in Halifax gets the same pay as a teacher in Cape Breton. Does a worker in the school board in Halifax get the same pay as a worker down in Cape Breton? No. This is unfair.

This government said, wage parity, health care, long-term care, teachers - where's the wage parity here? Absolutely nowhere. As the Minister of Education, ultimately he is

[Page 5888]

responsible for this. I sent him a letter two weeks ago - actually, two days after the strike started - asking him to please get involved. Mr. Speaker, it's been two weeks and a day, as of today, and still he hasn't been involved. Yet, he says his partner, the Minister of Labour, has sent a conciliator down and they went for 16 hours at the Delta on the weekend. He's saying, as far as he's concerned, wage parity was offered.

Wage parity couldn't have been offered if those members of CUPE Local 5050, those good members of CUPE Local 5050 that provide the services in our schools in Cape Breton would turn down that offer. Those people work very hard. They're the ones that clean the washrooms. They're the ones that keep the schools going. They're the ones that shovel the walkways. They're the ones that drive our children to school every day. They're the ones that take our children home every day. They're the grounds supervisors that are out there every day looking after our children. I know because my child attends that school board system and I know the work those people do and that work is invaluable. I think they deserve a decent wage. (Applause)

Right now, the CBRM has given notices to the crossing guards - this is how far this is going to go - telling them that as of May 22nd if this keeps going the way this minister says it's going to go, he's not getting involved, it's just going to keep going. These crossing guards will be given layoff notices. Then, again, we have other people laid off. Let's not forget about CUPE and the Strait area board. What happened to CUPE last week? Did they vote for - no, they turned down their contract also.

It's a possibility on April 29th that there won't be one child in Cape Breton going to school. That's a shame. Ultimately, that minister is responsible for this.

How are they going to make up that time? I had a Grade 12 student come into my office and tell me, Gordie, what am I going to do? I have a course in Gagetown and I'm graduating, but this is the only course that the Armed Forces is offering in Gagetown and it starts on June 27th. He can't graduate if he has to go to school - what's he going to do? He's going to lose this course.

We have the highest unemployment, we have nobody there. These kids are trying to better themselves by going to Oromocto and taking these courses. What am I to tell this young lad when he comes into my office? I've called on the minister, I've called on everybody else to try to settle this. I've gone out on the picket lines, attended a rally last Thursday. It was a beautiful rally and I'm very happy that my Leader got up and spoke at that rally. (Applause)

There were three members of the Legislative Assembly at that rally - the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Cape Breton Centre and the member for Cape Breton Nova. They were the only people at that rally and there were some members of the CBRM council that were there too. (Interruptions) No, there was nobody there, only those three members were in attendance. The national rep for CUPE was there, they were all there.

[Page 5889]

The most important thing here - realize that we sit in this Legislature, and our children are suffering. The children who attend that school board are suffering. We have first-class workers who are trying to get a fair bargaining agreement from this minister, not from anybody else. He can sit there and deny it all he wants to deny it, he is ultimately responsible as the Minister of Education to make sure that our children are educated, and right now they're not being educated, because that board is underfunded and they cannot negotiate.

I will tell that to my son tonight when I call him on the phone, that he will not be going to school again tomorrow because the minister just doesn't care, Mr. Speaker. I'll tell my son that tonight when I call him, when I go home. Hopefully by the time I get home this weekend this will be resolved. Hopefully then I can say to my young fellow, Daniel, you can go to school. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to play politics with an issue this serious. (Interruptions) As the member for Cape Breton Nova just tried to do, by praising up his Leader, because this issue is way too serious to do that. I share the member for Cape Breton Nova's concerns as a parent of people who are in the school system. I say to the Minister of Education, what you have allowed to happen right now, to the point where this is, is an absolute sin. What you are allowing to happen to our students in Cape Breton right now is an absolute sin, what is happening, because of the serious implications this strike can have.

One of my children, Mr. Speaker, is a graduating student at Glace Bay High School. Right now this strike threatens the very graduation, 13 years of hard work that these students have put into their education will now be threatened by the Minister of Education who has the gall to stand in this Legislature and blame this strike on the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. It's not the school board's strike, it's not the school board's fault, it's the Minister of Education's fault, what's happening here. For you to blame the school board is simply nothing more than an irresponsible cop-out. That's all it is.

You have to take the responsibility for chronic underfunding of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. You have to take the responsibility, and the Premier has to take the responsibility for promising the school board that you would take care of chronic declining enrolments in that school board. It has not been done, Mr. Speaker. Six years now this government has been in power. That is a problem that has not been taken care of in any way, shape or form, and because of that declining enrolment, what happens? The school board can no longer afford to pay its employees what it should be paying. But you turn around and you try to blame an entire strike, with 18,500 students out of the class, with teachers' aides, with school bus drivers, with janitorial staff, with custodial staff out on the picket line, and you try to blame the entire strike on a school board, on an elected school board, that the Minister of Education knows full well does not have the money in the first place to properly pay their employees.

[Page 5890]

Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton Nova is right on one point, if indeed the Strait area joins the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board at the end of this month, then what happens is that you will have every student on Cape Breton Island out of classes. I suggest to every member of this Legislature right now that if the government cared, if the Minister of Education cared, if the Premier cared, then there would be no stone left unturned, and it shouldn't have had to start today, it should have started when this strike started, that there be no stone left unturned, conciliation, mediation, whatever the case may be to make sure that the students receive their education, a right which is guaranteed to them in this country. Right now it is not being done.

Mr. Speaker, I, too, paid a visit to the picket lines when they went up, and the picketers who are there, to a person, will tell you their first concern is not for themselves, the fact that they're now going without salaries, it's not for the fact that they're out in cold, miserable weather picketing, their first concern was for the education of the children that they care about. It's their own children, it's my friends, it's my family, it's my neighbours, it's my children who are being hurt by the irresponsible neglect of this government at this point in time and that kind of makes me ticked off at the moment. That kind of makes me take a look at this government and say what are you going to do?

It took the Liberal caucus to make a release and call for mediation before the Minister of Labour even acted on this and the day after the Liberal caucus said there should be mediation, the Labour Minister said, well, let's send in the conciliators. The Education Minister up to that point steadfastly, as he does here tonight - and the only news he has given us tonight is that the CUPE local has decided to reject the contract offer, that's the only news that he has brought to the table tonight - refuses to say that this is his fault.

Now, Mr. Speaker, anybody knows that when you get down to it, at some point in time you have to stand up and you have to accept your responsibility. The responsibility of the Education Minister right now is that 18,500 students in this province are not receiving an education and they are being denied the right to go to school. That is the responsibility of the Minister of Education.

This particular minister, Mr. Speaker, seems to have a habit that crises seem to follow him wherever he goes. When he was Health Minister, there was a crisis in health care. When he was Education Minister, there was a crisis in education. I think he was Education Minister before, there was a crisis then, too. So it's still continuing but, anyway, there may be a common theme there, but I'm not prepared to go that far.

I want to also express my concern about one serious issue to address in this strike and that is students with special needs, Mr. Speaker, because for those students this strike is nothing more than a tragedy. Teachers' aides are vital. They should be treated as vital by this government. My sister is a teachers' aide in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. You will find no harder working person in the school system than she and her colleagues and they are there because they are dedicated. Some of the people I met on the picket line the

[Page 5891]

other day actually taught, not taught, but actually were there when I was in school. These are long-serving employees who have dedicated their lives to education and what do they get in return for that? They get a Minister of Education who shrugs his shoulders and says, oh, well, let's try, maybe it will be worked out. Maybe it will only last three more weeks, maybe it will last a month. Maybe the whole school year will be destroyed, Mr. Speaker, and the Minister of Education still won't care.

So let me forget about the Minister of Education and appeal directly to the Premier of this province. The Premier should take this opportunity to intervene. Mr. Premier, to intervene in a strike that you know is causing harm right now at this point. Just let alone the graduating students who are going to be hurt throughout the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, the graduating students who are saying they have proms, they have graduation ceremonies that are coming up, they have safe grads that are coming up, all of those are being placed in jeopardy because of the fact that the strike is on. Nobody ever wants a strike. I have yet to meet a person on a picket line and ask them did you want to be here, I've yet to meet that person.

Mr. Speaker, one other thing that is starting to worry me, is that we have representation. When I say we, I'm talking as a member of the Legislative Assembly for Cape Breton, we have representation in that Cabinet. We have a Cabinet representative from Cape Breton. I haven't heard him say a word about this strike, not one word about how the students in Cape Breton are being affected. I have not heard him utter one single phrase about his concern. I only hope that when he goes to Cabinet, he's telling the Minister of Education and he's telling the Premier and he's telling his Cabinet colleagues that this cannot go on. It, please, cannot go on for any length of time.

