The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 06-5

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Cecil Clarke

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.

Second Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Health - Northwood Extended Care Facility, Mr. G. Hines 322
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
TPW - Route to Prosperity, Nova Scotia's Infrastructure,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 323
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Justice - Safer Streets & Communities, Min. Task Force on,
Hon. M. Scott 324
Health - LTC Placement Policy Exemption, Hon. C. d'Entremont 327
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 211, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Birthday (80th),
The Premier 332
Vote - Affirmative 333
Res. 212, Parris, Sylvia - Wiesenthal Ctr. Award, Hon. J. Muir 333
Vote - Affirmative 334
Res. 213, TCH: Bay Ferries - Partnership, Hon. J. Streatch 334
Vote - Affirmative 334
Res. 214, Atl. Geoscience Soc. - Hfx. Hbr. Video,
Hon. B. Taylor (by Hon. W. Dooks) 335
Vote - Affirmative 335
Res. 215, Maxwell, Carolyn Mae - Retirement,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 335
Vote - Affirmative 336
Res. 216, Fish. & Aquaculture: Seniors - Licence Fees,
Hon. R. Chisholm 336
Res. 217, Black Loyalist Soc. - Commitment, Hon. J. Streatch 337
Vote - Affirmative 338
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 59, Municipal Government Act, Hon. R. Hurlburt 338
No. 60, Income Tax Act, Mr. D. Dexter 338
No. 61, Employment Support and Income Assistance Act,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 338
No. 62, Safe Needles in Healthcare Workplaces Act,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 338
No. 63, Insurance Act, Mr. D. Dexter 338
No. 64, Occupational Health and Safety Act,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 338
No. 65, Municipal Government Act, Hon. R. Hurlburt 338
No. 66, Energy Resources Conservation Act, Mr. D. Dexter 338
No. 67, Labour Standards Code, Mr. Manning MacDonald 339
No. 68, Agriculture and Marketing Act, Hon. R. Chisholm 339
No. 69, Fatality Investigations Act, Mr. J. Pye 339
No. 70, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
Mr. Michel Samson 339
No. 71, Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 340
No. 72, Provincial Horse Act, Mr. J. MacDonell 340
No. 73, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
Mr. Michel Samson 340
No. 74, Degree Granting Act, Hon. J. Muir 340
No. 75, An Act to Incorporate the Temple Sons of Israel, Sydney,
Mr. G. Gosse 340
No. 76, Public Utilities Act, Mr. Michel Samson 340
No. 77, New Minas Water Commission Act, Hon. D. Morse 340
No. 78, Environment Act, Mr. L. Glavine 340
No. 79, Education Act, Hon. J. Muir 340
No. 80, Environment Act, Mr. L. Glavine 340
No. 81, Income Tax Act, Mr. L. Glavine 341
No. 82, Water Royalty Act, Mr. L. Glavine 341
No. 83, Public Highways Act, Mr. L. Glavine 341
No. 84, Municipal Government Act, Mr. L. Glavine 341
No. 85, Beechville Baptist Church Act, Mr. K. Colwell 341
No. 86, Municipal Government Act, Mr. K. Colwell 341
No. 87, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. K. Colwell 341
No. 88, Provincial Fish Act, Mr. K. Colwell 341
No. 89, Homes for Special Care Act, Mr. W. Gaudet 341
No. 90, Student Fitness Act, Mr. W. Gaudet 341
No. 91, Junior Order of Nova Scotia Act, Mr. W. Gaudet 341
No. 92, Senior Home Medication Review Act, Mr. S. McNeil 342
No. 93, Income Tax Act, Ms. D. Whalen 342
No. 94, Right to Read Act, Ms. D. Whalen 342
No. 95, Joseph Howe Day Act, Ms. D. Whalen 342
No. 96, Needle Safety Act, David Wilson, Glace Bay 342
