The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04/05-92

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

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Fin.: River John-Toney River Residents - VLT Removal,
Mr. C. Parker 8231
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4527, Justice: Law Enforcement Agencies - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 8232
Vote - Affirmative 8232
Res. 4528, TCH - Tour Operators: Parks Can. - Licensing,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald (By Hon. C. d'Entremont) 8232
Vote - Affirmative 8233
Res. 4529, Women, Status of: Work - Applaud,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8233
Vote - Affirmative 8234
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 228, Social Workers Act,
Hon. D. Morse 8234
No. 229, Day Care Act,
Ms. M. More 8234
No. 230, Housing Development Corporation Act,
Hon. D. Morse 8234
No. 231, Income Tax Act,
Ms. D. Whalen 8234
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4530, Bourgeois, Ms. Kim - Highland Park Jr. High:
Walkathon - Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8234
Vote - Affirmative 8235
Res. 4531, LaHave Manor Adult Residential Ctr. - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. K. Colwell 8235
Vote - Affirmative 8236
Res. 4532, Ross Farm Museum: Success - Wish,
Ms. Judy Streatch 8236
Vote - Affirmative 8237
Res. 4533, St. George's Friends of Clemente Soc. - Humanities Course:
Launch - Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8237
Vote - Affirmative 8238
Res. 4534, Educ. - Teachers: Dedication - Thank, Ms. D. Whalen 8238
Vote - Affirmative 8238
Res. 4535, Romo, Danny: Harness Racing - 3000th Win,
Hon. J. Muir 8239
Vote - Affirmative 8239
Res. 4536, Jennex, Kathleen - Coverdale Ctr.: Commitment - Commend,
Mr. D. Dexter 8239
Vote - Affirmative 8240
Res. 4537, Health - Breast Cancer: Fundraisers/Supporters - Acknowledge,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 8240
Vote - Affirmative 8241
Res. 4538, Hawbolt, Stephen - Cdn. Environment Award,
Mr. M. Parent 8241
Vote - Affirmative 8242
Res. 4539, Shubendacadie - Milk Can Capital (Can.): East Hants Council -
Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 8242
Vote - Affirmative 8242
Res. 4540, Byrne, Gina & P.J. - Boston Pizza Restaurant: Opening -
Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 8243
Vote - Affirmative 8244
Res. 4541, Small Bus.: Sector - Support, Mr. H. Epstein 8244
Vote - Affirmative 8244
Res. 4542, RCL Branch 24 - Veterans Park: Efforts - Commend,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8244
Vote - Affirmative 8245
Res. 4543, Feed Nova Scotia: Sustainable Funding - Provide,
Ms. M. More 8245
Res. 4544, United Way - Pictou Co.: Efforts - Recognize,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 8246
Vote - Affirmative 8247
Res. 4545, CBC: Employees - Welcome Back,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8247
Vote - Affirmative 8247
Res. 4546, Nat. Res. - Off-Hwy. Vehicle Plan: Min. - Review,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 8247
Res. 4547, Williams, Dr. Peter: Teaching Career - Appreciation Extend,
Hon. D. Morse 8248
Vote - Affirmative 8249
Res. 4548, Cdn. Student Leadership Conference (AB): Sackville HS
Delegation - Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 8249
Vote - Affirmative 8249
Res. 4549, LaHave Manor Corp. - Anniv. (25th),
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 8250
Vote - Affirmative 8250
Res. 4550, Sydney Steelers - Atl. Bantam AA Champions,
Mr. G. Gosse 8250
Vote - Affirmative 8251
Res. 4551, Sea Hawk Shipwreck: Victims - Tribute Pay,
Mr. R. Chisholm 8251
Vote - Affirmative 8252
Res. 4552, Gov't. (N.S.) - Environmentally Friendly Vehicles:
Tax Rebate - Consider, Mr. J. Pye 8252
Res. 4553, East Hants Resource Ctr.: Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 8253
Vote - Affirmative 8253
Res. 4554, Com. Serv.: Clients - Food Budget/Shelter Allotment,
Mr. J. Pye 8253
Res. 4555, Wall, Cheryl - Athletic Achievement, Mr. G. Gosse 8254
Vote - Affirmative 8255
Res. 4556, TPW: Hwy. No. 113 - Plans, Mr. W. Estabrooks 8255
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 203, Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act 8256
Mr. K. Deveaux 8256
Mr. D. Dexter 8267
Mr. D. Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 8273
Hon. M. Baker 8287
Vote - Affirmative 8287
No. 222, Tobacco Damages and Health-care Costs Recovery Act 8287
Hon. M. Baker 8287
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8289
Mr. Michel Samson 8292
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8295
Adjourned debate 8295
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Oct. 17th at 7:00 p.m. 8295
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 4557, Coady, Rebecca - Athletic Accomplishments,
Mr. S. McNeil 8296
Res. 4558, The Specator - Newspaper Award, Mr. S. McNeil 8296
Res. 4559, Dugas, Jeffrey - Bowling Championship,
Mr. W. Gaudet 8297

[Page 8231]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by 22 members of the River John-Toney River area. The operative clause reads, "We, the undersigned, as residents of Nova Scotia, respectfully request that Video Lottery Terminals be removed from the Province of Nova Scotia." I, too, have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

8231

[Page 8232]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 4527

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

Whereas earlier this week, criminal investigators from across Atlantic Canada gathered in Halifax for their 17th annual workshop; and

Whereas the Criminal Intelligence Service Nova Scotia hosted this important workshop, to help share best practices to enhance public safety; and

Whereas law enforcement expressed their appreciation for our government's four-year funding to fight organized crime in Nova Scotia, funding worth more than $6 million;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate our municipal police agencies, the RCMP, military police and border security, for their continued commitment to public safety.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 4528

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 8233]

Whereas Parks Canada is proposing to introduce revised licence fees for businesses operating within its national parks and historic sites; and

Whereas Parks Canada is also proposing to extend these licence fees to tour companies which already pay entry fees; and

Whereas many tour companies are operating with margins that would not allow them to absorb such significant increases to their bottom line;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage's position that licensing requirements should not be imposed on operators located or operating outside of a Parks Canada site.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4529

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

Whereas the Advisory Council on the Status of Women brings forward to government the concerns of Nova Scotia women in all their diversity; and

Whereas the council recently welcomed new members: Ebi Cocodia of Halifax, Shelley Goodwin of Yarmouth, Anne Kelly of Sackville, and Holly Meuse of Bear River; and

Whereas council members Linda Carvery of Halifax; Mary Elizabeth Chisholm of Antigonish; Patricia LeBlanc of Sydney; and Doreen Paris of New Glasgow, a past chair of the council, have been recently reappointed;

[Page 8234]

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the work of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, especially these new and returning members who are serving their province and ensuring that women contribute to government decision making.

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. 228 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 12 of the Acts of 1993. The Social Workers Act. (Hon. David Morse)

Bill No. 229 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 120 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Day Care Act. (Ms. Marilyn More.)

Bill No. 230 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 213 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Housing Development Corporation Act. (Hon. David Morse)

Bill No. 231 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 4530

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

[Page 8235]

Whereas Highland Park Junior High School recently held a very successful walkathon on Saturday, October 1st ; and

Whereas this walkathon was organized by Ms. Kim Bourgeois, who has been a teacher at Highland Park Junior High School for the past eight years; and

Whereas the proceeds of this year's walkathon will be used to support the activities of Highland Park's student council;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia Legislature extend their sincere congratulations and thanks to Ms. Bourgeois for organizing once again another successful and fun event, which involved many students, parents, staff, school board members and friends of Highland Park Junior High School.

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. 4531

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 LaHave Manor Corporation Adult Residential Centre is a home for special care that supports, encourages and challenges the growth and development of adults with special challenges, thereby enhancing their quality of life in the most independent environment; and

Whereas the centre has enabled many adults with special challenges to live to their fullest potential; and

[Page 8236]

Whereas the centre is celebrating its 25th Anniversary on October 14, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the important work done by the centre and its staff, and congratulate them on their 25th Anniversary and wish them every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[9:15 a.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4532

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

Whereas the Ross Farm Museum will be able to do some much-needed maintenance work thanks to the Office of Economic Development; and

Whereas museum director Lisa Wolfe says the $127,000 cheque presented to the museum this summer will be used to maintain the museum's buildings and will help keep the museum popular with tourists and locals alike; and

Whereas the Ross Farm Museum plays an important role in the community, giving its visitors a glimpse into rural farm life about 75 years ago;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the Ross Farm Museum staff and board for working so hard to keep the museum popular and vibrant and we wish them future success for many more years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8237]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes on an introduction.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to bring the attention of the House to the gentleman who's up in the Speaker's Gallery, Mr. Fred Tilley, a very competent person, who, by the way, is the Liberal candidate for Cape Breton North. I would like to address the attention of all to the gentleman in the gallery, Mr. Fred Tilley, and give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 4533

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

Whereas the Clemente Course in the Humanities, an educational program offered free of charge to those living in poverty, has proven over the past decade to be effective in breaking the cycle of poverty through education; and

Whereas the St. George's Friends of Clemente Society, led by Chairman Rev. Canon, Dr. Gary Thorne, and Administrative Director Bruce Russell, has worked diligently and successfully to bring the Clemente Course to Halifax; and

Whereas the first Humanities 101 course will be officially launched on Monday, October 17, the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Rev. Gary Thorne, Mr. Bruce Russell, the members of the St. George's Friends of Clemente Society, and the 30 students in the Humanities 101 course on the launch of this important initiative to combat poverty through education.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8238]

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. 4534

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

Whereas the teachers of Nova Scotia's public education system make immeasurable contributions to our society; and

Whereas the enormous contribution of teachers to the future of our province is deserving of special recognition; and

Whereas the United Nations has designated October 5th as World Teacher's Day, observed in over 100 countries, and the theme for 2005 is professional development to meet the needs of a changing world;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly join together to thank our teachers in Nova Scotia for their hard work, dedication and ongoing efforts to provide our children with a high-quality education.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 8239]

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 4535

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

Whereas Danny Romo became a member of an elite club of harness race drivers when he won his 3,000th race at the Truro Raceway on September 4, 2005; and

Whereas Danny Romo had his landmark 3,000th win, which was his fourth of the day, when he drove Paperback to victory in race 12; and

Whereas his career began at Sackville Downs when Danny was 19, and he has been training and driving horses for about 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Danny Romo on his 3,000th win, and wish him continued success in his harness racing career as he goes for his 4,000th victory.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 4536

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

Whereas Coverdale Centre is a non-profit organization providing support and guidance to women involved in or at risk with the justice system; and

[Page 8240]

Whereas Kathleen Jennex, the executive director of Coverdale for 23 years, along with her staff and volunteers have worked with over 1,200 women in Halifax and Dartmouth courts in 2004; and

Whereas the Coverdale Centre celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a fundraising luncheon at the World Trade and Convention Centre on September 30th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend Kathleen Jennex for her commitment and dedication throughout her 23 years, and congratulate Coverdale Centre on celebrating 25 years of support and legal guidance to women 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.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 4537

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

Whereas October is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month; and

Whereas every week in 2005 will see 14 women in this province diagnosed with breast cancer and four lose their battle with the disease; and

Whereas detection of early stage breast cancer can result in survival rates greater than 80 per cent;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House acknowledge and recognize those who fight against the disease: those personally affected, caregivers, researchers, health professionals, charitable organizations, and thousands of volunteers who work to raise awareness, provide treatment and raise funds for breast cancer support and research in our province.

[Page 8241]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4538

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

Whereas a recipient of a Canadian Environment Award, Stephen Hawbolt has spent most of his life creating solutions for environment ills, and found his niche as executive director of the Clean Annapolis River project, and

Whereas each Spring, the Canadian Environment Awards celebrate Canadians that make the connection between consumption and climate change, wildlife and habitat preservation, human health and the environment; and

Whereas Stephen Hawbolt brought the wellness of the Annapolis River to the forefront, making huge strides towards restoring the Annapolis River watershed, working to protect several hectares of marshland through conservation agreements, and helping the Atlantic salmon spawn again, just to name a few of his accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Stephen Hawbolt on his Canadian Environment Award, and thank him for his hard work and dedication to the community and its environment.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8242]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4539

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

Whereas tourism is a billion dollar industry in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Shubenacadie produces a great percentage of the milk in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the municipal council of East Hants passed a motion at its September meeting to establish Shubenacadie as the Milk Can Capital of Canada, in honour of Watson Smith, the undisputed milk can king of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the East Hants council members for establishing yet another great Nova Scotia attraction.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

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

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources released his government's plan to deal with the off-highway vehicles in Nova Scotia on October 12th, and

[Page 8243]

Whereas this plan lacked strength and leadership on crucial issues of importance to Nova Scotians, such as safety for children under the age of 14; and (Interruptions)

Make jokes about children dying, make jokes about children dying on ATVs. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. Order! (Interruptions)

Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to take his seat.

