The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04/05-100

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

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 8997
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Rpt. of Pub. Acc. Comm: FOIPOP Review Officer,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 8998
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4840, Order of N.S.: Recipients (2005) - Salute,
The Premier 8998
Vote - Affirmative 8999
Res. 4841, Can. Youth Remembrance Soc. - Hockey Jersey Patch Prog.:
Proj. Partners - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 9000
Vote - Affirmative 9000
Res. 4842, Coun. State Gov'ts.: Passport Requirement Delay - Support,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 9001
Vote - Affirmative 9001
Res. 4843, Coun. State Gov'ts.: Passport Requirement Delay - Support,
Hon. M. Baker 9001
Vote - Affirmative 9002
Res. 4844, Andrews Island - Andrews Fam./MICA: Conservation - Thank,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 9002
Vote - Affirmative 9003
Res. 4845, Agric. & Fish. - Aquaculture Harvest Fest.: Participants -
Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont 9003
Vote - Affirmative 9004
Res. 4846, Anderson, Rev. Lennet: Upper Hammonds Plains Church -
Commend, Hon. B. Barnet 9004
Vote - Affirmative 9005
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 270, Professional Planners Act
Mr. J. DeWolfe 9005
No. 271, Fatality Investigations Act
Mr. J. Pye 9005
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4847, Halifax Rifles - Re-Establish, Mr. D. Dexter 9006
Vote - Affirmative 9006
Res. 4848, Can. Youth Remembrance Soc. - Hocky Jersey Patch Prog.:
Project Partners - Congrats., Mr. Gerald Sampson 9007
Vote - Affirmative 9007
Res. 4849, Agric. & Fish.: Pork Ind. - Support,
Ms. M. Parent 9008
Vote - Affirmative 9008
Res. 4850, Dart. Gen. Hosp. - Revitalization Campaign: Participants -
Thank, Ms. M. More 9009
Vote - Affirmative 9009
Res. 4851, Christmas, Daniel: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9009
Vote - Affirmative 9010
Res. 4852, Westville Library: Support - Applaud,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 9010
Vote - Affirmative 9011
Res. 4853, Clarke, Nancy: Commun. Serv. - Thank,
Mr. C. Parker 9011
Vote - Affirmative 9012
Res. 4854, Agric. & Fish. - Pork Ind.: Collapse - Avert,
Mr. L. Glavine 9012
Vote - Affirmative 9013
Res. 4855, Hudson, Darren - Log-Rolling Championship,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 9013
Vote - Affirmative 9013
Res. 4856, Richardson, Dorothy (Dot)/Spencer, Henry/Gay, Connie:
Harbour View Sch. Breakfast Prog. - Service,
Mr. J. Pye 9014
Vote - Affirmative 9014
Res. 4857, Agric. & Fish. - Hog Ind.: Crisis - Awareness,
Mr. S. McNeil 9014
Res. 4858, Corkum, Dave/Pearl, Mark/Bolland, Eric - Mun. Election
Victories, Mr. M. Parent 9015
Vote - Affirmative 9016
Res. 4859, Project Nigeria Variety Show: Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 9016
Vote - Affirmative 9016
Res. 4860, MacNeil, Brennan: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 9017
Vote - Affirmative 9017
Res. 4861, Chester Area Mid. Sch.: Renovations - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Streatch 9017
Vote - Affirmative 9018
Res. 4862, Habitat for Humanity - Affordable Housing: Gov't (N.S.) -
Follow, Ms. J. Massey 9018
Res. 4863, Archibald, Karen: Sm. Bus. Success - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 9019
Vote - Affirmative 9020
Res. 4864, Cyrus Eaton Elem. Sch. - Today's Parent: Top 40 Sch. -
Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 9020
Vote - Affirmative 9020
Res. 4865, Mahone Bay Tennis Club: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 9021
Vote - Affirmative 9021
Res. 4866, TCH - Louisbourg: Bluenose II Sailing Schedule - Consider,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 9021
Vote - Affirmative 9022
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1024, Agric. & Fish. - Hog Producer: Plan - Agree,
Mr. D. Dexter 9022
No. 1025, Agric. & Fish. - Pork Ind.: Fin. Dilemma - Plans,
Mr. S. McNeil 9024
No. 1026, Com. Serv.: Energy Plan - Accessibility,
Mr. D. Dexter 9025
No. 1027, Agric. & Fish. - Pork Farmers: Production - Cessation,
Mr. L. Glavine 9027
No. 1028, TCH: Tourism Ind. - Resurrect, Ms. J. Massey 9028
No. 1029, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Keep the Heat Prog.: Status,
Mr. Graham Steele 9029
No. 1030, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Gas Stations: Comments -
Min. Commitment, Mr. Michel Samson 9030
No. 1031, Com. Serv. - Rent Subsidies: Landlords - Accountability,
Ms. M. Raymond 9032
No. 1032, Sysco - Workers Abandonment: Prem. Explain,
Mr. G. Gosse 9033
No. 1032, Sysco - Workers: Prem.'s Promise - Keep,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9035
No. 1033, Com. Serv. - Juniper House/CASA: Merger - Funding,
Ms. M. More 9036
No. 1034, Com. Serv. - Juniper House/CASA: Merger - Funding,
Mr. H. Theriault 9038
No. 1035, Com. Serv. - Seniors: Housing Grants - Accessibility,
Mr. D. Dexter 9039
No. 1036, Health: Flu Vaccine - Shortage,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 9041
No. 1037, Prem.: Hfx. Rifles Regiment - Reactivate,
Mr. D. Dexter 9043
No. 1038, Com. Serv. - Social Housing: Commitment Reduction -
Min. Action, Mr. R. MacKinnon 9045
No. 1039, TPW: Paving Priorities - Table, Mr. Gerald Sampson 9046
No. 1040, Health: Flu Vaccine - Shortage,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 9047
No. 1041, Env. & Lbr. - C.B. Offices: Syd./Syd. Mines - Inform,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9049
No. 1042, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - C.B. Oil Companies: Delivery -
Action, Mr. R. MacKinnon 9050
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. No. 4462, Sysco: Steelworkers - Pensions 9053
Mr. G. Gosse 9054
Hon. R. Russell 9057
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9060
Mr. F. Corbett 9064
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 248, Income Tax Act 9068
Mr. C. Parker 9069
Hon. C. d'Entremont 9072
Mr. H. Theriault 9075
Mr. Gerald Sampson 9077
Mr. D. Dexter 9079
Hon. P. Christie 9081
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. R. Russell 9082
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. R. Russell 9082
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Agric. & Fish.: Farmland - Preserve:
Mr. M. Parent 9083
Mr. J. MacDonell 9086
Mr. L. Glavine 9089
ADJOURNMENT: House rose to meet again on Thur., Oct. 27th at 2:00 p.m. 9091
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 4867, Long, Janis - Timberlea-Prospect/MLA: Constituency
Assist. - Service Thank, Mr. W. Estabrooks 9092
Res. 4868, Gross Nat'l. Happiness Int'l. Conference - GPI: Organizing -
Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 9092
Res. 4869, Thorburn Cons. Sch.: 80s & 90s Club - Applaud,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 9093
Res. 4870, "Orville Pulsifer: The Man, The Vision, The Legacy":
Copy - Purchase, Mr. B. Taylor 9093
Res. 4871, Health: Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Auth. -
Diagnostic Imaging Equip., Mr. R. Chisholm 9094
Res. 4872, Xerox N. American TeleWeb - NQI Award,
The Premier 9094
Res. 4873, Corbett, Jessica: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9095
Res. 4874, Ross, Mandy: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9095
Res. 4875, Rowlands, Jennifer: Can. Games (2005) -
Kayaking Silver Medal, Ms. M. More 9096
Res. 4876, Short, Derek: Can. Games (2005) - Rugby Bronze Medal,
Ms. M. More 9096
Res. 4877, Dart. Titans Gymnastics Club - Tumbling & Trampoline
Championship, Ms. M. More 9097
Res. 4878, Toulany, Nabille: Can. Games (2005) - Rugby Bronze Medal,
Ms. M. More 9097
Res. 4879, Tramble, John: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9098
Res. 4880, Read, Neal: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9098
Res. 4881, Musset, Michelle: Can. Games (2005) - Team Rowing
Silver Medal, Ms. M. More 9099
Res. 4882, Halavrezos's Maria: Can. Games (2005) - Canoeing Medal,
Ms. M. More 9099
Res. 4883, Clarke, Maria: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9100
Res. 4884, McIntosh, Nick - Swimming Medals, Ms. M. More 9100
Res. 4885, Atkins, Luke: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9101
Res. 4886, Dart. United: U-14 Tier 1 Girls Soccer Team -
Nat'l. Comp., Ms. M. More 9101
Res. 4887, Lloyd, Jennifer: Can. Games (2005) - Participation,
Ms. M. More 9102
Res. 4888, Hunsley, Melanie: 4-H Achievements - Congrats.,
The Speaker 9102
Res. 4889, MacLeod, Megan - Cumb. Health Care Careers Bursary,
The Speaker 9103
Res. 4890, McNutt, Carolyn & Gary - Foster Children: Dedication -
Congrats., The Speaker 9103
Res. 4891, Merrett, Kyle: Hockey Achievements - Congrats.,
The Speaker 9104
Res. 4892, Robinson, Ross - Parrsboro Radio Soc.: Vol. - Achievement,
The Speaker 9104
Res. 4893, Rushton, Sim: CD Release - Congrats.,
The Speaker 9105
Res. 4894, Colford, Ellen: Death of - Tribute, Mr. W. Dooks 9105
Res. 4895, Sir John A. Flames - Football Team: Successful Season -
Congrats., Ms. J. Streatch 9106
Res. 4896, Shoreham Village Nursing Home: Bus. Purchase -
Applaud, Ms. J. Streatch 9106
Res. 4897, Oak Island Tourism Soc.: Tours - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Streatch 9107
Res. 4898, Chester Dist. Sch. - Anniv. (25th), Ms. J. Streatch 9107
Res. 4899, MacInnis, Paul: Rhubarb Café & Grill - Opening,
Ms. J. Streatch 9108
Res. 4900, St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Assoc.: Work/Dedication -
Thank, Ms. J. Streatch 9108
Res. 4901, Van Gurp, Hetty: SMU - Hon. Deg., Mr. S. McNeil 9109

[Page 8997]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2005

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia work to preserve farmland in the province.

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

The honourable member for Kings North on an introduction.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery - and perhaps over in the west, I'm not sure - we have various farmers who were at an information session provided by Pork Nova Scotia. I welcome them to the House, as I'm sure all the members do. I would ask them to stand to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We appreciate and welcome the opportunity for these people to be with us today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

8997

[Page 8998]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on an introduction.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House, in the east gallery, we have steelworkers here with us today from Sydney. Their names are: Michael Buchanan, Ken Dawson, Terry Hyisky, Francis Maclean, Gordie MacNeil, Allan Brown, Paul Campbell, Scott Black, Barry Young, and Richard Delaney. I would ask them to please rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome these guests to the gallery as well.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, I wish to table a report from the committee. I've been told I need to bring this to your attention, that a resolution was passed today by the Public Accounts Committee, supporting the recommendation of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer, that the position be made an Officer of the House of Assembly. Mr. Speaker, I table that report of the committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 4840

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

Whereas the 2005 nominees for the Order of Nova Scotia again represent the incredible talent found across this province, individuals who have made it their life's work to serve their fellow Nova Scotians as well as their broader community; and

[Page 8999]

Whereas the five recipients are: a pioneer in the field of law, Constance Glube; beloved entertainer, Rita MacNeil; role model for women in adversity, Theresa McNeil; a key pioneer in the development of our Community Services Department and someone well-known to all of us, the late Cyril Reddy; and Jack Yazer, businessman and World War II veteran; and

Whereas these exceptional individuals and their families will be presented with the award on November 1st, as our way of saying thank you to them;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature salute the 2005 recipients whose remarkable commitment to their profession and to the people of this province, through diverse talents and contributions, have made Nova Scotia a better place for all to enjoy and to thrive.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for the Year of the Veteran.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence and that of the House, I would like to do an introduction before my resolution. Just before today's session, there was a special ceremony with regard to the Year of the Veteran Jersey Patch Program for Nova Scotian youth. I would like to call upon and introduce them individually, and would ask them to rise and stay standing until we've gone through the list.

From Minor Hockey Players and Officials, from the Halifax Hawks Novice, Hannah Stienburg; from the Halifax Hawks Novice, Brock Boehner; and from the Dartmouth Whalers PeeWee, Dylan Cossar; from the Halifax MacDonald, Derek Fulton. We also have linesmen Ricardo Ciccarelli and referee Phil Power. From Veterans Affairs Canada, we have Mike Acker. From the Canada Youth Remembrance Society, we have Patrick Milner, Sarah MacIntosh. From Tim Hortons, we have Morris MacGillivray, Andrea Hughes and Mark Hinam. From Hockey Nova Scotia, we have Darren Cossar. We also have the President of the Shearwater Shannon Minor Hockey Association, Petty Officer 1st Class Harris.

[Page 9000]

Mr. Speaker, last and most importantly, we have three of our veterans, members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Tom Cane, Norman Crewe and Thomas Walters. I would ask us all to give them a warm welcome to the House. (Standing Ovation)

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for the Year of the Veteran.

RESOLUTION NO. 4841

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

Whereas the Canadian Youth Remembrance Society has worked in association with Tim Hortons and Hockey Nova Scotia in the implementation of placing a Year of the Veteran Patch on the hockey jerseys of all minor hockey children in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in this, the Year of the Veteran, all Nova Scotians are committed to remembering and honouring the lives of our great veterans; and

Whereas the Canadian Youth Remembrance Society, Tim Hortons and Nova Scotia Hockey Jersey Patch Program is a physical symbol of the passing of the torch, where young people here in Nova Scotia are reminded of the great sacrifices of our veterans so that their legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of our province's youth;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the dedication of all the parties involved in their support of ensuring that all Nova Scotians, young and old, will always strive to give thanks to those who have served, and continue to serve.

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 Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

[Page 9001]

RESOLUTION NO. 4842

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

Whereas representatives of governments in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States yesterday urged the U.S. Government to delay the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which would require all air and sea travellers to the U.S. to have passports by December 31, 2006, and by December 31, 2007, for those entering at land border crossings; and

Whereas with more than 300,000 business people, tourists and commuters travelling between the two countries every day as well as $1 billion in goods crossing the border per day, the Canada-U.S. border relationship is a special one; and

Whereas members of the Executive Committee of the Council of State Governments' Eastern Regional Conference are asking that other documentation or passport substitutes be considered because, as our Speaker said, "We believe in secure borders, but we believe this measure will have a negative impact and slow down the flow of goods and people.";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of our Legislature join with our fellow legislators in urging the U.S. Government to delay this harmful initiative.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 4843

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

[Page 9002]

Whereas legislators from eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, who make up the Executive Committee of the Council of State Governments' Eastern Regional Conference, met in Halifax, October 21st to 23rd, to discuss issues of importance to both countries; and

Whereas the region relies on secure but open borders to facilitate travel and trade, valued at $20 billion to Atlantic Canada last year, that would be negatively affected by the U.S.'s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative; and

Whereas the legislators unanimously agreed to urge the U.S. Government to delay the initiative which would impose passport requirements for air and sea travellers by December 31, 2006 and at U.S. land border crossings by December 31, 2007, and consider the use of other documentation or passport substitutes;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House support the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Council of State Government's Eastern Regional Conference and urge the U.S. Government to delay implementation of the passport requirements for travel to the United States and consider alternatives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 4844

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

Whereas Mahone Island Conservation Association, known as MICA, and the Province of Nova Scotia entered into the first community land securement partnership to acquire Andrews Island, Mahone Bay, in support of MICA's mission to protect and conserve the natural environment of the islands and the shoreline of Mahone Bay and the traditional, social and recreational opportunities valued by its communities; and

[Page 9003]

Whereas the owners of Andrews Island have agreed to sell the island to the Crown effective April 2006, a purchase jointly financed by MICA and the province; and

Whereas MICA and the province are working toward a further agreement to conserve and protect other lands identified as significant by MICA;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank MICA and the Andrews family in helping to conserve and protect Andrews Island for future generations 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 Leader of the Opposition on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery joining us today is Percy Paris. Percy works with the College of Continuing Education at Dalhousie University. Many of us would know that was formerly Henson College. You may also know that he's the nominated candidate in Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, for us, obviously. With him are a number of residents of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank and they are here to see Question Period today. I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 4845

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 aquaculturists are constantly adapting new technologies and improving their skills as business managers, exporters and environmentalists in order to provide safe, high-quality seafood products in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner; and

[Page 9004]

Whereas aquaculturists make up an important contribution to the economy of coastal communities; and

Whereas earlier this month, the Aquaculture Harvest Festival was held on the Lunenburg waterfront, showcasing aquaculturists from Lunenburg County and serving fresh and flavourful mussels, salmon, trout and abalone to over 750 people;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the participants of this event and encourage people to discover more about the many seafood products being grown and harvested around Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 4846

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

Whereas after a three-hour rousing service on August 28, 2005, the new and expanded Emmanuel Baptist Church was officially opened; and

Whereas the new sanctuary of the Upper Hammonds Plains Church replaces the one within the 160-year-old church next door, which the congregation outgrew; and

Whereas the $1.3 million expansion was thanks to the dedicated congregation and the many fundraising events they undertook, and the unyielding faith and leadership of Reverend Lennet Anderson;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend this enthusiastic religious leader - highlighted along with four others in Mclean's Magazine for breathing new life into their community - and this growing community of faith for realizing their dreams.

[Page 9005]

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce my bill I would like to have permission to do an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery and through you, to the members, I draw your attention to Mr. Albert Dunphy, Coordinator of Planning and Development Control, Municipality of the County of Annapolis, and he's President of the Nova Scotia Association of Professional Planners; Ms. Tammy Wilson, Director of Planning and Development Control, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, and Chairman of the Legislation Implementation Committee; Mr. Douglas Foster, Director of Planning and Development, Cape Breton Regional Municipality; also to the far right, Mr. Maurice Lloyd, President of AtlanPLAN Ltd., Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, a Life Member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, and a good friend of mine. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

Bill No. 270 - Entitled an Act Respecting Professional Planners. (Mr. James DeWolfe)

Bill No. 271 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2001. The Fatality Investigations Act. (Mr. Jerry Pye)

[Page 9006]

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. 4847

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

Whereas on December 10, 1996, this House resolved that the Premier call upon the Minister of National Defence and the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on National Defence to re-establish the Halifax Rifles as an armoured unit within the City of Halifax for the training and safety of all Nova Scotian citizen soldiers; and

Whereas no action has been forthcoming from the federal government; and

Whereas the need for such reconnaissance units remains important as the federal government pursues another new mandate for our nation's Armed Forces and Militia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the current Premier to forcefully remind the federal minister that this province seeks the re-establishment of the Halifax Rifles.

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 Victoria-The Lakes.

[Page 9007]

RESOLUTION NO. 4848

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to read this resolution as Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee.

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

Whereas the Canadian Youth Remembrance Society is a youth-driven, non-profit society which aims to promote youth awareness of past wars in which Canadians bravely fought; and

Whereas the Canadian Youth Remembrance Society, in partnership with Tim Hortons, the Province of Nova Scotia, Hockey Nova Scotia, and with the support of Veterans Affairs Canada, has officially launched the 2005 Year of the Veteran Nova Scotia Hockey Jersey Patch Program today; and

Whereas 20,000 Nova Scotia hockey players and officials from across the province will take part in the program throughout the 2005-06 hockey season, wearing patches that commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of Canada's war veterans;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the Canadian Youth Remembrance Society and its project partners on this tribute to Canadian war veterans.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 9008]

RESOLUTION NO. 4849

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

Whereas the pork industry in Nova Scotia is an important sector within Nova Scotian agriculture; and

Whereas the pork industry is worth $30 million at the farm gate and provides $100 million net benefit to the Nova Scotian economy; and

Whereas the pork industry provides 1,500 jobs for Nova Scotians, mainly in rural areas;

Therefore be it resolved that all levels of government do what is necessary to support this important commodity group both in the short term, as well as helping with long-term sustainability.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction before I do my resolution. In the west gallery I'm very pleased to introduce my mother, Juene More and my brother, Jack More. I ask my colleagues to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our member's family to the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

[Page 9009]

RESOLUTION NO. 4850

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

Whereas $4.4 million has been raised through the Dartmouth General Hospital Revitalization Campaign; and

Whereas the result is a modern, highly functioning emergency department and day surgery department with well-trained staff serving a grateful community; and

Whereas many groups and individuals provided time, energy and donations to this major fundraising initiative covering a significant portion of the total construction and capital equipment costs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the valuable work of the Dartmouth General Hospital staff and physicians, the Dartmouth General Hospital Charitable Foundation, and thank each and every donor to the revitalization campaign.

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.

[2:30 p.m.]

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 4851

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

Whereas for the past 25 years, Daniel Christmas has led with wisdom and distinction laying a solid foundation throughout his Mi'kmaq community, in recognition to these

[Page 9010]

contributions Dalhousie University has bestowed the Doctor of Laws honoris causa to Mr. Daniel J. Christmas; and

Whereas Daniel Christmas has been instrumental in many of the accomplishments of the Mi'kmaq community, his work developing an economic strategy for Mi'kmaq communities, as a senior advisor to the Chief and Band Council of the Membertou First Nations, has been the driving force behind the success of the Band; and

Whereas Daniel Christmas's contributions have gone beyond his First Nations community, he has served on numerous boards and committees to improve his community as a whole, his work has been recognized throughout Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as internationally;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the formidable contributions Daniel Christmas has made to improving our province and wish him every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4852

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

Whereas the Town of Westville proudly opened a new library and innovation centre, along with a Summer reading program this Summer, while also unveiling a new town Web site; and

[Page 9011]

Whereas the new library in Westville is a 4,000-square-foot facility and approximately three-quarters larger than the old library; and

Whereas the new library includes a lounge reading area, a meeting room, a community office available for rentals, a large children's area along with a CAP site; and

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the significant efforts of the residents of the Town of Westville in getting this new library constructed, as well as the support generated by the Westville Town Council and members of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library Board.

