The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04/05-98

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 8761
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4756, Hfx. Herald Ltd./Keane Can. - Can. Top 100 Employers,
Hon. E. Fage 8762
Vote - Affirmative 8762
Res. 4757, CBU Swiss Chalet Capers - Baseball Championship,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8763
Vote - Affirmative 8763
Res. 4758, NSAC: Mink Researchers - Contribution,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 8763
Vote - Affirmative 8764
Res. 4759, Williams, Peter/Coughlan, Stephen - Distinguished
Teachers Award, Hon. J. Muir 8764
Vote - Affirmative 8765
Res. 4760, Can. Patient Wk. (10/24-10/28/05) - Recognize,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8765
Vote - Affirmative 8766
Res. 4761, LeFort, Elizabeth: Death of - Tribute,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 8766
Vote - Affirmative 8766
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Amdts. to Civil Proc. Rules: Judicature Act - N.S. Court of Appeals
Hon. M. Baker 8767
[GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:]
Res. 4762, Health/Health Prom.: Breastfeeding - Support,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 8767
Vote - Affirmative 8768
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 262, Emergency Responders Insurance Protection Act
Mr. D. Dexter 8768
No. 263, Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act
Mr. K. Deveaux 8768
No. 264, Public Highways Act
Mr. L. Glavine 8768
No. 265, Workers' Compensation Act
Mr. F. Corbett 8768
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4763, TCH: Border Crossings - Passports,
Mr. D. Dexter 8768
Vote - Affirmative 8769
Res. 4764, West, Ron: Cdn. Aviation Hall of Fame - Induction,
Mr. L. Glavine 8769
Vote - Affirmative 8770
Res. 4765, LaFresne, Jimmie: Train Station Inn - Service Commend,
Mr. W. Langille 8770
Vote - Affirmative 8771
Res. 4766, Estabrooks, Bill: Sir John A. Football Prog. - Contribution,
Mr. F. Corbett 8771
Vote - Affirmative 8772
Res. 4767, N.S. Sports Hall of Fame/2005 Inductees - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 8772
Vote - Affirmative 8773
Res. 4768, Nat.'l Hwy. System: Funding - Demand,
Mr. B. Taylor 8773
Res. 4769, Gov't. (N.S.): Affordable Housing - Construct,
Ms. J. Massey 8773
Res. 4770, Hfx. Herald - Can. Top 100 Employers: Mgt./Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Colwell 8774
Vote - Affirmative 8775
Res. 4771, Measures, Elizabeth: Whitman House B & B - Opening,
Mr. R. Chisholm 8775
Vote - Affirmative 8775
Res. 4772, Armstrong Fox: Textile Co. - Congrats.,
Ms. M. Raymond 8776
Vote - Affirmative 8776
Res. 4773, Healthy Workplace Wk. (10/24-10/30/05) - Recognize,
Mr. S. McNeil 8776
Vote - Affirmative 8777
Res. 4774, Mill Cove: Commun. Policing Office - Opening,
Ms. J. Streatch 8777
Vote - Affirmative 8778
Res. 4775, Shiretown Nursing Home - Anniv. (30th),
Mr. C. Parker 8778
Vote - Affirmative 8779
Res. 4776, Int'l. Sch. Library Day (10/24/05) - Recognize,
Ms. D. Whalen 8779
Res. 4777, Park View Educ. Ctr.: Food & Nutrition Policy - Commend,
Hon. M. Baker 8779
Vote - Affirmative 8780
Res. 4778, TPW - Terence Bay/Lwr. Prospect: Road - Upgrade,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8780
Res. 4779, Keane Can. - Top 100 Employers: Mgt./Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 8781
Vote - Affirmative 8781
Res. 4780, Health - Assistive Devices Prog.: Options - Explore,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 8781
Res. 4781, Nat. Res. - Claremont Park: Needs - Investigate,
Mr. L. Glavine 8783
Res. 4782, Jackson, Fred. NL Sports Hall of Fame - Induction,
Mr. G. Gosse 8783
Vote - Affirmative 8784
Res. 4783, Cancer - Prevention: Health Professionals - Recognize,
Ms. D. Whalen 8784
Vote - Affirmative 8785
Res. 4784, Wournell, Doris: Harbour View Sch. Breakfast Prog. -
Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 8785
Vote - Affirmative 8786
Res. 4785, Todd, Russell - Athletic Performance, Mr. J. Pye 8786
Vote - Affirmative 8787
Res. 4786, Whitney Pier Soc. of the Arts: PierScape - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Gosse 8787
Vote - Affirmative 8788
Res. 4787, Bay Ducks: Inaugural Season - N.S. Jr. B. Hockey League,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8788
Vote - Affirmative 8789
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 251, Public Service Act 8790
Hon. M. Baker 8790
Mr. K. Deveaux 8790
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8790
Hon. M. Baker 8790
Vote - Affirmative 8791
No. 256, Municipal Government Act 8791
Hon. B. Barnet 8791
Mr. G. Steele 8792
Ms. D. Whalen 8793
Mr. J. Pye 8794
Mr. H. Epstein 8801
Mr. G. Gosse 8808
Ms. M. Raymond 8809
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 8813
Hon. B. Barnet 8814
Vote - Affirmative 8816
No. 258, Building Code Act 8816
Hon. D. Morse 8816
Mr. G. Steele 8816
Mr. L. Glavine 8818
Mr. F. Corbett 8818
Hon. K. Morash 8821
Vote - Affirmative 8823
No. 257, Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act 8823
Hon. C. d'Entremont 8823
Mr. K. Deveaux 8824
Mr. W. Estabrooks 8829
Mr. C. Parker 8835
Mr. K. Colwell 8838
Ms. M. Raymond 8839
Hon. C. d'Entremont 8842
Vote - Affirmative 8844
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
Hon. M. Baker 8844
[PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING;]
No. 260, Public Safety Protection Act. 8845
Hon. M. Baker 8845
Mr. F. Corbett 8845
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8846
Hon. M. Baker 8846
Vote - Affirmative 8847
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 238, Cape Breton Family Young Men's Christian Association 8847
Mr. Manning MacDonald 8847
Mr. G. Gosse 8847
Vote - Affirmative 8847
No. 239, Northern Yacht Club Act 8848
Hon. D. Morse 8848
Vote - Affirmative 8848
No. 255, Train Station Inn Cabooses Act 8848
Mr. W. Langille 8848
Vote - Affirmative 8848
HOUSE RESOLVED ITSELF INTO A CWH ON BILLS AT 7:02 P.M. 8849
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:05 P.M. 8849
CWH REPORTS 8849
ADJOURNMENT, House rose at 7:06 p.m. 8849
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 4788, Spinney, Terrie: Educ. - Commitment/Contribution,
Mr. L. Glavine ^^8850
Res. 4789, Parker, Jeffrey - Lt.-Gov.'s Award,
Mr. L. Glavine 8850
Res. 4790, Corbett, Darrell: Berwick Sports Hall of Fame - Induction,
Mr. L. Glavine 8851
Res. 4791, Shady Rest: Staff/Vols. - Thanks, The Speaker 8851
Res. 4792, Four Seasons Manor: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
The Speaker 8852
Res. 4793, S. Cumberland Mem. Hosp.: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
The Speaker 8852
Res. 4794, High-Crest Nursing Home: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
The Speaker 8853
Res. 4795, Bayview Mem. Health Ctr.: Staff/Vols. - Thank,
The Speaker 8853
Res. 4796, Chignecto Manor: Staff/Vols. - Thank, The Speaker 8854
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)
Res. 4753, Porter, Morgan - Poetry Comp., The Speaker 8855
[Tabled on Fri., Oct. 21, 2005]
Res. 4754, Wolfe, Kristin - Slo-Pitch Award, The Speaker 8855
[Tabled on Fri., Oct. 21, 2005]
Res. 4755, Boudreau, Marc - Le CSAP Prix, Mr. L. Glavine 8856
[Tabled on Fri., Oct. 21, 2005]

[Page 8761]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

3:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine I would like to recognize the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

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

MS. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce some very welcome guests who are here with us today in your gallery. We have Lloyd Snelgrove, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster in Alberta and his wife, Bev; and Len Mitzel, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat, Alberta and his wife, June. I would ask that they rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests here in the gallery today, and your families. We hope you enjoy the proceedings and look forward to seeing you here in Nova Scotia.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

8761

[Page 8762]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 4756

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

Whereas The Halifax Herald is one of only two Nova Scotia businesses to be named to the list of Canada's top 100 employers by Media Corp. Canada Incorporated, with the other being our very own Keane Canada; and

Whereas The ChronicleHerald, along with the Sunday Herald remain Canada's largest independently-owned newspaper; and

Whereas in tabulating the list published by Maclean's Magazine, the recruitment histories of more than 55,000 employers from across Canada were examined to find the fastest-growing employers nationwide, while also inviting 7,500 employers to complete a detailed review of their human resource practices;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate both The Halifax Herald Limited and Keane Canada for their outstanding success and for being two of Canada's top 100 employers.

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 8763]

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 4757

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

Whereas this weekend the Cape Breton University Swiss Chalet Capers won the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association championship; and

Whereas the team, which also played host to the championship, took the title by edging out the York Lions 1-0 in Sunday's game at the Susan McEachern Memorial Ballfield in Sydney; and

Whereas the win was thanks to the pitching skills of Tim Burns, who was named MVP, the teamwork of the Capers team members, and the leadership of Coach Nick Bonnar;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature applaud the efforts of the Cape Breton University Swiss Chalet Capers who not only put their team on the map, but also gave the university great exposure nationally at the same time.

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. 4758

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

Whereas researchers at the Canadian Centre for Fur Animal Research, at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, have developed a feeding guide to help mink producers plan, manufacture and evaluate diets made from food industry waste and by-products; and

[Page 8764]

Whereas this guide will reduce production costs of feed, which represents the largest variable cost in mink production; and

Whereas last year the mink industry generated in excess of $38 million in export revenue in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the significant contribution of the mink researchers at NSAC in the area of by-product-based feed manufacturing.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 4759

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

Whereas Peter Williams, a physics professor at Acadia University, received a Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of Atlantic Universities; and

Whereas Stephen Coughlan, a law professor at Dalhousie University, received a Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of Atlantic Universities; and

Whereas these professors are but two examples of the superior calibre of Nova Scotia's university educators which helps to draw students from around the world to our campuses;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature congratulate Professor Williams and Professor Coughlan on their accomplishments, and recognize that the high quality of teaching is an important factor in making Nova Scotian universities among the world's best.

[Page 8765]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION 4760

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

Whereas this week, October 24th to 28th, is Canadian Patient Safety Week, the first Canadian week of its kind; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has led the entire country in a number of areas, including hosting the first three Canadian symposiums on safety and having the first medical school to incorporate safety into their curriculum; and

Whereas Nova Scotia, like other Canadian provinces, has established a provincial Healthcare Safety Advisory Committee to be chaired by Dr. Pat Croskerry of Capital Health;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize October 24th to 28th as Canadian Patient Safety Week, and thank Dr. Croskerry and the provincial Healthcare Safety Advisory Committee for their commitment and dedication to meet the health care needs of all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8766]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 4761

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

Whereas it was with great sadness that on October 10, 2005, Nova Scotia lost one of its cultural icons, Madame Elizabeth Lefort of Cheticamp, at the age of 91; and

Whereas Madame Lefort's talents were recognized worldwide for her beautiful hooked rugs which can be found hanging in places like the Vatican, Buckingham Palace and the White House; and

Whereas her magnificent portraits and other major tapestries earned Madame Lefort such honours as an honorary doctorate from l'Université de Moncton, the Order of Canada, and the very distinguished title, Canada's Artist in Wool;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their condolences to the Lefort family and also to the people of Cheticamp, St. Joseph du Moine and Margaree, while expressing admiration for Madame Lefort's unmeasurable contribution in the field of Acadian culture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 8767]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would request unanimous consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: Do we have unanimous consent?

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[3:15 p.m.]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as Attorney General and pursuant to Section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the Judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on June 3, 2005.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

[GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 4762

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

Whereas breastfeeding is proven to be the safest and healthiest way to care for a new baby - with numerous benefits to both child and mother; and

Whereas a new joint Department of Health and Nova Scotia Health Promotion policy has recently been announced stating that the government is renewing its efforts to support breastfeeding mothers and families; and

Whereas the Mi'kmaq Child Development Centre in Halifax has one of the highest rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration in the province because of the tremendous support for mothers at the centre;

[Page 8768]

Therefore be it resolved that it is crucial for the Nova Scotian community to come together to provide support and encouragement for mothers and families in their choice to breastfeed their children.

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. 262 - Entitled an Act to Provide Insurance Protection for Emergency Responders. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 263 - Entitled an Act to Make Communities and Neighbourhoods Safer. (Mr. Kevin Deveaux)

Bill No. 264 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 371 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Highways Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 265 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Mr. Frank Corbett)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 4763

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

[Page 8769]

Whereas the United States Government has proposed that by 2008, passports will be required for travellers entering or leaving that country, regardless of a traveller's citizenship; and

Whereas the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments has joined many other government leaders on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border in opposing this requirement; and

Whereas tourism operators and other businesses in the United States and Canada are convinced that imposing this requirement on American and Canadian citizens will be a needless economic blow;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge redoubled efforts in co-operation with the tourism industry to convince the Unites States that it should not require passports for American and Canadian citizens to enter and leave the United States.

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4764

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

Whereas in this Year of the Veteran Canadians are paying honour to servicemen and women, their sacrifice and duty to our country. It was at a ceremony at the Greenwood Aviation Museum on October 6th, that the life and military career of Commanding Officer Roland West was honoured. His skill and determination on the hazardous sorties, led to receiving the distinguished Flying Cross; and

[Page 8770]

Whereas Mr. West also received the Air Force Cross for executing many hazardous mercy flights and searches over the Atlantic. On receiving the McKee Trophy, awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of aerospace operations, it was noted in the citation that his devotion to duty was of the highest standard, his personal courage merit the highest praise and was always an inspiration to all his associates in the RCAF; and

Whereas Roland was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame with the following citation: "The unselfish dedication of his outstanding aeronautical skills to the perfecting of new techniques for Search and Rescue operations, has been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation.";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature extend to his family, the military community and all Canadians the recognition of Ron West as pilot, crew commander and a good person who is a real Canadian hero.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4765

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

Whereas the Train Station Inn, a popular North Shore business has been recognized in a prestigious international magazine; and

Whereas Jimmie LeFresne and his Train Station Inn were the topic of a feature this Summer, six pages in length, in an edition of Man of All Seasons Magazine published in the Netherlands; and

[Page 8771]

Whereas the story also included 13 pictures of various parts of the inn and cabooses;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly commend Jimmie LeFresne, owner of the Train Station Inn, for providing first-class service while marketing northern Nova Scotia as a prime tourist location.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 4766

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this Notice of Motion falls under the category, any game worth playing is worth playing badly. I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect is an "old" football player with a love for the game that he played in university; and

Whereas the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect was recognized at the first annual Sir John A. Macdonald High School Flames Football Auction with the presentation of a helmet for his work to make football a reality at Sir John A.; and

Whereas the new Flames football helmet will now replace his old leather helmet that he previously used as the captain of the Mount Allison Mounties;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Bill Estabrooks, the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, for his contributions to the Sir John A. football program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 8772]

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. 4767

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 Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame has been honouring athletes and teams who have made outstanding contributions to Nova Scotia's sport, heritage and culture since 1980; and

Whereas that tradition continued when Neil Amadio, John Cassidy, Susan Smith, Jackie Hayden, Murray Sleep, Al Hollingsworth, David Webber, John Paris, Jr., the 1984 Antigonish Robertson's Midget Baseball Team, and 1987 Nova Scotia Canada Games Men's Basketball Team were honoured as the 2005 Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame inductees; and

Whereas in holding these annual events, the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame continues its commitment to the sport history and athletic achievements in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and the 10 inductees on this momentous occasion.

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 8773]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 4768

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

Whereas the federal government continues to insist on shortchanging the provinces on their share of National Highway infrastructure money; and

Whereas a national coalition consisting of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the Canadian Bus Association, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada and the Canadian Construction Association are fed up with the go slow approach of Ottawa, where they take $6 billion in fuel taxes every year across Canada but put back only $445 million; and

Whereas no better example exists than right here in Nova Scotia where Ottawa recently backed down on a 2003 promise and refused to cost share 50/50 on the twinning of Highway No. 101 between Ellershouse and Avonport;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly, realizing Ottawa takes nearly $350 million in gas taxes out of Nova Scotia annually while returning only $130 million, demand through this resolution appropriate funding of Canada's National Highway system here in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4769

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

Whereas on Friday, September 23rd, I marched with other concerned citizens, organized by HCAP, the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty, to bring attention to the issue of housing and homelessness in this province; and

Whereas a recent HRM survey of homeless individuals showed that 35 per cent of respondents cited housing-related reasons, such as lack of affordable housing, eviction, fire, unsafe premises, as their immediate cause of homelessness; and

[Page 8774]

Whereas even though on the same day of this march our own Minister of Community Services, David Morse and the federal Housing Minister met at Whitepoint, at the end of the day they offered nothing more than sympathy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Progressive Conservative Government of Nova Scotia stop shedding crocodile tears and actually use the provincial share of the affordable housing agreement to build new affordable housing instead of lining the pockets of private developers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 4770

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 Halifax Herald Limited has been named as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers; and

Whereas the Halifax Herald Limited is the nation's largest independently-owned newspaper, publishing The ChronicleHerald and the Sunday Herald; and

Whereas this is the second year in a row the Halifax Herald Limited has made the Top 100 Employers List;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate the management and staff of the Halifax Herald Limited on this important recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 8775]

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. 4771

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

Whereas the Whitman Wharf House Bed and Breakfast opened in Canso on May 22nd, right next door to the Whitman House Museum; and

Whereas owner, Elizabeth Measures, originally from England, is pleased with the response she's received from the community since she opened the bed and breakfast; and

Whereas Elizabeth Measures says the support and encouragement she received from friends, Bill and Gloria Weathers of the Canso Rose Restaurant, and Tom Kavanagh for helping her prepare a Birding in Canso package, have helped her develop her business and clientele;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Elizabeth Measures on opening the Whitman Wharf House Bed and Breakfast, and we wish her continued future success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 8776]

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 4772

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

Whereas Leslie Armstrong of Purcell's Cove and Anke Fox have between them more than 40 years of experience studying and teaching weaving around the world; and

Whereas Armstrong Fox is a newly-formed textile company, producing luxurious materials on an industrial loom once used to make Harris tweed in Scotland; and

Whereas Armstrong Fox now sells its alpaca, merino, silk and woolen goods across North America;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Armstrong Fox on its new venture and its role in further expanding the international market for prestigious Nova Scotia crafts.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 4773

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

Whereas October 24th to 30th has been designated as Healthy Workplace Week with the objective being to increase awareness about the importance of workplace health to personal and organizational performance; and

[Page 8777]

Whereas the people of Nova Scotia work hard and deserve a healthy environment to conduct their work; and

Whereas this year, the coordinators of Canada's Healthy Workplace Week have chosen to focus on ideas surrounding the enhancement of personal well-being within the workplace;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize Healthy Workplace Week, so that we may benefit from this event by applying healthy attitudes and ideas to our workplaces.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4774

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

Whereas a new community policing office is now up and running in Mill Cove; and

Whereas the office is located on lands owned by Mill Cove Developments, formerly CFS Mill Cove, and is the third such office opened in the area served by the Chester RCMP in the past four years, with previous offices having been opened in New Ross and at the Forest Heights Community School; and

Whereas citizens from the local area are invited to drop into the new Mill Cove office at any time during the four to six hours it is staffed each week;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the dedication of our community volunteers in wanting to work with local law enforcement officers in Chester-St. Margaret's.

