The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04/05-104

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rpt. of the NSCC, 2004-05 - "this is nova scotia's college",
Hon. J. Muir 9444
N.S. Utility and Rev. Bd. Activity Report - (01/04/03 to 31/03/05),
Hon. K. Morash 9444
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 5065, Com. Serv.: Adoption - Consider,
Hon. D. Morse 9444
Vote - Affirmative 9445
Res. 5066, N.S. Home Builders' Assoc. - EnerGuide for New
Homes, Hon. C. Clarke 9445
Vote - Affirmative 9446
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 275, Off-highway Vehicles Act
Hon. R. Hurlburt 9446
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 5067, Firefighters - Work-Related Illness: Compensation -
Province, Mr. D. Dexter 9446
Res. 5068, Commun. Policing Office - Boularderie Elem. Sch.:
Organizers - Congrats., Mr. Gerald Sampson 9447
Vote - Affirmative 9448
Res. 5069, Stellarton NSCC: Hurricane Katrina - Fundraising,
The Premier 9448
Vote - Affirmative 9448
Res. 5070, Hayre, Bruce: Gay/Lesbian Commun. - Participation
Support, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9449
Vote - Affirmative 9449
Res. 5071, Sampson, Adriana: Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 9450
Vote - Affirmative 9450
Res. 5072, Econ. Dev.: Employment Stats - Opposition Responses,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 9450
Res. 5073, St. Margaret's Parish Hall (Grand Mira):
Commun. Ctr. - Construction, Mr. R. MacKinnon 9451
Vote - Affirmative 9452
Res. 5074, Theatre Arts Guild - Anniv. (75th),
Ms. M. Raymond 9452
Vote - Affirmative 9453
Res. 5075, Eaglestone, Ben - Can. Summer Games: Performance -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 9453
Vote - Affirmative 9454
Res. 5076, Blandford Commun. Ctr./Vol. FD - Anniv.
(20 yrs./40 yrs.), Ms. J. Streatch 9454
Vote - Affirmative 9455
Res. 5077, Shiretown Animal Hosp.: Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 9455
Vote - Affirmative 9455
Res. 5078, Educ.: Post-Secondary Investment - Consider,
Mr. H. Theriault 9456
Res. 5079, Payne, Susan - ICANS: Pres. - Appt.,
Mr. M. Parent 9456
Vote - Affirmative 9457
Res. 5080, MacNutt, Dawn: MSVU-Hon. Deg.,
Ms. M. More 9457
Vote - Affirmative 9458
Res. 5081, Florence Commun. Ctr. Soc.: Firefighters Museum
Proj. - Completion, Ms. D. Whalen 9458
Vote - Affirmative 9459
Res. 5082, Conrad, Moyal - Int'l Lumberjack Comp.: Work -
Acknowledge, Hon. K. Morash 9459
Vote - Affirmative 9460
Res. 5083, Dart. North Commun. Carnival (2005): Participants -
Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 9460
Vote - Affirmative 9461
Res. 5084, TPW: Victoria Rd./Hwy. 221 - Strengthen,
Mr. L. Glavine 9461
Res. 5085, Walsh, Joe - Can.: Commitment - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 9462
Vote - Affirmative 9462
Res. 5086, Caplan, Ron: Views From the Steel Plant - Book Launch,
Mr. G. Gosse 9462
Vote - Affirmative 9463
Res. 5087, Order of N.S.: Recipients (2005) - Congrats.,
Mr. Michel Samson 9463
Vote - Affirmative 9464
Res. 5088, Savage, Sabastian - Acadia/Univ. of Moncton Game:
Support - Echo, Hon. D. Morse 9464
Vote - Affirmative 9465
Res. 5089, CBU: Men's Rugby Team - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 9465
Vote - Affirmative 9466
Res. 5090, Samson, Michel - APF: N. American Leader - Appt.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 9466
Vote - Affirmative 9467
Res. 5091, Amherst: Communities in Bloom Comp. - Congrats.,
Hon. E. Fage 9467
Vote - Affirmative 9468
Res. 5092, Lombardi, Anne - Can. Summer Games: Performance -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 9468
Vote - Affirmative 9469
Res. 5093, Hull, Glen & Nancy: Mainline Market Sm. Bus.
Excellence Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9469
Vote - Affirmative 9470
Res. 5094, Whittle, Brenda - Cdn. Living Me to We Award,
Hon. J. Muir 9470
Vote - Affirmative 9470
Res. 5095, Sackville Rivers Assoc. - Cleanup: Vols. - Congrats.,
Hon. P. Christie 9471
Vote - Affirmative 9471
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1058, Health: Cancer Patients - Wait times,
Mr. D. Dexter 9472
No. 1059, Nat. Res. - Off-Hwy. Vehicles Policy: Yar. Reg.
Hosp. Staff - Support Document,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 9473
No. 1060, Educ.: Post-Secondary Educ. - Tuition Fees,
Mr. D. Dexter 9475
No. 1061, Nat. Res.: ATV Vandalism - Min. Address,
Mr. L. Glavine 9476
No. 1062, Econ. Dev. - Seagull Pewter: N.S. Jobs - Protect,
Mr. H. Epstein 9477
No. 1063, Com. Serv.: Hum Case - Details,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9478
No. 1064, Nat. Res. - Off-Hwy. Vehicle Plan: Staff Advice -
Table, Mr. Michel Samson 9479
No. 1065, TCH Bluenose - Bluenose Preservation Trust:
Funds - Transfer, Ms. J. Massey 9481
No. 1066, Nat. Res. - Sperrys Beach: Public Access - Plan,
Mr. J. MacDonell 9482
No. 1067, Health Prom. - ATVs: Age Definition - Clarify,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 9483
No. 1068, Com. Serv.: Greystone Housing - Upgrade,
Ms. M. Raymond 9484
No. 1069, Gaming Corp. - VLTs: Elimination - Criteria,
Mr. L. Glavine 9486
No. 1070, Environ. & Lbr. - Biosolids: Crop Fields - Spreading
Guidelines, Ms. M. Raymond 9487
No. 1071, TPW: Booster Seat Bill - Proclaim,
Ms. D. Whalen 9488
No. 1072, TPW - Hwy. 213: Safety - Ensure,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 9489
No. 1073, Environ. & Lbr. - Sydney Offices: Relocation -
Timeframe, Mr. Manning MacDonald 9491
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 222, Tobacco Damages and Health-care Costs Recovery Act 9492
No. 230, Housing Development Corporation Act 9492
Hon. D. Morse 9493
Mr. G. Gosse 9493
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9493
Mr. Michel Samson 9496
Mr. Gerald Sampson 9503
Mr. W. Gaudet 9505
Ms. D. Whalen 9507
Hon. D. Morse 9512
Vote - Affirmative 9512
No. 243, Emergency Measures Act/Public Service Act 9512
Mr. H. Epstein 9512
Mr. H. Theriault 9515
Hon. R. Russell 9516
Vote - Affirmative 9516
No. 251, Public Service Act 9516
Hon. R. Russell 9516
Vote - Affirmative 9517
No. 256, Municipal Government Act 9517
Hon. B. Barnet 9517
Mr. J. Pye 9517
Ms. D. Whalen 9518
Hon. B. Barnet 9520
Vote - Affirmative 9520
No. 258, Building Code Act 9520
Hon. K. Morash 9520
Vote - Affirmative 9520
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 4:25 P.M. 9521
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:40 P.M. 9521
CWH REPORTS 9521
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 237, Maintenance Enforcement Act 9522
Mr. F. Corbett 9522
Vote - Affirmative 9522
No. 270, Professional Planners Act 9523
Mr. J. DeWolfe 9523
Mr. H. Epstein 9523
Mr. J. DeWolfe 9529
Vote - Affirmative 9530
No. 274, Certified Management Accountants of Nova Scotia Act 9530^
Hon. P. Christie 9530
Vote - Affirmative 9530
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 241, Commercial Mediation Act 9530
No. 244, Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act 9530
No. 246, International Trusts Act 9531
No. 249, Enforcement of Court Orders Act 9531
No. 260, Public Safety Protection Act 9531
Vote - Affirmative 9531
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Gov't. (N.S.): Liberal Trust Funds - Abolish:
Mr. K. Deveaux 9532
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9535
Mr. M. Parent 9537
Mr. R. MacKinnon 9538
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 2nd at 2:00 p.m. 9540
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 5096, Spryfield Urban Farm Museum - Bluenose Achievement
Award, Ms. M. Raymond 9541
Res. 5097, Spryfield Action for Neighbourhood Change -
Spryfield Safety Audit Guidebook, Ms. M. Raymond 9541
Res. 5098, West Dover Days: Vol. Organizers, Congrats.,
Ms. J. Streatch 9542
Res. 5099, Shatford Mem. Sch. - Literacy Event: Vols. - Thanks,
Ms. Judy Streatch 9542
Res. 5100, Gates, Matthew - Paintball Tournament: Win - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Streatch 9543
Res. 5101, Aspotogan Heritage Trust: Members/Vols. - Thank,
Ms. J. Streatch 9543
Res. 5102, Acadia Axemen: Football Season - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 9544
Res. 5103, Boyce, Allan: Crosswalk Safety Action - Congrats.,
The Speaker 9544
Res. 5104, Banks, Dianne - N.S. Credit Union Award,
The Speaker 9545
Res. 5105, Atkinson, Betty & Jim - Foster Children: Dedication -
Thank, The Speaker 9545
Res. 5106, The Travellers - Isabel Simpson Vol. of the Yr. Award,
The Speaker 9546
Res. 5107, Rushton, Tory: Fire Service Leadership Prog. -
Graduation, The Speaker 9546
Res. 5108, Bridgewater/Area CC - Bus. Excellence Awards Prog.:
Creation - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9547
Res. 5109, Cutler, Nelson - Bridgewater/Area Golden-K-Kiwanis
Club: Pres. - Appt., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9547
Res. 5110, Covey Island Boatworks - Export Achievement
Excellence^Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9548
Res. 5111, L & B Electric - Lg. Bus. Excellence Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9548
Res. 5112, Kiesling, Ernest & Marie/Kiesling Const. -
Innovation Excellence Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9549
Res. 5113, Wamboldt, Philip & Carol: Petite Riviere
Vineyards - Entrepreneurial Achievement Excellence
Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9549
Res. 5114, Nauss Group: Boston Pizza Franchise - Opening,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 9550
Res. 5115, Whynot, Tara - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9550
Res. 5116, Smith, Angela - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9551
Res. 5117, MacKenzie, Chelsey - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9551
Res. 5118, Crouse, Cody - 4-H Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9552
Res. 5119, Ryan, Cory - 4-H Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9552
Res. 5120, Evans, Daniel - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9553
Res. 5121, Pottie, Jamie - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9553
Res. 5122, Wolfe, Jason - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9554
Res. 5123, Westhaver, Jessica - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9554
Res. 5124, Grant, Josh - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9555
Res. 5125, Warrington, Josh - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9555
Res. 5126, Muise, Matt - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9556
Res. 5127, Oickle, Matthew - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9556
Res. 5128, Foster, Ryan - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9557
Res. 5129, Whalen, Alex - Liverpool Baseball Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9557
Res. 5130, Ryan, Kara - 4-H Award,
Hon. K. Morash 9558^

[Page 9443]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Mr. Charles Parker, Ms. Diana Whalen

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine the subject of this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview:

Therefore be it resolved that on this day of the Gomery Commission's first report, Nova Scotia should seize the opportunity to finally do away with all questionable Liberal trust funds.

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr Speaker, in advance of tabling this report, with your permission, I would like to make an introduction.

9443

[Page 9444]

I would turn the attention of members to the east gallery where we are joined by the recently-appointed President of the Nova Scotia Community College, Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair. Dr. McArthur-Blair joins us from British Columbia, where she was Vice-President of Education at Vancouver Community College. She is a strong leader and educator with extensive experience in the post-secondary field, and she shares this government's belief that the role of the community college is critical in meeting the future economic and social needs of Nova Scotia. We look forward to working with her to continue to build the Nova Scotia Community College across our province. I would ask the members to join with me in welcoming Dr. McArthur-Blair to Nova Scotia and to this House. (Standing Ovation)

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Community College for 2004-05 entitled, "this is nova scotia's college."

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

MR. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a report entitled, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, Activity Report, April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2005.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 5065

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

[Page 9445]

Whereas adoption can mean love, support and a permanent, nurturing home for so many young people in permanent care and custody; and

Whereas November is Adoption Month, and during this month all Nova Scotians - families and individuals - are encouraged to consider adopting one of Nova Scotia's waiting children; and

Whereas recent changes to legislation will assist more of these young people to be adopted into a family of their own for the rest of their lives while maintaining previous relationships that are important to them;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage Nova Scotians to consider adopting a young person in permanent care into their families, hearts and homes.

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. 5066

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 Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Energy created the EnerGuide for New Houses program; and

Whereas this program will help new homeowners review their plans to save money on energy costs and make energy-efficient choices at the building stage of their house; and

[Page 9446]

Whereas the Department of Energy is pleased to support this program that helps Nova Scotians make smart energy choices when planning a new home;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association and partners for helping Nova Scotians make energy-efficient decisions and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 275 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 323 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Off-highway Vehicles Act. (Hon. Richard Hurlburt)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 5067

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

Whereas on October 31, 2005, firefighters gained new rights to compensation for occupational illness under Manitoba's groundbreaking law; and

Whereas Manitoba expanded the list of presumptive injuries for firefighters to include primary-site colorectal and ureter cancers, lung cancer for non-smokers, and heart attacks within 24 hours of attendance at an emergency response; and

[Page 9447]

Whereas Nova Scotia firefighters deserve no less;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge early action to provide compensation for full-time and voluntary firefighters from the unavoidable illnesses that are associated with their work and community service.

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 Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 5068

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

Whereas the community policing office in Boularderie Elementary School is approaching its five-year anniversary; and

Whereas this community policing office is operated at no cost to the RCMP, the Cape Breton-Victoria School Board, or the taxpayers; and

Whereas the community policing office presence is a true educational tool, not only in the teaching of the DARE Program, but in bridging relationships between police, community and especially students;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the RCMP, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, the community and students and especially the volunteers who man this facility for the betterment of all.

[1:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 9448]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 5069

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 while so many Nova Scotians gave so freely to assist our neighbours in the South following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina; and

Whereas included in those who came to assist so many in need were the students of the Stellarton campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, which started from the Human Services class, but soon spread campus-wide; and

Whereas the students raised a total of $1,055.60, with the Licensed Practical Nursing class taking in the largest individual amount;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate this ambitious campus for illustrating, once more, the very kind and giving nature intrinsic to our province, especially to assist those in need.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 9449]

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 5070

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

Whereas Bruce Hayre, a longtime supporter of the gay and lesbian community in Halifax, was a founding member of the Manna for Health Food Bank in 1997, and has been active with the Safe Harbour Metropolitan Community Church and the Aids Coalition of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Bruce Hayre, for the third year in a row, raised the largest amount of money in all of Canada, for this year's Aids Walk, through which he provides about 90 per cent of the Manna for Health's operating budget; and

Whereas Bruce Hayre, appearing as his alter ego, Ms. Vicki, has organized and performed at many fundraising events for Manna for Health, in the Gay and Lesbian Youth Project, Feed Nova Scotia, and many other causes.

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature thank Bruce Hayre for his years of participation and support of the gay and lesbian community and indeed all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham on an introduction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery today, Mr. Bruce Hayre is here and I would ask members of the Legislature to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 9450]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. We certainly welcome our guest to the gallery today.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 5071

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

Whereas Adriana Sampson of Sydney Mines Junior High School is an honour student in Grade 9, a member of the basketball team and the school dance team; and

Whereas Adriana has been selected to attend Encounters with Canada in Ottawa, our country's largest youth forum, whose objective is to bring together young Canadians from different backgrounds and regions in order to give them an opportunity to learn about one another, to discover their country through each other and to gain a better understanding of Canadian institutions; and

Whereas Adriana is being sponsored by Cogan Fuels and the Maritime Drilling School;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House, especially the member for Victoria-The Lakes, congratulate Adriana Sampson, on her achievements.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 5072

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

[Page 9451]

Whereas our government, following the release of information from Statistics Canada on the first Friday of every month, is pleased to inform Nova Scotians when the unemployment rate goes down; and

Whereas our government prides itself on positive economic news and enjoys, on occasion, sharing information on good employment numbers with all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas in August, 462,000 Nova Scotians were employed and the unemployment numbers for Nova Scotia have not been as low since Stats Canada started collecting data;

Therefore be it resolved that this House ask the Opposition Critic for Economic Development to explain why, if they want the government to issue a news release monthly on employment stats why they never, ever, ever issue a statement when our government is setting employment record levels, never before seen since statistics were first kept on the issue 30 years ago.

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 Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5073

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

Whereas in the early hours of Saturday morning on April 9, 2005, St. Margaret's Parish Hall in Grand Mira, Cape Breton County, was totally destroyed by fire; and

Whereas the vibrancy, resolve and hard work by the citizens of this small community with the support of adjoining communities, local businesses, as well as that of the federal-provincial-municipal governments has resulted in the construction of a new community centre in Grand Mira; and

[Page 9452]

Whereas building finance chairman, Francis Gillis and an exceptional team of volunteers are rightfully proud of the new St. Margaret's Community Hall being constructed at an estimated cost of $400,000;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the citizens of Grand Mira and supporting stakeholders for a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to, through you, draw the attention of the House to three hard-working Nova Scotians who are entering the 13th week of a strike at National Gypsum in Dutch Settlement-Milford-Carroll's Corner area of the province. I would ask that these hard-working Nova Scotians, who would sooner be back on the job to rise and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause) We have Sherry Wright from Shubenacadie standing in the middle and to Sherry's left is Don Dixon from Urbania, Hants County, and Allan O'Leary who is from Nine Mile River. I would like to welcome you to the Legislature and I would encourage management and the employees to get back to the table so these hard-working Nova Scotians and their colleagues can get back to work. Thank you. Congratulations.

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

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 5074

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

[Page 9453]

Whereas Canada's oldest continuously operating community theatre is the Theatre Arts Guild, established in 1931; and

Whereas in 1966, the Guild purchased the old church hall of St. Augustine's beside Frog Pond and transformed it into the Pond Playhouse; and

Whereas the Pond Playhouse is a magnet for local thespians and audiences and is drawing an ever wider circle of play-goers to its five shows each year, especially the Christmas pantomimes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Theatre Arts Guild as it marks its 75th season of performance and begins construction of the new lobby and prop storage area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 5075

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

Whereas the Canada Summer Games were held in Regina in August; and

Whereas wrestler Ben Eaglestone from Lake Echo represented Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Ben competed with pride, skill, sportsmanship and performed very well in all his matches;

[Page 9454]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Ben for representing our community and province and congratulate him on his fine performance.

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 Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 5076

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

Whereas residents of the Blandford community celebrated two milestones in August; and

Whereas the Blandford Community Centre turned 20 this year and the Blandford Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its 40th Anniversary; and

Whereas the Blandford Community Centre has always been a completely volunteer and community-run effort, it is the heart of the community and is home to the volunteer fire department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Blandford Community Centre on 20 years and the Blandford Volunteer Fire Department on 40 years of service, and thank them for their commitment to the community and its residents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 9455]

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. 5077

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

Whereas Shiretown Animal Hospital has recently opened in Pictou, and in fact held a successful grand opening on Saturday, October 29, 2005; and

Whereas Pictou's first full-service veterinary clinic offers X-rays, ECG monitoring, lab work, routine surgeries and 24-hour emergency services; and

Whereas the caring local staff consists of veterinarians Dr. Kathryn Finlayson, Dr. Brenda Spence-MacLeod, animal health technologist Wendy Crosby, animal care specialist Mark Anderson, and receptionist Lynn MacKay;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Shiretown Animal Hospital on their grand opening in Pictou, and wish them much success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[Page 9456]

RESOLUTION NO. 5078

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

Whereas after World War II, government saw fit to pay for veterans' post-secondary education, becoming one of the best investments government ever made; and

Whereas they invested approximately $30,000 per veteran at that time, and these veterans in turn paid back the government nearly $1 million each in taxes from their jobs that the education created; and

Whereas those veterans were trained for jobs that existed where they originally lived, most being right here in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this government start looking into post-secondary investment for our children, and create a greener pasture here in Nova Scotia so they don't have to look for others.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 5079

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 Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia has announced their 2005-06 president as Ms. Susan Payne; and

[Page 9457]

Whereas the President and CEO of ACA Co-operative Limited, Susan Payne joined the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1989, and has served on the council since 1998; and

Whereas as the Institute of Chartered Accountants President, Susan Payne, will work closely with the institute's executive officers and council members to represent more than 1,800 chartered accountants - 67 of them working in the Annapolis Valley - and many students throughout Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Susan Payne on her recent appointment as president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and wish her continued success as she strives to strengthen our regional economy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 5080

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

Whereas Dawn MacNutt of Dartmouth received an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University on October 23, 2005; and

Whereas the work of this internationally recognized sculptor and weaver, best known for her life-sized human forms woven in willow, seagrass and bronze, is displayed in collections throughout North America; and

Whereas this talented artist continues to serve her community by donating her time, energy and talent to numerous community groups and issues;

[Page 9458]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Dawn MacNutt upon receiving an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University during its 2005 Fall Convocation, and thank her for sharing her creative talents and community spirit with the citizens of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 5081

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Victoria-The Lakes, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the role of the firefighter is a very important and prominent position within all of our communities; and

[1:30 p.m.]