Next resolution, please.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 4540

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

Whereas from dreaming to actually doing it, Hammonds Plains volunteer firefighter Gina Byrne and her husband, P.J., recently opened their own Boston Pizza franchise restaurant in Sackville; and

Whereas the new restaurant employs between 80 and 100 people, and includes a sports lounge, a dining area, kitchen and a patio; and

Whereas the Boston Pizza franchise for Gina and P.J. is just one of 31 being brought to the Maritimes by the Boston Pizza chain;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs extend their congratulations to Gina and P.J. Byrne from Hammonds Plains on the opening of their new Boston Pizza franchise restaurant in Sackville, while wishing them continuous success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 8244]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 4541

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

Whereas the week of October 16th to 23rd is recognized nationally as Small Business Week in Canada; and

Whereas in Halifax Chebucto, the constituency that I represent, there are over 179 registered small businesses and offices; and

Whereas small businesses are a major component of the economy and a vital part of each and every community in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House take this opportunity to recognize the contribution which small businesses make to the vibrant, creative and innovative personality of this province, and be it further resolved that this House commit to supporting and sustaining the small business sector of the province whenever circumstances call upon us to do so.

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. 4542

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

[Page 8245]

Whereas the Second World War ended 60 years ago, and 2005 has been declared Year of the Veteran; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians are reflecting on the contributions made by our veterans; and

Whereas members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 24 created a Veterans' Memorial Park in the Town of Bridgewater to honour its veterans which will serve as a place of remembrance and respect;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House commend the excellent efforts of the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 24 for their development of the Veterans' Memorial Park in memory of all veterans.

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. 4543

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

Whereas Feed Nova Scotia continues to struggle to provide food assistance to 40,000 Nova Scotians through its 150 member agencies; and

Whereas Feed Nova Scotia is able to use every dollar donated to distribute between $10 and $12 worth of food; and

Whereas having access to healthy food is a basic human need and right;

[Page 8246]

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia work with the board of directors and staff of Feed Nova Scotia to provide sustainable funding to this organization, and fulfill its public responsibility to hungry and impoverished citizens in this province.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4544

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

Whereas in their third annual event recently held by the United Way of Pictou County, a Millionaire's Lunch of mac and cheese was served; and

Whereas many community groups and organizations took part in the event held at the Sharon St. John United Church in Stellarton; and

Whereas besides the luncheon, Blue Acres Esso also helped out the Pictou County United Way with a donation of $680 by donating 1 cent from every litre of gasoline sold during the day;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in the House of Assembly recognize the incredible effort put forth by so many Pictou County groups, organizations and individuals who devote so much time and enthusiasm in assisting the local chapter of the United Way.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8247]

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. 4545

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

Whereas CBC's valuable employees are now back at work after being locked out by management; and

Whereas CBC's listeners and viewers treasure this important service; and

Whereas CBC, from coast to coast to coast, provides quality news broadcasting and entertainment;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature welcome back valuable CBC employees.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 4546

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

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources released his government's plan to deal with the off-highway vehicles in Nova Scotia on October 12th; and

[Page 8248]

Whereas this plan lacks strength and leadership on crucial issues of importance to Nova Scotians, such as safety for children under the age of 14; and

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources decided to ignore the pleas of health care professionals, including the IWK Health Centre and the Canadian Pediatric Association;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House demand that the Minister of Natural Resources immediately review his plan and make the necessary changes to ensure the safety of our province's children.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[9:30 a.m.]

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 4547

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

Whereas Dr. Peter Williams, an Associate Professor of Physics at Acadia University, was recently one of two Nova Scotia professors to receive a Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of Atlantic Universities; and

Whereas Dr. Williams was instrumental in leading the way on a first-year physics course called Studio Physics - the project itself capturing a different award in 2002; and

Whereas Dr. Williams was also the recipient of Acadia University's Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching last year;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs extend their appreciation to Dr. Peter Williams for his foresight and diligence towards his teaching career, and wish him nothing but continued success.

[Page 8249]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 4548

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

Whereas the Canadian Student Leadership Conference, recently held in Lloydminster and Wainwright, Alberta, plays an important role in the development of high school student leadership across our province; and

Whereas the students at Sackville High School have hosted this important conference twice in the conference's 21-year history; and

Whereas the Sackville High School Students' Council delegation, led by teacher-adviser Kerry MacQueen and students, will undoubtedly bring back skills and opportunities to further enrich the lives of students at Sackville High School;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate teacher-adviser Kerry MacQueen and the students on their impressive leadership abilities at Sackville High School, and wish them all the best in the coming school year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 8250]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 4549

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 LaHave Manor Corporation opened its doors at an adult residential facility on October 31, 1980; and

Whereas it takes a team effort to make a service of this nature a successful venue; and

Whereas the Department of Community Services, board members, staff, volunteers and residents have all contributed in reaching this milestone through teamwork;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate LaHave Manor Corporation on their 25th Anniversary, which they will celebrate in the community today.

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. 4550

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

Whereas on September 18, 2005, at Clark's Harbour, Nova Scotia, the Sydney Steelers captured the Atlantic Bantam AA baseball championship; and

[Page 8251]

Whereas the Steelers compiled a record of three wins and no losses in the round-robin play; and

Whereas the Steelers defeated the host club from Clark's Harbour in the final game;

Therefore be it resolved that the Members of the Legislative Assembly congratulate the Sydney Steelers 2005 Atlantic Bantam AA championship on their highly successful season.

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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 4551

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

Whereas an event near and dear to his heart, the late Pat Fougere and the Canso Trawlerman's Co-op, hosted a 40th Anniversary memorial at the Canso Lions Club this past December for the crew who lost their lives on the Acadia Sea Hawk; and

Whereas the Acadia Sea Hawk went down in stormy weather off Sable Island on December 3, 1964, taking 14 crew members to their graves: Captain Ronald Mosher, brothers Ted and Jerome Boudreau, Raymond Boudreau, Eric Fanning, Thomas Grant, Hans Sedlaceck, Wilson Dort, Patrick O'Hearn, Tory Greencorn, Simeon Lawrence, Maxwell Dodge, Clayton Randell and Gurth MacKenzie; and

Whereas the memorial service was an important event to the families and friends of those who were lost in this tragedy;

[Page 8252]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House pay tribute to the families of these young men, and recognize that still today these brave men are remembered fondly and will not be forgotten.

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. 4552

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

Whereas many Nova Scotians are environmentally conscious and have expressed an interest in protecting our environment; and

Whereas recently, because of the high cost of gasoline, many Nova Scotians are looking at alternate means of transportation; and

Whereas hybrid vehicles are considered an option by many consumers but the increased cost is prohibitive;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government consider a tax rebate for consumers purchasing environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 8253]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4553

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

Whereas the Corridor area of Hants East is growing by leaps and bounds; and

Whereas a centralized location of government-provided resources and services is beneficial to the consumer of those services; and

Whereas the East Hants Resource Centre officially became a reality on September 10, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate all of the participants who advocated, planned and laboured to make the East Hants Resource Centre the stately and useful landmark that it is.

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. 4554

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 Department of Community Services has set the shelter rates for Nova Scotians receiving social assistance; and

[Page 8254]

Whereas the rates set by the department do not reflect the real cost of shelter in many regions of the province; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians receiving social assistance must use 10 to 20 per cent or more of their food budget to supplement their shelter needs to avoid living in a slum;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature request the Department of Community Services to identify the number of Community Service clients using their food budget monies to augment their shelter allotment, and to determine the effects this practice has on these clients and their families.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

Order, please. There is quite a bit of noise in the Chamber. I would ask the members to take their conversations outside, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 4555

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

Whereas for the week ending September 11, 2005, Cheryl Wall, a striker with the Cape Breton Capers women's soccer team, was selected female athlete of the week; and

Whereas Cheryl, in leading her team to a win and a draw, scored three goals; and

Whereas Cheryl has picked up right where she left off as last season's rookie of the year;

[Page 8255]

Therefore be it resolved that the Members of the Legislative Assembly congratulate Cheryl Wall on this noteworthy athletic achievement, and wish her a highly successful season.

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. 4556

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

Whereas the communities adjoining the proposed Highway No. 113 between Kearney Lake Road and Highway No. 103 want the Department of Transportation and Public Works to clarify the future of this project; and

Whereas this project has become a contentious issue in these communities; and

Whereas it is vital that the Department of Transportation and Public Works clearly state its plan and time frame for Highway No. 113;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Public Works inform the public on its future plans for Highway No. 113.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 8256]

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 203.

Bill No. 203 - Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have, I believe, 35 more minutes to speak on this bill. If you recall, yesterday I was talking about the accountability aspect of this piece of legislation, that the accountability, unfortunately, isn't really there in this legislation. It results in one psychiatrist being able to admit someone, there are two needed for an assessment, but only one psychiatrist is required for purposes of admitting someone into a psychiatric facility.

As I said yesterday, I have grave concerns with that. There should at least be one other physician. I understand that in some parts of the province it may be difficult to get two psychiatrists, but it is possible at least to get a GP who is able to give a second opinion with regard to these issues so I would hope that there would be some means of at least ensuring that there are some checks and balances, and I would hope that that would be something we could consider in this legislation. Accountability is important. I would hope that the psychiatrists in this province, the members of the medical profession who practise psychiatry, would also want to see these checks and balances, that they're an important component of their profession to make sure that there is the opportunity for review and peer review really to a great extent.

I wanted to talk also about a couple of other issues which are the capability of the province to deal with this bill and liability. So let me talk about capability and let me start by talking about a bit of history. As I was trying to say yesterday just before we wrapped up, Mr. Speaker, this is an ongoing and historic problem in Nova Scotia and it may not be just Nova Scotia, it may be across Canada. Maybe, for all I know, it's consistent with a lot of governments in the world, but the problem is that in the past 10 or 15 years there has been a trend to move people out of facilities and into the community.

On itself, on a prima facie basis, Mr. Speaker, I think it's easy to say that's a good idea, you know, whether someone has a mental disorder, whether someone has an intellectual disability, someone has a physical disability, in the past, in many ways, we were putting them

[Page 8257]

in facilities that were not allowing them to have the independence and freedom that they need and frankly that they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, no one would deny that moving people into the community, community-based care for people with intellectual, mental or physical disabilities is a good idea, but like all good ideas that seem to come to government, the problem is when the rubber hits the road, when it is no longer just a theory and it becomes practice. I guess another example of this is also the inclusion in our school system. If you recall back 30 years ago when I was in school, they used to have something called the special ed class where we used to have all the kids with intellectual disabilities in one classroom and we agreed, that's not right. They need integration. Children need to learn from an early age that people with disabilities, people with intellectual or physical or mental disabilities are a part of our lives, who need that integration from an early age. Why segregate when we should have the ability to integrate? Great idea, one that I think everyone can support, but then we see what happened when that actually hit the ground, when the government in 1989 or 1990, I believe, after a court case was forced to do this, what happened?

The government promised the resources in the classroom to make sure that we would have an inclusion that ensured that those children with the disability would have the extra support not only for themselves, but so that the education of the other children in the class wasn't impacted negatively either. Government made all those promises and then they were ignored, and to this day what you see - I know in the Halifax Regional School Board system we hear it talked about - if you want an EPA, an education assistant for a child in your classroom, the famous line is they have to be a runner, biter or a defecator because those are the only people who actually get assistants. They are the ones who are inherently and patently disrupting a class in a way that needs to actually have someone literally there with them on an ongoing basis, but if you're not one of those, if you're a child with behavioural issues, you're a child with an intellectual disability or learning disability, you know, those are things that I think need to be thought about.

My point is that when we said we were going to provide those resources, we didn't provide those resources, Mr. Speaker. We said we were going to deinstitutionalize, in some form in our education system, children with disabilities and put them into our classrooms for inclusion; we never provided the resources we said we would to make sure that what was good in theory worked in practice in a good way as well.

The same thing can be said about people who are removed from institutions and, again, I mention the one that is in my riding, the one I worked in as a youth, the Halifax County Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Cole Harbour on Bissett Road. That is a facility that had a lot of people with intellectual disabilities, some with physical impairment, some with mental health issues, Mr. Speaker. That facility was clearly one that was from a different generation or different time. At the time it was created I'm sure people thought it was a great idea, it was a good building but, unfortunately, now we say that's not the case,

[Page 8258]

let's move them out, but we move them out into small options homes that are unregulated. We move them out into small options homes where we have a lot less control over exactly how these people's lives are going to be dealt with.

We have certain ones who could not be moved to group homes who moved into this facility at Sunrise Manor that a lot of people are saying there are a lot of concerns with this facility which is part of a nursing home. Nursing home or seniors' apartments? (Interruptions) Seniors' apartments. On the bottom floor we have a separate facility for a certain number of severe intellectual disability cases that cannot be sent into group homes, and that's the way the government deals with it. We were promised three years ago that it would be a temporary measure, maybe a year, and they would be moved into a facility, I remember being told, in the eastern part of Halifax, HRM, and yet, they're still there.

[9:45 a.m.]