Mr. Speaker, again as a parent, more importantly than ever being an MLA, as a parent this cannot continue. It's easy for the minister to say, well, it's all part of the collective bargaining process. Of course, it is and strikes are part of the collective bargaining process. Of course, they are but this, in particular, is dealing with a situation where we are dealing with children, we're dealing with young children, we're dealing with graduating students, we're dealing with students with special needs, the students that these people who are now striking, the students that they serve each and every day, they don't always understand what we talk about when we say here the government is neglecting them. All they know is that they can't go to work. All they know is that the students can't go to school and all they know is that because of this strike, a lot of people are being hurt and in particular, it's the people who need our attention most who are being hurt the most.

[9:15 p.m.]

You know, you talk about having partners in education, Mr. Speaker. Teachers are partners in education. Bus drivers are partners in education. Custodial staff are partners in education. Teachers' aides are partners in education. Everybody has a stake in the education of our children. We all have a stake in the education of our children. The Minister of

[Page 5892]

Education knows that. Instead of saying, there's nothing that can be done. Why not try and do something about it? Why always wait, as this government has shown in the past, until something is finally at a crisis stage? Why always wait until then?

Again, the Minister of Education in this government knew that this situation was brewing. It's not new. Wage parity is not a new issue in Nova Scotia, as my Opposition colleagues have stated. It's in hospitals. The teachers have it. Many other sectors, Mr. Speaker. This is not something that just came up overnight that you had to deal with wage parity. You've been in government for six years. You know that these issues are there. You know that they're going to rear their ugly heads from time to time and you know that there is something that can be done about them, but yet you sat back and you've done absolutely nothing about it and that's why these issues come up again. That's why at the end of the month you'll face the issue again in the Strait area; you'll face the issue again, and still you'll do absolutely nothing about it.

In the meantime, Mr. Speaker, again, when the Minister of Education stands and says that this is not his fault, that it's not he who is the employer or the government that is the employer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board employs these people and deals with their contracts, but everybody in this province knows that the funding comes from the Government of Nova Scotia. We have to accept that responsibility as MLAs because we have people back home who are now calling us on a regular basis to express concern about the strike. From parents, to the people on the picket lines, to the students themselves whom I've had calls from.

Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Education to irresponsibly stand in his place and blame some of the students for making the situation worse at schools, will just never do. I will not accept that. The fact of the matter is, there may have been individual acts of vandalism or whatever the case may be, but in total, the students have acted responsibly. They want to be at school, they want to be there, and the people who are on the picket lines would much rather be in those 53 schools that are closed in Cape Breton than out on a picket line any day.

Again, it's something that instead of saying you're going to do something, the government actually has to do something and show leadership. Leadership, Mr. Speaker, is what's needed in this case. This government from time to time, since its inception in 1999, has shown absolutely no leadership. What they've shown is mismanagement. In this case, it's mismanagement of this situation. It's mismanagement of the funding process that's in place for elected school boards, for school boards themselves, and in Cape Breton a chronic problem with underfunding of a serious problem, of students disappearing.

Six hundred more students this year will no longer attend classes in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, 600 last year, 600 projected for the next year. If that's not crisis, I don't know what is. Does someone have to go over to the Minister of Education and stamp crisis on his head, 600 students a year that are disappearing from the system? What does that say to you, Mr. Speaker? To me it says we've got a serious problem. Something has

[Page 5893]

to be done about it. In the blue book in 1999, there was a promise made by the Premier of this province, that there would be special circumstances for schools that suffered from declining enrolments for school board system.

It's still there. I think the blue book still exists for the Premier, so just pull out a copy and look at that promise - it's a promise that hasn't been fulfilled yet and it can be, simply by taking care of that problem would get to the root of this problem. By properly funding the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, perhaps we wouldn't be in the situation that we're in today - faced with a strike.

I would suggest to the Minister of Education that this has been a strong message that has been given to him by CUPE Local 5050. As I understand it, my sources tell me the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of rejecting the contract tonight. So I would suggest to the minister - well if the minister has different information, stand up and give it to us. I'll gladly accept your sources, but what my indications are, there's been a strong one - well if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Whatever the case may be . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Thank you. The honourable member's time has expired.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you very much. I'm very pleased to rise to speak to this emergency debate as a result of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board's labour situation. I will be sharing some of my time this evening with the member for Cape Breton West. (Interruptions) Well, we're trying to make minority government work, Mr. Speaker, trying to make it work.

That's what we are trying to do, make the process work. As the honourable minister has said, and I know all of us - I don't think there's a single member in this House who doesn't care about the well-being of the children and their education, who doesn't value the contributions of every employee who contributes to their well-being and their education and their ongoing safety.

So I don't think it's a debate over people caring about our students and valuing the workers who are in the system - in this case, those members that have a labour dispute at this time. As the minister had indicated, there has been a collective bargaining process; it has been honoured. When that process had hit a stumbling block, the Minister of Labour had brought a conciliator in and that conciliator and people did negotiate - as you do in a collective bargaining process and they did their job. They came forward with an offer; that offer has gone before the membership and the membership have declined that.

There are a couple of things we're all going to need clarity on - what were the details of that offer? I don't have them at this point. I'll be looking forward to seeing where the

[Page 5894]

movement was, where the issues have been advanced. I'm sure both sides of that dispute will be putting their perspectives forward and we should hear about that tomorrow. We're all seeking clarity. We're all looking to find where the balance is going to be.

A lot of discussion is going on about parity, but I too have gone around like other members have. There's one high school, three junior high schools and six elementary schools in Cape Breton North and I too have travelled to each of those picket lines in my constituency and I've talked to those workers. We care about them knowing it and people have indicated - as the member for Glace Bay has with regard to "Am I communicating to my colleagues?" and I can say yes I am. Both at Cabinet and at caucus, I've spoken with the minister, I've told him what I've heard as concerns from the employees and what they want is to make certain there's fairness and there's equity. There are some issues - they're not financial issues, they're issues that can be negotiated - issues that are about the composition and the character of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

Mr. Speaker, I've worked in collaboration across Party lines as we have, and we've gone before the school board as concerned MLAs. We've sat there, and I know in the four years that I have been elected, I have worked with my colleagues and the Ministers of Education in this government. While there have been challenges brought forward, where there are pressures with regard to declining enrolment, there is also an understanding that we have to try and maintain a budget that is fair.

In the four years that I've been elected, the budget for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has not been diminished, has not been taken away from. We are all working to find challenges to get that balance. We're all trying to see, we've worked through in the last two years, there have been issues of some cost overruns and some adjustments that have been deficits. I've worked with the minister with regard to a recent one that was $932,000. We're working with the board, the MLAs from the area met with the school board, we sat down, we listened, we understood those pressures and we came back and we're responding to it.

We're going to continue, not just in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, but there are other boards where these pressures of declining enrolment is a challenge. We are going to have to try and address those challenges, and it has more than just to deal with the immediate labour dispute.

Mr. Speaker, we have to move forward. I know, as we take a look tomorrow and find out the positions and perspectives brought forward from both sides, I think it's incumbent on all members of the House, and it's incumbent upon me to call upon the Minister of Environment and Labour to take stock of what's going on, to look at the issues here and to determine what are the next steps. No one wants this strike to drag on, no one wants children to be denied access to the school, nobody wants to see workers standing on the picket line rather than being back at work.

[Page 5895]

We have to work that process through, we're committed to working that process through, but there is a process, a process that we're all called upon to respect. It's sometimes not easy, and that process can be difficult when the outcomes are not immediately achieved, Mr. Speaker, but it is not about a process where the people involved with it don't care. We do care. We care enough that we respect others saying to respect the collective bargaining process.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we've seen, after a second go-around, there hasn't been acceptance of the negotiation, the settlement offer that's come forward. We have to look at the level of that. We have to look at where the sticking points have been and what the major outstanding issues are. We have to look at how we can move it forward, and that's something the Minister of Environment and Labour, that I as a member of the government caucus will be calling upon my colleague to review that, and what his portfolio and his responsibilities are to look at the labour dispute and to evaluate what are the next steps that would be involved, no different than the Minister of Education in terms of the process that he's been involved with.

Mr. Speaker, we've been working. I can tell you, being an MLA, it doesn't matter what politics you are, nobody wants to drive around or walk around their own constituency and see their own citizens in a labour dispute and on a picket line. But there has been a process, and as was indicated, other boards, through CUPE, have been able to find a settlement and come to some agreement. We know that there's another board where there is a strike looming and coming forward, I think it's the 25th if I'm not mistaken on the date, but the reality for us is there is a strike right now, there is a labour dispute, and we're all very concerned about its impact on our children and on those workers and their families, the stresses that that causes. This is causing people worry. This does stress budgets. This is something that everyone wants to see resolved.