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. 4853

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

Whereas Nancy Clarke of Pictou and CEO of the Riverview Adult Residential Centre in Riverton, Pictou County, is one of the three people featured in the Honour Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International 2004 Annual Report; and

Whereas this Indianapolis-based society cited Nancy for demonstrating an "impact that is being made to improve world health through service", and illustrating "the renewed power of serving others"; and

Whereas Nancy is a board member of the Pictou County Health Authority and has overcome many personal and health challenges to reach where she is today;

[Page 9012]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Nancy Clarke on these achievements in her profession and thank her for her service to our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4854

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 pork industry in Nova Scotia is worth over $30 million at the farm gate and over $100 million to the Nova Scotia economy; and

Whereas 1,500 direct and indirect rural jobs are created by Nova Scotia pork production; and

Whereas over 79 hog farms in Nova Scotia represent an estimated 200 families that rely on pork production for their livelihood;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly immediately get involved in this current crisis before the pork industry collapses.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 9013]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 4855

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

Whereas Barrington, Shelburne County native Darren Hudson captured the 2005 World Professional Log-Rolling Championship in Minneapolis this past June; and

Whereas the 27-year-old became the first Canadian since his uncle, Phil Scott, captured the world title 25 years ago, in 1980; and

Whereas in winning the world championship, Darren defeated Minnesota's two-time world champion and ESPN Great Outdoor Games gold medalist Jamie Fischer;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs extend a warm round of congratulations to Barrington native Darren Hudson, who, while living in Dresden, Germany every Winter, always returns to North America each Summer to compete professionally in timber-sport events.

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.

[Page 9014]

RESOLUTION NO. 4856

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 has celebrated 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 Dorothy (Dot) Richardson, Henry Spencer and Connie Gay for their 10 years of volunteer service to the Harbour View School Breakfast Program.

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. 4857

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

Whereas today, the hog producers of Nova Scotia held a meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Halifax to express their concerns regarding the development of a long-term financial initiative; and

[Page 9015]

Whereas the people who base their income on the hog industry have the right to know what kind of future they have in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas farm businesses have already left the hog industry, because of this government's inaction;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly immediately take notice of this critical matter concerning not only the rural communities but the entire economy of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 4858

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

Whereas with the passing of Mayor Gary Pearl last Spring, Kentville residents went to the polls on July 23rd to elect a new mayor for their town; and

Whereas Councillor Dave Corkum nosed out Councillor Larry Eaton by 23 votes to win the mayoralty; and

Whereas with the resignation of two councillors in their run for mayor, it meant the election of two new councillors on July 23rd, with Mark Pearl and Eric Bolland outdistancing a total of five other candidates to win the two vacant council seats;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs in the House of Assembly extend their sincere congratulations to Dave Corkum, Mark Pearl and Eric Bolland on their municipal election victories, and to all other candidates who came forward and allowed their names to stand for election.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 9016]

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. 4859

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 Prospect Road Pastoral Unit hosted a Project Nigeria Variety Show in the historic Village of Prospect on Sunday, October 23rd; and

Whereas the variety show was supported by The Star of the Sea, St. Christopher's, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Thomas and St. Joseph Churches; and

Whereas this highly-successful community event was coordinated by Bernadine MacMillan, Kathleen Coolen and Paul Yanck;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate all involved with the Project Nigeria Variety Show in the Village of Prospect.

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 9017]

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 4860

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

Whereas Brennan Vincent MacNeil is a Grade 9 student attending Sydney Mines Junior High School; and

Whereas Brennan is a saxophone player in the school band, an accomplished piano player, is active in politics and is presently treasurer of the student council; and

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

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly, and especially the member for Victoria-The Lakes, congratulate Brennan on his accomplishments and wish him well in Ottawa.

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. 4861

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

[Page 9018]

Whereas the Chester Area Middle School recently underwent some major renovations to provide a quality and up-to-date school; and

Whereas the contractors did a fantastic job, and the custodians moved mountains, literally, to get the school clean and ready for staff and students; and

Whereas the staff also worked tirelessly, even on Labour Day weekend, to get the classrooms ready for their students;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the contractors and staff at Chester Area Middle School for all their hard work, and wish them a successful school year in their new facilities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4862

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 Saturday, October 1st, I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony of handing over the house keys for one of Habitat for Humanity's homes; and

Whereas this home was built through the hard work and goodwill of many sponsors and volunteers and was completed in just six short weeks; and

Whereas homelessness has continued across the province unabated, yet the Government of Nova Scotia continues to build nothing but pipedreams;

[Page 9019]

Therefore be it resolved that if our government cannot manage to get on with it and build affordable housing in Nova Scotia, perhaps they should take some lessons from Habitat for Humanity.

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 Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 4863

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

Whereas Karen Archibald, a Truro businesswoman is opening the first Curves franchise in Iceland; and

Whereas Karen Archibald, who owns seven Curves franchises in Nova Scotia and co-owns another, intends to open between eight and 12 Curves franchises in Iceland in the next two years; and

Whereas Karen and her late husband, Adam, opened their first Curves franchise in Truro in 2001;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Karen Archibald for being a model of how effectively small business in Nova Scotia can grow and wish her every success in her new venture in Iceland.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 9020]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 4864

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

Whereas Cyrus Eaton Elementary School in Pugwash, Cumberland County, has been recognized as one of the top 40 great schools in Canada by Today's Parent, a national parenting magazine, for its attention to students with special needs; and

Whereas this school with an enrolment of 150 students was the only Nova Scotia school to make the list this year; and

Whereas it is the second year in a row that a school along the Northumberland Shore has been on the list in this category - the 40 schools were chosen from more than 600 nominations and presented in 10 categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations and thanks to Cyrus Eaton Elementary School's principal, staff and students for their compassion, which earned them this notable distinction.

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 9021]

RESOLUTION NO. 4865

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

Whereas the Mahone Bay Tennis Club is on a vigorous fundraising drive that will hopefully see the necessary funds raised to give the club a major overhaul in 2006; and

Whereas the ultimate goal of the club is to reach $22,500 with the Town of Mahone Bay agreeing to pay $3,000 - $1,500 this fiscal year and $1,500 in the next fiscal year; and

Whereas the Mahone Bay Tennis Club has an active program with more than 100 adults and juniors, and are working to do such things as repairing the asphalt surface on all three courts while repairing the entire club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the executive of the Mahone Bay Tennis Club as well as the Town of Mahone Bay for their vision and determination in ensuring the necessary renovations are done to keep an active and vibrant tennis program alive in Mahone Bay.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4866

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

[Page 9022]

Whereas municipalities and regional development agencies across Cape Breton Island are constantly seeking ways to assist entrepreneurs and tourism operators; and

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia has an exceptional marketing tool at its disposal in the name of Bluenose II - an excellent ambassador to greet those who visit Nova Scotia, in particular in Cape Breton; and

Whereas the historic Town of Louisbourg is becoming an increasingly active port of call for cruise ships;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage consider placing Louisbourg on the Bluenose II sailing schedules for the 2006-07 season.

[2:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 2:45 p.m. and end at 4:15 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

AGRIC. & FISH. - HOG PRODUCER: PLAN - AGREE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Pork production in Nova Scotia is losing ground and without assistance, the industry may collapse. Production has fallen from 215,000 hogs in 2000, to 185,000 hogs this year and it's projected to fall to 180,000 next year. If this number continues to decline, processors will leave and this industry will be sunk. Pork producers are

[Page 9023]

in tough times now and if they have to add increased shipping costs to their meager bottom lines, this industry and the jobs will be gone.

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the minister said that when he grows up he wants to be a statesman. Well, he should know that usually it's other people who decide who statesmen are. So I want to ask the minister, will the minister give hog producers an opportunity to call him a statesman, and agree to their plan now?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his question and I do want to thank all members of this House who were able to attend the information that Pork Nova Scotia hosted at the Radisson Hotel, which explained the plight of farmers. I want to say, I am very happy to bring a plan forward to Cabinet for their consideration.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, pork producers are getting $130 per animal, but they need $155 to make ends meet. Now a quick survey of pork prices yesterday shows that by the time the same hog reaches the retail display case in the Superstore or in Sobeys, it's worth about $462, and I would say that that is a conservative estimate. This is an obscene mark-up for retailers while producers are going backwards. We have hog farmers being offered a pittance for their hogs as they watch them being resold at a 242 per cent mark-up. All farmers need a mechanism to lever their cost of production between the farm gate and the plate. So my question for the minister is, what has this minister done to defend pork producers in obtaining a fair price in relation to the costs of production in this province?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member opposite that we have had a number of meetings with retailers, a number of meetings with processors because as the member alludes to, there seems to be a tremendous amount of increase in the price as it gets to consumers. The consumers are looking at that price and finding them quite high, as a matter of fact. They keep asking people, if they do buy pork, if they do buy Nova Scotia pork, and they're finding it quite high. So that is something that this government has worked quite a bit on, trying to find a way to have that market price flow right through to the farmers.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what the pork industry needs and what the entire agriculture community needs is a provincial risk management plan with input from producers, processors and retailers that will be in place to avert impending disasters as they appear. This industry cannot rely on ad hoc programs that only come on-line from one disaster to the next. The minister has had the industry's plan since September and he says he will have a response in a few weeks. Well, Thursday is the regular Cabinet meeting, so why can't the minister have a response for the industry this Friday or at the very latest, next Friday?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for the question. This process has been going on nigh, probably, two years now, where the first time

[Page 9024]

we came around to the industry looking for some supports, we were able to provide them a loan program to get them through that tough time. We asked at that time that we wanted to stop this from coming and stop this from happening on a year after year basis. We wanted to find a long . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable minister is still on his feet. Let him answer this. There are people in the gallery who would like to hear the answer, please.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I just wanted to say that we were working over two years for a strategy and I'm very happy that with my department and Pork Nova Scotia that we do have a plan that we can now bring forward to Cabinet, for that consideration.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

AGRIC. & FISH. - PORK IND.: FIN. DILEMMA - PLANS

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. The Nova Scotia pork industry is a valued and important business in our province. Throughout the province it is a fundamental component to the economic development which generates many jobs. However, over the last few years, the pork industry has been under financial strain, and this has resulted in weakened production and a number of job losses. So my question to the minister is, what is your government planning to do for the pork industry's growing financial dilemma?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. Simply put, this process has been ongoing for the last two years in order to have a strategy that will bring the pork industry forward, that will bring it into the future and make it profitable. I look forward to bringing that information forward to Cabinet in the very near future.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, this process has been ongoing for two years and we still don't have it in front of Cabinet? It was bad enough when I thought it was September, but it's been two years. Pork Nova Scotia, which is the marketing agent for this vital industry, has created a proposal for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries outlining exactly how to solve the financial woes affecting their industry. My question to the minister is, you have had the strategy report since September, why have you not had this in front of your Cabinet colleagues before now?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this has been taking quite a long time to make a strategy that's going to work for farmers, not an ad hoc program that that Party would like to put forward just to make it and then brush it beside. We want to have a program that is going to help these farmers into the future to make them profitable and make them a lasting industry in this province.

[Page 9025]

MR. MCNEIL: . . . if that government stays in power much longer, there won't be one. Mr. Speaker, it was said today at the Pork Nova Scotia's information session by a producer that if a company arrived in Nova Scotia offering to produce 1,500 jobs and have gross revenue over $100 million that this government would be doing cartwheels and offering bucketloads of money. What we have here today is an industry that has proven it can survive in rural Nova Scotia and is a major part of our way of life, but it needs help. My question is, Mr. Minister, why won't your government support the 1,500 jobs in rural Nova Scotia, because they vote too?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I guess I did strike a little bit of a chord with the member opposite. I want to ask a rhetorical question to the folks in this House right now. In 1997 there was something called the Crow rate. Who was in power in 1997 in both Houses, in this one and the one in Ottawa that got rid of the Crow rate that made these people no more profitable? It was the Liberal Party. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

Order. Order, please. Order, or I will ask the honourable member to leave the House.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

COM. SERV.: ENERGY PLAN - ACCESSIBILITY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Premier. Susan Travis is extremely concerned and frustrated about the lack of options available for her 83-year-old aunt. Her aunt is a typical senior - she's a widow living in the only home that she's ever known, she's done so for the past 64 years. This home was built by her husband in the early 1940s and, like most homes of that era, it is not insulated. Her aunt lives on an extremely modest income of just over $12,000 a year which is made up of the GIS and the OAS. Still, she has a so-called budget heating plan that requires her to pay $4,200 a year to heat her home. That's more than one-third of her modest income. Ms. Travis has approached the government to help with the plight of her aunt and many other seniors in her situation. Remarkably, Community Services has said that they can help her renovate her bathroom to allow her to stay in her home as she ages but they will do nothing to financially help her with insulating her home. My question for the Premier is, will the Premier tell this House why this government's energy plan fails to help seniors as clearly in need as Ms. Travis' aunt?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Community Services.

[Page 9026]

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of this case. I understand it was sent to every MLA in this House. As the member opposite has pointed out, when the department was approached for a housing grant, we did accommodate the lady's aunt and we provided her with some monies to do some renovations. There are set criteria to qualify for the seniors' capital assistance plan, and we applied those criteria and she did get a grant.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the criteria allowed her to renovate her bathroom. Ms. Travis says her aunt has only one real goal, and that is to live out the rest of her life in the only home that she has ever known. She has no intention of leaving the house. The government has not offered her any grants to help make the needed energy conservation and efficiency upgrade. They have not even offered her an interest-free loan or a low-interest loan. Instead, they helped her renovate her bathroom so she can effectively shut off the upstairs of her house. This will do absolutely nothing to reduce her long-term energy costs. My question, again, for the Premier is, why is it you choose to leave seniors like this on their own to face the Winter?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Energy.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, this government has been very concerned about the impact of energy pressures on Nova Scotians, and that's why we have a very wide, encompassing program. To the point that was presented by the member, what we can do, and I would offer to do, between the Department of Energy, as well as Community Services, is have a look at what the specific energy needs of that particular household are, and a look, as I mentioned before in this House, with regard to the Energy Audit Program that's in place. We're trying to partner with the Government of Canada Resources to achieve outcomes, and there are programs in place for that. I think the first step is to get analysis of the individual's house, and that's what the department is willing to do in partnership with Community Services.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's not about analysis. The applicant has already made application. I, quite frankly, don't think that Ms. Travis is asking for too much. If the government cannot understand the morale argument, then surely they must understand the economic argument, that it is less costly in the long term to facilitate seniors living in their own homes as long as they can manage it. Now it appears as if in the next few years Ms. Travis's aunt will be forced to choose between living in the only home that she has ever known and moving into government-supported housing for the want of a modest government investment in energy efficiency. My question for the Premier is, can the Premier tell this House, if he were in Ms. Travis' aunt's position, what choice would he make?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition made reference to energy efficiency, that is exactly what the Minister of Energy offered to you as a way forward on this particular difficult case, energy efficiency.

[Page 9027]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

AGRIC. & FISH. - PORK FARMERS: PRODUCTION - CESSATION

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. My first meeting as an MLA was with hog producers, and obviously little has changed over the past two years. Many people in rural communities of the Annapolis Valley and the province rely heavily on the pork industry for jobs and financial security. Farmers, for many years, have run cost-effective, quality operations, however, due to market fluctuations, feed cost increases, they've had to receive loans through the Farm Loan Board and Pork Nova Scotia. They will not borrow any additional dollars that will further add to their burden of debt. My question to the minister is, are you prepared to allow Nova Scotia hog farmers and their families to cease production?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my previous answer, we have a strategic framework now that we can work from, one that we can bring the industry forward, and one that I look forward to bringing forward to the Cabinet for their discussion, to make sure that we bring the industry forward.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, 200 families are directly involved with hog production in the province. Three hog producers representing 10 families will not be in production by Christmas unless there's intervention. The challenges faced by hog producers can be fixed, if this government would be prepared to invest in this industry instead of simply offering more loans to solve the problem in the hope that it will go away. My question to the minister is, is your government prepared to invest in this important agricultural and economic industry in Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as I've said, there is a plan now, one that we can go forward with, one that we can work with, one that we can make sure that the industry is profitable, and I look forward to bringing this forward for the consideration of government to make sure that we're there for them in the long term.

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, hog farmers just want to make a living. They want to pass their farms on to their children someday in the hopes of keeping this family business alive for generations to come. Today, Mr. Minister, Mitchell and Jennifer Visser, who spoke to you at the Pork Nova Scotia information session - possibly they are still here in the gallery - also shared their story with me. The reality is they will not be in the business in two weeks' time, they and six children, without investment in this industry. They are the future - being two of the youngest producers in this business. My question to the minister is, what can you say today that will assure the Vissers and other farmers that the hog industry has a future here in Nova Scotia?

[Page 9028]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I know that the hog industry has a future in this province. I know we're going to have a strategy that's going to make sure that it's going to be profitable into the future, and I look forward to supporting it well into the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TCH: TOURISM IND. - RESURRECT

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Just yesterday the minister rose in this House to give himself a big pat on his back for the province's tourism marketing campaign. Well, the accolades of yesterday have faded and today we see the truth in black and white. Today the department released its most current tourism numbers. In contrast to the minister's statement yesterday, these numbers do tell a different story - year to date, the number of visitors to Nova Scotia is down 5 per cent. So my question to the minister is, what does he intend to do to make sure his department will come back to life and resurrect Nova Scotia's tourism industry?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member, thank you very much for the question. I have said during the past few months that, yes, the numbers are down with regard to the number of visitors coming to our province, but the member is referring to a number of inquiries in her question and the number of inquiries is doing better.

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we'll come forward with a strategy with the industry. It will be coming forward in the middle of November. I have faith in that strategy and I look forward to presenting it.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I will table the document - and I am not talking about the inquiry numbers, I'm talking about the overall visitors. It's time for this minister to take off his rose-coloured glasses and face the harsh reality here. I will give you some numbers: RV visits are down 28 per cent in September, and 11 per cent year to date; automobile visitors are down 15 per cent in September, and 7 per cent year to date - so much for the minister's tourism vision of doubling tourism in Nova Scotia by 2012. Well, I have to ask this question, what is this minister going to do to improve these numbers for the benefit of all Nova Scotians?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I couldn't agree with the member more. We all want to see the tourism industry grow. There are well over 30,000 people working in the industry. It's a very important industry. The plan coming forward will be done as the previous plan was - in conjunction with the industry. Yes, we face challenges, but we'll be up to the challenge.

[Page 9029]

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, these numbers are his own department's numbers, which he said he does believe to be true. He can blame the airport closures, he can blame it on gas prices, he can blame it on an industry-wide slump, but these numbers only stop at one place - his office. My question to the minister is, when will this minister show real leadership in revitalizing our tourism industry?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the member is throwing numbers out on the floor, but the fact of the matter is our government provides those numbers to Nova Scotians each and every month. We are perhaps the most open and accountable government in the country when it comes to numbers, and that is the reality of it. So we don't need a lecture on numbers. The reality is that our government has made a commitment to tourism in our province and we're making the investments to show it as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. - KEEP THE HEAT PROGRAM: STATUS

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The government's Keep the Heat program is designed to help people with high home-heating costs. Last December the minister said, we've developed this program to help the most needy in our society to deal with those increased costs and stay warm this Winter. But we learned this morning in the Public Accounts Committee that the program is falling very far short of this noble objective. Less than half of the families who were eligible actually received any money, but the department doesn't know why there was such a low take-up rate. My question to the minister is, why is this year's rebate program essentially unchanged when the minister hasn't even identified or solved the problems from last year's program?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the member opposite. This year's program is changed. In fact, we have provided more money to more people in Nova Scotia and in fact we intend to do a better job in terms of providing Nova Scotians with the information that they need to be able to participate in this program. In addition to that, we have committed to mailing out to those who participated last year, the applications for this year. So we expect the uptake for this year's program will be much better than last year.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, last year the department estimated 60,000 families would be eligible for the $200 rebate. In the end the rebate was issued to only 25,500 families which is a take-up rate of 43 per cent. The department doesn't know why. Last year the department sent out 12,000 furnace tune-up vouchers, but only 4,500 were actually used. That's 38 per cent. The department doesn't know why. The budget for last year's program was $16 million and the department spent $6.5 million. The department doesn't know why. That is $9.5 million for needy families that didn't actually get to needy families. My question

[Page 9030]

to the minister is, what steps is the minister taking this year to ensure that these millions of dollars for Nova Scotia's neediest families actually reach the target?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the member opposite, we anticipated that not all of the furnace vouchers would be used this year, that's why we actually had two-year dates on them, so that people could utilize them over a two-year period. We anticipated that some people would have already had their furnace tuned up, so what we wanted to do was provide an opportunity for them to use the voucher when it's appropriate for them. As well, we anticipated that we wouldn't get 100 per cent uptake on that program, but we wanted to ensure that the funding was there in the event that that happened. So that's why we did that.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the department says that this year there are 73,000 families eligible for Keep the Heat program, but nothing we heard this morning and nothing we're hearing now from the minister, will reassure us that this year's program will actually fix the problem that was created in last year's program. In contrast, a point of sale rebate of the provincial portion of the HST would get to everyone and it would get to everyone immediately. My question to the minister is, when will the minister acknowledge that the current application-based program is not working?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I wouldn't acknowledge that because we believe it is working, in fact, what the member is proposing is a program that would help all Nova Scotians, including the richest Nova Scotians, and our plan helps those most in need. I'd like to the table for the member's perusal, an article in The Daily News, I think it was last week sometime, and I'll quote from it, "Oh, My God! That will come in handy." says Mary Clarke, "It will sure as heck help". That is one person who this will help. Here's another quote. It's from Wade Bouser, "That money is going straight into my oil tank." So I will table that for the member to see. Those are two people that Nova Scotia is going to help.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. - GAS STATIONS:

COMMENTS - MIN. COMMITMENT

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's good to see that the minister is fond of quotes. On May 16, 2005, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations told this House, in regard to Bill No. 79, the Petroleum Pricing Act: It's a bill that will provide protection for the interests of Nova Scotians. It's a bill that will provide protection for rural Nova Scotia business. He also went on to say that, Bill No. 79 will ensure that gas stations stay alive and vibrant. Bill No. 79 was passed last Spring with the full support of this House. My question to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, it has been a number of months since Bill No. 79 was passed, and my question to you today is, do you

[Page 9031]

stand by the comment made by you on May 18, 2005, to this House and to all Nova Scotians?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I believe we'll be able to bring forward a strategy that will protect rural Nova Scotians. I also believe that the economic geography will be an issue, but we will be able to ensure that Nova Scotians are able to purchase gas in their communities to the greatest extent we can. I think that's government's responsibility, that's government's commitment, and that's what we will do.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, let's see how that commitment is working. On May 18th, the minister also said, "As I have indicated, we've seen a decline . . ." in gas stations . . . "and Bill No. 79 will stop that decline." This minister has been so effective, along with Bill No. 79, that 60 service stations have closed since the passage of Bill No. 79. At the Public Accounts Committee meeting this morning the minister's own deputy minister refused to associate himself with the minister's comments in the House and, in fact, he admitted that Bill No. 79 couldn't possibly ever meet the commitment made by the minister here in this House. My question is, will the minister admit today that the closure of 60 more service stations is proof that Bill No. 79 and yourself, sir, have been a failure?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I would say the member opposite has taken liberties with what the deputy minister said here in the committee. What I will also say is the member opposite doesn't say that his numbers don't reflect new service stations that have opened. So when you look at the net opened and closed, I think this province will find itself even.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I challenge the minister to go to rural Nova Scotia and tell us how many communities where gas stations have closed, where mom-and-pop gas stations that had been there for years and that are gone now, that he can tell us there are new gas stations that exist. Once again, this is proof that the minister has failed, and Bill No. 79 has been a failure.