Whereas the Florence Community Centre Society has completed the first phase of Cape Breton's first museum dedicated to the history of firefighting on the Island; and

Whereas the Florence Community Centre Society will now be moving on with Phase II of the project;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly thank and congratulate the Florence Community Centre Society for all its hard work and dedication in seeing Phase I of this worthwhile and important project come to completion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 9459]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

I would just like to point out that the Rules of the House are that a member can only introduce two resolutions in one day. I believe the honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes has done two. The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park will have to accept that resolution, or ask the House to, on her behalf and not on behalf of the member for Victoria-The Lakes.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Was there a request for waiver?

There was a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 5082

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

Whereas Moyal Conrad of Greenfield was one of only two Canadians chosen to represent our country at an international lumberjack competition at a festival in France; and

Whereas Conrad's best event is the "hot saw" competition, in which he holds seven world records; and

Whereas Conrad placed second or third in most of the events, placing second overall at the international competition, just two points behind the first-place finisher;

[Page 9460]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the exceptional work done by Moyal Conrad in representing Canada on the international stage.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 5083

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

Whereas the Dartmouth North Annual Community Carnival was held on September 10, 2005; and

Whereas the community carnival is held at alternating sites between the Dartmouth Boys & Girls Club and the Dartmouth North Community Centre, with many other community agencies and organizations participating; and

Whereas the community carnival offers a wide range of interests for citizens of all ages with games, entertainment, demonstrations and a great barbecue;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate all the agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals for making the Dartmouth North 2005 Community Carnival a success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 9461]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5084

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

Whereas in support of the Resource Recovery Fund Board initiative, Northridge Farms in Kings County was one of the first composting industries in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the residents of Kings, Annapolis, Queens and other counties, send organic waste to Northridge Farms for compost, at taxpayers' expense; and

Whereas during the period when weight restrictions are imposed it takes four trips to transport the same amount of tonnage as it does for one trip when the weight restrictions are not in place;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature urge the Department of Transportation and Public Works to strengthen Victoria Road and Route 221 to reduce this cost to taxpayers.

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 responsible for the Year of the Veteran.

[Page 9462]

RESOLUTION NO. 5085

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

Whereas Joe Walsh of North Sydney joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on March 18, 1943, and served in the 433 Squadron while flying on the MK III as a wireless operator; and

Whereas Joe was stationed in Yorkshire, England, and was involved in many bomber commands in the Germany offensive, receiving such honours as the France/Germany Star, the Canadian Wartime Medal, the Bomber Command Medal, as well as the Liberation of Holland Medal; and

Whereas Joe witnessed the casualties of war, he also has fond memories of good times with friends and enjoying the English countryside;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in thanking Joe, in this, the Year of the Veteran, for his commitment to our country, and congratulate him on the many honours he has received.

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. 5086

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

[Page 9463]

Whereas on Wednesday, November 2nd, Ron Caplan of Breton Books will launch his newest book from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the McConnell Library in Sydney; and

Whereas the book, entitled Views from the Steel Plant: Voices and Photographs from 100 years of making steel in Cape Breton Island, chronicles and preserves an important part of Cape Breton's history; and

Whereas Ron Caplan's book will help ensure that future generations will not forget the hard work of steelworkers who helped lay the foundation for the Cape Breton we know today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Ron Caplan on his new book, Views from the Steel Plant, and extend best wishes for the official launch.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 5087

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 Order of Nova Scotia is presented to Nova Scotians who have demonstrated a firm commitment to improving their community; and

Whereas the 2005 Order of Nova Scotia was presented in a ceremony today to several deserving Nova Scotians; and

[Page 9464]

Whereas Constance Glube, Rita MacNeil, Theresa McNeil, Cyril Reddy and Jackie Yazer have all been awarded this year's medal for the dedication they have shown and the contributions they have made to our province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the 2005 Order of Nova Scotia recipients.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, could I please make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. MORSE: We have a friend of not only this Legislature, but indeed the entire province, who also happens to be a personal friend of mine and constituent, Sharon Oliver is in your gallery, Mr. Speaker. She also happens to be Chair of the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council. I would ask Sharon to please rise and accept the warm greetings from the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome Dr. Oliver to the gallery today and hope she enjoys the proceedings.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 5088

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

[Page 9465]

Whereas hockey fans from all regions across Canada were deeply saddened to learn of the horrific accident suffered by University of Moncton hockey player Sebastian Savage, in an AUHC hockey game on October 22nd in Moncton between the Blue Eagles and Acadia Axemen; and

Whereas Canadians from coast to coast are wishing Mr. Savage progress in his convalescing from his serious neck and spinal injury; and

Whereas the good wishes were clearly evident this past Saturday evening at Acadia, when the Blue Eagles played their first game since the mishap, when Acadia fans greeted their visiting Moncton rivals with an instantaneous and sustained standing ovation in support of the Blue Eagles' Sebastian Savage;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly echo the tremendous support shown to Sebastian Savage and his University of Moncton teammates this past Saturday evening, which were so exemplified by Acadia fans, and indeed Canadians from coast to coast.

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. 5089

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I'll be asking for approval of this in advance, considering who the son is who's involved here.

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

Whereas rugby in Cape Breton has enjoyed much success for over a century; and

[Page 9466]

Whereas Cape Breton University has kept up that tradition by winning the Nova Scotia Division 2 Championship this past weekend; and

Whereas Cape Breton University defeated St. F.X. on Saturday by a score of 63-5, and in the championship game on Sunday CBU defeated Acadia University 61-27;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Cape Breton University mens' rugby team and their coach, Steve Corbett, and wish them the best of luck this weekend on Prince Edward Island as they advance to the Maritime championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 5090

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

Attendu que l'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie regroupe des parlementaires de plus de 66 parlements répartis sur 5continets; et

Attendu que l'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie favorise la production, la diffusion et la conservation de l'information législative francophone; et

Attendu que l'un des membres de notre assemblée législative, Michel Samson a été élu chef de mission pour la région d'Amérique de l'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie;

Qu'il soit résolu que nous les membres de cette assemblée offrons toutes nos félicitations à Michel Samson et plein succès dans son présent mandat.

[Page 9467]

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

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

Whereas l'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie regroups French parliamentarians from 66 Parliaments spread over five continents; and

Whereas the assembly of parliamentarians produces, distributes and maintains legislative information written in the French language; and

Whereas one member of this Legislative Assembly, Michel Samson, has been elected leader for the North American region of this international assembly of French-speaking Parliamentarians;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Michel Samson and wish him every success during present mandate.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 5091

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

Whereas the Town of Amherst has scored very high at the national level in the 2005 Communities in Bloom competition, receiving four out of the five bloom awards in their population categories; and

[Page 9468]

Whereas this is the first year Amherst entered nationally after winning the provincial competition in 2004. Scoring is based on tidiness, environmental awareness, community involvement, natural and cultural heritage conservation, tree/urban forest management, landscape areas, floral displays, and turf and groundcover; and

Whereas the judges spoke highly of the town's efforts to preserve the heritage as well as glowing remarks going to Grove Cottage, home of the Cumberland County Museum and Archives;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to the Town of Amherst and its citizens for a great job of making their town a beautiful place, and wish them all the best in the 2006 growing season and competition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 5092

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

Whereas the Canada Summer Games were held in Regina in August; and

Whereas paddler Anne Lombardi, and the Orenda Canoe Club in Lake Echo, represented Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Anne competed with pride, skill and sportsmanship, and performed very well in all her competitions;

[Page 9469]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend Anne for representing our community and province, and congratulate her on her fine performance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 5093

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

Whereas businesses of all sizes and types are crucial to having a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2005 Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Glen and Nancy Hull, owners of Mainline Market in Bridgewater, for being the recipients of the Small Business Excellence Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 9470]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 5094

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

Whereas Brenda Whittle of Truro, has received the Me to We Award from Canadian Living Magazine for her charity work with cancer patients; and

Whereas Caring for Cancer Patients, the charity Brenda created, trains hairdressers and estheticians to help people who have cancer; and

Whereas Caring for Cancer Patients also provides counselling, transportation and financial help to cancer patients;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brenda Whittle on receiving the Canadian Living Me to We Award and extend thanks for her 12 years of time and devotion to cancer patients in the Truro area.

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 Finance

[Page 9471]

[1:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 5095

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

Whereas members of the Sackville Rivers Association were joined by volunteers from Basinview Drive Community School and TD Canada Trust Bank employees for a September 24th river cleanup in Bedford; and

Whereas volunteers picked up more than 20 bags worth of junk out of the Sackville River, where it runs between the Bedford Highway and the Bedford Place Mall; and

Whereas some of the debris pulled out of the river included 10 tires and several pots, leaving the river much more pleasant;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Sackville Rivers Association, their school-aged helpers, and those from the TD Canada Trust Bank for being aware of their environment and endeavouring to make it a cleaner, safer place.

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 1:46 p.m. and end at 2:46.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 9472]

HEALTH: CANCER PATIENTS - WAIT TIMES

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I will table a letter to the Minister of Health that came last Friday from the Canadian Cancer Society, outlining their concerns over excessive wait times. In their words, "We believe that surgical and medical oncology wait times have reached unacceptable levels, placing the psychological and physical health of cancer patients at risk." Cancer patients are waiting more than twice the accepted standard for treatment, which has direct implications on their chances of survival. I ask the Premier, why hasn't this government moved faster to address the high and rising wait times for cancer diagnosis and treatment in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, the Leader of the Opposition, brings a good question to the House and to the government. I think that if you look back, this government has made significant progress. We now have a highly-efficient technologically-expert service available on Cape Breton Island. I had an opportunity to visit the Cape Breton Regional Hospital unit, and it's doing a good job. We are pressured by an aging population and increasing incidence of cancer, but we have made good progress in providing exemplary care across our province over the last six years.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is at odds with the statistical data, and it's at odds with what the Canadian Cancer Society says in their letter. I want to table the October 2005 Operational Indicators Report from Capital Health. It shows that the waiting list for urgent radiation therapy is growing, and the average wait time is drawing closer and closer to double the acceptable standards. According to the report's definition, urgent radiation therapy is for very dangerous cases, including hemorrhaging and severe uncontrolled pain; yet, in August, 53 patients were waiting an average of over 11 days for treatment. I ask the Premier, why hasn't his government moved faster on the alternate funding plan in Capital Health, which would help hire much-needed oncologists?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is a good question, and I refer it to the Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we have approved, as an initial step, two additional oncologists for Capital Health. They are actively recruiting those individuals now. We recognize that we will be taking additional steps, in addition to the two oncologists who have been approved. It is a priority item, both for Capital Health and the Department of Health.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I want you to imagine, cancer patients are given information that includes when the treatment should be received for their best chance at survival. Imagine knowing that you need to get a treatment in six to eight weeks in order to have your best chance of survival, only to sit and wait for 16 weeks to get that treatment. My final question to the Premier is this, how can he justify acting so slowly on cancer wait times,

[Page 9473]

knowing full well patients' health is at an increased risk because they are waiting too long for treatment.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, over the last six years the focus of this government has been on improving the health care delivery system. We have undertaken a number of initiatives that could only be interpreted as being steps in the right direction. We have, in a very dramatic fashion, increased the health care spending in this province. We have increased the human resources that are available to provide health care delivery in this province. The government is not prepared to debate the voracity of the numbers, but the government is quite prepared to say to the member opposite, we are working diligently. We do have shortages in oncology, we have taken the appropriate steps to fill those vacant positions. That will go a long way in providing what Nova Scotians have every right to expect, timely care.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

NAT. RES. - OFF-HWY. VEHICLES POLICY:

YAR. REG. HOSP. STAFF - SUPPORT DOCUMENT

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Last week the Minister of Natural Resources was under fire because his government failed to take a stand and protect young Nova Scotians. The CEO of the IWK, Doctors Nova Scotia, the Voluntary Task Force on Off-highway Vehicles, a leadership candidate and yes, even the medical staff at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital chastised the minister because he failed to do the right thing and protect young people in our province. My question for the minister is, does the minister still stand by his statement that he has support from the medical staff of the Yarmouth Regional Hospital? If so, would he please table any documents he has to prove that what he said was actually the truth.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, in the District 2 Health Authority there are approximately 850 to 900 employees and they are all professionals. What I said was, I was visiting the Yarmouth Regional Hospital and some workers at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital told me that they felt we had a well-balanced approach to off-highway vehicles. I do not intend to stand today and give a name to get people on one side of the spectrum and people on the other side of the spectrum, at odds, at one hospital.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, this lack of action on behalf of this minister, of this medical doctor, and this Premier and this entire government is an absolute disgrace. Injuries are occurring in this province that could be prevented and the lives of children in this province are ending far too soon because the Minister of Natural Resources has failed them. Last week in The Daily News, the Minister of Natural Resources stated that the medical staff at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital supported the plan. On Friday, October 28th the same medical staff issued a release that contrary to comments attributed to the Natural Resources Minister, Yarmouth Regional Hospital doctors are not in favour of his

[Page 9474]

department's legislation regarding all-terrain vehicles. My question to the minister is, why did the minister state the medical staff supported his plan when clearly they do not?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to all members of the House, this government has dealt with a very difficult file. We have been dealing with the off-highway vehicles, which no other government in this province had the backbone to stand up and do, and we have dealt with it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I just want to remind the House that I will allow general questions and answers but not specifically to a bill that is presently before the House.

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I stand firm on my first answer that I will not put people in my community or anybody's community at odds when they work in the same workplace. I'm sure out of 900 employees, there are people who have different views on both sides of the spectrum. I will not give any names unless those individuals want me to disclose their names.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, if public safety is important, this minister has to show us the strength of his convictions by strong, decisive action. A failure to do so indicates we have a weak minister with no moral compass to guide him. No moral compass to guide him. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I ask the honourable member to retract that. It's unparliamentary and I ask him to apologize to the House for that remark.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I ask the honourable member for Glace Bay to retract that please.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Fine, Mr. Speaker. I retract the comment and I apologize to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Put the final supplementary please.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, if I may, can I continue my . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, yes.

[Page 9475]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, last week when I asked the minister whether he was losing sleep over this issue, the minister puffed up his chest and replied he was sleeping just fine. My final question to the minister is, in light of your decision to stay the course in recent weeks, Mr. Minister, how are you sleeping now?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, this minister is very proud to stand in his place today and introduce a bill on off-highway vehicles. We had tragedies in this province in the last few days and yes, my heart and my thoughts and prayers have gone out to the families of those victims.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC.: POST-SECONDARY EDUC. - TUITION FEES

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The issue of affordability of post-secondary education in Nova Scotia has been much on the minds of students and their families although it continues not to register, apparently, as a concern for this government. Tuition fees in Nova Scotia are now a full $2,000 higher than the national average. The effect this will have on accessibility is unquestionable. This impact will only truly be measurable in the years to come when skill shortages increase and Nova Scotia's economy begins to suffer the effects. Not every government, however, is failing their students this way - five provinces have frozen and rolled back tuition fees. So my question for the minister is this, why is it this government continues to allow Nova Scotia to fall so far behind other provinces when it comes to higher education?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there are about six questions there. I'll pick one or two, with your permission. First of all, in terms of freezes in the other provinces, as the honourable member will know, at least two of those provinces have indicated the freeze is going off because they can't afford it.

Secondly, the increase in tuition in Nova Scotian universities this year, excepting the provinces where there was a freeze, was the lowest in the country.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, contrary to this minister's spin on post-secondary education in Nova Scotia, the situation could not be worse for some universities. Seven of the 11 universities in Nova Scotia saw enrolment decline this year. For example, at Dalhousie, enrolment declined by 2.3 per cent this year, leading to a $1.9 million shortfall in tuition revenue. The situation in Newfoundland, however, is much more rosy. In fact, so rosy that many Nova Scotian students are choosing to go there where tuition is an average of $2,600 - nearly $4,000 less than in Nova Scotia. So I want to ask the minister, why have you made it such a priority to help Newfoundland recruit our students instead of making sure they can afford to study here at home in this province?

[Page 9476]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia leads the country in the percentage of our university population that comes from outside of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this government has put on the blinders. They just refuse to acknowledge that there's a problem. The enrolment challenges being faced in Nova Scotia represent a lost opportunity - one, I'm sad to say, that will never be regained. Students who could and should have benefited from a higher education here will be forced instead to try to find work in the growing service sector and likely will never be able to afford this ever-increasing post-secondary education cost. I'd like to ask the Premier, why does this government refuse to extend the students the same opportunities that most other provinces do, to attain an affordable higher education?

[2:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Education.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of its population with post-secondary certificates.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

NAT. RES.: ATV VANDALISM - MIN. ADDRESS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Upper Tantallon residents were quite upset on Monday when they discovered that the playing field at Tantallon Junior High School had once again been trashed by off-highway vehicles. The playing field was so severely damaged that it has been rendered useless for the remainder of the season. My question to the minister is, when will the minister address the issue of vandalism with ATVs?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, on October 12th I released the action plan of this government and, today, I tabled a bill in this House.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, this is not the first occurrence of this type of vandalism and destruction. Private landowners, agricultural operators who I've heard from recently, many of them, and now schools are looking to this government to put a stop to this once and for all. My question to the minister is, what steps will you take to put an end to the destruction of private and public lands once and for all?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I guess what I'm hearing from the member opposite is I have the support of that caucus for my bill that I introduced today.

[Page 9477]

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the minister did bring forth part of our bill, that was a first step. The children in community groups who use this field are not left without some help here. Once again the minister had blinders on to the OHV task force report. To address this now, will this government pay for the damages to the field to allow these children in this community to continue their physical activities?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that my enforcement officers are investigating this incident. As soon as I have the information, I will be dealing with it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ECON. DEV. - SEAGULL PEWTER: N.S. JOBS - PROTECT

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Economic Development. People in the Town of Pugwash are reeling today over the loss of 30 more manufacturing jobs at Seagull Pewter. Many members of this House will of course be familiar with the tumultuous situation surrounding this company over the last number of years. From a workforce of 110 people, when they were taken over by Royal Salinger three years ago, they have declined to just 19 members of the Steelworkers Union working in the manufacturing facility today. This company, now based in Malaysia, appears to be increasingly sending these long-time Nova Scotia jobs offshore. What action has the minister taken to protect these employees and stop these Nova Scotia jobs being sent offshore?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, it is indeed unfortunate that layoff notices were issued to 30 employees of Seagull Pewter. One of the things I can say is staff is in discussions and communications with the company. I have to point out that it is a private company under no work arrangements or agreements with the province. We are trying, at this moment, to ascertain their intentions in regard to future employment at the facility.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, for a minister who comes from Cumberland County, he appears not to be doing a great job of maintaining the local workforce. In the past few years, the county has seen the loss of General Homes, Amherst Fabricators, Venture Lighting and Gordon's Greenhouses and now it appears as if Seagull Pewter may be headed the same way. What we fear is complete closure if Royal Salinger is not interested in protecting the jobs of these remaining workers. Will the minister tell this House, what assurances, if any, he is prepared to give to these people that their jobs will not be transplanted to southeast Asia?

[Page 9478]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as all members of the House know, it is a very competitive climate in the global economy we are part of. That being said, I think it's important to point out to the member opposite that companies such as C-Vision, Weston Foods, TeleTech, as well as operations like Oxford Frozen Foods and many small businesses have located or expanded, increasing the number of jobs in Cumberland County in the several thousand, over the last three years as well.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, Royal Salinger, claims in its publications that their Kuala Lumpur factory makes the world's finest pewter and based on the trend at the Seagull Pewter factory here, it may be making the only pewter sold by this company. There is speculation that these final remaining workers may be laid off by year end. That would mark the disappearance of yet another home-grown company. I wonder if the minister is prepared to stand by while it appears as though the only remnants of Seagull Pewter will be their displays in the Kuala Lumpur visiting centre of Royal Salinger?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, we will work with the company to ascertain their future plans and do everything we can working with the local union, as well as other people, non-unionized employees who do work at Seagull Pewter, to find the best future we can for them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

COM. SERV.: HUM CASE - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Community Services. Sabrina Hum is a lone parent with two children, who has been trying hard to upgrade and get the education she needs to get off social assistance. When she was accepted into the two-year Early Childhood Education Program at St. Joseph's College, she couldn't believe her fortune, that is until she got a letter from the minister's department telling her that her benefits had been terminated.