Mr. Speaker, I would say that I will work in concert with all my colleagues, and I will call upon my honourable colleague, the Minister of Environment and Labour to take a look tomorrow to see where we go with next steps. We want to do the responsible thing, we want to do the right thing, and most importantly we want to make sure we're providing the best education possible, and we cannot do it if we don't have people talking. We do recognize people have to get back to that table.

Mr. Speaker, leadership is recognizing, as was indicated when thousands of students are no longer in the system, by maintaining budgetary balances, by keeping funding at the levels that otherwise a per capita formula would not support. That is not about a government that doesn't care about funding for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, it's not about leaving them with budget deficits and not trying to deal with them, and it's not about a labour dispute that can go on without it being brought through the proper process. I think we're moving along, as I say, and I think the Minister of Environment and Labour will have to play his role, and all members of this government will be very happy to see this come to

[Page 5896]

a negotiated positive conclusion, and that people are back in the schools and children are getting the education they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to finding out more details, because all members care and we care enough to want to get to this debate tonight, to be on our feet, and to do the right thing, and part of the right thing is to go through the proper process. I thank you, and I defer to my colleague, the member for Cape Breton West.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, this particular issue is a very important issue, because it draws to the attention of not only those who are involved with the strike, the stakeholders, particularly those who are striking, some 1,200 employees with the board, and I understand the vote this evening was somewhere in the vicinity of 700-plus against accepting the settlement. What I see is a serious flaw in the Collective Bargaining Act. I believe that there is a requirement for some substantial amendments to be able to deal with the mode of labour management relations in this province. Since the Occupational Health and Safety Act came in in the mid-1990s, many of the issues that are addressed through the collective bargaining process have been addressed through that particular piece of legislation.

So on many occasions what we're seeing, and I see it here with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, is that employees and the employer are dealing with issues that effectively could have been addressed through another piece of legislation in another form and that, in itself, Mr. Speaker, begs one to wonder whether the present legislation that they're using as a guide, going from conciliation to mediation to arbitration is, in fact, somewhat obsolete and there have to be certain parameters that have to be attached so as to make it easier for a resolve without allowing situations to deteriorate in a rather negative fashion.

[9:30 p.m.]

We saw it happen back several years ago with the strikes at the various nursing homes in the province in the 1998-99 term. I believe there were somewhere in the vicinity of 12 contracts that were expiring at different times. What we saw there were some rather unpleasant situations and in retrospect, Mr. Speaker, there's a very dangerous mode here to be considered, it's a grey area in the legislation, and that is at what point in time does the minister become actively involved, because if you're respecting the rights and the privileges of employees and the employers in the collective bargaining process, if a minister jumps into the situation too quick, then he or she is accused of interfering with the collective bargaining process. If he or she waits too long to accept what many would argue as the ministerial responsibilities, then of course it's very unpleasant and in some cases a very unsavoury situation.

[Page 5897]

So, Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully submit, I know I have some nine schools in my constituency, I see many of the employees who are suffering because of not being able to take a paycheque home every week. I see the effects on children not being able to attend school. Parents are not paying taxes to have their children take correspondence courses and everyone would certainly recognize that. There is also, as has been touched upon by other members, the reality of what's happening with special needs children throughout the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. I know in several schools in my constituency these children are at a complete loss as to why they're not able to attend school and receive the important education to them and to their families that helps to make them a stronger and more wholesome citizen.

I've heard reports about deteriorating situation in the schools and, obviously, that has led to the closure of the schools. We know that the Department of Health and Department of Environment and Labour, the Fire Marshal's Office, everyone has to become involved and I think it's incumbent on each and every one of us to impress upon the respective ministers who are involved in this process as to what's happening in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. It's not a pleasant situation when we see 1,200 employees on the street and not on the job.

Now, the issue of wage parity has been brought up. I know the member for Cape Breton Nova made reference to the fact that it's just not realistic in the situation. I recall meeting with the bargaining unit from the CUPE local of the Cape Breton Victoria District School Board several weeks ago and I asked to secure the information as to what would the bottom line be for the cost of wage parity. Well, unfortunately, I haven't been able to secure that and, you know, maybe that's the real issue. Going from $13 an hour to $26 an hour is not realistic in this situation, but certainly some type of a layout or a format so as to lead to the long-term levelling of the playing field would certainly be in order.

We know, for example, depending upon where you work in Canada for the federal government, there are different wage scales because the federal government uses the argument that it's different standards of living. Now, I don't necessarily subscribe to the fact that the standard of living in one part of this province should be any different than the other - not for a moment- and I think everybody should be treated fairly and as equitably as possible, but I do believe that the time has come for the minister to ratch it up to the next level of negotiations, not at the conciliation, not at the mediation, but arbitration because it has become a very serious situation, and it will be a lose-lose situation for each and every one of us.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in a very short while we're going to get the budget and what's the Premier and his Finance Minister telling everybody? It's an education budget. This would be the time to give the citizens of this province a sneak preview of the education budget in a positive way but, instead, with the Minister of Education pulling the

[Page 5898]

strings, it's in a negative way. It's bad for the students; it's bad for the teachers; it's bad for the support staff.

Speakers before me spoke about the collective bargaining process and how it does or should, or can work, but that's an entirely different issue we face around this debate tonight. The debate tonight, quite simply put, Mr. Speaker, is what onus is put on the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education spent time talking - very little substance, very little fact, much on innuendo, and much on hearsay. I don't know whether that minister is getting his information from the fellow in Cape Breton who runs a Cabinet Office because he's a school board member, maybe that's where that's coming from.

So maybe he could enlighten us on that, Mr. Speaker, but we don't know because he's not being open with us. This minister is telling us that there's an offer, we don't know what parity is, well, you know, Mr. Minister, nobody, except maybe in your little fantasy-land, bargains down. Everybody bargains up. So it shouldn't come as any great shock to you when people are bargaining towards the top of the scale, not the bottom of the scale. I'm sure even you can understand that after Bill No. 68 - I'm sure you can.

So, Mr. Speaker, it's about fairness. It's not about tomorrow they go back to work and they're ramped up to the highest wages, as that minister purports that they want to be. No, it's collective bargaining. It's about a process of getting there that you won't allow them to do. You, Mr. Minister, by your speech, did a greater disservice to those workers, those students, and indeed the members of that board than any strike could do because you're not being accurate with your comments and, Mr. Minister, we've listened to you before around labour disputes and, frankly, you haven't learned anything.

You're the same fellow who when people were in collective bargaining around the health care issue, they were basically locked up, away from the media, trying to get an agreement. What did this minister then do when he was Minister of Health? He had a press conference that said no matter what comes out of there, I'm legislating them back. What did that do to the morale of those workers? They could have come out with $100 an hour, but because of the bully-boy attitude of that minister they rejected it. He showed no sensitivity then and quite honestly, Premier and Mr. Speaker, he shows no sensitivity around this issue.

This is an issue - it's not about making widgets, Mr. Speaker, it's about the children in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, and soon to be the Strait Board, and to make flippant remarks about how they bargain, it's a subject, Mr. Minister, that I can only surmise you know absolutely nothing about, absolutely nothing, but we've got to, rather than using your rhetoric about this, Mr. Speaker, he should be up there trying to find a solution.

It's not whether the Minister of Environment and Labour has the power to bring in a conciliator, a mediator or an arbitrator or whatever, we know, everybody knows the basic issues that are on the table. The school board has a few get-back items, they want to take away guaranteed work days for bus drivers, they want to get rid of cafeteria workers out of

[Page 5899]

the bargaining unit, and the membership in CUPE Local 5050, their position, basically, is parity.

Now to describe this issue and say, well, they have signed somewhere else, well, they're closer to parity, quite possibly. That's the piece of information that the minister so eloquently leads out, that they're getting closer to it, and that's what this is about. I think if you asked any member who is walking those picket lines today, they would tell you, quite honestly, that they don't expect parity year one. I think we have a great chance to bring them into the fold. As I say, in the very near future we're going to get, not my terms, government terms, an Education budget. These people have to be taken along with that budget. We can't allow them out there. We can't allow them out there on substandard wages.

It's a strange thing that's happened to the economy of Cape Breton, that a lot of these people for a long period of time were, say, excess workers who got work and it was kind of supplementing the home income, but because of the dire financial straits, the dire economic situation we find in Cape Breton, many of these people are the breadwinners, the sole providers, maybe some of them are supplementing a small pension from the Cape Breton Development Corporation, the Sydney Steel Corporation. That's the sin in this, that these people are being asked to raise a family and to participate in the economy of their community on substandard wages.