[Page 8778]

[3:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4775

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

Whereas this month, Shiretown Nursing Home celebrates 30 years of service to the seniors and families of Pictou and surrounding communities; and

Whereas the focus of Shiretown has always been quality care for the 89 residents, and is provided by a caring and professional staff; and

Whereas 27 Shiretown Nursing Home employees recently received long-service awards, including staff members Brenda Chisholm and Kathy Henderson, who have been there since the home opened in 1975;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the management and staff of Shiretown Nursing Home for their dedication and care to the seniors of Pictou County over the past three decades and wish them continued success in the years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 8779]

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. 4776

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 fourth Monday in October is designated as International School Library Day; and

Whereas this year's theme, Discover the Adventure, encourages students to visit their school libraries and increase literacy; and

Whereas school libraries in Nova Scotia play a key role in education and require more dedicated government support to update collections and ensure professional staffing;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the House of Assembly recognize October 24th as International School Library Day and congratulate the many staff and volunteers who work tirelessly in our school libraries to improve student literacy and learning.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 4777

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

[Page 8780]

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has recently introduced a draft food and nutrition policy for use in provincial schools; and

Whereas Park View Education Centre recognized the benefit of offering more nutritional foods to their students prior to the introduction of this policy and have made many changes to the food choices available to students; and

Whereas as a result of their forward thinking, Park View Education Centre has been able to meet approximately 80 per cent of the policy recommendations, much to the benefit of their students;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Park View Education Centre for their commitment to improving the health and nutrition of its students.

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. 4778

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 of Terence Bay and Lower Prospect have repeatedly brought the condition of their road to the government; and

Whereas sections of this road have deteriorated to such an extent that grass is now growing in the cracked asphalt; and

Whereas these residents want the road upgraded from Whites Lake through to the Government Wharf in Lower Prospect;

[Page 8781]

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Public Works commit to ensure this road receives an upgrade and new pavement.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 4779

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

Whereas Keane Canada has been named one of Canada's top 100 employers; and

Whereas Keane Canada established operations in Canada in 1997 and has enjoyed steady growth in the IT sector ever since;

Whereas Keane Canada's operation in Halifax employs many talented Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the management and staff of Keane Canada on their listing as one of Canada's top 100 employers.

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. 4780

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:

[Page 8782]

Whereas adults with disabilities in Nova Scotia receive little or no assistance from government to purchase necessary technical aids such as walkers, wheelchairs and lifts; and

Whereas persons with disabilities who don't have private insurance are often forced to rely on community fundraising and charity to get their medically-necessary assistive devices; and

Whereas other provinces, such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba, have programs that offer wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other special needs equipment on a permanent loan program for a nominal fee;

Therefore be it resolved that this government explore options to implement an assistive devices program in Nova Scotia, so that no person with an illness or disability has to rely on charity to provide the equipment they need to remain independent and healthy;

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West on an introduction.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery where Paula Lunn, the Liberal candidate for Hants West, is here with four students representing Canada World Youth who are working in the Windsor area, two at the community hospital and two with the Canadian Cancer Society, and they are Patrick Foucault from Quebec, Alexia Clarke from Ontario, and William Muller and Mariam Malta Martins from Brazil. I would like them to rise and have the House give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 8783]

RESOLUTION NO. 4781

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

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources and his department have overlooked the small provincial parks across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Claremont Park and many others have not had their water supplies repaired or replaced and policy is being put in place to use the "water strategy" as a rationalization; and

Whereas these small provincial parks need greater attention to meet water upkeep and policing surveillance;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources investigate Claremont Park's needs, as well as the other parks across the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 4782

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 October 22, 2005, at the Royal Canadian Legion in Pleasantville, Newfoundland and Labrador, the 33rd Annual Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremonies took place; and

Whereas Mr. Fred Jackson, a national softball coach and multi-sports administrator of Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, now residing in Sydney, Nova Scotia, was inducted in the Builder category; and

[Page 8784]

Whereas his accomplishments include being the first Newfoundlander to win Canada's Coach of the Year Award; he coached nine national championships, compiling a record of 60 wins and 23 losses; he won five medals; achieved a fourth place finish at the 1989 Canada Summer Games, coaching teams to 21 provincial championships and winning a championship in every minor and junior softball category;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Fred Jackson for his many years of service to the softball community, and on his induction into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 4783

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

Whereas October 23rd to October 29th is observed as national Pap Test Awareness Week; and

Whereas this vital part of cancer prevention and early detection can prevent up to 90 per cent of all deaths from cervical cancer, and help detect other forms of this disease; and

Whereas Cancer Care Nova Scotia has worked tirelessly to inform and educate women, helping them to understand the risks and how to prevent such an illness;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the tremendous work performed by our health professionals and acknowledge their efforts to avert this disease in all forms.

[Page 8785]

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. 4784

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 Harbour View School Breakfast Program is celebrating its 10th year of providing breakfast to children before attending school; and

Whereas during the 10 years, more than 62,210 nutritional meals have been served; and

Whereas the breakfast program is a wonderful example of a community and volunteers coming together to take care of a need;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate Doris Wournell, program founder of the Harbour View School Breakfast Program, for its 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 8786]

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 fumed last week that all Nova Scotia parents are responsible parents - after feigning righteous indignation over a suggestion that parents depend on government to regulate unsafe practices by children; and

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources is a parent who must know young people can run afoul of their parent's wishes despite even the most responsible upbringing; and

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources needs to remember that whether it is a young person who drives an ATV recklessly, or one who commits an act of violence in a school, young people are not always under the control of their parents;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House urge the Minister of Natural Resources to remember what it means to be a parent, a minister, and do the right thing for our greatest natural resource, our 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.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4785

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 Canada Games provides a positive environment that offers fulfillment, cultivates new friendships and fosters leadership, through development in sport; and

[Page 8787]

Whereas competitive sports bring out the best in athletic achievement, both individually or working together as a team; and

Whereas in this competitive environment of athletics, success is achieved through a passion and commitment to the sport and Russell Todd proved this by winning the bronze as a member of the men's rugby team;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly show their appreciation to Russell Todd's outstanding athletic performance on behalf of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 4786

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

Whereas from September 26th to October 2nd, 2005, the Whitney Pier Society of the Arts celebrated its 8th Annual PierScape; and

Whereas this week-long festival celebrated the cultural richness that the community fo Whitney Pier has to offer through the arts, including visual art, music, and workshops and storytelling; and

Whereas this year's featured artist was Mary Dugandzic, who began painting at the age of 15, painting historically nostalgic and scenic objects, as well as being an active member of the Cape Breton Artists Association;

[Page 8788]

Therefore be it resolved that the Members of the Legislative Assembly congratulate the Whitney Pier Society for the Arts on its 8th Annual PierScape and acknowledge Mary Dugandzic, for her contributions to the art community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Order, please. The resolution read by the honourable member for Glace Bay. I'm ruling that out of order. It's unparliamentary.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 4787

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

Whereas hockey is a passion for Canadians; and

Whereas the Bay Ducks, playing out of the expanded St. Margaret's Centre, are the newest entry in the Nova Scotia Junior "B" Hockey League; and

Whereas head coach, Brian Cashen and team president, Tim Hill have played important roles in the establishment of this team;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Bay Ducks, coaching staff, players and fans of the Ducks in their inaugural season with best wishes of good luck on and off the ice.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 8789]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Just before we go to Orders of the Day, the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations on a point of order.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, on Friday 21st, the member for Dartmouth North tabled a resolution with a whereas clause and I'll read it, "Whereas during the 2005 budget debates the Minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act stated 'there will be no changes to the Act under my watch but the department will do an internal review of the Act'." Mr. Speaker, I pulled the transcript from debates in the subcommittee, I wasn't able to find that quote anywhere within the debates, and what I would say is if I could provide you with both this and the transcript of the subcommittee that you would rule and request the member to withdraw his resolution.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for giving me a chance to speak on this. I will say this, on behalf of our caucus, two things. First of all, I think this a dispute between two members. Second of all, the motion has already been found in order - that's why it was tabled. It's there in Hansard. If there were an opportunity to raise it, that was the time to raise it, that was when he should have done it. He can't do it now and frankly, this is a dispute between two members.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Any further interventions? I will take the matter under advisement.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

[Page 8790]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 251.

Bill No. 251 - Public Service Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: I move second reading of the bill.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I just want to speak briefly on this bill for the record. This is a change in the rules with regard to who can attend Internal Economy Board meetings from the government benches - they have five members. As a result, this is a bill that we think is a good piece of legislation that will allow the government to have some flexibility in who it appoints. It does not affect the appointment of other members but will allow some flexibility on the government benches.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the House Leader of the NDP in this regard. Certainly it's a bill that cleans up a problem that the government has had. We're in favour of sending this on to the Law Amendments Committee and see if it generates any interest there and then back to the House.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: I appreciate the intervention of the honourable members. I would point out though that the provision actually amends the provision for members of all three caucuses. It may choose a member of the caucus to substitute for a member of the board. So I think it's a member of the caucus.

Anyway, we can refer the matter to the Law Amendments Committee, but I would point that out to the members of the committee. With that, I move second reading.

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

[Page 8791]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 256.

Bill No. 256 - Municipal Government Act.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to open debate on Bill No. 256, the Municipal Government Act.

This is a straightforward bill. The Municipal Government Act is the bible for municipal administration in Nova Scotia. My department receives requests either individually from municipalities or through the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities on a regular basis for amendments to this Act.

It is important that the Act be amended regularly to ensure it continues meeting the needs of municipalities. For this reason, responding to requests from municipalities to amend the Act is virtually an annual occurrence. Probably the most noteworthy feature of this bill is a clause that will enable Halifax Regional Municipality to acquire vacant, boarded up buildings if they have been boarded up longer than a municipal bylaw would allow.

This authority was requested by HRM and HRM only. Other municipalities did not ask for it, for this reason this authority will only apply to HRM. If other members question why this authority is not extended to all municipalities, the answer is, they did not ask for it.

The other changes are mostly housekeeping. They include allowing for electronic filing of deed transfer tax information, enabling municipalities to borrow funds needed to demolish municipally-owned buildings and amending provisions within the Act so they more closely match the words of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

As I said, this is a straightforward piece of legislation and I look forward to comments from other members. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 8792]

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm rising to address this bill as the NDP caucus Municipal Relations Critic. What the minister said about amendments to the Municipal Government Act being a fairly regular occurrence is certainly true. The good thing about this is, it is done in a process of full collaboration with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and we've now reached the point where it is rare or nonexistent for amendments of this kind to come forward without the knowledge and support of the UNSM.

As the minister says though, the most interesting feature of the bill is the one that was requested specifically by the Halifax Regional Municipality, which I want to address briefly. There are two important things to say about this, Mr. Speaker. First of all, what it does is it allows HRM and HRM only, no other one of the 54 municipalities in Nova Scotia, it allows only HRM to expropriate boarded-up buildings. Now this is an issue which you could refer to as urban blight, although I don't think that boarded-up buildings are something that's unique to the inner City of Halifax. The conundrum that the municipality faces is what to do with a building that's dragging a neighbourhood down, which may attract undesirable elements, which looks terrible and brings everybody else's values down. What do you do if the owner is not willing to do anything about it? And the HRM has come forward and said, well, please give us this legislative power where with appropriate safe guards, we can actually expropriate the building, fix it at the fair-market value and then we decide what to do with it, rather than having the owner decide what to do with it. The owner does get a certain amount of notice so presumably this is not something that would be abused by the city, although it certainly would be very public if it were abused by the city.

My two thoughts on it, Mr. Speaker, are this. First thought is, maybe it doesn't go far enough. These are buildings - this will apply to buildings kind of at the extreme end of the spectrum, buildings that have already been abandoned, buildings that have already been boarded up, I think the legislation says for six months. There are a whole range of other very, very problematic buildings in my constituency and most of the other members' constituencies where they're not quite that far down the road, but they're equally difficult. I'm thinking of one, actually two, in particular, in my constituency, where they have become the fulcrum around which the descent of a neighbourhood turns. I know the Minister of Community Services knows at least one neighbourhood that I'm talking about, for reasons that he's well aware of, but there is another one in a completely different part of my constituency.

They are bad buildings, bad owners attracting bad tenants and it drags the whole neighbourhood down with them. The neighbours come to their politicians, their elective representatives, especially their city councillor, but also their MLA and say, do something, do something about this, and the city is pretty much helpless because they don't have the powers they need to do anything constructive about it. There is a dangerous and unsightly premises bylaw, but it's not enough, because these buildings are capped up to the absolute bare minimum standard and sometimes not even that, but just the bare minium standard. Mr. Speaker, to meet the minimum standard of the dangerous and unsightly premises bylaw, the

[Page 8793]

building doesn't have to be in very good shape, believe me, or you can keep getting the landlord for bylaw violations of one kind or another and they drag their feet on cleaning up their properties but eventually they do it and meanwhile, it continues to be a blight on the neighbourhood.

I would say to the minister after discussion in our caucus, we support this provision. We think it's a good idea, but let me plant this seed with the minister's Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Maybe this provision, if anything, doesn't go far enough. So that's the first thought on that part of the bill, Mr. Speaker.

The second thought is this, the Municipal Relations Critic for the Liberal Party and myself received a very helpful briefing from the minister's staff and they gave us the documentation from the Halifax Regional Municipality that backs up their request. The difficulty is that the legislation that's been brought forward doesn't match HRM's request. So the question is - and it's a legitimate question and for all I know there's a good answer to this - what does HRM think about the bill that has actually been brought forward? Presumably they know about it and presumably they support the change and the wording, but it's not what they asked for. It's something different from what they asked for.

Now I understand that after this letter to the minister from the mayor was written on August 17, 2005, there were continuing discussions between the minister's department and the Halifax Regional Municipality, but I think the point is for this Legislature, that is now being asked to pass a bill based on what the HRM has asked for, what does the HRM think about the bill as actually presented? If the minister has something in writing saying the HRM is aware of what the bill says and supports it, that's fine, I'd invite the minister to bring that forward.

The information that I was given says that the HRM asked for one thing and the department is delivering another. I'm not quite clear on the reason for the difference. So maybe today in his speech closing second reading, or maybe at some other time, the minister could clarify that point as well.

Other than that, on this bill, our caucus is satisfied that these are housekeeping matters, all of which have been thoroughly vetted with the UNSM, and we're pleased to support them on second reading. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to rise today to talk a little bit about Bill No. 256, an amendment to the Municipal Government Act. Again, it is worth noting that the departmental staff gave us a very helpful briefing last week - myself and the NDP Critic for Municipal Affairs - explaining some of the background to this and going over the individual clauses. That certainly was very helpful and we appreciate that time.

[Page 8794]

I, myself, was a city councillor just a few years ago and sat on the Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee. At that time it had come up on a number of occasions when we looked at boarded-up buildings that were completely demoralizing to the areas and neighbourhoods in which they were, and yet there was nothing that that committee could do about it, provided they were safely boarded. Really, no time limit whatsoever existed and I had raised the question myself at that committee as to why this was allowed and why we had no power. So it's very good to see the enabling legislation here that would allow the HRM to enact a bylaw and set a time limit that they would consider to be a maximum for a building to be boarded up and unused within the HRM.

I do question, as well, whether this would not be something that other municipalities would have an interest in, although it would push their hand if they had that control because it means they would then have to - or could be called upon to - acquire buildings that are definitely unsightly and demoralizing and as I say, really devalue a community. However, I think that that might be of some interest to other municipalities and perhaps that discussion will take place, or it may even come to their attention as we pass this through the Law Amendments Committee.

I think it is a very important power to give to the HRM because the issue arises frequently and I think the city council and the mayor need to have tools and the ability to take action that is beneficial to the whole community. So that certainly, to me, was the most important aspect of this bill.

Again, there are some changes to the FOIPOP provisions which I gather bring it into a more harmonious, similar wording as our Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and that makes it easier to use effectively. At the same time, it makes a couple of other provisions for the electronic filing of deed transfer tax, which doesn't apply to every municipality, as I understand it, but a majority of our municipalities do charge a deed transfer tax upon the sale and transfer of properties, and that will now be expedited if it can be done electronically. So this just allows that to happen in a very proper and legal manner, so I think that's very important that that be done.

We understood there had been a pilot done which paralleled so they did both the new system and the old, to ensure all of the kinks could be worked out of that and it will work well when it is adopted.

With that being said, we look forward to the Committee on Law Amendments for this bill and seeing what, if anything, the public has to say. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak on Bill No. 256, the Municipal Government Act.

[Page 8795]

Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that I know the councillor for District 9 has been working very hard on for a couple of years. This piece of legislation is not new, it's modelled after the Manitoba legislation that allows municipalities the opportunity to address the issue of derelict buildings and boarded-up properties and so on. It's a very important piece of legislation and I say this providing that the municipality is quick in crafting a bylaw.

It is okay for this provincial government to enshrine it within the Municipal Government Act and allow the municipalities or the HRM to craft a bylaw around this. But, bylaws must stand the test of time. As many members who, at one time or another, served in municipal government, know that municipal governments sometimes have a habit of crafting bylaws that simply don't have any teeth. When they reach the courtroom, they're thrown out simply because they're invalid or don't make statement to the precise issue.