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 218, Nat'l. Snow Sculpture Comp.: N.S. Team - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Pye 343
Vote - Affirmative 343
Res. 219, MacIntosh, Don - N.S. Curling Assoc. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 343
Vote - Affirmative 344
Res. 220, Nat. Res.: Students - Exploration, Hon. B. Taylor 344
Vote - Affirmative 345
Res. 221, Kidson, Ryan: Death of - Tribute, Ms. M. Raymond 345
Vote - Affirmative 345
Res. 222, Jackson, David & Jeanette: Daughter - Birth Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 346
Vote - Affirmative 346
Res. 223, Dingwell, Alma - Birthday (80th), Mr. P. Christie 346
Vote - Affirmative 347
Res. 224, Dart. Heritage Museum - Cdn. Museums Award,
Ms. M. More 347
Vote - Affirmative 348
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 16, Health: Nursing Home Beds - Shortage, Mr. D. Dexter 349
No. 17, Environ. & Lbr. - Shaw Wood Industries Closure,
Mr. Michel Samson 350
No. 18, Fish. & Aquaculture: New Entrants - Assist, Mr. D. Dexter 352
No. 19, Fish. & Aquaculture: Highland Fisheries Plant - Assist,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 353
No. 20, Comm. Serv.: Pub. Housing (CBRM) - Asbestos,
Mr. D. Dexter 354
No. 21, Comm. Serv.: Pub. Housing (CBRM) - Asbestos,
Mr. G. Gosse 356
No. 22, Stora Enso - Labour Dispute, Mr. Michel Samson 357
No. 23, Educ.: Fed./Prov. Student Loan Progs. - Harmonize,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 359
No. 24, NSLC - Exec. Severance Pkgs., Mr. G. Gosse 361
No. 25, Educ.: Tuition Costs - Address, Ms. D. Whalen 362
No. 26, Health - Cancer (Colorectal ) Screening,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 364
No. 27, Health: Care Facilities - Pressures Remove,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 365
No. 28, PSC: Civil Servants (Sr.) - Bonuses, Mr. K. Deveaux 366
No. 29, TCH: Tourism Revenues - Misleading, Mr. S. McNeil 368
No. 30, Fish. & Aquaculture: Highland Fisheries - Workers Support,
Mr. F. Corbett 369
No. 31, Agric.: Pork Industry - Support, Mr. L. Glavine 371
No. 32, Agric.: Pork Industry - Stability, Mr. J. MacDonell 372
No. 33, Energy: Home Heating Prog. - Maintain,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 373
No. 34, Immigration: Nominee Prog. - Fees, Mr. K. Deveaux 374
No. 35, Health: Nursing Home Beds - Increase Specify,
Mr. S. McNeil 376
No. 36, Health: Mental Health Patients - Priority,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 378
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 45, CBRM: Pub. Housing - Asbestos,
Mr. G. Gosse 378
Mr. G. Gosse 378
Hon. D. Morse 380
Mr. L. Glavine 382
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 384
Res. 21, Highland Fisheries: Clearwater - Bargaining Resume,
Mr. F. Corbett 386
Mr. F. Corbett 386
Hon. R. Chisholm 388
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 390
Mr. C. Parker 392
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 270, Smith, Ivan: N.S. Hist. - Serv. (10 Yrs.), Mr. M. Parent 395
Vote - Affirmative 395
Res. 271, Mooney, J. Fraser: Death of - Tribute, Mr. W. Gaudet 396
Vote - Affirmative 396
Res. 272, Nat'l. MS Awareness Mo. (05/06) - Recognize,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 396
Vote - Affirmative 397
Res. 273, N. Queens Bd. of Trade: Longevity - Recognize,
Hon. K. Morash 397
Vote - Affirmative 398
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Budget 2006-07 - Initiatives:
Mr. M. Parent 399
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 11th at 2:00 p.m. 402