Now there's a very interesting term that started floating around collective bargaining in the 1970s and the 1980s, equal pay for work of equal value. It's not a foreign concept. It is a concept - and I disagree with the member for Cape Breton West on this - that's been enshrined in most collective agreements on the federal side because of human rights tribunals having enforced that. These are notions, and that's where we should be coming from. This idea that the minister should get directly involved is not something from these benches or from the benches of the Third Party, no. If we want to look, it was said basically by both Parties, by the chief education officer for that board, who said, that's where the buck is, it's at the minister's office, and that's what the union says, so it's there.

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that instead of being flippant about, this minister should get involved with funding. At the point, what's allotted to him, the Minister of Environment and Labour reacted the only way he really could at this point, at this juncture, but the fact of the matter is that no matter what that minister does, whether he takes any, even extreme, measures, it's not going to find the resolve. As my Leader said earlier, if this was a majority House, we might be looking at back-to-work legislation as we did with Bill No. 68.

The fact of the matter is that we know what the issues are here, they're very real, very tangible, and it's how to get to yes. That's the problem here, that the government is finding it hard to get to yes. It's the most positive way to do collective bargaining, but yet they refuse. To merely stand in his place and say, well, other people accepted less is not really facing the situation. It's turning a blind eye to what's going to happen very soon in the Strait

[Page 5900]

area and what's going on in Cape Breton, and it's a drop-off point for other collective bargaining issues.

[9:45 p.m.]

This is a real problem with your tactics, minister. It's going nowhere to resolve it, but going a long way to exacerbate it. What we want you to do is to get involved. Don't send your deputy because when you send your deputy down there, no good comes out of that ill wind. He has done absolutely nothing for that board. (Interruptions) I'm getting some help from some of my colleagues and I'm sure they will have another go. That's not the messenger to send, minister. Indeed, I think this would be an occasion that you could - and should - rise to and show the real leadership that you are capable of dealing with this issue, of getting these people back.

I've spent a great deal of my time speaking here today about what's happening because we have a strike. The reality is that it is about the students. It's about people who are losing valuable time when they should be in school. It's about people who are going to graduate in a few months. The reality is, in less than one month's time, a senior high school student's year is basically over from a teaching perspective. They're getting ready for finals and so on, so in real terms, we're dealing with the last three to four weeks of people in Grade 12 of their life in high school. They may lose that. Heaven forbid what the end result of that will be in their ability to get into post-secondary institutions.

It's a problem. These young people are traumatized enough, coming into their final weeks of Grade 12 and wondering where they're going to go under ordinary circumstances. When they're studying for finals, whether they're going to pass, where they're going to finish at with their marks, who will accept them next year - all these things. Now they have this put on their shoulders. They have no say in the matter whatsoever. Absolutely zero. These are the ones that the greatest burden will be placed upon. It's about these kids just having some kind of ownership of their problem.

We talk about youth in conflict and so on. Today in resolutions, we heard about swarming incidents and today, the Minister of Justice put forward some bills around youth justice and so on. We realize - every one of us in this House - realizes the pressure that is put on youth today. This is just another cross they're asked to bear that they have no control over.

So, I implore you, minister, to look at this on a much larger scale. To be flippant and hollering across to us and saying, they sit at your table, or this guy does this. No, minister, you have a duty and your duty is to treat the people in the education system and supply them with the best system they can have. That means that workers are respected and that the students are indeed respected. We have to get by that.

[Page 5901]

Minister, that falls on your shoulders. You can look around, you can blame members of CUPE, you can blame certain other people, but tomorrow morning when you shave, that's where the responsibility is. It's not anybody else's but the Minister of Education. That's what you have to do, you have to say to yourself tomorrow morning, did I do everything I could to get those people off the street? I'm afraid your answer is going to be, if you're honest with yourself, it will be a resounding no.

This is not irreversible. I encourage you, minister, to get in there, use your department to get those folks back to work and our kids back in the education system. Thank you.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We should not be having this debate tonight. We shouldn't be having it tonight; we shouldn't have it tomorrow; and we never should have had it. What I'm looking at here, the Cape Breton Post, Wednesday, April 13th. The Liberal MLAs call on Education Minister to become involved in the strike - "Board closes eight schools 'unfit for occupancy.'" That's way back on April 13th, we're now at April 18th, five days later. Mismanagement. Six hundred students last year lost, 600 this year, and a projected 600 next year, yet we are sticking to a funding formula that's outdated and doesn't work. Underachievement to correct a problem in the system.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want this to be dragged on as it is going right now, so that this promised education budget, that there will be a fix in the budget for this strike by additional funding, therefore the government stands to create political points.

Students are suffering, Mr. Speaker, parents are suffering. Put yourself in the position of a parent standing on a strike line watching their son or daughter crossing that line and going in to school. Teachers, communities. Teachers who are teaching our students with photocopies rather than books. Parents who are driving their children to school. Let me cite North of Smokey, Victoria-The Lakes, four and a half hours from boundary to boundary, the cost of gas gone through the roof. Parents who both work, or single-parent families having to adjust their schedule so they can now drive their children to school, try to attend work, then try to make arrangements to have their students picked up at various times, whether it be from a high school, junior high or an elementary. Route 223 that runs through the centre of the Island, a long, long distance to take students either from Boisdale up to Iona or Georges River, Scotch Lake into Bras d'Or.

Mr. Speaker, the cost is enormous. The embarrassment is excessive, and it's causing splits in families; it's causing splits in communities and in relationships. Strikes are a reactive form of action. Again, mismanagement or underachievement - which one would you put it under?

I would like to see something done to resolve this situation because of the chronic underfunding that has been allowed to go on by the government. I listened to the minister, the

[Page 5902]

honourable Minister of Education and when he spoke he sounded sincere, but his actions don't prove that. I listened to my colleague from Glace Bay, very passionate in his speech, very correct, demanding that something be done. I listened to the Minister of Energy, very concerned in his speech and wanting to do things, but where is the action? This is going on and on. We want students now to learn through e-mail.

Mr. Speaker, let's stop and think. I'm going to put forward a resolution tomorrow of a student with over a 98 per cent average, who is in Grade 12, who may be in jeopardy of not graduating because of this strike and could lose out on a very substantial scholarship. I'm only citing one, but there are numerous students in that category.

Now, let's roll it back the other way. What about the student of a single parent family, or both parents, but are living below the poverty line, who cannot afford e-mail, or a computer, or Internet service. We take it for granted that everybody has e-mail and can learn that way. We have teachers' aides, cleaners, workers in the school system, living below the poverty line and yet I cite back to 1999 when the government promised to develop a funding formula that would ensure the school boards experiencing declining populations like the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board were fairly treated.

Mr. Speaker, that's failure. It has failed. Mismanagement or underachievement - I would say underachievement in the fact that they failed to be proactive and take a stance that could result in not only settling - this strike never should have happened - but in also preventing in the future that these situations never happen again. We're using the students as hostages. The parents feel embarrassed. The teachers feel embarrassed. Our very institutions of our schools are being desecrated through the lack of facilities of being cleaned. The honourable minister cited some who squirted oil around or what not. Human behaviour being that way, the way that it is, we're not going to change that. There's always going to be vandalism and those who would like to get out of school, or get out of work like some adults like to do, at any cost.

Mr. Speaker, what I'm going to suggest is a solution. When I criticize, I like to offer a solution, not necessarily the proper one, but maybe it will get people thinking. What I would like to see, and I would like the union to agree to it and the school boards to make it mandatory, that six months before the contract expires - you know the date your contract is going to expire the same way you know the date of your birthday, so the contract is going to expire say, for example, the end of March - that they start six months before the expiration date of that contract and they must negotiate for four months. Give them a four-month time frame to negotiate and, hopefully, they can work out a solution and if they couldn't after that time, then you bring in an arbitrator and the arbitrator has two months to settle it up, maybe through mutual agreement through the arbitrator and if not, then the arbitrator makes the final decision in the final month, but when one contract finishes on March 31st, April 1st you go into your brand new contract.

[Page 5903]

As far as I'm concerned, education is as close as police work, to a necessary, it's mandatory, Mr. Speaker. It's something that should not be allowed to let go the way it has been. Is it a necessary service? Absolutely. Is it a mandatory service? Yes, and it's a mandatory right for every child to have an education, but to be taken and through no fault of their own to be put in a situation that jeopardizes their year, and you heard it mentioned here tonight, 13 years in school and now being threatened with the possibility of not being able to graduate. I will remind you to keep in mind tomorrow, the one student that I will single out in a resolution is now the recipient of a scholarship of $140,000. Can you imagine jeopardizing that, how hard that student has worked to gain such a high reputation and the threat of the possibility that those marks could go down because of that and may possibly lose it.