Mr. Speaker, she hasn't been able to attend school as a result. So my question for the minister, through you is, what is the justification for preventing Sabrina from the training she needs to get off social assistance?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for her question. I am not able to speak specifically about that case, but I can say that through Employment Support Services and working with HRSD, we do partner to allow clients of Employment Support and Income Assistance to go for a two-year course to the community college, but she would clearly have to work through her employment support worker in order to make those arrangements and also be accepted by HRSD, for the federal government's contribution toward her tuition.

[Page 9479]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government likes to portray itself and its social assistance policy as fair. They like to have the public believe that their policies to prevent people from getting education only applies to three- or four-year university degrees, but now it appears that the policy, in fact, extends to two-year programs. St. Joseph's is a two-year program. Last year, 100 per cent of its graduates were employed within four months. So I want to ask the minister, through you, why is your government refusing to assist students who want to enter two-year diploma programs?

MR. MORSE: Thank you very much for asking the question, honourable member, and basically the program is there. Clearly there is an application process. I would encourage anybody on Employment Support and Income Assistance who wants to pursue a two-year course at the community college to work through their employment support worker. I'm not able to comment on that specific case, but I know that we stand up very well compared to other provinces and territories across the country.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Sabrina went through the process and her reward has been two months with no assistance, no student loan, no education and no program.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister, through you, when will he admit that his welfare-to-work program isn't about helping people in need as much as it is about punishing people who have aspirations to get off social assistance?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I always appreciate the opportunity to get up and share what former clients of Employment Support and Income Assistance and, indeed, caseworkers share with me, and their passion for what we have brought forward. Indeed last year, the $17 million that was not invested in our clients previously under the old Family Benefits Program and the various municipal social assistance programs, which now they are investing them has made a tremendous difference in countless lives of families that previously were on Employment Support and Income Assistance. We are very proud in the way that we have helped them work their way off the system and into careers.

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

NAT. RES. - OFF-HWY. VEHICLE PLAN: STAFF ADVICE - TABLE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on October 12th of this year, the Minister of Natural Resources released his off-highway vehicle plan and held stubbornly to it for three weeks. After repeated safety concerns were raised, the minister continued to say that he would stay the course. The minister provided no legislation and no draft regulations for Nova Scotians to see, but recent events have changed all that. Now the government has brought in yet another half measure.

[Page 9480]

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians want to know what internal advice the Minister of Natural Resources relied upon to initially reject safety warnings from medical professionals. So my question to the minister is, will the minister commit today, before the House rises, to release all written advice given by staff in his department regarding off-highway vehicles?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite and all members, what we did is we had an internal department review the recommendations of the Off-highway Vehicle Task Force and we have included 37 of the 39 recommendations on October 12th.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians know that that report had very strict safety recommendations in it that the minister rejected. The question is, what advice told him to reject those recommendations? Nova Scotians are left to conclude that one of the groups that certainly gave a great deal of advice was the Tory backbenchers who have all, one by one, spoken to the media on this issue and many of them still encouraging the minister to stay the course even after some of the tragic events which took place. So Nova Scotians have a right to know why the minister rejected the safety recommendations from the off-highway report from the Voluntary Planning task force.

Mr. Speaker, I, again, ask the minister, in order for Nova Scotians to have full disclosure as to what took place here, will the minister provide all written advice given to him by staff in his department, including any advice he received from political staff?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I can tell all members of this House, and all Nova Scotians, that this caucus is united. They support me on my task force recommendations and the bill I tabled today. I can also tell all members of the House that one member of that Liberal caucus said it was 1000 per cent better than what anyone else over there said.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, we're left with the Minister of Natural Resources who has rejected a very important safety recommendation in a report and we know what kind of tragic events have taken place. This is the same minister who stood in this House and told Nova Scotians and told this House that he had the support of medical staff from the Yarmouth Regional Hospital only to have that staff - publicly - refute that claim. Today we have given the minister an opportunity to be able to reaffirm his credibility by giving those names and he has refused. My question to the Premier is, Mr. Premier, you are very proud of the Ministerial Code of Conduct you brought into the House. Today that code is being called into question. Will the Premier enforce that Ministerial Code of Conduct and reaffirm Nova Scotians' credibility, not only in his minister but in himself and his government, by demanding that the minister reveal the names of which medical staff at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital told him that they endorse your government's initial plan on off-highway vehicles?

[Page 9481]

[2:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have full confidence in my minister.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TCH BLUENOSE - BLUENOSE PRESERVATION TRUST:

FUNDS - TRANSFER

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Nova Scotia's most famous symbol is our sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II. Last week ship's Captain Wayne Walters, grandson of the first Bluenose's original skipper, called on the Bluenose Preservation Trust to transfer the funds they hold to the society that controls the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, for much-needed work. These funds should have been part of the initial changeover of management. What is this minister doing to ensure that these funds indeed do reach the Bluenose II?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, the negotiations with respect to those funds are ongoing.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, the Bluenose II Preservation Trust continues to raise money on behalf of the Bluenose II and this is creating some confusion. In order to access the funds, the museum society says, "it's not available to us without getting on our hands and knees." In June, this minister said the trust had $1 million and in last week's report, Senator Moore said that they had between $500,000 and $800,000. Does this minister know how much money is being held by the Bluenose II Preservation Trust?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, indeed, I certainly do share the concerns of the member. In fact, we have put in an excellent management contract with the local association to run the vessel, they had a very successful season. I can assure that member that we will ensure the funds are there for the interests of the Bluenose and in the interests of Nova Scotians.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the minister shares our concerns but if an organization is raising money in the name of the Bluenose II, shouldn't that money be turned over to the group that is actually managing the ship? This has gone on long enough and the trust is holding the money, money that is needed to do repairs. This minister said last week that if the money isn't handed over, that he would consider some alternatives. The question is, what other alternatives is he investigating and when is he going to get tough with the Bluenose II Preservation Trust?

[Page 9482]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure that member that we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that those funds are there for the Bluenose II.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - SPERRYS BEACH: PUBLIC ACCESS - PLAN

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The issue around Sperrys Beach has been ongoing for a long time. The people of Petite Riviere, Broad Cove and surrounding areas want this issue to be cleared up. They want a determination of who owns the beach and they want to know that they will have public access again. The community has been using this beach for well over 100 years but have recently been blocked by padlocked gates and no trespassing signs. What is the minister doing to ensure that these people can enjoy this beach next Summer?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, that has been a file I have been dealing with ever since I have been in this department. My two colleagues, the members for Queens and Lunenburg area, have been having meetings with the community. We have had legal representation from the Department of Justice. We have determined that we do not have an interest into the land in question, but what I have done now is I have gone out for a private legal opinion on the dispute at that community.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister. That led me to my second question, which I won't be able to use, so I'll go to another. If the minster has sought advice on this legal question, I'd like to know, for those residents, what he has actually found out. What does he plan to do?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, we just put out a proposal call and we asked three firms to put submissions in to our department. I'm just waiting for those submissions to come in to give us clarity from the two - there are two opposites here, the community legal and our legal. That's why we've asked for an independent legal party to come in.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, the Sperrys Beach committee has met with both the Minister of Environment and Labour, and the Minister of Natural Resources and received assurances in August that this file would be dealt with. To date, the Sperrys Beach committee has not heard from either of these ministers. I know that access to coastline is an important issue for Nova Scotians and maybe the government would consider entering into an agreement to purchase that land to secure it for the communities. The Minister of Environment and Labour is the MLA for the area and I want to ask him what he has done to secure this property for the communities who have traditionally used it for recreation?

[Page 9483]

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Out of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Was the question with regard to the minister's portfolio? If not, it has to be directed to the minister who is responsible for that area.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: I will ask the minister with regard to his portfolio. As the Minister of Environment and Labour, what has the minister done to secure this for the people of the area?

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

[Answer inaudible.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH PROM. - ATVs: AGE DEFINITION - CLARIFY

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, in 2003, after extensive consultations with injury prevention specialists and groups and after questionnaires were sent to countless stakeholders, the Minister of Health Promotion adopted a comprehensive injury prevention strategy. This important initiative was undertaken because according to the Web site of Health Promotion, injury is the leading cause of preventable death for Nova Scotians under the age of 45, killing more people under 20 than all other causes of death combined. My question for the minister is, why has the minister failed to act on the recommendations of his own department's injury prevention strategy?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Health Promotion is working very closely across government with various government departments, including Natural Resources, Health, Education and others to ensure as we move forward with policies and programs that it's in the best interests for the safety of our residents and our young people. We'll continue to do so.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, we have an issue of safety that's before us - protecting young people from injury and death from, for instance, all-terrain vehicle use. So far there has been silence from this minister. According to that injury prevention strategy, in 2003-04, this Minister of Health Promotion was to clarify the age definition for specialty vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles. So my question to the minister is, why has the Minister of Health Promotion failed to clarify an age definition for the use of all-terrain vehicles, a recommendation he was supposed to act on over a year ago?

[Page 9484]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That specifically relates to bills before the House. I would ask the honourable member to (Interruptions) Sorry. Order please. It is in regard to (Interruptions) You can argue all Question Period if you want. It's in relation to bills before the House with regard to age. Order. Does the honourable member have a question? Do you have a question? Order, please. The honourable member can put a question or take his place and I'll call another member for a question.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, you know we have ministers in this government who have failed to do the right thing by protecting Nova Scotians. We have a Premier who says all we have to do is consult more. We have a task force, we have an injury prevention strategy - both urging government to do something, and yet all we have to do is say wait until the public pressure is there and then the ministers will change their minds. My question to the Minister of Health Promotion is, when is the minister finally going to step up to the plate and have his say on how he plans to protect young Nova Scotians from needless injuries and death in this province?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure that member and the House that we, through Health Promotion and as a government, will continue to work on a variety of initiatives which are there for injury protection of our youth and of our seniors. We'll continue to do that. In fact, the member raised the issue of the injury prevention strategy, and I might add it's the first of its kind in Canada, so we're very proud of that strategy.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, that's quite an answer from a minister who is supposedly the minister responsible for injury prevention in this province. The recommendations, the guidelines on your strategy said that you had to set an age restriction on certain specialty vehicles in this province. The minister did not do that. The minister hasn't done it for a year. My final question to the minister is, when is he going to do something about a recommendation that is now over a year old?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I know the member is referring to the bill that's in front of the House. My colleague has tabled that bill today and introduced that bill. The reality is that the government has put its position forward, and there will be opportunity for debate in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

COM. SERV.: GREYSTONE HOUSING - UPGRADE

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Kim Mundle lives in public housing in the Greystone area and, like her neighbours, pays above-average power bills. Not only that, but she and other residents regularly have to call repairmen for fridge, stove, lamps and other appliances. That's because

[Page 9485]

the aluminum wire used in the 1960s and 1970s, when these units were built, is not just a very poor conductor of electricity, but it is also a significant fire hazard. To the minister, why has there been no effort to bring these buildings up to modern standards?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority would be doing annual inspections of all their properties. As such, that would be the sort of thing that they would be looking for during those inspections and, where it was deemed appropriate, they would be making the necessary repairs.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, there's a long past, and presumably there's an equal amount of hope for the future, that they will be making these inspections in the future. I should note that it's not even legal to use aluminum wiring in new construction any more. A U.S. consumer product safety commission reports that aluminum-wired houses are 55 times more likely to reach fire hazard conditions than copper-wired buildings. It is absolutely unconscionable that waiting for this department to begin doing inspections, Kim and her neighbours are in danger, and are even paying more for the privilege, because this government has not done its job to ensure tenant safety. I'm asking the minister, how many Community Services-owned units across this province actually have aluminum wiring and therefore need rewiring?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am not privy to the exact number that would fall into that category across the province, but if the member opposite wants that sort of information given in Question Period, I would suggest that if she would just make me aware, I would certainly provide it to her. I certainly can obtain it for her. I would tell you that we would make sure that all our buildings meet the fire code.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I assume that the minister will take this as notice that, yes, I would, in fact, like that information as soon as possible, because people are in danger in the meantime. I should also tell you that the Greystone units are being boarded up while they're vacated. There have been four in the last eight weeks on one street alone. A street is only 24, 25 units. This government has, in fact, been saving money with deferred maintenance over the years, and the bills are coming due now. My question is, when will the affordable public housing needed so desperately in this area have the required maintenance assessed and done?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the honourable member that Nova Scotia was the first Atlantic province to sign the Affordable Housing Agreement with the federal government. It was not only the first to sign Phase 1 but also Phase 2. Last year, when there was an additional $11 million made available to the Department of Community Services, under my own discretion and discussion with my staff, $4 million of that went directly to the housing authorities for maintenance issues.

[Page 9486]

[2:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Community Services.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, at every opportunity we are investing more money into public housing and also more affordable housing for low-income Nova Scotians in greatest need.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

GAMING CORP. - VLTs: ELIMINATION - CRITERIA

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, this session was supposed to be a safety session, a session committed to the health and well-being of Nova Scotians. What we see, however, is lack of concern for people's safety. Whether it's legislation to protect children or whether it's legislation to protect people from second-hand smoke, government continues to proceed at half measures or measures that will take a year or more to implement. Today, the government makes great fanfare over the elimination of 800 VLTs, another half measure; in this case, not even a half measure.

Native reserves like Membertou in Cape Breton and others, are expanding the number of VLTs, so my question to the minister responsible for the gambling corporation, how can he shut off some and then allow for more VLTs at other locations?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the member brings a good program that this government is implementing in terms of the responsible gaming strategy. He mentions one of the many components of the gaming strategy. What he also didn't indicate is that the contract with the First Nations Reserves is a contractual arrangement which allows them to have additional machines.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, by reducing the number off-reserve, he's only adding to the misery by allowing more on-reserve. These machines have no entertainment value, they are addictive money machines, nothing more. They have no other value than to justify the existence of the gambling corporation. Native reserves can have as many as 900 machines, there were 615 in April, and it looks like they want to fill their quota. So Mr. Minister, when can we expect a plan from this government to remove VLTs across the province including reserves?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the first answer, in the responsible gaming strategy one of the steps is removing the machines that the honourable member referred to today. There are a lot of other steps. The steps of shutting down the machines from 12 o'clock until 2 o'clock, there's the indication that the machines will be slowed down. We are testing, and in certain areas we're testing the card system to make people more

[Page 9487]

responsible. Mr. Speaker, this government is moving forward in a strategy for responsible gambling and we'll continue to do so.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, we still have statistics well above the national average for the amount of VLTs. The machines still remaining will be more efficient, we've gotten rid of those that are under-utilized and the increase on reserves will pick up the slack. When is this government going to start a comprehensive full elimination of VLTs instead of this half measure that will only delay the inevitable?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the gaming strategy, the issues that we're doing are moving forward. I don't consider it a half measure, I consider it a dramatic step and we've been complimented as the first province in Canada to start those steps of moving towards responsible gambling.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - BIOSOLIDS: CROP FIELDS - SPREADING GUIDELINES

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. As this House probably knows, the word biosolids describes a multitude of different substances, slaughterhouse waste, animal manure, and human sewage residue or sludge. Last year there was a huge outcry against the spreading of these biosolids on crop fields near Truro and the department eventually responded by introducing a moratorium on spreading. Other provinces, though, wouldn't take the material removed from this land and so the department gave it's blessing to resume spreading with nothing more than a set of voluntary guidelines. Mr. Minister how can you accept what you call tough standards when what is really needed are tough regulations?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, as has been said before, we did an industry search, we did a search across Canada and across North America, and we came up with a set of standards that are part of an industrial approval, which hold the same as regulations with regard to the law. So, we can enforce the regulation, or what we have in place, to make sure that things are done properly.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, the content may be the same as regulations, but, in fact, the enforceability is different for guidelines than it is for regulations. What's needed are regulations. One major Maritime food company actually sends its slaughterhouse waste to Nova Scotia from the other Atlantic Provinces to be spread on this farmland. Yet the same company has a clear, written policy that it will not sell any food grown on land that's been spread with biosolids. I'll table a letter from Maple Leaf Foods to this effect, as well as the company's own food safety literature. Mr. Minister, when are you going to recognize that Nova Scotia farmland is a dumping ground for material that no one else wants, and introduce real regulation for the use of biosolids?

[Page 9488]

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, as I've said, we certainly have looked at comprehensive changes to what we have. We've come up with guidelines that we've used as part of the industrial approval that ensures that people abide by them. We also have had ongoing forums in the Truro area. We are continuing to work with academic groups, as well as community groups, to ensure that we come up with something that is not only good but is acceptable. We also want to educate Nova Scotians as to the use.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, we don't really need more forums, we need regulations. The guidelines themselves already exist. What's needed is to put some teeth into them. Pharmaceutical products, medications excreted by people, and cosmetics are known to get into groundwater from sewers. So if the Halifax Regional Municipality is sending concentrated sewage residue to be spread on farmland in Truro, there may well be concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the soil and the water of that area. No testing has been done. Major health agencies, like the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, question the safety of spreading biosolids on farmland, and recommend labelling foods grown there. When is your department, too, going to begin questioning that safety, and testing biosolid-spread lands?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I think we need to have a correction. Sewage sludge is not being spread on lands at this point in time. That is something that everybody should be aware of and needs to know. With regard to testing programs and protocols, we are working with the Agricultural College and with the agricultural industry to make sure that we do have testing protocols in place that will ensure the safety of the province.

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

TPW: BOOSTER SEAT BILL - PROCLAIM

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Well over one year ago this government passed a bill which would amend the Motor Vehicle Act to ensure that children would be protected through the use of booster seats. This, like many other issues we've discussed over the last few weeks, is one of safety. Government saw the wisdom in passing such legislation. However, like so many things, when the spotlight is turned off, government reverts and does nothing. My question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, why has the bill which would legislate the use of booster seats not yet been proclaimed?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, before proclaiming the bill, it was necessary to check with other regions across North America to determine what was the current thinking with regard to height, weight, et cetera, with the adoption of booster seats. I'm pleased to advise the honourable member that I believe in the very near future, like in the next couple of weeks, that bill will be proclaimed.

[Page 9489]

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think it's worth noting for the House that Ontario passed a bill with the same intent, to introduce booster seats. It received third reading last December 6th, it got Royal Assent on December 9th, and September 1st it went into action to become effective in Ontario. They didn't seem to have this same problem, identifying the regulations that were required. I'd like to table this. This has the regulations for Ontario on it. My question to the minister is, why could they not for once be a leader in this area, rather than dragging our heels and waiting to see what every other jurisdiction in the country will do before we take steps?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we wanted to do it right and that's the basic reason. The regulations that were passed in Ontario were examined by the people within the department and we did, indeed, not adopt the Ontario regulations. We think that our regulations have more merit than theirs.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think that organizations like Safe Kids Canada, have stated repeatedly that one child between the ages of four and nine is hospitalized every day with serious injuries because of a car crash, and 35 children die every year from these injuries. In fact, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works stated to the media one year ago that if we can save a child, I guess it's worthwhile doing. Well, a whole year has passed, Mr. Minister, and my question to the minister is, will you commit today to have these regulations introduced immediately, not just in a few weeks time? Can you give us a day today? We have waited a whole year.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I believe I said to the honourable member that would be very soon, in the next week or 10 days, or something like that. The Executive Council has already given approval to the regulations and they are in the process of getting the required Gazetting to come into effect.

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

TPW - HWY. 213: SAFETY - ENSURE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you, is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Highway 213, between No. 3 to St. Margaret's Bay Road and Highway No. 103, continues to face increasing volumes of traffic. This situation will become even more serious with the much anticipated completion of the new Sir John A. Macdonald High School on this stretch of road. Already on this stretch of road, we have a private school, elementary, junior high school, a growing subdivision and a dangerous left turn off the twinned Highway No. 103. Area residents have held protests. They have written letters of concern. They have signed petitions. Mr. Minister, what are you prepared to do to make sure this section of the Highway 213, is safe?