[4:00 p.m.]

So, you need to recognize that although this piece of legislation is coming before this Legislative Assembly - I don't know if it's the responsibility of the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations or not, since this piece of legislation came through his office - to watch the municipalities and make sure they craft legislation by which it will stand the test of time and that the legal departments might get together on this piece of legislation to make sure it is a piece of legislation that does precisely that, stand the test of time.

I do know that I had been very fortunate to have the Minister of Housing tour my constituency along with the chairperson of the Neighbourhood Watch program. I took the minister to a particular site where we have a very serious problem. It is the Pinecrest-Brule Street-Jackson area. As a matter of fact, the former City of Dartmouth placed a study on this very area because there was a real problem identified with respect to the new development that was coming forward at that time, Highfield Park, as many other multi-unit residential developments were taking place.

You know, derelict buildings and properties just simply don't happen by chance. They're a product of bad municipal planning. When municipal governments recognize that in the absence of public participation - even though there was a lot of public participation around this - it is their responsibility to develop healthy communities. That didn't happen. I happened to have served on municipal council at the time when the development was coming to the adjacent Pinecrest-Brule Street-Jackson area. Because of this new development, people who could afford to move out of that neighbourhood filtered themselves out into the new community leaving the vacant units behind.

Eventually, the vacant units - because of their age, some 25 to 40 years of age - just simply got laid by the wayside. Landlords didn't maintain them or keep them up, therefore they were unable to be rented or leased to individuals looking for places. Not only that, the individuals who could only afford that kind of shelter found themselves in that community.

[Page 8796]

As a result of the filtering effect, what happens is you virtually destroy a community. The minister witnessed that first-hand. The minister has seen the number of boarded-up buildings in the Pinecrest-Brule Street area. It was great that the minister was there that day because - I must commend him once again - the very next day, his office had actually called and asked for a list of the number of boarded-up buildings in that community. He also indicated that there might be an opportunity that his department can look at some way of developing or utilizing those facilities or buildings for residential housing.

I have to say this is commendable. I hope the minister will take us up on that because we did provide him with the number. In that one area alone, there were five boarded up buildings for certain - five boarded-up buildings. They lend nothing to the community, absolutely nothing. They were hangout places for drugs, persons who were scheming to rob buildings and places. They not only did that, but they also taxed the policing services of your municipality, because the police are constantly needed to be there.

This piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, needs to be recognized. Although we will talk about it here in this Legislative Assembly, it needs to be recognized that the bylaw that is crafted needs to have the teeth in which to do it. I want to tell you, as a former member of council, the former City of Dartmouth did a $23,000 study on the Pinecrest-Brule Street area simply because they had recognized that there needed to be protection of this community and this community could no longer sustain the multi-unit residential development, that there needed to be a mix or blend of that community. The study, as I have said, cost some $23,000. It was approved, in principle, by the former municipal council. However, shortly after came municipal amalgamation, and I'm sure the Third Party knows the consequences of that municipal amalgamation.

I want to say in the Hayward report, the Hayward report indicated all those plans and reports that were available by the former municipalities would be honoured and committed by the new regional municipality, that they would be obligated to fulfill the commitments to those plans. Unfortunately that did not happen at the Halifax Regional Municipality with respect to the Pinecrest-Brule Street study. The Halifax Regional Municipality said that it was not their responsibility what a former municipal government had produced, that they were a new municipal government and they could not commit the dollars to this particular revitalization of the community. The community was supposed to have $1 million a year for 10 years to revitalize that community.

As a matter of fact, that very community, Mr. Speaker, had a special zone placed on it by the then Dartmouth Planning Department. The zone in that particular community was zoned R1M - a most unusual zoning. The R1M meant that it was a "residential one modified". The reason why it was modified was to have this community be able to sustain some sensible approach to what is considered healthy communities. It allowed undersize lots to have single-family residential developments built on them. It would have also allowed undersize street networks so that those undersized street networks would, in fact, reduce the

[Page 8797]

wide streets that are already there. The Planning Department, of course, recognized that this was part of the old Municipality of the County of Halifax at the time when they amalgamated and so, therefore, some of the street alignments and networks weren't consistent with normal street patterns.

So it had to be done. There was a need to address this very issue, and despite my going with the former councillor to the Halifax Regional Municipality's mayor and CEO, and despite my going with the present councillor to the mayor and the CEO with respect to putting the dollars in to develop this community and meet its deadlines, and to introduce some pilot projects as recommended by the report, none of that happened. So if I stand here somewhat skeptical about what role the municipal government might play in this it is because I have experienced some of that skepticism, I shouldn't say skepticism, some of that inaction by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

I want to say for the member of Halifax Regional Council who represents the district, Councillor Jim Smith, that he has put a tremendous amount of work into bringing this piece of legislation forward. As a matter of fact, it was when he was at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference out West that, in fact, he had consultation with Manitoba, and found out Manitoba has a piece of legislation that simply fits here. There were some problems with the Halifax Regional Municipality adopting the exact legislation as the Manitoba piece of legislation, and rightly so. They weren't concerned with whether it was workable or doable, or whether it would have the same effect yet, for what reason, I don't know.

I must say that a member of the Halifax Planning and Development Department advised me that this was coming forward. Councillor Jim Smith advised me that this piece of legislation was coming forward. I do want to say to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, as well, that the Minister of Service of Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations was very much aware that this piece of legislation would be coming forward. I think there were future attempts by the Halifax Regional Municipality to communicate with the government on what kind of language might be needed to strengthen this piece of legislation.

I can say to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations that the amendment to the Municipal Government Act is simply the length to which the government finds itself capable of going. My concern is the issue, in my opinion, is around crafting the language, once again, of the municipal bylaw. I want to say that that, to me, is the single most important piece of bylaw that can accompany this legislation. It must be a bylaw that's in unison, again, without sounding redundant. I know during the speeches on the bill, you try not to be repetitive, but sometimes it's important to exercise the need for repetitiveness to enhance the need to craft decent legislation.

[Page 8798]

The 10-year plan, if I can go back to it, was something that would have addressed the real needs of this community. It would be unfair of me to say that the government hasn't done anything within the Highfield-Pinecrest area because it has, but it has taken the path of least resistance and of least dollars spent. Now the big argument was that when the amalgamated municipalities came forward that there was an amalgamation of debt and there needed to be this debt retirement, and I know there are former members of council on the government side who served under the new regional municipality.

They had a primary objective to administer, financially, the affairs of the new Halifax Regional Municipality, in much the same way as the former City of Halifax did. Capital construction and so on would be done by way of debt retirement, and that the overall debt would be reduced and manageable. There was this number of 15 per cent of the revenue coming in to be spent on the debt of the municipality and that was a bit too high. They wanted to get it down somewhere around 8 per cent, 9 per cent, 10 per cent of the revenue coming in towards debt retirement. I commend them for that.

But I want to say that of all the reports that have been adopted by the new Halifax Regional Municipality, this was one of the reports that did not get the full attention it rightfully deserved. It did not get the dollars that were designed and allocated to it. It was not acknowledged by the new Halifax Regional Municipality. The former Dartmouth City Council recognized this to be an important revitalization of a community, and that in fact that is the reason why, when they hired the consultants to do this report, those reports had timelines and dollar signs placed on them.

[4:15 p.m.]

We're well beyond that time. As a matter of fact, 2006 will be the anniversary date of the new Halifax Regional Municipality's 10th year. I think back to December 1996, and the election of councillors for the new Halifax Regional Municipality - actually the Fall of 1995, and I apologize, the Fall of this year is actually the 10th year, in truth, December . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: December 3rd.

MR. PYE: December 3rd, yes, now I'm getting corrections. See that's what happens when you become aged. Sometimes these things slip by you and you don't keep them trapped in this grey mush of a mind that's up here - and I have to tell you that it's important to keep these numbers very close, and it's important to make sure that your memory bank continues to recognize these important things.

Earlier, I believe, somebody might have made mention that I made some mistakes on a resolution. I wouldn't dare bring that into part of this piece of legislation because I think that that's for another day, and I do know that the honourable Speaker will rule on that on

[Page 8799]

a future day. But by the same token, since it's a municipal issue and it's a government issue, it's a good thing to have those things reviewed.

I want to just simply say this, we talk about how communities develop, and one of the ways communities develop is develop in a way that's not beneficial to governments, they develop because of the neglect of municipal governments, and I say primarily to the planning department. Now I have a number of issues that are coming forward here in the future with respect to the way the planning department has a vision for Dartmouth North. As a matter of fact, its overall plan, for that vision of Dartmouth North, is to continue a deep concentration of multi-unit residential developments, despite the fact that Dartmouth North already has 61 per cent of its residential units in multi-unit residential development.

The vision of the future of Halifax is to continue with that density of residential development in Dartmouth North, and their arguments are that it is in close proximity to shopping centres, close proximity to where people work, close proximity to bus shelters - the whole thing. Well, I would say to you that Dartmouth North is not the only constituency that is in close proximity to all these, and I would say to you that you as municipal planners plan the kind of communities that exist where in fact there is trouble, where in fact you find derelict buildings, murders, prostitution, illegal drinking establishments, illegal gaming establishments - all of these are a result of planning and not watching communities very closely, and I do know that if representatives of healthy communities from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities came and took a tour of my constituency much the same as the minister responsible for housing did, that they would certainly see a neglect that should not have been allowed to happen, and to this very day should not be allowed to exist.

As a municipal politician, I certainly made every effort to bring it to the attention of the municipal government of the day that this was a wrong practice, and I had thought that we were on the right track. The municipal government of this day, developing its new plan regionally, and as well as having community participation in its new plan, has to recognize that when they develop these kind of communities the people don't participate. They don't participate in the public participation process because they don't feel ownership to a community. They feel that when they're in those multi-unit developments, for the most part, that they're going to live there for a short time, that they're going to be homeowners, they're going to relocate elsewhere, and someone else will move in after them. Herein lies a real problem, how do you get that public participation? What I'm saying to the municipal planning department, particularly in HRM, is that there needs to be some acknowledgement that they have an important role to play.

Once again I want to emphasize the fact that municipal governments, particularly the planning departments and council, do have the authority to approve or not any piece of land use application or development. I want to just step back a bit, although the planning department in the absence of public participation needs to recognize their role, municipal councils need to recognize their role as well in the absence of the planning departments not

[Page 8800]

recognizing the special needs in the community. Simply because property is deemed to already have a use - I forget the term used - it's as-of-right development, that's the term, even though these developments can go on as of right, there needs to be, by council, a recognition that even though the recommendation might come forward by the planning department to approve a development proposal, they do have the power to defeat that development proposal if in good conscience they don't believe that development proposal is consistent with community neighbourhood or plan.

They have the right to defeat that. On the other hand, the developer has the right to go before the URB - the Utility and Review Board. The developer can challenge the decision of the council, it can challenge the decision of the planning department. There are many that have gone before the Utility and Review Board with respect to development.

Therein lies the responsibility of both municipal planning departments and also the municipal councils. Fortunately, in this municipality, there's another level of government, believe it or not, within the government itself. That's called the community council. It has certain powers within itself to address immediate planning issues - not municipal planning strategy uses because that's of the whole council and land uses, that's of the whole council. But they do have the opportunity to debate as-of-right developments and other variances of land use in a minor way that comes before them.

I do want to say that I have spoken up on this piece of legislation until it crosses this Legislature and goes into the Red Room where public participation can take place - although I doubt much of it will - then come back into this Legislature for third reading and finally for proclamation.

I will be awaiting that day for it to come back again. I will hopefully get the opportunity to speak once again on that piece of legislation if need be. I do want the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to be very much aware that I'll be watching his department in connection with the Halifax Regional Municipality on how this piece of legislation is going to be administered.

There had been some talk around the time frame - some seven days when takeover by a municipal bylaw, 30 or 60 or 90 days. Quite frankly, I think if it goes beyond 15 or 30 days, we're just playing into the hands of the property owner and the developer. Mind you, there are legal minds far greater than mine, who will understand the legality of making sure that property owners whose properties are going to be expropriated know full well their rights in legislation. Also the right for those property owners to, in fact, know how their asset is going to be taken away from them as a result of the municipality engaging in these powers.

[Page 8801]

I do want to say that this is a piece of legislation that is beyond its time. The Province of Manitoba had no difficulty in crafting this piece of legislation. My understanding of this piece of legislation when it was passed in Manitoba, although I don't believe it was ever used, it certainly was an arm out there that allowed the municipalities the power. Once they had seen that the municipalities had that power to enact this bylaw and to make them accountable, that is when all things changed.

It is unfortunate in our society that there are some landlords who need to be pushed down like a nail, to the point whereby they have to be held accountable. Unfortunately, that is a fact of life. There is not a whole lot we can do about it.

I do want to say in closing, Mr. Speaker, that I thank Councillor Smith for his involvement in this piece of legislation. I also thank - despite my criticisms of the planning department, the planning department of HRM, for allowing me to have the opportunity to sit and discuss with them the issues and concerns of Dartmouth North.

Finally, I want to thank the minister responsible for housing, for coming and having a tour of the Dartmouth North constituency and recognizing some of the very real needs that exist in that constituency. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, there are two general points about the Municipal Government Act, the municipal legislation that I would like to talk about before turning the focus on some of the details of what is contained in Bill No. 256.

The first point is, we have to ask ourselves exactly why it is that it is even necessary or desirable for such a bill to come forward. The question, really, that I raise is, why is it that we have to continue to grapple in the Legislature with detailed pieces of legislation that tinker with the extent of the powers that municipalities are going to be allowed to exercise?

I think the fact that we do find ourselves looking at such legislation on a fairly regular basis indicates a very profound ambiguity of the legal system towards municipalities. By the legal system here I mean, essentially, a partnership of the courts and the Legislatures. This has been a feature of life for the legal context of municipalities in Canada for well over 100 years. The question, really, is whether it is changing and whether it is desirable that it ought to change.

Think about what it is that this bill at its core does. In essence, it seeks to give a particular power to deal with properties that are found to be dangerous and unsightly, to the municipalities. It essentially says, well, the municipalities which already have the powers to declare properties to be dangerous and unsightly, and which already have the powers of

[Page 8802]

expropriation, now seek to link these two things and say, well, if the property is dangerous and unsightly, and it has been boarded up for awhile, then you can expropriate this property.

Just think about that. Why is it that we actually have to go this extra step and pass through this House, legislation that makes it clear that this so-called - this tiny accretion of power is something that we can recognize as being properly exercisable by a municipality?

Now the answer to that seems to be - and I'm not approving it, I'm just saying it - but the answer to that seems to be that over the years the attitude of governments in the different provinces around Canada, backed up by various decisions of the courts, has been that - and I think I'm quoting more or less exactly, municipalities are creatures of the province. They have no independent powers. They can only exercise those powers which they have specifically and explicitly been granted by the Legislature or any powers which are reasonably implied by the specific powers that have already been granted to them by the legislation.

In other words, municipalities are not seen as exactly like the two senior levels of government. They're not like the federal government, they're not like the provincial government. We know that they are not constitutional entities. They don't have powers that derive from Section 91 or Section 92, or the other relevant sections of the Constitution Act which traditionally are interpreted in very broad ways in order to give plenary powers to the senior levels of government.

[4:30 p.m.]

The attitude to municipalities, which nonetheless are a level of government, is quite different. The attitude is summed up in the case books in the words that I quoted earlier, is generally known as Dillon's Rule. Dillon was the author of a municipal law textbook in the United States in the late 1800s, and that observation has been imported into Canadian law through decisions dating back to the 1880s, to the early 1900s, in Canada. I will refer you to two leading decisions. One of them, interestingly enough, is a City of Halifax decision that went to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1906 or 1907. The case was called McIlreith versus Hart. Here's what happened.

In that case, the Mayor of the City of Halifax at the time, had attended a meeting of the National Municipal Organization, the predecessor to the FCM, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and when the mayor came back, he put in a claim for his expenses. These were challenged in court by a citizen taxpayer who said the governing Statute of the City of Halifax does not say that the expenses of the mayor who attends a national convention on behalf of the city, at the behest of city council, can be reimbursed for his expenses. There were lots of other provisions in the Act that talked about reimbursing the councillor and mayor for certain other kinds of expenses, it just didn't happen to mention national meetings of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities or its predecessor, and that

[Page 8803]

argument was successful in the Supreme Court of Canada. What they said was, Dillon's Rule applies; if it's not on the list, then you can't charge it up. The municipality was regarded as a trustee of the money of the taxpayers, which is appropriate, but the powers of the municipality to spend that money as trustee were seen as extremely circumscribed.

Now, this is a very peculiar state of affairs although there's an interesting footnote to this. To this day in the Municipal Government Act there is a small subsection, I think it's in Section 172 of the Act, that actually says that the expenses of the mayor and councillors, when they attend meetings of the FCM, or equivalent, are, in fact, reimbursable. It's still there. That tiny, little clause is still there because of that decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1906 or 1907, applying Dillon's Rule.

Now, there are lots of other cases that did this. Do you know what? That's not the modern view. The modern view of the Supreme Court of Canada, as enunciated in such cases as the 2001 decision in SprayTech versus The Town of Hudson, is, in fact, municipalities should be given some credit, and when there are clauses in the governing legislation that are generally known as omnibus power clauses, they should be given an expansive meaning. They should be given real meaning. An omnibus clause is one that says that a municipality shall have the power to enact bylaws for the health, welfare, safety and general benefit of its residents. In fact, some provinces have gone further and they've tried to put in place what are called natural person powers. They've tried to essentially say municipalities are like natural people. They have all the plenary powers, of course, that they would normally have to take civic action, and it's up to them.

So what I'm saying is that the courts have evolved, faced with the kinds of legislation that we, the provinces, give to the municipalities, the courts have evolved. One hundred years ago and more, they adopted this very narrow nitpicking, restrictive view, known as Dillon's Rule, and they confine municipalities to the strict letter of the law. Now the courts are opening up and they're saying municipalities are a level of government, give them general powers and let them figure out what they're going to do with it. If you want to restrict their powers in some way, take it away, but the starting point should be an assumption based on these omnibus powers; in fact, they have very plenary powers and they should be trusted, and if there's a problem, you can take powers away or the voters will decide at the municipal elections that they don't like what it is that the council is doing and they'll be held accountable.