Mr. Speaker, I would call on the minister to do the right thing, stop the mismanagement, stop the underachievement, become proactive, do the right thing. He sounded serious and I believe he can be serious with our requests for him to do the right thing and to end this strike. From what I was told today, there was no more money offered, it was just a matter, Gerald, they said, they moved a few figures around, but they didn't have any more money to offer. So let's do the right thing. As MLAs, we make the same wage, we're on parity. Let's give these people the same treatment as we have and give them the wages that they require.(Applause)

[10:00 p.m.]

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we certainly were not pleased to have to bring this matter here this evening for debate, but we felt it was absolutely necessary to do so because of the situation that's presently taking place in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. At the outset, for the Education Minister, I would give him the figures today in case he's getting some mixed signals on what happened down there today. It was 681 who rejected the offer; 372 voted for it. There were 1,053 total votes. So it was two to one against the contract, Mr. Minister.

The note that I also got from the people who were in charge of the vote down there on the union side, what they were saying is they simply want a mechanism to get to wage parity down the road. They don't want wage parity right now. They're realistic enough to know that they can't achieve that, but they want to work towards it over time. I guess the negotiators and the board, today, felt they didn't have the resources to even go that far.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier talks about this being the year of education in this province, that the priorities of the government are going to turn to education, and while he's saying that, we have the lowest funding per capita of any province in Canada, in terms of education funding; we have the highest student debt ratio in this province, tuition is still going up; and now, on top of that, we're faced with strikes in the school system. The minister states that he

[Page 5904]

still cannot get involved because it's a board-employee situation. Well, it's not a board-employee situation, it's a Minister of Education-government situation, who are ultimately responsible for the education of the children of this province.

In the case of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, as long as the funding is chasing the student numbers, that board is going to be in trouble. It's not like the government just found this out, in this strike. The government has known that for many years. When you tie the funding to the number of children in a board with declining enrolment, you're going to have problems trying to keep that system operational. You can see the results of it as we speak, down in Cape Breton. The Strait board is also going to be in the same predicament, we fear.

There has to be a realignment of the funding of the school boards in areas of declining enrolments. The government continues to neglect the needs of students. I'm not saying something that this government didn't already promise, this government promised that, but has not been working towards that. The government doesn't want to hear about the neglect in the education system in this province, but events like a strike tend to bring those out and tend to highlight what's actually going in the education system.

Why not province-wide negotiations? That matter has been brought up. That matter has been raised by the negotiators. That matter has been raised by the union officials. It has been raised by people in my community who are saying that the government has province-wide negotiations for teachers, they have province-wide negotiations for Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, why not this group? What is the reason why the government will not even look at province-wide negotiations? Is it because they fear that someday the people in Cape Breton may actually make as much as the people in other areas of the province, and it will cost the government more? Well, equal pay for equal work. Why should somebody in one part of the province make less for the same job as the person in another part of the province?

Mr. Speaker, the whole student body is suffering because of government inaction here. What is worse is the most vulnerable are suffering, those children who have special needs. I've had a couple of calls from parents who have children with special needs, who are totally being neglected because of this current impasse. It's not a good situation. Teachers' aides, for example, are vital, and they should be treated as vital employees by this government.

The students that they serve in each and every school, they don't understand government neglect. That's not part of what they do every day. What they do every day is the best job they can for the students in the school system. It's a shame that these students are being used as pawns in this game between government and school board. On the one hand the Minister of Education states that he's not responsible for virtually anything that goes on with the boards. He's actually standing here in his place and saying that the boards are autonomous really. It's an employee-employer relationship. Well, the employer is the Minister

[Page 5905]

of Education. The Minister of Education by the Act, is responsible for the education of children in this province. So he can't stand in his place in this House and say that he's not responsible. He can't stand in his place in this House and say that it's somebody else's problem. It's his problem. It's a problem that this government said they were going to fix six years ago. It was in the blue book they were going to fix it.

They were going to solve the problems of declining enrolments in various boards including the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. But this government always waits for a crisis to act and you know what? They're going to do something down the road. I know that because they're going to be forced into doing something, but why wait to be forced into doing something? Why don't you, Mr. Minister of Education, take the leadership role now? You, the Minister of Environment and Labour and the Cabinet Minister for the Cape Breton area can sit down and collectively come up with a solution to this problem.

I met in Sydney with the school board along with the Minister of Energy, the MLA for Cape Breton North, and my colleagues and our caucus, and the NDP members from Cape Breton Centre and Cape Breton Nova and we had a discussion about the one single problem that is highlighted and has been highlighted every single meeting that I've had with that board. It's the underfunding of the board because of declining enrolments, and the Minister of Energy knows that's a problem. Our caucus members know that's a problem. The NDP caucus members from Cape Breton know that's a problem. So why doesn't the government do something about it? They said they were going to do something about it. The Premier says that he's going to highlight education this year as a priority of his government, but what a wonderful way to start by standing in his place in this House and saying he's going to correct the inequities and the funding of boards with declining enrolments.

The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board lost 600-plus students last year, and that continues each and every year, Mr. Speaker, and as long as the funding is tied to the numbers in the school system, there's going to be a problem.

Mr. Speaker, somebody mentioned earlier about the Cabinet Office in Sydney. The current custodian of that Cabinet Office is a person by the name of Keith Bain, who was a candidate for the Tories in the last election down there, but he didn't do too well, but after the election was over, suddenly there was an opening in the Cabinet Office because the previous custodian who was also a defeated candidate ended up working for Sydney Steel. No one is quite sure what he's doing over there, but he's over there and that'll be a story for another day.

Anyway, the current custodian down there, you can't find him in the Cabinet Office, he's never in the Cabinet Office because he's the vice-chairman of the school board, which I think is a conflict of interest to begin with. He's the vice-chairman, he's an elected member of the school board and he sits as a government representative, paid for by the taxpayers in the Cabinet Office in Sydney, which is never open because he's never there. He's out politicking around Victoria County and not attending to his affairs as the vice-chairman of the

[Page 5906]

school board and trying to encourage his colleagues here to settle this strike. You can't find him, because he's trying to get himself elected in Victoria County on the backs of the taxpayers, and be paid a nice salary while he's doing it. It's called, we'll give you a job, but you have to run for us again. That's what's going on in that Cabinet Office down there.

We know it's a political appointment and that's fine, although the government has never admitted that, but I think Cape Bretoners know different. But Cape Bretoners would like to see that gentleman who wields some power because he is the Cabinet representative down there, although he's never in the office. What we would like to see is for him to take the lead role and talk to his boss - I imagine it's the Minister of Transportation and Public Works or the Premier, or whoever - and tell this group about the situation with the school board and, indeed, encourage this government, using his position as the vice-chairman of the school board to get a better deal for that board and settle this strike.

I would encourage, if the member who occupies that office doesn't want to hang around the office, then he should spend his time up here lobbying for the school board because that's his other job. He has two jobs - one of the Cabinet Office and he's vice-chairman of the school board. Anybody who doesn't think that's a conflict is simply not being realistic.

However, I think it's a job of all people who are involved, all the stakeholders in the Cape Breton area, all the board members - not only Mr. Bain, but all the board members down there have a responsibility, I believe, to encourage this government to get involved, to encourage them to send a message to this government. I think the message got through to the Minister of Energy because the day we met, the Minister of Energy had stated that he would try to get a meeting with all the NDP and Liberal members down there and himself with the Minister of Education to discuss the funding problems in the board. I think he's sincere in that.

The problem is, it hasn't happened yet and now we have a strike on our hands. I would hope the minister would use his collective weight in Cabinet, along with Mr. Bain and others who are in the bosom of government largesse in Cape Breton, to help us out in settling this particular strike. All it takes is two words - political will. That's all. Political will to do the right thing here. The right thing is to get this strike settled. The right thing is to make sure those children get back to school as quickly as possible.

Anybody in elected office in Nova Scotia who would sit back and say, it's not my problem that the children are out of school - shame on them, Mr. Speaker, shame on them. Those children should not be out of that classroom. Those children should be back in school. The Minister of Education knows that, the Premier knows it, the Minister of Energy knows it, Keith Bain knows it and the people in the Department of Education know it.

So it can be worked out if the political will is there to do it. Not only that, we could be facing another serious situation in the Strait area. Let's try to stop that one before it

[Page 5907]

happens. Let's try to stop that one. I suggest to you that the same problems are evident in the Strait board as they are in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and that's underfunding because of student decline.

The minister has to address that. I would hope in the budget that the Premier lives up to his promise to truly make this the year of education in Nova Scotia with a better deal for student loans, with a better deal for tuition, with a better deal for the school system in Nova Scotia in its entirety - both the public school system and the university system. Yes, Mr. Speaker, a better deal for school boards with declining enrolments. Thank you very much.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'd say it's a pleasure to rise to speak on this tonight, but I think we all recognize the unfortunate circumstances which have led to the emergency debate tonight. I wanted to add a few words.