Again, in theory, government thinks it's a good idea to move people into the community. I think a lot of professionals would support that in many cases. The problem is, what is good in theory isn't good in practice when the government decides to cut back the resources. There are bean counters in the government who see community-based service equal to, we save money. The government saves money by closing beds, laying off nurses, putting people into the community where instead of having maybe - and this is a hypothetical - one nurse for every patient at the psychiatric facility, we can have one nurse for five patients because, heck, they're not seeing them all day long; they can bring them in for appointments, and we end up saving money. It is seen by the bean counters in government as economical when, in fact, if we're doing this right it isn't about saving money, and in many cases, we may not save money, it's about investing in the community so that the supports are there.

Again, professionals will tell you that it's not a bad idea to have people with mental health disorders in the community as long as we know that there are conditions in place, and you see this. The problem is that this government and governments before them have used the basis of moving people out of hospitals and into the community as a basis of saving money, not as a basis of actually trying to ensure the services are in place. That is our problem with this legislation, there is no capacity in the community, in Nova Scotia, to handle people with severe mental health disorders.

This government and this legislation is talking about creating CTOs, community treatment orders. Now a community treatment order is an order that one psychiatrist can issue. So they bring someone into the hospital on an involuntary basis, after a month or two, presumably, they say this person has been given their medication regularly, they're getting psychiatric care, we think we can release them into the community under certain conditions and maybe they'll come in and visit us once a week or once a day and we'll just check on them, we will put them into the community.

[Page 8259]

In the bill it talks about the psychiatrist having to ensure that services are "available" and I'll get more into that in a minute, Mr. Speaker. What this really means is we have a situation where the psychiatrists are now going to be encouraged, I have no doubt, there will be beds being closed in psychiatric hospitals throughout Nova Scotia, psychiatric wards in regional hospitals as well as the ones in metro, because they're going to say, move them out, move them into the community, issue those CTOs, get them out there and we'll make sure that we can close the beds. In fact, it has to be more than that. Putting people with severe mental health issues into the community without the proper support is a recipe for disaster, and that's what I think this government doesn't understand with this piece of legislation.

I don't think this government understands that with this legislation, if we do not provide the resources to help these people with severe mental health issues, when we do send them into the community, we're setting them up for failure, we're setting the community up for failure and that is why I have such a grave concern with this piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, it's easy for me to say I've read this bill and I think I have concerns, but let me be clear, there's actually something called assertive community treatment, A C T or ACT as it's known by those in the profession, I understand. In some parts of Canada these are used extensively for people with severe mental health disorders. They have CTOs in other parts of this country, they put them into the community, but then they have what they call this ACT team, this assertive community treatment team, and that team's job is to not only say, okay, you're in the community, you go find yourself a house, you go find yourself a job, you go find yourself a steady income, you show up once a day and we'll make sure you get your pills, which is what I worry we're really talking about here. You are left on your own, but don't do anything bad, take your pill every day and show up once a week so we can make sure that your symptoms aren't getting worse with regard to your mental health disorder.

ACT, in parts of Canada, is used as an intensive support for people. Why put them into the community and set them up for failure? We need professionals, and this isn't just psychiatrists, it's health care professionals, nurses, social workers, people who then can work with the person on an intensive basis and say to them, we're going to make sure you succeed and it's our mission to make sure you succeed. We're going to help you find work, we're going to help you find housing, we're going to work with the government and ensure that the government builds more housing for people with mental health disorders. We're going to do all this to ensure that you succeed and that this is not going to be a failure for you or for the system or for your community. We're going to make sure that you succeed because everyone benefits when you succeed. You have a mental health disorder but that doesn't mean you can't be a productive member of society in some form or another. If it is so severe, at least we're going to help you find housing, we're going to help you with assisted living. These are the things that need to be done through ACT.

[Page 8260]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. DEVEAUX: In many parts of the country, ACT, assertive community treatment, is an effective means of ensuring that when we do put people into the community, we're ensuring that they're getting the intensive services they need. Yes, that costs money. It goes back to my original point, a decision by bean counters to close beds in order to save money by putting people with severe mental health disorders into the community. I can say right now, there are people in this province who complain in metro about homelessness. They say, too many panhandlers on the street.

Mr. Speaker, if we're just going to be sending people out of psychiatric facilities without proper supports, I can assure you, we're going to have issues like that continuing and maybe even expanding in our community. That's not good news for anyone. No one in our community wants to have to walk down the street and see people panhandling. No one wants to see people with mental health disorders on the street. That's not good for our community; that's not good for Nova Scotia; that's not what we like to talk about when we talk about the best characteristics of Nova Scotians.

You have this government with this piece of legislation, and with Liberal support - let's be honest, the Liberals are supporting this bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. DEVEAUX: Well, if one of the members from the Liberal caucus wants to get up and say they're not supporting it, I'll be glad to hear from them. Being the case, my concern is that this bill, as it stands, is setting up our communities for failure. The communities do not have the supports to ensure that people with severe mental health disorders, when they are entering the community through these CTOs, the community treatment orders, are provided with the services and resources to make sure that these people can succeed.

If we're not going to help them to succeed, then they are most likely to fail and when they fail it will be the community picking up the pieces. It will be the community that will be dealing with the issues in the community because you will have people with severe mental health disorders who don't have those supports. That is a problem with this legislation unless this government is prepared to either, through legislation or through its budget, explain how it's going to ensure that the resources are there.

Let's start with these ACT teams, these assertive community treatment teams, they should be part of this legislation. This legislation should say no CTO can be issued for someone unless there is an ACT team in that area that has the capacity to deal with them.

[Page 8261]

That would make sure that we would have the services in place, Mr. Speaker. That is something we can do positively in this community, in this province. Yet this government, again, on the cheap, listening to bean counters, is trying to close beds and move people into the community without the proper supports. We have a problem with that and this isn't the first time we've said it. I hope it's the last time we see legislation from this or any other government that's trying to put people into the community, trying to save money and not actually trying to fix the problem. That is a problem.

We would like to see in this legislation, as a principle, something that would allow that the CTO, the community treatment order, could not be issued unless there is an ACT team in place. I think at the moment there is one or two ACT teams in the province and because they're so overworked and because of lack of support from the government, they're an ACT team in name, and I'm not sure if they really have the ability or capacity to do their job as they're defined to do. You may have to talk to them about that but that's my understanding.

I think it's important that we actually take a look at how we can get these CTOs, not only sending people into the community, but making sure these ACT teams, these assertive community treatment teams, are in place as well. That is an important component of this legislation.

I think another part of this is that we have to assume - we talk about involuntary admission, we talk about CTOs, which are orders that force someone when they're sent into the community to actually do certain things - take medications, do certain treatments, et cetera. We think that should only be used as a last resort. In many cases, there are certain people with mental health disorders who will voluntarily accept these conditions. Why should we assume that we should have to use a hammer? Why should we assume that we should be using, you know, vinegar instead of honey? There are many cases in which people can be enticed into voluntary acceptance of conditions. Work with them, facilitate something, give them the respect they deserve. These are adults with mental health disorders. They should be recognized as people who have certain cognitive abilities and, as such, we should be working with them to facilitate an agreement that everyone can agree to.

The other part of it is, we all know - Mr. Speaker, you're a police officer, you know - it's a lot easier to convince someone to do something and get them to agree than it is to have to force them to do it, because if you force them to do it they're likely to rebel; they're likely to disagree with you in those circumstances. So I would suggest that if we can do something to ensure that in this legislation we see that these community treatment orders, that are mandatory conditions, are the last resort, that every effort has to be made to try to facilitate with the patient, with the person with severe mental health issues, to try to get them to agree to a contract, so to speak, before they're released.

[Page 8262]

I think that that needs to be done, Mr. Speaker. And I mentioned the issue before about "available", and I said that under the current legislation one psychiatrist can send someone out of a hospital into the community with a community treatment order, a CTO, if they can prove that there are services available. Well, I have a real problem with that because available - well, when I think about that, I think about the fact that you will have a situation where you will have an individual and a psychiatrist may look and say, well, in the Digby area there is a psychiatrist at the regional hospital in Kentville, or in Yarmouth, and they can get the service there and they'll be able to go see them on a regular basis, so it's available, but maybe there's a six-month waiting list to get in to see one of those psychiatrists. Maybe that psychiatrist is so overworked that you're looking at - maybe they're only going to get a half an hour a week with that psychiatrist as compared to a daily visit.

If you see my point, the service may be available, but it may not be substantive enough; it may not be significant enough. Available does not necessarily mean timely; available does not necessarily mean substantial help, and my worry is, again, closed beds. Psychiatrists have pressure on them to get people into the community. They're sent into the community - they'll say, well, the service is available, put them out there, and the service may not be there in a timely manner. The service may not be there in the capacity that it's needed to meet the needs of the people there.

Mr. Speaker, that is a problem I have with this legislation as well, that you have the government again, I think, using this to put pressure on to close beds in psychiatric facilities, move people into the community. Psychiatrists will be signing pieces of paper saying there are services available, they can go out, and yet the services won't be there on a timely basis. So we would like to see this legislation reflect the fact that it needs to not only say that these CTOs have to be issued only where the ACT team is around, the assertive community treatment team, but also that these particular services have to be available in a timely manner.

It makes no sense to send someone into the community and have them be on a waiting list for six months to get the services - maybe it's specific programs, maybe it's anger management. I'm just sort of hypothetically putting ones out there, but maybe the anger management program has a six-month waiting list. It's available but not in a timely manner, and unless this legislation reflects that the services must be available in a timely manner, then I suggest to you, again, it's setting these people, these patients, up for failure, setting the communities up for failure - and that is a major problem with this legislation. The bean counters will win if we pass this legislation as it is because we're closing beds, we're saving money, we're dumping people into the community and let the community be aware of it.

Let's be clear, in many cases - you know what? - when we talk about the community, let's be honest, we're talking about places that used to be part of my riding, parts of Dartmouth, or we're talking about other places in Nova Scotia where they already have a lot of problems whether it's with crime, whether it's socio-economic issues, and we're going to

[Page 8263]

now impose on them community treatment order patients that maybe don't have the ability to be able to control what they need to control.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think that these are all issues that need to be dealt with and this government needs to show to us that there is a capacity to actually ensure that we're not setting these patients up for failure, and that they are going to be sent out into the community in a way that will ensure that the job can be done and it can be done properly so that they are able to actually do their job.

This bill does talk about a review board and it does talk about the fact that there will be a board that can review both decisions with regard to community treatment orders, with regard to involuntary admissions, and it does talk about an advisor for the patients, but we think that needs to talk more about an advocate.

[10:00 a.m.]

I know coming from the Workers' Advisers Program in the Workers' Compensation system where you had government, almost like a legal aid system, Mr. Speaker. A system that ensured that these patients would have - in our case it would be injured workers - would have someone who could be there on their behalf as an advocate, who knew the law, knew it well, with a lawyer, a paralegal. It doesn't have to be a lawyer, but someone who is willing to work - it could be a social worker - but someone who is willing to work in an area to work as an advocate. Not only as an adviser to tell them what their rights are but to actively pursue the rights of these patients, because in many cases, let's face it, these patients are going to have cognitive issues, maybe because of the medication they're on, maybe because of the treatment they're facing, maybe just because of the fact that they're involuntarily locked up in a facility. It's important that there be an advocate. Someone who is pro-actively working on their behalf. I think that is an important component that is missing from this legislation as well, if this government is serious about taking away the rights of individuals.

Expanding that, as I talked about yesterday, the definition is expanded, the basis in which a psychiatrist can commit someone. If it's down to one psychiatrist going to be able to do that. If we are going to make it easier to remove the rights of these people with severe mental health disorders, then I suggest to you that it is important that there be an advocate for them. Someone who is able to go out and actually work on their behalf.

Let's also talk about this with regard to community. If a psychiatrist is going to be issuing a community treatment order and putting someone into the community and the community doesn't have the capacity. There are waiting lists for the programs. There are no psychiatrists or the access to psychiatrists is limited, Mr. Speaker, then maybe an advocate can be there to argue on behalf of that patient and to a lesser extent, the community, that there needs to be more of those resources as well. That's what advocacy is about for people

[Page 8264]

with mental health. It's not just about those patients. It's about the community generally and that is important, I think, and something that needs to be reflected.

How much time do I have left, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Twelve minutes.

MR. DEVEAUX: Thank you. I wanted to talk a bit about liability as well, because this legislation, in my mind, does something that sort of worries me. In this legislation there is a clause - because let's face it, we're going to talk psychiatrists sending people into the community where maybe we don't have the services they truly need. Maybe they're available but not in a timely manner, and this can cause some serious problems in the community. Well, according to this legislation, any psychiatrist who releases someone into the community is basically absolved of any liability for their decision. In return, if the people who are supposed to be working with the patient in the community, the health care workers, the professionals, the social workers, are also absolved of any responsibility for what happens when that person is released.

Well, in my mind, that's a serious concern, because the whole basis of our system of law is that if you have a right or a responsibility that you do not follow through on, then there are legal ramifications for that. In many cases that means lawsuits or criminal prosecution. In this case, you have psychiatrists who under their medical licence are sending people into the community. I understand there are ramifications for them if they do something unethical or untoward, but that is them and their licence.