[Page 9490]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I'll just remind the members to direct their questions and answers through the Speaker, please.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I wouldn't want to tell the honourable member that we're going to fix the problem, but however, I know that there are steps underway to do something within that area, and if he would like a full briefing note on it, I can get it for him, but off the top of my head I can't tell him exactly what it is.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, most mornings an RCMP officer assists the crossing guard at the intersection of the French Village Station Road and Highway 213, as buses, parents and school children make their way to three different schools, yet this department resists all attempts for proper signal lights in this dangerous intersection. The daily presence of an RCMP officer assisting the crossing guard, indicates to residents, to myself, to the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, an immediate action is needed here. So, what will your department do to ensure that residents, teachers and students, feel safe at this busy intersection?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member has already answered his own question. I can't think of more of a deterrent to people who want to run through school zones or through school crosswalks, than having an RCMP constable on view at that crossing. Sometimes motorists drive through red lights, but they very seldom drive through RCMP officers.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this section of Highway 213, is going to be even busier with the new high school and, of course, high school students driving their parents' cars to and from school. This section of Highway 213, requires a complete review and upgrade. This is a dangerous section of road that now has more dangerous situations happening each and every day. Will the Department of Transportation and Public Works, undertake this review and a possible upgrade of this section of Highway 213?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's has brought this matter to my attention and that's why I said that there are things underway at the present time to resolve the problem. So, perhaps the honourable member could consult with the member for Chester-St. Margaret's and determine exactly what is going on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South. You have about 20 seconds.

[Page 9491]

ENVIRON. & LBR. - SYDNEY OFFICES: RELOCATION - TIMEFRAME

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Environment and Labour, when are the Department of Environment and Labour offices moving off Charlotte Street o Sydney Mines?

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, you have about 10 seconds.

MR. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. We've had some discussions earlier in this House with regard to decisions that haven't been made yet.

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

I just want to remind all members that there was an agreement amongst all members that all electronic equipment will be turned off during Question Period. So I would ask the honourable members to honour that.

The honourable Minister of Education on an introduction.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have two introductions with your permission. In the east gallery, from Sampsonville, up in Cape Breton, we have Eva and Doug Landry. Eva is in town, accompanied by Doug today. Eva is a member of the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council. I would like to acknowledge her excellent work in that regard, thank you. (Applause)

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, we are visited by two people who very seldom get over here. They're employees of the Department of Education - the minister's secretary, Wanda Smith, and the deputy's secretary, Karen Hart. I would ask those people who, indeed, as those of you who work in departments know, who makes her go. I would ask Wanda and Karen to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to bring to the attention of the members of the House a visitor in your gallery. We have with us today a New Glasgow businessperson and local activist, Mr. Lloyd Tattrie. I would ask Mr. Tattrie to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 9492]

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we'll start at the top of the list. Would you please call Bill No. 222.

Bill No. 222 -Tobacco Damages and Health-care Costs Recovery Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 222.

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

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 230.

Bill No. 230 - Housing Development Corporation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 230.

Order, please. Are you just calling the bill or are you actually moving it?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: I'm just calling the bill.

[Page 9493]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 230, the Housing Development Corporation Act.

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, when this bill was first introduced and we looked at it, and there were a couple of lines on the bill, there was very great debate over such small lines in the bill. The House was pretty lively over this debate because of so many issues dealing with the Housing Development Corporation and, as we heard earlier today in Question Period about boarded-up houses. Even in my riding we look at houses that look like Hurricane Katrina went through, the plywood on the windows and those types of things. So I just think that this housing Act - I know there was great debate over this and I'm not going to delay this any longer or do anything else with the debate. I'm going to sit in my place, but realize that there are some concerns in the Housing Development Corporation within the Province of Nova Scotia.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, just very briefly on Bill No. 230, any time that a bill comes before this House that's sponsored by the Minister of Community Services, and housing, I just can't resist getting up and talking about what's not happening in housing in Nova Scotia, particularly on Cape Breton Island, because there are absolutely no initiatives happening with any kind of housing . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . down in Cape Breton. I can recall, at second reading, talking about this particular bill and saying the government has absolutely no priority when it comes to housing for those in Nova Scotia who need adequate housing. As a matter of fact it's absolutely ridiculous, the pace at which this government is going to fulfil the agreement made with the federal government regarding affordable housing in Nova Scotia. We are years into that agreement now, three or four years, and this agreement called for the establishment of 1,500 new units in this province, and I believe we are at less than 200 to date - some of them, by the way, in the minister's own riding, but none in Cape Breton that I'm aware of. It's that kind of lack of attention to the housing crisis in this province for those who cannot afford adequate housing.

[Page 9494]

We have situations in our area - as the member for Cape Breton Nova pointed out, and I'm sure that other members for Cape Breton would also point out if they had the opportunity to do so - where people are living in substandard housing, and are being forced into housing at exorbitant rates of rent that are nothing more than rat traps, because of the lack of either new public housing, new affordable housing, or repairs to public housing that is now falling apart - the units in our area.

You get the excuse from an overburdened housing authority in our area that says they'd like to fix them up but they don't have the money to fix them up, so they remain empty. There are over 200 units empty in the Cape Breton area in public housing because they're just not fixed up or because this government does not consider affordable housing for the people who I know can't afford any other housing. They do not consider that a priority. For the minister to try to tell this House and Nova Scotians that the department of housing is fulfilling its role in Nova Scotia, is absurd, absolutely absurd. They are not fulfilling their mandate in the provision of adequate housing in this province. Daily, I have people making representation to me about the need for affordable housing.

The minister made light of the fact - in the last session of the House - that they put some new units together in downtown Halifax and didn't see anything wrong with a single person getting a unit, a two- or three-bedroom unit, who was making $50,000 a year. Well, it's kind of hard for me to explain that to the people back home who are on social assistance or who are living in substandard housing, that the need is fulfilled for somebody up here who is single, making $50,000 a year in a public-sponsored house, yet you can't find housing for people in my area who are on minimal incomes, on social assistance, or disabled or, worse than that, single moms with children who are trying to improve their lot in life and have to live in rat-infested houses in my area because of the lack of attention from that minister and the department of housing.

I'm glad this bill is before the House today because it does afford us the opportunity to talk for a few moments about what's not going on in the Department of Community Services. I said before in this House that this minister makes Attila the Hun look like Bambi when it comes to the provision of community services and housing in this province. But do you know what? The minister doesn't think there's any problem. He believes in his philosophy. He believes in the philosophy of his department, the Department of Community Services, that it's better to have a balanced line at the end of the year than it is to provide services for people who need it. He believes that, and that's the tragedy of it - he actually believes it. He doesn't think there's any problem in Nova Scotia when it comes to affordable housing, nor the provision of adequate services for those on community services, and that's the tragedy because that minister just doesn't get it. That minister doesn't get it that people that he has made statements about in this House, for example, if they can't get along on their community services budget, they should eat more pasta. Or, the reason they're on community services and in need of housing is they don't have any money. You know, hello?

[Page 9495]

Those are the kinds of statements that the people of Nova Scotia have been subjected to from this minister. Do you know what? The minister, to his credit, he believes all that. He's not making it up. Really, he's sincere. He doesn't think there's any problem in Nova Scotia with people who need housing or people who are on Community Services. It was mentioned earlier by the member for Halifax Needham regarding people needing higher education, for example, in order to improve their lot in life, he doesn't see the problem. There's no problem today, he says, in Nova Scotia because people can access a two-year program. We were talking about a four-year program to enable single moms to get off of the system in Nova Scotia, the system that's not doing them any good, to get off that system and as a result of that, improve their lot in life.

But, no, the minister doesn't see that. What the minister sees is that he has to go to the Department of Finance and justify if he overspent. How tragic is that when he's more worried about his department being overspent than he is about providing services to people in need in this province?

It's the same not only for people on community services, it's the same with people all over Nova Scotia who need better housing. But, this government doesn't consider people on low-income, people who need housing - that's not a priority to this government, never has been. It never has been because if it were a priority, the department that minister administers would have more social workers and people who really cared about people instead of finance people and lawyers running that department.

I have nothing against lawyers and I have nothing against accountants. I would rather see more social workers dictating the policies of those departments than financial wizards or people who have never known what it's like to be dealing with people who are actually in need on a daily basis in this province.

I didn't intend to speak too long on this bill today, but, I remembered some of the comments that were made by the minister and I just had to put them on the record again. This minister just doesn't get it. The housing authorities in this province have not been given the tools to do the job. The problem, again, surfaces whenever we try to talk about the distribution of adequate housing throughout this province.

The minister should come down to my riding or the riding of Cape Breton Nova, Glace Bay, Cape Breton Centre, Cape Breton West - any of those ridings - and look at the terrible state of the housing in those ridings. He should look at some of the accommodations that young women with children are being forced into because of the lack of adequate housing for them and their families. In this day and age, in this province, when the government can boast of a surplus and the minister can say his department is in under budget, I think it's a terrible indictment of this government that people are still out there hurting.

[Page 9496]

If this government can boast about a surplus and that minister can say that he has money from the federal government on a partnership arrangement with the Province of Nova Scotia, that he has money to build houses in this province, why doesn't he put his 50 cent dollars up and build those units? The only reason they're not doing it is they don't consider it a priority. They do not consider the plight of people less fortunate than most of us here, a priority.

That's sad, Mr. Speaker. That's sad in this year of 2005 that we can't guarantee people on low-income that they have a half decent place to live or enough to eat or an education that they so desperately want. All of these things have gone missing with the priorities of this particular government. That's a shame. I believe there are some good people on all sides of the House, people of goodwill who would like to do something for people of need in this province but the priorities of those people in Nova Scotia just have not hit home with the government. I think the government should reflect on that, if they can boast about surplus, the business record and the employment record.

We've heard it day in and day out. If they can boast about what kind of legacy the departing ministers and the Premier are going to leave. Well, I suggest it will be awfully hard for me to explain those legacies to the people I represent down in Sydney who are in need of housing or who have less than adequate incomes to support their children, who are trying to get a half decent education to get off the system and can't obtain that because of the lack of interest in those programs by this government.

[3:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I certainly will have another opportunity on some other bills I see here to maybe say a few remarks and maybe if the word housing or community services shows up in any one of these it will encourage me to get back on my feet and have a few more words to say. Thank you.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to take this opportunity to say a few words to speak about the housing situation in my own riding, in Richmond County and even in the Strait area and the decisions of the government - or the lack of decisions at some stages - which have certainly caused a great deal of hardship for some families in my own area. Let me start off by saying that I know on some occasions that the minister and his staff have certainly assisted in addressing some of the issues faced by some of the housing units in my county especially dealing with seniors' complexes. So I'd be remiss if I did not at least indicate that both the minister and his deputy have both assisted with some of the matters that I have raised.

[Page 9497]

Mr. Speaker, we, like many other areas in the province, have a significant shortage of available public housing units in Richmond County, whether they be seniors' complexes, whether they be single family dwellings or family dwellings, we don't have enough of them. I can't remember the last time in Richmond County that either a public home was built or a new seniors' complex was constructed. In fact, the seniors' complexes we have in Richmond County have been there, I would submit, since the 1970s, 1980s. So they're getting quite old and it has been quite some time since they've been there.

Mr. Speaker, previously in years gone by seniors would remain in their homes pretty much right to the very end. Most people would use the saying that, when they take me out of my house then that will be for the last trip. More and more seniors today when they're reaching the age of 65 are looking for smaller accommodations which are easier to care for, in some cases that do not involve stairs, that the washrooms are more accessible. Because of that we certainly have a change in demographic in our society. With that brings a new need for proper housing units in our areas.

I can tell you, other than one seniors' complex in Richmond, every other seniors' complex has a waiting list for people who are actually trying to get in. In some cases they are waiting for quite some time before they are able to secure one of these highly coveted housing units, seniors' units here in Richmond County. With those seniors' units, I've mentioned some of them are getting quite up in age. I was pleased to see that last year a number of improvements were made to the seniors' complex in Louisdale, Richmond County. New siding was put on the building, changes were made to the interior and I believe new doors were installed in each of the apartments. So there has been some investments made but at the end of the day it has improved the units we already had but it certainly hasn't put in any new units in Richmond County. I'm curious as to whether the minister might be able to indicate to this House when he envisions new units being constructed either in Richmond County or anywhere in the province specifically for seniors.

I can tell you that with the new program he announced there was a proposal that initially was put in by Development Isle Madame. I know the minister was preparing to come down to make the announcement but at the last minute when they put all the numbers together they didn't add up. It just did not add up. It was impossible with the amount of money being made available under the program through both the provincial and federal governments, there was absolutely no way that at the end of the day they could construct the facility under the building requirements. With the limited rent they were able to charge, it just would not make sense. Rather than construct the facility - which at the end of the day would cause economic hardship either to the government or to the organization in fact, in this case they would have had to bear responsibility for it - at the last minute they withdrew their request and that was unfortunate.

I thought the minister may have been able to step in with his staff and offer them some form of assistance, to see if there was any way their plan could be changed or could be revised

[Page 9498]

and that maybe more money could be found to make the plan work. That didn't happen, so we continue to have that shortage that I referred to in Richmond County. As far as public housing units that are made available, again, through my office I am continually calling and writing to the gentleman responsible for housing in the Strait area asking and pleading for families, especially single parents with children, to try to be able to access one of these units. It has become next to impossible because it's a matter of waiting until someone actually moves out of a unit before a unit becomes available, so the waiting list continues.

One of the unfortunate trends I have seen in Richmond County, due to our proximity to the Town of Port Hawkesbury, which is in Inverness County, a lot of families, rather than wait to find adequate housing in Richmond County, although they want to remain there, are turning and going to the Town of Port Hawkesbury to find accommodations in that community. This is taking children from our school system, it's taking individuals from our population, and I would submit to you that it is having an overall negative effect on our communities when such events occur.

There is no doubt that anytime we talk about housing or legislation in this Legislature, it gives the opportunity for MLAs to be able to talk about some of the situations they face in their own constituencies and some of the challenges that exist.

As I mentioned, in Richmond County, like many other rural areas, our population is getting older all the time. We continue to be faced with challenges in our school system of declining enrolment. That declining enrolment is an indication that there are fewer young families in our area and those who are remaining there are getting older all the time. As I have submitted to you, more and more are looking for public subsidized housing. Not only public subsidized housing, I would submit you you, unfortunately in Richmond County there are very few private apartments that seniors can access at the same time. So it's not just a matter of looking for subsidized spaces, it's a matter also of being able to find any available space.

In Richmond, a great deal of the homes are two-story dwellings and for the most part, the washroom and bedrooms are upstairs. So as people get older, that creates a significant challenge for them. The other option is to apply for a housing grant to try to make the necessary renovations to your home. Then we run into the problem that if you make any sort of money at all, you're over budget and you don't qualify for the program.

I know that the minister and federal government had made some announcements about some emergency funding that people who traditionally were over the cap, may be able to qualify for some assistance for housing renovations. To date, I haven't seen anyone from Richmond County who was initially told they were over the cap, now being told, you were only over by a little bit and with this new program we can put you in now. I haven't seen it. If it exists, I'd like to know how to access it because I have seen cases where someone was $100 over the cap and was refused. Maybe the minister can give us an indication afterwards as to how this works. The way it works, from what I can see is, if the couple is receiving

[Page 9499]

Canada Pension, Old Age Supplement, and the two are living together, they are over income. That is extremely unfortunate because at the end of the day, if someone receiving a supplement is considered to be over income, the whole purpose of a supplement is to bring you to a basic level of income.

The Province of Nova Scotia is telling these people, you make too much money to get assistance to fix your home, yet the federal government is giving you a supplement because right now your pensions don't bring you to the minimum standard of living. What kind of message is that? At what point are we going to start to put more funding into such programs? If seniors can't stay in their own homes because they haven't been able to move the washroom downstairs or put the bedroom downstairs, or put in a ramp to their home, or make other necessary changes, then obviously they're turning to public-subsidized housing. Or, in some cases, they're turning to long-term care and that is what has been happening in Richmond County.

Many people who would love to stay in their own home, if they had the ability to have the washroom on the main level and their bedroom on the main level, they would remain there. But once they start developing physical limitations, the next option is to go to a long-term care facility and unfortunately, there are people who would possibly have preferred to have remained in their home longer, but because of the fact they felt they had no choice that their accommodations at home could not meet their needs, they have turned to long-term care.

I believe all legislators here know what the cost is of having someone remain in their own home, as compared to having someone go into a long-term care facility. It's astronomical, the difference between the two prices. Yet somehow, the government hasn't caught on to that.

Mr. Speaker, it all ties in to the government as a whole because at the end of the day, when seniors can't remain in their own homes and they're going into long-term care, the cost to government continues to go up. We have a Minister of Health now who is consuming half of our entire budget, and he's going to continue to so.

We had programs, whether it be housing or programs such as the in-home support program that when Ms. Purves was there as minister, she said she would bring back. Then the current Minister of Education. I have correspondence from him saying it's ready to go. I am going to announce it anytime now. At least the current Minister of Health has been honest enough to say it's not going to happen.

Mr. Speaker, those are the types of programs, along with adequate housing, that can cut costs to government. So while they see it as a strict expense, we see it as a strategic investment, an investment that is going to save you money, but the government refuses to look at it that way. Then we have the Premier who sent out a flyer to all Nova Scotians last year,

[Page 9500]

saying if health care continues on its current rate, it will consume the entire provincial budget by 2025.

As alarming as that is, after the Spring budget was actually tabled by the Minister of Finance, the Premier revised his numbers and said, I was wrong. Health care having increased 9 per cent last year, 11 per cent this year. It's actually going to consume the entire provincial budget by the year 2020. Then we have the Fraser Report that came out yesterday that tells us the same thing. Yet, I remember, at the end, once the budget was passed last session, the Premier said his number one priority was to address the crisis in health care funding.

I'm curious. Maybe it's just me, but I haven't heard him say a word since. I know in this session he hasn't given us any indication. I have not heard anything from the Minister of Health to say that they have somehow developed some strategic plan to bring health care costs under control, or to start some sort of a review of it. They haven't said a word. The Minister of Housing hasn't said a word as to how he is going to try to keep seniors and keep Nova Scotians in their own homes longer, to keep seniors who need public housing in their own communities. There has certainly been no indication. If I'm wrong, let them stand in their place and correct me because maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I missed something. I didn't hear anything. We still have a health care budget that is out of control and growing each year by a percentage that is unsustainable.

The Minister of Finance, I believe, will agree that our economy has grown between 2 and 3 per cent on average, each year. Yet in 2003, health care grew by 9 per cent and in 2004 by 11 per cent. It just can't be sustained, 11 per cent growth and our province is only growing by 3 per cent, it just isn't going to work, and this bill ties into that whole government approach and raises the question of whether the government understands where we are going.

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Premier has made a decision that he will be stepping down and I can tell you, I can understand why, because next Spring, the budget is not going to be a fun experience. I believe the Minister of Finance knows that it's not going to be an easy budget next Spring because the money is not there from Ottawa to bail them out. Health care costs are going to continue to go through the roof. Not only was health care growing on its own, but we know that the Minister of Health in the months of August, September, felt there might be a Fall vote. Suddenly, we had all sorts of health care announcements, millions of dollars that were being announced.

[3:15 p.m.]

I'm not questioning the value of those announcements, I'm only asking where is he going to get the money? If you're consuming 50 per cent of the budget now and you've just announced a whole whack of projects in the millions of dollars, where's that money going to come from? So rather than being 50 per cent of the budget this year, what's it going to be next Spring?

[Page 9501]

That's a challenge of government. I'm sure the minister can get up and say it's a challenge being faced by all governments. True, but we were elected here to represent the people of Nova Scotia and we were mandated to find Nova Scotia-made solutions for Nova Scotia problems. We're not seeing that, and we're not seeing it from the Minister of Community Services when it comes to housing.

The federal-provincial initiative was a start, but we're certainly not seeing the amount of projects coming forward that the minister I'm sure, deep down, hoped he would see. So something's not working. Until we address where we've gone wrong, we are going to continue to be faced with these problems.

Mr. Speaker, giving you another example, I know we have situations in Richmond County where in single family dwellings it's to the point now there's such a demand for them that when the children go off to university or when they're finished university, the department of housing comes in and tells the parents, you gotta go. That's it, you're out of here, because you don't have any children and this is meant for families, so now you have to go find yourself a new home. The availability isn't there to start off with.

When a minister brings in this type of legislation, one would hope that he would be prepared to address some of the problems that exist in Nova Scotia, especially in some of the rural parts. I'm sure metro has a great deal of challenges as well, when one considers the amount of individuals who not only live in the city, but have continued to migrate into the city; especially a great deal are migrating from the rural areas.

Mr. Speaker, I think it's safe to say we have a crisis in public housing here in this province. While the minister has announced initiatives in that regard, there's a long way to go. I can tell you, when we start talking about rural depopulation and the issues facing rural communities, housing is right up there as one of the main problems, but I would submit to you also one of the main solutions that could be put forward to try to put a stop or to try to at least lessen the rate of depopulation which is currently taking place in our rural communities.