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 225, Langille, Ron/Kenney, Neil - Master Logger Certification,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 403
Res. 226, Sobey, David - Philanthropist Award, Mr. J. DeWolfe 403
Res. 227, Sponagle, Amanda/Marshall, Norma - Cadet Boxing Medals,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 404
Res. 228, Boston Marathon - Pictou Co. Participants, Mr. J. DeWolfe 404
Res. 229, Ashton, John - Pictou Co. Tourism Award, Mr. J. DeWolfe 405
Res. 230, Murray, Kelly - Hosp. Donations, Mr. J. DeWolfe 405
Res. 231, Barker, Eric & Linda/Ashton, John - Pictou Co. Tourism Awards,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 406
Res. 232, Aitchison, Julia - NSAC Dean's List, Mr. W. Langille 406
Res. 233, That Dutchman's Farm - Cheese Grand Prix,
Mr. W. Langille 407
Res. 234, Sutherland, John - Master Logger Certification,
Mr. W. Langille 407
Res. 235, Baxter, Joan - Atl. Bk. Awards Shortlist, Mr. W. Langille 408
Res. 236, St. Clair, Neil - Credit Union Award, Mr. W. Langille 408
Res. 237, Cobequid Chapter IODE - Anniv. (90th), Hon. M. Scott 409
Res. 238, James, Dean: Springhill FD - Serv. (15 Yrs.),
Hon. M. Scott 409
Res. 239, Karn, Denyse - Ship's Co. Theatre Award, Hon. M. Scott 410
Res. 240, Kennedy, Frederick - Ship's Co. Theatre Award,
Hon. M. Scott 410
Res. 241, Lee, Jenny - Springhill Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 411
Res. 242, Legere, Kyle - NSCC Medal, Hon. M. Scott 411
Res. 243, Legere, Phil - Outstanding Principal Award, Hon. M. Scott 412
Res. 244, Likely, Stephen - Science Fair Award, Hon. M. Scott 412
Res. 245, MacDonald, Jim - Springhill Leisure Serv. Dept. Rep. Vol.,
Hon. M. Scott 413
Res. 246, MacNeil, Isabel - Rep. Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 413
Res. 247, MacPhee, Shelby - Figure Skating Comp., Hon. M. Scott 414
Res. 248, MacPhee, Shelby - Figure Skating Championship,
Hon. M. Scott 414
Res. 249, Martin, Dan - Person of the Yr. Award, Hon. M. Scott 415
Res. 250, Matthews, Ryan - N.S. Youth Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 415
Res. 251, McCormick, Craig & Linda - Maple Sugar B&B Opening,
Hon. M. Scott 416
Res. 252, McCormick, Ida - Rep. Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 416
Res. 253, McLellan, Gerry & Marion -
Cdn. Coun. of Snowmobiling Fam. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 417
Res. 254, Moore, Judy - Rep. Vol. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 417
Res. 255, Morris, Cassandra: This Hour Has 22 Minutes -
Job Shadowing, Hon. M. Scott 418
Res. 256, MacPhee, Justus - Science Fair Awards, Hon. M. Scott 418
Res. 257, Morris, Floyd & Ruth - Bravery, Hon. M. Scott 419
Res. 258, Murphy, Mike - Springhill FD Award, Hon. M. Scott 419
Res. 259, Murray, Helen - IODE Serv. (50 Yrs.), Hon. M. Scott 420
Res. 260, Nicholson, Harold: Springhill FD - Serv. (53 Yrs.),
Hon. M. Scott 420
Res. 261, Noiles, Jade - Dart. Comp., Hon. M. Scott 421
Res. 262, Vanderlinden, Ria - St. F.X. Environmental Award,
Hon. R. Chisholm 421
Res. 263, Flemming, Jack - Dal. Honorary Deg., Ms. D. Whalen 421
Res. 264, Horne, Dave & Norma - Geocaching, Ms. D. Whalen 422
Res. 265, Clayton Pk. Vet. Hosp. - Expansion, Ms. D. Whalen 422
Res. 266, Fry, Betty: Fairview Leg. Auxiliary - Commitment,
Ms. D. Whalen 423
Res. 267, Daniel, Joseph - Vol. Award, Ms. D. Whalen 423
Res. 268, Willdey, Tom - Vol. Award, Ms. D. Whalen 424
Res. 269, Muise, Carolyn - Vol. Award, Ms. D. Whalen 424
Res. 274, Allendale Electronics/Kenney & Ross: Work Ethic Applaud,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 425
Res. 275, Gibson, Larry - Jerome Award, Mr. G. Hines 425
Res. 276, Richardson, Jennifer - Achievements Recognize,
Mr. M. Parent 426