What we need to know is that if a psychiatrist is going to be issuing community treatment orders, putting into the community and, God forbid something happens, someone gets hurt, something happens in the community where there is serious damage to property or to life, I would suggest to you that people involved in that, people who have damages from that, should have the right to take a look at why that psychiatrist put that person in the community, and what was being done to make sure that that person was given the services they need so that these types of incidents don't happen. But under this law, the psychiatrist is absolved of liability. In return, if the psychiatrist thinks that there are legitimate services in the community, put them into the community and for whatever reason the people in the community who are there to actually work with these patients, aren't doing their job, or aren't capable of doing their job, should it not be appropriate that if there is a serious incident, a damage to property or life that someone should be able to sue them and say, you have liability for your inaction. Now, they may be able to argue, I wasn't given the resources. The government didn't do what they were supposed to do.

That's for the courts to figure out, but to say immediately that these people are not liable for their decisions in releasing people into the community, I have some serious concerns about that. We're basically saying that in Nova Scotia, psychiatrists who put people

[Page 8265]

into the community, health care workers who are in the community doing their job and maybe as a result of negligence someone is actually hurt by it or property is damaged by it, I would suggest to you is a problem.

We cannot be limiting liability in these ways because if them, why not others? On what basis do we believe that it's okay for them not to have liability for making decisions? They could have a massive impact on the community but it is okay for others who make such decisions to have to face liability. That's an issue that I have. Liability is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with and one that I'm hoping we can take a look at in this legislation as well.

In the case of Nova Scotia, as we've seen in the past 15 to 20 years, it's the bean counters in government trying to shut down expensive facilities, expensive beds in facilities and put the people into the community where they think they can save money. I cannot reiterate enough that if that is what this legislation is about - and on its face, that is what this legislation says, I can be assured that what I've heard from the Minister of Health does not assure me that he actually has seriousness about providing the resources necessary.

We are only going to create more problems in the community. Mr. Speaker, as a former police officer, you know as well as I do the impact of people with severe mental illness can be on a community. How many times does a police officer have to go back to the same address over and over and over again because of someone at that place who probably has a severe mental health disorder and they're not getting the treatment they need. Let's be clear, the treatment they want. In many cases, the government, instead of keeping them in a hospital, wants to close that expensive bed and put them in the community. But, if the services are not there, then we're setting that person up for failure, we're setting that community up for failure. It's only going to cause disruption and heartache and problems for everyone in the community.

This government only seems to talk about how it can save money by closing beds and moving people into the community. Professionally, it's a good idea on paper. But, without the resources, it will not work. As I've said before, this isn't the first example of this - whether it's inclusion in our schools, closing facilities for people with intellectual disability, whether it is providing support for people with physical impairment. This government and the ones before it have given examples where they have closed what they consider expensive facilities, moved people into the community without the proper support, resources or funding necessary to make it work. As a result, the communities have suffered because of it. Communities have been forced to make the things happen that need to happen and they do it on the cheap or, unfortunately, the services just aren't there and people suffer as a result.

That's not what we want to do in this province. Maybe that's the example that Mike Harris set in Ontario, maybe that's the example other provinces have set, of all political stripes. That is not the way we do it in Nova Scotia. We've always prided ourselves on being

[Page 8266]

people who look after each other, people who take care of each other, not only in the big cities but in the small towns. This is not just an urban issue, this is an issue that affects every town and every village in Nova Scotia.

If we're going to continue to close beds and release people into these communities without the proper supports, then maybe the government should be getting big billboards and bill ads. If we pass the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act, maybe they should be putting billboards up saying, you should now be warned that there are going to be people in your community who are not going to have the proper supports necessary, and you should be warned. They might as well do that so that at least the communities are aware of it before things start to happen.

From our perspective, this legislation is flawed. This legislation does not do what it needs to do. It needs to ensure there are two psychiatrists that have to agree to an admission, there has to be two psychiatrists and a physician that have to agree to a community treatment order so there is accountability, there is a check and balance. We need to redefine the definition of how someone can be put into involuntary care or released into the community through these mandatory treatment orders. As it is now, it is too broad a definition that can result in people being put into the community on strict orders that, frankly, I think many would say could be used and abused. There is no definition of what serious mental deterioration is or what serious physical impairment is.

Those are pretty broad terms. With one of those terms a psychiatrist can have someone locked up. They can have someone put into the community on strict conditions. I would suggest that definition must change as well.

We also need a mental health advocate, someone who is willing to actually deal with advocacy issues. Someone who is willing to ensure that not only will they advise a patient or the patient's family, but they will actually advocate on their behalf in a proactive manner. Someone who is more aggressive in ensuring the rights of that person. These are serious issues that we're taking away rights of individuals. Yes, there are circumstances where it must happen, but they should have the Rule of Law on their side and have someone on their behalf who is able to work with them to ensure that it does do that.

We need to ensure that these community treatment orders are only issued in three conditions. First, where there are assertive community treatments in place to make sure that they have the intensive support they need to ensure that they are able to succeed in the community. Second, the CTO should only be issued where you actually say that the services are available in a timely manner, not only available, but available in a timely manner. That is a crucial aspect of this that needs to be addressed so that those services are there and the people are not sitting around waiting for their program or appointments with their psychiatrist but that they're actually able to get their services in a timely manner. Third, that

[Page 8267]

the CTOs, as a mandatory treatment order, only be used as a last resort after every effort has been made to try to work with the patient to create a voluntary contract on their release.

Finally, with regard to liability, the fact that if these psychiatrists are going to be taking away the rights of people, forcing them to do certain things, then there should darn well be a situation where they are liable for their negligence, liable for their decisions that result in problems in the community that need to be addressed. These, I believe, are fundamental changes that, in our mind, are the minimum of what needs to be done with this legislation to make sure the supports are there, to make sure that the government is able to do its job, to make sure that the patients who have mental health disorders when they're released into the community are set up to succeed, not to fail or that the communities themselves, have that infrastructure in place so that the burden is not placed on them to have to do the job of this government. The government bean counters think that this is the best way to save money.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: I'm pleased to rise on the debate here with respect to this bill, the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act. I want to take a little bit of a different look at this bill if I can. I want to look at it from the perspective of the people who are involved in the review of those individuals who are in psychiatric facilities. I'm going to do that through their own reports, the reports that they have made over the years to this House of Assembly. You would know, Mr. Speaker, that just yesterday, the members of this House received the most current report of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board and in it, are their comments and recommendations with respect to the patients who are held in psychiatric facilities.

I want to preface it by saying that what seems like a lifetime ago, when I was serving on Dartmouth City Council, the Liberal Government of the day back in 1994, 1995, decided that they were going to close a lot of hospital beds in psychiatric facilities. I remember the effect that it had on our community, particularly in Woodside but in many parts of Dartmouth, as those people were released into the community, onto the streets, without appropriate resources being in place to help them deal with the situations in which they were finding themselves.

The reality is that the vast majority of those people who were released understood that they needed assistance, that they needed help. Many of them settled in the neighbourhoods around the facility so they could have access to the day treatment that was available. I hate to describe those kinds of motives to the government of the day, but it seemed to me that it was a tremendously cynical move. It not only closed those hospital beds, those much-needed beds, and I should mention that they went on to close the MacKay unit, which was particularly concerned with the treatment of children, but they closed those beds. At the time, this was before service exchange, those people moved out of those facilities and off the

[Page 8268]

public rolls and literally on to the municipal rolls. The minister may remember, and I'm sure many people here remember, that initially the system that was in place at the time was that when you went on assistance, you first went on to the municipal rolls, and then when you were on that system for a period of time you transferred over onto the provincial rolls. The savings of the provincial government at the time was both in the bed closures but also in moving those people completely off the provincial books, and for a period of time, onto the municipal rolls.

[10:15 p.m.]

The annual report you received yesterday of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board actually contains what I think is a fairly good description of the work of the board. It says, "The Psychiatric Facilities Review Board is appointed under the mental health provisions of the Hospitals Act of Nova Scotia. Its primary responsibilities are to review the decision of the treating psychiatrist that a person in the psychiatric facility should be held under 'formal' status and that a person is not capable of consenting to treatment. A person is held under formal status, if a psychiatrist has certified that the person (a) suffers from a psychiatric disorder and (b) is a danger either to one's own safety or to the safety of others. The board is also authorized to review a declaration of competency of a patient with respect to the administration of the patient's estate, and to make recommendations as to the treatment, care or placement of a patient."

Then it says this, which I think is very interesting - and this resides in all of the reports of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board - they begin with a description of their powers and with what the job of the board actually is. They say, "These responsibilities and powers are formidable, since they can operate to deprive the individual of the right to make decisions concerning oneself, and authorize detention and treatment against one's wishes even in situations in which no criminal act has been committed. Outside the areas of criminal law and child protection, this power to interfere with individual autonomy is unprecedented."

That, I think, is an extraordinarily concise statement of the power of the Psychiatric Facilities Review board. I guess for most of us there is some comfort in the notion that the people who are charged with this responsibility are skeptical about their own exercise of that power.

They say, it's important that we, in assessing these patients, minimize the use of our power in regard to the restrictions that we place on the lives of others. Paramount to a person's individual being is their liberty, is their right as a citizen to be free. The board, in assessing these individuals, understands that that is a power that they have that they must exercise extraordinarily judiciously.

[Page 8269]

In the current report the members of the board have a section called COMMENTS. It says the following with respect to community resources, "In recent reports the Board has commented on various documents dealing with community resources applicable to seriously mentally ill patients. The quality of the residential facilities which would be available to a patient, if one were to leave the hospital, can be material to the assessment of whether the patient is a danger to oneself or others. Little is being offered in new facilities. This affects the confidence the Board may have that a patient leaving the hospital will have a good place to go and be less likely to engage in dangerous activity."

Mr. Speaker, this is well-couched language, but the problem is pretty clear, the government has a freeze with respect to those small options homes, with those facilities that the board is actually talking about. It's a problem with the resources that the government is allocating to deal with this problem. The fear that I have about this bill, is it deals with the form but never deals with the substance of what these individuals need in order to live their lives under the disability that they suffer.

The report goes on to say, "The board repeats its concern about the two patients in Cape Breton who have been institutionalized for their entire adult lives. The Board encourages the Government to find funds to create a long-term care facility where these two patients can receive high quality personalized care while maintaining their formal status." It goes on, Mr. Speaker, and I don't think this is particularly usual for the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board, to actually comment on the legislation that was coming before the House.

This is what the report has to say, Mr. Speaker. The discussion paper prepared by the Mental Health Legislation Development Committee in March 2004 and the recently- introduced Bill No. 109, the Mental Health Act, proposed that the times required for hearings should be shortened. These proposals, with the present shortage of psychiatrists may not be practical.

Mr. Speaker, they go on to talk about the inability of those who appear before the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board to get legal representation, and the problem that that creates for the board. That's right, "The presence of counsel for the patient . . .", this is what the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board says, ". . . better assures that all issues relevant to the patient's status are presented. In the absence of such counsel, the Board must do what it can to assure that such issues are raised and appropriate questions are asked, but it is limited in this regard. It does not have the opportunity to interview the patient or to read the charts before the hearing. The work of the Board would be facilitated, if counsel where (sic) more readily available to the patients."

These are recommendations that would actually substantially affect the quality of the decisions that are being made before the board itself. This is the conclusion, "The Board again emphases (sic) the need for better facilities in the community for patients to live upon

[Page 8270]

their leaving the hospital. The Board also urges the availability of legal counsel for patients requesting it . . ."

Mr. Speaker, this is the most current Psychiatric Facilities Review Board report, and one might say, well, that's the opinion of the board at this time, and that's why they're bringing forward this Act. What you should know about the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board and the reports that it has issued over the years is that it is consistent with the recommendations that they have been making, and that the government has not acted and is not acting in this legislation to make the situation any better.

I want to give you an example, Mr. Speaker. Incidentally, the report that the House received yesterday was the 2002-03 report, that being the last one that they gave, the previous report to that was 2001-02. That report has a section called, Lack of community resources. The board stressed in the last annual report, and in previous reports, the lack of available resources in the community for placement of severely mentally ill patients to reduce the need for hospitalization. What is amazing about this particular bill that is coming before the House is that the minister is proposing significant changes to the way in which the treatment of patients is going to take place, but won't say what resources are going to be committed to ensure there are available resources for that community.

Now every time a member of the Opposition, either of the Opposition Parties, brings forward a bill, the first thing that the government members say is, what's it going to cost, what are you going to spend on it, what does this look like in terms of the resources of government? Yet here they are bringing forward what is the centrepiece of this legislative session, as far as we know, and they're not going to cost it. They're not going to tell people what it's going to cost or what they are prepared to spend in order to ensure that there are the appropriate resources available to the people who are going to rely on the provisions in this Act, and that's almost unbelievable.

Mr. Speaker, I want to just go on with what they said in respect to the lack of community resources. They point out that recommendations in previous government-commissioned reports pointed out the lack of resources, and they particularly recommended that the Department of Health develop a housing program for those with severe mental illnesses, as well as small regional intensive care residences. Where did that go? Where was the government action on the recommendation from its own experts, from its own board that's appointed to look after these people?