We can understand the minister's failings, but it was the Premier who gave his word and shook hands with the independent gas retailers, and said trust me, I have a solution and I will protect you. Premier, 60 families have now lost their businesses, and rural Nova Scotia has been impacted negatively, how do you explain the fact that you gave your word to these people and 60 businesses are now out of business because of your inaction?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I hope the member opposite who asked the question will go back and research his numbers, because they are a far cry from the numbers that are available to the government bench. What I will say is that as a result of Bill No. 79, the government now has a clearer understanding of what is going on in the retail gasoline business in Nova Scotia. We did not have, prior to that piece of legislation, the accurate numbers that allow us to come to the appropriate conclusions. What we are concerned about is, number one, providing service in rural parts of the province . . .

[Page 9032]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

THE PREMIER: . . . and number two, that all Nova Scotians are treated fairly at the pumps.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

COM. SERV. - RENT SUBSIDIES: LANDLORDS - ACCOUNTABILITY

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. As the minister well knows, many of my constituents are clients of the department and live on a very limited income. Much of the housing where these clients find accommodation is in fact dilapidated and poorly insulated, if at all. This drives up their heating costs. These landlords, however, receive rent subsidies and shelter allowances for Community Services clients with no accountability for the service they provide, and this was something pointed out by the Auditor General's Report two years ago. My question is, why does this department continue to pour money into the pockets of landlords without requiring any reporting in return?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question and a chance to clarify the relationship between the tenants and the landlords. In actual fact, the relationship is between the tenants and the landlords, and it's the tenants who should hold the landlords accountable. If they're not delivering, then they should take advantage of that opportunity and find a better landlord.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm so sure that I have in fact had occasion to say that when I hand over money to my children I do expect them to give some account, if in fact that money is being given for a particular purpose. However, that may not be the way the department works. In any case, the problem isn't restricted to private housing. Colleen Kane lives in the Greystone area, and her rent, which is paid directly by the Department of Community Services or, in fact, the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority, includes oil-fired heat. However, the aluminium slider windows used when these buildings were built are notoriously inefficient at keeping in the heat. So I ask the minister, why doesn't the department conduct an energy efficiency audit of this public housing and work to bring these buildings up to modern energy-efficient standards?

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, actually the Minister of Energy would like to address that because I think the federal government has come out with an announcement . . .

[Page 9033]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member raises a very valid point with regard to the age of inventory of housing stock and the need to look at efficiency and conservation upgrades. The Government of Canada has committed additional financial dollars with regard to public buildings. The Government of Nova Scotia will be looking to tap into that funding that the federal government has provided to advance that and, again, to get those audits done.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope the province will not wait too much longer because, actually, the money is dribbling away constantly.

However, tenants like Colleen, and others, are needlessly forced to pay far more for their units because Community Services isn't paying any attention to units under its control - direct or indirect. In provincially-owned units, this is still pouring valuable dollars out the windows and heating the great outdoors. My question to the minister is, when will the province undertake to do its own money-saving audits, if necessary, even if the federal government does not come through?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Energy has indicated, we are working collaboratively with the federal government to move this forward. There is an opportunity there to improve the energy efficiency of public housing, and we are going to seize that opportunity.

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

SYSCO - WORKERS ABANDONMENT: PREM. EXPLAIN

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. We have with us in the gallery today Sydney Steel workers. This Premier rode to power on the backs of Cape Breton steelworkers - everyone knows this. This government said they would close Sydney Steel and open more hospital beds. I will table a copy of this 1999 campaign literature. Well, I guess their promise was partly true - they closed Sydney Steel but many of the same steelworkers who were turfed by this government are today looking for these beds, but they're nowhere to be found. My question to the Premier is, why did the Premier abandon these workers at Sydney Steel?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I remember this file very, very vividly. It was a very difficult file. I remember one quote that actually occurs in the resolution that we will be debating later this afternoon and it is a quote I made. I said, "First and foremost Sysco workers must be fairly and reasonably compensated for their years of service."

[Page 9034]

To follow up on that commitment, Mr. Speaker, we provided a retirement package for steelworkers that was far in excess of what the contract required and far in excess of what labour standards in this province required. In addition, we provided a separation package that was far in excess of anything required in the contract and far in excess of anything that was required by the labour standards of the time. We kept our commitment to steelworkers.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, what the Premier is saying is just not accurate. The steelworkers negotiated a collective agreement with the government under the promise that Duferco was going to operate a mini steel mill. We all know the deal fell through and the steelworkers got nothing, those in the gallery today. The only people who profited were Ernest & Young, who received $2.6 million from this government between January 2001 and March 2004. Why is it that this government had no loyalty to Cape Breton steelworkers and left them out in the cold, while at the same time they paid an international company millions of dollars?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite alluded to a statement that suggested the government disappointed steelworkers.

Mr. Speaker, I want to read from an e-mail I received in my office on October 2nd. I have scratched out the identification because I don't have permission to identify the writer, but it says in part, "Mr. Premier, I worked at Sydney Steel for 37 years and I wish to thank you and your government for allowing us to retire with dignity. There have been those who have been critical of this plan, but when they had a chance to step up, they did not." I will table that. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on your final supplementary.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, that was a letter probably from a steelworker who received a pension up until the age of 65. What I'm talking about is the steelworkers who were left out there, who came back each and every day and worked in every dirty part of that mill for their whole lives, and most of them are in their fifties today. We understand that this government didn't like Sysco or its steelworkers.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Why did this government give fillet mignon to Ernst & Young, but at the same time it left Cape Breton steelworkers barely enough to buy bologna?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on Monday of this week I received this letter from a former steelworker. It says, "Hello John: I am writing to you to express my congratulations on your retirement announcement. I do hope you enjoy your time away from the rat race, as I call it. You were fair to us steelworkers I must say. You had a difficult decision to make and

[Page 9035]

all the pros and cons of it all worked out." I will table that letter in addition. We were fair to steelworkers. We said we would be fair, we were fair, and steelworkers acknowledge we were fair.

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

SYSCO - WORKERS: PREM.'S PROMISE - KEEP

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is to the minister responsible for what's left of Sysco and, please, I hope we don't have any more Dear John letters this afternoon on this subject. Cape Bretoners will remember the names Balser, Purves, and the Premier for closing Sydney Steel back in 1999, but back in 1999 the Premier promised that he would look after Sysco workers who needed to be bridged to their pensions. I can recall Gordie Balser making the same promise at the Steel Workers Hall in Sydney when the plant was being closed and he and the Premier met with Sydney Steel workers. Today we have a number of former workers who say that promise was broken and I agree with these workers. They must be protected with jobs on the former Sysco site and adequate pensions. My question to the minister responsible, what is the minister prepared to do to live up to his Premier's promise?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member talks about promises that were made at the time of the closure of the plant and, unfortunately, we were unable to find a buyer for the plant, otherwise the steel-making capacity in Sydney would probably be in business. The honourable member opposite says that we have not kept our commitment. The commitments that were made have been honoured by the Premier and by the government and we will continue to honour those commitments.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, one thing I will note here in this House today, this government has been moving the equipment off the property with fire sale prices for the past few years to make sure that there will never be a steel plant operation in Sydney in the future, even a modernized rail operation. So not only have they abandoned their promise to the workers, they've also fire saled the equipment at bargain basement prices to get it out of the province.

Mr. Speaker, in the last fiscal year the taxpayer contributed $10 million to the Sysco windup for operations and this year they are contributing another $20 million to the operation. Most of that money is going to Ernst & Young, but these workers are being left out in the cold. My supplementary to the minister, if the minister can continue to spend tens of millions of dollars on the Sysco windup, why can't he provide benefits for the Sysco workers who have been left out of the picture?

[Page 9036]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we have done a colossal job in employing (Interruptions) A colossal job, it's better than skyrocketing. We have done a colossal job in providing employment for severed steelworkers. We have provided 565,000 hours of employment since we closed the steel mill.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Premier's present chief of staff said back in 1999, when she was trying to get elected, that hospital beds would open if Sysco was closed. Now we all know what happened to Jane Purves in the last election, so there is some justice. She and Gordie Balser, who were so interested in destroying the lives of Sydney steelworkers, got it themselves in that provincial election. If there's any justice, that was the justice that was done to those people who are so against Cape Bretoners.

Mr. Speaker, $20 million is still going into Sysco, but not a dime for the workers and nothing for hospital beds in the Sydney area. Will the minister - my final supplementary - commit today to ensure that workers are treated fairly instead of the unfair treatment you are providing so far?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, one of the advantages of being in this place for a long time, I can remember a long way back, and I can remember when Gerald Regan was Premier of this province and he was going to build a brand new Greenfield steel plant in Gabarus. That was the commitment of that government, and nothing happened. (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: You guys closed the Sydney Steel plant.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, We did close the Sydney Steel plant simply because we could not find a buyer for the Sydney Steel plant. We closed the plant and we treated the workers fairly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

COM. SERV. - JUNIPER HOUSE/CASA: MERGER - FUNDING

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Juniper House is a transition house in Yarmouth that covers southwestern Nova Scotia, and Citizens Against Spousal Abuse, or CASA, is an outreach program serving abused women and their children in Digby and the surrounding area. For four years, these two organizations have been working on a merger, which would consolidate administrative work and free up a worker to do more community outreach. Finally, the project was approved earlier this month but now Community Services has pulled the funding. My question to the minister is, can the minister explain this completely nonsensical move by his department?

[Page 9037]

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question and the chance to clarify what actually took place. There has been work with all the transition houses and men's treatment centres right across the province and quite a bit of success in reaching regional agreements with them and indeed this was one that we felt we had reached agreement on down in the Yarmouth, Clare, Digby area. Part of the agreement involved covering the existing CASA budget which would then go to Juniper House to increase funding, to bring the CASA employees up to the transition house pay scale, and also a one-time transitional payment to cover their deficit and we are prepared to stand by that commitment. That was the commitment that was discussed on the table.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to table a letter from the Department of Community Services, signed by the assistant deputy minister that suggests they confirm support for Juniper House/CASA merger and the budget as presented with your letter of September 12, 2005. The budget submitted by Juniper House and CASA did not change. The error in calculations was at the Department of Community Services. The disputed amount is only $8,000, which surely can be found somewhere if the department has the will to do it. Transition houses have suffered through years of frozen and inadequate budgets and we can't forget the near miss in 2002, when this government tried to cut almost $1million from spousal abuse programs. So I ask the minister, why did his department give with one hand and take with the other?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing this up again and as I clarified in my opening statement, the department did commit to pick up the CASA operating budget. It did commit to increase the CASA employees wages to bring them up to the transition house wage scale, and it did commit to take over the deficit. What it did not commit to was to increase their core funding.

[3:30 p.m.]

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I might suggest that the department staff should be much clearer in their deliberations, because let me paint a picture for you. The paperwork was ready to be signed and the celebratory cake was literally sitting on the table ready to be cut when these groups got the phone call from Community Services staff telling them the deal was off. This situation sends a message to all voluntary sector agencies that this government's promises are not worth the paper they're printed on.

My final question to the minister is, will he live up to his word and make sure the agreement in all its various aspects that were agreed to in not one, but two letters, and will he promise to ensure that this merger goes through as approved, and how quickly will that happen?

[Page 9038]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, in my opening comments I said we would honour the agreement that was negotiated at the table - that agreement, not an embellished one. I think the member opposite, who has shown a lot of interest in the transition houses and the men's treatment centres, would be pleased to perhaps hear what the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia said about those staff she's now talking about - and I'm going to quote two parts of this e-mail, "The Transition House Association of Nova Scotia is very pleased with the conclusion of the DCS__THANS Redesign Process . . . We look forward to building on the collaborative and respectful process that resulted in achievements that will result in enhanced and strengthened services for abuse (sic) women and their children in Nova Scotia."

Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to table this e-mail.

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

COM. SERV. - JUNIPER HOUSE/CASA: MERGER - FUNDING

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I want to try out the memory of the Minister of Community Services to see how long it is. Two years ago, government asked various organizations to develop a plan which would enhance and strengthen women's services of Nova Scotia. One of the recommendations was a merger between CASA of Digby and Juniper House of Yarmouth. The staff of both organizations have worked very hard to make this recommendation a reality and were informed in a letter, signed by the deputy minister, that the support for the merger was confirmed and the budget that was presented on September 12th was approved. I will table that letter also.

My question to the minister is, why is his department now telling Juniper House and CASA that the budget his assistant deputy minister approved in writing is not what they will be receiving?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I think that it's probably not necessary to repeat my last three answers again; however, what I will say is that during these negotiations that I just referred to with the e-mail that was given to the Clerk to be tabled, that while we put everybody at a provincial wage scale, there was nothing in there that was going to further enhance the core funding over and above what was on the table. We are prepared to commit to the agreement that we made at the table. What happened here is that the letter that came from Juniper House embellished on that agreement and it was not caught initially by the assistant deputy minister, but it was caught by the finance division.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, it was only $8,000 and it's made quite a kerfuffle down there with those people. On 4:00 p.m. Friday, phone calls between regional office and Juniper House started. The regional administrator told Juniper House by phone that the budget confirmed by the assistant deputy minister in writing should not have been approved

[Page 9039]

and would not be made available. The merged organization was told to fundraise to make up the difference. This minister's department asked the organization to be more effective and efficient in how they delivered the service. CASA and Juniper House answered the call and everything was approved by the department. My question to the minister is, why is the minister's department not providing the $8,630 that was promised in writing?

MR. MORSE: Again, Mr. Speaker, as I'm trying to explain to the member opposite, there was an agreement reached at the table. I've tabled an e-mail that shows the reaction from the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia. In this particular case the letter that came in from Juniper House expanded on the scope of the agreement, and that was not acceptable. It was not caught initially by the assistant deputy minister, but it was caught within the department. We are prepared to live up to what we agreed to at the table.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, where I come from a written word is gold. Obviously not in this minister's department. Will the minister provide all the funding approved in the letter sent by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Community Services on October 11th so that Juniper House and CASA can provide services to women instead of having to deal with the disorganization and chaos that clearly exists in the minister's department?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, we are in fact going to honour the spoken word that was agreed to at the negotiating table, and we'll honour that agreement.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

COM. SERV. - SENIORS: HOUSING GRANTS - ACCESSIBILITY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Across this province seniors are living in unsafe and unsuitable housing situations. Either they're unable to get into affordable seniors housing or they can't get help to make their own home safe and accessible. The income limits for housing grants and loan programs are far too low to help many seniors who are in need. If a person is fortunate enough to get a little help from housing grants, they're cut off from getting help again, regardless of how much they got the first time or how legitimate the renewed need might be. My question to the Premier is, why hasn't your government done more to ensure that no senior has to live in unsuitable or unsafe housing?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the minister responsible for housing.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I think earlier this week I pointed out that the household income limits for seniors were enhanced by this government just recently, and we again just enhanced them for specific classes of seniors so that there would be greater accessibility. With regard to the amount of funding available for emergency housing repairs, I would remind the member that last year, when given the opportunity,

[Page 9040]

millions of dollars were added to that part of the budget so that we could shorten the waiting lists.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, there's plenty of accessible, low-maintenance seniors' housing in HRM. That, of course, is if you have $200,000 to buy a condo. If you are of more modest means, you simply have to wait and wait for months or even years to get into seniors' housing. This government's policy of using seniors' housing for people with serious mental illness and other challenges, people who have no designated services, is creating safety and security issues for senior residents. My question to the Premier is this, why does his government continue to neglect the needs of seniors in this province?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Community Services.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would be aware, we have 7,700-odd seniors' complexes in our social housing stock. We are enhancing that number constantly. Just a couple of weeks ago there were another 56 units announced for the Truro area. We continue to try to work to enhance the amount of affordable housing that is available to seniors.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the number of people over 65 is expected to account for one-quarter of the population by 2016. The demand for safe, accessible, affordable housing that allows seniors to remain independent in their own communities is not going away, it is continuing to grow. My final question for the Premier is this, this information isn't new, so why hasn't your government started the process of addressing these needs while it still has the time to plan?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, again, the Leader of the Opposition has done an excellent job in assessing a problem. What he always fails to do is ever to make even the slight suggestion of a solution - he leaves that to the government. We have been providing solutions. We are working towards a sustainability in this province that will look after the growing number of seniors whom we will be dealing with in the decades to come, but it isn't helped by an Opposition Party that every single day in this House talks about issue after issue after issue that would require increased spending.

My question, Mr. Speaker, and I believe it is the question now being asked by many Nova Scotians, what taxes are going to be increased to provide the money that the Opposition Party is always suggesting the government should spend? (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 9041]

HEALTH: FLU VACCINE - SHORTAGE

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it's like a right of passage for this government, you know, it's the Fall, it's flu vaccination time, and this government has once again caused absolute chaos in the distribution of flu vaccines. I would like to table a letter sent to the physicians of the Woodlawn Medical Clinic. This is a clinic that administered over 10,000 vaccines last year, a clinic that is now being told to make do with less, and according to physicians at that clinic, that has never happened before. My question to the Minister of Health is, how is it possible for the patients at the Woodlawn Medical Clinic who need and want a flu shot to actually get one if physicians are being given less than they were last year?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I, too, have a letter. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I would ask the honourable Minister of Health, is the letter signed?

MR. MACISAAC: It's a memorandum, Mr. Speaker. It was originally signed. I simply have a copy of it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I'm not going to take up time in Question Period to give a ruling on something I'm going to deal with after Question Period, but all I wanted to know is, is that a letter addressed to yourself that's signed?

MR. MACISAAC: I have a copy.

MR. SPEAKER: But is it signed though?

MR. MACISAAC: It was originally signed.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, very good, thank you. Carry on.

MR. MACISAAC: But there is no signature on the copy I have. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I don't want to take time in Question Period to explain an earlier ruling I made two years ago. I'm going to rule on the two letters that were introduced a few minutes ago, that a ruling I had made requiring any member who introduces a letter to this House to identify the writer of that letter by a signature on the letter.

MR. MACISAAC: I can easily identify the writer. It's a memorandum to all physicians in the province from Dr. Jeff Scott, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

[Page 9042]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Carry on.

MR. MACISAAC: It's dated September 13, 2005 and, Mr. Speaker, I'll only quote from one paragraph of this, but it does indicate to all physicians in this province that no flu vaccine shortage is anticipated, but due to national distribution issues, the distribution of vaccine by public health services in Nova Scotia will be spread over several weeks - not may, will be. Therefore, the amount of vaccine that you initially request may be provided to you in multiple allotments over that time period.

Now, Mr. Speaker, receiving a communication such as that would suggest that appropriate planning should be made with respect to the allotment of that vaccine by physicians.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it's a sad tune that they sing over and over again - it's everybody else's fault except their own. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Glace Bay has the floor.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Woodlawn Clinic is not the only clinic that we've received calls from. A medical clinic in the southwestern part of this province was told last week they would only receive half of their requested amount for the flu clinic that they were having over the weekend, an amount that staff at the clinic knew was less than what they had available last year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what we have here is nothing more than distribution chaos in this province. Physicians are being told they can't provide for their patients. The department is telling Nova Scotians they can't get their flu shots. My question to the minister is, why at the very least are clinics not being provided the same amount of vaccine that they administered to their patients last year?

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member and physicians who suggest that they are getting less than what they received last year are misleading Nova Scotians. It's clear they're getting the same amount as what they got last year and that has been made clear to them. They received a communication that should allow them to plan for appropriate distribution of the product.

[Page 9043]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, never mind blaming Ottawa - now blame the doctors of Nova Scotia for the problem that we're having. I'll tell you why; I'll tell you what's happening. This minister is stockpiling vaccines. (Interruptions) That's what's happening. The minister will claim that that is not the case . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Glace Bay has the floor.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister will claim that is not the case, but if you fail to provide physicians, whom you are now blaming, with the same amount that you did last year, then what's the minister doing? He's stockpiling vaccines. My final question is, why is the minister holding back flu vaccines that are preventing doctors from doing their jobs and protecting Nova Scotians? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I'll just remind all honourable members to address their questions and answers to the Chair, please.

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the honourable member, and everybody in the House, that there is a group of Nova Scotians who have priority with respect to the receipt of the vaccine, and those are identified in the memo which I tabled earlier. They are people over 65 years of age, they are people of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities - I won't take the time of the House to read the entire list, but it goes on to reference health care workers, it goes on to reference police, firefighters and others.