Well, what I'm saying is that our legislation doesn't seem to be of that model. Our basic attitude to the municipalities is, unless we spell it out for you, unless we spell it out in detail, you're not to be trusted. Look at the Municipal Government Act, it's 600 sections long. It's one of the longest pieces of legislation on the books in the Province of Nova Scotia. What the attitude seems to be is profoundly ambiguous on the one hand, the legislation starts out saying, municipalities are wonderful, they're a level of government, they should have the prime responsibility for making decisions about land, but then it goes on to say, in effect, if

[Page 8804]

we don't lay it out for you in minute detail, you don't have the power. Something has to give. Something should give.

I simply don't think it's desirable that, year after year, we should continue to see bill after bill after bill - and it's not as if it's one bill a year, it's usually several bills a year - coming in, having to do with tinkering with the powers that municipalities have. I know this is not as entirely as simple a question as I've laid it out here, but the overall framework is exactly what I've described. What I'm saying is the minister should think, his department should think, his officials should think carefully about whether it isn't time for us to reconsider the ways in which the powers of municipalities are configured in Nova Scotia. That's my first point.

My second point is this, why on earth is it that we are being invited to pass municipal legislation, yet again, in which the range of powers being offered to HRM is different than the range of powers being offered to non-HRM municipalities. Now, the minister, in bringing forward the bill for second reading and in recommending it to us, said, the answer to that question is the other municipalities didn't ask for it. Well, with all due respect to the honourable minister, Mr. Speaker, I don't find that a convincing reason. They didn't ask for it. That isn't the only basis on which the minister's department or this Legislature should decide to set policy, setting the framework for municipal law. They didn't ask for it?

Well, the absence of asking for it doesn't tell us whether in fact we ought to, as a matter of principle, offer that power to those other municipalities. What about CBRM, for example? Are slums only confined to HRM? We know that this is not the case. Are boarded-up buildings only to be found in HRM and not in the Annapolis Valley? That isn't the case. Is it the case that there are dangerous and unsightly premises only in HRM, but not in or near Amherst? How blessed are those other municipalities if that's the case, but we know it isn't the case.

The question isn't those municipalities didn't get around to asking for it and HRM did, the question is, is this a good power that ought to be in the range of powers that the minister's department thinks should be offered to those municipal councils to exercise, not they didn't ask for it. That's not a good basis on which to make that decision. If the minister thinks those other municipalities are not to be trusted with this power, then maybe he should say so. If the minister thinks that those other municipalities reject this power and don't like it, and HRM is the only one that is even prepared to consider this possibility, I'd like to hear him say that and I'd like to see the evidence.

There has to be something somewhat more specific. What I'm saying is that in principle it's not desirable to bring into being this kind of two-tiered system when it comes to the exercise of these powers. The last time this was done, to my recollection, was when different powers with respect to pesticide control came through this House in 1998 when the

[Page 8805]

Municipal Government Act was first adopted, Section 172 versus Section 533 of the Municipal Government Act.

It's very peculiar that we continue to have, within the Municipal Government Act, a whole part that is specifically assigned to delineating how HRM is different from other municipalities in the province. Now, I agree, of course, it's the biggest municipality, it's the most populous municipality, it's an important place, but it's not at all clear to me that the powers, at least the theoretical powers - because all we're doing is setting a framework - should be so significantly different for HRM than they are for other municipalities. Surely, there has to be a somewhat more compelling reason than they didn't ask for it.

Again I ask if there isn't some explanation that can be offered here when we're being invited to support a bill that again, treats Halifax Regional Municipality differently than the other municipalities in terms of the range of powers that they have.

Okay, both of those are preliminary points. It seems to me there are important points that the minister and his department should consider. Let us focus now on what it is that the bill in its detail, actually does.

The municipality, in this case, one municipality, HRM, is about to be given the power to expropriate properties that have been boarded up for a while as a result of the dangerous and unsightly premises powers. Nothing wrong with that. It's a good idea. I want to pause for a moment to observe that expropriation is, in fact, in the absence of a negotiated purchase and sale agreement, the right way to go.

Indeed, there are, I believe, some councillors at HRM who are on the Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee, who are of the opinion that the price to be paid by HRM, should be less than fair-market value. They advocated for that position. I've spoken to some of those councillors. I use to be a member of HRM's Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee myself, just like the honourable member for Clayton Park and the honourable minister, and I have to say that I cannot agree.

I do not agree with the proposition that these buildings should be acquired at less than fair-market value. What would be the rationale for that? Now I know it's not in the minister's bill and he seems to have rejected that, but we have to squarely face up to the idea that is out there. The buildings should be acquired not in the normal expropriation process, but at a price less than the price that would be set by the expropriation process, which of course, is fair-market value for the highest and best use of the land, as the minister says, plus expenses.

I cannot see the compelling rationale. It's certainly the case that when a community has been burdened over the years with dangerous and unsightly premises. Buildings that have been allowed to run down, buildings that have, in fact, become unsightly, dangerous, highly problematic, that there is a negative spinoff for the community around them. This is reflected

[Page 8806]

in the tax system. If those buildings are rundown, then presumably their value is less. Their assessment will be less. They will have paid less in the way of taxes and ultimately, when it's time for expropriation, the municipality will pay less for those buildings, but they won't pay less than fair-market value. They'll pay the fair-market value, which would reflect the state of deterioration. Of course it would reflect the state of deterioration of those buildings.

The only basis on which such an argument could be made, I think, is that the municipality can't afford to pay the fair-market value and would prefer to pay less. Well, too bad, is the answer to that. The municipality is simply going to have to engage in the process, if they decide to buy those buildings, to just pay whatever the freight is as determined independently or through negotiation. That's the fair way. Although the minister didn't engage with this particular issue, he's right not to have accepted that suggestion and he's right to have kept it out of the bill.

What I think we have to focus on is, what's going to happen next? What happens if the municipality actually does go ahead and acquire such property? In grappling with the situation, the municipalities are already engaging with a very tough problem. I know that in HRM, not really in my constituency, which has been fortunate to have virtually none of these buildings - I can only think of one or two and they were boarded up really only because of fire. In a couple of cases specifically, because the landlord was determined to run them into the ground in the hopes of being able to persuade the municipality to upzone what could be done on their property.

[4:45 p.m.]

Fortunately, in my own constituency, there have been hardly any of those buildings but I do know that in the adjacent constituency of, say, the honourable member for Halifax Needham, there are a number of buildings that are highly problematic and a number of neighbourhoods that are highly problematic. I know this from my general experience and, of course, from the time on Halifax City Council and on HRM's Council.

Let's make a distinction here that I think is also fundamental, which is between buildings which are owned by a landlord and those that are owner-occupied. Those buildings that are owner-occupied are sometimes simply rundown through the poverty of the owners. That does happen. Sometimes it's not the poverty, sometimes it's the mental illness. I don't know if you have ever experienced this, Mr. Speaker, but I know in my area from time to time I have run into a couple of people who, either from outright mental illness in the prime of their years, or through general degeneracy as they get older, are simply not paying attention to their properties and the properties run down. It's a family problem, it's a problem for the Public Trustee, it's a problem for the municipality and it's a problem for neighbours. It's one of those things which is isolated but it comes up. You have to deal with them. In general, those are owner-occupied properties and there is usually an interest on the part of the individual or their family in maintaining those buildings and keeping ownership of them,

[Page 8807]

or at least keeping them in good shape so that they can have a valuable asset to pass on to the next generation, or for their own family members to live in.

The real problem is with buildings that are owned by landlords who have living in them very poor tenants and they allow those buildings to become very rundown. Sometimes they are engaged in land assemblage. Sometimes what they are doing is buying up buildings purposely to allow them to run down. They do it - they allow the building to run down in a process of what's called block-busting. What they do is, they buy a building in a block, they let it run down. This has a knock-on effect with the surrounding buildings, which become undesirable. The value of those adjoining building will go down. The original buyer will then buy those buildings and they will have now two or three buildings in the same block or neighbourhood. They will then continue and continue so that they can end up with a land assemblage of a whole block or half a block, so that then they can come along with a larger development and try to persuade the council that it is desirable then to do something.

Well, something has to happen in order to offset that dynamic. The real entity that is in a position to do that, if the province isn't going to, is the municipality. This is true as I said earlier. It should be in every municipality that they should have the power to be able to fight back. I don't know why we are depriving all the municipalities of the opportunity to fight back.

So what is the municipality going to do? Are they going to just demolish the buildings once they have acquired them, through negotiation or expropriation, or are they going to rebuild? If they are going to rebuild what exactly are they going to rebuild? At this point, having thought our way through the framework that Bill No. 256 sets up, we're smack up against where we really ought to be which is, what is the province's housing policy?

What is the province's housing policy? What is it that the province has in place to help municipalities that want to resist the block-busting of certain developers, advance the need for good, affordable housing and not just in HRM but in all the municipalities of this province? What is the province's policy?

The answer, unfortunately, is, they're prepared to spend as few dollars as possible on moderate and affordable housing. So the key question, at the back of Bill No. 256, is, what happens next? What does happen next? Are we going to see a resurgence of slum clearance? Are we going to see some money put on the table to help the co-operatives, for example, that want to get going? Is real advantage going to be taken of the federal-provincial schemes that are in place in order to promote better housing in our municipalities?

So far the record has been pretty dismal in Nova Scotia. The opportunity exists in municipalities all around Nova Scotia to do something good based on the money that the federal government is prepared to cost share with the provinces and municipalities once this legal framework is in place to let them do so.

[Page 8808]

We'll pass this bill, that's fine. We will pass Bill No. 256. Maybe, as a result of the Law Amendments Committee process, its powers will be seen appropriately to extend to all municipalities, so that they can get on with this process. At least as offered to us by the honourable minister, it will apply in HRM. But the responsibility of the government doesn't end with setting the legal framework, the responsibility of the government is to see to it that there's follow-through; the responsibility of the government is to come up with some money in order to advance affordable housing in this province.

So that's going to be the test of this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to talk to it.

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on Bill No. 256, the Municipal Government Act. I rise on this occasion, and I'm wondering if maybe when the minister stands up in his place a little later on he could tell the members of the Legislature if he had offered this choice to the other municipalities in the province, specifically to the CBRM. I wonder if he discussed this bill with them.

I notice in Clause 18 of the bill it says this is strictly an HRM bill. I'm a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Cape Breton, and I'm just wondering if there was any contact made with CBRM to discuss this, because they have an Unsightly Premises Act also. There are quite a few buildings - actually we had a fire in my community on the weekend, a boarded-up building that was torched. I think they become fire hazards when they're boarded up. I think we have somebody committing arson in the community, burning these buildings down. So maybe this bill would be of great use to the CBRM. They could use this bill to help get rid of the bad buildings, bad owners, slum landlords and those types of things in the community.

I can go back and think of an incident on Webster Street. I remember this gentleman coming to my house and my office a few times asking about this Unsightly Premises Act. The building was burned, boarded up and then burned again, I guess. It was quite close to his house, and they burned a barn down. If this bill had been offered or in place in the CBRM, there's a possibility that some of the homeowners there wouldn't be calling my office or contacting me about getting rid of some of these things on the unsightly premises. My colleague, the member for Halifax Citadel, had said a two-tired system - Municipal Government Act - covered Halifax, being the most populated area of the province, and everything else.

I think this bill could maybe look at covering all the municipalities of the Province of Nova Scotia, not just a certain area of the HRM. I'm hoping that when the minister stands up that he could clarify for me and my colleagues whether CBRM was ever contacted or whether CBRM was ever asked to be a part of this bill.

[Page 8809]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to see this come forward, but I am surprised, I must say. I'm surprised by the scope of this bill, or perhaps the narrowness of this bill. It's interesting, as my colleague has pointed out, that yet again we have an instance of a Municipal Government Bill being specifically tailored to deal with one municipality - albeit the largest - rather than dealing with the phenomenon of municipalities in the Province of Nova Scotia. This is rather an unfortunate commentary on the state of the strength of the province, but it's yet one more manifestation.

However, having said that, I have some questions, and I would like to ensure that in fact these are addressed before such a bill is passed. This is giving some fairly strong powers by defining circumstances under which expropriation is appropriate. The first question I have is around the type of property which is eligible for expropriation. We see the words vacant, boarded up and I hear my colleagues talking of dangerous and unsightly. Those are four very different descriptions and those are things that do not necessarily overlap. I believe there are buildings which are boarded up which are not dangerous - some, one might argue, are not even unsightly. There are, however, vacant buildings which are not boarded up and should be and there are, most importantly, buildings which are not boarded up, they are not vacant, but they are certainly dangerous.

This is one of the difficulties I see with this bill because if there is an incentive for a landowner to hold onto a property as it runs into the ground and not find it liable for expropriation, there is also an incentive for the landowner to at least have somebody waving the flag - showing the property is in some way occupied. This is where we run into some of the worst failures of the housing department in Nova Scotia.

It has been deemed too expensive for the Province of Nova Scotia to initiate any sort of a program of regular inspection of commercially rented premises - premises which are residential but are rented by a landowner who has enough of these properties to deem it a commercial enterprise. It has been said that it is simply too expensive to engage in any kind of an inspection regime. Yet, such an inspection regime, it seems to me, would be an important way of safeguarding the lives and health of the inhabitants of some of the buildings which are, in fact, business enterprises for their landowners.

We need to be very careful indeed to distinguish between vacant buildings and abandoned buildings. If landowners have the incentive to keep these buildings somewhat occupied, then there is a real danger for the inhabitants of those buildings.

Another caution which I would have concerns the character of the property, including the building. This bill, as I understand it, refers to properties which include boarded up buildings. My question is, how large can such a property be? HRM is a municipality the size of Prince Edward Island and by no means all of it is an urban core. There are a number of

[Page 8810]

abandoned buildings or boarded up buildings which stand on very large, very desirable lots of land. There is some question, I would say, as to whether the package of land should be severed - which includes the boarded up building - whether there should be a forced subdivision of some sort because does 200 acres become dangerous and unsightly because it includes a small, boarded up building? Technically, this could be the case.

Some of the buildings which are abandoned would fall into the category of orphan. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has been very specific about the need to address these so-called orphan properties in the context of brown fields, formerly contaminated properties. Frequently there are abandoned buildings associated with these.

In my own riding, which includes the Herring Cove Road, there are any number of commercial properties which have worn the sign "Opening Soon", such and such a business, for five, six and even seven years and the question is, when the economic climate is changing so rapidly, when property assessments are climbing so rapidly, what is it that makes these buildings still ready to open and yet no one is willing to open them.

I have heard, and I believe this to be true, that the problem is that many of these contain significant environmental liabilities. Many of these are built on old dump sites, including oil spills - I can, in fact, think of one absolutely charming small house which has been boarded up for some length of time because there was an oil spill in the basement when the oil tank was being filled and this will, in fact, end up being demolished because the possible liability is not something which has been estimated.

In the case of commercial properties, however, particularly in the outskirts of the city, particularly in areas that one might consider suburban now and formerly rural, there are large properties which include abandoned buildings which have been associated with contaminating uses, and who is liable? Right now, the person who's liable is the landowner and if the landowner sells a contaminated property, the landowner remains liable for that.

[5:00 p.m.]

Now, the federal government at the national round table on energy and the Environment has made very, very strong suggestions that there needs to be a regulatory regime in place which deals with this kind of liability, defines it, and puts these properties back into circulation. This bill does not, as far as I can see, make it mandatory for the municipality to expropriate properties, including boarded-up buildings. Therefore, I believe that a number of these buildings are going to remain every bit as much of a problem as ever they were because the cost of environmental liability is so great.

[Page 8811]

There's another kind of an example which is an interesting one. At the moment the province is debating over the assumption of a number of lighthouses the federal government has deaccessioned and is offering initially to the provinces, then the protocol is to municipalities, then to community groups. The question is, what does it cost to remediate a property which may have been contaminated by the mercury used in the old lights and, in the meantime, these federally-owned properties too are boarded up. They are orphans and, according to this, presumably there is even room for an end-run here. The federal government is very, very clear that it wants to deaccession without having done the remediation work.

So, in fact, I would think that one of the largest problems of this legislation is that within HRM, which is not only an urban area but has included significant industrial tracts of land, there are properties which HRM simply will not want and neither will any private landowner. I must say I was very pleased to see that we're moving towards the removal of the business occupancy tax because that at least in increasing the commercial taxation base to a level whether the building is occupied or not, removes some of the incentive many commercial property owners may have had to leave these buildings empty rather than remediating and reusing or selling. So as I say, there should be some discussion as to whether, in fact, this power should be required to be exercised or whether there will be simply a cherry-picking exercise and a cherry-picking exercise which can indeed be a very lucrative one.

One other question around that, and perhaps falls in the category of cherry-picking, is just how long the stem is. The notice period is possibly short and there are questions around who will be establishing the value to be paid for these properties. Once again, whether the property is in fact contaminated has an impact on it, but this is a portion of fair-market value and I see no reason for the need for remediation to lower the price paid.

I would also like to make one final caution and that is returning to the question of vacant versus boarded up, versus abandoned, versus dangerous, versus unsightly. At least some of these are questions in which unsightliness is in the eye of the beholder. If we are to have a broad and sudden sweep of all boarded-up properties of age in a municipality which does not support or encourage the designation of its very valuable heritage buildings, then we do run the risk of a broad and final sweep of some of the last remaining and particularly vernacular heritage buildings in this area. There is no denying that Halifax and the Halifax Regional Municipality has been a large part of the core of the development of Nova Scotia and tell a great deal of the story of Nova Scotia.

We have significant housing issues, we have development pressures, but we must also be sure that we are not, along the way, encouraging a mass demolition which will produce a single age of buildings produced in the wake of this. Even old buildings, even sometimes abandoned buildings are, in fact, a part of the texture of the landscape.

[Page 8812]

I would like to know, what is to happen to the buildings once acquired by the municipality? Will they be demolished? Will they be rehabilitated? Will the municipality, in fact, perform what's called a double-closing exercise, purchase, hold title long enough to negotiate, purchase with an appropriate community group or private owner and have this building returned to a use which is perhaps close to its original use?

The way we regenerate neighbourhoods sometimes is one step at a time. It is not sometimes by wholesale clearance. We have seen wholesale clearances in this city and we continue to suffer the after-effects. In fact, we continue to suffer the after-effects exactly in those areas where the wholesale clearances did take place before. That, to me, says something about just how tenable it is to go in and sweep something out, simply because it is empty, without making sincere and committed efforts to see it reused.