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw your particular attention to the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board's comments with respect to community treatment orders because prior to this year and prior to the last report, they actually took the time to comment on community treatment orders and here is what the board said, "Community treatment orders: these orders provide for the compulsory treatment of psychiatric patients in the community provided they comply with conditions in the order or certificate. It appears many psychiatric facilities

[Page 8271]

throughout the province permit formal patients to be released under supervision for a few days. At the present time the board does not see any necessity to grant such orders or certificates. Once a patient is released in the community they are deformalized and should not be under release conditions."

Mr. Speaker, that's not my opinion. That is the opinion of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board, the people who deal almost daily with these patients, but they didn't stop there. In 2000-01 they made very specific recommendations with respect to community treatment orders and, in fact, used even harsher language and I just want to read, this is again a part of the ongoing record of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board with respect to community treatment orders and here's what they have to say:

"The chair of the board sat on an advisory group for the Law Reform Commission who were to review the mental health provisions of the Hospital Act. Subsequently, the Law Reform Commission released a discussion paper recommending numerous provisions to the Hospitals Act. Many of the recommendations are beyond the scope of this report, but discussion is warranted regarding the discussion paper's tentative endorsement of community treatment orders or leave certificates.

These orders provide for the compulsory treatment of a psychiatric patient who is allowed to live in the community provided that he or she complies with the terms of the orders or certificates. At the operating level, the board questions the necessity for these orders or certificates. Many of the psychiatric units throughout the province have policies that permit selective gradual degrees of supervised release of a formal patient. In situations where gradual reintegration and the testing of one's ability to function without harming one's self or others is desirable and appropriate, the formal patient may leave the institution under supervision for up to three or four days at a time. This permits flexibility without intruding in the longer term on the individual's liberties to which he or she is entitled.

While the Nova Scotia Government has deemed that in certain circumstances detention and/or forced treatment of the acutely ill psychiatric patient is in the interest of the individual and/or society," and this is the important part, Mr. Speaker, I want to underline this, "we question the extension of the long arm of the law into the longer term community setting once a patient is released. These orders are unnecessarily detrimental to the autonomy rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

This is the opinion of the members of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board and I think says in very clear terms what they consider to be one of the major flaws that now currently exists in this legislation and this was done in advance. This was done as advice to the government.

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If I may, Madam [Deputy] Speaker, I would just take this time to recognize that, I think this is your first time in the Chair in your new role as Deputy Speaker, so welcome. I'm glad to see you get to take that role in this debate.

MADAM [DEPUTY] SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Please continue.

[10:30 a.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Madam Speaker, that was not the first time the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board commented on community treatment orders. In fact, in 1999 and 2000 they made similar comments with respect to these kinds of orders. All of these reports, all of the reports of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board, have one thing in common. They all talk about the lack of resources in the community to assist those people who are going to be relying on the legislation and the provisions contained therein in order to be able to live a life that has dignity, a life that is not unduly fettered by legislative requirements, that doesn't interfere with their personal liberties or does so only to that extent that is absolutely necessary.

Mr. Speaker - I'm going to be wrapping up here very shortly - other colleagues here on the benches have made it very clear that as a Party, as a group of individuals, many of whom have had experience either from the legal side or from the social work side, or from just their interaction with their communities with people who have found themselves in mental distress, we care greatly about the circumstances in which these people find themselves and we care deeply about the parents and the loved ones of these people whose lives are torn apart as a result of the mental illness under which their loved ones finds themselves.

I don't know how many times I've sat with people in my constituency office or, prior to that, in my law office - and I'm sure you have as well - we've sat with people talking about how difficult it is to see to it that these people get the help that they need, and what we as a caucus want to ensure is that these people get the help that they need, that the resources are put in to ensure that we are providing them with the treatment, with the housing, with the nutrition, that complete makeup of things that need to be in place in order to assist these people.

Sadly, Madam Speaker, that is not what this bill is about. This bill is about form over substance. It's about offering false hope to these people because these families are going to very quickly find out, after this bill is passed, that there is nothing there, on the government side, in order to provide the resources that these people truly need, and legislation will not take the place, cannot take the place, of actual treatment, of actual resources.

[Page 8273]

What we are trying to bring to this debate and what we're trying to bring to the government of the day is you have to put your money where your mouth is. If you're really concerned about the well-being of those people who suffer from psychiatric illness you have to be prepared to invest in the treatment programs, you have to be willing to invest in appropriate housing options, and you have to be willing to invest in the complete spectrum of treatment that these people require.

Madam Speaker, with that in mind, I'm going to now take my place - I understand that we have additional speakers. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Madam [Deputy] Speaker, I, too, welcome you to the Chair in your new role as Deputy Speaker.

It's an honour for me to stand again in this Chamber to address, I think, an important bill that's before us, Bill No. 203. I think it's important as an elected official to be able to go through that legislative process of what our duties are as elected officials, to stand here in our place and to debate and give, especially as an Opposition member, the people of Nova Scotia the ability to hear some of the negative comments towards bills that are before our session here in the House. I think it's very important as Opposition members to stand up and express the concerns of many individuals that have contacted - not only myself personally, but all the members of my caucus have talked to and met with organizations, individuals throughout the province about this piece of legislation.

I take some offence to the comments the Minister of Health has made, that this government has made in the past about our Party standing in the way and blocking this piece of legislation. This bill was introduced during the last session and to be honest, this bill will probably pass. We know that the Third Party has stated that they will support this piece of legislation. So, the government knew this in the last session but still refused to continue the debate to allow the elected officials throughout the province to stand on their feet and talk about this bill. The main reason for this was that they didn't want to spend the time, they wanted to get out of this House of Assembly. They didn't want to allow us to stand here and bring the concerns of many of the individuals and organizations that we have heard from to the floor of the Legislature. That's why we're here today.

At least the government has recalled this piece of legislation to allow us to do our job as elected officials, as the Official Opposition in this province, to stand in place and indicate to not only the government members but the residents of this province some of the deficiencies that we have heard and we see and we feel that are in this piece of legislation, some of the things this piece of legislation won't address and it's not a quick fix.

[Page 8274]

It's amazing the amount of people and the individuals who have called us expressing their concerns with this. This bill will bring changes to the mental health area in this province that hasn't seen changes in 30 years. To take this step as government, to bring a piece of legislation in, to start changing how health care will be delivered in this province and do it in, I think, ways that don't address the needs of the people they're trying to target - those people in this province suffering some form of mental illness or psychiatric emergency or problem.

We've heard these concerns and I'm hoping through my debate here that I can bring some of the experience I've had on both professional levels. Some of the people who have called my office and I've tried to seek help for over the last two years and tried to bring some attention to their needs and the lack of resources, the lack of support these individuals have in our province and also in the capacity of my former profession as a health care professional, as a paramedic, I have dealt with hundreds and hundreds of psychiatric emergencies over the years.

The paramedics in this province do it on a daily basis. Paramedics from one end of this province to the other deal with emergency calls in their communities and towns throughout this province on a daily basis. It's part of our job, to react and try to lend assistance to those in need, especially during a psychiatric emergency or someone who is having some psychosis event or some kind of breakdown and are calling out for assistance. That's what they're doing they're calling out because a lot of these individuals in this province that are dealing with mental health issues know that they have them. There are very productive individuals in this province, there are people from all walks of life that have in one point in their life suffered or have tried to work through a breakdown or some kind of mental illness. They want the help. They expect this government to be there and to provide the resources, the funds, the support to the health care field to address their medical and emergency needs.

Mental health is an area in this province that we don't really want to talk about. If you want to call it the area we don't really want to talk about. It's an area that we shouldn't talk about, people who can't cope in this world. That we should just kind of keep them quiet, put them in the back room and we'll try to get some help for them. We don't want to deal with that.

I want to start off by commending those health care professionals who choose to work in the mental health field. It takes a dedicated individual, from the physicians to the nurses, the therapists, and all the other health care providers that work in that field, really shows a lot of their commitment. It is a stressful area to try to provide help and assistance to Nova Scotians, not only here in Nova Scotia, but across the country and anywhere.

[Page 8275]

I would like to begin with some of the things I've seen over the years as a health care professional in my attempt to try to bring some normalcy to the lives of individuals who are having an episode or some kind of mental breakdown. I know on many occasions you do get those calls to a resident in the province, of a psychotic event or a mental breakdown or someone who is just under a lot of stress. Today, in our province, it is very stressful on individuals just to make ends meet. There are a lot of contributing factors that are on the shoulders of individuals to just cope with everyday living. They do need help, they need assistance once in a while. There's no shame in that. There's no shame in calling out and trying to seek assistance, trying to get help to get over that hurdle.

I think if you can get these individuals the treatment, the resources and the support they need at an early stage, it pays off in health care costs down the road and in case their ability to cope with the situation at that time escalates to a point where they may do something; they may bring harm to themselves or someone else. I think if we had the resources in place prior and we had the ability for them to gain access quickly, in a timely manner, to the resources and support that they need, then bills like this wouldn't be needed in this province. We wouldn't need to bring in a piece of legislation that's going to force individuals into care.

That's what this government has tried to promote with this piece of legislation - that this is going to help individuals, that this is going to get them the treatment that they need. It's not going to give them the treatment they need because right now, the system we have in the Hospitals Act, there are avenues for involuntary placement into a hospital. That's a tool that as a paramedic I've used many times over the years answering calls and responding to psychiatric emergencies. One of the things I did as a paramedic was to enter the residence, if it was a call that I went on, to try to garnish a relationship with the individual that's having a mental breakdown or an episode and try to get their confidence to say, listen, we can try to get you some help but you have to come with us, go to the hospital and try to take that first step into seeking support and help to get you through this time of need.

One of the things that I used a lot and many paramedics use it, is almost the threat of placing this person in the custody of a police officer. You go there and if this person is unwilling to come to the hospital and they threaten suicide, then under the Hospitals Act, the RCMP or the local town police can go in and physically take that person out of there and take them to the hospital to get accessed. Many times, I would say about 95 per cent of the time of the calls I've gone to over the years where I've had that relationship with those patients and talked to them and said yes, we need to get you some help. They are reluctant at first because the stigma of having to deal with a mental health breakdown issue or episode is prominent. These individuals know this, they know it's hard to stand up and say I need help. It's not a physical thing where you have a broken arm and I need to put a cast on it or have surgery.

[Page 8276]

[10:45 a.m.]

It's not that simple, Mr. Speaker. It's really an area of health that is not understood by a lot of people. There are very quick remedies to a lot of their situations, as long as they get that assistance, get that help, get that support in a timely manner. So often I've used the Hospital Act and encouraged the patients who I was trying to help to come with me instead of going with the RCMP, because most of my calls were in Sackville. Instead of going with the RCMP you can come with me. We'll walk to the truck, I'll treat you with dignity, we'll get you some help, and it works. People will receive and respond very well to the support when it's given to them. A lot of these people who find themselves on that level where they think they're almost at the edge, or they may do something to themselves to harm themselves or they may do something to someone else, they're crying out. Many times there are indications that over the last several months of the period that they're trying to get through, they've given indications to their family members and others that they need some help. I have received and given the care to these people and treated them with the dignity that they need to try to allow them to seek the support they need in the health care field.

So when we get these patients to come with us, many of them agree to come with us to go seek some assistance, to get some help at the hospital, they come with us, and what do we do then? We take them to the hospital and we end up in the emergency room. This is, for many of the individuals, the road to seeking that help or getting the support and the services they need. Our emergency rooms in this province - Mr. Speaker, you know this and I think every member in this Chamber knows it - are overburdened. They're overcrowded. You wait hours upon hours in the emergency room to seek help.

The problem with mental health, Mr. Speaker, when you take a patient to the emergency room and they're being triaged, these patients when you walk in if it's a sprain, or a cut, or a laceration, or abdominal pain, they're triaged on acuity level, and there's an acuity level one to five. The acuity level one is urgent, you need to seek medical attention within minutes or the possibility of death is there.

The problem with this acuity level when it comes to dealing with patients who have a mental breakdown or a psychotic episode is that it's based mostly on physical findings. What's your heart rate? Is it in the normal range? What is your blood pressure? Is it in the normal range? Is it low, is it high? What's your heart rhythm, is it abnormal? Do you have some kind of underlying problem, a cardiac problem? That's how they determine the acuity level in the ERs, Mr. Speaker, which is the right approach. Those patients who are in most need of the assistance of physicians or nurses or paramedics get that help immediately because it's going to affect their life within minutes.

When it comes to mental health, these patients are often left and placed in the same waiting room as a patient who may have fallen and hurt their knee, may have rolled on their ankle, may need a couple of stitches, have a headache, have the flu. These individuals who

[Page 8277]

are going through this breakdown or this episode, are placed in the same emergency room, sitting next to people who probably have been waiting hours to be seen, and it's not the proper environment for these people.