Mr. Speaker, we have a responsibility to ensure that the allotment of vaccine that is in this province, to look after that core group, is allotted in an appropriate manner so that all of those who need it, can in fact receive it, and the doctors are told, through the memo, that their allotments will come periodically and, obviously, they should plan accordingly. The reason that they come periodically is so that we can ensure the distribution is appropriate to look after the priority list - the seniors of this province and others who need the vaccine.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

PREM.: HFX. RIFLES REGIMENT - REACTIVATE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Founded in 1860, but with roots dating back to the founding of Halifax in 1749, the Halifax Rifles Regiment had a long and distinguished history of service to our country. Many of the members of this outstanding regiment served above and beyond the call of duty in various campaigns, most notably the Normandy Campaign and D-Day Campaign, where more than

[Page 9044]

300 of its members fought on our country's behalf, yet in 1965 the Pearson Government inexplicably deactivated the unit despite recommendations to the contrary by the head of Eastern Command. It left Nova Scotia as the only mainland province without an armoured unit. In 1996, and again today, this Legislature expressed its support for the Halifax Rifles. So during this, the Year of the Veteran, I would ask the Premier, what has this government done to press the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister in support of reactivating the Halifax Rifles?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this has been an issue that has, on a number of occasions, been brought to the attention of the government, and on previous occasions we have played an active role in this, but I must say not recently. What I can say is we supported the resolution in the House that we would advocate exactly what the Leader of the Opposition is proposing and we will fulfill that obligation to advocate.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the friends of the Halifax Rifles, supported by the Halifax Rifles Association, are asking for the full support of this government with efforts to reactivate the Halifax Rifles Regiment. The deactivation of the Rifles left the province as the only one without a reconnaissance capability - this is in spite of our vulnerable coastline, the security of which rests with the RCMP, with support from the Army whenever necessary. A reconnaissance unit is ideally suited for this task. I'd like to follow my question, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier, with this, what concrete measures will your government take in the coming months to ensure the federal government moves to reactivate this much-heralded unit?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, while I don't necessarily subscribe to the defence policy of the federal government, I am prepared to say that in recent months they have made an increasing financial commitment to military spending in this country. It is something that, in my estimation, has been long overdue. One would anticipate that that increased spending will allow initiatives that heretofore have not been on the radar screen in Ottawa. We, again, as I had earlier said, on the government side are prepared to advocate on behalf of the initiative that was introduced earlier today in the House.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I hear what the Premier is saying, but what I'm trying to get to is how that advocacy is going to take place. While the Halifax Rifles may be gone, they are certainly not forgotten. The Halifax Rifles Association has maintained a very active presence and contributes to the well-being of the community through several programs. It provides sponsorship and financial assistance to the Halifax Rifles Army Cadet Corps, and annually presents scholarships to university students. Many people have worked long and tirelessly to see this regiment reactivated. My question is on the how, to the Premier, what commitment will the Premier give today that he will actively pursue this matter before he leaves office in February?

[Page 9045]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the question, and I refer it to the Minister responsible for the Year of the Veteran.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the Leader of the Opposition's question, I would just note - not only to his question with regard to the Halifax Rifles, which the Premier has already indicated our willingness to advocate for that - there have been a number of other requests. In terms of immediate action, following the conclusion of this House, it's our intention to meet with the federal Minister responsible for Veterans Affairs, as well as with the other federal officials to advocate for the whole list of priorities that we've received, everything from those who have served in the Korean conflict to those who have served in the Gulf conflict, and with this one here. I think what we will do is bring them all together. I would commit to the Leader of the Opposition and all members of the House that we will report back, because it's a very proper thing to do.

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

COM. SERV. - SOCIAL HOUSING:

COMMITMENT REDUCTION - MIN. ACTION

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for housing. In recent years, considerable concern has been raised about government's reduced commitment to social housing in Nova Scotia. My question, quite simply, to the minister is, what specific action is the minister taking to address this problem?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, what the member is referring to is that back in around 1993, with the change in the federal government, the federal government started to withdraw from social housing. They stopped signing new agreements with the provinces, and basically divested themselves of the housing inventory. It is good to be able to get up here and say that the federal government has found themselves in a position where they now want to re-enter the social housing area. At the recent White Point Beach Housing Ministers meetings, there was discussion on how the federal government could come in on a long-term basis as part of the social housing solution.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, given the minister's comments about the renewal to a commitment for renewing global agreements across Canada, and in our case in Atlantic Canada, my question is, how will that benefit Nova Scotia specifically?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, what the federal government did when they first came back in is they had a couple of really, you'd almost call them ad hoc programs. Welcome, because they're coming back in, and any new affordable housing is a move in the right direction. The federal government certainly is in a revenue position where they're able to make this a priority. It's an important one right across the country. The first two programs were limited in time, and when they're over, they're done, and the federal government is

[Page 9046]

gone. What this would mean not only to Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic Provinces but, indeed, to the entire country, is that we are looking for a long-term, sustained commitment that the federal government is a partner at the table and delivering affordable housing for low-income Canadians.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, when do we expect such an agreement to come forth for Nova Scotia with the federal government and how will it benefit rural Nova Scotia, in particular Cape Breton Island?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, while it may not have been well reported, the conclusion of the White Point Beach federal-provincial-territorial ministers' meetings, something rather extraordinary did happen there, and that is that there was a consensus on a general agreement in principle as to how we would move forward and define the various roles of the three levels of governments. Extraordinary in this sense is that normally at these federal-provincial-territorial meetings there are usually at least one asterisk down at the bottom that says something to the effect that while the Province of Quebec is supportive of this proposal they do not sign on. That was not the case at White Point, in fact it was unanimous. Federal, provincial, territorial governments all agreed on a set of principles and a vision to go forward, work out a framework, and that is supposed to be delivered as a prototype by next Monday, October 31st.

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

TPW: PAVING PRIORITIES - TABLE

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The paving season is almost over. Projects like the seven kilometres of paving in the riding of Inverness are taking place this year and only recently announced. It's very late in the year, and the minister can appreciate this. The minister knows how much is in his capital budget for next year. So my question to the minister is, could the minister table in this House a list of paving priorities for the next season?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in the fullness of time, that may be possible. At the moment, it is not possible.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, the minister claims to be non-partisan when using road work, so I'm giving the minister an opportunity to prove it. If tenders can be let this year for next year, there will be no need to pave late in the season like they're doing now in the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage's riding, I'm sure it's only a coincidence that paving was cancelled on Hunters Mountain in Victoria-The Lakes and it's now being done in Inverness. I know it's just a coincidence.

[Page 9047]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order please. The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes has the floor.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister through you is, will the minister be issuing more tenders for next year so that planning can begin now?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, one of the priorities of the department is to try to get as much work out in the field in the Fall for Spring work as we possibly can. We have already started that process of putting out tenders for work next year. With regard to the work that's going on in Inverness, this is getting to the end of the paving season. If asphalt is put down in temperatures that are too cold or if there's too much water around, then you get a poor paving result. It's not our intention in the Department of Transportation and Public Works to waste our paving dollars. I would suggest to the honourable member that there will be very little work, if any, done after about November 10th.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased with the announcement that he doesn't want to waste any tax dollars. If tenders that are called are awarded now for next season, then companies can purchase the equipment they require or upgrade their equipment. Families of the workers - and they know that dad will be working early in the Spring instead of waiting tentatively to see if dad gets a job in the Spring or not, hoping for employment. What I'm asking in my final supplementary is - I'm waiting for that campaign of fairness to kick in - will the minister commit to issuing road tenders now and not wait until the last minute like this year?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there's nobody more anxious to issue tender than I am. I can assure the honourable member that we will put out as many tenders as we possibly can for next Spring. One of the elements that make Fall tenders desirable is the fact that the contractors can plan their work so that they can have a number of contracts in one particular area, move their paving plan in and do all the work around that particular paving plan. This is not only advantageous for the contractors, it is also advantageous for the Department of Transportation and Public Works, in that we get pretty good tenders when we can do that kind of thing. I can assure the honourable member opposite and all members of the House that we are doing everything we possibly can to put out as much work as we possibly can for next Spring.

[4:00 p.m.]

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

HEALTH: FLU VACCINE - SHORTAGE

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Woodlawn Medical Clinic has reported on CBC Television that the

[Page 9048]

flu shots are being rationed and that doctors are worried that thousands of high-risk patients at that clinic will not have access to the flu vaccine. These doctors are speaking out now and we need to take their word that there is a problem in the system with receiving these vaccines. Doctors have been told that they can only receive enough vaccine for 1,000 shots a week and the demand for the shots among people who are supposed to get the flu shots far exceeds that number and that supply. My question to the Minister of Health is, why is his department encouraging all Nova Scotians to get a flu shot while rationing the supply at the same time?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member again is raising the question that was raised previously by the honourable member for Glace Bay. I want to remind all honourable members of the House that the Department of Health provides a free vaccine for those who are on the priority list, beginning with seniors, beginning with those who work in the health care system and others. That free vaccine is there to ensure that those who are on the priority list receive the vaccine in an appropriate manner.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for this province, in a memo to all physicians in this province, dated September 14, 2005 - and the memo is entitled Influenza Vaccination Program for 2005-06 - identified to them that they would receive their allotments over time but they would receive the same amount of vaccine that they had in previous years. That should allow them to plan their clinics in an appropriate manner.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I guess what the Minister of Health is saying that the doctors in this province are lying to government and lying to Nova Scotians. Last year the Woodlawn Clinic gave over 10,000 flu shots and this year they have been told they will receive half that amount. The Department of Health stated that there is enough vaccine for 350,000 shots, enough for the at-risk population in this province. The minister should answer the question that his own department is saying, there's enough vaccine to do this, so why are they rationing it out just at the start of flu season?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, for the record, the document from Dr. Jeff Scott to all physicians in the province states clearly, no flu vaccine shortage is anticipated. There will be no vaccine shortage. It does say that you will receive the vaccine in multiple allotments, dated September 13th. Surely there is sufficient time to plan your clinics so that you can distribute the vaccine and ensure that those who are on priority lists receive that. To do otherwise would create shortages in certain parts of the province and we have a responsibility to all of the province to ensure the vaccine is distributed appropriately.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, the minister offered to meet with the doctors at the Woodlawn Clinic after the flu season is over. This clinic isn't the only clinic experiencing problems getting enough vaccine. The minister has a duty to ensure that seniors, infants, people with chronic health conditions, and health workers get timely access to the vaccine before the flu season starts. So I ask the minister very simple and

[Page 9049]

plainly, will he commit today to ensuring that every clinic in Nova Scotia has enough vaccine to protect at-risk patients in time for the flu season?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we have the same amount of vaccine as last year if not slightly more. Last year we were able to meet everybody on the priority list who sought the vaccine. This year we anticipate being able to do the same, but we will use the allotment of vaccine in a manner that would ensure that it is distributed appropriately throughout the province so that everybody on the priority list is addressed.

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

ENV. & LBR. - C.B. OFFICES: SYD./SYD. MINES - INFORM

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. There used to be talk of moving jobs from urban Halifax to the regions to help foster economic development and under the face of opposition, government consistently has shelved the idea. Government, however, has no problem moving jobs within regions. In Sydney, for example, there are 40 employees of Environment and Labour whom we have learned may be moved to Sydney Mines.

Mr. Speaker, could the minister inform this House whether his offices will be moved from Sydney to Sydney Mines?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we have been looking at amalgamating the Environment and Labour Department along with the Occupational Health and Safety Division that are currently not under the same roof. Certainly no decisions have been made, but we would like to bring them together if at all possible.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, bringing it together I hope doesn't mean ruining the hub of the wheel in Cape Breton County. Sydney has been designated as the seat of government there. These particular offices are one seat away from the Civic Centre in Sydney and, by the way, in the centre of the CBRM.

Mr. Speaker, this could be nothing more than a political move here. I spoke with a senior official in his department who informed me that indeed talks are underway to relocate those offices from Charlotte Street in Sydney - by the way which is undergoing a major expansion and major rejuvenation in that area - to Sydney Mines. Moving these offices to Sydney Mines will mean that people from Glace Bay and Louisbourg, and other areas, will have to travel exceptional distances for service and the intention to rejuvenate Charlotte Street will be severely impaired.

[Page 9050]

My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker, will the minister state absolutely that these offices will not be moved, or will he wait to get directions from Lord Black of Citadel Hill?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, as I said, we're reviewing some options and we're taking a look to see what we can do from an efficiency point of view with a goal of trying to amalgamate people under the same roof, but no decision has been made at this time.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if they're going to be under the same roof, they should be on Charlotte Street in Sydney where they are now. The minister is not answering the question. I'm asking it and he's not answering it. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this is not just a development issue. Many of the people who work there will face a good deal of upheaval. Cynics might say that the member for Cape Breton North, the Energy Minister, has a vested interest in this potential move, at least that's what the employees are telling me. It makes no sense at all to move these jobs from Charlotte Street in Sydney to Sydney Mines. My final supplementary, will the minister confirm today that he is not being lobbied to move the Environment and Labour office from Sydney to Sydney Mines?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, some time ago when the member opposite was in power, I didn't think it was the right thing to do when the Environment and Labour Department was moved to Bridgewater either. So we certainly will take a look at things that take place but (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. - C.B. OIL COMPANIES: DELIVERY - ACTION

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. In industrial Cape Breton in particular many of the constituents I represent, particularly in the rural communities of which there are many, are having an increasingly difficult time being able to order fuel and receive it in a timely fashion. Some of the major oil companies in industrial Cape Breton, particularly Imperial Esso and Irving, are requiring a substantive amount of purchase be made before they deliver the product. My question - and I believe the minister is aware of the figures, I've provided them to him - in light of the problem it's creating for many low-income Nova Scotians, those

[Page 9051]

on fixed income, seniors, widows and the working poor, what specific action is the minister taking to address this problem?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, besides the Keep the Heat program that offers more money to more people in Nova Scotia, particularly low-income Nova Scotians, what we do is we continue to monitor, on a daily basis, the industry around the price of fuel and the minimum delivery. We post those prices on our government Web site. It can be easily found by clicking on the government Web site, moving yourself to the Department of Energy and there's an icon there where you'll be able to identify the prices in your area.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate what the minister is saying. Unfortunately, what's happening in Cape Breton - Imperial Esso and Irving Oil effectively control the market. They are forcing many of the small, private independents to sell at a reduced rate because they're charging them more to be able to buy the product at the wholesale market. As a result, many families on low and fixed income and the working poor have to make a choice as to whether they'll be able to buy groceries or buy fuel to heat their homes. To heat the average home, you're looking at least at $700 to $800 per month in the average home in industrial Cape Breton that has oil. Many of these individuals cannot afford to buy anywhere from $600 to $800 of fuel at a time. My question to the minister is, what action is his department taking to help alleviate the pressure from the large oil companies on these individuals?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, again, what we've done is encouraged Nova Scotians to shop around to ensure they get the best price. We've also identified last year, through our Keep the Heat program, to Nova Scotians opportunities where they could receive discounts for fuel. We'll continue to do that with this particular program as well. One of the things the Keep the Heat program does is it enables us to provide more money to more people and we think that will help low-income Nova Scotians.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's comment because the points he's made do help a certain population. There is still a considerable population out there, particularly those that are receiving assistance through the Department of Community Services. My question is to the Minister of Community Services, what specific action is his department taking, aside from the energy efficient program that the government has announced, to be able to cushion the blow? Many of these individuals cannot afford to pay cash, so I would ask the minister, what action is he taking?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite refers to the adequacy of the shelter allowances. The member would be pleased to recall that in the Spring budget we increased the shelter allowance for the non-elderly, able-bodied, single residents by $25 and $50 depending on the type of their accommodation. Of course, in addition to that, all the monies that flow to them from the Keep the Heat program and the federal program are in addition to the budget and not clawed back.

[Page 9052]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre. You have time for a quick snapper.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question, if I get to it would be for the Minister of Natural Resources. I'm sure he believes, as I do, that the strength of this province is in our small communities. Small communities such as Dominion, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2006. I'm sure he has good news for all Nova Scotians on Dominion Beach, but we'll get to that on another day.

[MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.]

MR. SPEAKER: During Question Period, a member introduced two letters to the House and I want to refer back to a ruling I gave in the House on October 16, 2003. I'm not going to read the whole thing, it's available to all members. It's a two-page ruling basically dealing with unsigned documents in the House. Basically what the ruling says is that ". . . the practice is that unsigned or unattributed documents should not be put before the House."

I talked about a ruling a previous Speaker gave on November 15, 1993, ". . . the reading of an anonymous letter is out of order." In fact, at the end I stated, "In future, any member who is going to table or read a letter, or quote from a letter should first announce that it is, in fact, signed by the author." The two letters today don't meet that criteria so they'll be ruled out of order and I'll return them to the member.

[4:15 p.m.]

I just want to remind all members that for further notice the introduction of any letters have to have the author's name and the honourable Minister of Health, that's why I asked the honourable minister earlier, I thought you had a letter but obviously it was a memorandum - anyway, letters have to be signed by the author for the information of the House. Thank you.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I'm not sure what order of business I do it under, but for purposes of clarification - obviously I presented to you a copy, I could not get the original of the letter, and it went to all physicians in the province. I don't know that it was signed individually by all, for each one of those. What is it that I need in order for that letter to be acceptable?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You have to identify the author of the document, and it has to be identified on the document itself.

[Page 9053]

MR. MACISAAC: I thought I had done that.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, that was what I had asked you earlier. You did, yes sir, you did. Thank you.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, just on a point of order, as clarification for what you have just raised. My question is, what do you do in the case of an e-mail, because obviously an e-mail is not signed. In this case we had an e-mail that was presented where the name is blocked out, but we know with electronic media that it's even possible to send an e-mail to someone under a different name which would be very difficult for us to confirm that it's that actual person, the individual who did send that e-mail. So I'm just curious, what direction would the Speaker give on that issue?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member is absolutely right; in fact, maybe what I'll do is have the Pages circulate a copy of that decision because I actually talked about that issue there, the fact that so many members now are receiving e-mails. I think the onus is upon the member who is introducing the document to identify the author of that e-mail.

AN HON. MEMBER: At least give confirmation . . .

MR. SPEAKER: No, the honourable member has to be prepared to take responsibility for the document and identify the author.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 4462.

Res. No. 4462, Sysco: Steelworkers - Pensions - notice given Oct. 13/05 - (Mr. G. Gosse)

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a very important issue. As a young lad growing up in a company house next to Sydney Steel and being a third-generation steelworker, this resolution I put in today will maybe bring some clarification to the issue that I'm trying to bring here today to this House.

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The issue today, Mr. Speaker, is that prior to Sysco closing the steelworkers in the province negotiated a pension severance agreement, where senior workers would retire and junior employees would have an opportunity to work with the new buyer, Duferco. Due to a number of factors beyond the control of the junior members who were left without the pension control, this purchase fell through and I guess there are still some legal arguments between Duferco and the province as we stand in our place today. I don't know what they were, we don't know if they're going to court or whenever this is going to be settled, but if it's settled and the province comes into some kind of money in a penalty for Duferco or whatever else, I think that this money can go toward trying to help these steelworkers who are left.

Let me explain to you, Mr. Speaker, this group of steelworkers who are here in the gallery today and other guys who are out on the job back home in Sydney today, these guys came back each and every time that that industry called. Every time the phone rang - and some of these guys were in Ontario, some of these guys were working elsewhere, but when the human resources department of Sysco called and said we have work for five years - even in one incident a worker was told they had work for 10 years - they uprooted to come back . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member allow for an introduction?

MR. GOSSE: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

MR. RONALD CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova for allowing me this introduction.

Mr. Speaker I draw your attention to the west gallery and all members of the House to three people in the gallery today with us from Pictou County- Pictou Centre, I believe. Mr. Red MacKean, also the former Mayor of Canso, Mr. Frank Fraser, and his son are in the gallery as well. I would ask all members of the House for them to stand and give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. GOSSE: I'll rise again and get back on my thoughts about explaining to the Legislature and explaining to the members of this House how this situation came about with Duferco falling through. I think at that time there was about 190, maybe 210 people who were left who fell within that window. Some of these guys never came back to the plant, but

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right now I think it's somewhere around 170 men who received a small severance but never received any pension. Yet I go back to the point that every time this corporation called, these men made themselves available to work in situations, whether it was the coke ovens, the blast furnace, the open hearth, the rail mill, the rail finishing mill, the lab, wherever it was in the construction when Tippins came into the steel plant and decided they were going to expand and build a new mini-mill, an electric arc furnace with new technology and get rid of the old furnaces in the blast furnace and the open hearth so that there would be no more steel, they'd be melting scrap.

When the Duferco deal went down, like I said, these men were left without any jobs. Here they are in a stage in their life where most of these men, an average age of 50 to 52, maybe some younger, but in that range of 52 years of age, there's lots of work coming up, the tar ponds project, but at this point now these men are afraid, this is their lives, it's been their livelihood. They have small severances.

I know that the union, Local 1064, and it's president, Mike Buchanan, and other workers out there have sent a package off to this government pertaining to this. When the first package was sent for pension there was a group of men between 1974 and 1975 who were in Sydney Steel, and these men didn't have enough time to qualify for the original pension. What happened was the deal was made between the union, the province, at that time, and the minister, so they included these 1974 and 1975 men in this pension and gave them a pension credit of 10 years. These 1974 and 1975 guys, I think there was about 45 of them in that group, with that pension credit of 10 years, that made them eligible enough so that they could qualify for the pension.

There's actually guys who are out there working at Sydney Steel now and guys who are still left out who worked a lot longer than the 1974 and 1975 guys, because they were hired in 1974 and 1975, they got that pension credit of 10 years which made them eligible to receive the pension. The guys who were hired in 1978 and 1979 who worked pretty steady, some have 22 years, some have 24 years, there's no way for them to be able to get a pension credit of 10 years to make them eligible for a pension.

I know it's been brought up to the minister before and the minister responsible for Sysco had told me, and John Traves had said before that this would cost $30 to $40 million. I know that the men out on the steel plant had sent a package to the minister responsible for Sysco stating that this would be anywhere between $14 and $15 million. To realize that, if they want this site to go ahead and they don't want any labour unrest - because this could lead to labour unrest for a long time because the men are going to be out of work as of December 15th according to what they're hearing and according to what is going on. It's slowly winding down.

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Mr. Speaker, let's see if we can work a deal here so that we can get some of these men, not an overwhelming pension, there are some guys there who don't have as many years as other people but do have a few years, and bump them up to pensions of $600, $700, $800 as it expands and goes along.

