The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04/05-85

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/

First Session

THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Energy: Gasoline Prices - Regulate, Mr. D. Dexter 7427
TPW - Albert Bridge: Ceilidh Subdivision - Roads Upgrade,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 7428
TPW - Black Rock Rd.: Pavement - Repair, Mr. L. Glavine 7428
Energy: Gasoline Prices - Regulate, Hon. E. Fage 7428
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Energy - Offshore Technology Conference: Accomplishments - Recognize,
Hon. C. Clarke 7429
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3938, Educ. - Learning for Life II Prog.: Importance -
Acknowledge, The Premier 7432
Vote - Affirmative 7433
Res. 3939, Norsk Hydro - N.S. Offshore: Investment - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke^ 7433
Vote - Affirmative 7433
Res. 3940, Wallace, Karen - Lt.-Gov.'s Award, Hon. J. Muir 7434
Vote - Affirmative 7435
Res. 3941, Health Prom.: Int'l. Trails Day - Enjoy,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7435
Vote - Affirmative 7435
Res. 3942, Agrologists Instit. (N.S.) - Awards: Recipients - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 7435
Vote - Affirmative 7436
Res. 3943, Pt. Aconi Power Plant - Safety Award, Hon. C. Clarke 7436
Vote - Affirmative 7437
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 207, Provincial Finance Act, Mr. D. Dexter 7437
No. 208, Workers' Compensation Act, Hon. K. Morash 7437
No. 209, Insurance Act, Mr. G. Steele 7437
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3944, Atlantic Accord: N.S. MPs - Support, Mr. D. Dexter 7437
Res. 3945, Prem. - Debt Increase: Promise - Broken, Mr. Michel Samson 7438
Res. 3946, Care Clown Prog.: South West Health - Commend,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 7439
Vote - Affirmative 7440
Res. 3947, Brown, Kenneth - E. Hants Shining Star Award,
Mr. J. MacDonell 7440
Vote - Affirmative 7441
Res. 3948, Landry, Clarence - St. Joseph's Credit Union: Serv. -
Recognize, Mr. Michel Samson 7441
Vote - Affirmative 7442
Res. 3949, Dist. Nurse Coun.: Valley Reg. Hosp./AVH - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 7442
Vote - Affirmative 7443
Res. 3950, Gilroy, Joan - Soc. Workers Award, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7443
Vote - Affirmative 7444
Res. 3951, Face of Poverty Consultation: Com. Serv. Min. - Heed,
Mr. L. Glavine 7444
Res. 3952, Lowe, Brittany - "Ready to Write" Award, Mr. R. Chisholm 7444
Vote - Affirmative 7445
Res. 3953, Affeld, Dominic - Chief Scout Award, Ms. J. Massey 7445
Vote - Affirmative 7446
Res. 3954, Health: Care Professionals - Acknowledge,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 7446
Vote - Affirmative 7446
Res. 3955, Can. Summer Games: Men's Softball Team (N.S.) -
Success Wish, Mr. B. Taylor 7447
Vote - Affirmative 7447
Res. 3956, Health Care - Lib. Party: Rural N.S. - Beware,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7447
Res. 3957, Bradley, Malcolm - HSSP: Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Epstein 7448
Vote - Affirmative 7449
Res. 3958, Wadden, Joe: Commun. Contributions - Acknowledge,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 7449
Vote - Affirmative 7449
Res. 3959, Planters Equipment Ltd. - John Deere Award, Mr. M. Parent 7450
Vote - Affirmative 7450
Res. 3960, Educ. - French Immersion Progs.: French Language
Supervisor - Employ, Ms. M. Raymond 7450
Res. 3961, Health - Primary Collaborative Maternity Care Work Grp.:
Recommendations - Implement, Ms. D. Whalen 7451
Res. 3962, Saxton, Joseph: RCL Service - Thank, Hon. J. Muir 7452
Vote - Affirmative 7453
Res. 3963, Aucoin, Craig - Tandem Bicycle: Spoke N.S. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 7453
Vote - Affirmative 7453
Res. 3964, Right to Read Act - Adopt, Ms. D. Whalen 7454
Res. 3965, A.P. Reid Ins. - Anniv. (25th), Hon. D. Morse 7454
Res. 3966, Mancini, Charlie: Acad./Theatrical Accomplishments -
Congrats., Ms. M. More 7455
Vote - Affirmative 7456
Res. 3967, St. Margarets Ctr. - Expansion Proj.: Participants -
Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 7456
Vote - Affirmative 7456
Res. 3968, Lun. Residents - WWII: Norweigans - Assistance Thank,
Hon. M. Baker 7457
Vote - Affirmative 7457
Res. 3969, C.B.: UBCJA (Local 1588) - Anniv. (100th), Mr. G. Gosse 7457
Vote - Affirmative 7458
Res. 3970, Symonds, Garfield: Commun. Serv. - Thank,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7458
Vote - Affirmative 7459
Res. 3971, Robinson, Ian - Hfx. Mooseheads: "Moosic" Programmer -
Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 7459
Vote - Affirmative 7460
Res. 3972, Leslie, Gerald - E. Hants Mun. Shining Star Award,
Mr. J. MacDonell 7460
Vote - Affirmative 7460
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 877, Com. Serv.: Fed.-Prov. Agreement - Sign, Mr. D. Dexter 7461
No. 878, Atlantic Accord - N.S. MPs: Support - Demand,
Mr. Michel Samson 7462
No. 879, Health: Orthopaedic Wait Times - Address, Mr. D. Dexter 7464
No. 880, Health - Care Costs: Prem. Commitment - Details,
Mr. M. Samson 7465
No. 881, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Petroleum Product Pricing
Select Comm.: Report - Status, Mr. F. Corbett 7467
No. 882, Justice: Maintenance Enforcement Officers - Increase,
Ms. M. Raymond 7468
No. 883, Vol. Planning - Task Force: Recommendations - Implement,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7469
No. 884, Health Prom.: Prov. Toll-Free Adult Crisis Line -
Lack Explain, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7471
No. 885, Educ. - Strategy: Teacher Librarians - Increase,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7472
No. 886, Justice - Communities: Policing - Adequacy, Mr. M. Samson 7473
No. 887, Com. Serv. - Fed.-Prov. Housing Units: Families - Numbers,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 7475
No. 888, Educ. - Post-Secondary Graduates: Debt - Relief,
Ms. D. Whalen 7476
No. 889, Com. Serv. - Disabled Persons Progs.: Funding - Inadequacy,
Mr. J. Pye 7477
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. J. MacDonell 7480
Mr. Michel Samson 7482
Hon. C. d'Entremont 7488
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:51 P.M. 7491
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 7491
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Atlantic Accord: N.S. MPs - Support Urge:
Mr. Michel Samson 7492
Mr. Mark Parent 7495
Hon. C. Clarke 7496
Mr. H. Epstein 7498
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M. 7500
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:25 P.M. 7500
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 191, Municipal Law Amendment (2005) Act 7502
Hon. P. Christie 7502
Ms. M. Raymond 7502
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7502
Hon. P. Christie 7503
Vote - Affirmative 7503
No. 198, Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission Act 7503
Hon. P. Christie 7503
Mr. J. Pye 7503
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7504
Hon. P. Christie 7504
Vote - Affirmative 7504
No. 205, Securities Act 7505
Hon. K. Morash 7505
Ms. M. Raymond 7505
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7505
Hon. K. Morash 7506
Vote - Affirmative 7506
No. 206, Camp Hill Foundation Act/Victoria General Hospital
Foundation Act 7506
No. 208, Workers' Compensation Act 7507
Hon. K. Morash 7507
Mr. F. Corbett 7507
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7507
Hon. K. Morash 7508
Vote - Affirmative 7508
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 13th at 9:00 a.m. 7508
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3973, Lowe, Brittany - La "Prêt à écrire" Prix, Mr. R. Chisholm 7509
Res. 3974, Power, Adrienne: Achievements - Congrats., Mr. W. Dooks 7509
Res. 3975, Harris, Sophia - Video Journalist Award, Hon. R. Hurlburt 7510
Res. 3976, Yar. Judo & Karate Assoc. - Tournament &
Grading Comp., Hon. R. Hurlburt 7510
Res. 3977, Yar. Tae Kwon Do Club - Martial Arts Championships,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 7511
Res. 3978, Goodwin, Helen - Yar. Town Prov. Vol. Award,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 7511
Res. 3979, Earle, Dan - Yar. Mun. Prov. Vol. Award, Hon. R. Hurlburt 7512
Res. 3980, Sullivan, Pauline - Windsor Prov. Vol. Award, Hon. R. Russell 7512
Res. 3981, McCabe, Gary - W. Hants Mun. Dist. Prov. Vol. Award,
Hon. R. Russell 7513
Res. 3982, VanBlarcom, Stephen - Hantsport Prov. Vol. Award,
Hon. R. Russell 7514
Res. 3983, Boss, Inez: Retirement - Congrats., The Speaker 7514
Res. 3984, CAN-U Prog. - Students: Certificates - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7515
Res. 3985, CAN-U Prog. - Students: Certificates - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7515
Res. 3986, Campbell, William "Bill": Retirement - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7516
Res. 3987, Robinson, Matt - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7516
Res. 3988, Chapman, Cdt. Jacklyn - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7517
Res. 3989, Coleman, Cdt. Kayla - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7517
Res. 3990, Robinson, WO Matthew - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7518
Res. 3991, Mitchell, Pte. Michael - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7518
Res. 3992, Ferguson, Cdt. Edward - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7519
Res. 3993, Ward, Sgt. Matthew - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7519
Res. 3994, Ferguson, Cdt. Edward - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7520
Res. 3995, White, Sgt. Nichols - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7520
Res. 3996, Ferguson, WO David - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7521
Res. 3997, Hunter, Alexander & Jenetta - Cadet Award, The Speaker 7521
Res. 3998, Steeves, Erica - Cadet Serv. Pin, The Speaker 7522
Res. 3999, Ferguson, CWO Alan - Cadet Serv. Pin, The Speaker 7522
Res. 4000, Spence, Sgt. Travis - Cadet Serv. Pin, The Speaker 7523
Res. 4001, Williams, Matt/Teammates - Call to Remembrance Comp.,
The Speaker 7523
Res. 4002, Rushton, Caylee/Teammates - Call to Remembrance Comp.,
The Speaker 7524
Res. 4003, Choisnet, Melissa/Teammates - Call to Remembrance Comp.,
The Speaker 7524
Res. 4004, Sauver, Courtney/Teammates - Call to Remembrance Comp.,
The Speaker 7525
Res. 4005, Gallagher, Luke/Teammates - Call to Remembrance Comp.,
The Speaker 7525
Res. 4006, Wortman, Katie/Christie, Steve - Badminton Medal,
The Speaker 7526
Res. 4007, CAN-U Prog. - Students: Certificates - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7526

[Page 7427]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 NOON

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 subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Preston:

Therefore be it resolved that the Hamm Government urge the Nova Scotia Conservative MPs - Peter MacKay, Gerald Keddy and Bill Casey - to put their partisan interests aside and put Nova Scotia's interests first and support the Atlantic Accord.

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

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 which reads, "The undersigned gasoline retailers strongly urge the government to introduce legislation to regulate gasoline prices, including minimum and maximum retail margins, before the end of the Spring setting of the Legislature." It is signed by 24 gasoline retailers in Cape Breton and Yarmouth Counties. I am affixing my signature.

7427

[Page 7428]

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of the Ceilidh Subdivision in Albert Bridge, the operative clause being, "The roads have deteriorated . . . to the point where they are almost impassable at the present time." I have affixed my signature thereof.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with the operative clause being, "We the residents of the Black Rock road, . . ." are requesting repairs in pavement, ". . . because, of increased traffic, safety reasons, and to support rural business and social way of live (sic) . . ." There are 200-plus names and I have affixed my signature to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition in regard to gas prices and price fluctuation. The operative clause reads, "I am tired of going to my local gas station and having the prices fluctuate from one day to the next. I would like to see regulated prices in the province of Nova Scotia." There are 2,000 signatures and I have affixed my signature to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence and that of the House, I would like to introduce some special guests to your gallery today. Joining us, and I won't go through the whole list, I would like to say we have been joined by some of the delegates who proudly have represented Nova Scotia's interest at the Offshore Technology Conference and indeed advancing our offshore oil and gas prospectivity. I would ask members of the Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia to rise and receive the warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

[Page 7429]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure today to recognize the efforts, progress, and accomplishments made by Nova Scotians at the largest energy show in the world, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), held last week in Houston, Texas.

The Government of Nova Scotia and the Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia have been partners in sending a strong delegation to this conference now for more than 15 years. This year, 31 Nova Scotian companies and organizations travelled to Houston with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. Many of those companies, as I have mentioned, are here in the gallery today.

There were estimates that about 65,000 delegates from 110 countries attended the conference and circulated through the trade show in which the Nova Scotia venue was a prominent feature. Our trade and promotion booth allowed the companies to work one-on-one with both customers and suppliers to develop business opportunities and to make new business contacts. It allowed the government to spread the news of our immense offshore potential to the leading players in the international petroleum exploration business. It allowed our colleagues from OTANS to forge new relationships with customers, suppliers, and co-venturers. As a result, two Nova Scotian deals were signed and many more are in the making. It was just one way in which Canada, and Atlantic Canada in particular, were highly visible at OTC this year.

The Department of Energy co-chaired a technical session entitled The East Coast of Canada - The Next North Sea?; a session that was well attended and well received. This technical session allowed key geologists, geophysicists, and business leaders to hear the facts about the high-quality prospects and improved regulatory frameworks that petroleum explorers will find in Atlantic Canada's offshore. Putting our geologists and geophysicists in direct contact with their industry counterparts is critical to attracting new investment in our offshore, and we are confident that our efforts in Houston will help attract new investment.

I had the honour of joining Premier Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador in speaking to a session hosted by the United States Department of Commerce. Premier Williams and I also spoke to a news conference for journalists from the world's leading oil and gas publications, and then went on to meet and speak to members of the Houston World Affairs Council, an association of leading business figures.

[Page 7430]

At each of these events, Nova Scotia was able to make three key points: Nova Scotia's offshore contains petroleum resources of great value; Nova Scotia businesses offer world-class services and expertise; and Nova Scotia is ready to compete with other emerging petroleum basins around the world.

Mr. Speaker, all members of this House know that developing our offshore is of immense importance to us. The value of the agreement with the federal government on resource revenues is a tangible example of the potential the offshore holds for us. And just as surely, all members of this House know that offshore development doesn't just happen, especially in emerging petroleum basins like Nova Scotia's. It requires good public policies like the increased flexibility we are now offering to offshore explorers in meeting their work commitments. This policy adjustment announced at OTC, but preceded by two weeks of one-on-one discussions with investors in Calgary and Houston, is creating a lot of positive response. It has been received very favourably by the companies with whom I had discussions. Several major trade publications have given it prominent attention. OTANS says it "may very well be seen in years to come as the start of a revival of exploration."

Offshore development is a continuing process that is bringing success over time. It is nurturing new resource potential through co-operative private and public effort, through good strategic planning, and especially through persistent, professional promotional work like that done by Nova Scotia's team at this year's OTC.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government, I am proud to extend thanks and congratulations to all the members of the Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia and all of our Atlantic Canadian colleagues who contributed to this remarkable joint effort, and assure them of our commitment to continue advancing our offshore's true potential. (Applause)

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to start out by thanking the minister for supplying us with a copy of his statement well in advance, we appreciate that. We, the Official Opposition, realize the importance of OTC. We realize that not only in the fact of the businesses from OTANS that are in your gallery today, but in really understanding our position as an energy producer in the offshore throughout this province and, indeed, throughout the world.

The fact of the matter is, though, that what we have seen is business taking the lead, Mr. Speaker, and they should be congratulated on this, businesses that go down there and get work. The problem is we're not getting the work because of the exploration that should be happening in this area, the work they're getting is for work outside of this province and away. We agree, expertise will gather, if and when that boom happens. Indeed, I wish to join with

[Page 7431]

the minister and others to position ourselves as the next North Sea, but when is this going to happen?

The minister has talked about policy adjustments, well, we don't know what these policy adjustments are. Share them with us, let us all help to grow this industry. I come from an area of this province that for years has been the leader in energy technologies, but it was in the coalfields. If we have moved out of the coalfields and we're moving into some mariner exploration, we have to understand that. We have to give our businesses the tools in which to grow.

What I want to say, Mr. Speaker, is that it's important for business to know that we know the interest that lies out there for Nova Scotia, that OTC, what it provides our business people, and the encouragement they need from government to get out there and to find the resources. What we really need after that is to make sure that our industry is going to go forward and that exploration happens sooner not later. That's the challenge for government. If government accepts that challenge, we will pursue it with government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: I rise on this occasion to respond to the statement of the minister. The House might recall that last night in late debate something similar to this was presented by the minister, and he was, at that time, indicating,"Therefore be it resolved that the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) was a resounding success." from the perspective of Nova Scotia. In these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, you will recall that I wanted to temper the enthusiasm that was expressed by the minister at that time, given that we are in very difficult times.

In the Speaker's Gallery here today we have a group of people who represent the face of the tenacity that has been brought forward by the private sector in Nova Scotia to ensure that the opportunities - not just for us, but for our children - are continued for generations. It is those people and those who work with them and all of the people throughout Nova Scotia who work in the offshore industry who have made a difference. For the growth years of the early 2000s, we have been doing well and our gross domestic product continued to grow. If one does an analysis of that, the offshore was the single greatest contributor to our moving forward. What we need is continued momentum.

I encouraged the minister to go forward to Houston even though I wasn't going and at one time he was expressing some concerns about whether to go. Obviously, in an industry with this kind of potential, it's most important for the minister of the government to go and represent our interests and to promote our interests. This year we saw a substantial increase in the budget for the Energy Department and I think, obviously, that's a step in the right direction. The priorities they've identified are also appropriate priorities.

[Page 7432]

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves with respect to the self-congratulatory comments. It has been six years since a project has actually come forward and what we heard for a long period of time is that the EnCana project, the Deep Panuke project had great potential for going forward. The constant chronic complaints were that the regulatory challenges we faced in Nova Scotia, the foot-dragging that happened, was the biggest single obstacle to that initiative going forward.