I would like the minister, when he has the opportunity, to tell us if the government has fully withdrawn from constructing any more subsidized public housing for either seniors or single families in this province, or do they still plan on building new seniors' units, new single family units that will be run by the province, built by the province, paid by the province? If they are, I'd like to know where they're going. I know they're not coming to Richmond County, because we haven't seen any in years. I've been elected seven years and I can tell you there hasn't been any in seven years. Having lived there all my life, I think I remember the last time they constructed some, it was on Highland Street, and I was a teenager. Not that I'm very old right now, but that was still at least a good 15, 20 years ago. So that's a long time that we've gone without any new construction. We have communities in Richmond County, and I think of communities such as Lower River, Evanston, Whiteside that have no public housing at all available.

[Page 9502]

There's a lady in that community who has four children who continues to call me to ask, why can't I get subsidized public housing in my community so my children can continue to go to school here, can continue to play with their friends, and we can continue to be active members of our community? Why is the government telling me I need to move to Louisdale, Port Hawkesbury, Arichat or St. Peter's? My answer to her is, good question. Valid question. She says, when can I expect to see any public housing units being constructed in my community? I have to tell her, I have no idea, because I can't get a straight answer out of anyone as to whether we can even hope to see any new public housing coming into communities such as the Evanston, Whiteside, Lower River area.

Maybe the minister can give us an indication of that and even give us an indication of where their priority areas are. If he stands in his place and says, yes, we're still going to do it, but pay no attention that we're not putting any in Richmond County or any in the rural areas, well that still doesn't address our problem. I believe the minister needs to provide much more information to this House on the issue of public housing so that before we can give our full support to bills such as these, that we can have a sense that the government appreciates the challenges that are faced by seniors and by Nova Scotians when it comes to public housing. Do I believe that the minister will ever be able to fully meet the demand? Probably not, but I can tell you we're certainly not even a country mile near where they have to be right now when one looks at the waiting lists that exist in communities such as those that exist in Richmond County.

Mr. Speaker, in finishing my comments, I just want to say that one needs to look at the situation of housing and its impact throughout the system - its impact on health, its impact on rural depopulation, its impact on the taxes being paid in municipalities, the impact on volunteers to help community groups, the impact it's having on our education system when children are leaving to go to larger centres and abandoning the rural areas. It's a whole big picture that one needs to look at, and one would hope that with this bill the Minister of Community Services will reflect on the importance of that division of his department, because I know he has a large department and he takes care of thousands of clients - maybe housing isn't always considered to be that large a priority.

I can tell you, Mr. Minister, where I come from it is a large priority, there's a large need and we have a large problem. We need solutions and we want to work with the government, but something has to be done because, to date, we thought we had a proposal and we lost it. I don't know how much effort was put in to try to necessitate that proposal from his department, or to try to find extra funds to try to make the numbers work at the end of the day. We cannot sit back and have the minister tell us there's funding there and to bring forward proposals. We tried and it didn't work, so we need to do something else and, hopefully, that something else will be leadership from the minister and leadership from the government. We're prepared to work with him, community groups are prepared to work, but they're not equipped to do it all on their own. They need leadership and here's an opportunity for the minister to show that.

[Page 9503]

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few moments to speak on Bill No. 230. I believe the minister is going in the proper direction in naming an auditor other than the Auditor General given the size of the department, the amount of funds that he handles through his department, the amount of clients and the differences, or the differentials, in his portfolio that covers an extremely large basis of housing differences from Community Services clients to regional housing to senior citizens' housing.

Mr. Speaker, you've heard me mention in here that about 75 per cent of my calls were road related, or transportation related, and I've noticed recently that more and more we're getting calls from people on housing, wondering how long they'll have to wait or, more importantly, they're looking for assistance on how they can get their application approved. It's kind of heart-rending right from the fact that sometimes we'll question them and ask them how much is their income. Once they hear the income level, we can pretty well tell them then and there, I've tried that, and they get upset. So what we'll do is have an application sent to them, they submit the application, only to know that their income level is too high, maybe just $1,000 or $2,000 over the limit, and they don't qualify.

In all my experience since 1991 in dealing with housing situations, it has always been a priority of the governments in power to look at whether the roof was leaking or not, whether they had water, whether they had heat, and those were kind of the three priorities that they used to focus in on whether the application was approved or not but, back quite some time ago, windows, doors, floors, ceilings, anything at all that would cause an improvement to the property were looked at and then they kind of went by the wayside.

Mr. Speaker, we hear about the energy program that the government has brought in, but what good is an energy subsidy when the heat that you're creating is going out through drafty windows. I've been in houses that the doors will not close, especially once the season comes and frost becomes the number one enemy where the old floors will heave, the doors will twist and turn and they just will not close - they're not closing properly to begin with in the Summer but in the Winter when the door has to be kicked, shoved and pried to try to get it closed or a blanket put around the bottom of the door to stop the heat from escaping, it's a large waste of fuel and 90 per cent of the time it's either seniors or the children who are suffering.

Mr. Speaker, also the minister in his portfolio, I know they've introduced a single-access system in regard to people getting into senior citizens' homes and the single-access system has kind of taken away from the local input. What I'd like to do is cite a lady from my community in Boularderie down in Big Bras d'Or, Edith MacKenzie. There's a lady who is fiercely independent - as all rural Scottish descendants are, in my experience with them - and stayed at home right up until recently and had agreed then that she would go to the Alderwood Guest Home in Baddeck which is a short ride from Boularderie and she has relatives in

[Page 9504]

Boularderie, Middle River, Baddeck and the surrounding areas so family can visit her on a timely basis and on a frequent basis. What has happened because of the single-entry access, a bed came available in Port Hawkesbury - now we're talking an hour and a half from Boularderie and an hour from Baddeck - this lady is now up in Port Hawkesbury and this is not only creating a hardship on the family to visit more frequently but it's causing an awful lot of stress on this elderly lady who just literally hates to be where she is and the family can see a deterioration in this lady by being where she is. The only way she will eventually get in Alderwood is if she will accept a bed where it becomes available.

It was rather ironic that the very day she went to Port Hawkesbury because of her name on the list, the person directly behind her was put in Alderwood and the person in Alderwood didn't want to be there but they have to stay there until a bed becomes available in their preferred area. So a little bit of flexibility could have allowed that person to exchange places with Mrs. MacKenzie. I hope that the minister in the proposal of his new budget will see fit to get the approval of this government to put more dollars in so that seniors and people who apply for the old-fashioned word "grant" when it's in the housing improvement program that they will raise the levels of income which will substantially affect a lot of the applicants that are applying for this. It's heart-wrenching when you have a senior couple that are making about $23,000 or $24,000 and they're just over the limit and you can't do anything for them - the same with a single person that's just over the limit.

I believe that's one area that the minister could probably lobby his caucus for and see if the government would be willing to increase the funds there. Mr. Speaker, maybe there could be two levels of the housing applications, one that they presently have now for their three priorities and then another level where it would go back to looking at the windows and the doors that would keep the heat in that is so costly to produce.

[3:30 p.m.]

I can see the reason why the minister would want to have a separate auditor other than the Auditor General. That will be good, we have to know where our money is being spent and keep it in line. We too often see money go out the window along with the heat and it's never recouped. I hope that the improvement of that is one but I would also like to be repetitive and say that I would hope that the minister would also look at increasing the financial level for that area where people are just being cut off. Even a few thousand dollars in each bracket would make a big difference, especially to the applicants. With that, I will thank you for the time to speak on the bill and hope that the minister will abide by some of the suggestions that I have put forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

[Page 9505]

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words on Bill No. 230, an Act to Amend Chapter 213 of the Revised Statutes of 1989, the Housing Development Corporation Act. This act talks about changing from the Auditor General to appointing an accountant to look after the books of housing. I'm sure I'm not the only member in this House, but every week I receive calls from residents from Clare looking for housing units or looking for housing grants. I'm quite sure every member in this House throughout Nova Scotia receives those calls on a weekly basis.

I want to talk a little bit about the Tri-County Housing Authority. Every week I'm usually in contact with these people. I have to say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the Minister of Community Services, his staff are at no time not professional and not helpful, because they are. They've always been very professional, they've always been very helpful, but on the short end of this, everyone recognizes, and I certainly recognize, that staff working with the Tri-County Housing Authority have limited resources to work with. That's the sad part because right now in the Clare Tri-County Housing Authority has 65 housing units available and they have four single dwellings for families. Again, when I look at 65 housing units and they're full all the time, there are waiting lists - exactly how many of those waiting lists are unknown - but I know every week I do have calls. I have people coming in looking for a place to stay.

Again, Mr. Speaker, looking at the availability of units, I certainly can share some of the difficulties that people are having looking for a place to stay, in Clare like any other place, especially in rural Nova Scotia, there are just a certain amount of rental units available whether it's from the housing authority or through the private sector. We're looking at a restricted amount.

I have contacted numerous times the regional housing office in Milton to find out if the Department of Community Services is looking at building additional family units or again looking at building single units for individuals. As we're aware, Nova Scotia has signed off on a new Canada-Nova Scotia affordable housing agreement for a total of $56 million. So far to date, we hear that the province and the federal government have spent approximately $24 million, so there's another $30-some-odd million remaining under this agreement.

In Clare, as I've said earlier, there's 65 housing units available. We have four homes available: one in Church Point which has 20 units, one in Saulnierville which has 15 units, one in Meteghan which has 15 units and one in Salmon River that has 15 units. The problem that we're having, when I look at the one in Church Point - it's a two-level building and there's an elevator. When I look at the one in Meteghan, it's a two level-building - again, we have an elevator. But the one in Saulnierville which is a two level, there are no elevators.

I have raised this concern, I've brought it to the minister's attention in recent years. Again, when I hear from residents living at the Foyer Évangéline and when you look at the waiting list, there's probably only a few people but I'm quite sure if an elevator was installed that waiting list would certainly increase.

[Page 9506]

The minister has indicated that these concerns are certainly looked at and reviewed, but the part that he fails to provide us with is the priority list of the department. Where does the Foyer Évangéline find itself on the priority list of the department? I'm sure every month I run into residents from Foyer Évangéline and the question is asked, have you heard anything from the minister? Have you heard anything from the provincial government? Again, there is a need to have an elevator installed in that housing complex in Saulnierville. As I said, there are at least another $30 million from this federal-provincial housing agreement that has not been committed, not been announced so far. Surely to God, we're not looking at $34 million to install one elevator.

So I hope, especially for the residents living at Foyer Évangéline, the minister will give some serious consideration to this request. This request has been on the books for a number of years. We failed to hear from the minister on a firm commitment, a firm date, when this work will be carried out.

There's a need for more housing units, for single units in the Municipality of Clare. I hope, when I look around the province especially in the last couple of months, with all the housing units that have been announced, our end of the province will receive its fair share. At the same time, to recognize the need for installing more elevators.

I'm sure Clare is not the only area where there's a need to have more elevators in some of these seniors' complexes. I would love to see the priority list of the department to determine exactly where the Foyer Évangéline finds itself, for an elevator, inside that department.

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, every week I receive requests for housing grants. It has been stated here in this House earlier, looking at the restrictions that are currently on the books that allow individuals to qualify or not to qualify. Quite often the level of income is low but, just slightly - and we see this practically all the time - not by thousands of dollars, but less than $100. Unfortunately, because of the department's policy and the housing policy, a lot of the people that apply do not qualify for a housing grant to help carry out some repairs on their houses.

This is very unfortunate. I've raised this and I will raise it again. I think it's past due for the department, for the minister, for the government to review its policy. The level of income needs to be looked at again absolutely. At least some consideration needs to be given to increasing these amounts to what they've been for a long time.

Again, as we have basically said all along - a lot of people and I'm sure in Pictou County just like us in Digby County, would love to remain in their own houses but, unfortunately, many times some of these individuals have no choice because they have to move out.

[Page 9507]

This past weekend, as a matter of fact, I was over to this lady's house. She will be 67 years old tomorrow. Her house needs a lot of repairs. She hasn't been able to retire, unfortunately. Not that she doesn't want to retire, she has worked all her life, unfortunately, she has raised a large family. A lot of her kids have moved out. She is living by herself in the homestead. She is not quite ready to move out. She is working in order to earn a few extra dollars to continue to repair her house. I'm quite sure because of her level of income that this lady will not qualify for assistance. I have written a letter explaining her situation to the housing district office in Middleton. I hope some consideration will be given. I hope this message will certainly flow up to the minister's office, because there is no doubt that this lady wants to do what is right. She recognizes that at some point that she is going to have to let go and move out of her house but, right now, she is certainly willing to continue, even at the age of 67, to work, to gain and earn a few extra dollars to do some most-needed repairs to her house.

Again, I hope that the minister and his staff will certainly give some consideration to this application. I know that this lady is not by herself in this province, there are others like her. It's absolutely critical that we do recognize that there are people in this province who need some extra help along the way.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, and I have said, I will repeat my words, the minister's staff, working out of the Tri-County Housing Authority, we speak practically on a weekly basis. These people are very professional and very helpful to me and to a lot of people who contact them. Unfortunately, again, with restricted resources, they can only do so much and go so far. They need this minister's help. They need this minister's attention. So I hope that this minister will take into account some of the points that I have raised this afternoon. I am hoping that the minister will do some reviewing inside his own departments and review these policies that affect each and every one of us on a daily basis. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think that the importance of this Bill No. 230 is that it's an issue that is very important to everybody. I think that many members would want to get up and speak about housing and the issues of people who require housing. In every corner of this province and every riding there is a lot of need for affordable housing and for support for our housing authorities and the organizations that support them. Certainly, in metro, we have a number of public housing areas and supportive housing. I have a few issues with that that I think are important to raise, I think on the point of accessibility of these areas, desirability perhaps, the philosophy behind public housing and how we determine where people will be housed when they haven't proper housing to keep them safe. So there are a number of issues.

[Page 9508]

In my own riding, there are no public housing units available, which is a difficulty in the Clayton Park area. People do fall upon times for a multitude of reasons that can happen, when they become unemployed or perhaps there is a family breakup or a question of abuse and there is a family left without a home. There are no affordable housing or public housing options in Clayton Park. So that leaves a lot of people having to leave a neighbourhood where their children are settled, where they are in school, and where they have friends and support systems, and that's as important as anything else, having that support system. So that is one of the issues that we have a worry with and I also know from sitting at the Public Accounts Committee meeting last February, when we talked about the new Affordable Housing Program, a lot of the money was being directed to rent subsidies and I think that that's something else that, here in the Legislature, we do need to spend some time and consider and look at because providing a rent subsidy that will help a family live in an apartment that's beyond their means otherwise, especially low-income families, it helps in the immediate circumstance, it helps for the crisis they're in at that moment, but it doesn't help in the long run.

[3:45 p.m.]

At the end of the 10 years, or 15 years, however long the agreement is going to run, whichever agreement - at the moment it's a federal government agreement - at the end of that period of time we still have the apartments, that shelter available, but not available anymore to the low-income families who have been sheltered there. So it seems to me to be a short-sighted approach to providing assistance to low-income families and people who need support.

I think, again the idea of ownership, and we've talked and a number of members have risen and talked about Habitat for Humanity and the difference between working towards ownership of a home, or being given ownership, and the idea of renting or living in public housing is very different. Again, it's the philosophy of how we take care of people who are most in need. So I would like to have that recorded as well, that we need to look again at the philosophy of how we are housing people who are most vulnerable. What we're doing, as well, is we have in the past - not in recent years because we haven't built more public housing - grouped our public housing all in one area.

So now we have certain corners, certain areas of the city that have been a place for people who are poor, and there's poverty and the issues that surround poverty are all concentrated - it's like putting a magnifying glass on the problems that are associated with poverty, whether it's nutrition, whether it's crime, whether it's violence in those communities - all of it gets magnified because it is concentrated in one area. The families that live there haven't got the safety and perhaps the ability to let their children grow in a safer environment with different influences around them, a different neighbourhood or community around them.

[Page 9509]

AN HON. MEMBER: It's not consistent with social planning.

MS. WHALEN: That's right. Certainly living in a brand new neighbourhood and area like Clayton Park West and Glenbourne Subdivision, and there are many other brand new sections that have been built in that area, thousands of people living there, I can attest to the fact that there was no social planning, that there was no attempt to say we could within this area very easily nestle other homes that would be more affordable for families.

AN HON. MEMBER: You were on council . . .

MS. WHALEN: I was not on the council for most of the planning for that area, but I do believe that council should be asked to move in that direction.

I would like, while I'm talking about Clayton Park and the riding of Clayton Park, to mention the very large project that's coming up, and that is the redevelopment of the Motherhouse property which is, as everyone knows I hope, on top of the hill above Mount Saint Vincent University, and the Sisters of Charity have owned that property, and in fact the entire university, for many years and in their redevelopment, when it was decided that they could no longer afford to maintain such a huge structure - it's a very, very large stone structure - when that was being redeveloped, they decided that they would look for bids, of course, and asked developers to come forward with suggestions.

I was councillor at that time and I fully expected that the application that would be accepted would be one to tear down that building, because it is large and expensive to maintain, and that they would simply build big homes, or condominiums, and that would be the end of that, but actually the proposal which the Sisters chose is from United Gulf, which is a Halifax-based company, also another one of its names is Greater Homes - probably better recognized by the public - and United Gulf did provide a proposal which includes some more affordable housing within the plan. That was, in fact, what appealed so much to the Sisters of Charity that it actually became their preferred option when they chose that plan for redevelopment.

It will be some years down the road before they get there because the first part of the project is going to be centred entirely on the large stone building, the Motherhouse itself, and it will be a redevelopment of that historic building. Although it's only 50 years old, it really is a building that has become synonymous with that part of the city. It will now be adapted to have a private school within it and some housing, some commercial uses, and it's a gigantic building so it has different quadrants that will be developed differently. That will be the focus of the first few years of their work and it also includes another home for the Sisters of Charity within it. I think that's really important, and it's the first time I'd ever seen a proposal coming to a landowner to decide on development that was largely chosen because of the aspect of social responsibility. So that within the confines of making money and developing a property which is going to have wonderful views and be close to the city, they also kept in mind the

[Page 9510]

idea of providing a social element and an idea of trying to help the public and provide affordable units within those condominiums.

I do believe if we started with that kind of a plan for all development and all new subdivisions it would make a tremendous difference and it would give people an opportunity to live in dignity in neighbourhoods that are settled and stable. I think it is a start, it's a step in the right direction, perhaps it sends a signal to other developers that this is something that can actually make a project more attractive.

Part, as I say, is my concern with the grouping of social housing in one area and, again, as an MLA now for over two years, I've had a number of calls from people who are in distress and who are looking for housing and, quite honestly, they often would prefer to continue to struggle where they are than to move to some of the public housing that's offered. They are aware of some of the units in Fairview they would like to go to or other parts of the city but they don't want to go to the big project areas.

It just points out to me that the housing stock we have and the way we've grouped them in one area like that, or several areas that I think many of us can name, has created a community that even people who are in need are frightened to go to or reluctant to go to because they don't think it's going to be a good environment for their children and their families. I think that we need to reassess that and maybe there needs to be some dramatic changes made in maybe redistributing where those homes are. That is a big project, and that's something for the future, but it really does need to be looked at because I don't think it's sustainable the way we're doing it today, not for the long term. The government seems to like the idea of these rent subsidies, but that's going to be a long-term commitment of funds to just support individuals and, again, it won't give us a good housing stock, new assets. I think that's an important point to be concerned about as well.

Clayton Park has thousands and thousands of apartment units. I've heard the member for Dartmouth North speak about 61 per cent of his residents are in apartments in multi-unit buildings. I would hasten to guess that Clayton Park is very much the same although I don't have as accurate a figure so I'm going to ask him how that was calculated. (Interruptions)

I'm going to look at that myself because I know and I actually think the statistical profile that the province has done under the Department of Finance Web site is not accurate in Clayton Park West because the figures come from around 2001. I can speak from experience, in 2001, Parkland Drive didn't exist, there were no units between Parkland Drive and going that way to Kearney Lake Road.

We have literally dozens of new buildings and each one of them is including anywhere from 60 to 100 units, and they filled up very quickly. So I know people are there in those buildings. It's also created an environment with its own problems as well, in terms of housing and perhaps in looking at the needs of individuals.

[Page 9511]

When I look at Bill No. 230 in particular, it is really a bill to address accountability within the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation. I'm not really sure as to the rationale as to why we're changing to a regular auditor from the Auditor General. I know that we support this bill, we have no difficulty with it. If it improves the accountability or flexibility for the department, we're happy with that. There are so many other issues that could have been addressed under the umbrella of housing. I think it's very important that those issues do come to the floor and that perhaps we could invite them again to the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the nature of affordable housing and the program that is now going forward. Again, we have to remember that's going forward with considerable financial support from the federal government but it requires the buy-in of the province, and if we don't move on it and have a sound strategy, in fact, the clock is ticking and the program is due to run out.