I would not like to see expropriation be tantamount to a death sentence for every single building because abandoned does not necessarily mean dangerous and it does not necessarily mean unsightly. But we could be on a very fast track to unsightly and on a very fast track to abandonment or reabandonment of larger areas than ever before if, in fact, we don't scrutinize what is to happen to buildings once they have passed into municipal hands.

So, again, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that the intent of the bill is good. It is, in fact, important that we don't have areas which foster undesirable uses or which become dangerous to trespassers. At the same time, I believe we need to have proper provisions for public input and we need to have commitment to ensuring that this is not simply the removal of a building which will leave an environmentally contaminated property behind, or the removal of a building which, in fact, opens up an extraordinarily large tract of accompanied land to unknown disposition.

We do, in fact, still have a basic premise of respect for landowners' rights and I would like to ensure that property owners do receive appropriate notice and chance to remediate, and having failed to do so, that there is community input into the fate of these buildings and properties.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will sit down. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on an introduction.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring the House's attention to the west gallery, where we have this evening the Clearwater employees, CAW Local 596. As I call the names I would ask them to stand: Linda MacNeil, Susan Burrows, Wanda Gracie, Darlene MacNeil, Ruby Robinson, Lynn LeBlanc, Heather Bungay, Jackie Evans and

[Page 8813]

Bonnie MacRae. I would like them to receive the warm welcome of the House, please. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests here today and hope they enjoy the proceedings of the House.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, just briefly on this Bill No. 256, the Municipal Government Act, I tend to share some of the concerns of my colleague from the NDP, the member for Cape Breton Nova. (Interruptions) I said I share the concerns, not the ideals. (Laughter) I share those concerns because of the fact that I'm left wondering - the minister will probably be able to explain this further - why this applies to Halifax Regional Municipality, why it doesn't apply to other regional municipalities, specifically the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Mr. Speaker, if the minister wants to see abandoned, vacant, dilapidated, substandard, unsightly, boarded-up houses, pay a visit to Glace Bay. Come, I'll show you what happens in a community, and the bottom line on this one is, we have to deal with this as legislators, but if affordable housing was there in the first place, these structures would have been torn down long ago and replaced with decent, affordable housing for the people who deserve it in the first place.

So those that are boarded up - and that's my main question here right now. As some of the members have posed, what's the difference between a boarded-up building or a vacant building, or an unsightly premise? Again, I can show you all of the above in Glace Bay. These lead to a lot of problems. Number one, especially in an area such as Cape Breton. The area where I come from still has a number of homes which you call duplexes in Halifax and we call company homes in Cape Breton, and these company homes are in some cases over 100 years old. You tear down one half, the other half is left to fix up. One of the major problems you have is finding the actual funding for the homeowners - who are usually living on fixed incomes and so on - to fix up the other half of that building. It also leads to some problems, with everything from rats to mice, to arson, to parties, drinking, drug parties that are held in those abandoned buildings.

Not that I don't welcome the legislation, it's welcome, I'm just left wondering why only one part, one municipality - and I understand, as well, Mr. Speaker, that there may be a cost factor involved here and the cost the regional municipality would have to bear and whether or not some municipalities in this province would actually want to bear that cost as opposed to perhaps the ability of the Halifax Regional Municipality to accept this cost.

So those are some of the questions that I have regarding Bill No. 256, the Municipal Government Act, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

[Page 8814]

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I feel like I have spent two hours and 10 minutes in the dentist's chair without any freezing. The member for Halifax Chebucto talked about Dillon's Rule and I thought he was referring maybe to Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan said you "Gotta Serve Somebody" - this bill is about serving somebody. Halifax Regional Municipality made the request, and we complied with the request.

There were a number of questions asked and issues raised during debate, and I'll try to go through some of those. With respect to other municipalities, whether or not they requested or indeed even would like similar powers, I'll say that as the member for Halifax Fairview correctly pointed out, we not only consulted with his caucus in terms of providing him with advance notice that we were bringing this forward, and the Liberal caucus, we also approached the UNSM and asked them for their view and input and, at that time, they felt it was reasonable and appropriate to move in this direction. As I said in my opening remarks, if another municipality were interested in having similar pieces of legislation, we would review it and consider it at that time.

I would point out to those who are asking for that, the provision that enables HRM, if this bill passes in its form, to expropriate these properties, is very expensive, and some municipalities may not want to bear that expense. That is why I would expect that some would see this as being somewhat regressive, and other municipalities, I would say, use other tools to deal with dangerous and unsightly premises within the existing Municipal Government Act.

The member for Halifax Fairview also pointed out the difference between what he says is in the letter and the intent of the bill. I would say this, that the bill actually meets the intent of the council resolution, and our staff worked very closely with staff at HRM to draft this bill and, at the end of the day, we believe we have support of HRM staff in terms of the direction that we went.

Having said that, there were a number of speakers who pointed out, in fact correctly so, that we have to be very careful and ensure that fair-market value is achieved to those property owners. There are all kinds of reasons why buildings end up boarded and vacant, including disasters that people have no control over, like a fire. What we wanted to do was have a level of protection for the property owner, those people who own those buildings, and an authority for the municipality to deal with this issue.

[Page 8815]

[5:15 p.m.]

I would point out that the Municipal Government Act, in many cases, provides for opportunities for one municipality or another to have powers that others don't have. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There have been cases and examples in this House where we've granted powers to Yarmouth, for example, to levy a tax; to Halifax, for example, to levy a tax for tourism. So there are plenty of examples where in this Legislature we've provided opportunities for municipalities to do something that may not be permitted in other municipalities, only based on the request.

This bill uses a tried and tested approach using expropriation. I think it's the most appropriate way we can provide the municipality with a tool to help them resolve some of the dangers and unsightly premises issues they've had since I was chairman of the Halifax Regional Municipality Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee. I know it's very frustrating for the councillors and for the residents who live in those neighbourhoods, but this provides them with a tool.

The member for Dartmouth North pointed out that Manitoba has similar provisions and I think I informed him of that last week. That's true, but what he didn't say is that Manitoba, although they have provisions in their Municipal Government Act to allow this to happen, they have never used those provisions.

The good thing about this bill is that it may never have to be used either. It simply provides the municipalities with a level of weight that may enable them the force that's necessary to bring these buildings back into compliance with the dangerous and unsightly premises bylaw. That's what we're hoping for.

Again, I would say the bill reflects the intent of council resolution. The bill uses a fair process that's both tried and tested. Again I would say, that simple weight of the legislation may be enough to provide council with a tool they need to ensure these buildings are complied with.

In closing, I would say that I am appreciative of the comments opposite. The intent of this bill was to provide both balance and opportunity for the municipality to clean up some of these issues. I know that as a former member of Halifax Regional Municipality, as a former chairman of the Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee, they're very, very difficult issues to deal with.

The other provisions in the bill around electronic filing are, I think, positive-step- forward things that enable this municipality, this province and all municipalities in this province to move forward with the current age of electronic commerce.

[Page 8816]

Having said that, I move second reading of Bill No. 256.

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

The motion is carried.

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

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I want to advise the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations that when I was speaking about the Manitoba legislation, I did indicate - and Hansard will show that tomorrow - that it never had to come into force, although it's a good piece of legislation that caused the municipalities and some landlords to come to grips with the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: That's not a point of order.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 258.

Bill No. 258 - Building Code Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Labour, I move second reading of Bill No. 258, the Building Code Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm rising to speak briefly to the amendments to the Building Code Act.

I had been hoping the responsible minister could say a bit more than the Minister of Community Services just said. I know he's standing in for the other minister, but you kind of hope that on second reading - which is debate in principle - the government could lay out a little better what the bill's about.

What's it for? Why is this before the Legislature? After over four years in this place, it continues to disappoint me to see government ministers stand up and basically say, I move second reading, without any indication of what the bill says or what it's for or why this is a good thing or why we ought to vote in favour of it. I am grateful to the Department of Environment and Labour for providing a briefing to us on the bill, which I received late

[Page 8817]

Friday afternoon. The gist of the bill is to professionalize municipal building inspectors essentially, and there are a number of changes and consequential changes to the Building Code Act in order to accomplish that purpose.

Now, my introduction to this whole subject of building inspectors was when I was a relatively new MLA and I sat on a select committee of the Legislature dealing with fire safety and I learned more than most people ever need to know about the Building Code, the fire code, building inspectors, fire inspectors - and I also learned there's a bit of tension between the two about their respective areas of responsibility and professional qualification. So it is my understanding, subject to anything we might hear at the Law Amendments Committee, that this bill receives a general support from the municipalities and from the building inspectors and what it should do is professionalize that industry. There are a few other changes - very, very minor things. For example, it's over 10 years ago that the County Court of Nova Scotia was abolished and this bill now, more than 10 years later, is changing the references to the County Court so that it means Supreme Court, that kind of housekeeping thing.

It is interesting though, Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday night I had occasion, at a dinner for Habitat for Humanity - which I might add is a very, very worthwhile organization and charity, and it has an annual fundraising dinner that I attended again this year - I happened to be sitting at a table with a fellow who owns a door and window company. He didn't live in my constituency, but we got to talking and I asked him, as somebody in the building trades, somebody who is supplying this kind of material for new homes, if you could change one thing or if you could say one thing to politicians about what you and your business and your industry needs, what would it be?

I thought it could cover a whole range of things. It could have been taxes; it could have been regulation. It could have been all kinds of things, but what he said to me was the one thing that I need is the Building Code to be enforced. There's nothing wrong with the Building Code as it stands - or actually I might not go that far because I think my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Centre actually might want to remark on that - the Building Code is fine, the problem is how do you enforce it, because especially in the big municipalities like HRM, where there are hundreds of projects going on at any given time, the time of the building inspectors is at a premium and they can't be everywhere all the time.

What this fellow, who owned a door and window company, said what happens is that his windows and doors get put into projects very shoddily, and the builders know exactly how to cover it up so the building inspector can't see their work, and then when the windows and doors leak he gets the call that says there's something wrong with the windows and doors. He says there's absolutely nothing wrong with his windows and doors, they're top of the market and top quality, the problem is the way that they were installed and the fact that the people who were installing them know exactly how to cover up the fact that they're not following the Building Code.

[Page 8818]

So then I had a lovely chat last Friday afternoon with a fellow at the Department of Environment and Labour who deals with Building Code matters and I put this to him. He said, really, at the end of the day - and I don't want to quote him, I don't want to purport to quote him - the gist of what he was saying was that at the end of the day there's really nothing you can do. There's really nothing you can do. If you can't have a building inspector on-site all the time, there's really nothing you can do, and all you can do, as with so many other areas of government, is educate the people, educate the builders about the proper code and why it's important that it be followed.

But it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that no matter what the code says, you will always have people whose market niche is cutting corners and doing work more cheaply than anybody else. The reason that they do it more cheaply is simply because they're not following the rules. Maybe they don't know how to follow the rules or maybe they do, but at any rate they don't follow the rules.

Is this bill actually going to help with that problem, which is identified for me by a business owner as the number one problem? Is it going to help us with enforcement of the Building Code? Well, probably not. Is it a step forward in some way? Yes, it probably is but it's not at all clear that this is going to solve the problem that the good, decent, honest builders of this province have with the system. It is not at all clear it is going to solve that problem.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, we'll be very interested to see whether anybody signs up for the Law Amendments Committee, and if they do, what they have to say about this bill. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE : Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to go on the record as saying for our critic, who is not present at this time, that it is basically a housekeeping piece of legislation. There may be - he did point out that there may be - something that the provincial body may like changed to a small degree, but for the most part, everything seems fine with this piece of legislation and are certainly prepared to move it on to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre. (Interruptions)

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Will he be this impressed when I'm finished? (Laughter) You know, Mr. Speaker, in some instances, the previous speaker is right. It is housekeeping in some manner but it is much more than that too, when we talk about the Building Code and inspectors. What we're talking about is not only the idea of someone coming in and looking at a building, someone whose dwelling they may be erecting at one point or another. We're

[Page 8819]

not just looking at much of our municipal infrastructure, but all of our infrastructure, from time to time.

This kind of leads you into one of the areas that kind of worries me in what is not in this bill. What is not in Bill No. 258 is bringing up our codes to standards of a national level that would require skilled and authorized tradespeople to do a lot of this work. That is kind of - why do we continuously see from this government bills that are, again, to use that term - housekeeping in nature, when really this is kind of, I guess - germane to this. We don't need housekeeping, we need a whole house built here, Mr. Speaker, around this bill. There are many things that are lacking in here, in even some of its proposals.

You know, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, I'm sure, where you come from in Pictou County and where I come from, in CBRM, there are not a lot of rich people there. There are people who will build a home over a period of time. Rather than go deep into debt, they will buy a home and maybe get some money together and either pour a foundation or put a footer in, in the Fall, and then next Spring, maybe they'll cap it and maybe they'll erect some walls, and even if money allows make it weather-tight.

But what this is calling for, is that there will actually be limitations on permits. Now, that sounds fine and good if you're doing a large project, but it makes no sense, because in a large project, you're confined by a negotiated price anyway and a delivery date, so that doesn't impact in this legislation. The person who is going to be impacted on this is the fellow I'm talking about, the family of modest means who wants to go and build their structure, take their time and get into the structure from little or no expense.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I know, across the way, there are some members over there that can just contract their house out and have it built right on the highway. I know some of them have great craftsmanship in their homes. I have seen that. One place in particular, it's a smashing house. (Interruption) Well, I didn't hear what the member said but it's a nice home. One of the ministers owned it.

[5:30 p.m.]

Nonetheless, it's people that have more modest means than that member, that sometimes build a home over a long period of time. This would be an undue penalty, Mr. Speaker, if you put a limitation. When I built my home, or had it built, the only real piece of information I got when I was building my home was from my father-in-law, who was a superb carpenter and tradesman, when he told me one very valuable piece of information. He said, how not to hit your finger when you hammer a nail. And you know what he told me, he was absolutely right, hold the hammer with two hands. (Laughter) That's the only piece of carpenter wit (Interruptions)

[Page 8820]

Mr. Speaker, this bill is not, in essence, by itself, a bad bill, but there are some flaws in it. I'm saying, when constructing my home, it was built over a period of time to alleviate the possibility of having a large mortgage. We were fortunate to do that. We started my home in about 1979 and moved into it in 1981, the Christmas of 1981 as a matter of fact. It was over a period of time.

One of the strangest things is that when we did get a building permit - unlike the banana belt in Yarmouth, we have rain and snow in Cape Breton - they give you a piece of cardboard for your permit. You're supposed to put that outside somewhere, and that's supposed to sustain the weather in Cape Breton. It's just a silly thing. There's no talk about making something more sustainable, almost like a bike licence that you used to put on bicycles, something that would sustain through the weather. There's nothing about that in here.

Mr. Speaker, there's another problem, too, because when we talk about qualifications for inspectors, there was always the joke that, whether it was in something like regional housing or something like that, the supervisor job always went to the carpenter, just because they knew structure. They knew structure, they knew if the walls would fall down. Yet in today's complex construction industry, we have people working on electrical, we'll see people running with hot wires, and we'll see another group in there running low voltage and so on. So this has now become a much more sophisticated business than it was 10, 15 years ago. One could make the argument, as my friend did before, about well-constructed windows, windows that come basically as doors do now, pre-hung - and it's just a matter of sliding them into place. (Interruptions) Pre-hung, just like a door.

What do we do if the person installing it doesn't really understand the code, or the person inspecting it doesn't realize the manufacturing specs on it? You have problems. So this is why we need to make sure that our inspectors are the best qualified. I guess that goes back to why aren't we talking, in this bill, about bringing everything up to the national code? We're not talking about someone who's making a little table-and-chair set for their child's dolls' tea party; we're talking about building our infrastructure. There's no real discussion in this bill, there's no real thought in this bill about what's going to take place for training in any substantive way.

There have been some changes. It contemplates certain violations and how they will deal with them through the courts, and how long they have before they come to the court, Mr. Speaker. I'm trying not to talk substantively, too much, on Bill No. 258, but the principle of this should be broader in nature. This bill, as some previous speakers have said, is not a particularly offensive bill. It's so indicative of bills we're seeing coming through the House lately from this government, there's nothing substantive in there.

[Page 8821]

When we're asking for leadership and we're asking to be shown how this is going to operate in today's construction industry, it's lacking any substance. There's absolutely no substance in there. It's just we're changing names, you know, we're going from chairman to chair, which are all very good things, but in the substantive world of getting things done and trying to make sure that when people come to build in Nova Scotia, when people come to buy buildings in Nova Scotia, and when people pay taxes, all down the line that they realize that this has been inspected and we have reasonable assurances that these are good inspections, that they will work, and that this building will be safe. It will be safe not only to live in, but it's safe to work in.

So, Mr. Speaker, I will be taking my place shortly, but I just wish when the government would take the time and burden our bureaucrats to craft a bill for them, that they would say that it's important. We've got one shot to get stuff like this right. Probably most of the legislative time of the members in here, they're probably never going to see another bill on the Building Code. So why not take that opportunity to make it the best we can. Instead, we get a skeleton bill. This is a bill that doesn't harm anybody but in a lot of ways it doesn't help anybody.

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

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I stand today to close second reading on Bill No. 258, but I do have a few things I would like to say. I certainly appreciate the comments from across the way.

We're looking at making some improvements to the Building Code Act and one of the improvements that we've endeavoured to try to make is that we have minimum qualifications for building officials, we have stiffer penalties and a more inclusive Building Advisory Committee, and those are some of the issues that are addressed in this bill. Certainly they are there so that we can protect the safety of Nova Scotians.

It's important to have these updates, Mr. Speaker. There has been a lot of work and I think it would be worthwhile to point out to the members across the way that there has been a lot of consultation that has gone into this bill. Currently we have letters of support from the UNSM. We also have letters of support from the Nova Scotia Association of Architects, the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Building Officials Association, the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission, the Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association, the Nova Scotia Home Designers' Association, the Atlantic Provinces Building Supply Dealers Association, the Nova Scotia and P.E.I. Regional Council of Carpenters, Millwrights and Allied Workers, and the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council.

[Page 8822]

So I just wanted to point out that this is not something that we brought in very quickly. There has been a lot of work that has taken place, a lot of consultation between the department and those groups that are out there that will benefit from this, as well as all Nova Scotians who will benefit from an increased level of qualification of the building official. So we believe that that's important to the province, important to homeowners, and to home builders. Also it's worthwhile pointing out that these officials, the once inspectors who are officials will be there in a capacity to help individuals who are building their own houses or individuals who are the primary contractor, to be able to work with them to ensure that they are in compliance as they move forward.