As a member from the Strait Regional School Board which finds itself going along the very same path as the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board which now finds itself in a legal strike position, in a situation where all but one of the schools in that district are closed and over 18,000 students are unable to attend classes. I want to thank my colleagues, the member for Cape Breton South for bringing forward this emergency debate, and our Education Critic, the member for Halifax Clayton Park, the member for Glace Bay and the member for Victoria-The Lakes. They all know too well what impact this is having on that specific board.

Mr. Speaker, I'm hoping that by speaking tonight and the arguments that have been put forward by all members who have spoken will encourage the government, the minister, the Premier to put an end to this strike. More importantly, from my perspective, after what the member for Cape Breton South has said, is that if we can solve the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board strike it is my hope that that will avoid a strike in the Strait Regional School Board.

[10:15 p.m.]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you the Strait Regional School Board is not only first facing this issue of a possible strike action, but this is the same government that a few weeks ago hit them, and hit them hard, with the release of the Hogg report. The Hogg report, which has suggested a new funding formula for school boards, will have a devastating impact on the Strait Regional School Board. The superintendent has suggested that the proposed cuts under this report would be the reduction of approximately 75 teachers out of the classroom, from an area, again the Strait Regional School Board, the largest geographic area and, on the flip side, the smallest student population. Busing is one of their top line items and yet the message was, when I met with the school board, when the Minister of Health, the member for Antigonish, both he and I - all members were invited - but he and I were able to

[Page 5908]

attend, the message was clear, that they cannot close any more schools and make it reasonable for children to be on buses to go to other schools.

There are certain schools, especially in Guysborough County for example, that to close those schools would mean a two-hour bus ride, one way, for children. You just can't do it. They just can't cut any more. They have cut to the bone. I can tell you that the Strait Regional School Board has probably been one of the most responsible boards in this province at reducing the amount of schools, at realigning our school system, and it hasn't been an easy process I can tell you. I've seen what going through that was like. In the 1999 election, when we closed two high schools and merged to one, I have never seen in my seven years now in elected office such a dividing issue as that was and we went through that in community by community by community by community in the Strait Regional School Board, and the community had to accept the reality that the student population was declining, yet costs were going up, and it was a matter of making these changes.

So we have gone through the difficult period and now to be told from the Hogg report, well here's your reward, we're going to cut your funding at a time when the board is asking government, why won't you live up to your commitment? In 1999 - and this is what's most frustrating and I know it must be frustrating for the Premier because he knows what we're saying is true - the blue book in 1999 made a commitment to address funding shortfalls for boards with chronic declines in student enrolment. The Strait Regional School Board leads that chronic decline. I know the numbers that have been given by my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Victoria, are alarming - 600 based on their student population is high. Now, without having the exact numbers in the Strait Regional School Board, I can tell you, percentage-wise, we're higher.

It's not something we're proud of, it's a reality and the question is it's not an issue, in this emergency debate, of saying, Mr. Premier, we've got a problem and we need to bring it to your attention urgently for you to take action - this is a problem the Premier himself told Nova Scotians, vote for me - in 1999 - and this is going to be one of my top priorities. We've gone through - what? - six, seven budgets, and yet it is still not addressed and we ask ourselves, will it be in this budget? Will the Premier finally live up to his word? It's something that is as vital for us in our small community because we can work on all of the economic development we want, we can pave all the roads we want, we can put in all the infrastructure, but without a sound education system, we're spinning our tires, and the Premier knows that. With the Hogg report - I don't want to say it was funny because it's not funny, but you get the Minister of Health, the Minister of Tourism and the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour write to the board and say it's okay because it won't have an impact in this fiscal year.

Well, Mr. Speaker, what kind of reassurance is that? It's basically saying it won't have an impact this year, but we have no power to change it. There was no commitment in there to say we will lobby the Premier, we'll lobby the Minister of Education, to reject the Hogg report at least on that aspect of cutting funding to the Strait Regional School Board because

[Page 5909]

if this government is going to stick to a per student formula of funding, the Strait Regional School Board just cannot offer quality education. We are going to be at a disadvantage. Children in other parts of the province will receive a different standard of education than what our children will, and I think the Premier and the Minister of Education and my colleagues from the Strait Regional School Board will know - I don't have the exact statistic in front of me, but I know it has been said that the Strait board's graduates have some of the highest percentages of its high school graduates who go on to post-secondary education. That's something we're proud of. They don't only go on to post-secondary education, they excel.

This week I'll be introducing a resolution from a young gentleman from my riding - T. J. Burke - who was recognized by Dalhousie University for his achievements as a first year student in the Engineering Department. He was given a fellowship - I'll have all the details this week. That's a Richmond County student. That's a student from the Strait Regional School Board. We want more T. J. Burkes. We want those who have gone before him to be able to continue their success, more importantly we want those coming after him to have that success.

That will not be achieved if the funding is cut or we have to have a strike. There's an opportunity here. First of all, there's an opportunity to put an end to one labour dispute, there's an opportunity to avoid a second labour dispute. Right now, the Strait Regional School Board is faced with very tough choices because of the fact that the Minister of Education has still not made it clear whether he will accept the Hogg report and that they do have to look at cutting up to 75 teachers, closing schools and making some very tough decisions for our school board. The last thing they need now is a strike.

The Premier has an opportunity to avoid that. He hasn't been able to live up to that 1999 commitment yet. I know it's probably something he still wants to do. We're encouraging him to do that. Maybe that will take a little bit more time. I think he can avoid this strike. I hope today that, as a result of this emergency debate, that I'll be able to stand in my place this week, next week and be able to say, thank you, Mr. Premier, for avoiding a labour dispute and disruption in the Strait Regional School Board and correcting the strike that's going on in the Cape Breton school board. I hope that he will take that invitation. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I'd like to thank all members for taking part in this evening's debate. The House is adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 10:22 p.m.]

[Page 5910]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3094

By: Hon. James Muir (Education)

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

Whereas Amy Webb was honoured as the 2004 Outstanding Female Athlete 15 Years and Under by the Truro Sport Heritage Society; and

Whereas Amy Webb, as a Bible Hill Junior High School student, won the provincial championship in javelin in her age class and was second in shot put; and

Whereas Amy Webb, who was captain and leading scorer on the Bible Hill Junior High School varsity soccer team, is also skilled in badminton and volleyball;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Amy Webb on being named 2004 Outstanding Female Athlete 15 Years and Under by the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and wish her continued success in her academic and athletic pursuits.

RESOLUTION NO. 3095

By: Hon. James Muir (Education)

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

Whereas Brian "Chub" Bartlett was presented with a Merit Award by the Truro Sport Heritage Society at its 21st Annual Sport Award Dinner; and

Whereas once his playing days were over, "Chub" Bartlett became a very successful baseball and softball coach; and

Whereas "Chub" Bartlett coached four championship teams in the Truro and District League, coached the Fletcher's Flames to the championship in the Industrial League in 1978 and 1979 and to the Nova Scotia Senior "B" championship in 1981. He coached Truro's first-ever Senior "A" fastball team and more recently has coached women's fastball, with his 2001 team winning the Nova Scotia Women's Intermediate Championship;

[Page 5911]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brian "Chub" Bartlett on receiving a Merit Award from Truro's Sport Heritage Society for his outstanding contributions to sport in a career covering four decades, and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3096

By: Hon. James Muir (Education)

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

Whereas Ron MacCormack was named to the Honour Roll at the Truro Sport Heritage Society's 21st Annual Sport Heritage Award Dinner; and

Whereas Ron MacCormack excelled in hockey and baseball, at both the intermediate and senior levels; and

Whereas Ron MacCormack exemplified, in great measure, a combination of skill and sportsmanship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ron MacCormack on being named to the Honour Roll of the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and wish him every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3097

By: Hon. James Muir (Education)

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

Whereas the late Ken Starratt was placed on the Honour Roll at the Truro Sport Heritage Society's 21st Annual Sport Award Dinner; and

Whereas the name Ken Starratt and Maritime Harness Racing went hand in hand as Ken co-founded the Maritime Breeders Association, which sponsored the Maritime Breeders Futurities that became the region's richest stake race; and

Whereas Ken Starratt played a major role in the establishment of Atlantic Grand Circuit Week and was a co-founder of the Select (Standardbred) Sale and also sat on the Nova Scotia Harness Racing Advisory Council;

[Page 5912]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend appreciation for Ken Starratt's contribution to harness racing in our province to Ken's widow, Betty, and other members of his family, and congratulate them on Ken's induction into the Honour Roll of the Truro Sport Heritage Society.