I'm hopeful that it will go forward, but it requires leadership, which brings me to the final thought that I have. That is that this government needs to provide leadership on a wide variety of fronts with respect to this issue. Today the most important one is with respect to the single biggest achievement, according to this government, that it has had which is the $830 million that Premier Williams in Newfoundland and Labrador now believes to be in jeopardy. If this government was showing the kind of leadership that it needs, with Premier Williams who is cited in the comments from the minister, then it would ensure that gets passed and do everything it can to speak to Nova Scotia MPs and make sure that budget is passed so the security of our children is set forward from this day through the budget that needs to be passed in Ottawa today. Thank you. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3938

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

Whereas a new four- year plan to help more students succeed in school and in life was launched today at Auburn Drive High School in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Learning for Life II: Brighter Futures Together is the second stage in the phased approach to improving education in the province; and

Whereas this plan is a collaborative effort which was essentially written by all partners in education;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the importance of the positive steps contained in the new plan, which will help to ensure that the skills and knowledge our children learn today will improve their quality of life tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7433]

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 Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 3939

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

Whereas the Norwegian energy company Norsk Hydro has just increased its interest in Nova Scotia offshore licences; and

Whereas the company's two new acquisitions bring its exploration licences off Nova Scotia to six, including a partnership with Marathon Oil on its deepwater Annapolis block; and

Whereas Norsk Hydro is planning on acquiring 3-D seismic data on two of the licences;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in congratulating Norsk Hydro on their smart investment in Nova Scotia's offshore.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

[Page 7434]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, in advance of reading my resolution, I would like to do an introduction. I draw the attention of the members of the House to the east gallery and I would like to introduce Karen Wallace who for 17 years of her 20-year teaching career has been a resource teacher, guidance counsellor and vice-principal at the Windsor Elementary School. Ms. Wallace recently received the first Lieutenant Governor's Teaching Award, which is an annual award designed to honour a leading educator. She's accompanied today by her husband and I would ask the Wallaces to rise and receive the warm and congratulatory greeting of the House. (Applause)

[12:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 3940

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

Whereas Karen Wallace, a resource teacher, guidance counsellor and vice-principal at Windsor Elementary School, has received the first Lieutenant Governor's Teaching Award; and

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Teaching Award honours educators who contribute significantly to the development of their profession, foster the growth of children and empower youth; and

Whereas upon receiving the award, Ms. Wallace acknowledged her colleagues, saying that without their help she would not have received the award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Karen Wallace for receiving the first Lieutenant Governor's Teaching Award and thank her for the wonderful energy she extends in her teaching.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7435]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion.

RESOLUTION NO. 3941

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

Whereas International Trails Day is celebrated the first Saturday in June each year, showcasing the communities' and government's commitment to achieving a healthy lifestyle; and

Whereas more than a dozen trails across Nova Scotia are hosting Trails Day events, hoping to develop a public awareness of trails and the benefits trails have to offer to their communities; and

Whereas over the past couple of years the province has been focused on healthy living and has supported various physical activity initiatives;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House hope everyone can get out on International Trails Day, find a local trail in your area, and enjoy the day with your family spent exercising and having fun on one of the many beautiful trails Nova Scotia has to offer.

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 Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 3942

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

[Page 7436]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists recently honoured several individuals for their ongoing leadership and contributions to the agricultural sector; and

Whereas those recognized include John Tait as Distinguished Agrologist, Rollie Hayman as Distinguished Life Member, and Roger Bacon as an Honorary Member; and

Whereas Fraser and Angela Hunter received the Outstanding Farmer Award, Susan Simpson was awarded the Outstanding Young Agrologist, and John Murray received the C.A. Douglas Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of these recipients for their dedication, commitment and hard work to Nova Scotia's agricultural community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 3943

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

Whereas occupational health and safety is a shared responsibility of workers and employers; and

Whereas the staff at the Nova Scotia Power generating station in Point Aconi were recognized last month with an award for safety; and

Whereas the award recognizes the staff's safety achievement of a six-year loss-time accident-free record at the plant;

[Page 7437]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the 61 staff members at the Point Aconi generating plant for their achievement and their ongoing commitment to workplace health and safety.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 207 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 365 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Provincial Finance Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 208 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Hon. Kerry Morash)

Bill No. 209 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 231 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Insurance Act. (Mr. Graham Steele)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3944

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

Whereas Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, has urged all Members of Parliament from his province to support the federal budget regardless of partisan considerations; and

[Page 7438]

Whereas the Atlantic Accord is of equal interest to Nova Scotians as are other measures in the federal budget; and

Whereas elected representatives are expected to place the common good and results for people ahead of immediate partisan goals;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature join Premier Williams by urging all 11 Members of Parliament from Nova Scotia to support the Atlantic Accord by voting in favour of the 2005 federal budget legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3945

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 Premier told Nova Scotians in 2000 that, "We have to stop piling up debt before it's too late. Otherwise we're going to end up financially . . . and morally bankrupt."; and

Whereas the Premier also told Nova Scotians, "We are going to balance the budget in three years, and begin reducing the debt and capturing those lost dollars in interest for Nova Scotians."; and

Whereas despite the Premier's word his promise has been broken and today we are adding $2.5 million in daily interest payments that could result, for example, in hiring 41 new nurse practitioners;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature recognize that the Premier has broken a fundamental promise to Nova Scotians that the debt would stop growing and that this failure is costing Nova Scotians $2.5 million a day, $17.5 million a week and $900 million a year.

[Page 7439]

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.

Order, please. If I could have the attention of all honourable members. Today in the Speaker's Gallery we have two very special guests who I would like to take the opportunity to introduce and after I introduce them I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. First of all, we have Sylvia Stark, who is a Chief Executive Officer of Miss Teen Canada operation, and accompanying her today, Amanda Klyn, who is Miss Teen Canada International for the year 2005. Amanda is from Windsor, Ontario. She's on a tour of Eastern Canada at this time, and when she finishes up here in Nova Scotia - which is her first visit I might add, and we're glad to have her here - she'll be then moving on to New Brunswick and P.E.I. On behalf of all the members of the Legislature, I would like to see the members give this fine lady a real Nova Scotia welcome, and welcome to Nova Scotia. Thank you very much. (Applause)

I would say as a result of that applause that Miss Teen Canada probably received all the votes in this House as well. So congratulations and all the best to you. You're welcome back to Nova Scotia any time. Thank you.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 3946

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

Whereas knowing that laughter is the best medicine, South West Health has developed Nova Scotia's first care-clowning program, managed by the District Humour Committee with Marie Atkinson as a volunteer coordinator; and

Whereas South West Health has nine fully trained and practising care clowns, namely Professor Bell E. Button, Wiggles, Polka Dot, Annabelle, Feather, Silly Willy, Twinkles, Oopsy Daisy and Bubbles; and

Whereas through humour these dedicated care clowns encourage patients and their families, relieves stress, enhance communication, boost staff morale and lift everyone's spirits;

[Page 7440]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend South West Health and the care clowns, and let them know we appreciate them from the top of their big red noses to the tips of their floppy shoes by marking the first week of August as Care Clown Week in Nova Scotia now and forever.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, and all members, in the East gallery today, I would ask all members to give a warm welcome to Polka Dot, Bubbles, Oopsy Daisy, Twinkles and Annabelle. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3947

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

Whereas volunteers provide for many, literally, the bread of life; and

Whereas food banks have become the 21st Century equivalent of the Dirty Thirties' soup kitchens; and

Whereas on May 27th, on Volunteer Awards Night, Mr. Kenneth Brown will be recognized by the Municipality of East Hants with the Shining Star Award for his time and effort in assisting the Shumilacke Food Bank;

[Page 7441]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Kenneth Brown on being chosen to receive the Shining Star Award at the East Hants Volunteer Awards Night, and thank him for his efforts in providing a meal for those who cannot afford one.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3948

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 month of May 2005, will mark the retirement of Clarence Landry, manager and long-time employee of St. Joseph's Credit Union in Petit-de-Grat; and

Whereas throughout his time with the credit union, Clarence has held numerous posts within the credit union system and the local community, providing strong leadership and growth during sometimes difficult economic times; and

Whereas under his leadership, St. Joseph's Credit Union won the Coady Award twice, the Credit Union Central of Canada Award for Community Economic Development, first credit union to establish a patronage refund for its members, established a community economic development fund, first credit union to set up a community investment fund, and also increased assets from $9 million in 1989 to over $29 million in 2004;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the lengthy accomplishments of Clarence Landry as manager of St. Joseph's Credit Union, and wish him and his wife, Claire, good health and happiness as he begins his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7442]

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 Finance on an introduction.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased and proud to direct the attention of the members to the east gallery. My son Scott Christie is there with his daughter, my granddaughter, Claire Gillis Christie. Claire has come down to see what her grandfather's daycare looks like in the run of a day. Please rise and give them a warm welcome to the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3949

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

Whereas this week, May 9th to May 15th, we are celebrating National Nursing Week, an opportunity to highlight the dedication and compassion of nurses who are the heart of health care in the Annapolis Valley; and

Whereas nurses who care for patients in the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority are leaders and have established the District Nurse Council, the first of its kind in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the District Nurse Council empowers nurses and provides them a forum and the structure to support advances in professional practice, educational opportunities, and safe and healthy workplaces at Annapolis Valley Health;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the nurses at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, and in Annapolis Valley Health, for their innovative approach and leadership in establishing the District Nurse Council, and for their ever-present caring commitment to patients and families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7443]

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. 3950

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

Whereas Joan Gilroy is an activist, feminist, and social worker who has devoted her life and professional career to women in the community; and

Whereas Ms. Gilroy joined the faculty of the Maritime School of Social Work in 1966 and served as first female director of the school from 1990 until her retirement in 1998; and

Whereas Joan Gilroy was recently honoured during National Social Work Week as the Nova Scotia recipient, selected by the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers for the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Joan Gilroy on receiving the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award and extend her its sincere thanks for her decades of professional and personal service to Nova Scotians.

[12:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7444]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3951

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 Face of Poverty Consultation group has clearly demonstrated that social assistance rates are too low, using facts such as a single person receiving about $5,000 is only 31 per cent of poverty level income; and

Whereas a single parent with two children receives 57 per cent of a poverty level income and 78 per cent of single mothers compromise on their food intake for the sake of their children; and

Whereas Dr. Lynn McIntyre also points out that New Brunswick has placed more money in the household budget because nutrition is the singular determinant of good health and it is sometimes food that is sacrificed because provincial assistance only meets two out of three life necessities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House urge the Minister of Community Services to listen to the Face of Poverty Consultation and raise the nutritional support to the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island levels.

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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3952

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

[Page 7445]

Whereas Lieutenant Governor Myra Freeman presented 14-year-old Brittany Lowe of Tangier an award for her 600-word essay about Canadian Heritage written in French; and

Whereas the contest Ready to Write was open to Grades 7, 8 and 9 across the province, was sponsored by Université Sainte-Anne and organized by the Nova Scotia chapter of Canadian Parents for French; and

Whereas Brittany Lowe is a Grade 9 student at Duncan MacMillan High School and feels extremely proud of her accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brittany Lowe on her award and for her commitment to focusing on the importance of Canadian heritage.

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. 3953

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 April 21, 2005, I had the honour to attend the special award ceremony for the Chief Scouts Award at the Woodlawn Church Hall in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Dominic Affeld of the 1st Woodlawn Troop received the Chief Scouts Award; and

Whereas the Chief Scouts Award is the highest badge a Scout can earn;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature join me in congratulating Dominic Affeld on becoming a Chief Scout and wish him much success in future scouting endeavours.

[Page 7446]

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. 3954

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 May 12th marks an historically significant date in the public health system as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale; and

Whereas to commemorate this date, May 12th is declared as Canada Health Day; and

Whereas Canada Health Day recognizes new developments in the public health system and is a time to reflect on past public health accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members acknowledge the health care professionals who deliver public health services in Nova Scotia and be ever mindful of future public health needs and capacity during our deliberations in this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 7447]

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3955

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

Whereas when you mention the communities of Stewiacke, Enfield, Milford Station and Lantz, you already know the locations of nine of the 15 members of Nova Scotia's Men's Softball Team getting ready for the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas Jay Duffy and brothers Zach and Bobby Sill from Stewiacke, along with Enfield's Jeremy Connor, Trenton MacKeil and Mark Garden, and Aaron Harvey and Steve Thomas from Milford Station, along with Kendal Isenor of Lantz will be attempting to bring home a gold medal for Nova Scotia when the games begin in Regina; and

Whereas the 15 players and three-person coaching staff will comprise 18 of Nova Scotia's 449 members who will be volunteering or participating in this year's games;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in the House of Assembly congratulate Jay, Zach, Bobby, Jeremy, Trenton, Mark, Aaron, Steve and Kendal for their selection, and wish them every success when they take to the ball diamond in Regina this August.

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. 3956

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

[Page 7448]

Whereas some MLAs continually complain about the shortage of doctors in rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in 1995, it was the Liberal Government that approved legislation specifically designed to depopulate rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas now, in 2005, Liberal Leader Francis MacKenzie wants to remove $140 million from Nova Scotia's health care budget without a detailed explanation;

Therefore be it resolved that residents of rural Nova Scotia be wary of the Liberal Party's commitment to health care within their communities.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3957

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

Whereas the Halifax All-City String Concert, held at the Halifax Forum on May 10, 2005, was once again a highlight of the school year for some 900 performers, and for thousands of family and friends; and

Whereas audience members showed their appreciation for the strong music and string programs which enrich education in the Halifax schools; and

Whereas this year's concert was also an occasion to salute Malcolm Bradley, a music teacher at Sir Charles Tupper School, on the occasion of his retirement as coordinator of the All-City String Program;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Malcolm Bradley for the high levels of participation and musical excellence achieved by the Halifax Schools String Program under his leadership, and salute the dedication of the teachers, students and parents who keep this program alive and well.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7449]

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. 3958

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 Mr. Joe Wadden, former Cape Breton County Warden, has passed away; and

Whereas Joe Wadden spent his entire life dedicated to both his community and, indeed, all of Cape Breton; and

Whereas this dedicated public servant will be sorely missed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the many contributions Joe Wadden made to his community, his Island and his province, and honour his memory with a moment of silence.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House will rise for one moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 7450]

RESOLUTION NO. 3959

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

Whereas the strength of the agricultural community in the Annapolis Valley has been built on hard work, perseverance, innovation and investment; and

Whereas Planters Equipment Limited of Kentville was recently recognized nationally by John Deere Canada Limited for selling 158 tractors, making it number one in Canada among 200 dealer locations; and

Whereas Planters Equipment is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, has additional locations in Middleton and Dartmouth, employs over 60 people, has become an integral part of the agricultural economy in the Annapolis Valley, and is committed to delivering value to its many customers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Planters Equipment General Manager Dale Townsend, and directors Bob Atkinson, Jeff Griffin, David Hovell, Earl Kidston, and Ray Parsons along with the staff of their three stores on achieving this prestigious national recognition, and thank them for their many contributions to the community and wish them continued success and prosperity.

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. 3960

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

[Page 7451]

Whereas the federal government has set a target for the year 2013 that 50 per cent of high school graduates should be competent in both of this country's official languages; and

Whereas 55 out of 138 schools in the Halifax Regional School Board offer French immersion programs, but the Halifax Regional School Board is the only board not to have a French language supervisor; and

Whereas several of those schools are offering an incomplete course selection so that French immersion students are in fact driven out of the program at the high school level;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Department of Education to require that all school boards offering French immersion programs do in fact have a French language supervisor in place.

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 Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 3961

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

Whereas midwives are highly trained health care professionals who provide care for healthy women throughout their pregnancy, conduct deliveries and provide much-needed follow-up care for both mother and baby; and

Whereas midwives are now legislated and regulated in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories; and

Whereas the Working Group on Primary Collaborative Maternity Care has been working since June 2004 to examine possible ways to introduce midwifery services in the province;

[Page 7452]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health act immediately on the recommendations of the Working Group on Primary Collaborative Maternity Care, including the tabling of legislation on regulating and licensing midwives in Nova Scotia.

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. 3962

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

Whereas this being the Year of the Veteran, we could talk for days about the men and women who bravely defended our freedom, but I would like to mention one man, Joseph Saxton, who joined the Naval Reserves in 1942; and

Whereas Joseph Saxton served overseas during the war as an able seaman and gunner and after the war he joined the Halifax Fire Department for three years and then worked with the Naval Department at the HMC Dockyard receiving promotion after promotion and retiring in 1989 after 38 years of service; and

Whereas Joseph Saxton has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 40 years, is presently Chairman of the Poppy Committee and Chairman of the Poppy Trust Fund at Branch 26 in Colchester;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Joseph Saxton for his dedication and bravery, and commend him on his loyal service to the Royal Canadian Legion and veterans.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7453]

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. 3963

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

Whereas Craig Aucoin, a 29-year-old Pictou man who is visually impaired, has once again learned to ride a bicycle; and

Whereas previously his vision only allowed him to ride stationary bikes at the gym, but now thanks to Troy Turple, he will be on a tandem bicycle that was purchased for him through Spoke Nova Scotia;

Whereas this Aucoin/Turple tandem team was made possible with the purchase of this bike with donations from Michelin and Nova Scotia Power;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate all those involved for once again allowing Craig Aucoin to enjoy the pleasures of bike riding.

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.

[Page 7454]

RESOLUTION NO. 3964

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

Whereas school libraries staffed by teacher librarians have been shown conclusively to increase the literacy and scholastic results of students; and

Whereas it is unfortunate that within Nova Scotia there are only a few teacher librarians working in our schools; and

Whereas it is time our school libraries were strengthened with expanded collections and teacher librarians to ensure libraries in schools are able to open the world of reading, research and learning to students;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the importance of having strong school libraries and move to adopt the Right to Read Act.

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 Community Services.

[1:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 3965

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

Whereas 25 years ago an energetic young woman, Aileen Reid, became an entrepreneur when she opened her insurance agency; and

Whereas her business, A.P. Reid Insurance, has grown to many outlets spread across Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7455]

Whereas the government's Bill No. 1 has helped Mrs. Reid save her customers over $2 million in premiums in just a little over a year;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature congratulate Aileen Reid and her partners, son Jamie and brother Loren, as they celebrate 25 years in business and commend them on providing lower automobile insurance premiums to their many Nova Scotia clients.