Like I had said earlier, the package that was sent off from the Steelworkers Union Local 1064 was around $15 million, whatever else, but one boatload of scrap at Sydney Steel at this present time is worth - they have enough scrap on the ground there for $40 million to $45 million. The money they made off provincial energy ventures by selling the Sysco Piers, to sell a boatload of scrap, any of those dollars that came into the government of this province - I know the Premier had earlier sent letters to guys who were 37 years, my father had 43 years in that industry and received a pension but his pension was never indexed. Nobody that ever left Sydney Steel ever had a pension that was indexed. But sure, there would be guys - I would be satisfied, I'd have been the third youngest guy on pension from Sydney Steel at age 45 years of age, I would have been one of those guys in 1974 from high school - that would have got a pension.

But if these men that are in the gallery today - these men that are in this House of Assembly - they are men that are going to be left with nothing. They're up there in age, they have some trades. There has to be some way that we can get these men into training at the University College of Cape Breton to get them some kind of pension, some kind of package, so we can get these men out there to work on the tar ponds project.

I mean, the Prime Minister had said, when he was in Sydney a few months back on the talk radio show, that these men should be guaranteed - and this was the Prime Minister of Canada on Talk Back - that these men should be eligible for the work on the tar ponds. These are the men that have spent the blood, sweat and their lives out in that industry. These are the guys that are left with nothing. They're 52 years of age and older. They seem to have been just left out in the cold.

You can understand why they are here in this Legislature today. They're afraid of what's going to happen and what's coming next. They don't understand what's going to happen next. They don't know what's going on and they're hearing different rumours and different stories. You know, I'm just saying that Sydney Steel was a Crown Corporation and I do believe, truly, what they deserve is an adequate settlement of some sort. It doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, or whatever else, but a minimum bare pension that these guys can get until the age of 65. They would be on this pension for anywhere from 10 to 12 to 14 years, and they would be able to retire at age 65, receive Old Age Pension and stay in Cape Breton with their families where they want to be, Mr. Speaker.

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I know there are all kinds of quotes in the media by the Leader of the Tory Party back in 1999, and the Premier and all those things, and the postcards and all those things. That was a sore point in Cape Breton for many of the steelworkers. But why I stand here today is because I worked with many of those men for 20 years of my life on a jackhammer, underneath the coke ovens and the riser pipes, or underneath the wharf, and these guys worked hard.

Like I said, each and every time that that corporation called they came. They came back to that corporation to work and put their heart and soul into it. So now you can understand why maybe today they have panic in their eyes about trying to get a small pension for men that are 50 to 55 years of age, in that age group, Mr. Speaker.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I brought this resolution forward because, not only am I a Member of the Legislative Assembly, but also a former member of Local 1064. I was very proud to be that. There are 109 years in my family in Sydney Steel and it's gone. The neighbourhood is gone. But, I mean, these are the employees that were left out there. When it came time for modernization, they were out there with jackhammers in the casting mill, taking it apart - Scottie Black and other guys came down there and gave their heart and soul - and Barry Young an electrician. These guys, they went back to this mill and they spent their - some of these men have young teenagers and young people ready to start college, and are still raising families.

I mean, I just think that there is something out there that would have a little bit of compassion among us as people that govern the Province of Nova Scotia. Here we are with people's lives in our hands again, and as Members of the Legislative Assembly, I think we have to make sure that there is an adequate settlement of some sort so we can open up this sight, get rid of these guys - whatever they sign off and get them off the site, gone forever, the site is open - and then it's open for each and everybody to come in and do what they want to do with that site. I thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to debate Resolution 4462, regarding our commitment to former steelworkers of the former Sysco site.

First, let me say, Mr. Speaker, that treating steelworkers with fairness and respect has been a priority for this government. When we were forced to abandon our best efforts to find a buyer for the steel plant - and heaven only knows we tried hard enough - and get Nova Scotia out of the steel business, fairness for workers was our guiding principle. The Premier agreed and the government agreed that fairness should be our predominant guiding principle.

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[4:30 p.m.]

Today I am pleased to report to the House that Sysco has been successful in meeting its commitment to hire former steelworkers wherever possible. In fact, Mr. Speaker, approximately 565,000 hours of work had been completed by severed steelworkers working on the demolition and cleanup of the site. This translates to 271 man years. When you look at these numbers Sysco has maintained, on average, 70 people working steadily for five years - numbers which far exceed the expectations of both the province and the union when they entered into the pension and severance agreement in 2000 - in most cases, this is longer than many of the severed steelworkers actually worked when the plant was up and operating. Many workers on the severed list had less than two years of work at the plant, with the average years being worked at close to 5.5 years.

Sysco has also worked closely with the union to arrive at a remediation work list that ensures that all workers have a fair turn at work at the site. Over the past five years, Mr. Speaker, 155 of the 222 people on the remediation list have worked on the remediation at one time or another. The remainder have found work elsewhere. I am pleased to report that, whenever possible, Sysco has tried to place workers in their field of training. Right now, about 15 to 20 of the 80 workers on-site are working in their trade, whether it's carpentry, electrical or in another area.

The bottom line is that, wherever and whenever possible, Sysco has made a concerted effort to employ former steelworkers on the site. This is true for the work that Sysco controls directly. That, of course, is not all the work. It is also true for work done by any private contractors on the site. Sysco has encouraged all private companies it does work with to hire steelworkers, sometimes even though contractual arrangements state otherwise.

In some cases, Sysco has taken the step of investing in equipment to facilitate employment of steelworkers in the cleanup. This includes purchasing an excavator, a bulldozer, tandem trucks, loaders and other equipment that is routinely used in cleanup. Sysco goes to bat for using steelworkers on equipment that they have on long-term rentals. The only time, Mr. Speaker, that Sysco has not used steelworkers is when the job has a distinctly technical component and when safety and training is an issue.

In addition to the salary workers have received, Sysco also ensured that it maintained a benefits package, including medical, life and extended health care benefits for workers. In the year 2000, the Steelworkers Union agreed to a pension and severance package for its members. This was an enhancement of the agreement that had been signed in 1997 when the final attempt to sell the plant fell through. Government confirmed it would uphold that agreement and remain true to its commitment to steelworkers. Currently, Mr. Speaker, the unfunded liability of the Sysco pension plan sits at $216.4 million. Despite these costs, within six months of the announcement that the plant was closing, all the workers had

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received the money they were due, either in the form of a pension or in the form of severance.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, Sysco provided funding and computers for the steelworkers' transition centre. This matched funds from Human Resources Development Canada. Helping steelworkers move on to other work was the right thing to do since the cleanup work at the plant was always considered temporary work. Counselling and out-placement services were offered to all former employees through Thompson Associates. All of this support was provided through an investment of $250,000.

The last five years, Mr. Speaker, have seen a lot of changes at Sysco. The landscape of the site has changed. Old buildings have been torn down. Other buildings have been renovated for future use. Approximately $3 million annually is spent on local supplies and labour in CBRM. A new road, the SPAR has been built, attracting new business to the area. This was a joint effort on behalf of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia Power and the Government of Nova Scotia.

The road now accommodates regular traffic. Building the road has already had a positive impact on development in the area with a new Home Depot, the construction of a new Canadian Tire, and interest from Wal-Mart. More roads and infrastructure are now in the process of being built. The site has been and continues to be cleaned up. Environmental cleanup work is intensifying. The goal is to turn the Sysco site into an industrial park. This is happening as we speak. There are several tenants on-site and work is being done to attract others. The site has the potential to be a successful commercial park in the years ahead, and this is the future of that particular site.

The Sydney Steel site at the moment is a cleared area, ideally situated for expansion. Steelworkers have played an important role in shaping the future of the site. The reality is that work on cleanup is finite and it's getting less and less by the month. This has always been a reality that we have faced. By the end of December work on the cleanup should be coming to an end. To date the province has generated approximately $40 million from the sale of Sysco assets, including scrap. This only goes a small way towards offsetting outstanding commitments made and, as well, the unfunded pension liability. More significant has been the efforts of the management team led by the province's agent - Ernst & Young - and with the help of the consultants we have retained, to help in reducing these liabilities, over $70 million in 2004. To sum it up, Sysco has provided workers with a pension or severance package. It has provided a salary to workers on the cleanup for the past five years. It has helped broker additional jobs for steelworkers and it has provided transition and training for those who have chosen to move on to other opportunities.

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Mr. Speaker, sincerely, in closing, I would like to thank steelworkers for the contribution they have made to the province and I look forward to new opportunities for the workforce, the site, and the community for the future.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps that written statement that the minister read over there had to come from John Traves, or somebody else who would certainly have their interests and the interests of the government at heart, and not necessarily those of the steelworkers. If what the minister says is correct, why are these steelworkers in the gallery here today? If all the steelworkers were looked after, as the Premier said earlier in Question Period and the minister has repeated, if all the steelworkers were looked after, these people would have no reason to be here today. They're here because they've fallen through the cracks, because this government had one thing in mind in 1999, which was to win the election on the backs of Sydney Steel workers.

You know, Mr. Speaker, Gordie Balser and the Premier weren't the only ones down in Sydney to talk to steelworkers. I was there many times when I was minister. I was responsible for Sydney Steel and I went to the Steelworkers Hall. I went in there and I walked up to the front of that hall and I made the steelworkers three promises. One, I would negotiate a new contract for them at that time under the MacLellan Government. We did that. Two, I would increase the pension obligations from Sydney Steel and the Government of Nova Scotia to the workers. We did that. Three, and more importantly than those two, I said that I would not preside over the closing of Sydney Steel. In other words, Sydney Steel would not close under a MacLellan Government in this province. It did not. It remained open until the famous words of Jane Purves and Gordie Balser who used to laugh at me, you know, when I would get up here questioning about Sydney Steel. Well, they didn't laugh after they were both defeated in the subsequent election and if there's any justice in this province, there was justice done that day when those two people were defeated for the callous way they treated Sydney steelworkers during some very difficult times.

I said it before and I said it to this group here, this government will not look after any of its obligations any more regarding Sydney Steel except to look after its friends. Ernst & Young were sent in there as receivers, that's all they were sent in there as when the plant closed, they're still there five years later and they're making a fortune. Ernst & Young have more people working there and there's more money going to Ernst & Young, more money going to their operatives than whatever hoped to go to steelworkers in Nova Scotia, particularly the steelworkers now who feel abandoned. If they didn't feel abandoned, there would be no reason for them to come up to Halifax at their own expense to try to meet with government ministers, the Minister of Energy or the minister responsible for Sydney Steel or the other Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage from Inverness to try to appeal to these people for justice. I don't think they're going to get any justice.

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Some of these people who are here today are very good friends of mine. I've known them for years and they're good people, they know my background, they know the fact that my father worked at Sydney Steel and the member for Cape Breton Nova, who, so correctly stated that he has an interest in the people who toiled at Sydney Steel over the years. They didn't enjoy the conditions that some other workers in this province might enjoy. They had some hard times down there at Sydney Steel over the years. Mr. Speaker, this is how they've been treated by this government. I think it's a shame and I think that if they were told the truth that they weren't going to get looked after at that time, they probably would have moved on, but they were told they were going to be looked after, they were told that justice would be meted out to every single steelworker who was going to be displaced by the closing of the plant.

Mr. Speaker, we all know that didn't happen because they're not up here today for the good of their health, they're up here because they've been abandoned by this government, that's why they're here today. They made sure not only when they closed the plant, they made sure that a rail mill would never be an option again and these people have been trained to work in rail mills.

A rail mill will never be an option again in Sydney in the private sector by the way, not by government, I'm not suggesting for one minute that the government would pick it up and go with it again but this government never even tried to interest the private concern into operating a rail mill in Sydney. Rather, what will happen is that the rails will be produced offshore then sold back here instead of making the rails in Sydney and selling them to the domestic and foreign markets right out of Cape Breton. That would have been something the government should have spent their energy on, is trying to get a private sector concerned to operate a modernized rail mill. They didn't do that. Those workers would have been working at that mill today, they wouldn't be up here today looking for justice.

AN HONOURABLE MEMBER: Sold it off at fire sale prices.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Sold it off at fire sale prices is right - for what? Political gain. Two words - political gain. The media in this province, the government in this province, the naysayers in this province, did a job on Sydney Steel month after month leading up to that election until it became very popular to bash Sysco when half the story got out, the bad half. The good half was that they were turning that plant around, they were down to a manageable level of employees who were making rails at that plant and they were getting the work done.

The other indictment that was unfair and untrue was that Sysco did not make a good rail. Sysco made the best rail in the world but there were external forces there that were trying to downplay the role of Sysco, the important role in our community and yes, those jobs have been replaced in some aspect by much-less-paying jobs. Does the word call centre come to your attention Mr. Speaker? There's nothing wrong with call centres but they didn't pay

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the kind of wages steelworkers were making and they didn't produce a product that the world today needs and is buying offshore.

Mr. Speaker, steel is worth more today than it ever was but that's all behind us now. I bring those facts out again to let this government know that Cape Bretoners haven't forgotten and will never forget the legacy of the Tories in Cape Breton, that they closed Sydney Steel. I have to tell you it wouldn't have been as painful if we thought that that government used everything at its disposal to try to get a rail operator in there. I think that was such a convoluted process that nobody could find out what the government was trying to do. The government set that up for failure but what they also set up was these workers that are upstairs here. These workers were set up because I can recall Gordie Balser trying to get out of the scrum in front of the Steelworkers Hall. Don't worry about it, he said. Don't worry about it, I'll look after each and every one of you. You don't have to worry. Then he got out of Dodge as soon as he said that.

[4:45 p.m.]

If he hadn't said that, he could have done what other people with more intestinal fortitude would have done and said, I can't promise you anything, but I'll sit down with the MLAs for the area, and I'll sit down with the government and I'll try to work out a package for you. He didn't say that. He said, I'll do it. Then he took it off; but he promised it on behalf of the government. He didn't leave anything to chance, he said, I'll do it.

Gordie Balser did not tell the truth to Sydney steelworkers because, if he had, they wouldn't be here today. This government did not tell the truth to Sydney steelworkers, because, if they did, they wouldn't be here today. Those who the minister so eloquently talked about before over there, who are pleased that the situation has come to pass, they're retired now. There were a couple of Dear John letters read earlier, those are steelworkers who worked there 37, 38, 39 years, and are receiving a pension, a pension that was negotiated by the MacLellan Government, before we left office, a pension that should have been applied to the people who are in the gallery here today once this government took power, but was not.

Mr. Speaker, if nothing else, this government should at least sit down with these workers and try to come to some arrangement that will see these workers looked after. We're not talking about a great number of people here, we're talking about less money than it would cost for Ernst & Young fees this year, I can tell you that, much less. We're talking about much less money than has been spent on the cleanup at Sydney Steel, much less money than that.

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Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that these workers aren't going to go away. They're not going to go away. They have a sympathetic ear from the Liberal Party, and a sympathetic ear from the New Democratic Party, I can tell you that. The member for Cape Breton Nova and myself and my other colleagues and the member for Cape Breton Centre have talked about this issue time and time again. The problem is we can't correct the issue. They can correct the issue. They can correct this unjust situation that's been allowed to go on far too long.

Local 1064 has made representation to this government to try to get this matter straightened away. By the way, this is the last piece of the puzzle. These workers have been abandoned; they feel abandoned. If the government would only realize that and sit down with these workers and satisfy their needs, satisfy what they've been told they were going to get, then I think we could all then turn the page and move on.

Mr. Speaker, that's not happening. For some reason this government has backed up on its promise to look after all steelworkers, because if did not back up on that promise, these steelworkers would be doing something else today, other than coming to Halifax, pleading with this government for justice, justice that I don't think they're going to get with this government. I would hope that the government would realize that these people are hurting. The government should realize that these people need justice, and they deserve justice because they were promised justice. They were promised justice. Somebody might want to misinterpret what Mr. Balser said, but you can't misinterpret what he said because he was on ATV saying it. The media was there. He made no bones about it - I will look after you people, don't worry about it. Well, he's no longer here. Jane Purves is no longer here with that infamous postcard that was sent.

I can tell you that when you get a majority government, Mr. Speaker, what this government had in the first years of its mandate, running roughshod over Cape Breton Island during that term, then what more can you expect with their treatment of Sydney steelworkers? These people are hurting. These people are hurting; these people deserve better treatment from this government.

I have a great deal of sympathy for their case, but I'm also very open with them. A couple of them who I see quite regularly, I keep telling them, don't expect this government to do anything for you. It's all politics, Mr. Speaker. They have one seat down there in what's known as industrial Cape Breton, and that one is hanging by a thread. They have one seat down there, and that's it. They know that. Their political masters are telling them, why do anything for the Sydney steelworkers, you can't win any seats there. We have a political neophyte running in the Cape Breton North seat next time, and he'll take the minister out, we know that. Not because he's such a bad fellow, but because he has the Tory label to carry down there, and that is not easy because of decisions made like the one made on Sydney Steel. I suggest he would be very more comfortably enshrined in that seat if he was with one of the other two Parties, but not with the Party he's with. (Interruption) No, I'm not suggesting that he'll go there, I'm suggesting there may be a better chance.

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Mr. Speaker, it is all about politics. These steelworkers have been adversely affected by this government and, not only adversely affected but I think you use the word justice denied, because that's what happened to these steelworkers. Maybe, if the member for Cape Breton Nova, who is the NDP Critic for Sydney Steel and myself, maybe if we got together with them and suggested that they all sign Tory cards, then maybe that will help. Maybe that will give them a base of operations down there, then maybe they will look at it differently. I don't even know if they will do that, but I can tell you right now it's all politics and I suggest to you this government is going to do absolutely nothing for these workers, unless there is a change in government in this province. And I can tell you the member for Timberlea-Prospect says that he'll take care of it, well, you know, I think that perhaps I can say the same thing, that we'll take care of it.

Anyway, seriously, Mr. Speaker, I'm really upset at the fact that this government has ignored the plight of these workers, ignored it to the case where they've just abandoned ship. For the minister responsible to say about all they did was read from a prepared text. I don't have to go with prepared text when I'm talking about Sydney Steel. I go from my heart when I'm talking about Sydney Steel. (Applause)

I can tell you this, Mr. Speaker, these workers have for a long time put up with empty promises from this government and I can tell you they didn't deserve it. They don't deserve it now and I'm going to tell you, they deserve a better hearing. They deserve for the minister to meet with them and explain to them why they are allowed to fall through the cracks. They deserve a meeting with the Premier, for the Premier to tell them why they have fallen through the cracks. They deserve justice and it's not going to break the bank. Just take a slice of that money off what you are giving Ernst & Young, Mr. Minister, just a slice of it and give it to these steel workers who don't have the luxury of the kind of sinecure that Ernst &Young have on Sydney Steel and some of the government employees and some of the political people who have been hired over there. I can recall the Premier trying to tell me that the guy who was hired, the defeated candidate down there, was hired because of what he knew about the steel plant, not because he was a Tory. If you believe that, you know, I'll sell you a piece of land somewhere. Yes, I'll sell you a steel plant in Sydney.

Mr. Speaker, it's all about politics, but let me tell you this, I think these workers need justice. They must get justice and I won't stop talking about it until they do get justice. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, you know, it really goes a long way to talk about the kinship of people from Cape Breton on this issue. You know, there's probably no two people who like to go at each other more than the member for Cape Breton South and I, but I have to say that I'm on the same side of the argument completely on this one and this

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is not about if you are a New Democrat or a Liberal, and it shouldn't be about whether you are a Tory, but apparently it is.

Mr. Speaker, even through this devastation, these men upstairs here, they keep their sense of humour and they keep their sense of place about themselves. Just a short time ago I was up talking to Gordie McNeil and I said to Gordie, I know we have to go down there and fight for your pension because you're a lousy track announcer and you need some money, and Gordie knows what I'm talking about. But he's a good fellow and he laughs at it.

I found it somewhat galling when the minister who is in charge of the Sysco file, talked about the future of the site, but Mr. Minister, the future of the site is not worth an iota of dirt that's on that land, if you're denying the past. And you are denying the past if you deny those workers natural justice. That's what you're doing. Your government, your statement, whoever wrote that statement, by virtue of you reading it in this House, becomes your words. So it's your words, Mr. Minister.

The things that speech didn't go to, the things that really resonate with working women and men in this province are three points. When this was being shut down and phased out and sold off, the Premier made three promises - one around work, one around training and one around pensions. They weren't fulfilled.

Mr. Minister, you can talk about man hours - I'm sure the president of Sysco, looking at the operations, up in the gallery can send you down notes on it, but it's largely inaccurate. These are the people that tried to get that work. Was that work properly vetted? Was it the ones that sent off the Dear John letters and were happy with the pensions, were they the ones also getting work on that site while these men were sitting home trying to get a job driving cab or something to pay the bills? Was that the balance we're talking about, Mr. Minister? Is that what this is about? Ask those 100-some men how much training they were afforded, how much training was afforded? They tell me zero and I tend to believe them. If they say zero, then zero.

The idea this government lays its hat on is that they want a pension. But the fact is, the government never really seriously wants to sit down across the table and find out what machinations are happening here. What can we do for retraining for these people? What can we do for work and what can we do for pensions? Let's finally get a real number. No, government says. No, we can't meet with you, the House is sitting, we're too busy. These are citizens of Nova Scotia. These are the people that we're supposed to be responsible for, whether they're laid off steelworkers, pork producers, seniors trying to get into proper housing - we should not be closing any doors on them. We should be opening doors and saying, what can we do for you? Not, we've done everything possible.

[Page 9066]

There may be problems here, yes, maybe some don't deserve a pension, but let's look at what's going to be there. I'm going to tell you, in the very near future, this minister is going to have to stand up in this House - or someone on his side - and explain to Nova Scotians why there's labour unrest on the former Sysco site. Because you folks didn't have the intestinal fortitude to stand in your place and correct the situation. You're going to have worker against worker because you don't understand labour-management agreements. Because you're standing here telling people you had a collective agreement.

Anybody worth their salt around collective bargaining knows that the straight layoff provisions are much different, except when you're closing down an industry. Then you sit back down at the table and redo the package as it relates to who gets out the door, who gets out by what.

But, no. What this government did in its majority, bargained collectively with Local 1064, not on a close-out agreement, but on an agreement to turn this into a mini-mill with the Swiss employer, Duferco. Between the signing of that collective agreement and the Ernst & Young boys trundling off to Geneva, the deal was lost. The deal was lost. Oh, we can't afford to do ingots in Sydney any more, we're lost. We can't do it.

So, around Christmastime everybody panics - bang - the deal's dead. The deal is dead. We had one suitor, that's it, we've got to go. So the government then says, okay, that's fine, that's okay with us. We have an agreement here and this is how we're going to get people out the door.