One of the other avenues that they'll be there for is for contractors, who typically go above and beyond the call of duty and make sure that they always follow all codes, but our officials will be there. We will look at uniform training for these officials from Yarmouth to Sydney and we'll make sure that they are able to have a level of competence to ensure that buildings are constructed in a safe and orderly manner and that's not something that we don't have today. However, we felt it necessary to make sure that officials have a level of qualification that we believe is essential for us to move forward in today's changing society where materials are constantly changing and building processes are improving on a continual basis. We want to make sure that our inspectors are able to enforce the Building Code Act and there will be work that will continue with the organizations and the groups that I've just previously mentioned to make sure that we have everything up-to-date and in place.

It's important, Mr. Speaker, that we improve the Building Code by setting some standards and, this is again, I point out, not something that has come about quickly, it's something that has had a tremendous amount of discussion with a lot of people. We certainly had individuals and staff in the department who have worked tirelessly with people to make sure that we have come up with a bill that will result in an improved level of safety for the Province of Nova Scotia.

We've also increased the offences, and I know offences are a deterrent, but it is important to have deterrence whenever you're looking at inspection and whenever you're looking at regulation and you're trying to ensure that people realize the importance of following the codes and the regulations.

So, under that, fines for an individual can be anywhere from $500 to $25,000 and imprisonment for one year for people who don't abide by the codes, and corporations can face fines from $1,000 to $50,000, and for more serious offences that result in loss of life or catastrophic impact on a community, individuals can be fined up to $150,000 or imprisoned for up to two years for each offence. Those are certainly not issues that we want to occur, but I think whenever you put in regulation, whenever you put in Acts, you have to have some type of measure to let people know how serious it is to follow the rules of the road and make sure that what they are building they're building very safely.

[Page 8823]

Companies and directors of companies can also be fined up to $250,000, and this brings the Nova Scotia Building Code Act in line with other provincial public safety legislation across our province and across Canada. We've also added the power to order compliance with code, and we have added, as well, a new sentencing option, with which the members opposite would be familiar, and it allows the courts to require payment into a public education fund and in addition to any fine that's been levied. So the Occupational Health and Safety Division in our department has used that very successfully and it has worked very well, we believe. They've used the fund to run ad campaigns and to educate the public about hazards which have led to serious injuries or death, and the company that has been involved is the company that's the focus of the ad, and that illustrates what they could have done to prevent future incidents. So it not only serves as a deterrent to the company, but also educates the public in very important issues on workplace health and safety. So this will be a tool that this Act will allow us to have to ensure compliance.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude my remarks and thank the members opposite for their interventions and their discussions. I move second reading of Bill No. 258.

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

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 257.

Bill No. 257 - Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to stand tonight and open second reading on Bill No. 257, an Act to Amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 1996. The Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.

This one, Mr. Speaker, is a pretty simple housekeeping piece which simply removes the limit on the amount that a loan guarantee or the loan or a guarantee of the loan that the board can make without the approval of Governor in Council to be set by regulations. As you know over the last few years the cost of building a vessel has increased dramatically. The limit had been set at about $500,000 over the last number of years. Boats, at this point, let's say a 45-foot, 35-foot boat for the lobster fishery is getting in now around $600,000, $700,000. So, therefore, every one of those boats has to go through the extra process of

[Page 8824]

preparing documentation to go through Cabinet. We feel that the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board are outstanding people who can make decisions on their own, and we just want to pass it along to them to make that decision.

[5:45 p.m.]

What this does is allow Cabinet to make the regulation, to set that limit at a point that makes sense. At this point, we're researching that number - that number should range somewhere in between $1 million and a few dollars more - so that people can make those decisions. By example, just recently two boats came across our desk, one was $617,000 and it takes almost an extra month for that red tape to go through. Another one was well over the $2 million mark. We are seeing bigger boats, safer boats, ones that use that resource to a better level.

I look forward to the remarks to be made by the Opposition and by the Third Party to see what their thoughts are on it, maybe give us an idea as we go forward to what those spending limits should be. So with that, I will take my place and move second reading of Bill No. 257.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak on this bill. I want to thank the minister for introducing it because it's not very often in this House - considering how much fishery is a part of our provincial culture, economy, history and quite frankly, our future - we don't have many opportunities to speak on these issues. Mainly because under our Constitution it's a federal issue.

But, there are opportunities that do arise from time to time and this is a good jumping off spot. I want to say that anything we can do to make it easier to facilitate loans to fishermen to be able to buy the boats they need to be able to do their jobs, is good for Nova Scotia.

I think there needs to be more done. Mr. Speaker. You may know that I represent in Eastern Passage, maybe 28 boats and the number of fishermen that would go with that. The member for Eastern Shore is questioning that, but I can look out of my window any day and count them and I can assure you how many are there. Yes, 28 boats I would say, there's many more fishermen than that and we also have a fish processing plant there as well.

This is an ongoing issue in my constituency as it is for other members in this House. I can look across the way and of the 25 members that are in the government caucus, I'm sure that over half if not more would have fishermen of some number in their ridings - probably two-thirds would have fishermen in their ridings. I'm looking forward to hearing from those members of the government caucus when they stand up to talk about the fishermen in their

[Page 8825]

riding. The issues they have with regard to fishing and why Bill No. 257 is a good start with regard to making it easier for these fishermen, for these communities to maintain the boats in their community.

Frankly, a lot more has to be done. I know the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries is sympathetic to this, but talk is talk and walk is walk. It's time we as a province begin to recognize this is an important part of maintaining the way of life and economy in rural Nova Scotia. Rural Nova Scotia in the past 15 to 20 years has faced an onslaught of problems that have resulted - not in Nova Scotia, this isn't just a problem in Nova Scotia. It's a problem in Saskatchewan, in Nebraska. It's probably a problem in Russia and I know it is in China. People are leaving rural areas to come to the cities - urbanization of the population - people coming to larger centres because of the type of work. The amount of work and the value of the work, the pay for it, is such that people are enticed to move into cities. It's an ongoing phenomenon around the world, urbanization, people leaving rural communities.

But, there are problems that come with that. There are a lot of problems that can come with that. We see it in metro, we see the ballooning cost of housing, homelessness, and other issues that are arising in HRM that - and I know from my constituency, a suburban constituency - I go and knock on the doors and they're from Newfoundland and Labrador, Cape Breton, rural Nova Scotia, rural New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island. Very few come from other parts of Canada or the United States or the world, most of them come from rural Atlantic Canada. They're moving to Halifax because, frankly, they want to have some of the lifestyle that is accustomed to living in Atlantic Canada, some of the cultural aspects of it, yet they know the work is here.

This is destroying our fishing communities. It's not something we need to continue to push. This is my point. There's a difference between recognizing urbanization is happening, that urbanization is a phenomenon happening around the world and then having government policies that encourage urbanization. What we have with regard to our fishery is just that. Between trust agreements, individual quotas, what we're doing and the transfer of those, is we're creating situations where we're going to have employees working boats.

I believe this has already happened in British Columbia to a great extent. You have employees working boats, making a certain amount of income, but the concept of an owner/operator or the owner/fisherman, one who owns his or her own boat, that is their own licence and collecting the quota, whether it's lobster, tuna, any number of fisheries, Mr. Speaker, fish species, these people are the heart and soul of communities, not only the employees who are very important and they work, but there is a heck of a lot of money - I think we all know - if you live in a community with a fishing base, there is a lot of money generated by the owner/operators of fishing vessels in Nova Scotia. That money stays in the community. They're buying houses, they're supplying their boats, they're selling to a local fish plant.

[Page 8826]

All this will change. Maybe some would argue it's changing already. I think it is. But it's not too late to stop. We're in a situation where both the Nova Scotia Government and the federal government is doing little to actually try to stop this onslaught, Mr. Speaker, of trying to prevent the deterioration of the owner/operator of fishing boats in Nova Scotia, in the communities. Whether it's through co-operatives, whether it's through community quotas, whether it's through ensuring that fishermen are able to transfer their licences to their children or to other loved ones who want to continue the practice of fishing, both the boat and the licence, we need to do something. Otherwise, we're going to have communities throughout this province that are going to have boats being operated by employees, the vast majority of the profit coming from those boats being sent to a central location.

Now, it may not all be Halifax yet, it may not be Toronto, but you never know. There are companies based in Halifax that are probably eager to buy out licences, fish them as employees and then take most of the profit and keep it for themselves or their shareholders, Mr. Speaker. But the fact is, that destroys the economy of rural Nova Scotia, it destroys the economy of these fishing villages and these fishing communities, from Lockeport to Digby, to even my own, in Eastern Passage, and beyond. These are places where we have owner/operators operating their own vessels, hiring local people and from that, you end up having what frankly has been a sustainable fishery for 400 years in Atlantic Canada, since the time of John Cabot when he dipped that bucket into the water off the Grand Banks and said, there's so many fish here, I can't stop but have a full bucket just by dropping it into the water.

Mr. Speaker, we've had a sustainable fishery in Atlantic Canada, in Nova Scotia for 400 years. The French were fishing in my riding and McNab's Island in the 16th Century and from then until now we have had a sustainable fishery. This loan board needs to do more than just deal with the issue of ensuring that you can get a loan, a larger loan for a fishing boat. There needs to be more it can do to address the issue of fishing. We need to use the policies of the government through the Fisheries Loan Board, through other policies, through advocacy work with the federal government to make sure that, in our communities, we can maintain a sustainable fishery.

The last time we had a major policy shift in our country away from community-based fishing to corporate fishing, Mr. Speaker, we saw what happened. The boats, the large ocean-going fishing vessels that were used by corporations in this province and in Newfoundland and Labrador destroyed the cod fishery. They raked the bottom of the ocean and from it they reaped more than they could sew, literally. The fish weren't able to keep up with the pace that we were harvesting. What had been a sustainable fishery for 400 years was at risk 30 or 40 years ago when we moved to the large ocean-going fishing vessels owned by corporations and it's at risk now.

[Page 8827]

We destroyed some of those fish stocks already. They may never come back. Mr. Speaker, now we need to look at how we can ensure that things like lobster fisheries, things like crab fisheries, tuna, things like that, that in many cases are being done at a local level, these things need to be maintained at the local level. Communities need to have control, either as a group or by individuals in those communities. We need to ensure their licences stay in the community.

The Fisheries Loan Board, Mr. Speaker, must be doing more to ensure that happens. They must be, I would argue, provide assistance to young fishermen, young fishing women who want to buy the licences, whether it's their parents, whether it's their relatives, whether it's someone in the community. They should be able to access the funds, and if it isn't through this there must be another way in which we can do it. Not to talk about a bill before the House, but we have suggested tax credits for those who - there are a lot of fishermen retiring in the next few years, so that they're able to pass it on to loved ones, their children, others, and then be able to ensure they're not going to have to pay the tax on it.

Mr. Speaker, in theory a fisherman can hand a licence to his son or his daughter and say I want you to fish it and here's my lobster licence worth - what? - $1 million, $1.1 million in some places. I know from where I am in Eastern Passage, all the way over to Digby it's the most lucrative lobster fishery probably in the world because it has been maintained. There have been quotas, if you look at what happened in Maine, and at least we've had some controls and as a result these licences are worth $1 million, upwards of $1 million.

Now, they can hand that to their son and say, I don't need that money, you take it, but then they have to pay tax on it; they have to pay the capital gains tax on that. I'm not sure exactly what the rate is for capital gains, but we're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if they gave it to their son or daughter for free, they have to pay an equivalent of the tax on the fair-market value of that licence because we do not exempt fishermen and their licences and their boats from capital gains like we do farmers and the land that they have - that's wrong and that's something that this province has to do.

Now this province can hold its hands and say the federal government is in charge of these issues, but I think it's important to understand that we have our own tax code now; we decoupled a few years ago. The former Minister of Finance, from the same riding as the current Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, provided that we decoupled our tax code, which gives us the opportunity through the tax system to do things our own way - tax credits, other incentives - to ensure that we are doing what we can. Is it everything? Maybe not. Does the federal government have to get involved? Absolutely. But to stand in this House and say I have to wait for the federal government to act is only fiddling while Rome burns, Mr. Speaker. We're keeping out of the hands of our communities licences that are going to be bought by corporations, bought by individuals and corporations based in more central

[Page 8828]

locations, and it's going to be the destruction of the villages and the fishing communities in Nova Scotia. It's not going to happen overnight.

You know, Mr. Speaker, it's like they say about the frog. You can put a frog in boiling water and the frog will jump out of the water, or you can put a frog in regular water and turn up the heat and slowly the frog will die, slowly and in such a way that it's not perceptible to them that the heat is going up - it's that kind of slow death that we're seeing in our communities, that we're seeing in our fishing villages. We were lucky in many cases in Nova Scotia, at least on my part of the coast, and down the South Shore and into the Yarmouth and Digby area, that the lobster fishery has maintained its viability.

I know, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, in your area, in the Northumberland Strait, it's not the same issue. I know that in that area there have been a lot of issues raised about the depletion of the catches with regard to lobster. In many cases lobster was the one thing that kept Nova Scotia different than in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Newfoundland fishery was destroyed because they were so dependent on what we might say is less expensive fish stocks. Lobster licences in many ways are the one thing that for the number of months that you're able to fish them, Nova Scotians can rely on for that income, that stability, and that's in question now, in parts of the province like yours.

In parts of the province like mine, Mr. Speaker, I think the catches have actually been more abundant than they have ever been, or they've been pretty good anyway, and as a result we have a situation where those fisheries are still viable - but for how long? Things like the Fisheries Loan Board that we're talking about in Bill No. 257, we have to do more than just say, again, good first step - addressing the fact that we are going to ensure that these fishermen who want to buy a boat have the ability to take out more of a loan than they currently do - great idea. It has to go further. Government needs to talk about a strategy whether it's through the Fisheries Loan Board or through a tax code, or through other means, about how we're going to ensure that the transfer of licences and boats from one generation to the next, from one person in a community to another person in the community, and not to a corporation, not to a trust fund of some sort, but to individuals in that community - we need to make sure that we're going to be able to let that happen.

Government is doing things now to encourage people to leave rural Nova Scotia. From the closing of small schools and the consolidating of them in larger centres, to the lack of a development of roads and infrastructure, Mr. Speaker, we're doing things to encourage people to leave. Why isn't it time for this government and this minister to do something to make sure we're actually helping people stay in their communities?

[Page 8829]

[6:00 p.m.]

That's what we need to do, Mr. Speaker. That's what we have to do to make sure that our fishing communities remain viable. This bill needs to go a lot further in ensuring that Nova Scotians, particularly rural Nova Scotians, people working in the fishing industry, maintain what we have. It's a sustainable industry. It has been for 400 years. Let's not lose it by failing to act. Thank you.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I look forward to having some time discussing this particular piece of legislation, Bill No. 257, which is, after all, a step in the right direction. It is going to facilitate when it comes to making dollars available in a somewhat more acceptable fashion than in the past. It's something that we're looking forward to going to the Law Amendments Committee.

I also think it's an important time that I take this opportunity to bring to the floor of this House some of the very concerns that I have heard from fishermen from throughout the community that I represent. I took the opportunity this afternoon - when I was aware of the fact that this piece of legislation was going to come forward - to make a few calls to various friends of mine, men and women I've known for many years who are involved in the fishing industry.

For the member for Dartmouth North, in particular, but for other members, I think it would be appropriate to take a bit of a tour of the coastal communities in the riding that I represent, but also to point out to the member for Chester-St. Margaret's - and I look forward to her comments on this particular bill because one of the calls I placed this afternoon was to Lloyd McRae of LR McRae Fisheries, who lives in Hacketts Cove, which, of course, is in Chester-St. Margaret's. Lloyd has one simple message when it comes to a piece of legislation and anything to do with the fishing industry - as he says all the time - no one listens to us. No one listens to us at the end of the Government Wharf, instead, they listen to the bureaucrats and the suits when it comes to making the decisions that affect the everyday industry that has meant so much for Nova Scotians for so long.

So for the next few minutes I'm going to take the opportunity to bring that message through loud and clear. You know, in the years that I've had the privilege of serving in this House, when it comes to a debate on the fishery, we have had far too few of them. We look at what is happening in coastal communities. We look at what's happening in rural Nova Scotia. Madam Speaker, I want you to know that there are frustrations when these people who are involved in the fishery industry do not feel they are being listened to. They do not feel their opinions are valued. They believe that they should have a lot more say in terms of how things get done. Whether it's Halifax or whether it's Ottawa, whether it's the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, federally, or the provincial department, I mean, the

[Page 8830]

people who are on the water are the experts when it comes to this particular issue and they are frustrated with the fact that they're not being listened to.

So I want to bring that message to the members opposite, to the member for Chester-St. Margaret's in particular, Lloyd McRae of Hacketts Cove remains frustrated with the fact that after over 35 years in the fishing industry that he does not believe that the decision makers in either downtown Halifax or downtown Ottawa consider his valued experience really of any value at all.

I want to, if I may, highlight the fact that I've had the opportunity over the last few weeks in community events in the fishing villages to meet a number of young men and young women who are interested in continuing the tradition of their fathers and their mothers, and being involved in the fishing industry. Many of them have trades. Many of them work at other jobs, but they value the fishing industry, not just the lobster industry, but they value the fishing industry, and they see, after all, the salt of the earth, the heart and soul of this province, remains in coastal communities. I know there are members opposite over there who represent these sorts of communities. Communities that will, after all, still breed the very life and breath that we have to have in rural Nova Scotia in the coastal communities.

So for the member for Dartmouth North, in particular, I think it would be important that I take him, first of all - as we've done in the past when he has been on tours of my constituency with me - to the scenic community of Terence Bay. Terence Bay, that historic community and its wonderful small school and - of course the very identity of what a fishing village is, is the school and the church - the SS Atlantic memorial and that terrible disaster which took place on April 1, 1873. Let me tell you, Madam Speaker, there's probably no more meaningful event than the last Sunday in July in the Community of Terence Bay like the Blessing of the Fleet. The Blessing of the Fleet is the traditional time in fishing villages around this province when it's an opportunity for members of all faiths to join in a harbour, to take a few moments to recognize the contribution of those who have gone down to the sea. And in many cases, many of them have not returned.