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 Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3966

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

Whereas Charlie Mancini will be graduating from Dartmouth High School this June with his Bronze D; and

Whereas this outstanding student won the bronze medal in the first Joseph Howe Public Speaking Contest last Fall and participated in the 2005 Nova Scotia Youth Model Legislature; and

Whereas Charlie wrote and starred in his production, The Winter, at the 2004 Atlantic Fringe Festival and his play, The Flight of Angels, came first in the Eastern Front Ten-Minute Play Contest and will be presented at Alderney Landing Theatre May 15th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Charlie Mancini and his parents, Marian and Peter Mancini of Dartmouth, on his academic and theatrical successes thus far and wish him continued success as he works towards his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at Dalhousie University.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7456]

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. 3967

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

Whereas on Saturday, May 14th the St. Margaret's Centre Complex will celebrate its grand opening of its expansion to this valuable community facility; and

Whereas this project has been successful because of the tireless efforts of many volunteers, led by board Chairman Tim Hill; and

Whereas arena manager Mike Laroux and his staff have worked hard for this grand opening;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Tim Hill, Mike Leroux and all involved with the expansion project of the St. Margaret's Centre Complex.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 7457]

RESOLUTION NO. 3968

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

Whereas it has been 100 years since Norway gained its independence from Sweden; and

Whereas Lunenburgers and Norweigans have a special relationship which was forged during World War II when Lunenburg's Camp Norway offered a home to hundreds of Norweigan sailors; and

Whereas on May 15th, in recognition of the unique relationship which has been forged over decades, a celebration will be held in Lunenburg to honour the 100th Anniversary of Norweigan independence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly offer their appreciation and thanks to the many Lunenburg residents who assisted Norway during World War II and recognize the special relationship that has lasted over the years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3969

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 September 5, 1905, Local 1588 was granted its charter to represent carpenters on Cape Breton Island; and

[Page 7458]

Whereas on Saturday, October 8, 2005, the 100th Anniversary celebrations of Local 1588, Cape Breton Island United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America will be held; and

Whereas a gala banquet and dance will take place at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre as part of this momentous celebration;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Local 1588, Cape Breton Island United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America on their 100th Anniversary celebrations.

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. 3970

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

Whereas Mr. Garfield Symonds is a lifelong resident of Halifax who has contributed to his community in many ways, including his involvement with the Black Cultural Association, the Halifax Assistance Fund and Emmanuel Baptist Church; and

Whereas Mr. Symonds has spent his entire 34-year teaching career at Joseph Howe School, which he also attended as a child, during which time he has been a teacher, a vice-principal and is now principal; and

Whereas Mr. Symonds will be retiring from teaching and leaving Joseph Howe School on June 24, 2005;

[Page 7459]

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank Mr. Garfield Symonds for his decades of service to young people in his community, and wish him all the best in his 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. 3971

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

Whereas Ian Robinson, the Junior Mooseheads "Moosic" programmer, has provided the soundtrack for more than 350 junior hockey games; and

Whereas Ian's talents and his choice of music helps motivate hockey fans; and

Whereas Ian always professionally adds to the entertainment at Moosehead games;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank Ian Robinson for his contribution to the success of the Halifax Mooseheads as the "Moosic" programmer for the Junior Mooseheads.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7460]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3972

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

Whereas volunteers provide the otherwise unaffordable labour and expertise without which many community projects would die on the drawing boards; and

Whereas the Bell Park walking trails and the Our Breakfast Program at the Uniacke District School would not be what they are without the participation of Mr. Gerald Leslie; and

Whereas on May 27th, on Volunteer Awards Night, Mr. Leslie will be recognized by the Municipality of East Hants with the Shining Star Award for his noteworthy volunteer efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Gerald Leslie on being awarded the Shining Star Award by the Municipality of East Hants and thank him for his contributions to his community of Mount Uniacke.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 1:08 p.m. and end at 2:08 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

[Page 7461]

COM. SERV.: FED.-PROV. AGREEMENT - SIGN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you will be for the Premier. The current federal Parliament seems likely to be reaching its final days. The Prime Minister has set a budget vote for one week from today and I've just learned that the Conservatives have managed to adjourn the work at the House of Commons in Ottawa. It would appear that a federal election may be on the horizon. If it ensues, one thing is crystal clear, if a federal-provincial deal is not signed, Mr. Harper won't deliver on it. This could mean the loss of $20 million for child care and over $145 million for the municipalities. I'd like to ask the Premier, when will you be signing off on these deals so that Nova Scotians don't lose out on this much needed funding?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): I'd ask the minister to bring the House up-to-date on the negotiations on the child care issue.

HON. DAVID MORSE: I thank the Leader of the Official Opposition for his question. This has been something that I've been briefing the House on periodically over the last couple of weeks and I'm pleased to say that this morning Cabinet approved a bilateral agreement with the federal government which we hope will be signed soon, very soon.

MR. DEXTER: With respect to the child care deal, that's good news and, in fact, there have been rumours widely circulating in the community to that effect over the last couple of days. I'm glad to have it confirmed today, however, I would point out that in B.C. the government there has also signed a gas tax deal for the municipalities. We know the federal Conservatives do not support sharing the gas tax with municipalities and they hold divergent views about the administration of the child care money. So my question for the Premier is, why have you not fast-tracked the negotiations with respect to the gas tax, so that it can be signed before the demise of the House in Ottawa?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister responsible for that particular file to respond.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, the Province of British Columbia has simply entered into an agreement to agree, it is not an agreement at all. I've read the agreement and it does not tie the federal government or the Province of British Columbia to any details. I will say to the member opposite though, we have been in discussions with the federal government and with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and we believe we're very close to a deal that will be beneficial to all municipalities here in Nova Scotia and it will have the support of not just this side of the House, but the municipalities as well.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Harper has said that he will only honour those deals which have already been signed, and the reality for Nova Scotia is that our municipalities could begin to seriously address the massive infrastructure deficits they face with their share

[Page 7462]

of the federal gas tax, this is no time for inaction. So I would ask the Premier, will you have that deal signed before the end of next week?

THE PREMIER: We would certainly want to have a deal signed that has far more detail in it than the one that was reported in the media as being signed in British Columbia. Federally we live in very unusual times and some very unusual things are being done, but what I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, to all members of the House, we will deal as effectively as we can with Ottawa, bearing in mind these are unusual times in Ottawa.

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

ATLANTIC ACCORD - N.S. MPs: SUPPORT - DEMAND

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, our caucus has given this Premier numerous opportunities to show real leadership in this province by putting the interests of Nova Scotians first. Once again, we are left to follow the lead of Newfoundland and Labrador. Premier Danny Williams has told Conservative MPs from his province that he expects that they will vote for the federal budget next Thursday; in fact he has gone so far as to declare that a vote against the federal budget is a vote against the Atlantic Accord.

Nova Scotians are once again looking for leadership from this Premier. My question to the Premier is, will he put the interests of Nova Scotians first by demanding that Conservative MPs, Peter MacKay, Gerald Keddy and Bill Casey, vote for the federal budget to ensure the passage of the Atlantic Accord?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say is that we have 11 members of Parliament, representing Nova Scotia, who all are aware in detail of the concerns of this government for the Canada-Nova Scotia Accord. I believe all of those members of Parliament will act in the best interests of their constituents.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, they've already shown exactly where they plan on voting and that is that they currently plan on voting against the federal budget. If the history of this file was such that we had great confidence that there couldn't be any more problems along the way or if there was no cost involved and that delay was irrelevant, the Premier has told Nova Scotians that $1 million a week is what Nova Scotians are losing by the delay in the passage of this Accord. Danny Williams has clearly said that he's not interested in promises that are being made for the future, he wants to see the accord passed today so that Newfoundlanders can enjoy the benefits of that offshore deal today. So my question to the Premier is, why won't you put the interests of Nova Scotians first and demand that all MPs vote for that budget next Thursday?

[Page 7463]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member in his preamble to his question made reference to the history of the Campaign for Fairness. It has a very interesting history, and it's interesting how much interest there is from the Third Party on this particular campaign now that it has come to a successful conclusion. I want to remind members of the Third Party that speaking on their behalf, the member for Clare, on August 9, 2001, said that Premier John Hamm's promotion of his Campaign for Fairness is a waste of taxpayers' money.

[1:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, and members of the House, that is the kind of support that we received on the Campaign for Fairness from that Party during the time when they felt we wouldn't succeed, but we have succeeded. We succeeded in the past, we are succeeding today and we will succeed in the future.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, we have the Premier right now where his silence, we know, is costing $1 million a week. This is a Premier who continually breaks his promises on health care, on the debt, on education and yet today he again stands silent on the verge of this accord being lost, where he is leaving it to commitments from others that it might be passed; $1 million a week. Danny Williams has said that it is a time to put partisanship aside when the best interest of Newfoundlanders are at risk, when he demanded that Tory MPs vote for the budget. Nova Scotians are wondering, for this Premier, are his commitments first to the federal Conservative Party, to the provincial PC Party or to Nova Scotians? My question to the Premier is, why won't you demand that those three Tory MPs vote for that federal budget so you can show Nova Scotians once and for all where your true commitment lies? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question from the Leader in the House of the Third Party, the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia, reminds me of a lost opportunity. It reminds me of the opportunity that was presented to the Parliament of Canada in early April when the Leaders of the two Opposition Parties, the major Opposition Parties, agreed and asked the Government of Canada to isolate the accords, both the Newfoundland and Labrador Accord and the Canada-Nova Scotia Accord, for a separate vote, allowing and ensuring it to have quick passage through the House. If the government of the day had supported that, we would have the money today. We would have the cheque today. It would be in our hands. The johnny-come-latelies are trying to get into the issue. They didn't support it before, they would like to pretend they support it now.

[Page 7464]

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

HEALTH: ORTHOPAEDIC WAIT TIMES - ADDRESS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health, through you, of course. It has been well over a year since the Minister of Health announced the plan to address the long waits for orthopaedic surgery. Last year, orthopaedic surgeons publicly raised their concerns about the 3,000 patients waiting for surgery in the capital district alone. In fact, I will table an article from The Medical Post dated April 9, 2002, that outlines the orthopaedic surgery wait times and the surgeon raising the question of why people aren't actually suing the government over the length of those times. My question for the Minister of Health is, why has your government waited so long to address this issue?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we continue to work with Capital Health on this matter on a daily basis. It is a considerable challenge, but we work on it with them and it is a priority.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health, of course, announced a plan and it certainly has had an impact on wait times. Wait times for hip and knee replacements have increased 28 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, since September 2004. A new operating room is open, 25 new beds were finally opened in April, but now Capital Health is again forced to cut back on surgeries due to the lack of anesthesiologists. So the wait times will continue to get longer for the foreseeable future. So my question to the Minister of Health is, why can't you admit that your plan was more about addressing the media than actually lowering wait times?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member mentions the issue of anesthesiologists. That is a challenge right across Canada. All jurisdictions in this country are facing that challenge. I am pleased to say that the Capital District Health Authority has had some recent success with respect to the recruitment of anaesthesiologists, and they will be in place in the near future.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health is ignoring the point. There are nearly 3,500 people waiting for hips, knees and scopes in the Capital Health District alone. With an aging population, demand will only increase, and with wait times nearing the three-year mark for some patients, no end to the waiting is in sight. So my question for the Minister of Health is a very simple one, when will he announce a plan on orthopaedic wait times that will actually make the numbers go down?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I've already indicated that the Capital Health District has had some success with respect to the issue of anaesthesiologists. I would like to also point out that we have added to the number of orthopaedic surgeons in the Pictou District Health Authority. There is a very active orthopaedic program in the Annapolis Valley. Those wait

[Page 7465]

times are considerably less. Part of our challenge is to make that information known to all Nova Scotians, so that they have more choice with respect to where they go for that service, but we will continue to work with Capital Health to make sure that the resources they need to shorten these times will be available.

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

HEALTH - CARE COSTS: PREM. COMMITMENT - DETAILS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in the year 2000, the Premier received the final report of Voluntary Planning Fiscal Management Task Force, dated January 2000. That report was called Taking Control of our Future. On Pages 44 and 45 of the report, it indicates that health care spending at that time, in 2000, represented 35 per cent of spending, and that unless something was done to rein in costs, health care would consume the entire budget. That was 35 per cent back in 2000. With the budget tabled today, health care now consumes 47 per cent of the total spending of this province. The Premier himself has admitted that health care spending is not sustainable. My question to the Premier is, what happened to your commitment to control the cost of health care in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree with the premise of the House Leader of the Liberal Party's question. We do have, in Canada, a conundrum. The conundrum is that the cost of health care, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the technology explosion, not the least of which is the changing demographics, not the least of which is the cost of new pharmaceuticals. We must find a way to modify the increase of health care spending on an annual basis to be in line with the increase in the revenue stream of the provinces.

We have managed, during the course of our six years in government, to pay, within the context of a balanced budget, for a health care system that is constantly improving, while, as a previous question pointed out, there are still challenges. Mr. Speaker, I don't have all the answers, but I can tell you this government will search until it finds them.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, well, that's quite the admission, that the Premier doesn't have all the answers, because in 1999 he had them, he had all the answers. He said, vote for me, I will fix health care, I will live within my means, I will not mortgage the future of my grandchildren, and health care can be maintained with the current budget, it just needs better managing. And $1 billion later, this government's plan has been spend, spend, spend, when it comes to health. We all know, and the Premier has admitted, that the spending cannot be sustained, yet each time we raise the issue, his own Minister of Health suggests that it has to take massive cuts rather than looking for any sort of savings or strategic investment. Your own task force in 2000, Mr. Premier, told you 35 per cent was too high, You're now at 47 per cent. Will you tell us today what your plan is, because we haven't seen it yet, to have health care costs brought under control?

[Page 7466]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Can we have shorter questions and answers, please.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we did inherit a lot of challenges back in 1999 and if the member continues his questioning, I'll gradually get through how we resolved those particular challenges. I'll address the comment he made about management. We did have a real problem on the management side back in 1999. Regional health boards were not working, there was community dissatisfaction right across the province about the regional health boards. One of the first things we did, and I must complement my answer, the then Minister of Health instituted the district health authorities which more accurately reflected the community of interest around the various district hospitals. So we have made strategic changes in the management of the health care delivery system and these changes are being far better accepted than what we had inherited.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Well, Mr. Speaker, if we've made strategic changes, why is health care increasing by 11 per cent, 9.3 per cent? Something went wrong, Premier, and as long as you keep your head buried in the sand on this issue and keep printing more money to go into health, it's becoming that much more unsustainable for Nova Scotians to be able to sustain the health care system we deserve.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier is quoted today in a column saying that he wants to see the provincial economy grow as quickly as health care costs. Well, being health grew by 11.9 per cent and 9.3 per cent, our economy is growing at 2.3 per cent, will the Premier today table his plan to change the Nova Scotian economy so that we can now see the growth that he has suggested that will match the increases of growth in health care costs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thought by now the House Leader of the Third Party would have looked at the plan we have for health care, but just in case we missed it, I will refer him to the minister who will bring the Leader of the Third Party up-to-date.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to point out that the administrative costs for delivering health care in this province are among the lowest in Canada and that is indicated by the CIHI report, that's a common knowledge right across Canada. The work of my predecessor, now the Minister of Education, with the district health authorities has done a great deal to allow us to get a real handle on the costs of health care in this province and that has set a sound foundation. We have a plan in place, Your Health Matters, with respect to doing that, but the most important thing that has been accomplished by this government is to take the steps that are necessary in order to ensure that we have a healthy population and that is being addressed by the Minister of Health Promotion. That is the long-term solution to health care in this province. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. If you would review Hansard, you will see there are many culprits when it comes to the time in this House, questions and answers.

[Page 7467]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. - PETROLEUM PRODUCT PRICING

SELECT COMM.: REPORT - STATUS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Last year that minister introduced a sham bill around gas price regulation. After that, after he realized his folly, his government went forward with the Select Committee on Petroleum Product Pricing. Three members of his backbench were on it, three members from here, and three members from the Liberal Party. Eight of the nine of us signed on to price regulations. Now we see consumers clamouring because of ever increasing prices. We see retailers going out of business. So my question to that minister is, why are you letting that report sit and gather dust and do nothing to help consumers or retailers?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I will say to the member opposite that there is a bill before the House that will enable government to regulate fuel in Nova Scotia to protect the interests of consumers in Nova Scotia. As soon as that bill is able to move through committee to this House, we will be able to debate the merits of that bill.

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, he just doesn't get it. He's in government. Government moves legislation forward. If he's too lazy, or otherwise incompetent, to do it, then the Premier . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That's unparliamentary. I would ask the honourable member to retract it.

MR. CORBETT: I retract it, and I apologize, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre on your first supplementary.

MR. CORBETT: But, Mr. Speaker, since I'm not getting the straight goods from that minister, I'm going to go right to the Premier. Mr. Ken Cruickshank in Canning, owner of Canning Motors, has been told by his supplier, PetroCan, that as of December this year, they will not supply him with petroleum products anymore. He's going out of business, as people in Inverness County have, in Pictou County, and now we see retailers in threat in places like Canso. Mr. Premier, why are you sitting by, seeing consumers hurt by this and retailers hurt by this? Why don't you do the right thing, do what your own backbencher said, bring in price regulation?