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HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2006

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Mr. Charles Parker, Mr. Keith Colwell

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The subject for this evening's late debate has been submitted by the honourable member for Kings North:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the very positive initiatives contained in Budget 2006-07 which will help foster a healthy economy, healthy families and a healthier future for Nova Scotia.

That will be the subject for debate after the business for the day.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. As you will recall, on Friday, May 5th, I, along with my colleagues, the members for Preston and Clare, rose on points of privilege, which were, in effect, supported by the member for Halifax Needham as well, both in her capacity as the member for Halifax Needham and as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. You'll recall, these points of privilege were based on issues surrounding the evidence on two loans submitted by the government, dealing with Magic Valley and with S&J Potato Farms. This stems from attempts by the Public Accounts Committee to be able to obtain information, as is our right as a committee.

321

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Mr. Speaker, you'll be aware that the Chief Legislative Counsel for the province has provided a legal opinion indicating that the committee did not receive the information it should have, that the claims of Cabinet confidence, solicitor/client privilege and the refusal by a witness - a former member of the Crown - to answer questions, were all unsubstantiated.

Mr. Speaker, we once again had Public Accounts Committee this morning and unfortunately we were once again faced with a situation of witnesses who continue to use Cabinet confidence and solicitor/client privilege to refuse to answer questions by the committee. I'm sure the Speaker will appreciate that whenever such points of privilege and rights of members have been violated, the decision must be made in a timely fashion, especially in light of the fact that we continue to have this problem through the Public Accounts Committee.

I'm wondering if the Speaker would be able to indicate to members of the House as to when he expects to render a ruling on such an important issue as the points of privilege raised by four members of this Assembly?

MR. SPEAKER: There was, in fact, another point of privilege raised yesterday associated with this matter that had been brought to the House. I said at that time, as Speaker, that I would take it under advisement, and my exact words, report back as soon as possible to this Chamber. I am undertaking that review in consultations with the Clerks and it is ongoing, and as I say, I'll report back as soon as I can.

It's not just the points that have been raised, but also the processes and procedures associated with that. So I'm very cognizant of what it is that has been requested before this House, and as I said, I have taken it under advisement and with the time that we have available to do the review, I will report back as soon as possible.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

MR. GARY HINES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause is:

"We the undersigned are very concerned by the rumor circulating that Northwood have decided to locate the facility in Hammonds Plains.

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We believe the Rocky Lake Commons to be a superior location; more central, nearer to the Cobequid Health Centre, adjacent to shopping, with many youth facilities . . . excellent transportation with the Burnside Expressway soon to be built, plus the land is available immediately for development."

I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources on an introduction.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction through you to all members of the House. I'm very pleased to welcome two very special guests from Australia, to Province House here this afternoon. (Interruption) Down under, yes. They are sitting in the Speaker's Gallery and both are executives with Xstrata Coal Development Alliance. They are the successful bidder in the call for proposals to develop the Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton.

I would like our guests to rise as they are introduced. First I would like to introduce Mr. Jeff Gerard, General Manager of Business Strategy, and with Jeff, as well, is Mr. Darren Nichols, the Project Manager. I was very happy to meet with them, over lunch, to discuss this exciting project. I know all members of this House would like to welcome them to Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I, too, would like to welcome our special guests and all guests who are visiting in the gallery today.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the report Route to Prosperity, Nova Scotia's Infrastructure, which takes stock of our investment in built capital, cites challenges ahead, and maps renewal over the next 10 years. This is the document that was referenced in the Throne Speech.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

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STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, today I rise to make a Ministerial Statement regarding an important issue to all Nova Scotians. Crime and its effects are a growing concern across Canada and Nova Scotia. In particular, we are increasingly dismayed by the reports of street crime, particularly the behavior of a small number of out-of-control youth. At the same time, communities are also experiencing negative impacts of illegal drugs, especially in schools, and the resulting instances of property crime and theft.

We know there are many government services and many excellent community programs addressing these issues. At the same time, tackling these immense problems can be overwhelming. It truly takes a coordinated effort, uniting many voices and incorporating the ideas of both experts and lay people.