[5:00 p.m.]

Well, if these people would go back and listen, if this government would go back and look at it in reality, what they would see is a lot of these members, even the ones present here today, signed that agreement, kind of holding their nose, realizing it isn't the greatest but what we're voting on is keeping the plant open - but what the government did was hoodwink them and said you got an agreement and this is going to be our shutdown agreement, which is grossly unfair. They are citizens of Nova Scotia, and they're dealing with the Government of Nova Scotia, so you expect a little better. But, no, the government said, that's it, we hoodwinked you, you signed the bad deal, and so what.

You know what? After all this is said and done, we would like - my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova, today tabled the outrageous sums that Ernst & Young are taking out of the economy of Cape Breton. They are taking it out of the economy, it's not staying there. Matt Harris, I'm sure, has a rental home or maybe stays at a hotel, I don't know, but that's very little compared to what 100 steelworkers would spend in one week in a grocery store in Cape Breton, Mr. Speaker. But, no, he's allowed to move out there. That was an investment that these men, these workers, really have no enjoyment of that revenue.

[Page 9067]

Look at Provincial Energy Ventures. How many of these guys ever got one day's work from PEV? That's shameful, yet the minister stands and talks about hours of work. What you gave these people was work at the lowest order. But you know what? Being the stock they are, they did it. They did the work. When called upon, they did it. But when the gravy comes by, it's gone to Quebec stevedores, not our own Nova Scotians. Yet government whistles at it. That's shameful. Why wouldn't you square that out to make sure every cent of work goes there?

As I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, what they're going to have here is they're going to have labour problems on that site because of the lax labour laws in this province and because of the Premier's previous statements that work on that site belongs to steelworkers. You're going to have tradespeople off-site saying, no, historically that's our work. What you're going to do is pit worker against worker and this government will rub its hands and say, hey, isn't that typical of Cape Bretoners, they're fighting amongst themselves again, and it has all been precipitated by this government's lack of vision. Your vision is no good if you don't understand the past.

Mr. Speaker, these people need three things: they need jobs, training, and pensions. That's what I'm urging this government to do, to sit down and see what's there, and then when the work is looked after, when the training is looked after, then look and see what's there for pensions. But the government would much rather close the door, they would rather close the door on these hard-working Cape Bretoners. So where are they going to go?

The dog work that was necessary at Sydney Steel, that they had done, it's finished. They're all gone. How long will Ernst & Young live off the gravy of this province? We don't know. I don't know how long after the guys who had 20-some years at Sysco, be left in the lurch while Alfie MacLeod is left there - is that fair? - because he was the defeated member. I say that's hypocrisy. Couldn't one of those guys up there do Alfie's job? Couldn't they? Could not one of them have done Parker Donham's job? You guys don't want to do that. It's about fairness. That's the point, Mr. Minister, that you miss about this is that it's over, we don't owe them anything.

Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, that is wrong. That's an industry - this minister should understand - that built this country, that probably put pieces of steel in planes that he flew during the Second World War, and in ships that crossed the ocean, and in the Year of the Veteran that's the stuff you should remember. (Applause) It was their fathers and grandfathers that did that, but you guys don't seem to think that's fair. You think, we tricked you into a deal; you signed it, tough luck, dumb Cape Bretoners.

You know what, Mr. Speaker? These guys aren't dumb Cape Bretoners by any stretch. There's not one up there I would put in this place, on this floor, that couldn't out-debate anybody in here because they know what they're talking about. They know the steel industry. They know it much better - they knew where the steel industry was going in the late

[Page 9068]

1990s, and they knew where to go with it. They were willing to go to a mini-mill and they were willing to take less than the going rate, but this government didn't want to listen to them. This government wanted to listen to Ernst & Young, and Matt Harris, while they were making out like bandits, while these people were making welfare payments. That's what this government was all about.

In 1999, when this government came to power as a majority government, it will always be remembered for the government that gutted those workers at Sysco and tried to get the health care workers Bill 66. That will be the legacy of this government. This government will be known by how it treated workers. When times were down, this is what you could have done, each and every one of you in the front benches. You could have helped them but you said no. You tried to destroy our health care system but health care workers were so huge in numbers they turned you back. Well, Mr. Speaker, if they understand numbers, they should understand heart. They should look at the eyes of those former workers, those workers that are here today, and say we owe you something, let's sit down and negotiate. Let's not put our hands over our hands, let's put our eyes with our hearts, respect these workers and give them something. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister . . .

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, how much time is remaining?

MR. SPEAKER: There are only about 10 seconds left, Mr. Minister.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to speak on this much longer than 10 seconds. I realize the member. . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has elapsed.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, could you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 248.

Bill No. 248 - Income Tax Act.

[Page 9069]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise here in my place this afternoon to speak on Bill 248, the Income Tax Act, or I guess it's officially called, an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act.

I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition for introducing this bill into the House of Assembly because it's a valuable piece of legislation that I think can do a lot to help fishing families throughout Nova Scotia. Really, it's designed to help raise the fish harvesters' tax credit to be equal with that of farmers and other small-business people here in Nova Scotia. Right now, Mr. Speaker, fishermen in this province do not enjoy the same tax break that farmers and small-business people do here in Nova Scotia. The limit at the present time is only $100,000 and the capital gains limit for farmers and small-business people is $500,000, so there is quite a difference there. With the ever-increasing cost of licences, boats, gear and operating costs, it is certainly much more expensive to get into the fishery here in Nova Scotia than ever it used to be.

Mr. Speaker, I've had the opportunity, as Fisheries Critic here for the NDP, to travel around Nova Scotia and to talk to fishing families. In fact, it was a few months ago, I was out with the Leader of the Official Opposition in Shelburne County, an area of our province that is very well-known for the importance of the fishing industry. It seems like every community has a wharf or processing plant, or a bake plant. It is very important to the economy of Shelburne County, and other areas, too. I have travelled in this province and, certainly, fishing is vital to the local, rural, coastal economy.

Where I come from in northern Nova Scotia, in Pictou County, certainly we have a number of fishing communities along the Northumberland Strait, in my constituency at Cape John and Toney River, Skinners Cove, Caribou, Pictou Island and so on. These are important fishing communities but it's the same problem, right from one end of Nova Scotia to the other, that we are running into. That's why this bill can really be of benefit to fishing families. The whole problem is the difficulty of young people trying to get into the industry and with escalating costs for boats and especially for licences, it's almost impossible for a young person to take over the family business from their father, grandfather, uncle or whoever. Whether it's a young man or woman that wants to get into the industry, there's got to be some mechanism that we can allow this to happen without breaking the bank or without it being so exorbitant so that there's no hope that they'd ever pay back the investment that they borrowed, if they're even able to borrow it.

As we know, the fishing industry is very important to the economy of Nova Scotia and especially in the coastal areas of our province. Last year, the fishing industry was a $1.2 billion industry in Nova Scotia and the history of the industry goes back more than 400 years. It's gone from father to son to son, right down the line of generations but now that's not really possible because of the high cost of licences, boats and gear. One problem that lies

[Page 9070]

there that's maybe not directly addressed by this bill, is the need to find a source of capital. When a young person goes to a bank, they're having difficulty borrowing money because the licence is not considered something tangible, something they can borrow money against - in other words, it's not considered collateral.

I think government has a role here through the lending agency known as the Nova Scotia Fisheries Loan Board to provide a mechanism that could allow young people to take over a fishing business from family or from others in their community - really to allow some way that collateral could be put on the licence, which seems to be the most valuable part of the enterprise that they're buying or taking over from somebody. The Province of Quebec has been successful in doing that and they do provide up to 70 per cent of the cost of the licence to be used as collateral. That province is probably leading the country in providing some way in that the mechanism is found. We have to sometimes look at other provinces for good ideas. Certainly that province is leading the country in helping their fishermen get established and take over an existing business from an established or retiring fisherman.

What is needed is a mechanism that will allow the young person to get into the industry and to allow the retiring fisherman to go out with dignity and be able to sell his assets that he's built up over decades. It's a twofold address in this bill that would allow something that would help the young person but that would also help the retiring fisherman.

I want to move on from that. I mentioned maybe one example of what this bill is addressing around a capital gains exemption for the person who is selling their boat, licence and gear. In Pictou County, a couple of years ago, I had a family come to me that were very concerned about this mechanism. They said, I'm going to be paying more tax than I've ever seen money in the world. My enterprise is valued at somewhere around $450,000, in that range. In order to pass it onto his son-in-law he was going to have to pay a huge tax and that was a real problem. Who's going to pay it? The seller or the buyer? In the end, it's like selling the house, who pays the commission? Is it the buyer or the seller? Probably both - if the seller pays it, the buyer is paying for it in the cost of the house. Same with the fishing enterprise because it was so expensive in the end he was willing to give it away in order to try to get around the tax implications. Revenue Canada doesn't allow that to happen. They say if the value of it is $400,000; even if you've giving it to your son-in-law, there's going to be a tax bill here that has to be paid by somebody. I know they talked to their accountant and they got to some other advice. In the end, they made the transaction and I'm not sure how much tax was paid but it was still considerable.

I want to come back to this bill and this bill certainly allows for the income tax to be paid that would be far less because it allows for capital gain of a much higher level. It is $100,000 right now, but it goes up to $500,000 under this legislation, and that would have to be worked out with Revenue Canada and the Department of Finance here in Nova Scotia, but it's doable because, again, the Province of Quebec has come up with legislation that they've allowed their fishermen to raise the bar to $0.5 million. While it's true that Quebec

[Page 9071]

has its own income tax department, separate from the federal system, still where there's a will, there's a way. I think we can do it here in Nova Scotia if enough minds put their heads together and find a way to make it happen.

[5:15 p.m.]

In the Province of Quebec, Madam Speaker, they justify that this was a good thing to do because they indicated that it would encourage risk-taking, it would increase investment in new businesses, it would leverage regional economic development, and they say that like farmers, fishers should be able to benefit from specific support when it's time to transfer their assets to another person carrying on the business. So there are many benefits outlined there in another jurisdiction and the same problem is here in this jurisdiction, in Nova Scotia. I think that certainly if one province is able to do it, there's no good reason why we couldn't do it as well. In the end it has allowed a much easier transfer of boats and gear and licences to the son or the daughter, or to anybody else, maybe a crew hand who has worked on a boat, or on a neighbouring boat; it allows that to happen without a huge tax burden.

Now, there may still be some implications where the value of the enterprise is $600,000, or $800,000, or even $1 million, like in southwestern Nova Scotia where the fishing enterprises are much more valuable than in the North Shore where I come from and it's mainly because of the lobster licences that have skyrocketed over the last few years. Maybe $500,000 may not be enough in cases like that, but it's certainly going to help. Whereas today the limit is $100,000, by increasing it by $400,000 to the $0.5 million mark, it's going to be of some benefit certainly to a number of people and, in time, it may have to be looked at to increase it, but fair is fair. Other resource industries in our province and in our country since 1985 have enjoyed a capital tax allowance of $0.5 million. Farmers, in particular, have benefited from this for the last 20 years and anybody who's incorporated as a small business also has enjoyed that. So when they pass it on to a buyer, there are fewer tax implications in that case.

I've only got a couple of minutes left, Madam Speaker, but I want to refer to the lobster fishing area 34 in southwestern Nova Scotia. They have a management board there that has put some recommendations together that went to the Hanlon study, a gentleman with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who was trying to study some of the solutions to allow more young people into the fishing industry. They recommended a couple of things of interest that I'll point out. One is that fishing enterprises should have the right to incorporate, the same as any other small business. Whether you run a corner store, or whether you run a farm, or a fishing enterprise, you should all be treated the same because really you are independent, you own your business, you're an owner/operator, and they're suggesting that small businesses should be all treated equally and be allowed to incorporate. The other item they have mentioned is the tax rate; right now it's about 50 per cent. So if you sell for $0.5

[Page 9072]

million, the tax on that is $0.25 million and that's prohibitive to allowing a young person to get in. Is it economically viable to even operate under that level?

So, Madam Speaker, time flies quickly when you're up here speaking and I believe my time is almost finished, but I do want to commend Bill No. 248 to the House. It's worthwhile. It's good legislation that will help pass title from one generation to the next and I hope the House will be able to favourably consider it.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand today and talk on Bill No. 248, the amendments to the Income Tax Act as it pertains to the fish harvesters tax credit. Madam Speaker, I want to thank again the House for it's indulgence to talk about coastal issues, to talk about the fisheries, as we're able to do in last night's session with the member for Digby-Annapolis. I think it's important that we talk about resource-based industries, the founding industries of this great province. Without its economic generation around the province, without that, our coastal communities and our little towns that we're very comfortable supporting and living in, would have trouble surviving. That's why I think it's very important that these issues come to the floor of this Assembly.

I want to give you a quick rundown on why I think this might be a mechanism, but I don't think it's sort of tuned in the right direction. I'm going to give you a couple of reasons why. Even though we do support the idea of an intergenerational tax transfer, we do believe that there should be a way for fishermen to transfer vessels, licences from one generation to another without having that tax burden put upon them.

Nova Scotia is a signatory to the tax collection agreement, as defined by the federal government. Under the tax collection agreement we use the federally-defined taxable income base. As such, the Nova Scotia Government cannot redefine anything that will be taken into calculation of income or cannot offer tax reduction items that fall under the federally-defined income base unless there is a similar federal measure.

Capital gains on capital property are part of the calculation of taxable income. Fishing property, such as licences, boats, and large gear are defined as capital property under the federal income taxation. Under the tax collection agreement we can only offer tax credit on expenditure items or on income-related items on which the federal government also offers tax relief. The proposed fish harvesters tax credit, which we are discussing here today, offsets the taxation of an income element - capital gains. Therefore the province cannot simply create such a credit under the Nova Scotia Income Tax Act. This tax issue can only be determined by the federal Finance Department by changing the definition of what is eligible for the special capital gains relief, such as the intergenerational transfer of fishing licences.

[Page 9073]

As I mentioned here yesterday in the Legislature, my department continues to press DFO to address this situation with the Federal Finance Department. There have been a number of options put forward by DFO to secure the future of our independent fishermen. These contents will make it more likely that young fishermen will be able to control their own businesses in the future, particularly in the lobster fishery as it pertains to all parts of this province, especially my home riding of Argyle in the Digby area and the Digby Neck area, Baie Ste.-Marie area and, of course, in the Northumberland Strait area that the member for Pictou West represents.

This is a first step, although it won't completely solve the problems of getting the dollars to help buy a licence. As we discussed last night, licences - and they range in prices depending on where you are in the province, which district they belong to, but in our neck of the woods we're seeing licences upward of $600,000 to $700,000. That is a tremendous concern for us for the access of younger fishers to get access to that fishery without having to just work on the back of a boat or come up with a trust agreement with somebody that does have the money. These are the things that really concern us.

Madam Speaker, the other points that I want to bring up about Bill No. 248 is that the amendment that it makes reference to, Section 49A(1), references Section 53 of the Nova Scotia Income Tax Act with the intent of referencing the capital gains reduction for farmers and incorporate small-business owners. Section 53, unfortunately, makes reference to income tax installment payments by farmers and fishermen, which has nothing to do at all with the capital gains issue. The Nova Scotia Income Tax Act does not have a reference to the capital gains treatment because, as noted above, it is inherited through the federally determined taxable income. All our Income Tax Act makes reference to is the federally determined individual and incorporated taxable income earned in a province.

The last part of the proposed amendment in which the Legislature will appropriate monies for the tax credit is not how tax measures are funded. Tax expenditures, credits, rate reductions, income exclusions and those types of things are reductions in provincial tax revenues and are never budgeted for as expenditures. They are incorporated through the value of the net revenues, which reflects the impacts of all potential additions and subtractions to revenues. I hope that after a certain amount of time the Minister of Finance might be able to stand and reiterate what I've just said, and maybe provide a little more clarity to some of that discussion.

Madam Speaker, the DFO proposal that I talked about last night includes an option for owner/operators, independent fishermen, to incorporate. Under the DFO proposal, fishermen will receive a $500,000 capital tax exemption when they transfer the licence to a family member. This exemption is currently in place for the transfer of farm properties and woodlots, and we are pressing to have it in place for fishermen, as we were discussing today. If this proposal is accepted, the intergenerational needs of the owner/operator will be addressed. So there is already a process that is going to be approaching this issue.

[Page 9074]

Fishermen will have an incentive to incorporate their business, and then pass their licences down to a family member and thereby defer the capital gains tax. The proposed amendments make reference to a section of the Nova Scotia Income Tax Act, which I did underline, which has nothing to do with the capital gains issue. This section references the income tax instalments, to reiterate, income tax instalments, payments made by farmers and fishermen. The Nova Scotia Income Tax Act does not directly reference capital gains treatment because the taxable income is determined by the federal government.

The provincial Act references taxable income, which includes the effects of the capital gains. Based on the proposed amendment put forward by the Official Opposition, it is not possible for the Nova Scotia Government to implement, as capital gains fall under federal jurisdiction. I know I've talked about this a lot in the past. It seems, though, that when we point to the federal government, this is where we need to go, and we do take a little criticism. Unfortunately, that's the way things were negotiated, and that's where we are today. That's why I'm glad that the Hanlon proposal, Madam Speaker, will soon be before fisherpeople for their perusal, for their information, to see what those will be. In my view, this is probably one of the most important pieces in that proposal, in order to provide for the intergenerational transfer of fishing licences.

If you walk along our coastal communities, you walk onto our wharves, as the member for Digby-Annapolis talked about quite eloquently last night, you have places that had boats, let's say a small fishing port - the example I'm going to use is Surettes Island in my riding, which is just a little outport, maybe 100 people live in the village. Even better, let's talk about Morris Island, which is even smaller. It has a nice little government wharf on the end, and at one time there were probably 10 boats that fished out of Morris Island.

Because of the increasing cost of licences, the people with the money were the ones who ended up buying the licences. There was a transfer of vessels, let's say from Morris Island 10 miles down the way to Pubnico, my hometown, because there were a number of fishermen at that time who were doing quite well, had the financial means to purchase these vessels, set up trust agreements, as we've discussed in this House before, and get captains to run their boats for them and have some kind of agreement with that captain on the sharing of the profits.

Some of these agreements, you can't really agree with them, because of what they do, Madam Speaker, to that fisherman who just wanted to get out and fish, just wanted to hit the water, get out there and do what they've always wanted to do. At the whim of the owner, because of these trust agreements - we'll call them a controlling agreement - they can say, I don't like the way you're fishing, you're not catching enough fish, I'm taking you off the boat and I'm going to put somebody else who maybe can fish for you. That's not right. That's really not right. So what we need to do is have mechanisms like the intergenerational transfer and the capital gains exemption that we can actually afford to get fishermen and fisher women into the fishery. So for generations to come, the inshore fishery, I can't say will be

[Page 9075]

protected, but will have a better chance of survival. We'll have a better economic model on which to survive and thrive.

[5:30 p.m.]

Madam Speaker, you know, a lot of this information will likely be coming forward in the very near future. District 34, and District 33, will be going fishing in a very short few weeks. We've got to offer them all our luck, and ask them to do well during the next few weeks, and keep themselves safe. There are going to be a number of vessels that are going to be hitting the water in a very short period of time. From my home port, Pubnico, East Pubnico, going down to Digby Neck from everywhere in between for that rush of the first few weeks of fishing where, of course, the majority of the fish will be caught and the most amount of the wealth will be caught.

So I'm hoping this year that we will see a good year. I'm hoping that we will see a year that is going to have good lobsters, that we'll have lobsters that are going to be of a market quality and garnish the best price, and I'm hoping the effort that will be exerted upon the fishery will be one that is complementary to the stock that's actually out there. To the point of transferring from one fishing port to another, moves the fishing intensity, the fishing effort, from one area that would have been able to sustain it to another area that just might not be able to sustain it. In my riding we're seeing folks go a long way offshore, taking chances that they shouldn't be taking because there is such a concentration of boats, let's say in Lobster Bay, that they're going way to the west and I would hope that with the better distribution of our fishing licences, a better distribution of those fishing areas, that we will see a better return for our dollar and we'll see a better return in the lobster fishery, and better survival and strength for our coastal communities that the majority of us in this House represent.

So, Madam Speaker, I just want to say that even though we feel that Bill No. 248 has some spirit and has some value, we feel that it is going for the wrong things. We're hoping that, you know, through the Hanlon proposal that will be coming forward in a very short period of time, the capital gains exemption will be addressed in a short period of time. With that, I will take my place and thank the members for their indulgence.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to stand in my place to speak on Bill No. 248. I'm also pleased to be able to speak for the fishermen of this province. I'm also pleased to be able to table a letter that I've written to the Prime Minister of this country, signed by me, and it speaks about the tax credits for fishermen of our area. (Interruptions) I gave it all away and that is the problem. I gave everything away I worked for for 35 years to put my son into the fishery. That's where my money went.

[Page 9076]

Mr. Speaker, this bill could become a great tool for helping our sons and daughters continue to enter the fishery of Nova Scotia. Since the Marshall decision, the price for our young people to enter into the fishery has become out of reach and not any fault of our children. Families of fishing rights cannot afford to hand them down to their children for the fear of huge tax bills - all because Revenue Canada and the provincial government are charging huge capital gains taxes, even when no money changes hands. This was all created by a price war.

MR. SPEAKER: Member, would you allow for an interruption?

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: I was just wondering if you've got a response from that letter yet?

MR. SPEAKER: It's a question to the member. Member, would you accept a question?

MR. THERIAULT: Not yet, not yet. It's on its way. It is a long way to Ottawa. This was all created by a price war to own the fishery, between the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and big business of this province. Now our families and fisheries are paying the price for their greed and Revenue Canada is prospering from it, along with this province.

My hopes and our fishermen's hopes are that our provincial government will not wait to continue profiting from this greed. The Government of Quebec sees fit to help their fishermen, they didn't wait until the federal government did something, they saw the need for it and went ahead with it. They gave their fishermen the provincial portion of the provincial capital gains tax. They certainly understood what their traditional fishery means to them in that province.

Fishermen should have the same small business tax advantages that exist for other small businesses of this province. The provincial government should be more like the Government of Quebec with respect to capital gains. There should be exemption and financing programs, loan guarantees for gear, vessel, licences, to assist intergenerational transfers that will require more than this bill, but we should work towards it. We must work towards that.