It's a moving religious ceremony, but it's also really a celebration of a way of life. I think it's important as legislators that we continue to make this way of life a viable way of life for young men and young women who are willing to pick up the cause of the fishery and are willing to continue to contribute to the economy of rural and coastal Nova Scotia.

In the community of Terence Bay, there is an outstanding young man by the name of Sean Jollimore. As you all know, on a previous career when I had a real job, Sean Jollimore was a student of mine. Sean Jollimore has a trade. Sean Jollimore works in Halifax yet he is looking forward to taking over his father's fishing licences. He's looking forward to continuing to have the opportunity to be his own boss and to get out on the water and make a living. Sean Jollimore lives and breathes, as Nova Scotians living in the Terence Bay community.

[Page 8831]

He has told me before that when he has the opportunity to be at sea, he's free. You have to sense that at times and, Madam Speaker, I invite you as I have invited the member for Dartmouth North and other members of my caucus, to come out onto the water and sense that freedom. Of course, while you're there, do some work. Let me tell you, you can always tell a hard-working man or woman by the callouses on their hands, the physical labour that's involved in the fishing industry. Sean Jollimore looks forward to taking over his dad's fishing licences. He looks forward to continuing the tradition of fishing in the community of Terence Bay.

But Sean Jollimore is much like Lloyd McRae. He shares the frustrations. He is working on the Government Wharf in Terence Bay and a Fisheries official shows up and they have all the rules and all the regulations and as Sean has told his old teacher - that being me - they have everything but they don't have common sense. They haven't had to make a living as we have had to make a living or as our fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers, have had to make a living on the sea. The reality of wanting to continue the fishing industry, the concern that these young men and women are expressing, are something that officials - provincially and federally - should listen to.

If we leave the community of Terence Bay and just go down a little bit further along the coast we will come to the community of Lower Prospect. Lower Prospect is that community that was so savagely hurt by Hurricane Juan. I can remember the day after Hurricane Juan, a legendary fisherman by the name of Gerald Blackburn was interviewed on CBC. The reporter from the CBC asked Gerald, how did you spend the night? Gerald said, in his own way, I spent it on my boat. The reporter, of course, was going, in the middle of a hurricane you were on your boat? As he said with good reflection on his wonderful wife, my first love is my fishing boat and nothing was going to happen to it. He spent the night of Hurricane Juan on his boat and that next day - if you remember, the calm after the storm, I remember it so well because I was in the community of Lower Prospect at that time. The CBC reporters, the ATV news, everyone was there. Of course, they wanted to talk to real fishermen. I remember what Gerald Blackburn said to me at the time, it's about time they started to listen to us. Maybe now that I have the camera in front of me, I can bring up some of my other concerns.

But it was hard for anyone to understand when it comes to a hurricane and you're involved in saving your most valued possession, you are actually in the cove or up the river or up - as they say in Terence Bay - the Terence Bay Gut, and you are riding out the storm in the most precious thing you have. I'm sure his sons and his wife and his other children are precious to him, but he rode the storm out on his fishing boat.

Madam Speaker, I want you to know that Gerald Blackburn is frustrated with how at times he just does not get listened to. This particular piece of legislation we'll now have the opportunity on Friday - and I want you to know that usually on Fridays, they take the opportunity when the House adjourns or, of course, if we are not in session, I spend every

[Page 8832]

Friday in the fishing villages and I can tell you there are a couple of reasons for that. Some of the members of my caucus know probably the best reason, but the second reason, of course, is I have an opportunity to be able to listen to these men and women talk about the type of week they've had on the water. They look at some of the concerns that they can bring to my attention when I go into the community of Lower Prospect, or when I go into the community of Terence Bay.

Let me tell you, Madam Speaker, I'm not asking them to come to my office, I'm going to where they are. So when you sit down at the end of the Government Wharf on a Friday afternoon - they've had a busy day - you have the opportunity to sit there and have a refreshment with them. I want you to know they are plain-speaking Nova Scotians. They are hard-working Nova Scotians. They honestly believe that they have something to continue to contribute to the economy of this province, but they want to be listened to. They want to be trusted. They want to feel valued and many of these people of all ages do not feel like they are listened to, do not feel that they are valued.

I can tell that the minister opposite, the good member for Cumberland North on a previous position where he was involved in assisting fishermen in my community - I want to compliment him again for how that was handled at the time. I want to, in particular, remind the minister opposite about another young man in the community of Terence Bay-Lower Prospect by the name of William Slauenwhite - not Bill, not Billy - William Slauenwhite because that's the name that this young man has always gone by and his father, William Slauenwhite, Sr. William is a hard-working fisherman. He makes a living at it. He's a full-time fisherman. That is his source of income and he proudly can provide for his two young elementary-age children. He lives in a very modest, but very well-maintained home and he is proud of the fact that he has the status of a full-time fisherman. After Hurricane Juan took a swat at William Slauenwhite's fish shack, this government and that minister over there, to his credit, responded and helped out young men like William Slauenwhite.

Mr. Slauenwhite, along with Mr. Blackburn and various other people in the community, felt valued from that experience. The people in that particular government department listened to these men, they assisted these men, and they assisted their wives when it came to filling out the forms to making sure that they, on that particular occasion, were going to be able to get back up and get back to the job that they love.

I use the word job, Madam Speaker, but you know it's a love, it's a passion. It's something that they look forward to doing every day and I know you've probably sensed that. I mean we've all had our bad days and our good days, but William Slauenwhite, or Gerald Blackburn, or Sean Jollimore can tell you they love to go fishing and they want to continue that because they know it's an important part of the traditional way of life in this province. With new improvements, with new technology, with some of the things that, after all, will make them more efficient on the water, these young men and women in those two

[Page 8833]

communities want to continue to make the fishing industry an integral part of the success of this province.

As we continue down the coast, Madam Speaker, I want to for the members of my caucus - and they've been in the community before on other occasions - I had the opportunity on Sunday afternoon to visit the historic Village of Prospect, itself. Now, at the time that Halifax was being settled, there were more people living in the Village of Prospect than lived in the military Town of Halifax. That particular village has a strong fishing tradition. That particular village wants to make sure that their young men and young women, and some of the older men and women involved in the fishing industry in that community, are continued to be listened to because it's of some real importance that they feel that their opinions are valued.

Now, Madam Speaker, I go down a little bit further along the coast and I come to the community of Shad Bay. Once we get off past the Shad Bay Bridge, we are then in the community of Chester-St. Margaret's, but I think it's important that I bring forward some concerns because if I have the opportunity later tonight at another social event - which with the hours of the House it might be possible this evening - I have the opportunity to meet Lionel and Eugene Young. Lionel and Eugene Young live in the community of Dover. They, of course, are the two men who run the Dover Pride. I want you to know that name of that ship is a name of real significance in the community of West Dover. The Young men, and I'm speaking of Lionel and Eugene, are two hard-working fishermen who have made a great living on the water, yet, when they want a particular piece of highway improved or if they want repairs to their wharf or if they're looking at some concern in their local school, they feel that because of where they live, and perhaps because of their profession, they are not exactly listened to.

[6:15 p.m.]

I've told Lionel and Eugene Young, and I've told their wives this many times, you continue to speak up, you continue to have your say, because you are an important and integral part of what happens in this province. You might live in a community that a lot of people look at and go, oh, that's the community just over from Peggy's Cove. Let me tell you something, fishermen such as Lionel and Eugene Young and their opinions on whether it's dangerous road conditions, whether it's improved schools or whether it's help to repair the Government Wharf in the community of West Dover, those opinions have to be valued. Those opinions are the opinions of real Nova Scotians who really know what's going on in an important industry in this province.

Now we could always point to other levels of government. We can point to the feds and what they don't do, and the members of the Third Party get upset when we, of course, do that. Of course we could point to the provincial government, and they're the ones constantly saying, it's Minister Regan, he hasn't done this, he hasn't done that. See,

[Page 8834]

fishermen, they don't want to hear that. They want answers. Fishermen want to feel valued and they want to have their opinions listened to. When they call us at our offices, they're not particularly interested when the answer comes back, oh, that's a federal issue, you better call Geoff, as in Mr. Regan. Of course the answer is, they've called my office or the office of the member for Chester-St. Margaret's or the office of the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. They don't want the buck passed. They want some assistance and help. They want some guidance and they want some direction. They want to feel that their opinion is being listened to.

As I come up the coast, and of course I'm no longer in the riding of Timberlea-Prospect, I have the opportunity, on a fairly regular basis, to drop into L.R. McRae Fisheries Ltd., which is in Pauls Point in the community of Hacketts Cove. Now there's many a person's opinion, politically, that I've valued over the years, some of them members of this caucus. But let me assure you that when it comes to political opinions, there's none that I value more than Lloyd McRae. L.R. McRae, of L.R. MacRae Fisheries Ltd., has worked hard all his life. He's an independent fisherman. He, of course, is in the tuna business, and he works hard each and every day.

Lloyd at times feels that this opinion is not valued and his ideas are not listened to, and he believes that if we're going to continue to have a vibrant fishery, if we're going to continue to have the tuna industry working well in Nova Scotia, why not turn to an expert, why not turn to somebody who has worked in the fishery business for over 40 years, why not turn to somebody who really knows what's going on at the end of the Government Wharf or out on the water? Instead, you can sense the frustration when they're busy at work in the fish plant and things are happening all around them, and an inspector shows up and everything has to be shut down, everything has to be looked at, and a particular guy with a clipboard and a suit is suddenly going to be telling these hardworking men and women, as they process another tuna for shipment to Japan, how it should or should not be done.

Let me tell you, plainspoken people in coastal communities aren't going to put up with that nonsense. They understand it's an important role of government, to monitor, to advise, to make sure that the expertise is there, but if we're going to continue to have the confidence of fishermen across this province in whatever community, they have to feel that they are being listened to, and they have to feel that their opinions are being valued.

Now this particular piece of legislation, Madam Speaker, has some merit. It is, after all, understanding the process and facilitating these loans, and hopefully it will have the opportunity to encourage other young men and women to take up the tradition that their parents, their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers have been involved in over the years.

[Page 8835]

It's a good first step. It's a step that this caucus is willing to support and it's a step that, hopefully, when we go to the Law Amendments Committee there will be an opportune time for some of these men and women to come forward and say, it's a good step, what's the next one, because we look forward to having you listen to rural Nova Scotians and to coastal communities around this province.

With those comments, I'll take my spot. I thank you for your time, it has been a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to have a few moments to be able to speak on Bill No. 257, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, or as it's officially known, an Act to Amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 1996, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.

As previous colleagues have said, it certainly is a very important issue. The fishing industry here in Nova Scotia is a multi-billion dollar industry and it adds a lot of value, especially to rural Nova Scotia, because that, of course, is where our fishing communities are located, the various wharves, various fish plants that are located around the shore of Nova Scotia.

This particular bill, while it's good, it certainly has room for improvement. What is there, I think is probably good for the boat building industry, for a fisherman who wants to buy a new boat and is able to afford a loan to build it, a loan from the Fisheries Loan Board would certainly be helpful. As was pointed out by the minister, the cost of boats is going up and up and that's with inflation, so perhaps the $500,000 limit is no longer adequate. Some fishing boats are more than that - $600,000, $700,000, up to $1 million - I think it was mentioned if somebody built a boat it would cost them $2 million. Obviously the limit of $500,000 is not meeting the need that's out there in the communities.

I had the opportunity a few months ago with the Leader of the Opposition to visit some boat building plants in Shelburne County - very modern, efficient operations in that part of our province. A lot of fibreglass hulls and the boats were equipped with the very latest in technology and is costing the buyer over the $500,000 limit. I certainly support that aspect of the bill - I guess it allows the Governor in Council to have some flexibility in determining the amount of the loan that may be appropriate in the situation. So, from that point, I see some merit in this particular bill.

But, I also must make the comment that there's a lot here that is not designed to help many of our fishermen that want to get into the fishery and maybe buy a boat and licence and equipment. I come from the North Shore of Nova Scotia, along the Northumberland Strait, and we have a lot of fishing families, a lot of fishing communities there who are struggling

[Page 8836]

to try to make a living. It's been a poor season along the Northumberland Shore. The lobster fishery in particular was way down this year; in fact the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans say it was the lowest lobster catch since 1980 - in other words, in 25 years this was the lowest catch that was recorded by our fishermen.

I was on a wharf, talking to fishermen, and they said they need at least a season of 5,000 pounds of lobster caught just to break even and this year some of their catches were 3,200, 3,500 pounds and occasionally even less than that. Obviously they're below the cost of breaking even and with the cost of labour and bait and fuel for their boats, they're going behind. It's costing them more, considerably more, for their help and their materials and their bait, and if they're not catching what's required to break even, obviously they're not making money.

The lobster season is perhaps the most important part of the fishery, at least along the Northumberland Shore. It's certainly true that the fishermen go out in Cape John and Skinners Cove and Toney River, Caribou and so on, and they catch other species. They're catching herring in season. They're catching mackerel. Some of them are scallop dragging. There's a few of our fishermen who go after tuna, and I guess crab is the other major fishery along the Northumberland Strait that people are after.

If your lobster season is poor, then really it's hard to make it up elsewhere, and the season really hinges on the May and June, during those two months when people are out fishing, often in icy and windy conditions early in the Spring. If they have a good season, then they can survive and support their families. If they have a poor lobster season, it really kicks off the whole year on a sour note and it's hard for them to make ends meet. All around Nova Scotia, certainly there has been fishing families that have been struggling to make ends meet, and have for generations. Some years has been very, very good but these past number of years have been pretty poor.

I know in my area, talking to some of the families, such as the Langilles and the Faulkners, the MacDonalds, the Elliots, Logans and so on. These are some of the well-established fishing families along our shore in Pictou and Colchester Counties. For generations they have fished and it's sometimes difficult to get back into the fishery. It's similar to the farming industry and it's hard now because of the costs quota for the dairy for milk. It's getting very expensive to get into the farming and likewise in the fishery. Now when you have a boat and a licence and gear that's half a million dollars and perhaps in the South West Nova $1 million or $1.5 million, how can a young person afford that? Here, I think, Madam Speaker, is an opportunity for government to look at how can they help a young new entrant get into the fishery? How can they help the retiring fishermen to get out of the business.

This Act, Bill No. 257, does not help the new entrant to get into the business. It will help an established fisherman who wants to build a $600,000, $700,000 or $1 million boat,

[Page 8837]

to get the loan and to build it through a boat builder in our province. It does not help the young person who maybe has been an apprentice on a boat, who has been getting up at three o'clock in the morning and is a helper on his neighbour's boat or on his father's boat or his uncle's boat. Maybe this young person is fully read. He's 25 years old and he's always been a fisherman's helper, now he wants to get into business for himself. This Act is not going to assist him in that regard. Really what is needed through the Fisheries Loan Board is dollars that will be available to make it easier for the new entrants to get into the business.

Just today, Madam Speaker, one of the fishermen along the Northumberland Shore was interviewed in our local paper and he was asked about his opinion on the department's new boat plan, and I'll mention him by name. It's Ronnie Heighton. Mr. Heighton is the President of the Northumberland Fisherman's Association and is well respected and well known along the Northumberland Shore and in fishing circles around the province, and throughout the Maritimes, throughout Eastern Canada. He's well known, I'm sure, to the minister and to many within the fishing industry, and he's saying this very thing that I've just mentioned, that it's not going to help new young entrants get into the fishing industry.

It's perhaps good for somebody that's wanting to build a new boat, that's already well-established in the industry. A lot of the fishermen in Nova Scotia are 50 years of age or older, and they're almost at the point where they're thinking about when the day comes that they want to retire and what are they going to do with their business? Where are they going to sell their boat and their licence and their gear? Who's going to take it over? Perhaps they have a son or a daughter or son-in-law or somebody that is interested in the business, maybe the person that's been the fisherman's helper on the boat, getting up and going out with them every day. How are they going to sell it? How are they going to pass it on to that young person?

[6:30 p.m.]

As an example, I had some fishermen in my area, one in particular who I can recall, who called me up and said that very thing, I'm 72 years of age, I want to turn this business over to my daughter and son-in-law, they want to carry on the business but there's no mechanism that I can get out of the business, and even if he gave it away, he was telling me he is going to be hit with such a large tax burden to the federal government, and I guess it's tied together with the province as well. What's needed is a capital gains allowance like farmers have. They have a limit of $0.5 million, but fishermen only have a limit of $100,000 and when your gear is worth maybe up to $0.5 million or more, there's a huge tax burden there that has to be paid by somebody.

[Page 8838]

In this particular case, they went to their accountant and they talked to him about what mechanism is out there that we can legally within the rules even give this business to his son-in-law without being hit with a huge tax burden. I think they had to incorporate, it was one method they were able to get partially around it, incorporate as a business and then sell it for $1 to his son-in-law, but still there was a fair tax implication.

So, Madam Speaker, I think while this bill is good, there are a lot of problems in our fishing industry out there. Most pressing is the ability of young new entrants to try to get into the business, and I think the minister and the department could really help our fishing families if they were to allow a mechanism through the Fisheries Loan Board that would allow these young new fishermen to get into the business and allow the retiring fishermen to get out without a huge penalty and, you know, just a way for the fishing industry to continue along our shores. It has been the stable base for our coastal economy for generations, and I think if the right things are done by this minister and by this department, that base of economic support in our coastal communities can continue for many generations to come.

With those few remarks, Madam Speaker, I'm going to take my place, and I look forward to this bill moving on to the Law Amendments Committee.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to close debate - I'm sorry.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: That's all right. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is not here actually, it's the Minister of Fisheries.

MADAM SPEAKER: Agriculture and Fisheries, thank you.

MR. COLWELL: Yes, it's with pleasure I stand up in support of the bill this evening because this has been long overdue in the fishing industry in Nova Scotia. It's becoming more and more difficult for people to take over the industry from other people, and even to buy a boat today is a tremendous expense. So I think this is a good move on behalf of the government. A lot of things they do I don't like, but this is one of the things I think is very positive that will help the fishing industry. (Interruption) Okay, we'll mark one little one-up, it's only a little one. There's a lot of other changes they've got to make.

It's a positive thing. One time you could go and someone could buy a fishing boat. I remember when I was just a child, my uncle had one of those one-lung boats. I think he paid $400 for it. It was probably not that good a boat, but anyway, he made a partial living from it. It wasn't much of a living at that time when you were lobster fishing and handlining and doing other things, but he did manage to make a living from it. He brought his family

[Page 8839]

up, and through his retirement years he continued with that enterprise. It did help him quite a bit, as it did many people in Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, the fishing industry now is becoming so sophisticated in the Province of Nova Scotia today, as it is all over Canada, that it's very difficult for anyone to make any money at it unless they have the proper equipment to do it, and equipment costs a lot of money.