I'd like to quote, Mr. Speaker, from an article in The Daily News. I'll table this after my debate because I'm going to refer to it a couple of times. Recently, in the media, there has been attention around suicide and mental illnesses. Unfortunately, far too often in this province, there is no media attention around individuals who have taken their own lives or have gone through a psychotic event or episode or psychiatric emergency because it's that area that we don't want to talk about. People don't want to talk about it. They don't want to see that. Recently, unfortunately there was a young man who was seen in our emergency department, was seen at the QEII, and unfortunately ended up taking his life off the bridge. In the paper, in The Daily News, there were some editorials about their coverage, and it was Global I believe who covered this to a certain extent, and there was some criticism about the coverage of this. I really thought it was great to see this editorial today, in The Daily News actually, from Neil Everton who is the executive producer for Global. I would like to just quote a couple of things in here because it really brings attention to the need to start talking about mental health and the problems in that area and the deficiencies in the support and the services and the lack of in many of our emergency rooms and in the health care system and he said here:

"At Global News we do not routinely cover individual suicides. We did report last week on one man's decision to end his life by jumping from a Halifax bridge. We did it because it raised some very large issues regarding the provision of support and counselling for those thinking of taking their own lives." He also goes on, "The fact that we are now having this public discussion and that other media are examining the issues we raised, convinces me we were right in this case to make an exception and report on this particular death."

Neil Everton and his crew at Global News, I commend them for covering this because that's what we need. We need to have open discussion about mental health, about suicide in this province, and we need to do it on the floor of this Legislature. We need to do it in the schools. We need to do it in our communities to bring awareness around it and show that, you know, this is an area that we need to invest money for one, very simple, the support and services for those health care providers that chose to work in that field because they don't have the resources. They don't have the support to do the job they need to do, to hopefully stop things like this young gentleman taking his own life, from leaving this emergency room and going down how many blocks to the bridge and ended his life and it's not reported.

Mr. Speaker, I can say, and I know for a fact over the years of many cases of this happening but it's not in the media. It's not brought up on the floor of the Legislature. It's not talked about in our communities because it's almost like a shameful thing to talk about

[Page 8278]

suicide in our communities. But it's there. All you have to do is look at some of the groups that are out there.

The day before, in The Daily News again, I will table this after my debate here, of George Tomie who's with the suicide organization that he started many years ago after his son took his own life. In the report in The Daily News, George Tomie said that the public should ask hard questions about the way the province deals with people contemplating suicide. He also goes on to say that there are few resources available for suicide people in Nova Scotia. "We're in the Dark Ages when it comes to suicide and mental health.", and this just really radiates the problem out there.

You don't have to take my word for it. You can talk to individuals who have lived through this, who have lost loved ones who have ended their life because they didn't get the support, they didn't get the resources, they didn't gain access to the health care system that they needed before they took that final step to end their life, Mr. Speaker. You know, it's interesting and it's important that we're finally seeing this in the paper because I think it is important and it's an important thing that we need to talk about and we need to hopefully discuss, not only on the floor but, as I said earlier, throughout the communities.

He also goes on to say that, "Prevention should begin in schools with open discussion about suicide and the same discussions need to carry into everyday life, but there are few resources for people in crisis and even less for organizations struggling to help them", like the one he belongs to. "If it wasn't for volunteers, there would be nothing", he said. "We have our hands full", and that's truly the strongest message, that they have their hands full, and it's individuals who have lived through dealing with a family member ending their life.

Mr. Speaker, the other problem we see right now is the growing wait times in the area of mental health and those individuals who are trying to seek support and resources and treatment in mental health. Just as recently as a month ago I have gotten a call from a family member who is a mother of a son who is trying to get help. He has made that cry to his family and to his friends to get help. He's willing to go to see a psychiatrist. He's willing to go through some of the programs that they have to offer but he can't gain access to them. There's such a wait time now, he has a two- to three-month wait time now just to get in to be assessed. Because this individual - and I hate to be so graphic, Mr. Speaker - doesn't have a knife to his neck or is threatening to cut his wrists, he can't gain access to those services he needs. He's crying out right now, his family is crying out and they're trying to get that help, trying to get in and get the resources they need so that their son can get over that hump, go onto the next chapter of his life and hopefully lead a productive life. He can't gain access to those resources and that's where this bill is lacking.

I know the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage mentioned several points about funding, and the member for Cole Harbour mentioned about the lack of cost involved in this from this government. What is this government going to put in place? How much money are

[Page 8279]

they going to give to the resources of the support services for psychiatric emergencies in this province? The Minister of Health doesn't want to discuss that, he wants this bill passed because he thinks it's going to save government money - in our view, that's the only real reason. It's going to create a hospital without walls, if you want, which is really what this piece of legislation will do.

It won't address, it won't support the resources that are in place now. If the resources that are in place now had additional support from this government they could address the severe lack of ability for these individuals to gain access to the services they need in this province. That's where it's lacking, Mr. Speaker. The Ontario Government brought forward a bill similar to this but they also brought forward the money associated with this, over $70 million towards support services. I don't understand why our government hasn't done the same thing.

It is an area where we need to address the lack of funding, the lack of support that the health care professionals who work in the mental health field don't have. They need help and we're going to continue down the path to try to cut costs when it comes to beds in this province, in the hospital, and I see this piece of legislation doing that. It's going to try to bring treatment out into the communities, and I know the member for Cole Harbour mentioned the lack of those treatments in the community.

What's going to happen in Sackville if we don't have an area or the resources in my community to address some of the possible repercussions of people being forced to seek treatment? I'm not against ensuring that people remain on their medications, but if you addressed the problem seen in the wait times in mental health you probably wouldn't need treatment orders in this province. If you gave these health care professionals the additional resources so they could address the thousands of people in this province who are waiting to seek, even just counselling, you wouldn't need these treatment orders.

In some cases you do need them, but there's an avenue right now in the Hospitals Act where you can do that. That comes to accountability and I think that's one of the most important things here, accountability. In the health care profession that is one of the things that I think needs to improve. I'll give a couple of examples to try and clarify what I mean by that. In every other profession, organization, company in this province, the biggest thing stressed upon them is workplace safety, accountability - if it's government, if it's business, if it's WHMIS programs that companies need to ensure their employees have, workplace safety courses that the employees need to take. In health care, those checks and balances, that accountability, is not really there as much as it is prominent in other businesses and other organizations in the province.

I attended a session yesterday morning dealing with my paramedic licence, something called M & Ms, a lot of the doctors, nurses, and paramedics do, and what that is is you go and you get together and you review a case that usually went wrong. I think that's very

[Page 8280]

important for health care professionals and health care providers to go back, and look at what went wrong on a case, look at mistakes that were made to try to, hopefully, not allow them to happen in the future.

I was attending this one at Cobequid Centre yesterday and they talked a little bit about a physician who had a case that was similar to that, and I won't get into details with that because of privacy, but one of the comments he made and it really struck home was that in health care you have a physician, he can take you as a member of the public within minutes off the street and bring you in and give you a life-altering medication, which could be better for your health outcome or it could be detrimental. It happens. There are mistakes.

[11:00 a.m.]

Only in health can that happen so quickly without checks and balances. One of the things he was trying to get across was that we do need to start placing more of those checks and balances, more accountability in health care to ensure that these things don't happen. Human error is always going to be there, especially in health care, especially in emergency room health care because it's so stressful, such a busy environment. You're dealing with many people at one time needing your full attention and needing medications and procedures.

He said, we need to have more checks, more balances, more accountability in health care so that those accidents don't happen, so those medications he might prescribe to a patient don't negatively affect them or cause them harm. I relate this a lot to this piece of legislation because under the Hospitals Act now, a physician - someone with a medical certificate - has the ability, if you have two of them, to involuntarily commit a patient to hospital to seek treatment and care. It's there right now. That check, balance and accountability, I think, is there because it takes two medical certificates to do this.

With this piece of legislation, that eliminates that process. It goes down to one. A lot of members of my caucus feel uncomfortable with that. Not that we feel uncomfortable with the knowledge of the psychiatrist who may make that order, but we feel uncomfortable because it's eliminating one of those checks and balances. It's eliminating one of the safeguards, I think, that currently you need two people to concur that this person is a harm to themselves or harm to another individual and it's there now.

I think what this piece of legislation does when it passes - because I know it will pass with the support of the Third Party - it will eliminate that. Those are not the steps we need to take to ensure accountability in health care, especially in mental health. We're talking about taking the rights away from an individual, to lock up an individual in a hospital or in a room without their permission. This is a big step. This is a big infringement on their rights.

[Page 8281]

I'm not saying we don't need to do that at times. I know we need to do that at times, but with the current system under the Hospitals Act, I think, and we think, that there's more accountability in there than there would be under this proposed piece of legislation and that's what we have some concerns with.

The other thing is the moratorium on small options homes that we've all heard about over the years. Government has taken the step to deinstitutionalize many of the residents of these larger facilities, especially here in HRM. In my former career I've been at many of them throughout the years - the Nova Scotia Rehab in Cole Harbour which has since been closed, and also out in Scotia Nursing Home in Beaver Bank, they had two wings there. I did calls many times in those locations over the years. If I'm not mistaken, I would probably say well over 1,000 times over the years. I've seen and witnessed the environment they lived in and many of these residents lived there for 20, 30 years. When the government took that step to close those areas down - the manor and the vista section that we used to go to on calls, a lot of the calls were to deal with psychosis events - medical breakdowns, if you wish - and we brought these patients into town to try to get some additional help or treatment that they couldn't get at the facility there.

One of the questions I've always had as a paramedic in dealing with a lot of these patients over the years is, after they decided to close these places down they sent them out into the communities into small options homes and many of my colleagues and myself have never heard how these people are faring. Was this a positive step, are they better off where they're at? I just don't know, Mr. Speaker, and with the moratorium on small options homes, I would think that that's an avenue if you're going to have treatment orders, you're going to need to increase the number of small options homes in our communities because the communities are going to need the resources. They're going to need an avenue to place these individuals if they're not going to be in the Nova Scotia Hospital or the Abbie Lane, areas in the community that they are going to have to seek the treatment that they require, or for monitoring and that's where we have some concerns about the lack of this government's information on what's going to actually happen when this piece of legislation actually goes through and is enacted and these treatment orders start to unfold and are given out in communities throughout this province.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, is, as I was saying, the inefficiencies and the lack of resources that we have in our emergency rooms to deal with mental health. This is an area where I think we need to really look at because I don't feel that in a lot of these cases they need to be in an emergency room. They need to have fast and quick access to those psychiatrists, to those individuals who are trained to address their needs in a quick-time fashion. Again I'll quote from the Daily News in a letter to the editor and it was a comment made by Jean Hughes of the Canadian Mental Health Association and she said to Global News that the emergency room is exactly the wrong environment for someone with a psychiatric emergency. I have to agree with her on that, because they don't have, for one, the

[Page 8282]

resources or the time to spend with these individuals who are brought into the emergency rooms to seek treatment.

There has to be another way to take these patients from that setting and get them into the system quicker, so that they're not leaving the emergency rooms. They're not leaving and going home and pondering and just escalating the thoughts of possible suicide or like that unfortunate case last week, where this individual left the emergency room because he didn't get seen in a timely manner, or they didn't have the resources or the ability to address his needs at that time, and he left and ended his life. This shouldn't happen. We're not going to be able to stop people from taking their lives. But I know that if the resources were there and the ability for individuals who are at that point where they're crying out for help, and if we give them access to the professionals who can deal with this quickly enough, I think we can avert many of them from taking that next step, taking that final step of ending their life.

I think that's where this piece of legislation lacks initiatives, lacks information, lacks a commitment from the Minister of Health or this government to put those dollars, put the resources in there that allows this to happen so that we don't have cases like this happening on a daily basis and I hope and I encourage the media to continue to report on these situations because we do need to talk about it, Mr. Speaker. We need to bring awareness around this situation in our communities, in our province. It's there, it's always going to be there and unless we start talking about it, unless we start discussing the problems seen in the system and in the resources and in the lack of access to the services, then we're not going to do them any good. I don't think this piece of legislation will prevent any suicide in the future. We need to give these health care professionals who are dealing with these individuals on a daily basis the resources they need and the support they need. They need the support from this government. They need the support from this House and they need the support from the communities in the province to allow them to address the needs of individuals who are going through these problems, having a breakdown or a mental health psychosis event.

One of the things on our trucks - as a paramedic - is a medication that we can give to people who are above that level of conversation and the ability to have them understand what they're going through. We can drug them, it's easy; give a shot right in the back end and within a few minutes they calm down, you're able to put them on your stretcher and you take them to a hospital. A quick fix, a really quick fix. That doesn't solve the problem. What happens when that medication wears off, Mr. Speaker? That's where we need to look at the additional resources and the services that this individual needs.

Just by giving orders, here you can take your medication, you have to go take it, I don't know if they're going to set up kiosks in all the communities in this province where people are going to have to go and get their medication or not. That's not going to be the answer, it's a short-term solution to a big problem that has been neglected for years and years, not only by this government but by governments throughout the country, Mr. Speaker. Until government decides that it's an important part of health care, that it needs and warrants

[Page 8283]

the importance of the funding and the resources that other parts have, then we're not going to address the issues of suicide and mental illness in this province.

I understand that there are many individuals out there, that there are groups in this province that support this bill because they see, wow, there's finally something going to be done in this province, but it's giving them false hope. It's not going to address the root of the problem here, and that is the access in a timely manner to those professionals who can get the help to an individual at the early stages of their illness, not after they've taken the step of attempted suicide or have harmed somebody, in the early stages of their illness. That's where we need to catch it. It's all preventable. Like a lot of health care issues, that's the big thing. We seem to react after an illness, after a heart attack, after you have diabetes, we'll get you some help after that.