RESOLUTION NO. 3098

By: Hon. James Muir (Education)

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

Whereas Sterling Trites was named 2004 Volunteer of the Year by the Truro Sport Heritage Society; and

Whereas Sterling Trites began teaching skills and etiquette to youth bowlers on Saturday mornings and is now the coordinator of youth bowling in Truro; and

Whereas Sterling Trites is a coach for Brian MacLeod who won the Canadian Blind Golf Championship in the totally blind division;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sterling Trites for being named 2004 Volunteer of the Year by the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and thank him for the countless hours he gives for the benefit of others.

RESOLUTION NO. 3099

By: Mr. Darrell Dexter (Leader of the Opposition)

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

Whereas the staff in public schools do work which is vital to the education of Nova Scotia children; and

Whereas the provincial government has a policy of wage parity in hospital care, long-term care and teaching, but not for the school staff; and

Whereas school board staff of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board have been on strike and Strait Regional School Board staff have taken a strike vote;

Therefore be it resolved that the government should adopt a province-wide wage policy for school staff to show leadership in a dispute that has closed 60 schools already.

[Page 5913]

RESOLUTION NO. 3100

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Human Resources)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas D'Arcy Enright has been named the representative volunteer for the District of Chester, where he contributed his time and talents to the Bedford Association for the Mentally Challenged for six years as the director, and also as the past director for Camp Garagona. Since moving to Blandford, he has volunteered with the South Shore Health Authority, the school council, St. Augustine's Church teaching confirmation classes, the Recreation and Parks Committee, is a founding member of the Blandford and Area Historical Society, is a past member of the Aspotogan Arts and Crafts Association, and is the current President of the Blandford Seasiders Senior Citizens Club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank D'Arcy Enright for his countless hours of support and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3101

By: Mr. Darrell Dexter (Leader of the Opposition)

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

Whereas Nova Scotians showed great patience in waiting for the federal government to address concerns about unfair treatment of offshore oil and gas revenue; and

Whereas Nova Scotians have also been waiting a long time for the province to address concerns about fair treatment of municipal revenue and municipal equalization; and

Whereas despite frequent recommendations from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the government has kept the Liberal arrangement that uses Nova Scotia Power property tax to pay for provincial services;

[Page 5914]

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to finally ensure that Nova Scotia Power pays property taxes like any other business, and to treat all citizens fairly by improving the province's program of municipal equalization.

RESOLUTION NO. 3102

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 Nova Scotians are well known for their generosity and their compassion; and

Whereas the recent tsunami disaster in South East Asia has resulted in communities throughout our province responding to this relief effort; and

Whereas Jamie Miles, owner of the Bay Landing in Prospect Bay, organized a successful fundraiser to assist in these efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly thank the management and staff of the Bay Landing for their initiative in raising money for tsunami relief.

RESOLUTION NO. 3103

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 Mark Cuming has provided leadership as a teacher coordinating the annual Music Extravaganza featuring school bands at Exhibition Park; and

Whereas Mr. Cuming is a valuable member of the staff at Brookside Junior High School in Hatchet Lake; and

Whereas Mark Cuming's dedication to the band program is exemplary;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank Brookside Junior High School teacher Mark Cuming for his commitment to his students, his school and his community.

[Page 5915]

RESOLUTION NO. 3104

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 Tara Moore, a Grade 8 student at Brookside Junior High School, earned top honours at the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo 2005; and

Whereas Tara was awarded first prize in the junior category for her project testing materials to clear oil-contaminated salt and freshwater; and

Whereas Tara will compete in the Canada-wide Science Fair at the University of British Columbia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Tara Moore on her accomplishments, with best wishes for her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3105

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 Caroline Whidden, a Grade 9 student at Brookside Junior High School, earned top honours at the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo 2005; and

Whereas Caroline was awarded first prize in the intermediate category for her project exploring heat transfer by examining ways to cool a coffee cup; and

Whereas Caroline will compete in the Canada-wide Science Fair at the University of British Columbia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Caroline Whidden on her accomplishments, with best wishes for her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3106

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 5916]

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas the Town of Parrsborro has chosen Maryanne Gilbert as its Representative Volunteer for 2005. Maryanne Gilbert volunteers at the Lions Canteen at the local rink, working very long hours, also at the Band Hall during bingo and helps with the canteen. She is also a working member of the Ladies Auxiliary at the Legion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Maryanne Gilbert for her loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3107

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill has presented Audrey Marshall with their Representative Volunteer Award for 2005. Audrey Marshall spent seven years as a Brownie Leader and two years as a Pathfinders Leader, as well as a Sunday School teacher for four years. She is a member and one-time Acting President of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce. Since 1973 she has planned staff and family events for Surrette Battery Limited, and plants flowers there every year to enhance the property. She is a member of the local Drama Group, the Pythian Sisters, and gets involved with various fundraising events like the Springhill Community Centre Project;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Audrey Marshall for her loyalty and dedication to the community.

[Page 5917]

RESOLUTION NO. 3108

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas the Town of Oxford has recognized Sandra Whalen as their representative for the 2005 volunteer award. Sandra Whalen dedicates many hours to the Oxford Home and School Association, attending regular meetings, helping out with fundraises, and participates in the monthly Muffin Program. It is Sandra Whalen's behind-the-scenes commitment that makes her an inspiration to many community members;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Sandra Whalen for her loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3109

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas Marcelline d'Eon is the representative volunteer for the Municipality of Argyle, has been the treasurer of the Pubnico Red Cross for 39 years, is a life member of the West Pubnico Home and School Association, has served with the Ladies Auxiliary of the Canadian Legion Branch 66 for 35 years, is a member of the Social Committee of la Societe Historique de Pubnico-Ouest, is a charter member and past chairperson of Le Reveil de Pomcoup, past chairperson and present day member of the Arts and Crafts Committee des

[Page 5918]

Nouveau Horizons de la Baronnie, and she also finds time to canvass for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Red Cross, and the Cancer and Arthritis Societies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Marcelline d'Eon for her loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3110

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas Edwin DeYoung, born and raised in Eastern Passage, has been volunteering in his native community for over 50 years: in 1950 he was a member of the local Buffalo Lodge; in 1960 he helped establish the Eastern Passage Cow Bay Athletic Association, dedicated to minor baseball and hockey; since 1979 he's been active in the Lions Club; he is one of the original members of the first Halifax County Community Schools; he helped form the Tallahassee Club for Seniors; he is a member of the Benevolent Society and also the local Knights of Columbus;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Edwin DeYoung for his loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3111

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

[Page 5919]

Whereas Clayton "Bud" MacCall has been chosen to represent the County of Colchester as their Representative Volunteer for 2005. For 27 years Bud has volunteered his time to maintaining the grounds of the West New Annan Community Cemetery. He is also in charge of researching and updating burial records which date back to the mid-1800s, as well as plot ownership of the cemetery. Bud's enthusiasm has inspired others to assist him when he needs help, and without his dedication to the grounds the cemetery would not be the historical attraction it is today.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Clayton "Bud" MacCall for his loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3112

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

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

Whereas the 2004-05 Westville Presidential Hockey League Champions are the Group Savoie Hockey Club; and

Whereas the Group Savoie Hockey Club defeated Doc's Dragons four games to two in the Best of Seven League Championship series; and

Whereas despite the year-long dispute involving NHL club owners and players, hockey is alive and well across Canada and in Pictou County, with the Westville Presidential Hockey League being just one prime example of what a great game hockey really is;

Therefore be it resolved that congratulations be extended by all MLAs in this House of Assembly to Coach Ken (Hound) Gordon and the Group Savoie Hockey Club for winning the Westville Presidential Hockey League Championship for 2004-05.

RESOLUTION NO. 3113

By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

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

Whereas the federal government under then Finance Minister Paul Martin began removing money from the pockets of Canadians at an astronomical rate, with our employment insurance fund now containing almost $50 billion, far more than the $15 billion the federal Auditor General says is necessary; and

[Page 5920]

Whereas the federal Liberal Government has ignored a subcommittee report of Parliament's Standing Committee on Human Resources tabled December 16th as to how members feel the employment insurance program can be improved; and

Whereas the recommendations include a reduction in the amount of work needed to qualify for benefits to 360 hours, benefits increased to 60 percent, an increase to a maximum 50 weeks in which benefits can be drawn, along with a 35-week extension to sick benefits in the case of serious illness;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs demand immediate attention be focused on this report and for the federal Liberal Government to stop taking money for EI funds they don't need.