[Page 7468]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, yes, there are a number of issues and challenges in the retail gasoline business across the Province of Nova Scotia. Yes, I see the same situation, as I travel around, as members opposite see. I see stations closing. We have before the House a piece of legislation that will allow us to address many of these situations. That piece of legislation, if it is passed, will allow us to bring forward initiatives that will protect those low-volume retailers in the rural parts of the province, but without the legislation the government cannot do it.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, once again, bring it forward, show leadership. Bring it forward, that's where it's at. If he's so sure that this bill is such a great bill, then the retailers association will agree with it, consumers will agree with it. But I want to go back to the Premier once more, that select committee cost this province taxpayers' dollars. Is he willing just to throw that money in the garbage, rather than act upon a select committee report that was signed by eight of the nine members? Are you willing to throw it in the garbage, Mr. Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if they don't pass the bill, they might as well throw it in the garbage, because we can't do anything with it until we get our legislation passed. If that member opposite is prepared to have that move quickly through the House, the government is prepared to bring it forward, but we're not going to bring it forward to have it die again.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

JUSTICE: MAINTENANCE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS -

INCREASE

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, the Maintenance Enforcement Program in this province is not working. Sharon Thompson's husband died in February, and when he did he owed her $35,000 in maintenance payments. Ms. Thompson was forced to turn to income assistance, and she now discovers that her husband's estate already owes $17,000 to the Department of Community Services as a result. Settling that estate could take a long time, and Ms. Thompson could be playing catch-up for the rest of her life. There are only 22 caseworkers in the province for maintenance enforcement, and they have an average caseload of 750 people. This means delays. Every day that the cases drag on, the women and children in need of help are driven further into poverty and debt. My question to the Minister of Justice is, will you commit to increasing the number of maintenance enforcement officers?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's question. The short answer is yes, we have in fact put money in the budget this year to increase the number of maintenance enforcement workers in this province. I might say that the honourable members opposite, it was the New Democratic Party that raised this, primarily, in the House in the last election. I indicated at the time that the government was very concerned about this, as well, and in fact it is in the budget, that we will be increasing

[Page 7469]

the number of workers so that people will be better able to collect the support that they and their dependents are owed.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. The minister is probably well aware that far too many people on income assistance are in fact women who have been driven to it by the failure of the Maintenance Enforcement Program. I hope that this will, in fact, answer the problem of Community Services being so much better as a back debt collector than Maintenance Enforcement. It is true, there is another problem, however. Ms. Thompson is ill, and she doesn't have the money to feed herself at this point, let alone to hire a lawyer. It's quite possible that she will never be paid the maintenance arrears that she is owed. My question to the minister is, will you agree to an acting statutory priority for the claims of unpaid maintenance?

MR. BAKER: I can tell the honourable member that I am certainly willing to review the matter to consider it. We made a number of changes in the Legislature the last session where we tightened up the maintenance enforcement legislation. I can tell the honourable member that we are always interested in looking at better ways to ensure that people receive the maintenance orders that they are not only owed, but are ordered by the courts.

MS. RAYMOND: I have to say that I am very pleased to hear these answers. I suppose my final question should only be, will we be seeing these changes within the next 12 months?

MR. BAKER: I can indicate to the honourable member that I will be reviewing with staff and the Maintenance Enforcement Program the issue the member brought up, plus other issues, to determine whether or not it's a possibility of bringing forward legislation as early as this Fall on this subject. As the member knows, this is a very important issue to a lot of Nova Scotians and, particularly, Nova Scotia children.

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

VOL. PLANNING - TASK FORCE:

RECOMMENDATIONS - IMPLEMENT

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to table a recent report from the Voluntary Planning task force. This one is called, Closing Our Prosperity Gap. My question is going to be to the Premier. The study indicates that Nova Scotia is 15th out of 16th in similar size economies in terms of economic growth, 15 out of 16. Back in 1981, we were in 4th place. The same report indicates that we are 10th out of 10 Canadian provinces in terms of trade. This is Voluntary Planning saying this. My question to the Premier, is the Premier going to take this report and implement its recommendations so that Nova Scotia does not fall further behind?

[Page 7470]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has the advantage of insight that is gleaned by being a former Minister of Economic Development. If the question is, and I believe it to be, are we going to pursue the advice that was given to us in this report? If that is the question, the answer is yes.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, well I would hope the answer is yes. It's not my previous looking into this matter, it's Voluntary Planning's statements to this government that we are still 15th out of 16, so improvements are needed; that's the piercing glance at the obvious. The report indicates that we are behind economies like Mississippi, West Virginia, Montana and Arkansas. My question again to the Premier is, if the Premier expects to pay for services by growing the economy, is he prepared to take steps to close the prosperity gap between us and the rest of North America.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this was a study that was actually initiated by this government. This was a study that we felt would be relevant in allowing us to plan future activities of the government. We did not order this study with anything else in mind other than we wanted to get the information, when we received the information to be guided by that information. We asked for this study, we are paying attention to this study.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what the Premier has just told this House and all Nova Scotians is that he hasn't received this study yet. He said, when we receive the study we will have a look at it. Well, members of the Opposition have received it, Nova Scotians have received it, it's a matter of public record. Once again, this Premier seems to be satisfied with second-last place in terms of economic growth. What Nova Scotians need is a real commitment to education and innovation, not the same half measures we see today. My final supplementary, when is the Premier going to make a key investment in education and innovation, instead of allowing our economy to continue its slide?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if I misspoke or the member opposite misheard. Yes, I do have the study, yes, and I've had a presentation on the study, but the question really is what are we going to do about education. Well, we took a significant step forward this morning, and a copy of this has been provided to every member of the House, and what it is is what's going to happen over the next four years - assuming that we'll have four years to implement it, and there are some uncertainties there.

What I can say is we are taking education very seriously; it is a priority of the government. The initial reaction by the stakeholders, people like teachers, people like school board associations, people like home and school associations, has been very positive. We received endorsements that would indicate that, by and large, the first step that we have taken as a result of the consultation we had in Truro is a very good step.

[Page 7471]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH PROM.: PROV. TOLL-FREE

ADULT CRISIS LINE - LACK EXPLAIN

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health Promotion. The Nova Scotia Youth Help Line and adult Help Line answer more than 23,000 calls a year. The Youth Help Line is available throughout the province, but the adult line is only available in HRM. There are no other 24-hour help lines in the province. Stigma, an unresolved and an under-resourced mental health system often prevent people from getting the help they need. Help lines provide counselling, crisis support and referrals. A provincial 24-hour crisis line tied to mental health services would provide real, immediate help. So my question for the Minister of Health Promotion is, why doesn't Nova Scotia have a provincial toll-free adult crisis line?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Indeed if the member is referring to the help line with respect to addictions in our province that would be a question directed toward myself as Minister of Health Promotion and indeed that 1-800 number with live counsellors is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm not speaking about the addictions help line and, as I understand it, it's the Office of the Minister of Health Promotions that's involved in working towards a province-wide suicide prevention strategy. There are about 100 suicides in Nova Scotia each year, and there is an average of 600 suicide-related hospitalizations each year. More than 90 per cent of people who take their own lives have a diagnosable mental disorder. A 24-hour, toll-free crisis line would help those sitting on waiting lists and those who don't know where to turn for help. So my question to the Minister of Health Promotion is, will you provide the long-term funding needed to get a provincial crisis line started?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, indeed the member is correct. As part of the injury prevention initiative that is being put forward through health promotion, one of the aspects being looked at is that of self-inflicted injuries or suicides in our province, which is a very serious issue. I will certainly take the member's advice under advisement and I will have staff take a look at this and we will give it consideration.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to the thank the minister. A provincial help line would be a good place to start, because Nova Scotia is without this service and we really do in fact need a suicide prevention strategy - they exist in other jurisdictions. Last Fall I had an opportunity to ask the Minister of Health about developing such a strategy, as well as through the Health Estimates. So I want to ask the Minister of Health Promotion, when will you be releasing a targeted and resourced suicide prevention strategy?

[Page 7472]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, indeed we have done a tremendous amount of work with respect to injury prevention, working with the EHS Trauma Program, working in consultations across the province with many organizations, many community groups, community health boards and a number of others, in taking a look at the seriousness of injury prevention in our province, indeed suicide is one of those aspects. I will certainly get information for the member, bring her up to date on where we are at with respect to those initiatives.

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

EDUC. - STRATEGY: TEACHER LIBRARIANS - INCREASE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. I want to talk about a front-line education issue today with the minister. I point out to the minister, as we have in the past, that in 1990 there were 103 teacher librarians in this province. Today, according to the latest numbers, there's perhaps a dozen, there might be 13. The Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations recently called on the department to staff school libraries with teacher librarians and I emphasize that - teacher librarians.

[1:45 p.m.]

We know that when librarians and teachers work together, students perform better, it's a given fact. Yet we are forced to watch our children continue to fail literacy tests as school libraries struggle to remain open. My question for the minister is, why didn't your education strategy which was so wonderfully announced today include a promise to increase the number of teacher librarians across this province?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has raised an important part of a well functioning school. School libraries provide excellent educational opportunities and indeed, the plan we announced today will be giving school libraries more support. As part of the new plan, Brighter Futures Together, there will be an additional $570,000 invested in school libraries.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, as I advised your deputy on many occasions, let's focus on the issue here. The reality is that some school boards are relying on volunteers to keep their libraries open and parents are fundraising for library furniture. What we need here is a library strategy, a plan to make sure our school libraries are open all day when the students are in our schools and that we have enough staff to do the job they have to do as they work with our children and our teachers. So my question to the Minister of Education is, will you commit to bring forward a strategy to deal with the crisis facing school libraries about the need of having librarian teachers in each of our schools?

[Page 7473]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I had referenced when I answered his first question the new money that will be invested in school libraries as part of the new plan. That investment will be used, among other things, to hire a resource person at the department to work with school boards to develop a policy framework guideline, improved literacy resource lists and other standards. In other words, to help schools rebuild and refresh their libraries.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, what students in this province don't need is another bureaucrat tucked away down here at the Trade Mart building dealing with a front- line issue of importance to students and teachers across this province. Too many students are scraping by with their assessment tests. We know that library access can have a profound impact on student performance. Yet, last week Stats Can reported Nova Scotia had some of the lowest school library funding in the country. My question to the minister is, why won't you ensure - at a bare minimum - that every school library in this province has the ability to stay open, not with parent volunteers but with teacher librarians in place?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the honourable member that never in Nova Scotia's history has it had a formal school library program. They certainly were better prior to the 1990s, particularly after 1993 when library resources were stripped and classroom teachers assumed more responsibility for teaching information, literacy, research and evaluation skills.

Fortunately, as the honourable member has mentioned and I happened to have been in a number of them, the elementary schools in this province, the library resources are greater for the most part than they've ever been. Fortunately, if you go into elementary classrooms - I know the honourable member has been - you will see the literacy resource, a lot have gone from "one room" designated as library, but actually in the classroom and they're very much more accessible to students.

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

JUSTICE - COMMUNITIES: POLICING - ADEQUACY

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Justice Minister and this government has boasted about its department's approach to youth and crime in general in this province. Nova Scotians are feeling increasingly uneasy about crime, especially here in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Reports of swarmings and robberies with assault are very disturbing and are certainly not common in Nova Scotia. While there are many factors that lead to crime, Nova Scotians want assurances that there are actually enough police on our streets. So my question to the minister is, can the Minister of Justice tell us whether or not we have enough police in Nova Scotia's communities?

[Page 7474]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's question, it's a very good question. One of the things that this government did was to initiate standards for policing in Nova Scotia. Standards which would set a minimum level for policing so that every community in Nova Scotia would be assured of a minimal level of policing. It is, of course, up to municipal units to augment that level of policing beyond that guaranteed level, but we have implemented minimum standards for policing so that people from one end of Nova Scotia to the other can be guaranteed those basic levels of policing. On the other hand, of course, it is up to municipal units to determine how much policing is needed in their own community.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it appears that those minimum standards that have been established should certainly be questioned when one sees the height in crime that is taking place here in Nova Scotia. Swarmings and armed robberies on a daily basis are not something that Nova Scotians are accustomed to and it's not part of the society that Nova Scotians are so proud to belong to. They look to the government in these times to show leadership and to provide answers as to how these matters are going to be dealt with and, more importantly, how they are going to be avoided. We have repeatedly raised concerns about this government's lack of investment in youth crime prevention programs. So I ask the minister again, what plan do you have, or does your government have, to put an end to the youth crime that is taking place in this province?

MR. BAKER: Well, one part of our plan, Mr. Speaker, is obviously to assist both the police and prosecution by having changes made to the criminal law which will make sure that there is accountability for young people who violate the law, to make sure there are consequences and, therefore, acts as a deterrent to not only themselves but a general deterrence to others. That is one part of it, but part of our initiative is clearly around promotion of education. This government has been very active in promoting education and education is a large part of the prevention of youth crime.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Well, it's interesting, Mr. Speaker, today it's education that's going to stop crime. Last week he was going to feed them at the Breakfast Program and by feeding kids in the morning, that was going to put an end to youth crime. What is needed is additional resources and programs that are there to help youth at risk. We know in our education system that there are challenges; and certain of our students require additional supports and we fund those additional supports. Why this government continues to not fund supports for youth at risk to help them prevent crimes remains a mystery. They have saved money by closing facilities such as Shelburne, yet that money appears to have gone into general revenue rather than being reinvested in youth crime prevention strategies. So I ask the minister again, how much more will it take before your government finally implements the resources and the plan for a youth crime prevention strategy?

[Page 7475]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in point of fact, the honourable member is probably not aware of this, but the Government of Nova Scotia has a lot of money invested in those kind of programs now. We have money that's invested in restorative justice programs for youth that are designed for the sole purpose of assisting young people who are in conflict with the law to get on the right path. We are also looking at other youth at risk and other programs and I would be glad to discuss with the honourable member in estimates some of those programs.

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

COM. SERV. - FED.-PROV. HOUSING UNITS:

FAMILIES - NUMBERS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Community Services who's responsible for housing. This minister thinks he can continue to distract and deflect serious questions about housing on the floor of this Legislature while his department squanders the federal-provincial affordable housing money. It's amazing that he would make an announcement in Cape Breton, that is now delayed, somehow counts as doing something to address housing needs in that part of the province. So I ask the Minister of Community Services, today, how many families are living in units constructed under the 2002 agreement with the federal government?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the member made mention of the delay in the Sydney Mines announcement and the reason for the delay is that the proponent is trying to confirm a site. The Department of Natural Resources is working with them to conclude this and we look forward to that moving forward shortly.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): I knew the minister wouldn't answer the question so I'll answer it for him, 25 units on Mainland Nova Scotia, 6 in Halifax, 15 in Middleton, 4 in Westville and 0 in Cape Breton. This province is spending the biggest part of its share under Phase I of the agreement on rent supplements. I'll table an article by the Canadian Housing Renewal Association dated April 11th of this year entitled CHRA Questions Rent Supplements as Long-Term Investment. A University of Toronto study also confirmed CHRA's position. My question to the minister is, why is he wasting this opportunity to build publicly owned affordable housing in Nova Scotia?

MR. MORSE: Yesterday the NDP in estimates was up speaking in favour of bricks and mortar as an approach to providing more social housing. I correct myself, it would have been on Tuesday in Estimates. At that time I tabled an article from the CD Howe Institute which did a study on this. It indicates that in terms of efficiency, public housing, in other words bricks and mortar, works out at about 37 per cent efficient, as opposed to 85 to 90 per cent for the rent supplements. This government is very interested in a mix in it but definitely 85 to 90 per cent is better odds than 37 per cent.

[Page 7476]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Joyce Potter, the President of CHRA, says in an article and I'll quote and table that article, ". . . evidence everywhere tells us that the private sector cannot be relied upon in this way over the longer term . . . there is the likelihood that private landlords will no longer retain an interest in participating in a rent supplement program." My final question to the minister is, while his department delays doing anything about housing in the name of studying needs in Nova Scotia, why didn't his department do research on rent supplements?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, not only did the department do some work in that area but, in fact, all province and territories, obviously, have done so because it's of interest that we urge the federal government to also adopt this approach. I'm pleased to say that the minister heard us and they have modified the federal participation to include rent supplements on the advice of the provinces and territories. So I thank the member for allowing me to point that out.

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

EDUC. - POST-SECONDARY GRADUATES: DEBT - RELIEF

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Nova Scotia has the highest undergraduate tuition in the country and students are struggling with an ever increasingly high debt load. New Brunswick recently announced a tuition cash-back program as part of a significant investment in post-secondary students in their province. The program provides student loan relief and for the benefit of the province, also encourages young graduates to stay and work in New Brunswick. The relief is available to any graduates who are working and paying taxes in the province. My question to the Minister of Education is, what plans do you have to provide new relief to post-secondary graduates who are saddled with high student loans from their years of study?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Our debt reduction program has similar objectives to that and New Brunswick's new tax rebate program. The premise or the basis upon which New Brunswick has done that, according to what I've read, was that it was intended to promote post-secondary education, make it more affordable and accessible. The other benefit was to encourage the skilled and newly educated people to remain in New Brunswick. The goal of our new debt reduction program, the one that was announced two years ago, was the same.

MS. WHALEN: When this government took over they cut the $9.9 million Loan Remission Program. The Tories axed this program completely and left students with absolutely no student debt relief. Then just before the 2003 election, they found the will to introduce a half-hearted program to pay lip service to the needs of Nova Scotia's post-secondary students. My question to the minister is, with a record of cutting programs and bringing them back at half-strength, what, if anything, does this government plan to do to encourage graduates to stay and work in Nova Scotia?

[Page 7477]

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think it's well worth noting that the honourable member did acknowledge that our program was introduced over two years ago, and it probably is the fact that New Brunswick did follow our lead. However, I can say that through the Debt Reduction Program, a student in Nova Scotia who stays and works in Nova Scotia and meets the criteria, in combination with the Millennium Scholarship, can have about 60 per cent of their Nova Scotia student loan forgiven or worked off.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of points that need to be mentioned. I think what the minister is telling us is that New Brunswick saw what this government did and raised them by 10. (Interruptions) In New Brunswick, there is a 15-year guarantee for this program. It continues that long. They've made a long-term commitment to students. In Nova Scotia, you have to apply; in New Brunswick, it comes off your income tax. I think there are a lot of differences between the two programs. In fact, New Brunswick is the only one in Canada that's had a program of this nature. My question is, New Brunswick has shown innovation and leadership in addressing the needs of post-secondary students, why is this government content to let New Brunswick lead the way in recruiting and retaining young graduates, while we in Nova Scotia are doing nothing?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will go back to what I said in the previous question. Clearly New Brunswick followed our lead. I would also remind the honourable member that the memorandum of understanding that was signed between this government and the Nova Scotia universities was the first, and is widely acknowledged as being a leader in the financing and stability in the financing of higher education.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COM. SERV. - DISABLED PERSONS PROGS.:

FUNDING - INADEQUACY

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Two days ago I asked the minister about problems being faced by people with disabilities in this province who are trying to find employment. The best response this minister could muster was to tell us all about the wheelchair recycling program targeting youth who are not yet in the workforce. This project does nothing to help persons with disabilities find jobs. So I ask the minister again, why does this government continue to inadequately fund programs that would help disabled persons, or help persons with disabilities, in seeking employment?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for allowing me to continue on on the things that we have done as a government in this regard. Indeed, on Tuesday I could have well talked about the new multilateral framework that's been signed

[Page 7478]

between the federal government and the provinces and territories, to expand what was the former employability assistance program for people with disabilities. It enhances the program, and we're pleased to see that the federal government upped their cap a little bit, and we're more than happy to make the matching contribution, a good thing for people with disabilities.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, that minister can feel good, but that minister knows that it goes nowhere near addressing the real issue of employable disabled persons. Another hurdle being placed in front of Nova Scotians with disabilities is transportation. In Halifax, Access-A-Bus has to be booked weeks in advance, and it is very limited. People who must rely on social assistance have to fight tooth and nail to get a bus pass included in their monthly budget as a special need expense. My question to the minister is, why is his government department acting in such a miserly manner when it comes to the freedom and independence of persons with disabilities?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I think that while the honourable member has asked a question about transportation, and I spoke about rural transportation last week, what I think the honourable member might like to hear is that on the federal level, now that the child care agreement seems to be falling in place, and of course it depends on who is the federal government in the next couple of months.