I hope this provincial government does not lay the blame all on Ottawa this time. They can start today by working towards their own provincial tax exemption if they care about our owner/operator inshore fishery of this province. They should care because it has been one of the biggest economic generators of this province. Keeping this fishery spread out among our families around these coasts creates great economic spinoffs. Letting the fishery

[Page 9077]

go into the hands of a few, dramatically diminishes the inshore fishery and the economic spinoffs for this province.

I'm pleased, and I'm hoping that the government will be pleased, to support this bill as well. Thank you and I will share the rest of my time with my colleague, the member for Victoria-The Lakes.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, thank you to my colleague, the member for Digby-Annapolis. Victoria-The Lakes has one of the largest industries in its fishery. People think the fishery has collapsed. I'll give you some outdated figures from when I was warden of Victoria County. In 2000, the fishery in Victoria County alone was worth $15 million. In 2002, just North of Smokey, it was worth $17 million. So you had south of Smokey and now with Victoria-The Lakes you have that portion of Cape Breton Regional Municipality that has encompassed where a lot of fishers live in Georges River, Scotch Lake area and around the lake itself. I would say that is a bigger industry probably than tourism or the lumber industry.

You've heard the previous speaker talk about the Quebec tax credit, how they help their fishers, how they can transfer the ownership down to their families and maintain control - control is the operative word because big business sees an opportunity to extend and increase their greed. Maybe the honourable Minister of Fisheries would take a suggestion from myself. We heard even the Premier today talk about criticizing but never offering an option that may be a solution to a problem.

In the spirit of a true minority government, Mr. Speaker, what would be wrong with the three Leaders, the Premier, the Leader of the Liberal Party and the Leader of the NDP, co-signing a letter asking the federal government to honour the tax exemption. But in so doing, I would like to ask the minister that the province lead by example, and if the provincial government could do like Quebec with respect to the capital gains exemption. Show that the province is leading by example, but on the other side of the coin, they're asking the federal government for some assistance. Don't just go and ask for some assistance from the feds and not be willing to step up to the plate yourself. It's a suggestion for a solution, whether it works or not, I don't know, at least it's an offer to begin negotiation and I believe it bears listening to.

Mr. Speaker, to go back to my riding of Victoria-The Lakes. My best buddy and his wife, Robert and Theresa MacClellan, who live in St. Margaret Village in Bay St. Lawrence are true, honest, old-fashioned fisherpersons. They would take the shirt off of their back to help their neighbours, their families and their friends and the community as a whole. Given the way our primary industries are being treated, we heard today about the problems with the hog industry. We hear about problems in the lumber industry. We hear about problems in the

[Page 9078]

agricultural industry and now hearing about problems in the fishing industry. As I said, they will take the shirt off of their back, but if this continues, there's not going to be any shirt left to take off. They're not going to be able to afford to do what they like to do and live the way that they have become accustomed to, not high on the hog, but being able to create enough income to renew their boat every five to 10 years - because those boats do a tremendous amount of work - and able to hire a crew and share the resource with their neighbours so that they can all live and survive in rural areas.

Mr. Speaker, a trust agreement or a family trust between a buyer and seller is one of the few means that entrants into the fishing industry can get. It's either that or become a multimillionaire when you don't need that and join a large corporation and then begin buying up all the little people. But I know for an example that the amount of money that is made North of Smokey - there are no auto dealers down there, appliance dealers, or furniture stores. Their money is created down there and spent in urban areas and urban areas are the ones that gain from this fishing industry down in Victoria.

Mr. Speaker, why a bank would not honour a licence as a tangible asset that they could loan money on, rather than saying well, the licence is a privilege that if the DFO cancel it, then it's not worth anything. Legislation could be created that that licence is a tangible asset and if a person loses that licence, the bank or the financial institution could have first rights to that licence, guaranteeing that they in turn had the licence. They could resell to somebody in the fishing industry, and make sure that when they sold it, that it would have to be purchased by somebody in the fishing industry.

An industry that is worth over $1 billion just in catches alone in Nova Scotia. We hear figures bantered around, $1.3 billion, $1.4 billion. Look at the spinoff of the jobs that are created, the suppliers, truckers, processors, the overseas market. It's phenomenal. Mr. Speaker, it's being invaded by a species not like the MSX that devastated the oysters in the Bras d'Or Lakes or not by this little green crab that has come down and is doing the job on our shellfish also. It's being invaded by large business that are more of a deterrent than any of these sicknesses or diseases that are in the lake.

[5:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I stand here in full support of the fishers, not only in Victoria-The Lakes and not only in my co-worker's riding of Digby-Annapolis, but the honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and fishers in Nova Scotia. These are basic industries that have caused this province to survive as long as it has. With that, I want to thank the House for their attention and I will conclude my remarks.

[Page 9079]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on this bill, which of course is entitled, an Amendment to the Income Tax Act, but which I think all members recognize as really an opportunity. I genuinely mean that, it's an opportunity for this House to make a statement about its commitment to this industry, the people who participated in this industry, to those families, communities and to a way of life.

That's really what I think I had the privilege of investigating over the past six or eight months. I've travelled from one end of this province to the other speaking with fishermen from many different communities and all of them had a kind of continuity of concerns, which I know the minister understands. I know that in his reflection on this bill he talked about the importance of these items to his community and to communities throughout the province. As I travelled specifically down through southwest Nova Scotia, I heard time and time again, about what is becoming a kind of general disappointment with the inability of either the provincial government or the federal government to deal with these issues that are so clearly outlined for both the federal and provincial government.

This one deals specifically with respect to the capital gains exemption, but we know there are additional ones around trust agreements. There's additional difficulties around trust agreements. There's additional difficulties around the financing of young people coming into the industry. Hopefully these are items that we will get to talk about on another day because they are, as I would say, necessarily incidental to what we are trying to accomplish with this legislation.

It all comes down - I'm not sure if the member for Digby-Annapolis talked about this earlier or not - but it all comes down to a very simple issue about the fairness of treatment of fishermen as compared to other sectors of our economy. The idea that a fisherman who wishes to transfer a licence to a child, having to pay, whether they realize a capital gain or not, that they would have to pay the tax on a deemed capital gain, is just fundamentally unfair and unjust. The people who are reading this Hansard should know what that means. What it means, Mr. Speaker, is that even if I had a fishing licence and I wanted to transfer that licence to my son or my daughter, what the income tax officials will do is they will look at the value of that licence, whether or not I receive it. They will look at what that is. They will use deeming provisions to say, this licence is worth x-amount of dollars and they will assess me for income tax purposes on that amount. So, I could end up paying, literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars on income that I didn't receive in order to allow that licence to transfer to my son or daughter.

I think by any measure, this is clearly unfair, and this is something that was widely recognized in the agricultural industry; in fact the Government of Canada and the government of this province took reasonable action a number of years ago in order to ensure that didn't occur, and they put in place a process whereby there was a maximum capital gains

[Page 9080]

exemption and you were entitled to the $500,000 exemption, or 50 per cent, whichever was the lesser amount, and you could apply that against what the capital gain was. Again, whether or not you actually received it you would get an exemption on that amount, and that was seen as a reasonable way to try to assist farming families to deal with the transfer of assets intergenerationally.

This was seen as a recognition that in many cases in the agricultural industry, farmers were not contributing to RRSPs, not contributing to pension plans. What they were doing was they were sinking the income they had, sinking whatever savings they were able to muster back into the business. Essentially, from an agricultural standpoint, the farms and the equipment they had were, in fact, their RRSP, their pension, and ought to be recognized as such.

This situation, of course, also occurs in the fishing industry. In many cases maintaining the gear, maintaining the fishing vessels, investing back in those, is part of what the fishermen have to do in order to maintain their livelihood. It's not the fault of the fishermen. It's not their fault that the cost or the value of those licences has continued to climb. In fact, one of the interesting things about this is the fact that you have to pay capital gains tax on a deemed amount for a licence - I don't want to get too technical about this, but it actually drives up the cost of the licence. It has the effect of saying I have to pay this amount in tax so I have to drive the licence up in order to cover the amount of tax that I would otherwise have to pay. You actually drive up the cost of the licence because of the tax burden that the licence itself carries with it.

Of course, that tax burden gets passed along to the fishing family and, ultimately, to the children of the fishermen, who would like to be in a position to be able to continue on in a traditional industry, one which they have grown up in, one that's important to their community, one that's important to this province. I don't think this bill is a particularly complex one in that sense, and that's why I've said that we are presenting this piece of legislation as an opportunity for the government to try and make a statement about their commitment to this industry.

Now the reality is that this will only affect the provincial portion of the capital gains tax because, ultimately, our federal counterparts will have to undertake the similar process in order to harmonize - and I know the idea of harmonized taxes have become kind of a dirty word in this province, but the reality is, in order to be able to harmonize the capital gains exemption, it requires the federal government take an action in order to make that happen.

What I would like to suggest to the minister and to the members of the government is simply this, if we are continuing to go to the federal government and we are continuing to ask them - and I accept the minister when he tells me, when the Premier tells me, and the Minister of Finance tells me that this is actually something that they'd like to see happen and

[Page 9081]

they're trying to negotiate it with the federal government, I accept that they're doing that in good faith.

What I'm saying to them is that here is your opportunity to lead this process and not simply allow it to degenerate into another item on a long list of the things you're trying to negotiate with the federal government. I think there is probably greater inertia on this issue in the federal departments than in the provincial departments. I think that is in all likelihood where the problem lies. It's similar to trying to get rid of a log jam, you just want to pull a couple of those logs out to try to get that process moving. That's why we wanted to bring forward this bill, to try to inspire the minister and the members of government to take that opportunity and that's why we're here today.

I'm going to sit down in a very short time and ask that this matter come to a vote today. I think that we can do this, we can not only inspire the minister here but we can also prepare the way for the federal government to make these changes. With that Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House for this to come to a vote.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there unanimous consent to allow this to come to a vote?

I hear a No.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I did want to make a few comments on this bill and I heard the Leader of the Opposition talk about the goals and objectives, where he wanted to go. I did have the department do a little review on this as it came today to see how that would be achieved because one of the things in the motion said to create a tax credit. I did ask the department to have a look at what this would accomplish for us and how this would be accomplished.

I think basically the primary piece of the bill is to want to be able to do the intergenerational transfer and to be able to move it along. I would like to share a couple of the things with you. Under Division C of this Act is the computation of tax for corporations but it has nothing to do with personal tax as our review does. This amendment seeks to grant fishermen the same rights and benefits that farmers have, however, the Act refers only to payments of income tax instalments for farmers and fishers. What the department is telling me is that this bill, if it was passed, is tied to the wrong section, the section that has to do with payment. Mr. Speaker, once you have to make that amendment you have to make the amendment that stands and stands on its own to find out that true amendment.

That's the issue as I did ask the department to look at and they determined that it . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time for the debate has expired.

[Page 9082]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the concurrence of the House to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 225 - Smoke-free Places Act.

Bill No. 260 - Public Safety Protection Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 254 - Motor Vehicle Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

[Page 9083]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. That will be after the poppy presentation is completed. The House will sit from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The order of business, following the daily routine and Question Period, will be Public Bills for Third Reading, Public Bills in Committee of the Whole House, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, that will keep us very busy, I'm sure. Thank you.

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

Is it agreed?

Agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned.

[6:00 p.m.]

We have now reached the moment of interruption. The resolution for this evening was submitted by the member for Kings North:

"Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia work to preserve farmland in the province."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

AGRIC. & FISH.: FARMLAND - PRESERVE

MR. MARK PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the applause.

[Page 9084]

Ronald Wright, in recent Massey Lectures, which was produced over at CBC - and just as an aside - thank goodness that the lockout is over. I'm a CBC fan and glad to have it back on the air. But anyway, in Massey Lectures, which was later reprinted as is the custom by the House of Ansai Press, in a book form and entitled, A Short History of Progress, he examines the often naive belief in the inevitability and the goodness of progress which he feels marks modern civilization.

In that book and in that lectureship, he warns that progress is not always good and not always inevitable, that when we examine past civilizations, Mr. Speaker, progress has often been a double-edged sword. In that book he examines the Sumer, the Myan, the Roman and the Easter Island civilizations and he comes up with warnings for our own civilization today.

Running as a sub-theme through that book, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that civilizations, according to Ronald Wright, have declined and disappeared due to their abuse of the environment, and as a sub-theme of that, due to the loss of farmland and the loss of food production. It's an oxymoron, of course, to state that in order to survive we need to eat, in order to eat we need good, productive farmland, but it is true. Yet, as Ronald Wright has shown, civilization after civilization over the years have forgotten that lesson, have abused the environment and have exploited farmland so that it was no longer able to produce what was needed for that civilization to survive. This resulted, in course, in the demise of that particular civilization and his warning to our own civilization, that the same thing can happen to us.

With the added proviso, Mr. Speaker, Ronald Wright agrees with Albert Schweitzer - that great Nobel Prize winner who gave up a lucrative career in Europe to go work as a missionary doctor in Africa - that the western civilization has so penetrated the globe that if our civilization was to collapse in any way, that we would pull everyone else down with us, that it is no longer a case of humanity of having the luxury of one civilization rising and falling and another civilization taking its place, that we live in a global village now and we all stand or we all fall together. So protection and proper use of farmland is important.

Mr. Speaker, in Kings County where I live, I have seen in the time that I have been there now, some 12 years, an encroachment upon farmland as, bit by bit, farmland disappears out of production and houses are built on that land. In many ways it reminds me of when I was a young minister in Richmond Hill, north of the City of Toronto. That beautiful farmland there between Barrie and North Toronto was slowly taken over by urbanization and the farmland began to disappear. Some of the most productive farmland in the country, as is the farmland in Kings County - the third most productive area in farmland in the whole country rivalled only by the Okanagan Valley and by the Niagra Peninsula. This cannot continue. We cannot keep losing our best farmland. As Mr. Wright stated in these Massey Lectures, and as I agree with him, the production of food is vital for the sustenance of any civilization and if we abuse the environment and we lose our farmland through urbanization, then we are at

[Page 9085]

risk and this is the warning that he has given in the Massey Lectures and the warning that I think is one that we need to heed.

The problem is that currently the protection of farmland, Mr. Speaker, in this province falls upon the farmer. The farmer is the one who's supposed to protect the farmland and that's aided to a certain degree by the municipality. In the County of Kings we have some of the strictest zoning bylaws in the province in order to protect farmland and yet still farmland disappears out of production because the farmer is struggling, by and large, just to make a living. Those of you who were at the information session this morning on hog production and the problems that hog farmers are facing, know that farmers are in many of the commodity groups just barely getting by, that, in fact, some of them are falling behind and that's the problem with the hog production and the hog producers, the hog farmers.

So the farmer cannot be expected, Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, to bear the brunt of keeping farmland in production. It's entirely natural when a farmer is not making money, or just making a marginal existence, that they are going to take the opportunity, if it's given to them, to sell their land for development. You can't criticize them for doing that and you can't expect them, on their own shoulders, to keep farmland in production for future generations. It's too big for the farmer. It's also too big for the municipality. The Municipality of Kings does a good job and it tries very hard. Leaders in this field who have had influence in the county, such as Bill Swetnam, they've been instrumental in getting the county to protect farmland, but it's too big a problem and it's too important a resource to be left to the farmer, to be left to the county. It needs the provincial and federal governments being involved as well.

There are many different ways in which this could be done. In the United States, one of the models that's an interesting model, and there are many models around, Mr. Speaker, of how to preserve farmland, but in the early 1980s the State of Pennsylvania took the leadership in trying to preserve farmland in that state where they have the similar problem that we have in Kings County with growing urbanization threatening farmland and farmers being approached by developers, being able to make great piles of money from selling their land, but with the concomitant loss of the ability to produce food on that land, of course.

So, Mr. Speaker, in 1981 Pennsylvania adopted the Agricultural Area Security Act which created a partnership and that's what I'm calling for because that was what was successful in Pennsylvania. It was a partnership between the landowner, the farmer, the local government, the county governments, the state governments, with the added help of the federal government from time to time. They entered into this partnership to buy agricultural easements and, in effect, land banking. Now, the finances for this were through taxation on cigarettes. Two per cent of the taxes on cigarettes was diverted to help get this started. That wasn't enough money to preserve the farmland that needed to be preserved and so this is augmented by state funds as well and, as I said, also by federal government grants. That's

[Page 9086]

just one model. There's another model in New Jersey, a slightly different model, and there are other models in different states across the United States that they have adopted.

What I'm calling for, Mr. Speaker, is for our government to begin to initiate the process that was initiated in 1980 in Pennsylvania to get the various groups together, not just the farmers and the local governments as we now depend upon, but for us to play a role and to call upon the federal government to protect this incredibly important resource that we have that, in my area, at least, is being threatened by urbanization.

Mr. Speaker, that's my resolution and that's the justification for it. I think this is a very, very important issue that we need to discuss and that we need to come up with some solutions for, otherwise we're going to lose the farmland in Kings County.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have a chance to speak to this resolution. I live in a rapidly-growing suburban environment, the corridor, as we call it, from Enfield to Shubenacadie; one of the fastest-growing areas in Hants East, and yet Hants East produces 30 percent of the province's milk. That combination would tell you right off the bat that that is a recipe for collision between conflicting interests.

I thank the member for Kings North. I appreciate his resolution. I think, number one, if you talk to farmers about a way to protect farmland it would be to pay them. If they could make a living, they'll be farming. I have to say that this government has not been particularly active in not only stopping the bleeding but actually having programs and policies in place that would offer incentives. Well, we cut the extension services, so the specialists that would help farmers who are either new to the industry, young farmers, or farmers wishing to diversify, to go from a crop that they've traditionally had grown in the farm for 50 years and they want to switch to something else, we really don't have that kind of expertise any more. The province saw fit to get rid of those services.

As far as supports for the industry, this government doesn't have a very good record. Actually I have to say that today with the information session - I've been in the House for seven years, it'll be eight years in March and it's the first time I've really had a gag order issued on me. I got a call yesterday from Herman Berfelo that if I went to speak that the minister wouldn't speak. Actually, it was if I and the member for Annapolis went to speak, the minister wouldn't speak - so not really wanting to make waves for the people of Pork Nova Scotia. I agreed that I wouldn't.

I don't know if the minister has an inferiority complex or if he's really insecure in his job, but I have to tell you I didn't like it and I'm taking every opportunity that I can to let the world know that. The minister should be ashamed of himself if that's his tactic when it comes to dealing with the Opposition. The people of this province actually elected the

[Page 9087]

members on this side of the House, they expect us to do our job and they sure don't expect that the government side is going to try to gag us so that the minister won't be embarrassed at whatever commodity group meeting he goes to.

I think it's time that he actually tried to act like a Minister of the Crown and take his lumps if he has them coming, and if he doesn't want to do that then he should change his policies in relation to the industry or to whatever group in this province that have come under the wrath of this government.

If my numbers are right, I think since about 1999 there have been about 500 farms that have closed down or stopped, whatever way you want to say that, in this province. Successive ministers have not seemed to be particularly concerned about that. When I say if you're going to be the minister, then the first thing I would think you would do with that staff that you have is say, okay, who's leaving the industry, why are they leaving the industry, and are there aspects of this that we can control or that we can have a policy that would prevent that? That would be number one. Number two, what's coming over the horizon, what are the areas of opportunity, what's going on in the rest of the world and how can we make use of what's coming, and what entrepreneurs are already showing us that are on the leading edge of anything that is new, that we can offer some help to them and grow those particular sectors of the industry so that we actually have more farmers and farmers who are making money. That would be a way to stem the loss of farmland.

[6:15 p.m.]

Now, Nova Scotia's farm gate receipts are about $400 million. Prince Edward Island's farm gate receipts are about $400 million. Prince Edward Island will fit into my school board area twice. So that means there is a big part of this province that could be much more productive than it is. I am willing to accept that there are other economic factors. You know, the potato industry, et cetera, and things that are going on there, meaning that if they alternate their crop, they have to grow something else, one year, potatoes, one year, something else. Usually that's grain. That has provided a cheap grain source for a beef industry or feedlot industry and on it goes. So all those things help increase those farm gate receipts.

The pork industry in this province is worth about $30 million, $100 million in spinoffs, 1,500 jobs. The biggest disadvantage that hog producers have is they have no control over price, Mr. Speaker.

Actually, I think in 1998, if my memory is right, I remember an emergency debate on the issue of the hog industry. They were in hard times then. I'm just thinking that over the seven years that I have been in this House, the number of times that the industry has come back looking for help. It really does speak to the fact that there is no long-range plan for that

[Page 9088]

sector, or I don't think there is a long-range plan for any sector, so that we can actually move away from these ad-hoc programs that try to deal with any impending disaster.

With the BSE crisis in 2003, the lack of cattle going to the United States forced more Canadian pork on to the U.S. market. That depressed prices in the United States since Canadian prices are based on a formula of American prices. Then that depressed Canadian prices and on and on it went. So even with the BSE, which wasn't supposed to impact hogs because they are monogastrics, they are not ruminants, then they still took a bit of a hit, simply because of the pricing formula. Then with appreciation of the Canadian dollar, that also hit hog producers as well, about $20 Canadian a head. A rule of thumb is that for every one point increase in the Canadian dollar it is a 2 cent per kilogram drop in price.

Nova Scotia hog production is basically consumed in the province. We produce - I always thought - 65 per cent, but I guess now the number is 60, so it's dropping. They indicated today that farmers have left the industry recently. So even as much as you would think that because we consume, basically, all that we produce, we wouldn't be impacted by international markets, but because of the price structure we are. It has been difficult.

The province has stepped in. I will applaud the government and the member for Kings North because I know he advocated on behalf of the industry and I know other members on the other side did. They don't deserve any lumps from me for that. They deserve to be applauded and I know the industry would be very appreciative.

There are problems. Feed costs, number one, with the disappearance of the Crow rate, or feed freight assistance, that puts a greater burden on production here, or for costs for producers here, which they haven't really been able to grapple with. The CASE program, by and large, across commodities, has been pretty much useless. Actually, the notion of buying local is one that we should be promoting, as long as we can get the price. To say we are going to buy local but we're going to keep local farmers in poverty is not a notion that I want to promote but I think if you look at the cost of fuel and shipping of goods that there's some real merit. As far as reduction in farms: in 1981 there were 763;1986, 421; 1991, 329; 1996, 217; and in 2004 there were 103 hog operations. We can see that the industry has taken a continuous hit. How much time do I have Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: You have about 23 seconds.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONNELL: With that, I ask the government to buy into the proposal by Pork Nova Scotia. The industry needs help and it's worth keeping that investment in the province. Thank you.