I think we're more than halfway through the five years of that plan. So I think it's really important that all members of the House follow this very closely and make it known that we want to see new units built. I, frankly, do not want to see the money siphoned off into rent subsidies when we have an opportunity to really improve the housing for people that are on low incomes or on social assistance. I think the time is now to really address that in every community.

The announcements that have been made to great fanfare are things that people were excited about - whether there were the six or eight units that went in on Creighton Street, which were designed for people whose income was up to $50,000 a year - we know that from some of the press that was associated with that. Nevertheless, the intent of that was to bring middle-income people into the Gottingen Street area, living close to the city, to help with that mix of incomes and socio-economic backgrounds within one area. I think that is serving the same purpose that I suggested about having mixes in other neighbourhoods and new neighbourhoods. At the same time, that was greeted very warmly - as were the units in the Annapolis Valley - but they have been very small in terms of where they are coming in, keep just a few here and there.

I think that this program, which is over $30 million as I understand, is certainly an opportunity that we could have done something great. When the government first announced it, I think we talked about 1,500 new housing units. In February, when it came to Public Accounts, lo and behold, the number had gone down to about 800. I have no doubt that it will continue to decrease as other means are found to use that money, other than building new or refurbishing existing buildings. I think that that could be a time when we are losing a tremendous opportunity.

Again, because Clayton Park has a mixture of housing, we have - I have mentioned - a lot of brand new condominiums and apartments. We also have areas where the apartments are older and where we have a lot of newcomers, sometimes refugees. They are quite visible in the community around Clayton Park Junior High School, along the top of Fairview, as the

[Page 9512]

member for Halifax Fairview would be well aware. Part of that resides in the Clayton Park riding above Dunbrack and there are homes there as well that are of a low-income nature. But again, we need to support all of those to be redeveloped and to be made into better homes, and perhaps to allow for ownership.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take my seat and allow other speakers to have a chance. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank those members opposite who made some constructive suggestions. Housing is a very important subject for all Nova Scotians. I welcome their interest and with that, I would like to close debate on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading on Bill No. 230. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 243.

Bill No. 243 - Emergency Measures Act/Public Service Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I just have a couple of things to say about this bill. We are certainly in support of it. We voted for it at second reading. We will certainly vote for it at this stage. I am speaking only because there is one point to that I wanted to raise. Unfortunately, at no stage of the proceedings have we heard specifically from the minister about one concern that I identified to him. I made this point at second reading, I asked about the question of insurance for people who come to Nova Scotia in order to assist us. What this bill does, in its essence, is it provides for putting in place reciprocal agreements between Nova Scotia and other jurisdictions, particularly American jurisdictions.

We know that what happens in the case of an emergency, of course, is that jurisdictions do want to come to each other's aid. We welcome aid from the Americans. We

[Page 9513]

are happy to give them aid. In fact, this week I presented, and the House accepted, a resolution in which we recognized the actions of one of the staff members of the Department of Community Services in our province who had been to the southern United States during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was a volunteer who went to work for the American Red Cross for about three weeks. He set up a shelter. He was one of those people who were there attempting to offer comfort and assistance to those who were so dramatically displaced by Hurricane Katrina in the United States. Of course we know we have a long history in Nova Scotia, of being the beneficiaries of assistance from Americans when disasters have struck here.

[4:00 p.m.]

We have only to recall the Halifax Explosion and the way in which Americans rushed to our aid here. It was a great help to us. It's something we're so grateful for that we continue to remember it this day by the tradition of sending a very fine tree each year, in December, at Christmastime, to Boston in recognition of that. It's a tradition that has been kept up now for, I guess, 80 years. This is because we remember that the Americans came to our aid, and the only question that I asked was the question of insurance when people come here.

I hope that no one is going to be standing at the border trying to prevent a physician, nurse, engineer, or anyone else who comes to Canada in order to offer aid to us in Nova Scotia, should some disaster strike us. Indeed the whole point about these reciprocal arrangements that are to be put in place between Nova Scotia and other jurisdiction, including American jurisdictions within the framework of the amended Emergency Measures Act, is to facilitate the movement of people back and forth.

There are two kinds of insurance that we have to think about, one is workers' compensation arrangements for people who might come here in order to work. There is a provision that is already in the Act that deals with the extension of workers' compensation benefits to people who come here during emergencies. However, that's framework. What we need to hear from the minister is that, in fact, such arrangements with the Workers' Compensation Board have been put in place and actually work. We don't know that. The minister hasn't put it on record.

Now I understand that arrangements had been worked out with the Workers' Compensation Board to put in place coverage for people who come here. That if they're injured while they're on the job, as indeed might incur, during the course of an emergency that they are not left without workers' compensation coverage, if these people who come to assist us are injured. I wouldn't want that to happen. I'm sure no one here would want that to happen. We want something to be put in place. I gather from informal talks with the minister that something is in place, but we don't have details. All I really ask with respect to that part, is that the minister give us details at some point.

[Page 9514]

However, there is a second part. The second part has to do with protection for people who might be patients or clients of any professionals who come here to offer assistance. Now, again, this is something that I am sure is addressed in the framework agreement. Informally in discussions with the minister, he told me that this is exactly the kind of thing that will be included in the agreements, but I have yet to hear him say it officially on the record. I would like to see it officially on the record, from the minister. I think it's important that we know this. It's important that if there is already a model of our reciprocal assistance agreement in place, that he shows us. That he give us an example of how professional liability insurance will be put in place for people who come here to work and use their professional skills. I approve entirely. I think we all do. We all want the opportunity to benefit in an emergency, in a crisis, from the expertise that might be available in some other jurisdiction that we might need, just as we would want to send our experts somewhere else.

At the same time, insurance is something that we have the leisure now to think about. We have had, by and large, a lovely Autumn. No major weather disasters coming our way. We had a little bit of the edge of one hurricane but that was hardly a disaster. For the most part, we've had a wonderful Fall and we have the leisure now to turn our minds to this question of insurance. All I've asked the minister to do is to give us the specifics of what it is that will be in place. Will it be the professional liability insurance that people have from their home jurisdictions? We don't know that. Will that liability insurance, if they have it in their home jurisdictions, have extra territorial effect? Will it take effect in Nova Scotia? Or will there be some kind of insurance scheme put in place, presumably the taxpayer standing up to pay the bill if necessary, if there is some kind of problem and a resulting lawsuit.

We need to know this. Are we putting ourselves, as taxpayers of Nova Scotia, on the hook if there were to be, say, a medical malpractice lawsuit against someone who came as a volunteer from some other jurisdiction? If that's the case, we need to know that. If it is the case, we need to know details - what's the amount, the deductible, the circumstances, the triggers? Again, all I'm asking the minister to do is give us some details of this at some point. Unfortunately, it wasn't put on the record at second reading and I have yet to hear it at this reading.

Those are the only concerns that I have. I speak only to flag these concerns. I'm sure there are answers for them, I'm sure the honourable minister and his departmental officials have turned their minds to these questions. I'm sure that in due course we will get an answer. It's unfortunate we haven't had it so far, nonetheless, that isn't a reason for holding up this legislation. We're certainly prepared to support it. We supported it at second reading, we'll support it at third reading, we'll see it go forward.

What we do hope is that the answers to these questions that we've raised, which are nonetheless important questions, will be answered by the minister in due course. Thank you for the opportunity to make these comments.

[Page 9515]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to speak on Bill No. 243. This bill seems nothing more than a name change from Emergency Measures Organization to Emergency Management Office. But there's not too much wrong with a change in a name once in a while.

They claim it will also improve communications and conditions with the northeast United States. But it doesn't have any improvements in it for communications with our own people in this province and that's a concern to this Party. We believe other changes are in order for EMO along with that name change.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, the Liberal Party introduced a bill to this House that would improve communications with our people in this province during emergencies. This bill has not been called, but we have heard that EMO saw fit to see it go along to the CRTC for improvement. That's good news to us.

I believe this government sees this as a good bill and that it will certainly improve the communications for all the people during any emergencies in this province. This system is called the Reverse 911 system. Instead of people trying to call out during an emergency, this system will call out to all the people in the area where the emergency is occurring.

During our last power outage in Digby-Annapolis, the people could not get through on the telephone to find out about the problem and when their power supply would come on again. During an emergency, communication is a very vital tool to many people, especially the elderly who feel they are trapped. It will stop people from panicking, it will let them know exactly what to expect and it will stop hundreds of people from calling their local MLA.

The MLA should not be a communications officer for the Emergency Measures Organization. I don't believe he was hired for that reason, but don't get me wrong, I don't mind that, but my phone jams up too with hundreds of phone calls coming in, just as I can imagine with EMO and Nova Scotia Power with hundreds of thousands of calls coming in at once. It just won't work.

The system we believe will work is just good common sense to use. One push of a button will send out a message in an area where the emergency is occurring. It's simple to realize that thousands of calls at once will not go into one phone at once, but one phone call out to thousands of phones at once is no trouble at all. This call can be updated every few minutes if necessary, keeping the people informed as much as you need to, perfect for any emergency situation in this province.

Mr. Speaker, as I've said before, we're pleased that EMO is looking into this. We, the people of this province, will be even more pleased when it's made available for anyone who

[Page 9516]

wishes to have it in their homes or businesses. This will be a volunteer system. If you don't want it in your home you don't have to have it there, but I assure you I will have one in my home if it's available. I know a lot of other people in Digby-Annapolis would love to have it.

The busy signals you get during emergencies, during power outages, is disastrous. I know we've gone through it and probably everyone in this province has gone through it. Our hopes are that the CRTC will see the Reverse 911 system as a great addition for the new Emergency Management Office of this province. Our hopes then are that this government will make sure that it is adopted to improve communications for the people of this province.

On that note, Mr. Speaker, I'll take my seat, and I thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 243.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 243. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 251.

Bill No. 251 - Public Service Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 251.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 251. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

[Page 9517]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 256.

Bill No. 256 - Municipal Government Act.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 256, the Municipal Government Act, for third reading.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that this is a long-awaited piece of legislation particularly around addressing the issue of vacant buildings. I do want the minister to be aware that there has been some conversation around expediting this piece of legislation. This piece of legislation is a good piece of legislation but it only allows this provincial government to amend the Municipal Government Act to allow the municipality to craft a bylaw. The municipality needs to craft that bylaw rather quickly because many parts of the Halifax Regional Municipality have been dealing with boarded-up buildings for a number of years.

I do know that there were actually no witnesses before the Law Amendments Committee on this issue and there was nothing of real substance that was amended in this piece of legislation. I do want those few viewers or many viewers out there who are watching the Legislature today to know that it is now in the hands of the municipal government to craft the appropriate bylaw that will take into effect and cause the effect of these boarded-up buildings having to be addressed by the municipal government.

It's easy to blame the provincial government for being slow to react on legislation but often the reaction on legislation comes from the municipal government's point of view. The municipal government has difficulty in crafting bylaws that will stand the test of time of the courts. What the municipality needs to do if it needs consultation with the provincial government's legal department particularly around the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and his legal department to craft the appropriate legislation that will allow them to move this quickly on the agenda, there ought to be consultation around that.

Far too often people's expectations have been lifted with respect to housing and with respect to legislation. Far too often they wait and wait and nothing happens. Now I do know that the municipality has made an attempt to purchase these properties with less than fair market value, but expropriated properties by all levels of government cannot happen unless there is fair market value assessment done to these particular properties. So I think we need

[Page 9518]

to recognize that there will be some time, there will be some consideration with respect to crafting this bylaw, and I don't believe it's going to happen overnight.

[4:15 p.m.]

I do know that there are a number of councillors within the Halifax Regional Municipality who recognize that these boarded-up buildings stigmatize the neighbourhoods. As a matter of fact, there were former speakers to the Housing Development Corporation piece of legislation that just recently went through third reading in this House. Many of the members who spoke on that piece of legislation indicated quite clearly how communities become stigmatized. Those communities become stigmatized because of the lack of social planning and development of those neighbourhoods and those communities. As a result, there is a general erosion of the community and the neighbourhood where people who have to live in that neighbourhood see boarded-up buildings almost every day when they go by. I want again to say that there has been at least a member of the government, the minister responsible for housing, who has actually visited parts of HRM where, in fact, there are boarded-up buildings.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say this piece of legislation may give the municipal government the right to borrow funds to demolish buildings, but by the same token it requires a good, strong piece of municipal bylaws which, in fact, is a piece of legislation that will stand the test of time. I don't know if the minister has had the kind of consultation with HRM's Planning Department and/or the councillors, and/or the mayor, with respect to making sure that once this piece of legislation is enshrined in the Municipal Government Act, that in fact the municipal government will craft the kind of legislation that will stand the test of time because it's no good passing legislation through this House if, in fact, it's just simply for the sake of appeasing a government or a particular individual. It needs to have the strength, it needs to be able to stand the test of time.

Mr. Speaker, with those brief comments, I just certainly want those Nova Scotians out there to know that when this piece of legislation is proclaimed, the final responsibility is left with the Halifax Regional Municipality to craft appropriate legislation that will withstand the test of time in courts in order to get rid of these boarded-up buildings.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a few remarks today because this is a Municipal Affairs bill, I am the Municipal Affairs Critic, a former councillor and I think that movements like this are particularly important for Halifax Regional Municipality. Therefore, I wanted to refer to them.

[Page 9519]

The clause that's going to allow municipalities, particularly specific to HRM, to acquire the vacant properties - the ones that have been boarded up - and to ensure that they are cleaned up, I think it's tremendously important. I think that for years the HRM has dealt with this when they've had their Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee. I understand the minister was at one time the chair, so he would have heard many of these discussions. Every time it came up and we were dealing with these neighbourhoods that have been traumatized - I would say that the communities lose their hearts when buildings are permanently boarded up and the value of those that are around them are declining and they become unsightly and they become unpleasant to live in - I think rather than demoralizing those communities, we need to have a mechanism and a way of addressing it and through adopting this bill we will be allowing that to happen for HRM.

I'm sure that other municipalities, since they're well aware of it and have not sought that as of yet - perhaps they want to watch this and see how it plays out in practice and in fact how expensive it may be for HRM because, as the previous speaker mentioned, this requires that the municipality acquire the building at its fair market value. So it isn't discounted in any way, the owners are not penalized for having boarded up the buildings, they're simply forced to sell - it's much like an expropriation.

Fair market value is going to be the determination and I'm sure other municipalities may be somewhat concerned about the cost that that would incur. Therefore for that reason I think it's important that HRM is the first to try it - and I hope that it will be very successful and many of the neighbourhoods that have been plagued by this kind of devalued property and boarded up buildings, which become not only unsafe but become places for crime to proliferate and so on - so I think it's extremely important. The other amendments to this bill I think are much in the way of housekeeping, the changes to the FOIPOP regulations I understand bring them more into line with other departments and with the other Act and that makes more sense if things move more quickly. I think it's a rather exciting change to allow the deed transfer tax to be controlled electronically, that this can all be submitted without paper and I think that's the move we're going to in society and this just gives them the mechanism to do that legally and properly.

I think again that that's important for government to be keeping pace and to also make services more responsive to the needs of the public because when we rely more on paper copies and signatures that have to be handled as hard copy, it really does slow things down and people expect government to be a little bit more responsive to the available technology and needs. Again we know that not all municipalities charge the deed transfer tax, that's something that's optional, it is a source of income for many of them and HRM certainly does charge that to the amount that's allowed in law. They will be looking forward to that I am sure. As I say, the other changes to the Act we have no difficulty with so I think that the best part of it is the ability to now acquire the buildings that have been boarded up and do something to improve neighbourhoods that are under siege. Thank you very much.

[Page 9520]

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to close the debate on the bill. Primarily this bill is housekeeping matters to allow for municipalities and businesses and lawyers to use electronic business, e-business in the day-to-day operation of their practices. However, as it was pointed out by members opposite, it does allow for the opportunity for a municipality to have a greater tool to deal with derelict and unsightly premises. We believe it's good legislation that will enable the municipality to deal with some ongoing and outstanding issues. I'm pleased to move third reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 256. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 258.

Bill No. 258 - Building Code Act.

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

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to move third reading of Bill No. 258, the Building Code Act. I look forward to any discussions that may take place in the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 258. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 9521]

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

[4:25 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. James DeWolfe in the Chair.]

[4:40 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Ms. Diana Whalen in the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 247 - Correctional Services Act.

Bill No. 238 - YMCA of Cape Breton Act.

Bill No. 239 - Northern Yacht Club Act.

Bill No. 267 - Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy Act.

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

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

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

Bill No. 254 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 225 - Smoke-free Places Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 9522]

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 237.

Bill No. 237 - Maintenance Enforcement Act.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Madam Speaker, standing to close debate, I know there was some lively debate and I appreciate all the input on this. I could say to some of the people who didn't necessarily - the person, probably, who didn't agree with this bill - the only thing I will say to them is that these people are entitled to their entitlements, as a famous Liberal once said.

So thank you. With that, I close debate, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: 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: Madam Speaker, I would ask for a two-minute recess.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[4:43 p.m. The House recessed.]

[4:44 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 9523]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 270.

Bill No. 270 - Professional Planners Act.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of Bill No. 270, the Professional Planners Act.

[4:45 p.m.]

This legislation recognizes the practice of professional planning in Nova Scotia, as well as professionals who practise planning. The bill will enable the Licensed Professional Planners Association to regulate the practice of planning by its members through the establishment of the conditions and requirements of licensing, as well as standards of practice and code of ethics which will be overseen by a board of peers.

This recognition will enable other organizations, professionals and all levels of government to identify those who are trained and educated to provide professional planning services. It will also help increase the awareness of the planning profession in Nova Scotia and protect the integrity of the profession.

Because of this legislation, only members of the association will be able to use the title of licensed professional planners. The legislation is, indeed, supported by other stakeholders by letter, by organizations closely related to the planning profession, such as the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Association of Architects and the Association of Nova Scotia Development Officers.

With those few words, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 270.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Madam Speaker, the bill in front of us comes forward in the category of a Private Member's Bill. That's the important starting point and explains primarily why it is that we cannot support this bill.

I want to step back and just explain my particular interest in this and what's led me to the conclusion that, as framed at the moment, this bill should not be supported. We all have other activities in addition to our obligations here, as members of the Legislature. One of mine is that I teach part-time at the Law School at Dalhousie University. The subject I teach is land use and land use planning law.

[Page 9524]

That is to say, the subject that I teach is in essence the law around the practise of this profession of planning. It's more elaborate than that because, of course, it's not purely a question of what planners do or what municipalities do. Land use is controlled by municipalities, it's controlled by the province to some extent, it's controlled to some extent by the federal government and private law also comes into it. But planning is, in large measure, of the essence of it.

I want to tell you a bit about how it is that this course is structured. It is, of course, something that's offered to law students. It's offered as a law course. The students who are enrolled in it are second and third year law students. Sometimes I get inter-disciplinary Ph.D. students. Sometimes I get students who are enrolled in environmental studies. What I also get is students who are enrolled in the course leading to the awarding of the degree of Masters of Planning at what used to be known as TUNS, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, now part of Dalhousie as well.

It's a requirement for students who are seeking to be awarded a planning degree, that for their program to be recognized as appropriate and as the kind of degree that will lead to employment, that they have a law course as part of their array of studies. So they come to me. Each year for the last five or 10 years, I've had about an equal number of planning students in the course along with the law students. So I find myself immersed in the study of the profession of planning and how its activities actually roll out.

I have a great deal of respect for planners. I think planning is an important activity. I think all municipalities should have planners. I think they should all have official plans. I think they should all think carefully about their plans. I think they should revise them regularly. I think they should make efforts to involve the public in meaningful consultations, not only when the plan is devised but when particular decisions of import are taken. All of this is involved in what planners do. I'm pleased to be a part of the group of faculty members who are engaged in moulding the educative background for professional planners.

I try to read widely in the subject. I say this for the benefit primarily of the honourable member for Kings North who I know likes to read a great deal - I'm particularly a fan of the biography of Robert Moses who was the lead planner for the City of New York for many years. That biography is written by Robert Caro, a Yale University professor who is also now engaged in writing a many-volume biography of former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson. The book is called, The Power Broker, and Robert Moses and the Fall of New York is the subtitle of this book.

Planning is important because it can work both for good and for ill. Of course, it doesn't happen in isolation. Often, of course, it happens in combination with what we in the political field do. I'm aware of many fine Canadian planners and our cities have been shaped by the efforts of many Canadian planners. I mention this just to illustrate that I spend a lot of time thinking about what planning is all about, what planners do, what their effects have been.

[Page 9525]

When I think about this and I consider the activity, it seems to me that there's probably a virtue in having the Legislature recognize planning as a profession.