What we have to look at and I think all governments have to start looking at is prevention. If we can prevent people from having a heart attack, look at the money it can save the health care system. If we can prevent people from having diabetes and the effects and complications of that disease, look at the costs we'd save in health care. If we prevent someone from taking that step of harming themselves or harming someone else or escalating to the point where they have a total breakdown, think of the money we could save in health care if we have the steps in place to prevent those things.

This is unlike any other section in health care, it's preventable, Mr. Speaker. There are always going to be people having a hard time coping with their daily lives. We live stressful lives these days, everybody knows that. The thing that hasn't changed over 30 years is the resources, the awareness, the discussions, to bring awareness around the situation and elevate it so that it's not this taboo thing, that it's not something we should be ashamed of, or that we don't talk about that. You always hear about families saying that we have someone in the family that has a mental problem but you shouldn't be ashamed of it. There are people, as I've said before, in all walks of life and in all professions, who at one point in their life has had some kind of breakdown maybe. I know many on a personal level, a professional level who have succeeded in getting over that hump, who have succeeded in being able to cope with their problems and lead a productive life after their brief period of mental breakdown.

I think that's the key message is that the resources need to be there, they need to have the ability to seek the help they need and receive it in a timely manner, just like any other health emergencies. Just like if I was having chest pain and I go to the emergency room and I need to see a doctor, it's the same thing. The problem is that it's not so evident when you walk into an emergency where you seek the advice of a physician because it's not a physical finding. You can't feel your wrist, your pulse to say oh, gee, this guy is ready to have a breakdown, he's actually going to commit suicide.

[Page 8284]

That's why I commend those who spend the time educating themselves and their colleagues in the mental health area, because it's a very stressful and, I'm sure, hard area to get gratification, because there's not those physical findings that you see in all other walks. It's not the glamour of an ERP in this province, an emergency room physician, where if it's a heart attack, let's shock him, give him some epinephrine or some atropine and we'll cure him. Shows like ER promote that fast-paced emergency room-type health. The individuals who are working in mental health don't have that awareness or that exposure, but they're committed to their profession and they're committed to trying to seek and provide help and other treatments to these people in our communities who are suffering a psychiatric emergency or psychotic event.

[11:15 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, if that's the underlying message I can say, is that's what we need. We need the resources. We need to have the ability or those individuals who work in the profession of mental health need the ability and the resources to be there so they can address the long wait times in our mental health wait-lists.

One of the things we would like to say about this piece of legislation also, Mr. Speaker, is that this legislation goes way beyond the ability just to involuntarily place a person into the hospital. As I said before, we have something in place now that I think has some accountability. Many physicians may not choose to take that route to involve another one of their colleagues in the decision to commit somebody against their will to the hospital and I think that really relays upon the fact that there's not those resources for them. They know that there are limited beds in the province. They know that we could do this, but is it going to be any better for this patient who I'm seeing at this time to be committed to the hospital in order to seek treatment? So I think if the resources were there for them, the current bill, or the Hospitals Act, that allows these physicians to involuntarily commit these patients, then I think you might see more of that happening, and I think you might see individuals who are suffering in mental health come out of it a lot better in the long run and save money.

MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me, would the honourable member allow for an introduction?

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you to all members of the House, it's indeed an honour and a pleasure to introduce to the House a former MLA and I may add the former Minister of Natural Resources. So without further ado, the honourable Tim Olive. (Applause)

[Page 8285]

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, one of the things I also want to bring awareness around is those individuals that have contacted us, those organizations that have expressed their concerns with this piece of legislation. I know that the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, especially in Cape Breton, has stated that they support this bill and I have all respect for those individuals because that organization, the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia in Cape Breton consists of family members who have had to deal with patients that have schizophrenia, but I don't think you can just rely on one organization.

Mr. Speaker, that's why we opened it up for all organizations to call us. There are people who are with the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia who have contacted us saying that this doesn't go as far as they would like to see a piece of legislation to make changes in mental health that we haven't seen in 30 years and that's the biggest concern. This has been 30 years with no changes and we see this piece of legislation that we feel doesn't go (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the members to take your conversations outside, please.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, a piece of legislation that doesn't go far enough, that doesn't have, you would think after 30 years the resources attached to some of the recommendations and changes we're going to see in this. That's the concern we have. I know that there are wait times throughout this province for mental health. We have some of them that we were looking at over the last several months, for example, in the South Shore District Health Authority, there are 20 elective cases waiting beyond 90 days for assessment. That's beyond 90 days. That's unreal for someone who's in a point in their life that they need assistance. They can't handle the situation they're in. To wait 90 days just to be assessed, that's unacceptable.

In South West Nova, there's a waiting list in Digby for adults due to staff illnesses and other problems because of the lack of resources in that area of the province, Mr. Speaker. The staffing level hasn't increased for a long time in a lot of these areas that deal with mental health. In Cumberland, non-urgent children and youth, I know you will be interested in this, are waiting six months for assessment, with non-urgent adults waiting up to 12 months. That's a full year of someone trying to deal with their problems, of families trying to deal with a problem that a family member is going through. That's way too long for these individuals to gain access to services that they need and the procedures and support they need.

[Page 8286]

I know that many of the HA's across the province have the same wait list. I know in Capital Health I think there are nearly 1,000 people waiting for assessment and services in HRM and the outlying areas, which is unacceptable. That's where this government should be addressing the problem is with the wait times. We had a nice big announcement the other day about wait times on the web. They know that wait times are a problem in this province and it's not just wait times for elective surgery, for knee surgery, hip surgery, it's for emergency waits, it's for mental health assessments.

To bring in a piece of legislation that I don't feel will address one bit the wait times for mental health in this province- if anything, it will probably add to them, that person who's waiting in Cumberland for a year now might have to wait a little longer and I don't think that's right. I think that these individuals need to be treated with respect and dignity just like any other resident in this province when they seek medical help, but because it's a mental health issue they seem to be less important, less urgent in this province. I think that's what we need to change. We need to take the stigma out of mental health, suicide, and bring it to the forefront and discuss it and assist those who help these individuals and get them the access they need to help and to treatment quicker; not in 12 months.

Imagine the life of an individual who has to wait a year to be assessed by a psychiatrist to see what treatment they may need. Sometimes it's an easy fix, a certain medication, a change in lifestyle, change in jobs, these individuals just need someone who's been trained in that area to address their needs, to evaluate what is going on in their life that has caused them to come off the road a bit, if you want to say. They just need them to get back on track and continue their life in a productive way. To wait these times is just unacceptable.

I hope with this process that individuals will come to the Law Amendments Committee because I know this bill will go to Law Amendments and I hope that they come out, those health care professionals who work in the field, those individuals who are suffering mental health episodes or who are trying to seek access to mental health services, will come and discuss their problems. Don't be ashamed to discuss that they have these thoughts of suicide or problems coping with their daily lives, because it's not shameful. I hope this process will bring some more awareness around it, allow the doors to open to organizations and individuals in this province to stand up and start speaking about this. We do need to start speaking about this and we do need to address this and I don't think this bill goes far enough to address the needs of those mental health individuals in this province that are seeking resources, seeking support from this government and the health care system to get over that impasse in their life.

[Page 8287]

With that, I look forward to further debate on this and I truly look forward to opening the doors of discussion around mental health, around suicide. I hope that government is listening when these individuals come and give their stories and explain what it is like to live with a mental health issue or with a family member who is dealing with a psychiatric emergency. With that, I'll take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Minister of Health to close debate on the bill. Obviously we believe this to be a good piece of legislation that will advance the interest of Nova Scotian's health. I can indicate as Minister of Justice that far too often the criminal justice system is used to dealing with these kind of matters when, in fact, the mental health and our health system are the most appropriate venues. With that, I am very pleased to close debate and move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 203. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 222.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I rise on this bill to move second reading. This bill is all about holding the tobacco industry accountable. As many members of the House would be aware, in the United States over the last number of years there have been a large number of actions commenced by State Attorneys General against the tobacco industry to hold those industries accountable to the state for the loss suffered by the state in paying for health care costs. We believe that this legislation sets up a framework which will allow the Province of Nova Scotia to take the same kinds of steps as have been taken in other jurisdictions to move forward to hold the tobacco industry accountable.

There has obviously, been a significant concern expressed by many health experts on the failure by tobacco manufacturers to adequately warn their customers of the risks of smoking. Furthermore, we are all aware of the difficulty that many young people face in

[Page 8288]

dealing with the pervasive advertising of the tobacco industry in attempting to bring in new customers. We believe this legislation will serve Nova Scotians well.

First of all, obviously, it will hold the tobacco companies accountable for what they have done. It will be also be beneficial for the health consumers of Nova Scotia. The money generated potentially by such litigation can assist our health system in dealing with the damaging effects of people who are now addicted to tobacco and find it very difficult to withdraw from that addiction. We also, obviously, have the health care costs that are accruing to Nova Scotians every year as a result of the terrible damage being done to people's health by tobacco.

But, further to that, it has been demonstrated in many venues that particularly in the issue of consumer products, one of the most effective tools in changing the behaviour of manufacturers of products is the fact that there are fiscal consequences to their actions. Whether it is in automobile safety or elsewhere, the ability of holding those manufacturers accountable for the foreseeable consequences of their actions has made a difference in changing that behaviour.

I might also add that in the United States, one of the effects of that has been quite frankly to drive up the cost of tobacco. While we have done that in Nova Scotia through taxes, is a further laudable effort because it's been demonstrated that the cost of cigarettes directly affects the number of people who become addicted to cigarettes.

Nova Scotia will be doing research once this legislation has passed. We'll be doing research toward advancing our case in the courts and, ultimately, we do have to demonstrate our case in the court. This bill, however, was modeled on a bill that was approved by the Supreme Court of Canada. Based on that, I see no obviously constitutional issues with the bill. Furthermore, we have taken a step in Nova Scotia to make our bill, I guess what I'll call, the most comprehensive model, which is to allow individuals who also believe they have suffered damages as a result of the tobacco industry to commence actions on their own if they choose, as well. Some models in some provinces have only provided the province with the ability to sue. This bill extends that ability to individual Nova Scotians who might want to bring an action against tobacco companies.

[11:30 a.m.]

So, Mr. Speaker, we believe that this bill is based on the best model in the country. We believe it will protect and advance the healthcare of Nova Scotians and that we would ask that the honourable members opposite support this bill receiving second reading and going onto the Committee on Law Amendments, where I believe many Nova Scotians will also support it.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to rise in my place and speak in support of what I think is very important legislation. For far too long the tobacco industry has been able to really market their deadly products without having to face any of the consequences that, in fact, we've had to bear as individuals, as people with good friends and family members who have struggled with the health consequences of addiction to tobacco and as citizens and taxpayers. We've had to pick up the extraordinary costs that are associated with tobacco addiction and the promotion of these deadly products.

I know that I and members of the NDP caucus were very relieved when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the case that was brought before them that contested the constitutionality, I guess, of the British Columbia legislation. This was a case that had worked its way through many levels of court process, being challenged over and over again by the tobacco industry. The NDP Government, I think in the late 1980s, early 1990s, put forward legislation that would empower that province to take the tobacco companies to court in an attempt to hold them accountable and recover the horrendous financial cost on the healthcare system over a long period of time, but also, hopefully, to look into the future. Unfortunately we still have people who smoke in our province, and many of the consequences of those addictions will not be felt for many years and our health care system will continue to bear these costs.

Mr. Speaker, it's more than 55 years ago that the first significant large-scale scientific studies were published that, in fact, established the link between tobacco use and health impacts, particularly with respect to lung cancer. Approximately 45 years ago the Canadian Mental Health Association publicly declared that there was a cause and effect relationship between tobacco use and lung cancer.

Mr. Speaker, in Canada approximately 45,000 Canadians die annually as a result of tobacco use, and this is a very shocking statistic. If you think about combining the total number of deaths in our country from car accidents, from suicides, from murder, from AIDS and from illicit drug use, all of these things combined are less than the annual rate of mortality as a result of tobacco use in our population.

Smoking kills one in two long-term regular smokers and half of those will not live past middle age. The pressures on our health care system in terms of cancer care and also cardiovascular care - heart, stroke and other forms of respiratory illness - and palliative care are dramatic. I believe that in the process that this bill puts in place, the research will be there to substantiate the incredible impact of tobacco addiction on our health care system and our population.

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Of all the smokers who die prematurely, half will die before the age of 70. On average, those people will lose 23 years of life. If you think about the lost productivity in terms of the contributions those people would have made in their workplaces and in our province, if you think about the impact that may have on a family who perhaps has lost a really important breadwinner or person who is a net contributor to the household income, the impact is great. I think when the minister speaks of also extending to individuals the opportunity to enter into holding the tobacco industry accountable for what has occurred in their individual circumstances, this is a very important and good feature of this legislation. The question, of course, becomes whether or not individuals will be able to exercise those rights - getting legal representation sometimes can be a difficult and costly effort on the part of individuals. Nevertheless, it is important to have that feature in the bill.