My honourable colleagues in the Official Opposition are talking about buying licences and, as we all know, that can't happen until the federal government makes some major changes in the licensing regime. If that were to happen, I don't think the province would have enough money in all its coffers to buy the licences out that are so badly needed by so many people in this province.

With those few words, I want to encourage the government to move forward with this legislation. I think it's good legislation and it should definitely help the fishing industry in Nova Scotia as it becomes more and more competitive, and allow them the opportunity to get access to good, solid funding for good, solid enterprises. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to this. I think we're all grateful to see that there is a recognition on the government's part that fishing is no longer a small business. The stakes are very high, indeed.

As was mentioned many times, the cost of a licence alone is far more than most people's entire assets. When you add to that the need to buy a vessel, the costs are stupendous and keep many people from pursuing what, of course, has become known as the traditional way of a fishing life. In fact, there are those who believe that it's not so much the fish but the fishers who are on the verge of extinction.

Nevertheless, the government's initiative to raise the loan amount available through the loan guarantee program, at least for new boats, the construction of new vessels, is certainly a welcome one because it is not possible to buy a new boat in this day and age for anything under $0.5 million. As has been pointed out, the majority of them are well over $1 million.

As we are probably all aware, the cost of fibreglass is escalating with the cost of oil. The cost of materials escalates with the cost of transportation and fuel costs as well. Another thing which is, in fact, crippling for some of the people remaining in the fishing industry is the cost of insurance.

[Page 8840]

In my constituency, fishing is one of the oldest ways of making a living. As I've pointed out only too many times, it is one of the best examples of the rocky shoreline of Nova Scotia and it is pitted with many small coves which have been the host to small villages for well over 200 years, villages which have accommodated a fleet of perhaps four or five boats at most but have supported four or five families as well. Those boats, though, were wooden boats, they were Cape Islanders and if they had engines at all, they were nothing more than a one-lunger. The industry was considerably less regulated.

My constituency has been very inventive as the fishing industry has continued. We have one of the few fishing co-operatives left in the province, which is Sambro Fisheries. Some 26 boats operate from various points along that coastline, most of them out of Sambro but a couple from Herring Cove, a couple from Fergusons Cove as well; Fergusons Cove, which doesn't even have a wharf at this point.

It was interesting, too, to see how high the stakes had gotten after Hurricane Juan. When that hurricane hit, it was two days before the opening of the crab season. Now the crab season is an important part of the fishing cycle. These, as I say, innovative and ingenious fishers working out of this plant are relying on a number of different species - not even all of them from Nova Scotia - to keep themselves working all the time. It's important not to miss a beat during the cycle of the year because anything constitutes a loss which may be absolutely the last blow. So the crab season was about to get going at the time.

As you may remember from photographs on television and so on, Sambro Harbour was essentially swept out. Wharves found themselves on the opposite side of the basin, sheds found themselves floating up on the far shore and boats were damaged severely, colourfully. But people got back to work in a hurry.

They were out of communication for the most part. Cell towers had been blown down as well. There was no electricity. Sambro Fisheries proved itself one of the most important members of the community at that point because having watched the weather reports, they were well aware of what was coming. They banked on the possibility of losing electricity and 48 hours beforehand, they shipped out all of their frozen inventory. They sent it to the southern U.S. which is where it was destined, to New York and points further south. They got it out of there.

What they did was, the refrigerator trucks kept on those generators and they basically kept that community going throughout the aftermath of that hurricane. One of the major activities that they undertook was the rebuilding of those wharves. They were quick, they were effective and they weren't right because after the crab season was over, while all the processing of claims was still going on, it came to the attention of the people of Sambro that they had not gotten new engineering designs for their wharves. They had to fight long and hard. We really had to do some negotiating in order to get those wharves approved after the

[Page 8841]

fact. They were approved, but there's a degree of grief involved in that which really should not have taken place on top of everything else.

As I say, the stakes are high. Building a wharf at this point is not cheap. The engineering designs, the approvals, are not cheap. The insurance to own both boat and wharf is a constantly climbing exercise. The cost of licences and gears and of course the heavy tax burden imposed on those who wish to transfer licences are all things which mean that a boat is almost one of the smaller constituents of the cost of operating a fishing business.

So, it has been interesting to watch some of the ways in which the fishing business has continued. The 26 boats fishing out of Sambro do a very diverse business. They bring in groundfish, herring, mackerel, dogfish, blue shark, porbeagle, swordfish, urchins, crab, lobster and various sorts of tuna. They process all of those and more. They are transshipping mackerel from the Baltic. They bring it, they process it, they ship it back out. They are bringing salmon down from New Brunswick when necessary to process and move around the province and they are constantly looking at the future cost of what they are bringing in. They are never idle. This is a very sophisticated business. We have to be very grateful that these communities are in fact willing, and we hope able to continue to do this. This is absolutely the heart of the economy and the history of many parts of this province and most certainly of my constituency. It's big business and you can see that everywhere you look along the coast.

What happens to the people who are not buying a new boat? What happens to the people who are not transferring a licence or who are transferring a licence and it is going out of the family? They may remain in some of the ancillary businesses to fishing. Several of them operate charter boats, although insurance again is a real problem. Others are involved in small harbours' groups and leasing out space. There are those who have gone into the folk art business, which is really a lovely thing, but it's something of a comedown, quite honestly, for many of them. It's not really what they want to be doing - painting pictures of fishing boats when in fact they no longer have the licence to travel in the boat they did once work in.

We have a lot of new tourist business arising on the wharves which are no longer used for fishing, but as I always say, I think it's important to remember that tourism is essentially an export industry. Tourism is the business of selling an experience which people will take home with them. I think we must keep a very close eye when a sustainable resource of a community is replaced by something which is based on the picturesque aspects of that resort. I do believe that we need to be very, very careful of that, particularly in the areas closer to the metropolitan parts of the province.

Sambro, however, has also prospered by the addition of the Coast Guard and we're very glad at this point to have a new station open, which is patrolling a large part of the coastline - some 240 miles of coastline. It's an important thing that we have and that is a part

[Page 8842]

of the contribution. That certainly makes most of the fishing business feel considerably more secure, although we do have lost lives in the not too distant past in this industry which is, as everybody knows, a very dangerous one.

[6:45 p.m.]

The things which accompany the fishing industry are important. It's not just the fishing industry and one thing that this bill addresses, which I'm very glad to see, is in fact the boat building industry and this should be a real boost to Nova Scotia's long-standing and prestigious boat building industry. I have a couple of boat builders in my constituency in the modern fiberglass vein, there's been experimentation even with concrete hulls back in the good old days, and of course there are a few people still working with wooden boats. So that is an important part of maintaining an ocean economy to some degree, and we're also very lucky in my area to have the aquaculture research station.

This is a particularly welcome initiative too because it is an example of a place where the province can actually make a difference in the fishing business. As my colleague, the member for Timberlea-Prospect pointed out, there is nothing more frustrating for the people of these communities than to find themselves constantly caught in the loop of federal/provincial, federal/provincial, and usually a federal issue. Once the fish hits land, it becomes a food issue, but before that it's frequently out of their control or easy reach.

So I'm very glad to see the province putting forward the kinds of economic development initiatives which these increased loan amounts represent, and we will hope that in fact acts to continue, or in the measure which is in the control of the province acts to continue the strength of the fishing industry and all those accompanying businesses and ways of life.

With that, Madam Speaker, I will sit down. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Madam Speaker, I want to thank all the members for their interventions during this debate. I'm also impressed by the interest that the members opposite have on the fishery in Nova Scotia, because it is one of our founding pieces of economy. It is a $1.2 billion industry in Nova Scotia and one that we want to make sure stays for the long haul and I just want to say we still have more share in Nova Scotia of this than Newfoundland and Labrador, so we want to be able to keep our edge on Newfoundland and Labrador on this one.

[Page 8843]

I do want to make a couple of comments quickly here, that even though the discussions strayed a little bit away from the actual spirit of the bill, I do want to address some of the issues that were brought up, if you don't mind.

The main topic, of course, is around coastal communities, what the members opposite did talk about and I just wanted to underline that our coastal communities do include Chester-St. Margaret's, they do include Cumberland South, Cumberland North, they do include Inverness, they do include Queens, they do include Colchester North, they do include Clare and Lunenburg, of course, and all those areas that we're very lucky to have in our province - but specifically more about coastal communities and there were comments that did revolve around the preserving of our inshore fleet or more specifically, the 1972 federal government fleet separation policy.

In 1972, the federal government brought in a fleet separation policy, which was to preserve that inshore fleet. Unfortunately, successive governments, provincial and federal, have ignored that policy until just recently. I just want to say that this government, previous ministers before me were able to bring this to the forefront, bring it to the ministerial meetings and underline this issue of the transfer of wealth from independent community members, fishermen, to big corporations, and it has been a low and slow process, but I do want to say that the talks have gone into a White Paper. There is a Mr. Hanlon, from Antigonish, who has a document in hand now that he's going to be releasing to groups and I do ask the members opposite to comment on that piece of paper, as that White Paper comes forward for their discussion and for their comments on protecting that inshore fleet, and I do urge them to go forward on that one.

I just want to say that our role in the province is not necessarily of regulation when it comes to fisheries, it is more one of a lobbyist, if I might use that word, to make sure that the federal government does know what the fishermen are asking for - and to the member for Timberlea-Prospect, his comment about talking to fishermen I, too, go to the end of the wharf and do talk to the Floyd d'Entremonts (Interruptions) Unfortunately, unlike the members opposite, I can swim, so I could make my way back. I do talk to the Floyd d'Entremonts, I do talk to the Jeff d'Entremonts - no relation - and I do talk to the Louis Amiraults. Honestly, they're not.(Interruptions) Rabbits tracks there again, Madam Speaker. (Interruptions)

MADAM SPEAKER: Order in the House.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I do want to say that the mortgage of the boats has been an issue for some time now. The cost of those boats has risen exponentially. No longer is a little boat of a few hundred dollars available, and I wish they were in some cases. Some of these vessels are more and more technologically advanced, where they do require a lot more effort. I do say that when it comes to the mortgaging of the licence, an issue that was brought up on a number of occasions, this government, this Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has

[Page 8844]

pushed for this one, has lobbied for this one for a number of years now. We are willing to take on that responsibility, to be able to mortgage the licence, to no avail. The federal government has said they do not want us to do that, they won't allow us to take that mortgage out on that licence. Of course there is the intervention of the actual complete separation policy, which they are not adhering to anyway. It's a bizarre little triangle there that we will continue to lobby on, on behalf of Nova Scotia fishermen.

Quickly, I just want to finish up my discussion. To a comment that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage made, he did have an analogy to frogs, and for a French guy from Argyle, I don't know how I took that one, but I do want to move second reading of Bill No. 257.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 257. 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 Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Madam Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I would ask leave to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

[MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Madam Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 230 - Housing Development Corporation Act.

Bill No. 236 - Small Claims Court Act.

Bill No. 241 - Commercial Mediation Act.

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

[Page 8845]

Bill No. 246 - International Trusts Act.

Bill No. 249 - Enforcement of Court Orders Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

MADAM SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Madam Speaker, in the west gallery tonight we have members of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union, who are mostly employed with the Capital District Health Authority. They're here to meet various members of the House to discuss a recent decision that impacts them financially in the workplace and that is weekend shift premiums. I would like to ask the House to welcome these guests in our gallery tonight. (Applause)

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

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 260.

Bill No. 260 - Public Safety Protection Act.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Madam Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 260.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I'll be very brief on this bill. This bill is here primarily because the government, if it had done its work originally and declared the bill when it should have been, we wouldn't be here today. We also know that the bill we're here to protect or to talk about is a bill that was, by some corners of this province think, people would say it was snuck through. It was not done in a manner that many of the municipalities found acceptable. Nonetheless, we find ourselves here today with this bill in front of us, the Public Safety Protection Act. I believe that the best thing for us to do is to allow this bill to

[Page 8846]

get through the House, go to the Law Amendments Committee, and to see if there are any objections there.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, on Bill No. 260 I have to echo the comments of the member for Cape Breton Centre and just perhaps two words to describe this bill is proclamation delayed. When this bill came before the House, it was the will of this Legislature that this bill be passed and when members left the Legislature at the end of the Spring session, we had assumed that this bill was passed and would indeed become law, which was the will of the Legislature.

But lo and behold, Madam Speaker, we find that many months later this bill was still not proclaimed. Now, one has to ask, does the Legislature's will prevail or are bills altered once they leave this place, or left on the shelf somewhere, or not proclaimed, or not attended to, directly in opposition to the will of this Legislature? I was always of the understanding that once this Legislature voted on a bill, that bill would become law in a timely fashion. This didn't happen here, and with some other bills by the way that were still left out there not proclaimed. There is no excuse for that because this Legislature has dictated that these bills would go through, would be proclaimed, and would become law. There are bills that sometime languish for a year before they're proclaimed, and that people of Nova Scotia wonder why the new legislation is not in effect.

Well, it's not in effect because the government chooses not to make sure that these bills are proclaimed in a timely fashion and that's why we're seeing this bill here. This is a corrective measure. I agree with the bill, that it is the intention of this bill to correct a mistake that was made in not proclaiming this bill in a timely fashion the last time that bill was before the House. So having said that, Madam Speaker, I, too, am in favour of sending this bill on to the Law Amendments Committee for further debate and back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: It's my pleasure to rise to close debate on this bill. This bill is a bill to make clear the intention of the Legislature, which was clearly that in passing the bill last year, or this year rather (Interruption) Last year, yes, a year ago this session actually, that the Legislature intended to put it into police strikes in Nova Scotia and this to make that clear. With that, I move second reading, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 260. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 8847]

The motion is carried.

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

The Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MADAM SPEAKER: The Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 238.

Bill No. 238 - Cape Breton Family Young Men's Christian Association.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 238.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Madam Speaker, I know you're not quite familiar with my area in the province, but I'll speak on this bill anyway. I won't tell you all about my area, I would probably tie up the rest of the night, but the Municipal Government Bill is just to change the name of the YMCA. As a former board member of the YMCA for many years, along with my colleague, the member for Cape Breton North, we sat on the board there for three years and enjoyed that. I think this will be able to move this bill forward and I look forward to moving it to second reading.

[7:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 238. 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 Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

[Page 8848]

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 239.

Bill No. 239 - Northern Yacht Club Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Cape Breton North, the Minister of Energy, I move second reading of Bill No. 239.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill 239. 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 Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 255.

Bill No. 255 - Train Station Inn Cabooses Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester North.

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 255.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 255. 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 Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 8849]

[7:03 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Ms. Diana Whalen in the Chair.]

[7:05 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered one bill:

Bill No. 228 - Social Workers Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to sit again tomorrow at 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. At that particular time, we're going to do the daily routine, some Committee of the Whole House on Bills and some second reading and Public Bills for Second Reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 7:06 p.m.]

[Page 8850]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 4788

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Terrie Spinney, member of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, has been honoured with the School Board Member Recognition Award; and

Whereas Terrie has been actively involved with improving education for many years; and

Whereas this award is symbolic of outstanding service to public education that results in positive change for students;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge and congratulate Terrie Spinney for his commitment and contribution to education.

RESOLUTION NO. 4789

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Jeffrey Parker, a student at Western Kings District High School, is a recipient of the 2005 Lieutenant Governor's Award; and

Whereas Jeffrey is an honours student who is actively involved in a range of school activities including the school's newspaper and musical; and

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Medal is awarded to students for leadership qualitites, community service and academic achievement.

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge and congratulate Jeffrey Parker for his outstanding achievement.

[Page 8851]

RESOLUTION NO. 4790

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Darrell Corbett, also known as Coach Corbett, has a long history of involvement with youth sports; and

Whereas Darrell has worked diligently toward the development of sports in his community; and

Whereas the Town of Berwick has honoured Coach Corbett by inducting him into their Sports Hall of Fame.

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly acknowledge and congratulate Darrell Corbett for his efforts to build and improve community sports and recreation.

RESOLUTION NO. 4791

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Shady Rest in Oxford provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8852]

RESOLUTION NO. 4792

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Four Seasons Manor in Oxford provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 4793

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas South Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Parrsboro provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8853]

RESOLUTION NO. 4794

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas High-Crest Nursing Home in Springhill provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 4795

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Bayview Memorial Health Centre in Advocate provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8854]

RESOLUTION NO. 4796

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas September represented Continuing Care Month across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Chignecto Manor in Advocate provides professional care and comfort to seniors in need; and

Whereas Continuing Care Month celebrates all of the organizations, staff and volunteers who dedicate themselves every day to caring for citizens in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the compassionate staff and volunteers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are the recipients of their hard work and dedication.

[Page 8855]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

(Tabled on Friday, October 21, 2005)

RESOLUTION NO. 4753

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Morgan Porter, a student at West End Memorial Elementary, had her poetry recognized in a very impressive way; and

Whereas Morgan received accolades from the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Authors Association for her winning entry in their school poetry competition; and

Whereas Morgan's teacher, Ms. Tammy Bickerton, was thrilled and very proud of her student, saying that Morgan is the only Springhill student ever to win this honour, only one of six in the province;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4754

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Kristin Wolfe, a River Hebert student, was awarded the Junior High Athlete of the Year Award; and

Whereas Kristin was the slo-pitch team's MVP, and a co-MVP of the junior soccer team; and

Whereas slo-pitch MVP Wolfe was honoured with the one-time Elizabeth LeBlanc Memorial Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kristin Wolfe on these outstanding achievements and wish her continued success in the future.

[Page 8856]

RESOLUTION NO. 4755

By: Mr. Leo Glavine (Kings West)

M. le Président, á une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que Marc Boudreau, en tant qu'élève de l'école Rose-des-Vents, a crée un projet primé sur la vie des Mi'kmaq avant l'arrivée des Européens en 1605; et

Attendu que le project de Marc a reçu le premier prix de la Fête régionale du Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, ce qui lui permettrae de se rendre en Saskatchewan pour participer à la Fête nationale Historica; et

Attendu que la Fête nationale Historica est un événement d'envergure nationale qui rassemble des élèves de partout au pays pour célébrer notre riche patrimoine;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette assemblée reconnaissent et félicitent Marc Boudreau pour sa créativité, ses connaissances et son succès.