When I look around at what's happened in other provinces, I find that there are only, to my knowledge, two other provinces that have actually brought in regulatory schemes for the planning profession, one is Quebec, one is Saskatchewan. When I look at the legislation there I don't believe that their bills came forward as Private Members' Bills. I don't know that for sure, but I don't think so. The reason I don't think so is because what's included in the legislation. What's included is a slightly different scheme than the one that we have here. At the same time what we're being invited to do here is to recognize planners as a self-governing body, just as Quebec does, just as Saskatchewan does. What this means is that people are prohibited from practising the profession and calling themselves planners unless they're members of the organization.

Now, this is common legislation, we have it for lawyers, we have it for doctors, we have it for engineers, we have it for architects, we have, in fact, a number of professions that would like to be self-regulating professions. We saw two bills go through to essentially update two professions that are health care professions - optometrists and dispensing opticians. They came forward for revisions in their Statutes just in this session. I know that there are very many other bodies of professionals associated with the practice of health care that would be very interested in having legislation in order to set themselves up as self-governing professions.

What's the normal route for something like this? The normal route for something like this is that it come from a government minister, not that it come from a private member. This is not a bill that sets up a social club, this is not a bill that sets up something that is going to be a group of gymnasts to enjoy their sport, it's not a sailing club - we've seen Private Members' Bills that have to do with things like that - it's not a recreation club. Those are the kinds of bills which, if for some reason they can't be accommodated as societies under the Societies Act, could legitimately come from private members before this House. A bill to set up a self-governing professional regulatory body is not the kind of bill that should come forward as a Private Member's Bill.

For one thing, it jumps the queue. It's an attempt to jump the queue, because we know that there are other entities out there that would like to be recognized as self-governing professions. Their legislation has not come forward, and the problem with that is not that they can't find some member of this House who might be prepared to support the bill and introduce it; one of us might be prepared to support acupuncturists as a self-governing regulatory body, one of us might be prepared to do massage therapists. In fact, didn't we have legislation about this? The point is that there is a whole host of health professions that are interested in this and other kinds of professions that are interested in having the blessings of this House not just so that they can carry on their profession, but so they can have the legal power to exclude others.

[Page 9526]

Indeed, when you read this bill, what it does is it sets up a penalty for those who attempt to practise the profession without the imprimatur of the association. I understand it's limited, I understand there are some exceptions built into this bill, but it is not the right thing that something like that which can only be granted by this House should come forward by way of a Private Member's Bill. The only appropriate way for this to come forward is for it to have been previously vetted by the appropriate Cabinet Minister. We have to ask ourselves, why it is that the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations hasn't sponsored this bill. Why is it that it doesn't come forward as a government bill if it's appropriate? Planning, I thought, would have been the kind of thing that the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations should have had his department officials review and decide whether this is a good move. If this is a good move, if this is the right legislation, should other things be included in it, should other things be excluded from it?

That's the benefit of having a bill come through the bureaucratic process and be sponsored by a Cabinet Minister. It has previously been subject to scrutiny, not just the scrutiny or the blandishments of a particular group who may have retained their own legal counsel to draft the bill. That's probably what happened here. They found a member who was interested - I'm interested, many of us are interested in planning. Many of us engage in talking with planners, but it's not right that this bill should come forward in this way without that degree of scrutiny. So immediately, and given the fact that it hasn't come sponsored by some Cabinet Minister, I don't feel it's appropriate that this bill should go forward. Perhaps it's not the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations' bailiwick although I would have thought it is. Perhaps there's some other Cabinet Minister who might appropriately have jurisdiction over it, I can't think of another one, but it should certainly have come through some ministry and their bureaucracy in the first place.

Now, I want to move beyond this and point out that there are some problems which are actually apparent to me when I read this bill. I'm not making merely an abstract argument. I'm not saying this merely for the sake of formality. I think it's important, the point I've made. I think that indeed having failed to come through the proper route, this bill should not be accepted. There are lots of bills that can come as Private Members' Bills and we can turn our minds to them, this is just not one of them.

I want to illustrate what's wrong with this bill, or what I've noticed, at least, as being wrong with this bill. When I look at other self-regulating professions, what's immediately striking is that when they're set up with a board that makes the decisions about the organization, there are always members of the public who are on that board. Furthermore, the board is given a mandate not just to supervise the profession, but to supervise it and to keep in mind the public interest when they do that. That is completely absent from this bill.

[Page 9527]

When one looks at the sections that set up the board, there is nothing there that talks about the public interest. I think a contrast, if members are looking for a handy point of reference, is with the Dispensing Opticians Act and the Optometry Act that we dealt with just recently. If you go and look at those bills, and you look at the sections that set up the governing boards of those bodies, they are specifically given the obligation to remember the public interest and to write their rules and to act on behalf of the public interest as part of their mandate. They are not given a mandate to act exclusively for the benefit of their own members. But this is missing. This obligation to act on the public interest is missing from this bill. I regard that as a fundamental flaw and I regard that as an indicator that this bill can only have been drafted in its initial form by lawyers acting on behalf of the group of people that wanted to self-incorporate.

[5:00 p.m.]

Now there is a second part of that that's problematic. If one looks at the structure of the board of something like the Barristers' Society, or the Architects' Association or the APENS, I mean, any of those organizations have members of the public who can go onto that board, and here's how they get onto that board. They are appointed by the Governor-in-Council. That is not the case on the board here. The board here is set up so that there are two members at large that is, non planners, who are to go on, but do you know how they get onto that board? They are chosen by the rest of the board. When people are appointed by the Governor-in-Council to represent the public interest on the Board of Governors of Dalhousie University, or on any entity like a self-governing profession, there is a process of advertising that's gone through.

A number of us, of course, sit on the Human Resources Committee, in which the process of advertising is managed. We look at the ads, we make sure that the different agencies, boards and commissions are advertised widely throughout the province to all comers. It's an open process, or meant to be. We have lots of problems with it. We think that what happens after the advertising is probably not so open, but it's certainly an attempt at being open and it's open to anyone in the province. It's not closed. It's not a question of the members of the board of the self-governing profession choosing their favourite, who will come and be members at large, to serve on the board. That's just not the way it is.

When those names come forward, as a result of advertising for other agencies, boards and commissions, their names are scrutinized by the Cabinet office. They are thought about there, they're sifted, they're reviewed. They come with certain questions that are routine questions, answered, on paper, for the Human Resources Committee member to think about, and indeed that Human Resources Committee is made up of representatives of all Parties who are able to bring our perspectives from different political angles to bear when questions arise. That's quite a different process than saying, let's appoint two people at large, chosen by the other members of the board, with no public scrutiny, no public advertising, no review by the Cabinet office.

[Page 9528]

These are two points that I picked up simply by casually looking at this bill. I have to say that it's fundamentally misconceived. It's wrong. It really should not have come forward. I hope members will join with me in urging the planning profession, which is a wonderful, much admired and useful profession, to think again, about the kind of legislation that they want. Along with that, I would ask the government members to scrutinize this particular Private Member's Bill and consider whether, indeed, it ought not to have come by a different route.

I don't know that there is any urgency in this bill. I don't think there is. I haven't heard that there is any urgency in it. I haven't understood that planners have to be set up as a self-regulating profession before all other bodies that might be interested in becoming self-regulating. I haven't heard that there is any urgency. So far as I know, and I think I know planning quite well in the Province of Nova Scotia, there's no crisis in the profession that requires this to happen. As I said earlier, there are only two other provinces in Canada that have legislation that sets up planning as a self-regulating profession; that is Saskatchewan and Quebec. Both of those provinces have had those bills, those Acts on their books for quite some number of years. There is no problem with planners working in Ontario without this kind of legislation. They work in B.C. without this kind of legislation. They work in New Brunswick without this kind of legislation, and they certainly work in Nova Scotia without this kind of legislation.

I am not opposed to having some kind of legislation. I want to say that again. I think that's just fine, but what I want is that the appropriate department turn its mind to this, and that the appropriate conditions be placed in this bill. If we are going to be asked, as we are, to set up a penalty, to set up the penalty for non-compliance, then, I think that has to happen just as a minimum.

I want to finish with just one small note and this has to do with the provision in the bill that has to do with secrecy. I won't quote the clause in particular or give you the number or speak to the details of the words, but I have to tell you that I have had occasion recently to look at similar clauses in other pieces of legislation. I can't find myself particularly happy with these kinds of clauses. In essence, what they say is that people who are engaged in this process of dealing with the affairs of the association have to maintain secrecy about everything they might happen to learn in the course of their jobs.

Well, you know, what on earth is this doing here? We're not, especially in this bill, dealing with national security matters. We're not dealing with the military here. This isn't CSIS. This isn't child welfare. This isn't a question of patient-doctor relations, it's not a question of client-social worker relations and something particular that has to be done for the benefit of protecting the welfare of children or vulnerable persons. What is this? What is this clause doing in this bill?

[Page 9529]

I've seen similar clauses in other legislation, but sometimes there's been a particularly good reason for them. There's no justification for this bill here. It's obviously been picked up somewhere by the drafter and it's drifted in. I can't think of a better explanation for it than that. If there is some rationale for this, if we're being asked to give our blessing to this kind of provision in the legislation, then I think we need some kind of explanation for it.

We need better limits. Does this apply when there's a public inquiry? If, in some unimaginable circumstances, there were a public inquiry into the operations, would this prohibit people from speaking? Would this prohibit people from speaking in court? Would it prohibit people from coming and appearing and talking at a Legislature committee? This is not even a well-drafted clause. I don't want to drift too much into clause by clause but this is problematic.

So I want to go back to my main points. I think I've identified a number of specific difficulties with this bill that in and of themselves would require me to ask a Cabinet Minister, if the Cabinet Minister were bringing forward this bill, to reconsider and consider amendments. But, apart from that, this bill hasn't even been introduced by a Cabinet Minister. It's a Private Member's Bill which, as I've said before, is just the wrong thing when it comes to setting up self-regulating professions.

I hope I've made myself clear. We've had occasion to discuss this in our caucus. We don't really feel we can support it. My starting point was to observe that this bill comes forward as a Private Members' Bill, but really, it's not the kind of bill that should ever have come forward as a Private Member's Bill. I'm hoping that members will either join with us in defeating this bill, or the sponsor will withdraw it, or the sponsor will take it away for further consideration, or a Cabinet Minister will come forward and say that he'll refer the whole topic to his department for further consideration.

That said, I hope others will join in this debate. Thank you for the opportunity to express my views.

MADAM SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable member for Pictou East it will be to close debate.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Madam Speaker, I just want to thank the honourable member for his comments. I'm sure during the course of the next few days we'll be able to put some of his concerns to rest. I move Bill No. 270 for second reading.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 270. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 9530]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 274.

Bill No. 274 - Certified Management Accountants of Nova Scotia Act.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Madam Speaker, I just want to say that the society has asked to bring this bill forward. This is a change, they were first incorporated in 1950 and this is an accumulation of the changes they want to make to streamline. It has to do with membership, it has to do with code of ethics, it has to do with training.

So having said that, Madam Speaker, I move second reading.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 274. 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: Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 241.

Bill No. 241 - Commercial Mediation Act.

Bill No. 244 - Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act.

[Page 9531]

Bill No. 246 - International Trusts Act.

Bill No. 249 - Enforcement of Court Orders Act.

Bill No. 260 - Public Safety Protection Act.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motions are carried.

[5:15 p.m.]

Ordered that these bills do pass. Ordered that the titles be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bills be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, I wonder if we could have a recess for two minutes?

MADAM SPEAKER: The House will recess for two minutes.

[5:17 p.m. The House recessed.]

[5:18 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, that completes the government business for today. Tomorrow, being Opposition Day, the House Leader for the Third Party will probably give us our business for tomorrow.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Tomorrow the House will meet from between the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Following the Daily Routine and Question Period, we'll be calling Bill No. 269 and Bill No. 227.

I move this House do now adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 9532]

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

The motion is carried.

We've reached the moment of interruption. The subject for the late debate tonight was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview:

["Therefore be it resolved that on this day of the Gomery Commission's first report, Nova Scotia should seize the opportunity to finally do away with all questionable Liberal trust funds."]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

GOV'T. (N.S.): LIBERAL TRUST FUNDS - ABOLISH

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity in late debate at the end of today's session to talk a bit about the resolution that was drawn. This is a resolution that reflects the fact that now that the Gomery Report is out - the first stage of it - it is important that we reflect on the issue of how money is collected by political Parties and where that money goes and also, how it is distributed after the fact.

The issue here is one in this province that has been around for 30 years. Thirty years ago when the Regan Government was in power in this province, we had a lot of issues with how money was being collected. Yet, today, 30 years later we still see with the Liberal Party, federally, the exact same issue coming up.

It all goes back - this is a saying that is only recent, it came from a good, old Liberal, but it's one that is still there and it will probably be there for a long time - I am entitled to my entitlements. I don't think there's a phrase that better describes the Liberal Party of Canada and in particular the Liberal Party in this country. That's what it becomes about. When they are in power - and we saw this federally and this is where Gomery came today - the Liberal Party clearly had a system set up. A system that clearly the politicians in charge of that Party knew was happening, that they were providing untendered contracts to ad agencies that supported the Liberal Party and in return, they fattened the contracts, they provided extra money on those contracts - more than they should have.

[Page 9533]

In fact, I think there was one in which the report was not even provided. There was never a report actually even provided and in return, what we got was some of that money being provided back to the Liberal Party through donations. Those are the type of processes that we have seen in this province in the past. We saw it in the 1970s with the tollgating that went on with the Liquor Corporation, where certain corporations that wanted to sell their liquor or get the proper space in the liquor store had to pay extra money. That money went to the Liberal Party. What's the difference? Frankly, there was no real difference, because it's about the Liberal Party, when in power, asking those that want to do business with them to provide money to the Party on top of the money they're providing for purposes of the public expenditures. That is the problem. That is why we have a trust fund that is still in the name of the Liberal Party in this province. That money came from that tollgating in the 1970s and yet today we still have that money and it's still accessible to the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia.

At least I'll give credit to Paul Martin, the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker. He has said, I think he announced today, if there is $1.14 million that was taken by the Liberal Party through this process, he is now saying that that money will be paid back. Well let's give the Prime Minister credit for at least recognizing that money was collected illegally, and that it will be paid back. I'm still waiting, and Nova Scotians are still waiting, 30 years after the fact, for the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia to say that they are now prepared to pay that money back. We have not seen that. We have never had a full audit of that trust fund.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the NDP has made a statement in this House that is simply not true. There was an audit done on the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia and the amount of that money that was deemed to have been received from tollgating was repaid to the people of Nova Scotia at that time, and that member knows that.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't believe that is a point of order.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: You have about six minutes.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, here's the exact point, because this is the House Leader for the Liberal Party who stood up here a minute ago and said we did an audit - but here's the problem, we introduced legislation, in fact we've introduced legislation more than once that has actually said that there needs to be a forensic audit of that trust fund so we can find the source of all the funds in that trust fund. The Liberal Party did an internal audit, and that internal audit said trust us. Trust us. I think at the time it was John Savage, before he became Premier. Interesting that it happened just before the 1993 election. I'm sure that was a coincidence, but he said, look, trust us, we did an audit. We took the money out and it came

[Page 9534]

from tollgating, but they can never prove the source of the money that has been in that trust fund.

They have never been able to prove to us what the source is. There has never been that external auditing done to show the source of that money that has been that trust fund. As a result, we have a trust fund that in our mind clearly, until the Liberal Party in this province can stand in this House and in this province and say that we know the source of all the funds from that trust fund . . .

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: We do.

MR. DEVEAUX: . . . then we will say that that's a trust fund that - you know, this is the problem, the member for Cape Breton South is saying we do know that, but I find that unusual because whenever we talk about introducing legislation in this line, it's the Liberal Party that is always concerned about wanting to have that legislation passed. If they have nothing to hide, the legislation should be fine. The trust fund will be fine. If we can prove the source through external auditing, then there shouldn't be a problem with that trust fund being able to be held up to scrutiny and therefore open for them to use from now on. The problem is they know that that kind of external auditing will show that sources cannot be confirmed and that is the problem.

Again, we see federally the exact same thing happening. It may be different players, it may be different issues, it may be a slightly different process with how it works, using ad agencies, using a fund that is sort of off the books, or on the side of the books that's used to promote - I guess at that time it was national sovereignty - the problem is that it's about entitlement, and there are people in this country and there are people in the Liberal Party of Canada, in Nova Scotia, that feel entitled to their entitlements. That somehow this gives them the right to be able to ensure that the Liberal Party is being provided with the funding that they want to run elections.

I think Mr. Gomery, today, announced there were clear violations of the Elections Act of Canada, that clearly the federal Liberal Party had in ways used funds that were not put on the books properly through the Federal Elections Act. That's exactly what happened in this province as well. So we may talk about different players, and we may talk about a slightly different process, but it's still the same thing. It's about the fact that when they have an opportunity to access public funds, or to access the reins of power that they are then asking that those involved who want to curry favour will provide a certain amount of funding to the Party as well. That's what Mr. Gomery said. I think that's what the tollgating was recognized in an inquiry that was done in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Clearly, this is a pattern. This isn't once. This is more than once. This isn't just one aspect of the Party. It's more than one aspect of the Party, provincial and federal, and as a result, we have, I would suggest, serious concerns with how this works.

[Page 9535]

We need to ensure that if Parties are spending money on political campaigns, we know the sources of that money. That could be from a corporation, that could be from individuals, that could be from non-government organizations, that can be from trade unions. The difference is we know the source. We know where that money came from. They have to declare it.

Everyone knows in this House, Mr. Speaker, that when you file documents after an election, you have to say where that money came from. It's as simple as that. To have trust funds in which sources cannot be confirmed means money is being put into a trust fund, put into an election - and the people who are donating that money - we don't know where it comes from. That's where you're getting into accountability issues. That is when you're getting into issues of whether or not - the whole point of having financing rules is so we know who are financing campaigns for political Parties. So we all know who it is, and then we can all as people, in this province or in this country, have an opportunity to look at it, to review it and to see whether that is appropriate. Whether people are beholden, or whether people are not beholden, to the people who provide them with the money.

Mr. Speaker, that is the issue. We need to know the source of the funds and the problem, what Gomery pointed out was there were sources of funds being provided to the Liberal Party of Canada that did not ensure that we knew where that money was coming from. It was off-booked, I guess is the best way to paraphrase what Gomery is saying. It was off-booked and that money was provided to the Party. The same thing happened in the 1970s in this province and, as a result, there is still a trust fund lingering over this province that I would suggest, until we can prove the source of those funds, the source on which that money comes from, then there is an accountability for how that money is spent. That's not the way to do politics in this province. That's what Gomery has said federally, and I would hope this is an opportunity for us to address that provincially as well.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise on this. It's quite interesting that this would come up today from the NDP. First of all, I fail to see the point of why it's here today except to keep consistent with the NDP practice of talking about issues 30 years ago - the same as the dogma that they still try to employ in Nova Scotia when it's convenient for them. The socialist dogma that we hear from that member quite often is how you should be ashamed, or whatever, the cat calls are from the back row over there, but I want to remind the NDP of one thing.

I want to remind you, if you're prepared to get up and throw stones, then you had better be prepared to take it. I'm going to tell you I've never seen a Party that says one thing and does the other like the NDP does in Nova Scotia. The NDP in Nova Scotia has consistently taken money from big unions, on both sides of the border - in Canada and in the United States, and God knows where else, into their coffers in Nova Scotia. They consistently,

[Page 9536]

with trade unions in this province, demand that the business agents for those unions pay money every month to the NDP in Nova Scotia as a condition of employment - as a condition of employment.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that when it comes to morals about money, the NDP doesn't have any hold on that. Let me tell you, when I witnessed in the last election some of the seats in Cape Breton that they were hoping to take - they had licence plates of workers from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario. They had people staying at hotels and working for them during the election - all paid for by the NDP and paid for by trade unions.

What other Party do you know of, Mr. Speaker, that has labour union leaders going to their caucus meetings that talk about policy in that Party and the policy that they're demanding that that Party follow in the last election, in the coming election, and in elections from way down the road.