The next priority is people with disabilities, and something that has been brought forward by Ontario - which I think sounds very interesting to me - is to address that gap between when a child becomes a young person and the family loses their National Child Benefit and before they become 65 and get old age security. There's a gap there for people with disabilities, and the talk is about working toward some sort of pension to supplement what's available provincially.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, that had absolutely nothing to do with employment. What I asked the minister to do was with respect to transportation for disabled persons in the metropolitan area, to make sure the needs of those disabled persons were being met. He said something, somewhere down the road - it may be a year, it may be 10 years, it may be 15 years.

In recent months, clients of Community Services have been talking about a review of every person who gets a phone or a bus pass as a special need in the HRM. Many have been told they may be cut off from receiving a bus pass, and they will have to take the cost out of their $184 a month for food and utilities. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, how can he justify such draconian measures that will continue to ensure that disabled persons are prisoners in their homes?

[Page 7479]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member bringing that up. I want to assure the honourable member, in fact I want to assure all members in this Chamber that if they are made aware of that sort of circumstance and they're not able to resolve it with the casework supervisor, I would appreciate it if they would bring those cases to my attention.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. It's been brought to my attention by Burt MacDonald of the MacDonald Road in Scotch Lake that his road was put on a priority list back in 1960, guaranteed again in 1980 to be on a priority list to be paved - 45 years later, it's still not paved. When will this minister do the right thing and pave that road that was put on the priority list?

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. On specific instructions, a government official has been required to monitor a TV network over the last three hours and he just reported; final score, Canada 5, Slovakia 4.

MR. SPEAKER: Not a point of order, but a point of interest, I suppose.

The honourable member for Hants East.

[Page 7480]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to use my 15 minutes going into Supply to speak about health care and not necessarily specific to my constituency, but I may touch on a few points there. I'm more concerned around the issue of health care nationwide and in particular how that impacts on Nova Scotia.

I think poll after poll indicates that health care is the number one concern for Canadians. I would say this is a ball that's volleyed back and forth by political Parties whenever they see fit to do so. I want to say that I am particularly concerned about the ability of this country to go down the road of privatization of health care. I think there are members in this House who are old enough to remember what it meant to pay for health care, and I am not one of them, Mr. Speaker. It would seem to me that in 1956 we didn't have Medicare or public health care but my memory of that, until it came in, in the 1960s, is pretty vague. For me, the only system that I can ever remember is a publicly-funded health care system.

I think that because Canadians, by-and-large, the majority of Canadians are getting of an age where they don't remember a time when there wasn't publicly-funded health care, then they tend to think to a point to take it for granted and tend to think that another system may be just as good. I'm somewhat worried about the direction of the federal government and of provincial governments, as well. They've always seemed to have taken the view, we hear it in this House, about the costs of health care.

I remember when the present Minister of Education was the previous Minister of Health, and I think during budget estimates, he was trying to make the case that health care costs were increasing by 13 per cent per year. I asked the minister, how much of the health care budget was salaries and he said it was 80 per cent. Eighty per cent of the health care budget in Nova Scotia was salaries and I asked him then if there was any group working in the health care system that had received a 13 per cent increase in their wages, and he said, no, there wasn't, and I knew there wasn't. As a matter of fact, I wasn't sure if I could remember any that had gone much above 3 per cent and if there was any that went to 7 per cent.

So if 80 per cent of health care costs is salaries and those costs are not going up by 13 per cent, per year, then the question would have to be, could the other 20 per cent possibly be increasing by such a great amount as to drag that health care budget to a point where it increases by 13 per cent per year? I have to say, Mr. Speaker, I'm not convinced that no one has actually been able to address that now. We heard in the House today that it's even going up now by 9 per cent. So in other words, we've gone from 13 per cent, I think a couple of years ago it was 11 per cent. I heard the member for Richmond, I think, use the figure 9.3 per cent today. So the proportion of the budget that that department is consuming is shrinking and that can only be as a result of two things. Either you're cutting health care more and more every year or that the provincial budget is increasing by so much every year that as a proportion those dollars are becoming less and less.

[Page 7481]

One concern that I have, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that I think for successive years the federal government has not funded health care in this country appropriately. When I say that, I say it in terms of what other areas the federal government will fund and the priority of those other concerns in relation to the priority of health care to Canadians. I believe that the federal government is interested in some privatization of health care and that worries me. I think that Canadians generally, if you under fund the system, if you continue to have wait lists and what appears to be a dysfunctional system, then it will get to the point where it will be so bad that Canadians would say, I don't care how I get it, I'd be willing to pay for it.

[2:15 p.m.]

Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a particularly dangerous road to go down. Maybe there are members who have far more personal knowledge of a system that is user pay, but I have friends in South Dakota, I talk to them a couple of times a year, and actually something I didn't know was that when you reach 65 in South Dakota, there is a public system. There is a system that will pay for your health care, but not before 65. The couple that I know, the wife is about 58 years old. Her health is not as good as she would like to have it and presently she buys health insurance. Her health insurance is $700 a month in the United States, in South Dakota.

So for her, for them actually, you know, she's 58 or 59 years old, her husband is older than 65, and these are people who are getting to a stage in their lives when they are on more of a fixed income. Their ability to generate income is not as great as it would be for younger people. So here they are at a stage in their lives where it will be very important I think, the same as it would be for any Canadians of that age, that you would like to get some debt behind you and you're thinking that these next few years might be somewhat easier, but here is a case of one member of the family who has a health insurance bill of $700.

Now, if both these individuals were under 65, then there would be obviously an increase in that and I think in the same way that Nova Scotians can think about auto insurance, or any other insurance, home insurance that they buy, and the one thing I think about auto insurance, I pay it in the hopes that I'll never need it. In other words, if I use it, I'm going to pay more. The more that you require the insurance system to cover your costs if you have damage to your vehicle, well, then you know that your rate is going to go up or your premiums are going to go up. So you say to yourself, I need to have it, I have to pay it, and I hope to God I'll never have to use it.

This is exactly the situation for this woman that I know. She's quite concerned about her own health and she doesn't want to use the health care system simply because the cost of her insurance is getting to a stage where it's getting to be more difficult for her, Mr. Speaker, and so she's worried that her $700 a month is going to increase and get to the point where she's not going to be able to afford health care coverage. I think that because Canadians are not particularly aware of the American system, they're not really paying

[Page 7482]

attention because we have a public system and they're used to it, they don't give a second thought when they go into a hospital, you know, the first person they don't run into is someone asking how they're going to pay for their service and I think that they're not aware of the makeup of that system.

I think actually when Canadians think about privatized health care, I think they think that they'll go in and write a cheque, $100 or whatever, and they'll get the same service. They don't understand the thousands of dollars that they would have to pay, Mr. Speaker, in order to get the services, and actually in the United States there's approximately 30 million Americans who have no health care coverage. My Leader I think mentioned yesterday that June was the date that the health care that would have been provided for low-income people, the gratuitous health care, that that budget was used up some time in June. So that meant at that hospital there was, you know, for six months, basically for the year, absolutely no way for any low-income people to get health care.

I think that it's important that Canadians be very much aware, Mr. Speaker, of this slippery slope that they will go down if they allow privatization of health care, and I think in the context of international agreements that we signed, NAFTA in particular, that if we allow this in our country, then we have to allow American companies to come in to provide health care as well. We can't do for one and not for the other, under those agreements. So this is very worrisome.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say people don't recognize that the American system actually is unsustainable because of the fact that as the cost increases and as more people fall out of the system, in other words when it gets to the cut that you can't afford your health care coverage, you leave the system, that leaves fewer people paying. Because fewer people are paying, the price will go up, their costs will go up, and it's a never-ending spiral, and, actually, part of the reason why, I think, during the Romanow Commission there were presentations from the U.S., there were presentations from England, people said, you have a good system, just fund it. I would say that a couple of years ago we heard of Bombardier getting $1 billion from the federal government, for the company, plus the got $1 billion so they could offer low-interest loans to their customers to buy their product.

Romanow was saying, put $2 billion into health care. That's when I questioned about the priorities. If we can give $2 billion to one corporation in this country when health care requires $2 billion, then I say this is a system that's definitely affordable, and I would like for Canadians to pay more attention to the health care system they have and the threat that it's under. I thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's certainly a pleasure to rise in my place, to speak going into Supply, to raise some points regarding the County of Richmond. March

[Page 7483]

24th of this year, surprisingly to me, marked my seventh year of having the distinction and honour of being able to serve the people of Richmond County, having been elected in three general elections. We've seen a great deal of success, a great deal of challenges in Richmond, but it's truly my belief that in those seven years we are currently, certainly, in a better economic situation than we were back when I was first elected, as our county has been able to overcome numerous challenges along the way.

Earlier, Mr. Speaker, you'll remember I tabled a resolution honouring and recognizing the retirement of Clarence Landry, long-time manager of St. Joseph's Credit Union. If I have the figures correct, that credit union, which services the communities of Petit-de-Gras and some of the surrounding areas of Isle Madame, is one of the only stand-alone credit unions left in the Strait Area. As you'll recall, most of them merged under the East Coast Credit Unions, but St. Joseph's decided to stay on its own. What a leader that credit union has been through these difficult times.

One of the most telling parts of it is that through the downturn of the fishery and the downturn in our local economy, in 1989, they had assets valued at $9 million; in 2004, if I'm not mistaken, and the Clerks can confirm with the resolution, I believe their assets had risen to $29 million. Mr. Speaker, that is a significant accomplishment, and through that I certainly recognize some of the numerous efforts they have undertaken along the way.

Mr. Speaker, Richmond County continues to be heavily dependent and blessed with rich natural resources. Currently, Tuesday, May 10th, was the opening of the lobster season for the lobster fishing areas around Richmond County. I am pleased to report to you that although we underwent many years of poor lobster catches, to the point where fishermen were coming in with 50 pounds, 100 pounds and less after passing 275 traps, I'm pleased to report that the first day of landings was certainly very favourable in Richmond County, with landings in excess of 1,000 pounds. We certainly hope that that is going to continue for the entire two-month season and that this will again be a very successful year for lobster fishermen in Richmond County.

Mr. Speaker, we are also looking forward to the opening of the snow crab season. As you know, snow crab has certainly played a major role in the rebuilding of our economy in Richmond County. Not only have many of our permanent licence holders been able to see an increase in their quotas, an increase in the price, we have also in Richmond County, I'm proud to say, been able to have the additional processing of crab take place, which has created more jobs in Richmond County. We have right now a crab processing facility which is known as Petit-de-Grat Packers which processes snow crab. It is in operation right now. It started its operations I believe a few weeks ago. I can tell you there are over 80 people employed at this facility and there are many spinoff jobs as a result. That facility is expected to process in the millions of pounds of crab again this year, which is going to create employment, I said from about two weeks ago, so let's say late April, and will probably continue either to the end of September or October.

[Page 7484]

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that value-added processing has made a big difference to our communities and I think is something that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries should be encouraging to take place in many of the other communities in Nova Scotia that have a vibrant crab fishery.

Mr. Speaker, one of the other businesses that has been doing extremely well, quite ironically the business is situated on the site where our old fish plant used to be, Richmond Fisheries, it was also known as Booth's Fisheries. It used to employ up to 500 people, and was basically demolished in 1994-95, it was flattened during the collapse of the groundfish fishery. The draggers disappeared and then the plant disappeared, but I'm pleased to say that on its site now is found a modern shipbuilding repair facility with a travel lift which is now employing not only employees of Samson Enterprises, which is the main company, but is also using a lot of local contractors who are being brought in to service a number of vessels. A great deal of them are native vessels and also they have quite a few vessels from the Canadian Coast Guard, which is also adding a great deal to our economy and creating economic development in our community which, in this case, is located on Isle Madame.

Mr. Speaker, if we look a little bit further in our whole county, we have the Point Tupper Industrial Park, one of the most vibrant and economically important industrial parks in this province. Many people tend to confuse the industries that are located in this park with believing that they are in Port Hawkesbury and in some cases, the names of some of these industries would lead one to draw these conclusions, but the fact is that they are actually in Richmond County and we're quite pleased to host them and, more importantly, quite pleased that they pay their tax dollars to Richmond County.

Stora Enso's official name, much to my chagrin, is to call Stora Enso, Port Hawkesbury, but they are not in Port Hawkesbury, they are in Point Tupper, Richmond County. Port Hawkesbury is certainly the nearest town and many of its employees come from Port Hawkesbury, many come from Richmond, Inverness, Guysborough, Antigonish, but Stora is situated in that Point Tupper Industrial Park. As you would be aware, Mr. Speaker and members of this House, Stora has been undergoing a great deal of changes as there have been changes in the newspaper market in the last number of years. There are too many mills right now in North America producing newsprint and not enough demand to sustain the amount of mills that are in operation.

As a result of that, we see that there has been some downsizing at that facility, unfortunately, but that is one of the realities. To this day, they still maintain a workforce at the facility of over 500 people and the spinoff jobs, which include truckers, people working in the woodlots and some of the other industries that are directly impacted, make them continue to be the most important employer, I would argue not only to Richmond County, but to the Strait area and then go so far as to say the most important employer on Cape Breton Island. I would say that their payroll certainly surpasses any other payroll there is on Cape Breton Island from any one single employer.

[Page 7485]

Mr. Speaker, we are also home to Statia Terminals. Statia Terminals, which is both a loading and off-loading and a storage facility for different types of fuels. It used to be the old Gulf Oil Refinery. When that refinery was abandoned in the late 1970s, early 1980s, the holding tanks were kept in place and Statia Terminals has managed to keep those so that large tankers that are coming in from Europe are able to come into Statia and unload their fuel, it is stored and then smaller tankers come in, pick up that fuel and for the most part service the eastern seaboard of the United States. They continue to be a major employer as well and they have indicated some exciting possibilities for the future, which we hope will come through.

[2:30 p.m.]

Also Point Tupper Industrial Park is home to one of Nova Scotia Power's generating plants. Recently Nova Scotia Power undertook, I believe it was a $24 million upgrade to its wharf facilities. Prior to this, Nova Scotia Power had to have their coal unloaded in Sydney and shipped by rail to the facility; later on they decided to have the coal dropped off at Porcupine Mountain and then brought by rail over to their Point Tupper facility, but with this new wharf they can now bring the ships directly to the facility, it is off-loaded and then stored directly on-site. That's a major investment, again, that was undertaken, and we look forward to more investments from Nova Scotia Power at that particular power plant.

One of the other major employers that moved in - unfortunately they do find themselves just outside the Point Tupper Industrial Park, but they're about as close as you can get but they are within the boundaries of the Town of Port Hawkesbury - much, I'm sure, to the pleasure of Mayor Billy Joe MacLean, but EDS currently has over 400 to 500 employees, and many of those employees, I would argue more than any other county, are from Richmond County. They do certainly play an important role, it has been able to provide an important income for many families, at the same time it has helped attract a number of our youth who were considering either leaving our area or have returned to our area, who had experience working in other call centres. We hope and look forward to EDS's continued presence in the Strait area and continued growth.

One of the most exciting projects upcoming into Richmond County that many members will have heard of is the Anadarko LNG facility. I'm pleased to see an agreement was made to purchase the land in question at Bear Head, which also is part of the Point Tupper Industrial Park, and this facility is going to start construction this year. The construction alone is going to create up to 1,000 jobs and there will be approximately 40 permanent positions at that facility. It is the possibilities that come with an LNG facility that are even more exciting, not only that we have that kind of investment in infrastructure and in construction jobs, but it's some of the spinoffs, and I believe you will hear in the months and weeks ahead about some of the exciting opportunities that will come out of this facility.

[Page 7486]

I've enjoyed working with representatives of Anadarko, I look forward to working with them, and what I wish to say again is that while we can sit here as elected officials and thank government, thank business, thank everyone who was involved, what I have been saying all along is in our case who we have to thank is the community, our residents, because rather than reacting with fear and reacting without knowledge, the people of Richmond County have educated themselves, have learned what LNG was and they have embraced it.

While communities in the U.S. and the eastern seaboard have rejected it outright because of terrorists' threats and all of these other great fears they have created, the people of Richmond County have learned and have educated themselves to the point that they look forward to this type of facility and that is exactly why Point Tupper is regarded as the heavy industrial park, because we expect heavy industry to locate there so we're looking forward to that facility.

I want to take this opportunity to recognize the important work of La Picasse especially le Conseil de développment économique de la Nouvelle Écosse. I do hope that the Minister of Acadian Affairs and the Minister of Economic Development will support this organization, which for the most part has been receiving federal funds. I do hope that this organization can continue because it has done great work in our Acadian communities, and I want to certainly recognize Yvon Samson for his work on behalf of that, and I know that Edgar Samson has served, I believe, as vice-president of the board - I also know that Billy Joyce has been an employee with them as well, working with many of the youth groups in the Acadian communities to assist them towards economic development. For any member who has not yet visited La Picasse, I would encourage them to do so. It is a jewel and we're certainly very proud to have it in Richmond County.

We also have the work of community economic development groups such as Development Isle Madame Association that has been recognized internationally for their efforts. We have L'Ardoise Economic Association for Development, mainly in the Lower L'Ardoise area, and I recognize the efforts they have put in there.