[Page 9089]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Certainly I am very pleased to rise today on this topic. I do thank the member for Kings North for this resolution which is, of course, looking at ways to be able to hold onto farmland in the province. The reality of course, statistically, is very much there - the number of farms in Nova Scotia declined by 12 percent from 1996-2001 roughly about 450 farms, and most likely from 2001-06 we'll see a repeat of that. The total area of farmland now is under one million acres in the province of Nova Scotia. Today when the hog farmers came to the House, I guess perhaps more than anything, their little handout made us all cognizant of how important agriculture and the protection of farmland is.

At the beginning, the title, Philosophy of a Farmer, but above that is a little statement that says that a country is only as strong as it's agriculture and that the farmer is the basis of our food chain. There's no question, there are all kinds of editorials, certainly I see them in the Valley papers which are talking about really two themes that I would like to spend a few minutes on. Number one, as the member for Kings North did point out, there is indeed tremendous pressure on the farmland. That's the reality that's happening especially in the Annapolis Valley. We have two of the five counties that are still growing in Nova Scotia - Hants County and Kings County are still attracting population. That's an immediate pressure of course on the land.

Just recently we had in the Kentville Advertiser, Gordon Delaney did an article on Bruce Kenny, a strawberry and vegetable producer, and he says that urban development is encroaching on his land hindering farm operations and swallowing up valuable farmland that can never be replaced. I don't have any more of this land, it's scarce. He said in an interview at his 200-acre farm just north of Kentville. The editorial in the Advertiser goes on to say that the single most pressing issue in Kings County is urban creek. So we have that going on, that's the reality.

As a young student at the University of Toronto, I would go down to the Niagara Peninsula with friends and to go there in the late 60s, early 70s and to go back today, you have an entirely different reality. Their precious farmland has given way to strip malls and housing developments. I haven't been to the Okanagan Valley for many years so I can't really say what has gone on but I'm sure many of the same trends. We're talking in the Annapolis Valley, that's the area I know best, I am concerned about the trends in the whole province but in the Annapolis Valley we have one of the three best agricultural areas in Canada, bar none. The geology and, of course, the geography lends itself so well to agriculture and historically the fruit crops, the apple crops, peaches, pears, plums, et cetera, have been a mainstay of the industry. As we get this urban creep going on, we know that there is immense pressure.

[Page 9090]

The pressure now is at what I would call the threshold point. Just in the last number of weeks Kings County is looking at a review of the agricultural land. They've entitled it the Non-Farm Residential Development in Agricultural District Review. It clearly points and highlights the reality that is going on here. So over the next number of months there will be input as to whether or not farmland will give way to development. That is the crux and that's the issue here.

I am pleased to see that Kings County is being proactive. We'll hear from a number of stakeholders. I'm really pleased to see that representing the farming industry will be a member from the Kings County Federation of Agriculture, a representative from the Food Grower's Association, an additional member who is an active farmer, and a representative from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. So it is going to at least get the kind of agricultural representation that I feel it needs.

As the member opposite, the NDP Critic, has pointed out, if the industry were healthy - and this is my second theme - we would not be addressing the question of losing farmland. It's because it's vacant, it's there, it's easily seen as wanting to be developed, almost begging, if you wish, to be developed. I would challenge the current government and whoever comes along in future years to invest in what can be tremendous basic industry for Nova Scotia. We have simply neglected it.

I just will take five or six areas that I think we can see expanding. One of the areas, again, despite having a little bit of market problems, is the cranberry industry. We have one grower alone, Cranberry Acres, that is now owned by Henry Endres, and he has about 55 acres under cultivation. He has the potential of growing that farm to 150 to 200 acres in a prime cranberry growing area just west of the peat bog that he is also an owner of. He has secured recently some really good markets in Europe, and he is interested. That's where, again with some investment in the industry, it could truly grow.

The blueberry industry, again highlighted by Blueberry Acres, have expanded the blueberry production in the Annapolis Valley. Again, it's a crop that does very well, and the cultivated blueberries sometimes withstand some of the challenges and difficulties of the wild blueberry crop, which wasn't as great this year, but the cultivated crop was very, very strong, and hopefully it's an area that's going to grow.

The apple industry, yes, the apple industry which has declined in acreage considerably over the last couple of decades, there is a little bit of light. The light that's there is all about this apple right here. I brought one along, Mr. Speaker. The Honey Crisp apple is making enormous inroads into the Canadian and the North American market. It's an area that I believe can help not just the apple industry survive, but actually see it grow once again, and maybe not reach quite its state in the pre-world war years when we had actually nine million bushels of apples produced in the Annapolis Valley. We're down now to 2.5 million

[Page 9091]

bushels. There is some hope, however. The vineyards of the Valley have grown and expanded and, again, that's an area that I think that we can see grow.

It is my hope that even though there are some weaknesses in the industry today, that that won't be seen as a reason to sell off the farmland and to sell it off for a development, because we can never, ever recapture those farmlands - once lost, they are lost for good. We need to be looking at a greater amount of local production, food security, and with the impact on rising prices of fuel, growing our own food, using our precious farmland, is absolutely the way to go. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for debate has expired. I thank everybody for their participation. The House will meet again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

[We stand adjourned.]

[The House rose at 6:31 p.m.]

[Page 9092]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 4867

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas Janis Long has provided valuable service as the constituency assistant for the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect; and

Whereas Janis' dedication and commitment are exemplary; and

Whereas Janis Long has accepted a position with the federal government where her many skills will assure her much success;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature thank Janis Long for her dedication with best wishes in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4868

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

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is known around the world for being competitive and able to bring the top conferences to our great province for their meetings; and

Whereas hundreds of people from thirty-five different countries met in Antigonish this past June for the second International Conference on Gross National Happiness; and

Whereas last year's first conference was held in the small Asian country of Bhutan, where the King of Bhutan more than thirty years ago declared gross national happiness to be more important than its gross national product;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate GPI Atlantic for organizing this year's convention in Antigonish and discussing issues such as the key social, economic and environmental conditions around the world which are likely to produce higher levels of happiness.

[Page 9093]

RESOLUTION NO. 4869

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

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

Whereas Thorburn Consolidated School recently held a recognition ceremony in honour of the 80s and 90s club for the 2004-05 school year held during the school's first annual Academic Awards Assembly; and

Whereas members of the 90s club had six members and they were Kristen Greene, Kelsey MacLennan, Mallory Moser, Jaclyn MacLeod, Jillian Johnstone and Kelly Patchett; and

Whereas there were 13 members of the 80s club and they were Kyle Behie, Colin Cyr, Veronica Blinkhorn, Stephanie Carrigan, Sarah Swallow, Samantha Bowser, Cory MacCallum, Tina Askeland, Melissa Cruickshank, Mitchell Fraser, Katlyn Cameron, Mike Fraser, Lindsay MacEachern;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the tremendous work ethics of the students from the 80s and 90s club at Thorburn Consolidated School, while recognizing the many other students who work so diligently in getting their projects and assignments completed to further their educational initiatives.

RESOLUTION NO. 4870

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

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

Whereas a book about Orville Pulsifer, Sr., a well-known Nova Scotian who passed away in 2002 is now well into its second printing; and

Whereas Orv Pulsifer, Sr., was born in 1910 in Wittenburg, a tiny area between the Musquodoboit and Stewiacke Valleys and was the gentleman who chose the site for the present Halifax International Airport while also developing and naming the current Crystal Crescent Beach and creating the Sparkling Spring Water company; and

Whereas Orv Pulsifer, Sr., was a true entrepreneur an always thinking about how to make things better, because as his grandson, Craig, said, at the age of 90, his grandfather was

[Page 9094]

sharing ideas with him about developing a creek-side hammer mill, a submersible drilling rig and white roofing shingles that would reflect the Summer sun;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs make it a point to purchase a copy of the book, Orville Pulsifer: The Man, The Vision, The Legacy.

RESOLUTION NO. 4871

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

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

Whereas new digital diagnostic imaging equipment at the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority will allow area physicians and their patients to make faster and better decisions; and

Whereas the Department of Health invested more than $800,000 in new equipment and technology as part of the Picture Archive and Communications System expansion project; and

Whereas Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority CEO Kevin MacDonald says the new equipment is great news for the patients in the district;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority staff on working so hard to bring this new equipment to their hospital.

RESOLUTION NO. 4872

By: Hon. John Hamm (The Premier)

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

Whereas each year, the National Quality Institute presents its Canada Awards for Excellence to private and public sector organizations of all sizes that have displayed outstanding performance in the areas of quality and healthy workplace; and

Whereas the Gold Trophy is the highest honour of NQI - a not-for-profit organization that provides strategic focus and direction supported by tangible tools and services for Canadian organizations, from both the private sector and the public sector to achieve excellence based on globally recognized criteria; and

[Page 9095]

Whereas on October 20th, the Canada Award for Excellence for Quality Gold Trophy was awarded to Xerox North American TeleWeb which operates sales centres in both Dartmouth and Saint John, New Brunswick;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Xerox North American TeleWeb for being recognized for excellence and quality - factors vital to success in the global marketplace.

RESOLUTION NO. 4873

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Jessica Corbett was a member of the Nova Scotia women's field hockey team at the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas Jessica Corbett was one of 330 Nova Scotia athletes who competed at these Canada Games; and

Whereas Jessica Corbett clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, teamwork and excellence by her participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Jessica Corbett on her participation in Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4874

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Mandy Roche was a member of the Nova Scotia women's soccer team which participated in the Regina 2005 Canada Games; and

Whereas Mandy Roche was one of 330 Nova Scotia athletes who competed at these Canada Games; and

[Page 9096]

Whereas Mandy Roche clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, teamwork and excellence by her participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Mandy Roche on her participation in Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4875

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Jennifer Rowlands was part of a team which won a silver medal in the women's K4 500 kayak event at the Regina 2005 Canada Games at Wascana Lake; and

Whereas this silver medal was one of 46 medals won by Nova Scotians at these Canada Games; and

Whereas Jennifer Rowlands clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, teamwork and excellence in this event;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Jennifer Rowlands on her winning kayak performance at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4876

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Derek Short was the assistant coach of the Nova Scotia men's rugby team which won a bronze medal at the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas this bronze medal was one of 46 medals won by Nova Scotians at these Canada Games; and

[Page 9097]

Whereas Derek Short clearly demonstrated excellent coaching skills and ability by his team's involvement at this level;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Derek Short on his rugby team's bronze medal at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4877

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Titans Gymnastics Club hosted the Eastern Canadian Tumbling and Trampoline Championship held in May 2005 at the Dartmouth Sportsplex; and

Whereas this was the first time that a Nova Scotian club has hosted this event and

Whereas this competition was a tremendous success, drawing almost 500 athletes, coaches, judges and others from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Nova Scotia; and

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Dartmouth Titans Gymnastics Club on their successful Eastern Canadian Tumbling and Trampoline Championship 2005, and wish them success in organizing future events.

RESOLUTION NO. 4878

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Nabille Toulany was a member of the Nova Scotia men's rugby team which won a bronze medal at the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas this bronze medal was one of 46 medals won by Nova Scotians at the 2005 Canada Games; and

[Page 9098]

Whereas Nabille Toulany clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, teamwork and excellence by competing at this level of sport;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Nabille Toulany on his rugby team's win at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish him much success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4879

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas John Tramble was a participant in the 800 metres athletic event at the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas John Tramble was one of 330 Nova Scotia athletes who competed at the 2005 Canada Games; and

Whereas John Tramble clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, hard work and excellence by his participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate John Tramble on his participation in Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish him success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4880

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Neal Read participated in the rowing events for Nova Scotia in the Regina 2005 Canada Games at Wascana Lake; and

Whereas Neal Read was one of 330 Nova Scotia athletes who competed at these Canada Games; and

[Page 9099]

Whereas Neal Read clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, hard work and excellence by his participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Neal Read on his participation in Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish him much success in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4881

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Michelle Musset was part of a team which won a silver medal in the women's doubles rowing event at the Regina 2005 Canada Games at Wascana Lake; and

Whereas this silver medal was one of 46 medals won by Nova Scotians at the 2005 Canada Games; and

Whereas Michelle Musset clearly demonstrated athleticism, teamwork and excellence in this event;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Michelle Musset on her winning rowing performance at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4882

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Maria Halavrezos was part of a team which won a gold medal in the women's C2 6,000 canoe event at the Regina 2005 Canada Games at Wascana Lake; and

Whereas Maria Halavrezos was also part of a team which won a silver medal in the women's C2 500 canoe event at the 2005 Canada Games; and

[Page 9100]

Whereas Maria Halavrezos' medals represent two of the 46 medals won by Nova Scotians during the 2005 Canada Games;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Maria Halavrezos on her winning canoeing performance at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4883

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Maria Clarke was a member of the women's canoe/kayak team from Nova Scotia which participated in the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas Maria Clarke was one of 330 Nova Scotia athletes who attended these Canada Games; and

Whereas Maria Clarke clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, hard work and excellence by her participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Maria Clarke on her participation in Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4884

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Nick McIntosh of Dartmouth has excelled in competitive swimming through hard work and perseverance; and

Whereas Nick won several medals in the recent Nova Scotia provincial swim championships; and

[Page 9101]

Whereas Nick has broken the Nova Scotia boys 15-16 100-yard backstroke record with a time of 1:04.39;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Nick McIntosh on breaking the Nova Scotia boys 15-16 100-yard backstroke record and winning several medals at the Nova Scotia provincial swim championships, and wish him success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4885

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Luke Atkins participated in the swimming events for Nova Scotia in the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas Luke Atkins was one of 330 Nova Scotia athletes who competed at these Canada Games; and

Whereas Luke Atkins clearly demonstrated strong athleticism, hard work and excellence by his participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Luke Atkins on his participation in Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish him much success in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4886

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas the Dartmouth United Under 14 Tier 1 girls soccer team recently placed sixth out of 11 teams in their national competition held in Moncton; and

Whereas this team exhibited a high level of soccer skill and teamwork; and

Whereas the team members now have memories they will cherish forever;

[Page 9102]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the members, coaches, parents and volunteers of the Dartmouth United Under 14 Tier 1 girls soccer team for the team's success in representing Nova Scotia at the nationals, and wish each of them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4887

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas Jennifer Lloyd was a coach with the Nova Scotia women's basketball team which participated at the 2005 Canada Games in Regina; and

Whereas Jennifer Lloyd was one of 45 Nova Scotia coaches who supported teams at these Canada Games; and

Whereas Jennifer Lloyd clearly demonstrated coaching skill and excellence by her involvement with Team Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Jennifer Lloyd on her participation as a basketball coach with Team Nova Scotia at the 2005 Canada Games, and wish her much success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4888

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Melanie Hunsley, a nine-year veteran of the 4-H program with the Three Way Club where she is the vice-president and treasurer, was awarded the outstanding member of the year by the Royal Bank who sponsors the award; and

Whereas over the past year Hunsley had participated in public speaking, achievement day, the roast beef dinner and the display committee at the club level; and

Whereas all of her skills enabled Melanie to win the county senior double demo, reserve grand champion livestock showman, champion goat project, champion heritage and champion draft horse projects;

[Page 9103]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Melanie Hunsley on these outstanding achievements and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4889

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Megan MacLeod, of Springhill, is a recipient of the Cumberland Health Care Careers Bursary for the 2005-06 academic year; and

Whereas Megan, who is a past Springhill High School student who graduated with honours, is currently studying at Dalhousie in the School of Health Sciences in the Radiological Technology Program; and

Whereas Megan will be staying in the Cumberland County area to start her career in radiology after she completes her degree;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House congratulate Megan MacLeod on receiving this bursary and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 4890

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Carolyn and Gary McNutt of Westchester have been foster parents for four years and have seen 21 children come into their hearts and their homes; and

Whereas Carolyn and Gary have raised three grown boys of their own and realize the trials and tribulations children face in today's world, which led them to decide that they still had something to offer to foster children; and

Whereas Carolyn and Gary have made the world a better place for children in need and are admired by all who know them for their kindness and generosity to those in need;

[Page 9104]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate and thank the McNutts for their unselfish nature and for all their hard work and dedication to the children in this province, and wish them many more years of health and happiness they so richly deserve.

RESOLUTION NO. 4891

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Kyle Merrett of Springhill will be representing the Province of Nova Scotia this year because of the six weeks that he played with the Atlantic hockey group's Northern Storm Team, wrapping up this session in the Atlantic Cup hosted in Halifax; and

Whereas Kyle also played for the Nova Scotia Selects at an International hosted in Moncton this June where he played teams from the United States, Quebec and Ontario; and

Whereas Jamie and Kelly Merrett, the parents of Kyle, are proud, as is his community and the Province of Nova Scotia;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4892

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Ross Robinson of Parrsboro was presented with the Juanita Heffler Memorial Award for his dedicated volunteer service to the Parrsboro Radio Society during its community radio broadcast on July 17, 2005; and

Whereas Ross did an outstanding job, far beyond what was expected of him, and not just this year but every year that the Parrsboro Radio Society was on the air; and

Whereas the radio broadcast played music, sponsorship announcements and covered various community events, including the Parrsboro Lions Club's annual Old Homeweek;

[Page 9105]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ross Robinson on this outstanding achievement, and wish him all the best in future community projects.

RESOLUTION NO. 4893

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Sim Rushton of Oxford has released a new CD titled Come to the Light, a collection of 11 of his favourite spiritual songs, eight of which he wrote and composed himself; and

Whereas Sim's love of the Scriptures, the stories and what they teach, inspired him to release this CD; and

Whereas Sim also released a solo album in 1973 titled From Me To You, and has been performing ever since at church functions, along with other activities where people have been asking for a collection of his works;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4894

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas a former long-time resident of East Chezzetcook, Ellen Colford passed away this week at the age of 104; and

Whereas while her final few years were spent in the care of the staff of Ocean View Manor in Eastern Passage, Ellen was born and raised in East Chezzetcook, and was devoted to her beloved family and friends, her church and her community; and

Whereas what is remarkable about Ellen's life is not just her years, but that she lived on her own, in her own home without indoor plumbing, bringing in a lot of her own wood to cook on her wood stove until she was 101, completely enjoying her independence, with some assistance from family and friends;

[Page 9106]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature offer their condolences to the family of Ellen Colford and join with them in celebrating her tremendous life which was fulfilled by family, faith, her home, a good game of cards, her knitting and quilting, and a love and thankfulness for the life she lived.

RESOLUTION NO. 4895

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

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

Whereas Sir John A.'s football team head coach, Allan Wetmore has been working tirelessly with his team, the Sir John A. Flames, holding practices six days a week since August 15th; and

Whereas their hard work paid off on September 11th when they won their first game 38-19 over the Cole Harbour Cavaliers; and

Whereas thanks to the generous and supportive community, the provincial government and the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Sir John A. Flames will continue their winning ways on a brand new field when the new Western Region High School opens next September;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish the Sir John A. Flames and head coach, Allan Wetmore, many more successful seasons, and we hope they continue their winning ways.

RESOLUTION NO. 4896

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

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

Whereas it took six years of determined fundraising, but Shoreham Village Nursing Home is close to celebrating the first anniversary of the purchase of a large accessible new bus for residents of the home; and

Whereas besides Shoreham Village Nursing Home, the bus purchased in February of this year is used by seniors in the entire Shoreham Village Complex who look forward to their drives, which result in everything from picnics in the park to visiting other seniors; and

[Page 9107]

Whereas Chester Pharmasave played a pivotal role in making the new bus a reality;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the efforts of the residents and family council from Shoreham Village, for their dedicated work in helping to raise funds for the purchase of this new bus, and to the board and administration of Shoreham Village Nursing Home for their continuous caring nature.

RESOLUTION NO. 4897

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

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

Whereas Oak Island enthusiasts were invited onto the famed Mahone Bay Island this past August for two days of tours; and

Whereas the Oak Island Tourism Society secured the rights to host two days of tours as part of the society's Explore Oak Island Day, which is believed to be the home to ancient treasure; and

Whereas many guest speakers were on hand for the two-day event and the society had the opportunity to share home movies, photographs, artifacts, and rarely seen items from the treasure hunt;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Oak Island Tourism Society on securing the rights to host the tour and thank them for keeping the interest and curiosity surrounding this mysterious island alive.

RESOLUTION NO. 4898

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

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

Whereas Chester District School held its 25th Anniversary celebrations October 17th; and

Whereas an assembly was held to mark the milestone, complete with music, cake and special guests; and

[Page 9108]

Whereas Chester District School has 224 students from Primary through Grade 5;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Chester District School staff and students on 25 years of dedication and hard work.

RESOLUTION NO. 4899

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

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

Whereas Paul MacInnis has finally opened his long-awaited restaurant at Indian Harbour; and

Whereas the well-known accomplished chef opened the Rhubarb Café and Grill along Highway No. 333 near his other venture, the Oceanside Inn; and

Whereas the Rhubarb Café and Grill has been a labour of love for Paul MacInnis for some time now;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Paul MacInnis on his fantastic new restaurant and wish him continued future success in all he does.

RESOLUTION NO. 4900

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

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

Whereas the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association held a successful fundraiser on August 17th; and

Whereas the fundraiser included many young bands, and locally acclaimed Fillmore North donated their time and talents to help raise money for the association; and

Whereas the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association's three areas of focus are quality of life, sustainable growth and the environment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association members and volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the Bay and it's surrounding ecosystem.

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RESOLUTION NO. 4901

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University will honour a Halifax elementary school teacher and founder of the Peaceful Schools International at their fall convocation ceremonies; and

Whereas Hetty van Gurp worked tirelessly to rid classrooms and school hallways of all forms of violence by giving workshops on her ideas and methods around the globe in such places as Asia, Ireland and Russia; and

Whereas Ms. Van Gurp will receive an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree on Sunday, October 30, 2005;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Hetty van Gurp for receiving the prestigious doctorate degree and commend her on the extraordinary efforts to end violence in our schools.