It's interesting, in the last few days when there has been some discussion about the Supreme Court decision and the possibility of suing the tobacco industry, there has been the odd letter to the editor that I've noticed that has really been in support of the tobacco industry in some cases. I think there are very few of us that should be thinking about shedding any tears for the tobacco industry.

This is an industry that has denied the science and the evidence of science of the relationship between tobacco and disease and illness. It is an industry that has aggressively promoted campaigns to get young people involved in a deadly addiction. It is an industry that has been shown and known to obstruct national and provincial tobacco control strategies and policies. We have seen, even with our own smoke-free legislation here in Nova Scotia passed a few years ago, the industry has actively engaged in lobbying to prevent that legislation from going forward, then, after it was implemented, had paid for the construction of some of the smoking areas in the bars in an effort to ensure that there would be continuation of smoking in public places, even though the scientific and health care evidence and the will of the public to see the elimination of smoking in public places was clear.

This is an industry that in Canada alone - in 1992, more than 10 years ago, the Canadian retail value of that industry at that time was $9.8 billion a year. So this is not an industry that we should feel any obligation to feeling pity for, that that big bad government is taking measures to hold this industry accountable. This is an industry that can well look after itself and has done so with impunity for far too long. In Canada, essentially the market here is dominated by three foreign-controlled transnational companies - Imperial Tobacco, RBH tobacco or Philip Morris, and RJR Tobacco.

There is quite a wonderful book - it's very comprehensive - in our Legislative Library, called Smoke & Mirrors The Canadian Tobacco War, by Rob Cunningham, who is a lawyer and senior policy analyst who has made a career of researching and attempting to educate parliamentarians at both a federal and provincial level on the nature of the tobacco industry. The impact that this industry has had not only in our country, but now the sort of insidious practices that they have exported into the developing world as they seek out new

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opportunities to extend their markets and to ensure that they maintain their profits as western societies become increasingly litigious and anxious to see an elimination, really, of the addictions and the problems that come with this industry.

Mr. Speaker, I think that in the coming days this legislation will go before the Law Amendments Committee and hopefully members of the public will have an opportunity to come and comment on their perceptions of the bill and how this bill could be used to further the interest of Nova Scotians. I would assume that members of the medical profession, in particular, perhaps from Doctors Nova Scotia or other health care groups may want to come forward and comment on this legislation. I think we should commend the organizations like Doctors Nova Scotia and some of their working groups who have, over the time that I've been in this Legislature, certainly lobbied very hard to try to educate members about the importance of making the tobacco industry more accountable and having a very effective tobacco control strategy in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the other groups that I think we need to recognize for the hard work that they've put into not only this approach but also a very robust tobacco control strategy are Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, whose members include groups like the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. I think that without the grassroots efforts of people who have often been on the front lines of seeing people with emphysema and other chronic and acute conditions, we would not be in this place today where a government, particularly a conservative government that sometimes is very reluctant to intervene in the market, is prepared to take a strong stand on accountability for corporate irresponsibility. This is, I think, a testament to the work of those groups that have worked very hard to educate us all and to push us all in a direction of doing the right thing on behalf of citizens in the province.

[11:45 a.m.]

The last point I would make, Mr. Speaker, is that this legislation is a piece of the larger puzzle. Smoke-free legislation is another piece of that puzzle, but the tobacco industry has shown itself to be a very clever industry. As it loses a certain segment of the market, it is always able it seems to reproduce its efforts in another area and make up new segments of the market. When the number of men who smoked started to fall because so much of the effort of public education was put into trying to educate men and encourage them to stop smoking, the industry shifted their attention somewhat to women. They had all of those you've come a long way, baby, advertisements and after a period of marketing in this way, the number of women who smoked actually went up.

We have seen now that the tobacco industry is doing things that really try to normalize tobacco as a product with respect to children. Just yesterday here, Mr. Speaker, in the Legislature I tabled pictures of the video displays in the Atlantic Superstore that have all of the video tapes for children and adolescents directly beside the tobacco products.

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That's a marketing approach that the tobacco industry is using in retail to try to establish tobacco as a normal activity, part of any kind of a leisure, not unlike eating popcorn, having a movie evening with your friends. These products are displayed in a way that it normalizes the product and it's no coincidence that we have videos for children and for adolescents being sold beside the tobacco product.

So I think we need to recognize that for what it is. We need to have the power of government coming forward and saying to the tobacco industry, no, we're not going to allow you to do this. We are going to ban point-of-sale advertising of this nature where your products are going to be displayed beside products that are fun, that are entertaining, that are children oriented. The tobacco strategy in Nova Scotia has been working for some groups. We have seen a drop in the number of people who are smoking, particularly maybe older adolescents but, unfortunately, there are people in our communities, young people, young adults, their numbers are going up. The number of young people who are in there, you know, between I think 22, 23, 24, in that age group, those are the age groups that continue to smoke. The numbers in those groups have not dropped even though we have increased the cost of tobacco, which does act as a deterrent for some people in terms of taking up this habit and it does also act as a way to encourage people to give up and attempt to find a way to kick the habit.

That brings me to another point, Mr. Speaker, which is what is the government doing to support people who want to quit smoking in terms of having access to the various counselling and 12-step programs for example, or any of the pharmacology that people can take in terms of helping them get through what is a very difficult process, the process of kicking addiction.

So I think this is very important legislation, and it's legislation that we support. There are still other pieces that need to be addressed in terms of attempting to deal with the tobacco industry - making them accountable, protecting people, particularly children and encouraging young adults to quit smoking - and we will continue to work with the government and encourage the government to take those extra measures that will make a difference, both in the short and the long term. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise as the Justice Critic for the Liberal caucus to say a few words on Bill No. 222, an Act to Recover Damages and Health-care Costs from Manufacturers of Tobacco.

Mr. Speaker, as has been already indicated by both the minister and the member for Halifax Needham, this is legislation that started off in British Columbia and we've been watching that legislation because the tobacco companies immediately challenged the validity of that legislation and the constitutionality as to whether provinces would legally be able to

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undertake such an action and, needless to say, I believe it is safe to say all members of this House and a great deal of Canadians were extremely pleased to see the Supreme Court of Canada decision, which has upheld the constitutionality of the provincial legislation from B.C., to allow that province to move forward, to take legal action against tobacco companies for some of the health care costs that have emerged as a result of tobacco use.

Mr. Speaker, our caucus, when the B.C. legislation first went to the Supreme Court of Canada, immediately indicated our desire to have the province and the government bring forward similar legislation here in Nova Scotia without delay, even before knowing exactly what the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada would be, the idea being that this is something we had to move on right away and to try to have it in place as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the government chose in the Spring not to move at that time, but we're certainly pleased to see that the legislation has come forward on this occasion.

Mr. Speaker, it's important that we as elected representatives of Nova Scotians be cognizant of the fact that this doesn't mean that next week or in a month from now we're going to have a court case taking on the tobacco companies from the government. This is something that is going to take, unfortunately, quite some time; in fact, it's probably safe to say that this will take years before such a litigation and before such litigation is decided.

So it's important that Nova Scotians not expect there to be a big cheque coming any time soon from tobacco companies to our province but, regardless of that, there's a tremendous amount of work that needs to take place on behalf of the government to prepare for such litigation, and I would hope that the minister and all of the members of government responsible will start to put their case forward through the Department of Health, and through the various other agencies, to try to quantify exactly how much money it is costing Nova Scotians. I believe a 2000 study indicated it was costing approximately $170 million a year to treat people for various tobacco-related illnesses, especially cancer.

Mr. Speaker, it's also important that Nova Scotians be reminded that while this government says it wants to see less smoking and that they want to see their tobacco control strategy work, the Minister of Finance at the same time continues to receive approximately $178 million a year in tobacco taxes. That is a tremendous amount of money and it's a sign unfortunately that Nova Scotians continue to smoke at an alarming and unacceptable rate.

What's also disturbing is that while we do hope the government is successful and that tobacco companies are held responsible and do pay damages, it's important that if that is going to happen that the government clearly indicate that any monies coming from tobacco companies, regardless of how long it might take, are directed toward putting an end to smoking in this province. In doing that, the government will clearly be taking a different direction than what they are currently doing because, as I've indicated, $178 million comes in a year and yet how much money goes into the provincial tobacco control strategy? A matter of a few million dollars.

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There are still too many Nova Scotians smoking. I think all of us have also been alarmed to see the amount of our youth who continue to take up smoking even though there is so much information out there about the dangers of smoking. How many people who, after smoking for 20, 30, 40 years have been able to give up, realizing the damaging effect it was having on their health. We have a lot more work to do.

I would hope the government would continue to make the necessary investments. We're certainly pleased to see that the Smoke-free Places Act is finally going to have a total ban on smoking in public places by December 2006. Our caucus clearly would have liked to have seen a date earlier than that, but at least now we see that it is coming. I'm certainly proud to be able to say that my municipal unit, Richmond, along with all the municipal units in Cape Breton and in the Strait area have had no smoking in public places, a total ban, for over a year now. Guess what? The sky has not fallen and it's not the end of the world, which is what this government somehow fell into the trap of believing when it first entered discussions about total bans of smoking in public places. Our bars are still there, our halls are still there and community events continue to take place.

What's pleasant though is that people come home at night not smelling like tobacco, not having had their lungs filled with tobacco all night and that's something I believe everyone is very grateful for.

With this legislation, we do look forward to the Law Amendments Committee phase. I'd be curious to see if any of the tobacco companies might send representatives to tell us why we shouldn't put this legislation forward. I think that would be quite amusing, but then again, they may have some sort of compelling argument they would want to present to us. Tobacco companies have worked hard in promoting their product. We're even told that after the government brought in their smoking ban and the requirement for bar establishments to have smoking rooms, we were quite horrified to learn that tobacco companies actually subsidized and in some cases paid for these smoking rooms. So tobacco companies are still lobbying hard to have their products sold.

The government on the one hand says we want people to stop smoking, yet the Minister of Finance is more than happy to continue to accept the cheque that comes in for the taxes that are being paid every year. He wants it to go down, I'm sure he really does, but deep down unfortunately this government continues to rely too heavily on tobacco taxes for its bottom line, rather than using that money towards encouraging Nova Scotians with that full amount of money to stop smoking. I can tell you if we were investing $178 million a year to convince Nova Scotians to stop smoking, we'd certainly have greater success than what the tobacco control strategy is having right now.

With that, I'm pleased the bill has come forward. I do congratulate the government. There is a tremendous amount of work to do, especially from our Justice Department and our Health Department, and I hope the government will start moving on that now rather than just

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continuing to watch the B.C. case to see how that proceeds. Let's not be followers here, we're a bit behind B.C., but let's join them and let's be sitting there at the table when this case goes forward. Let's not be watching and having Nova Scotians having to wait months or years before this matter can actually be heard. Hopefully at the end, Nova Scotians will receive some of the damages that have been caused to our economy and to our province by tobacco companies for too many years. Thank you.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I have my homework for the weekend here as I am looking forward to continuing the debate on Monday evening when we return. Smoke & Mirrors has been highly recommended, and I encourage members opposite, when the debate continues on Monday, to pay close attention as we will be giving comments at that time on this important piece of legislation. With those few comments, I'd like to move adjournment of the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for adjournment of the debate of Bill No. 222.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 7:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine will be Public Bills for Second Reading. We'll continue with Bill No. 222, and then we'll go through the order paper in the order they are listed. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 12:00 noon.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 4557

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Rebecca Coady of Annapolis Royal won silver at the Royal Canadian Legion National Track and Field Competition held in Edmonton August 6 to 7, 2005; and

Whereas she also set the Nova Scotia juvenile and junior records running the 2000-metre steeplechase in 7:12.89; and

Whereas Rebecca also excelled at the Canada Games in Regina finishing 9th and setting a personal best record earning her the distinction of the number one youth in Canada and the number two junior in the country;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize this committed and outstanding athlete, and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4558

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas one of the world's most livable communities can now boast being served by one of the best Canadian newspapers, The Spectator, serving the Town of Annapolis Royal and surrounding communities; and

Whereas The Spectator's mix of news, entertainment, sports and outstanding photography won the paper the distinction of Canada's Best All-Round Newspaper in its circulation class at the Canadian Community Newspapers Association's Better Newspaper Competition 2005, held in Banff on June 4, 2005; and

Whereas The Spectator also garnered the Blue Ribbon award given to the top one-third of entries;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend their congratulations to this outstanding community newspaper.

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RESOLUTION NO. 4559

By: Mr. Wayne Gaudet (Clare)

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

Whereas Jeffrey Dugas of New Edinburgh represented Nova Scotia at the 5-Pin Youth Bowling Championships in Surrey, British Columbia, this past May; and

Whereas Jeffrey took home a silver medal from the national championships which equals his silver medal from last year's events; and

Whereas in the past three years, Jeffrey has placed in the top five in the national championships;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Jeffrey Dugas for his ongoing success at the National 5-Pin Youth Bowling Championships, and wish him continued success in the future.