I also want to recognize the Municipality of Richmond that has shown leadership in supporting economic development as much as they can. I do hope the government will review some of the restrictions in the Municipal Government Act that limits municipalities such as Richmond from playing a bigger role in economic development, because they are under strict rules and one hopes that the government is willing to review these in order to allow Richmond to continue.

Mr. Speaker, we do have challenges, and for a lot of successes that I have pointed out, unfortunately, the province has not been at the table. I think members on the government side realize that. In Richmond County, we look to ECBC, we look to HRDC and we look to the federal government, because without them, unfortunately - we do have a rep for the Department of Economic Development in the Strait area, we write him a letter, we know

[Page 7487]

what the response is going to be. No funds. That's the reality, and unfortunately the province has not been a player for a lot of the successes. I hope, in raising that, that they realize there are great success stories there that we would like them to be a part of, and I hope they will take those comments under consideration.

Mr. Speaker, I have a few minutes left, and I want to take this opportunity to say, and to publicly say, that Enterprise Cape Breton Development Corporation has been the major player in the economic revival of Richmond County. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Rick Beaton and his staff for the leadership they have shown and for being there as a partner with us and for investing in our community. I have to tell you, when I hear the mayor of CBRM continually undertaking attacks against ECBC and personal attacks against Mr. Beaton, and to say that investments have not been made, well, I invite that mayor to come to Richmond County and see how the federal government has helped us turn around our economy, how they have made investments, and how they have been there to support us in our efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have worked with Mr. Beaton, we continue to work on projects. I don't have enough time to list all of the projects that ECBC has helped us fund in Richmond County. I do hope that the province will look to Rick Beaton and ECBC as an example of where the province should be in supporting economic development for communities throughout this province, especially in Richmond County. Our communities, especially in Richmond, have not waited for the federal government or provincial government to come up with solutions, we have created our own solutions and we have brought them forward. I'm pleased with the success we have achieved.

I look forward to further success in the weeks, months and years ahead. I do hope that the province will join us and become a partner in that success, and I look forward to being able to spend at least a few more years in this House working on behalf of the people of Richmond County, so that we can continue to move forward together, as a county and as an important player in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The government has failed to hold quorum in the House. I move that the House adjourn for the day.

I believe quorum, if you check the rules, is that at the time I ask for quorum, those are the only people you count, not the people who move afterwards.

MR. SPEAKER: I'm familiar with the number for a quorum. If I could just have a moment. I'm advised by the Clerk that there is a reasonable period within which people can come into the House. As I was counting through the House, members were coming in. As I count through the House right now, I see that we do have the number for a quorum, which is 15.

[Page 7488]

I appreciate the motion, but the motion is denied.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it's my honour to stand for a few moments today and talk going into Supply. I just want to follow up on a few comments that the member for Richmond brought forward. I do want to congratulate a number of people within his community who have stepped up and worked towards making his area a better place. Of course, he did mention them as well in his speech, Edgar Samson, who did just a wonderful job of creating employment within that riding when groundfish stocks were at their lowest. He set up a company to work on crab and lobster and just set up a phenomenal company now that employs 100-some people in the riding of Richmond and I do want to congratulate him as well (Interruption) The member informs me that it's about 200 people.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. If the members are going to come in from the lounge and they may have been having conversations at an earlier time, it would be appreciated if they didn't continue the conversations when they came into the Legislature. If they're in the Legislature, this is the place for debate.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, also Herman Samson, of course, and I do want to thank Herman publicly in this House for bringing me around Arichat Harbour last summer during the Congrès Mondial Acadiens where we had the opportunity to visit one of the Tall Ships that was there and, of course, show off his area and a very proud one. So I do want to commend the member for being able to represent a riding as good as the constituency of Argyle because we do rival together in being very strong Acadian populations and being based and grounded in the fishery.

I do want to talk a little bit about the budget. I'm very proud to be part of a government that has brought forward a budget that includes such important things to me, such as our children and investments into education, investments into their health and their activity through the Office of Health Promotion. As most of you know, I am the father of two children, of course, André who is six years old and Alec is just going to be three this August. They're very active little children and I do hope that that will pursue throughout their careers, throughout their lives. Unfortunately for my sake is I probably haven't been as active as I should have been over the last 35 years. I'm trying to turn that around and I've got to say that dieting and that is not all it's cracked up to be and I think I've lost myself two or three times through the course of my career of trying to diet. So I'm hoping that the things that we are going to be bringing forward and the things that we will be teaching our children will allow them to stay fit and healthy and stay out of hospitals and those types of things throughout their lives.

[Page 7489]

I want to talk a little bit about agriculture and fisheries, if I may, for just a few moments and talk about some of the key initiatives that we are trying to bring forward in the next budget. I do want to highlight the salmon restoration project, to talk a little bit about that for a second. Of course, salmon populations, wild salmon populations in the province have been dwindling over the last number of years and, you know, we're trying to find ways to work with the federal government to bring a change in that depopulation. I think what we've been able to do is come up with a commitment on our behalf of about $500,000 to do salmon enhancements which is to work on that sports fishery, which does bring about $85 million to the province's economy and to bring in a biologist and bring in a marketing specialist, and a bit of money to work with community groups, the salmon fishing groups, to enhance habitat and do those types of things. I know the member for Inverness, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, does welcome this, as probably the most lucrative salmon run right now is, of course, the Margaree and looking at ways of helping to enhance that river, for the future populations of salmon within this province.

We also have announced a wonderful initiative in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, the AgriTECH Park in Truro. We call it the bio resources technical venture and this one here is about a $250,000 project to research new agri-food and seafood products and technologies. Basically the idea is to take the reams and reams of books and research that people have been doing throughout the years - I've said this on a number of occasions as well, this province is based on R and D, on research and development, but yet it seems that we never get to the development part. And I think that's what this piece does, is it finds marketable products so that we can add value to our seafood, to our agricultural products, within this province and try to build it for the future.

[2:45 p.m.]

Also in our budget, we talked about the Orchard Renewal Project, which is a $235,000 project to assist the apple growers within the Province of Nova Scotia, to help them replant, to take acreage within this province that has been neglected over a number of years, to put in new varieties of apples, apples that are going to grow better, so you get better yields, and of course apples that sell at a higher price, ones that you can sell more on the fresh market and get a better price for them. So it does add value, again, of economic development throughout this province.

I do want to talk about Argyle for a moment. Of course, the Region of Argyle, the constituency of Argyle is a relatively small one, with about 9,000 souls in it, basically building around a number of francophone communities, a number of Acadian communities, mixed in, of course, with a number of English communities as well. So it's a very vibrant area based, basically, on the fishery. So when one thing doesn't go quite right, the whole riding doesn't go quite right.

[Page 7490]

Right now I have to say that the riding has been doing wonderfully. I do want to talk about the lobster fishery in my area, that is, of course, going to be coming to a close in about a month's time, the end of May, so I guess that's about in two weeks' time that the fishery will come to an end. We had a really hard start to the fisheries back in December, where the landings were low, the quality of the lobster was low, and, really, the landings were low simply because the weather was just so bad that the fishermen were not able to get out and check their traps and do their work there.

So what we're seeing now is finally a pickup to the end of the season. We're still seeing a good price for lobster, and we're seeing good-quality lobster coming in. So we're hoping that a lot of our tank houses will be able to buy this product and hold it for better prices throughout the Summer. We're very hopeful on that.

The other thing that it does is that because we had sort of a slow start, there are a number of things that fall in place. A lot of the fishermen haven't been ordering new boats, and those types of things. I have six different boat shops within my riding, Wedgeport Boats, LeBlanc Brothers Boatbuilding, Camille d'Eon Boatbuilders, Jimmy d'Entremont, R. Belliveau Construction, and, of course, Goreham 45. These guys have been having a hard time lately because they haven't been getting the orders. They employ, probably each of them, up to 50 people each, if not more, in some cases. I'm very hopeful that the end of this season will be good, and the orders will pick up and all these enterprises will be working throughout the Summer and into the new year, as well.

I do want to talk a little bit about yesterday. Yesterday, we were able to attend the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation Gala, which was a fundraising event in Yarmouth, at the Grand Hotel, where a number of us got to wear tuxedos and our wives got to wear gowns, which is something that happens all the time in Yarmouth County. It was a wonderful opportunity to sit and see people and talk. We had Bruce Rainnie there, the supper hour news anchor from Prince Edward Island. Not a Yarmouth native, but a guy who spent a number of years working in radio in Yarmouth. It was great to see Bruce back in the riding, back in Yarmouth to do that, with his wife, Kendra MacGillivray, who got to play some fiddle. She didn't tell any jokes, of course, about the member for Inverness. Apparently, they know each other quite well. On some other day, I'm hoping to have a chat with her and find out some great things about Inverness and about the member for Inverness.

The MRI was a project, of course, that the honourable Minister of Natural Resources and I had been able to sit down and really put our teeth in and lobby the Minister of Health to make sure that Yarmouth was one of the sites that would get an MRI. We're very happy that announcement happened a number of months back. The hospital foundation, which is just a great bunch, the president, Dave Arenburg just really stepped up to the plate. So far, they have been able to raise almost $500,000 towards the purchase of that MRI. Last night we were able to raise, at this gala, about $24,000. Like I said, it was a wonderful night where we

[Page 7491]

had a number of options to buy tickets, to have a silent auction, to have a live auction on a number of items there. So I'm very proud to have participated in that last evening.

I just also want to say, coming up - if anyone in this House from Sou'West and all across the province, would be interested - the Jody Shelley Golf for Health happens on July 8th, which is a golf tournament. I do invite other members to visit Yarmouth and help out our cause.

Last Summer, I believe, I was lucky enough to host Cabinet and our caucus in Argyle, Yarmouth County. We were able to visit le musee Acadien, we were able to visit le village historic de la Nouvelle-Écosse, we were able to also visit the Argyle Township Historical and Geological Society and of course, the Tusket Courthouse and Jail. After that I was very pleased to announce on behalf of the Minister of Economic Development investment in their project of $50,000 to rebuild the neighbouring church which they're going to be turning into more of the genealogical section and then converting the jail into a real museum. A wonderful project that's going on there.

I can talk all day about the constituency of Argyle and all the great people that I have the honour to represent. In the means of time - I know I'm coming close to my time, but I do want to thank the House today for allowing me this time to stand up and talk about my constituency. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[2:51 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Daniel Graham in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

"Therefore be it resolved that the Hamm Government urge the Nova Scotia Conservative MPs - Peter MacKay, Gerald Keddy and Bill Casey - to put their partisan interests aside and put Nova Scotia's interests first and support the Atlantic Accord."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 7492]

ATLANTIC ACCORD: N.S. MPs - SUPPORT URGE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise tonight in late date. I can say it's my first opportunity during this session to be able to speak on late debate, and I cannot think of a more pressing matter to be able to raise this evening than the issue of the situation that is going on at the federal level in Ottawa and, more importantly, the significant possible consequences that our province could face if the federal budget is not passed.

Mr. Speaker, now I could take my 10 minutes, be completely partisan, attack the government and bang my fists, but we've used this session on a number of occasions, at least two, possibly three, at least a third today, to ask the Premier to stand up for Nova Scotians. You have to ask yourself, why would the Liberals be asking the Premier to stand up for Nova Scotians, he's the Premier who apparently was the wonderful negotiator who got us this great Atlantic Accord that's going to bring us $830 million. The Premier's convinced that his work is done.

The problem is, like that famous line in the movie, show me the money, that's what Nova Scotians are saying, as well, because it is not a done deal. We know now that without the passage of that federal budget come next Thursday, May 19th, it comes into question whether Nova Scotians will ever see the $830 million. Now, my question today to the Premier was, why are you rolling the dice? Why are you taking that chance? I know the Premier probably means well, but I don't buy that he's as naive as what he would have us believe, in that he believes a letter from Stephen Harper and a letter from Jack Layton and letter from Paul Martin are sufficient to convince him that he should remain silent during this most important time for our province, because it will be passed by whoever gets in office.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if there's one thing we've learned and one thing this Premier has learned, you can have all the greatest of intentions when you're in Opposition, once you get in government, a lot of those great intentions aren't so easy to comply with. Now we've shown this session, time and time again, that in 1999, this Premier had all the answers. He told us he could fix health care, he told us he would not add to the debt, he told us he would fix education. Six years later, he's had to admit to us that he hasn't been able to keep those commitments. He's trying, and it's still going to take some time, but they're clearly not met.

So if anyone should know the risk of commitments made prior to an election and being able to live up to them in a timely fashion - that's the other here, the Premier has presented a budget that has significant elements of that accord in his budget. He needs that federal budget passed and the accord passed prior to April 2006, or this government has two options, make significant changes in their budget or borrow more money. Those are the options.

[Page 7493]

We've asked the Premier, and this is the same Premier who called on all Nova Scotia MPs, all Nova Scotia MLAs to support his Campaign for Fairness, and I believe he did get support. We had some issues with some of the approach, the fact that he was refusing to sign a deal, and we now know that the deal that was initially presented, the formula at least that was agreed to, never changed. What did change was the price of gas, and that obviously brought higher revenues to the province. The formula, the equation that was used, never changed from the first offer that was made, the infamous $630 million. That didn't change at all but the price of gas changed, and actually there was an increase in that price.

We're left now with a situation where while all Nova Scotia MPs supported the accord, now there are at least three Nova Scotia MPs who don't support the budget. How ironic that it's the three Conservative MPs who don't support the budget. Those three MPs alone can determine the fate of whether this budget passes or not. We saw the situation with the votes this week. It was 153, the combined Opposition, to 150, the combined Liberal Party and the NDP and the Independents. Our three Nova Scotians make the difference, yet the Premier has remained silent and refuses to tell them to put Nova Scotia first. You've been elected by Nova Scotians to represent Nova Scotians in Ottawa. Set aside your partisan politics, look at our interests first. After the budget, if there's a motion of non-confidence, do as you have to do, if there's an election, then fine, at least the budget has passed, yet the Premier has remained silent. Had he spoken up, he had nothing to lose because maybe they wouldn't have listened to him, then at least he could have told Nova Scotians I tried to convince them, but they didn't listen to me. Maybe the budget would not have passed and he could have said well at least I did everything I could to have it passed, it didn't work, I did my best.

He can't say that. His silence prevents him from being able to say that. Why he would want to base all of his hard work that took place on this, all of the hopes of Nova Scotians, his own legacy as a Premier, on three MPs is beyond me - and with all due respect, anyone who is putting their faith in Peter MacKay is boggling to me, knowing his own recent history with keeping his own word, yet that's what the faith of Nova Scotia hinges on.

We gave the Premier an opportunity to be able to stand up and say I want them to think of Nova Scotia first, I want that budget passed. Last week he could have done it, he could have done it this week. Instead, what did it take? Today all over the news, Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador said, it's time to put partisanship aside, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador come first - even though I'm a Progressive Conservative I am calling upon all MPs in Newfoundland and Labrador to support the budget and to put the people of Newfoundland and Labrador first.

That's what we've asked the Premier to do here. Instead we remain silent. I watched on CBC Newsworld prior to the House opening today, they had Norman Hearn - I think that's his name, there's a Doyle and a Hearn - it was the Hearn gentleman, the MP from Newfoundland . . .

[Page 7494]

AN HON. MEMBER: No, it's Loyola Hearn.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Loyola Hearn - well what's the other one? Norman Doyle, is it? It must have been Norman Doyle, that's who it was. The bigger man with the greyish hair, it was him. There was Andy Savoie for the Liberals and he kept on with the line that if it doesn't pass this time, it'll pass later. Well, throw into that equation what we know in Nova Scotia is that our Premier has told us, each week that goes by, we lose $1 million.

Let's say the government falls, the federal budget doesn't pass, and that deal gets passed in the Fall, we won't recoup the $1 million a week we lost. If there's one person in this House I would think who would value what we could do with $1 million a week, it would be the Minister of Finance. He certainly knows the importance $1 million a week could bring. Wouldn't he love to be able to go around this province handing it out to different groups and different communities - $1 million a week. It's not necessarily in the budget so maybe he could actually go and hand this out. That's not there.

Rather than standing in my place and simply attacking the government, I'm at a loss. I would have hoped in the reply that possibly the Premier would speak and indicate why he's willing to put his faith in such a current, unstable environment.

The other thing I want to address - I'm sure the Premier would never intentionally mislead this House - when he does talk about having severed the Atlantic Accord from the budget, we now know that in order to do that it requires unanimous consent of the House of Commons. There's one Party in the House of Commons that would not have allowed that to happen and it's the separatists, the Bloc Québécois - they've said it from day one.

So for Peter MacKay or the Premier or anyone else to continue to suggest had it been severed from the budget, we could have voted as a stand-alone measure, it couldn't be done. They would have had to bring in a whole new budget and a whole separate bill just for the Atlantic Accord - basically start from scratch. That couldn't be done. This government, during its days of a majority, when we in Opposition we asked them to separate stuff out of bills - the Justice Administration Act, for example, that had all sorts of stuff in it, most of it good, a few things we objected to - we said how about severing it? We got laughed at. Yet to hear the Premier now say that in Ottawa it should be done, well I think there's a bit of hypocrisy in that.

I'm hoping with this that the Premier will show leadership, the leadership that Danny Williams has shown, put the interests of Nova Scotians first - let's not roll the dice. We have child care money we now know today that could also be coming from that budget - let's not take any chances. Let's make sure this budget passes next Thursday. What happens after that we will deal with, but we will know, the Minister of Finance will know that his money is coming in. The Minister of Community Services, who in the last few days has been praying for the budget to pass - there should be no need for prayers, let's ask our three MPs for the

[Page 7495]

Conservative Party to put Nova Scotians first, put their constituents first and help us work towards the best interests of Nova Scotians. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak, and I guess I'm just overwhelmed with the unmitigated gall of the Liberal Party to bring forth a resolution like this, to criticize our Premier, or to criticize our Conservative MPs who historically have shown support for this offshore accord, it's just beyond me.

Mr. Speaker, I remember very clearly in this House in the first four years when I was elected, I remember the Premier's lonely crusade to get this money out of the federal government, to get this agreement signed. I remember the lack of support from the Liberal Party, the deafening silence at times, the criticism, as has been referenced by the Premier this morning, when the member for Clare criticized the Premier for what he was doing and called the Campaign for Fairness a waste of time. I remember it was a postcard campaign, do you remember when we tried to get Maritimers across the country writing postcards to convince the federal government to sign this accord? The Liberal Party mocked us, they mocked us and they made fun of us.