RESOLUTION NO. 3114

By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

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

Whereas the federal Liberal Government is seemingly never happy unless they have their hands out fleecing Canadians for money; and

Whereas if the Gomery Inquiry isn't enough to want to make a person sick, the fine print buried deep inside this year's federal budget shows that while Finance Minister Ralph Goodale was talking about small portions of tax relief, 10-year trends indicate that $85 billion was collected in personal income taxes in 2003-04 with that figure expected to surpass $120 billion by 2009-10; and

Whereas the Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business representing nearly a quarter million small- and mid-sized operations, Garth Whyte said recently that even business owners want to see low personal taxes;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs demand immediate and prompt action toward the rapid increase in personal income taxes announced by the federal Minister of Finance in his February budget and demand a reversal showing less tax instead of more tax being collected.

RESOLUTION NO. 3115

By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

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

[Page 5921]

Whereas the Halifax International Airport saw 3.2 million passengers visit in 2004, representing a 9.1 per cent increase in passenger traffic over 2003 and surpassing the previous record of 3.1 million passengers established in 1999; and

Whereas the positive results come at a time when considerable uncertainty still exists in the airline industry following the 9/11/2001 tragedy; and

Whereas with the hard work of former authority president Reg Milley, and current acting CEO and President Peter Clarke, it is expected the airport will also establish a record for the amount of cargo handled in 2004, somewhere in the 30,000 ton range;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs recognize the significant work being undertaken by Mr. Milley and members of the Airport Authority which presently includes a $70 million expansion of aviation facilities and services, part of the airport's $220 million improvement program, while wishing them nothing but continued prosperity as they work vigorously to bring even more tourists and business into Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 3116

By: Mr. Frank Corbett (Cape Breton South)

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

Whereas on April 4, the federal NDP and Conservative Leaders moved that offshore revenue retention for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland be dealt with quickly, separate from the federal budget; and

Whereas the Liberal Government and Liberal Members of Parliament rejected the proposal; and

Whereas fair treatment of Nova Scotia's offshore revenue must therefore wait until after the widely predicted federal election;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, the federal Liberals should not have played games with offshore revenue by making it a hostage to the fate of their scandal-plagued government.

RESOLUTION NO. 3117

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:

[Page 5922]

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas Lorne MacDonald has been named the Representative Volunteer for the Town of Mulgrave 2005. Lorne MacDonald celebrates 30 years with the Mulgrave Volunteer Fire Department as a regular member, deputy fire chief and, for the past 10 years, secretary-treasurer. For 12 years he has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 37 as treasurer, vice-president and past-president. Lorne volunteered with the Gerry Carter Golf Tournament for 20 years, the Belmont Golf Club, and the RCMP Auxiliary EMO Nova Scotia for 14 years, also as member and chairman of the Scotia Days Committee, past-president of Mulgrave Home and School Association, and past-president of the Mulgrave and Area Chamber of Commerce;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Lorne MacDonald for his loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3118

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 Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas Mary Rhynold has been recognized as Guysborough County's Representative Volunteer for 2005. Mary Rhynold was a member of the Home and School Association for over a decade, has canvassed for the Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association and the Kidney Foundation, for which she was recognized by Revenue Canada as an income tax volunteer. Mary Rhynold is Treasurer of the Country Harbour Gun Club, secretary for the County Harbour United Baptist Church, and Secretary-Treasurer of the CPAA Postal Union;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Mary Rhynold for her loyalty and dedication to the community.

[Page 5923]

RESOLUTION NO. 3119

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 Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas Keith Horton has been named as the Representative Volunteer for 2005 by the Municipality of the District of St. Mary's, where he volunteers at the community centre doing regular maintenance, at the church making sure the heat is on and the parking area and steps are cleared in time for church. Keith Horton calls bingo and volunteers at the Lions Club, is on the organizing committee for the annual Harbour Lights Days in Port Bickerton, is President of the Seashore Volunteer Fire Department, and is organizing the department's 35th Anniversary banquet to be held this Summer;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Keith Horton for his loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3120

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 Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas Roger Grant has been named Representative Volunteer 2005 by the Town of Canso. Roger Grant has been a hard-working and irreplaceable volunteer with the food bank for many years, organizing shelves, finding and moving refrigerators and freezers, taking care of inventory and much more. At Christmastime Roger Grant can be seen delivering Christmas boxes to clients in need, and is involved throughout the town caring for his fellow

[Page 5924]

community residents. He is an active member of the Lions Club, his church and the Stan Rogers Festival.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Roger Grant for his loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3121

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas the Town of Kentville received the Model Volunteer Award for a community that has shown ongoing support and dedication to its volunteers, also for working as a community to enhance the lives of its members and making Kentville a better place in which to live;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the many Kentville volunteers for their dedication and countless hours of support to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3122

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

[Page 5925]

Whereas the Municipality of Kings County recognizes Gerald Dickie as its volunteer of the year. Gerald is Past-President of the Halls Harbour Community Development Association, dispatcher and Director for the Halls Harbour Volunteer Fire Department. He is the Director and Past-President of the Halls Harbour water co-op, a volunteer with the Katimavik program since 1998, and contributes his spare time and energy to the community, lending his help and carpentry skills wherever needed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Gerald Dickie for his loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3123

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia salutes our province's finest, in honour and recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute each year; and

Whereas the 2005 Provincial Volunteer Award is coordinated by Recreation Nova Scotia, and recognizes the contribution volunteers across the province make to better their communities and overall quality of life for many citizens; and

Whereas the Kentville and District Kinsmen Club has been recognized as the Representative Volunteer for the Town of Kentville. Members of the club first started meeting in 1964 on a monthly basis. Their largest project, Christmas Miracle, enables over 250 children in Kings County to have a merry Christmas. The club plays host to many fundraisers in support of local sports teams, Landmark East School, the Kentville Soup Kitchen, the Victorian Order of Nurses, the MS Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the 2005 Apple Blossom Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the Kentville and District Kinsmen Club and its members for their loyalty and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3124

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 5926]

Whereas Joan Brown was honoured with an award for Cumberland County Volunteer of the Year for District #8 by the Municipality of Cumberland County at a Volunteer Luncheon on April 6, 2005; and

Whereas Joan is actively involved in her community of Mapleton but also is very active within Cumberland County in such activities as Girl Guides and Pathfinders, volunteering at the elementary school in Springhill just to mention a few; and

Whereas along with volunteering her time and skills Joan also runs her own Maple Sugar Woods operation and in her spare time enjoys canoeing and travelling with her husband in their 1950 Dodge car;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Joan Brown on this outstanding award and we thank her for the years of dedicated volunteer work to her community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 3125

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on March 3, 2005, in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, Constable Peter Schiemann, Constable Lionide Nicholas Johnston, Constable Anthony Gordon and Constable Brock Myrol, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lost their lives in the execution of their duties; and

Whereas Canadian police officers were joined by millions of Canadians across this country and North America who took time to pause and reflect on the commitment made by these four slain officers along with their comrades who continue to fight for a peaceful and secure country; and

Whereas the memories of these officers and their families will remain with Canadians forever as we remember them for their supreme sacrifice on behalf of all Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislature pay tribute to officers, Peter Schiemann, Lionide Nicholas Johnston, Anthony Gordon and Brock Myrol and their families and to all Canadian police officers who on a daily basis put their lives on the line to ensure that our country remains safe, secure, and free from those who would challenge the laws and security of this country of ours.

[Page 5927]

RESOLUTION NO. 3126

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Bob Hyslop was honoured with an award for Cumberland County Volunteer of the Year for District #6 by the Municipality of Cumberland County at a Volunteer Luncheon on April 6, 2005; and

Whereas Bob has volunteered in his community of Wentworth for over 30 years in various groups and organizations such as the Wentworth United Church, Wentworth CAP Site, Wentworth Home and School; and

Whereas Bob not only volunteers his time to local groups and organizations, he is also the first to lend a helping hand to the seniors of the community by assisting them with drives and escorting them to local functions;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3127

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Rick Laurie, owner of Laurie Springhill Denture Clinic is this year's Springhill Chamber of Commerce's Business of the Year Award winner; and

Whereas owner Rick Laurie was presented with the prestigious award by Chamber President Adrien Baillargeon during the Chamber's annual dinner; and

Whereas Rick Laurie does house calls that include driving great distances throughout the Cumberland South area to visit housebound or hospitalized clients and helps clients after hours if they are having a problem with their dentures, showing that Rick is an exemplary businessperson;

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

[Page 5928]

RESOLUTION NO. 3128

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sergeant Tracy Alain was presented with her five-year pin along with two other cadets; and

Whereas Tracy is a member of the 1442 River Hebert District Army Cadet Corp; and

Whereas the pins were presented by Second World War veteran, Bert Hatherly, who congratulated the cadets as well as their commanding officer, Captain Harry Dow;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tracy on this outstanding achievement and we wish her continued success in the future.