[5:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, in other words, the only fundraising that's legal is NDP fundraising. What is the difference in getting fundraising from business or corporations than it is from getting it from big labour, and the NDP gets it from big labour. The NDP - I've never seen a Party with such double standards, the NDP is the first Party to hang somebody out to dry whenever they get a chance. I can recall that they weren't too anxious to hang anybody when some of their own members got in trouble, when some of their own members in Cape Breton were convicted of taking funds from senior citizens, some of their own members out on the West Coast were caught stealing, and they tried to defend them. Now they have the gall, they think they're going to come back and run for public office again, and if you don't follow the dogma of the NDP, you're kicked out of the Party. That's what happened with some members. One is there now, Bev Desjarlais, or whatever her name is. In other words, if you don't follow blindly the dogma of that Party, you are still stuck in the thirties, then you are taken right out of the mix and you're cast aside by this Party.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the NDP House Leader, misled this House today, when he said that the Liberal Party, on its trust fund back 30 years ago, did not have that fund cleansed. That fund was cleansed long ago and $1 million put back to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia on an audit that was done. Now, the funds that were left over in that fund, were deemed to be okay, but the Liberal Party itself did not want to access those funds. I know what the NDP is up to here, the business people in this province know that the Liberal Party has money there, so it's been very difficult for us to raise any money. The NDP would hope that continues because then we won't be able to raise the kind of money we need to run the election. I said it, that the Liberal Party's funds should be used to operate the next election for the Liberal Party, to use those funds to get elected, just the same as they would use their funds or the NDP would use the funds they get from big labour.

[Page 9537]

I would like to see the NDP table in this House, a list of all their international donations, all their outside operatives who are paid cash and to go down and work in some of the constituencies in Cape Breton they think they have a shot at. I'm not saying anything out of school here, Mr. Speaker. That happened in Cape Breton, and it doesn't happen in the valley too much because they don't have any hope of winning any seats down there. So they send all the operatives into Cape Breton, paid for with American $20 bills. That's what the NDP does. So for them to have the gall to get up here today and talk about a fund that was already cleansed by the Liberal Party, 25 and 30 years ago, just tells me what the NDP is all about. When it comes to trying to get a leg up on the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia, well, I can tell you this, in the next election, Nova Scotians will have a clear choice. I'm going to tell you that we stopped the NDP on the one-yard line a few years ago and we'll stop them again on the one-yard line. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member, you have not used all your time.

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I'm very sad to have to speak on this resolution. It would be easy to be somewhat sarcastic about the Liberal Party as revelation after revelation comes forward concerning the lack of ethics in that Party, a lack of ethics which has reached the very highest levels. It would easy to lampoon a Party which puts electoral success above ethical integrity. It would be easy to chastise the Liberal's federally for treating the Public Treasury as their private piggy bank. It would be easy to point out that the words integrity and Liberal threaten to become an oxymoron due to the activities of Prime Minister Chretien, Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano, and it would be easy to point out that the provincial Liberals, by virtue of their guilt as their membership in the provincial federal wings of the Party, share some guilt by virtue of this trust fund that we're talking about.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party in the past here in the province put a new spin on that old saying, candy is dandy but liquor is quicker, and it would be easy, I repeat, it would be easy to be sarcastic about the Liberal Party, particularly the Liberal Party federally.

Instead, I'm sad. I'm really sad. I'm sad the Commission of Inquiry concludes there is clear evidence of political involvement in the administration of the Sponsorship Program; sad that the Commission of Inquiry concludes there were deliberate actions to avoid compliance with federal legislation and policies; sad that the Commission of Inquiry concludes that the minister and senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office knew of this activity, but refused to acknowledge their complicity and their guilt in this. I'm sad. Mr. Speaker, I could go on a great deal about why I'm sad and what this has done to the name of Canadians throughout the world and what this has done to politics and to politicians in general.

[Page 9538]

I find I'm sort of constrained by what I can say because of my past vocation as a clergy. And I'm constrained, I don't have the freedom to really say what's in my heart. I feel a little bit like the Quaker who had a recalcitrant and troublesome mule who wouldn't behave and so he said to the mule - this was a Quaker, they don't believe in any sort of violence - thou knowest that I am a Quaker and I canst by my religion hit thee, but if thou does not behave I'll turn thee over to a Baptist who will whale thee but good.

I'm going to turn over the rest of my time to the member for Cape Breton West. (Applause)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the first time this issue came across my desk was in the latter part of 1991. The trust funds of Nova Scotia became a very controversial issue, trying to identify the source. The member who spoke and indicated that the $1.3 million that was identified to be tainted, is quite correct. They were the only funds that were identified to be tainted. What's equally so in that audit is they could not identify the source of the other dollars. That's the very essence of, I believe, the resolution that was put forth by the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

At that particular point in time, I had put a resolution before the executive body of the Party to a vote for the membership of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia. I was directed to withdraw that particular resolution because there was a deliberate and methodical directive that we should not speak on that particular issue and what was said, is said and what was done, is done. If anyone was to take issue with that, then obviously they would be asked to leave caucus. Obviously, that was the case. (Interruption) Yes, and I'm very pleased to say that I was departing. (Interruption)

Back in the early 1970s, the member for Cape Breton South, when I was working for the Liberal Party, he was working for the NDP. In the 1980s, when I was working for the Liberal Party, he was working for the Tory Party. Then he saw opportunity knock on his door in the early 1990s and he jumped ship again. (Interruptions) Anyone who would stand and so vivaciously defend that you have $4 million and you don't know where you got it, that should speak to the integrity of those who would stand and do that. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The member for Cape Breton West has the floor.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, backstreet bullies are the least of anybody's worries in Cape Breton West. That's just about what you get every time you listen to the member for Cape Breton South. If he can't get his own way, he tries to bully people.

[Page 9539]

But, on this issue - and this is a very important issue, it's an issue that's before the people of Canada at the federal level. When you're talking tens of millions of dollars that have been siphoned from the taxpayers into the political coffers, I agree, the Prime Minister is correct in saying that money should be returned, if identified. He is a man of integrity, unlike the shallow defence that's been put forth by the member for Cape Breton South, just because it's an easy access to money.

Mr. Speaker, it's much more complicated. The people of Nova Scotia - you wonder why the Liberal Party is in third place? The only difference between the Liberal Party and the minivan at this point is the minivan has more seats. That's just about the way it's turning out - and he wouldn't even make a good bus driver at that. You would have to operate an off-the-highway vehicle. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm very proud of the fact that I ran because I said that I wasn't going to sell out the taxpayers of Cape Breton County and CBRM, unlike the member for Cape Breton South who voted to put their taxes up 33 per cent. I remember the day when he said Sydney would never have to have a fudge sale to balance its budget. He's right - they went bankrupt. The Municipality of the County of Cape Breton had to bail them out.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. As is usual with this member for Cape Breton West, he takes a long view of the truth when he's talking about anything. I don't want to say the word that I'm thinking, but I can tell you this, that member is misleading this House when he says that the City of Sydney went bankrupt. The City of Sydney never went bankrupt. The City of Sydney had 11 straight budget surpluses in the years that I was mayor and that member knows that.

MR. SPEAKER: That is a difference of opinion between two members, but it is not a point of order.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the public record shows that they were on emergency funding and it was only the Municipality of the County of Cape Breton and the Town of North Sydney that had any fluency. They were the only ones that had a balanced budget; they were the only ones that had surpluses. The other six municipalities were on emergency funding. You were on life support, and now you're on life support again and you hate to admit reality.

[Page 9540]

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the resolution brought before this House. In December, 1991, I indicated quite clearly, long before that member decided to jump from one Party to the other . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Will you table that?

MR. MACKINNON: I will certainly table it, that the funds in the trust fund should not be used unless we identified the source. I'm consistent on this issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: Guess you are - you're consistent all right.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, Mr. Speaker, never mind the little catcalls that come from the wilderness of Cape Breton South. It's over. It's over and he has to face facts. They have a better chance of getting hit with a Soviet missile than they do of ever forming government with that member sitting as Liberal House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: He won't bully you, Russell.

MR. MACKINNON: No, I don't think so.

Mr. Speaker, I believe this is a very timely resolution. I commend the Prime Minister for being honest and straightforward in saying that any money that can't be identified, or is identified to be politically drawn from the taxpayers, should go back. It's very unfortunate that the Liberals, who are going down and down and down, hate to face reality. The people of Nova Scotia don't want that type of politics any more and if that's what he feels comfortable with, good luck to him because the numbers will demonstrate quite clearly that the rate, it's the law of residual math with that honourable member over there - he sees $4 million in a trust fund, that's a quick grab, grab it, and let's be darned with the consequences.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the late debate has expired. I want to thank all members for their participation.

The House will rise until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 5:44 p.m.]

[Page 9541]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 5096

By: Ms. Michele Raymond (Halifax Atlantic)

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

Whereas the Urban Farm Museum Society of Spryfield was born of a public meeting held in 1996 and existed for several years as the dream of a small group of people; and

Whereas the volunteers of the Urban Farm Museum have worked tirelessly to obtain permission to farm a field in the heart of Spryfield, in which to teach and practice the skills of traditional and organic food production; and

Whereas the Urban Farm Museum now boasts fields, gardens and barn, and its volunteers regularly host groups of children and adults who work family and class allotments, as well as holding tremendous outdoor tea parties for hundreds of local residents;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Urban Farm Museum Society on its recent Bluenose Achievement Award, sponsored by Recreation Nova Scotia and the Alliance for Healthy Eating, and wish the Urban Farm Museum all success in the coming decade.

RESOLUTION NO. 5097

By: Ms. Michele Raymond (Halifax Atlantic)

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

Whereas safety audits have been used in many Canadian cities to help identify spaces which feel unsafe and what makes them feel that way; and

Whereas on October 18th residents of Spryfield set out with Action for Neighbourhood Change to conduct a demonstration safety audit along a popular, wooded pathway; and

Whereas the experience and information will be used to produce a manual on conducting safety audits for other communities;

[Page 9542]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Action for Neighbourhood Change on this initiative and wish them success in producing the Spryfield Safety Audit Guidebook.

RESOLUTION NO. 5098

By: Ms. Judy Streatch (Chester-St. Margaret's)

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

Whereas West Dover Days were a big success again this year, as volunteers and community members came together to celebrate; and

Whereas there were baseball games, games for kids, live entertainment, and many more outdoor events; and

Whereas hundreds of people turned out to celebrate annual West Dover Days and everyone had a fantastic time including myself, thanks to Brad Connors who acted as a liaison and introduced me to all the wonderful people there;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the volunteer organizers of West Dover Days, and thank them for their hard work and dedication to making this event such a popular and fun family event.

RESOLUTION NO. 5099

By: Ms. Judy Streatch (Chester-St. Margaret's)

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

Whereas Shatford Memorial Elementary School in Hubbards held a very successful Literacy Action Week October 11th to 14th; and

Whereas many volunteers and local celebrities attended the Stop, Drop & Read event aimed at focusing the importance of reading to Primary to Grade 6; and

Whereas I attended this great event along with local volunteers and celebrities: Marshall Hector from Home Hardware; Donna Graves, a local bus driver; Joan Cleveland, a local author, Constable Mike Cochrane from the RCMP; caretaker Brian Joudrey; school principal Todd Barter; literacy coordinator Crystal Pelly; Ronald Johnston from the fire department; secretary Alison Egelhoff; and Brian Ellis from Save Easy;

[Page 9543]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank all of the volunteers who attended and contributed to this fantastic literacy event, and hope to see this event continue for years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 5100

By: Ms. Judy Streatch (Chester-St. Margaret's)

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

Whereas Matthew Gates from New Ross has been playing in paintball tournaments for just four years and is a member of Team Storm; and

Whereas this Summer Matthew Gates won the one-on-one Top Gun Tournament at the Atlantic Paintball Tournament; and

Whereas this Summer's win qualified Matthew to attend a camp in Pittsburgh to improve upon his game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Matthew Gates on his recent win and on his invitation to attend the paintball camp in Pittsburgh, and wish him continued success in the sport of paintball.

RESOLUTION NO. 5101

By: Ms. Judy Streatch (Chester-St. Margaret's)

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

Whereas the Aspotogan Heritage Trust awarded funds to the Ten Beaches Tourism Society, St. Margarets Bay Regional Tourism Development Association, Aspotogan Arts & Crafts - 5th annual members exhibition, and Hubbards 11th annual Winter carnival, just to name a few; and

Whereas the mission of the Aspotogan Heritage Trust is to protect, preserve and grow the assets of the trust; and

Whereas the trust is dedicated to encourage and support the social, cultural, educational, economic, and environmental development of the region;

[Page 9544]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the Aspotogan Heritage Trust members and volunteers for all of their hard work and dedication to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 5102

By: Hon. David Morse (Community Services)

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

Whereas in an excruciating tie-breaking formula, the Acadia University men's football team captured first place in the Atlantic University Football Conference this past weekend; and

Whereas the Acadia men's football team will not play this weekend, instead they will await to see who wins the Saint Mary's-St. FX semifinal game to determine who they will face at Raymond Field in Wolfville on November 12th in the AUFC championship game; and

Whereas a win on November 12th in the AUFC championship game will put Acadia in the Uteck Bowl Saturday, November 19th in Halifax against the Ontario champion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Acadia Axemen for an outstanding season, where they led the conference in total offence and defence, while also having the conference's number one quarterback in their lineup, Chris Judd, who threw for an average of almost 198 yards on a weekly basis.

RESOLUTION NO. 5103

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Allan Boyce's quick action may have left him in harm's way but the Springhill crossing guard didn't think of his own safety when he reacted quickly to secure the safety of elementary school children; and

Whereas a tragedy almost occurred with the lives of four Junction Road Elementary School students when a motorist intent on getting beyond a Main Street crosswalk last week before 9 a.m., did not yield to crossing guard Allan Boyce's stop sign responsively; and

[Page 9545]

Whereas seeing that the vehicle was on a collision course with the youngsters, Boyce jumped into action running for the children, hollering for them to stop as he stood in the path of the oncoming vehicle that stopped only inches away from him;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Allan Boyce on this heroic action and thank him for his fast thinking and action that may have saved the lives of these children.

RESOLUTION NO. 5104

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Dianne Banks of Oxford is a student at the Nova Scotia Community College, Cumberland Campus, who has demonstrated a serious commitment to her studies; and

Whereas Dianne is a practical nursing student at Cumberland Campus who takes her studies and her career choice very seriously; and

Whereas Dianne was awarded a cheque in the amount of $500 from the Nova Scotia Credit Union who applauds the hard work and dedication of students in our area;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dianne Banks on receiving this cheque to help with her studies and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 5105

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Betty and Jim Atkinson of Parrsboro are parents to three children and have fostered for five years and, in that time, fostered seven children; and

Whereas the Atkinsons began fostering to provide children with a positive home life and a positive outlook on life; and

[Page 9546]

Whereas the Atkinsons have provided safe and nurturing homes for these children and youth during difficult times in their lives;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Betty and Jim Atkinson on their years of fostering children, and thank them for their tireless dedication to these children in their time of need.

RESOLUTION NO. 5106

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas The Travellers, a group of dedicated volunteers who travel within Cumberland County to all extended care facilities to entertain the residents with song, humour, and most importantly their company, were recent recipients of the Isabel Simpson Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by Bob Spence, Chairman of the All Saints Community Health Care Foundation; and

Whereas The Travellers, started approximately 20 years ago by Pat Parker who herself is a very talented musician and dedicated director, have grown into a travelling group of talented volunteers who, from Spring until Christmas, travel many miles as they faithfully perform for the enjoyment of all who live in extended care facilities; and

Whereas the Isabel Simpson Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to a person or persons who work to provide excellence in health care in our community, and the foundation believes that The Travellers have provided so much to enhance the provision of health care to so many people over the years and believe that The Travellers are very worthy recipients of this award in the year 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate The Travellers on this prestigious award and thank them for their tireless dedication to the residents of extended health care facilities and to the difference that they make in the lives of these people, and wish The Travellers many more years of health and happiness in their service.

RESOLUTION NO. 5107

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

[Page 9547]

Whereas Tory Rushton, Deputy Chief of the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department, recently graduated from the Fire Service Leadership program; and

Whereas Tory participated in this program through Dalhousie University and Henson College; and

Whereas Tory's family, friends, department, community and this province are proud of his accomplishments, and we know that he is a great asset to the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tory Rushton on this outstanding achievement and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 5108

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas we need to celebrate the success of businesses in our community; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce organized the Business Excellence Awards Program; and

Whereas the community nominated local businesses to receive such awards;

Therefore be it resolved that the executive and members of the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce be congratulated by this House for their leadership in recognizing and celebrating excellence in the business community.

RESOLUTION NO. 5109

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas service clubs provide a variety of supports for citizens in their communities; and

[Page 9548]

Whereas service clubs depend on community volunteers to make the organization strong and effective; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Kiwanis-Golden K recently installed a new president;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Nelson Cutler, the new president of the Bridgewater and Area Golden-K-Kiwanis Club, for his dedication to serving his club and his community.

RESOLUTION NO. 5110

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas businesses of all sizes and types are crucial to having a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2005 Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Covey Island Boatworks for being the recipient of the Export Achievement Excellence Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5111

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas businesses of all sizes and types are crucial to having a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

[Page 9549]

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2005 Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate L&B Electric, which is owned by 23 employees, for being the recipient of the Large Business Excellence Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5112

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas businesses of all sizes and types are crucial to having a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2005 Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ernest and Maria Kiesling, owners of Kiesling Construction Ltd., for being the recipients of the Innovation Excellence Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5113

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas businesses of all sizes and types are crucial to having a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2005 Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Philip and Carol Wamboldt, owners of Petite Riviere Vineyards, for being the recipients of the Entrepreneurial Achievement Excellence Award.

[Page 9550]

RESOLUTION NO. 5114

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas small business development is the backbone of our economy; and

Whereas the Nauss Group and Boston Pizza International have opened a new Boston Pizza restaurant and sports bar in the Bridgewater area of Lunenburg County; and

Whereas this new business venture will employ 115 staff and provide a new food and entertainment service for residents and visitors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Nauss Group, consisting of Shawn Nauss, Kurt Nauss, Michael Nauss, Andrew Nauss, Mitchell Nauss, Jeffery Nauss and Stephen Nauss for their entrepreneurship and the opening of a new Boston Pizza franchise.

RESOLUTION NO. 5115

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Tara Whynot was presented with the Most Improved Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the work that Tara Whynot has done to improve her baseball skills and win this award.

[Page 9551]

RESOLUTION NO. 5116

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Angela Smith was presented with the Most Valuable Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Angela Smith to win this award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5117

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Chelsey MacKenzie was presented with the Batting Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Chelsey MacKenzie to win this award.

[Page 9552]

RESOLUTION NO. 5118

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas 4-H is a nationwide program dedicated to the development of young people to help them become responsible members of society; and

Whereas the 4 Leaf Clover 4-H Club in Queens County presented several awards to its members at the Queens County Fair in September 2005; and

Whereas Cody Crouse earned the 4-H Rookie of the Year Award for his keen participation, winning a spot at the Nova Scotia 4-H Show in Truro;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Cody Crouse for winning this prestigious 4-H award in Queens County.

RESOLUTION NO. 5119

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas 4-H is a nationwide program dedicated to the development of young people to help them become responsible members of society; and

Whereas several members of the 4 Leaf Clover 4-H Club in Queens County represented their club at the Nova Scotia 4-H Show in Truro; and

Whereas Cory Ryan of the 4 Leaf Clover 4-H Club was named the Junior Champion in the Woodworking Competition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Cory Ryan for doing an excellent job in representing the 4 Leaf Clover 4-H Club at the Provincial Show in Truro.

[Page 9553]

RESOLUTION NO. 5120

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Daniel Evans was presented with the Golden Glove Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Daniel Evans to win this award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5121

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Jamie Pottie was presented with the Batting Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Jamie Pottie to win this award.

[Page 9554]

RESOLUTION NO. 5122

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Jason Wolfe was presented with the Most Valuable Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Jason Wolfe to win this award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5123

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Jessica Westhaver was presented with the Most Improved Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the work that Jessica Westhaver has done to improve her baseball skills and win this award.

[Page 9555]

RESOLUTION NO. 5124

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Josh Grant was presented with the Batting Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Josh Grant to win this award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5125

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Josh Warrington was presented with the Most Valuable Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Josh Warrington to win this award.

[Page 9556]

RESOLUTION NO. 5126

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Matt Muise was presented with the Batting Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Matt Muise to win this award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5127

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Matthew Oickle was presented with the Most Improved Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the work that Matthew Oickle has done to improve his baseball skills and win this award.

[Page 9557]

RESOLUTION NO. 5128

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Ryan Foster was presented with the Most Valuable Player Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Ryan Foster to win this award.

RESOLUTION NO. 5129

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas the late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said, "The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give."; and

Whereas the Liverpool Baseball Association held its end of the season banquet on October 2, 2005 to honour the players who have done their best this season; and

Whereas Alex Whalen was presented with the Golden Glove Award at the banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the hard work and dedication shown by Alex Whalen to win this award.

[Page 9558]

RESOLUTION NO. 5130

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas 4-H is a nationwide program dedicated to the development of young people to help them become responsible members of society; and

Whereas the 4 Leaf Clover 4-H Club in Queens County presented several awards to its members at the Queens County Fair in September 2005; and

Whereas Kara Ryan earned the 4-H Spirit Award for embodying what 4-H is all about;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kara Ryan for winning this prestigious 4-H award in Queens County.