I remember the member back there, the member for Glace Bay, he was mocking us I remember it very clearly and the Premier shouldered on, Mr. Speaker, he shouldered on, he didn't let this criticism, he didn't let this lack of support from the Liberal Party, he didn't let the deafening silence, or the outspoken criticism that he was wasting his time, that he wasn't doing anything, he didn't let the heckling from the member over there - because I remember him heckling the Premier at times. Do you remember that? The Minister of Finance remembers. He didn't let that dissuade him, he shouldered on to get an agreement on the offshore accord, he continued on.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot let my opponents' ignorance, however vast and prejudice, my own knowledge however small. I remember the deafening silence, I remember the criticisms. I remember the fact that there was no support whatsoever from the Liberal Party, I remember it very, very clearly, and then more recently when we were involved in these protracted negotiations. I remember very clearly that there were Liberal MPs in Newfoundland who were supporting us, supporting, willing to vote against their government, but were there any Liberal MPs in Nova Scotia willing?

There wasn't one, was there? Was Scott Brison there? He voted with the federal government against the motion that the Conservative Party put forward in support of getting this agreement. So Mr. Brison wasn't there for the people of Nova Scotia, Mr. Thibault wasn't there for the people of Nova Scotia, Mr. Eyking wasn't there for the people of Nova Scotia. Mr. Cuzner wasn't there for the people of Nova Scotia, Mr. Regan wasn't there for the people of Nova Scotia, they voted against this. There wasn't a single one of them from

[Page 7496]

the Liberal Party who were there, not one Liberal MP, while our Conservative MPs were in Ottawa demanding, pushing the federal government, getting their Leader Stephen Harper to push Mr. Martin to sign an agreement. The Minister of Energy will be speaking later and he was intimately involved with those negotiations and he will recall them and he will be able to speak about them.

More recently when we were willing, the Conservative members along with the New Democratic Party supported them, said let's sever this off and vote on it, it should never have been in the budget in the first place, as the member mentioned to me, or the accord should have passed right away, but Mr. Martin wanted to package this all up, of course. Well, let's vote on it separately and the New Democratic Party supported the Conservatives in that. They were willing to stand up for Nova Scotians. Where were the Liberal MPs? They were against this, they weren't willing to do anything and now at the last moment when Mr. Martin is rising, as the columnist Don Martin has said, the force of 2003 has become the farce of 2005, when he's rising and trying to survive and trying to buy everybody's vote that he can, all of a sudden the member for Richmond gets up to make this insipid resolution.

It's just the unmitigated gall, Mr. Speaker. I asked for permission to speak from the minister because I remember those four years, I sincerely do. I'm perhaps being a little over the top here, but I do remember the Premier's lonely fight and their lack of support and their criticism and I find it appalling that they would put such a resolution before the House when our Conservative MPs all supported the Premier and it was their work and the work of our Premier in combination with that of Mr. Harper that ensured this accord. I've taken too much of the time. I will let the minister continue on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I too am very pleased on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia and the Progressive Conservative Government to stand and speak to this debate as was presented by the Liberal caucus. I have to say it's very ironic, bizarre and almost as dumbfounded as the Liberals were when we actually accomplished this, what they said for four years could not be done, did not support, would not support, could not support, because they couldn't even realize what it was our offshore was all about in the first place.

[6:15 p.m.]

We have the Liberals standing up in this House suggesting that all the riches from the Sable Offshore were the Liberals took responsibility, and all the burdens of the offshore are regulatory, Conservative ones. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that if the offshore evolved under a Liberal watch, it was under Liberal regulation as well, and we're trying to make the best of what Liberal deals were before. That's exactly what the Campaign for Fairness was, the government taking control of Liberal ineptitude, and for this Progressive Conservative

[Page 7497]

Government to take hold of our destiny and our future, to help stabilize what those royalties and revenues would mean for the people of this province by going and taking such a leadership stance as the Premier of this province did, to put $830 million against the debt of this province. That is leadership that everyone in this country has heralded as being responsible.

Mr. Speaker, the member for Richmond will get up and try to convince, somehow, that Liberal math is that $640 million is equal to $830 million. Well, he can try and talk about a formula, I was there, I know the numbers and the basis upon which $830 million was, and it has nothing to do with what that member was talking about earlier in this Chamber. Really, the reason he doesn't know about that is they never engaged themselves. They never cared enough to support the Premier's Campaign for Fairness. They cared enough to ridicule it, they cared enough to knock it down rather than build up the basis of what would makes a stronger Nova Scotia.

But, thankfully, the people of Nova Scotia saw through what the Liberals' ineptitude and inability was and put their faith in Premier John Hamm and this government to move forward. That's exactly what we've done, and we've received support from other members of this House. We've received support from the New Democratic Party in this House. We've received support from those members. But part of what is eluding the reality here is the premise upon which this motion even comes up. It's totally out of context to where we started.

Mr. Speaker, the member over there would argue that somehow our request, and the request to the federal Conservatives to remove the offshore portion could not be done, that we shouldn't do that, that the federal Liberal Government could not remove that portion, it just could not be done. Well, it seems to me we're fighting over a budget where the federal Liberal Government took out $4.5 billion out of the budget on request from another Party, just to get political support for it. Well, we have political support for that accord, we've had a national debate on that accord, we had a budget before the House of Commons, based upon that accord incorporated in it, that accord has never come forward for a vote. That is the problem.

Mr. Speaker, we're dealing with timing and the reality is the Atlantic Accord, the Nova Scotia Offshore Accord has been before the House of Commons, the Conservatives have dealt with it no less than 39 times, on their feet, as a discussion topic in the House of Commons, and there was the opportunity. It is still not on the docket for a budget vote to put it to the test even in its entirety. So if people wanted to, if the will of Parliament were truly there, this would actually not be a forward issue of what is going to be voted on, it could have been voted on, it should have been voted on, and we should not even be having this debate in this House tonight. All we're doing, at the end of the day, is starting to point fingers across every political line possible, rather than seizing the opportunity that was given to us, and that

[Page 7498]

was the consensus we were able to achieve within this region with another province, with our federal government.

I was happy to laud, and I still believe in the foundation upon which we negotiated the offshore deal. Somehow, in these debates, and we can get, rightfully so, impassioned about what's going on, we have to put that aside. At the end of the day, there's a decision with regard to what should have been happening with the budget. We've seen in our own Chamber, in this House of the people, that we've seen procedure potentially tie up a process. Well, we have to work our way through the procedures of this House, and I think we will for the betterment of the budget for Nova Scotia. I call upon the Government of Canada to work through the procedures of their House and get on with the priorities of all Canadians, which includes the priorities of Nova Scotians and our rightful desire to have our $830 million. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, normally, there's virtually nothing that would unite members of this House like the prospect of receiving money from Ottawa. Indeed, that isn't unique to Nova Scotia. I think it's probably something that would unite members of every Legislature in every province in Canada. In fact, we're seeing demonstrations of it right now as other provinces attempt to follow in the footsteps of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia and work out their own particular agreements with the federal government in a vulnerable moment and yet we're not united on this. When this motion or resolution comes before us this evening for debate, I think what we find is that all Parties in this House have different views on the core issue.

We've heard different views expressed by the speakers so far, representing two Parties, and I'm going to add I think another perspective to this. To a certain extent I have to say I agree with the position put by my colleague or friend, the member for Richmond, and yet of course it's not the whole story. I've heard what I think are also sensible observations from the members on the government side and yet I think at its core we have to recognize that so messy has the politics in Ottawa become that even to engage in a discussion of what it is that's going on in Ottawa and how it can relate to us, it tarnishes us all. It's a messy situation.

As soon as we embrace in any way, or attempt to have an opinion in any way on what should have happened, could happen, what's desirable, what's not desirable, it's a morass. There's nothing good in any of the situations in Ottawa and it's causing us all I think a serious problem as soon as we begin to engage in that. The reason for this is that the incumbent government in Ottawa, the Liberal Party, has not done the right thing with respect to the Atlantic Accord, with respect to how it has handled its budget, with respect to how it has treated all members in Parliament, but it's equally the case that the Opposition in Ottawa, the Official Opposition in Ottawa, has been doing nothing except positioning itself for its own advantage and all the rest of us are pawns in the game that's being played there.

[Page 7499]

I don't know why it is that I heard one of the government members here refer to them as our Conservative Members of Parliament because I don't think that there is such a coherence of world view between the members in the government here and the members in what I think can only be called the Conservative/Reform/Alliance Party in Ottawa. I think we have to remember, and I hope the members opposite remember, that the agenda of the Official Opposition in Ottawa is not necessarily co-extensive with the agenda that they might have in mind here in Nova Scotia. I, for one, certainly hope it is not the same agenda and I think we have to remind ourselves that that Party, the Official Opposition in Ottawa, could in fact have it both ways. They could both pass the federal budget now, including the Atlantic Accord, including of course the revisions to that budget that were forced upon the Liberal Government by the NDP that will result in more money coming to our province here for particularly good things - child care, education and housing.

The Opposition in Ottawa could pass that budget, including all those things now, and still have a non-confidence motion very quickly after that if they wanted. The issue for them is purely one of timing. It's not so much this budget, it's a question of when there will be a federal election. Because, of course, there will be a federal election. The Prime Minister has said there will be an election next January. Maybe he didn't say January, he said a month after Gomery reports, so it will be approximately January. There is going to be a federal election before a year is out. That will be about a year and a half after the 2004 federal election. There is going to be a federal election within a reasonable time frame.

It could have even been earlier. The Opposition, if they had the votes, could probably force a non-confidence, after the budget, in June or July or they could do it again in the early Fall. The issue is that they seem to want the election right now. Right now. That's because they think - and I would say they think incorrectly - that they're going to win that election. They're just wrong. They're absolutely wrong if that's what they think. You know what? Even if it turns out the federal Liberals drop in terms of their numbers of seats and the federal Conservative/Reform/Alliance goes up in terms of their numbers of seats and it's about the same, maybe the Conservative/Reform/Alliance might even edge out the federal Liberals - although I don't think so - even if they do that, they're still not going to be the government.

We have seen here in our province - and we have to remind ourselves - the constitutional convention is that in a minority situation, whoever was the government before the election is still the government after the election. So it's well worth remembering that. In other words, Mr. Harper is not going to be the Prime Minister after the next election. It just isn't going to happen. It's not in the cards.

Now, there is a lot yet to come. I think that this motion calls upon the three Members of Parliament who are from Nova Scotia, who belong to that Conservative/Reform/Alliance Party to desert their Party in the strategic moment - strategic from the perspective of Mr. Harper - and to do something that would benefit Nova Scotians. They're not going to do it. We know they're not going to do it. One merely has to look at the way, for example, Member

[Page 7500]

of Parliament Peter MacKay has behaved at the crucial moments in his political life - let's remember his deal with David Orchard. What a sap that David Orchard was, but what a dishonourable member Peter MacKay was. I don't think we're going to get anything that's going to help the people of Nova Scotia out of that member or out of the two other Conservative/Reform/Alliance Members of Parliament that this motion is addressed to.

Do you know what? Going back to the point I made a little while ago, we had better get used to the fact there is going to be probably an extended period of minority governments in the federal Parliament of Canada. This is so because we have fragmented ourselves into regional blocks. There's a Western block, there's a Quebec block, there's an Ontario block and who knows where Atlantic Canada is? We're trying to cover all of our bases here. With any luck, we'll manage to survive. But that's going to be the hard fact of life in Ottawa for a number of years.

The art of minority government is something they could probably learn if they were to watch how we operate here sometimes. In general, if we are able to consult regularly, as we do, and make things work as we occasionally do, we've had a number of minority governments here, some have been more successful than others, but we've tried our best and we're going to continue to find our best to work out agreements on items from time to time.

As I said, I don't think this motion, even if it were adopted by this House, would be followed by those members, they're caught in a squeeze. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the late debate has expired. The House will now resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Daniel Graham in the Chair.]

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

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made considerable progress in considering Supply and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham on a point of order.

[Page 7501]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, regretfully I need to ask for your intervention as the Speaker. Earlier this evening in this House during the Budget Estimates of the Minister of Community Services, the Minister of Community Services put on the public record a story he claims occurred where he had met a young homeless woman who needed help and that he had asked me to assist this woman and that I had indicated to him that I would, yet I had not provided help to this woman after I had told him I would do so. In relaying this story to the House, the minister was clearly calling into question my integrity, my honesty and my character.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to say that in telling this story the minister dragged into this equation a non-profit organization for which his department is the main funder. Perhaps it is this that troubles me more than the personal attack on my integrity and perhaps it lies outside the Speaker's ability to deal with. However, I have a very rough transcript from Hansard and I would request that you look into this violation of my privilege here in the House as a member, the assault, the personal attack on my integrity, and I ask for you to make a ruling at your earliest convenience with all due respect.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member rose on a point of order and although I'm willing to review the transcript of the proceedings during committee, the issue would not be a point of order, but I will review the (Interruption) It's not a point of order. (Interruption)

Order, please. No, until I'm finished.

The issue is not a point of order. A point of order would simply be a matter of proceedings of how the House operates. That is not a point of order. It would be more of a point of privilege. So it's not a point of order, but I will undertake to review the proceedings, as the member has requested, and report back to the House.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, it's clear that what the minister was doing in committee was, in his debate he was making comments, comments that impugned the motive of the member and brought into question the integrity of the member. It's pretty clear from the precedents, in my understanding of this House, and in others, that that is a debate and, therefore, it's a question of order, but it's fine, if you're going to look at it as a matter of privilege, that's fine.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I just want it on the record though, it's not a point of order. It's not a point of order. The honourable member has asked me to review the transcript of the proceedings of the House and I will do that and report back to the House.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7502]

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 191.

Bill No. 191 - Municipal Law Amendment (2005) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, I would like to move second reading of this bill. This bill has to do with the business occupancy tax. It has been supported by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. So on behalf of the minister, I'm pleased to move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to see this bill come forward because, as most of us in this House know, the business occupancy tax has been a long time going and we will hope that this is in fact that which will escort it on its way. Nova Scotia is the last province to keep the business occupancy tax and I know that when I look around my constituency and I look at those buildings which are more effective to keep empty than it is to impose a business occupancy tax, I at least feel that this will be a good move towards a more efficient, comprehensible and fair system of property taxation.

[7:30 p.m.]

It is important that we keep the concept of property taxation linked, in fact, to the property and not to a variety of other considerations, and having taxes imposed by several different entities in order to achieve exactly the same goal. With that, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to seeing this bill move forward to debate in the Law Amendments Committee.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this bill, again, is a bill that's important for this municipality, and important, I think, for a number of stakeholders who are out there wanting to see something happen in this regard. There remains the question, though, as to whether or not this bill is going to attract any interest at the Law Amendments Committee. It would be very interesting to see - at first blush, the bill looks like it's going to meet with widespread support, but I would like to see this bill go to the Law Amendments

[Page 7503]

Committee and be well advertised, by the way, that it's going to the Law Amendments Committee. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to go to that committee and express their concerns, if any, on this particular bill. We certainly would like to get it out of the House here, on to the Law Amendments Committee, and see who shows up there.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable members for their participation in this debate, and I move this bill for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 191. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 198.

Bill No. 198 - Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to introduce this bill for second reading. This bill is the amendment to the Bridge Commission Act. It hasn't been amended since 1952. This will allow the Bridge Commission to further expand their MACPASS sales, it will allow them to provide better service to their customers. Also, it continues to speak about the need for safety and efficiency on the bridges. With that, I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I'll be somewhat brief on this piece of legislation, as well. As I know, and my colleagues know, this will be going across this floor and into the Red Room for the Law Amendments Committee. Hopefully some people will come to the Law Amendments Committee to make comment on this bill, but I don't believe that that's going to happen on any large scale.

[Page 7504]

What I want to bring to the attention of the presenter of this bill is that it also allows the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission to expand transportation projects into building bridge tunnels and fixed crossings, and actually can look at the Northwest Arm as a bridge structure. Then, after that is completed, to set up the tolling mechanism whereby they will generate the charge fee that will offset the cost of any construction and so on, and the operating and maintenance costs of them.

The other area that really concerns me, as well, Mr. Speaker, is that their expertise can be farmed out to other private entities. If, in fact, a private road construction or development were to take place with respect to the electronic mechanism and charging of fees and tolls, it can be sold to those individuals and in turn be paid back to the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission.

So, in effect, what can happen is a private developer can build a road here and yet the Bridge Commission has the responsibility of setting the toll and regulatory fees with respect to extracting the revenues from that. I just want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the mover of this piece of legislation, I am watching, I'm watching very closely, and I do know that there is potential to build a Burnside Drive extension. Thank you.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we too will be watching this very closely. As of tonight we support the bill, sending it on to the Committee on Law Amendments and hopefully there will be some debate there. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the members for the interventions. Indeed, this change to the Bridge Commission is the first one in 50 years; it's something worth watching because the Bridge Commission is doing such a good job. I'm sure all the members will have a great interest as this goes through. With that, I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 198. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7505]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 205.

Bill No. 205 - Securities Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move second reading of Bill No. 205. The bill's amendments include changing definitions and penalties that will harmonize the Securities Act with those of other Canadian provinces and will improve the commission's power of compliance and enforcement, allowing the Securities Commission staff, with prior written authorization by the commission, to enter the business premises of the person or company who's being examined and obtain information about their financial business affairs necessary for the enforcement of Nova Scotia's securities laws and increasing the administrative penalty that the commission may impose from $100,000 to $500,000.

The bottom line, the government is committed to investor protection and these amendments will ensure the highest standards are maintained and will ensure they continue to be effective and consistently applied. Possibly the member for Halifax Chebucto will have regained his confidence in the system and may actually buy some mutual funds. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: I too look forward to seeing this move forward to the Committee on Law Amendments. This bill is obviously one which is a companion piece to the bill introduced earlier, all of which is aimed at tidying up. I'm delighted to see that it raises penalties for contraventions to the Securities Act and I would echo the minister's comments that one of the things this does look to is the search provisions. I hope that that will, in fact, be examined as closely as it should be in the Committee on Law Amendments since that is an expansion of current powers.

As I say, I look forward to seeing this come forward to the Committee on Law Amendments.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: As with the other two bills that were presented here this evening, we are generally in support of this particular bill. Again, we'd like to see the bill move on to the Committee on Law Amendments and come back to the House for the Committee of the Whole House on Bills at the earliest opportunity. Thank you.

[Page 7506]

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

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. KERRY MORASH: I thank the members opposite for their comments. I'm very pleased to close debate on Bill No. 205.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 205. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 206.

Bill No. 206 - Camp Hill Foundation Act/Victoria General Hospital Foundation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: On behalf of the Minister of Health, I move second reading of Bill No. 206. It is an administrative bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 206. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: This morning a bill was introduced in the House, Bill No. 208, the Workers' Compensation Act. Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to move it onto the order paper.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7507]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 208.

Bill No. 208 - Workers' Compensation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move second reading of Bill No. 208, the Workers' Compensation Act. This will change the structure of the Workers' Compensation Board of Directors. It will eliminate two non-voting positions, and it will raise the voting positions from six to eight, four employer and four employee seats. There will no longer be any representatives, public at large. This is a bill that there has certainly been discussion with the other Parties, and I've appreciated their interventions along the way. I look forward to this bill moving through the House. I would like to move second reading at this point in time.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I, too, agree with the Minister of Environment and Labour on this. We look forward to this moving through the House. We realize this is a bill on governance. People may say that we don't answer enough questions, government or Opposition, regarding Dorsey, but I think this is a fundamental tenet of Dorsey, that certainly once we get a governance model that all stakeholders can accept, and I believe that's what the minister alluded to, that this is a model that all stakeholders agree to, and once we get that governance in place, I think it will go a long way to moving the WCB forward, and inscribing in legislation other sections of Dorsey. Personally, and with the support of my Party, we look forward to moving this bill on, hopefully to enactment, so we can help move the WCB forward.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we certainly are generally in support of this bill. We've had a meeting regarding some of the implications of the bill, and we've conducted some meetings with some stakeholders in regard to this particular bill. We would be very interested to see, at the Law Amendments Committee part of this process, whether or not there are people out there who have some difficulty with the bill. Hopefully the bill will get through the House, because we think it's a step forward in the governance of that particular board.

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

[Page 7508]

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the comments from the members opposite. This is something that did move forward with a large stakeholder public consultation process, and we feel confident that the majority of stakeholders are in favour of the bill. With that, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 208.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 208. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that completes the government business for today. I move the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit until we have four hours of Supply completed, and then the House will rise. I now move that the House adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 9:00 a.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

[The House rose at 7:43 p.m.]

[Page 7509]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3973

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

À une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que la lieutenante-gouverneure Myra Freeman a présenté un prix à Brittany Lowe de Tangier, âgée de 14 ans, pour sa rédaction de 600 mots portant sur le patrimoine canadien et rédigée en français; et

Attendu que tous les élèves de 7, 8 et 9 année de la province étaient admissibles au concours �Prêt à écrire�, et que ce concours étaint parrainé par l'Université Sainte-Anne et organisé par le chapitre de la Nouvelle-Écosse de Canadian Parents for French;

Attendu que Brittany Lowe est une élève de 9 année de l'école Duncan MacMillan High School et qu'elle est très fière de ses accomplissements;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette assemblée félicitent Brittany Lowe d'avoir reçu ce prix et de son engagement envers l'importance du patrimoine canadien.

RESOLUTION NO. 3974

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 East Jeddore native, Adrienne Power, has won every 300 metre race in her university career at Dalhousie; and

Whereas at a recent Atlantic Canadian University Conference she was named top athlete and top female track athlete of Canadian Inter-university Sport; she was also named Dalhousie's female athlete of the year where she broke an 18-year-old record in both the 60 metre sprint and the 300 metre race, giving her the 19th fastest time in the world; and

Whereas this record-breaking sprinter also excels in the classroom, having captured the Eaton Foundation Scholarship awarded to the student who maintains the highest average in business marketing and marketing research;

[Page 7510]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Adrienne Power on her outstanding achievements and wish her continued success on the fast track in her sprinting and academic career.

RESOLUTION NO. 3975

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas Sophia Harris was chosen Top Video Journalist in Atlantic Canada for 2004 at the 24th Annual Atlantic Journalism Awards held at the Delta Fredericton in late April; and

Whereas Sophia was chosen for her show of work, which can be seen often on the CBS supper hour news for Nova Scotia hosted weekday evenings by Norma Lee MacLeod; and

Whereas Sophia's work of late included a report on the Yarmouth Memorial Club, now in its 20th year of operation;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature congratulate CBC video journalist, Sophia Harris, for her exceptional work and wish her every continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3976

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas students from the Yarmouth Judo and Karate Association recently participated in a Nova Scotia Provincial Karate Tournament in Halifax; and

Whereas in the Black Belt Division, Vivek Prabhu placed first in three respective classes, and Clinton Prime had a first place and two third place finishes; in the Brown Belt Division, Zack Everest placed second in two different competitions; in the Purple Belt competition, Jay Horton had a first and a third place finish in two competitions; while Neeton Prabhu had a first and second place finish in the Yellow Belt Division; and

Whereas at the end of the day, Cristin Muise received her second level Purple Belt; Sarah Amero took home her Yellow Belt; and Regan Trask received his Orange Belt; all for passing their Kyu test;

[Page 7511]

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend the Yarmouth Judo and Karate Association for their tremendous showing at the Nova Scotia Yarmouth Provincial Tournament and Grading Competition and wish them every continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3977

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas the Yarmouth Tae kwon do Club recently saw 10 members participate in the Maritime Open Martial Arts Championships held in Amherst one month ago; and

Whereas the 10 members under the direction and training of Randy Muise saw them bring home a total of 25 medals - eight gold, eight silver and nine bronze; and

Whereas Alec Rodgerson won three gold and a bronze medal; Devin Madden took home a gold, a silver and two bronze medals; Travis Goodman captured a gold, silver and bronze medal; while Bailey Cameron, Sam Flynn, and Minna Stewart all won a gold and silver medal respectively; with Brooke Cameron winning a pair of silvers; Evan Oxner a silver and a bronze; while Chelsea Vallillee and Katie Babin both won a pair of bronze medals;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend the Yarmouth Tae kwon do Club for their tremendous showing at the Maritime Open Martial Arts Championships and wish them every continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3978

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas hardworking provincial volunteer award recipients have now been named for every town and municipal unit across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Helen Goodwin, for her outstanding volunteer work, is the Town of Yarmouth's nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Helen's contribution to her community in an array of activities has been one of total commitment, from volunteering in the Yarmouth Regional Hospital's gift shop, to being an active member of the Yarmouth North Baptist Church and the church's ladies

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auxiliary, while also serving as one of two public education volunteers for the Yarmouth area with the Alzheimer's Society of Nova Scotia, demonstrates the tremendous commitment Helen has made and is still making to her community on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Helen Goodwin from the Town of Yarmouth for her outstanding community leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 3979

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas hardworking provincial volunteer award recipients have now been named for every town and municipal unit across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Dan Earle, for his outstanding volunteer work, is the Municipality of Yarmouth's nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Dan's contribution to his municipality in an array of activities has been one of enjoyment and commitment, from preparing documents and presenting public testimony in an effort to protect Yarmouth's wetlands, to working toward a community gardens movement in Yarmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Dan Earle from the Municipality of Yarmouth for his outstanding community leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 3980

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

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

Whereas hardworking provincial volunteer award recipients have now been named for every town and municipal unit across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Pauline Sullivan, for her outstanding volunteer work, is the Town of Windsor's nominee for 2005; and

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Whereas Pauline's contribution to her community has been ongoing for nearly 30 years, and it has been one of total devotion, as she is presently a member of the St. John's Parish Council, having held positions as secretary, as an elected member while also being responsible for the church's grounds and gardens and being a member of the Catholic Women's League for the last 29 years, while also canvassing for an array of charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Alzheimer's Society, and is the committee chairman of the Rainbow Gift Shop at the Hants Community Hospital, and with this volunteer spirit, it only exemplifies the tremendous commitment Pauline has made and still makes to her community on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Pauline Sullivan from the Town of Windsor for her prolific community leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 3981

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

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

Whereas hardworking provincial volunteer award recipients have now been named for every town and municipal unit across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Gary McCabe, for his terrific volunteer work, is the Municipality of the District of West Hants' nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Gary's outstanding contribution to his community has been for more than three decades, as he has served three times on the executive of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 9 in Windsor, is past-chairman of the Honours and Awards Committee and one of only 26 lifetime members of the Legion, an honour bestowed on just 26 of 1,100 members, while also taking the time to be a founding member of the Windsor Sports Club and coaching minor hockey and minor and junior fastball and playing an active role in the original construction of the St. Croix recreation site ballfields, dedicating many hundreds of hours to ensure the facility met Softball Canada Standards leading Gary to chair the Grounds Crew Committee for the 1998 and 2004 Canadian Senior Men's Fast Pitch Championships and the 2000 Canadian Midget Boys Fast Pitch Championship;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature applaud Gary McCabe from the Municipality of the District of West Hants for his dedicated community leadership.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3982

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

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

Whereas hardworking provincial volunteer award recipients have now been named for every town and municipal unit across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Stephen VanBlarcom, for his outstanding volunteer work, is the Town of Hantsport's nominee for 2005; and

Whereas Stephen's contribution to his community began in his youthful years when he began playing music before turning to his love of sports and teaching important values to children such as teamwork, sportsmanship and a healthy lifestyle when coaching soccer, then basketball, hockey and track and field and now as president of the Hantsport Soccer Association for a third consecutive year while also sitting on the Hantsport Memorial Community Centre's Board of Directors and the town's Tennis Committee, and with this volunteer spirit, it only exemplifies the tremendous commitment Stephen has made and still makes to his community on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this Legislature commend Stephen VanBlarcom from Town of Hantsport for his prolific community leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 3983

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas after 29 years in business M and M Beauty Salon of Oxford will be closing its doors for the last time at the end of May 2005; and

Whereas this very successful business was started and operated in partnership by Inez Boss and the late Diane Mattinson until Diane's passing a few years ago where it continued under Inez's management; and

Whereas the success of this business is attributed to the hard work, service provided and dedication to the profession by Inez and Diane, who served the residents of Cumberland County very well for so many years;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Inez Boss on her retirement, and wish her many years of health and happiness.

RESOLUTION NO. 3984

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on May 26, 2005, many residents of Cumberland County took a major step in improving their future by graduating from the CAN-U program in Amherst, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the adult learners (the heartbeat of CAN-U) are from various backgrounds, however they share the common goals and barriers, and they have returned to class to improve their educational skills and feel good about themselves, their accomplishments and their potential; and

Whereas we are proud to include the following constituents of Cumberland South to the list of graduates of the CAN-U program, Dee Newcombe, Peter O'Brien, Lindy O'Brien, Edwina Pettis, Roger Porter and Treasure Silvea;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these and all of the students on receiving their certificates, and we wish them all the best of luck in all of their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3985

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on May 26, 2005, many residents of Cumberland County took a major step in improving their future by graduating from the CAN-U program in Amherst, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the adult learners (the heartbeat of CAN-U) are from various backgrounds, however they share the common goals and barriers, and they have returned to class to improve their educational skills and feel good about themselves, their accomplishments and their potential; and

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Whereas we are proud to include the following constituents of Cumberland South to the list of graduates of the CAN-U program, Joe Deschambault, Richard Gillis, Brian Johnson, Nancy Laundry, Jim McCarthy and Ruth McConnell;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these and all of the students on receiving their certificates, and we wish them all the best of luck in all of their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3986

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas William "Bill" Campbell, Principal of Springhill Junior/Senior High School, will retire this year after 30 years of educating as a teacher, vice-principal and principal; and

Whereas Bill, whose father was a teacher, principal and superintendent, was born and raised in Springhill and as a student there exhibited outstanding academic, athletic and leadership skills through student council, sports and cadets; and

Whereas Bill graduated and continued his education at Acadia University and received his B.A., B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees, going on to teach from 1973 until 1978, when he became vice-principal and later principal from 1980-2005, always being a visionary and working hard to improve the high school through Stay in School Programs, School Advisory Council, Occupational Preparatory Program and Teen Wellness Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate William "Bill" Campbell on his outstanding career that has touched the lives of many students, and wish him and his wife, Bonnie all the best of health and happiness in retirement.

RESOLUTION NO. 3987

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Matt Robinson of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the award for Best All Around Cadet; and

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Whereas the award was presented along with the Arnold Harrison Memorial Trophy at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Matt Robinson on this outstanding achievement, and we wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3988

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Cdt. Jacklyn Chapman of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the Best Dressed on Parade Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005 at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859, and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3989

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Cdt. Kayla Coleman of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the award for Female Physical Fitness; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005 at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

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Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859, and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3990

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas WO Matthew Robinson of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the award for Male Physical Fitness; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859, and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate WO Matthew Robinson on this outstanding achievement, and we wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3991

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Pte. Michael Mitchell of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the award for Open Marksmanship; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859, and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Pte. Michael Mitchell on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3992

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Cdt. Edward Ferguson of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the Best Dressed on Parade Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859, and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Cdt. Edward Ferguson on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3993

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sgt. Matthew Ward of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the Leadership Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sgt. Matthew Ward on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3994

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Cadet Edward Ferguson of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the LCOL Dickson Junior Marksmanship Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Cadet Edward Ferguson on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3995

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sgt. Nicholas White of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the National Star Certification Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sgt. Nicholas White on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3996

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas WO David Ferguson of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the National Star Certification Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate WO David Ferguson on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3997

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Alexander (Mackie) and Jenetta Hunter of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets were presented with an Appreciation Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the work that Alexander and Jenetta do for Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Alexander and Jenetta Hunter on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3998

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Miss Erica Steeves of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with her service pin; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3999

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas CWO Alan Ferguson of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with his service pin; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate CWO Alan Ferguson on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 4000

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sgt. Travis Spence of the 1859 Springhill Royal Canadian Army Cadets was presented with the Leadership Award; and

Whereas the award was presented on May 4, 2005, at the annual ceremonial review by Springhill Mayor Guy Brown; and

Whereas the Town of Springhill is proud of the cadets of Corps 1859 and the residents, families and friends of these young cadets are pleased that they have been honoured;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sgt. Travis Spence on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 4001

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Matt Williams of Springhill, Nova Scotia, as well as some other Springhill High School students showed his knowledge of Canada's military past; and

Whereas in the style of Reach for the Top, Matt and his teammates made their way to Sackville, Nova Scotia, to compete in A Call To Remembrance, a national competition pitting school against school; and

Whereas the Grade 8 and 9 student team worked hard in preparing for the competition that covered questions about the World Wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War, anywhere there was a Canadian soldier fighting;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Matt Williams and his teammates on taking such an interest in Canada's military past and acknowledge our pride in them for honouring our soldiers in this fashion.

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RESOLUTION NO. 4002

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Caylee Rushton of Springhill, Nova Scotia, as well as some other Springhill High School students, showed her knowledge of Canada's military past; and

Whereas in the style of Reach for the Top, Caylee and her teammates made their way to Sackville, Nova Scotia to compete in A Call To Remembrance, a national competition pitting school against school; and

Whereas the Grade 8 and 9 student team worked hard in preparing for the competition that covered questions about the World Wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War, anywhere there was a Canadian soldier fighting;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Caylee Rushton and her teammates on taking such an interest in Canada's military past and acknowledge our pride in them for honouring our soldiers in this fashion.

RESOLUTION NO. 4003

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Melissa Choisnet, Springhill, Nova Scotia, as well as some other Springhill High School students, showed her knowledge of Canada's military past; and

Whereas in the style of Reach for the Top, Melissa and her teammates made their way to Sackville, Nova Scotia, to compete in A Call to Remembrance, a national competition pitting school against school; and

Whereas the Grades 8 and 9 student team worked hard in preparing for the competition that covered questions about the World Wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War, anywhere that there was a Canadian soldier fighting;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Melissa Choisnet and her teammates on taking such an interest in Canada's military past, and acknowledge our pride in them for honouring our soldiers in this fashion.

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RESOLUTION NO. 4004

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Courtney Sauver, Springhill, Nova Scotia, as well as some other Springhill High School students, showed her knowledge of Canada's military past; and

Whereas in the style of Reach for the Top, Courtney and her teammates made their way to Sackville, Nova Scotia, to compete in A Call to Remembrance, a national competition pitting school against school; and

Whereas the Grades 8 and 9 student team worked hard in preparing for the competition that covered questions about the World Wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War, anywhere that there was a Canadian soldier fighting;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Courtney Sauver and her teammates on taking such an interest in Canada's military past, and acknowledge our pride in them for honouring our soldiers in this fashion.

RESOLUTION NO. 4005

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Luke Gallagher, Springhill, Nova Scotia, as well as some other Springhill High School students, showed his knowledge of Canada's military past; and

Whereas in the style of Reach for the Top, Luke and his teammates made their way to Sackville, Nova Scotia, to compete in A Call to Remembrance, a national competition pitting school against school; and

Whereas the Grades 8 and 9 student team worked hard in preparing for the competition that covered questions about the World Wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War, anywhere that there was a Canadian soldier fighting;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Luke Gallagher and his teammates on taking such an interest in Canada's military past, and acknowledge our pride in them for honouring our soldiers in this fashion.

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RESOLUTION NO. 4006

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Katie Wortman, of Oxford, teamed up with Steve Christie and they took home the silver medals in the Provincial Senior Mixed Doubles at the NSSAF Badminton Championship in Truro; and

Whereas the pair won six games before giving up 1st place for 2nd in the provincial final; and

Whereas Katie and Steve pulled up impressive serves throughout the championship to give them the respect of all;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Katie Wortman and Steve Christie on this outstanding achievement and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 4007

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on May 26, 2005, many residents of Cumberland County took a major step in improving their futures by graduating from the CAN-U program in Amherst, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the adult learners (the heartbeat of CAN-U) are from various backgrounds, however, they share the common goals and barriers, and they have returned to class to improve their educational skills and feel good about themselves, their accomplishments and their potential; and

Whereas we are proud to include the following constituents of Cumberland South to the list of graduates of the CAN-U program: Matthew Allen, Susan Aylward, Hazel Berry, Albert Bird, Marie Charlton and Adam Desbarres;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these and all of the students on receiving their certificates and wish them all the best of luck in all of their future endeavours.