To that end, Mr. Speaker, today I am announcing the creation of a Minister's Task Force on Safer Streets and Communities. The goal of the task force is to look at community programs, government services, legislation and policing best practices across Nova Scotia and in other jurisdictions to identify and promote programs and actions that are making a positive impact in communities. For example, we know the Cape Breton Regional Police have a very successful officers in schools program, just one example of the many excellent initiatives across the province.

Mr. Speaker, many government departments, municipalities, police agencies and organizations across the province are actively engaged in promoting community safety and development. The task force will identify ways to support communities in their efforts to make improvements and to address situations that have a negative impact on their neighbourhoods. The end result will be a provincial crime prevention strategy developed through community consultation and locally-driven crime prevention action plans.

We recognize that safe and strong communities result from a mix of social, economic and enforcement factors. Last week we announced significant legislation that will help both law enforcement and communities fight crime in our province. In this week's budget we invested significantly in enforcement activities. However, we know that the seeds of criminal behavior often take root long before the actual crime occurs. Police have told us that law enforcement alone cannot address the crimes in our province. Therefore, our efforts have taken a two-pronged approach: significant and serious enforcement, coupled with programs that address the root causes of the crime.

Mr. Speaker, we have worked with other government departments, police, and the Child and Youth Action Committee. Through this task force, we'll add the voices of

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all Nova Scotians who are concerned about the cause and effects of crime in our communities. We will seek their ideas, we will offer information, and together we'll develop solutions to have their roots in those communities.

Over the coming months we will invite the co-operation and assistance of other parties such as community leaders, law enforcement, counsellors, school officials and many others. Our goal is to take this input, along with a review of successful programs and legislation in other jurisdictions, to consider how we can complement and enhance our existing programs.

Mr. Speaker, our seniors should feel safe in their neighbourhoods even after dark. Our students should not have to face the pressure of drugs in our schools, and all Nova Scotians should feel confident their province is a safe place to live. The Minister's Task Force on Safer Streets and Communities will complement the existing efforts of all partners and will help to address the current concerns while charting a course to prevent crime in the future. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, it's seven years now that they've been the government, seven years, since 1999, they've had an opportunity to actually create change with regard to criminal activity in this province with regard to addressing the issues of youth crime, addressing the issue of safety in our schools, safety for our seniors, and what did we get? We got a Police Act, I'll give them credit for that. I remember talking to some heads of police departments in this province who were disappointed with that Police Act when it came in. We're still waiting for a detailed, comprehensive, provincial approach to policing in this province. This committee is not the solution to that.

Seven years, seven years, Mr. Speaker, we've had this government sitting there and we've become, in Halifax, the most violent city in Canada. The rate of violent crime is increasing in Nova Scotia since this government has come to power and yet we have now, days before a potential election, this government getting up in this House and again trying to convince Nova Scotians that they are being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, mostly by taking and usurping and photocopying ideas from these two sides of the House - and I'll give credit, some of them are Liberal ideas as well. But they've learned how to use a photocopier pretty good, Mr. Speaker. If you look at Bill No. 4 and Bill No. 2, and if you can tell the difference that it didn't come from a photocopier, I'll be very surprised.

Mr. Speaker, this is the point - it's not about where the ideas come from, it's about whether they'll be implemented, whether this government is serious about actually implementing ideas. You can call it a commitment, you can call it a promise, you can call

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it whatever, but until we actually pass laws and actually see statistically that Halifax is no longer the most violent city in this country, and that Nova Scotia's rate of violent crime is going down - when we can actually see those things, then we can start to say that this government is actually doing something. I am tired of them getting up in this House and continually trying to say, we're tough on crime, and now to add a little twist on it we're actually going to try to do something about the causes of crime by having another committee eat some sandwiches, drink some coffee and maybe, eventually, we'll develop a strategy.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia are tired of another committee, tired of more meetings - they want to see a government that's actually going to do something, they want to start seeing violence in our schools and violence in our communities start to be reduced. I'll wait for that day. Thank you.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, how true it is, it has been seven years since we've waited to see what government was going to do to address the problem of crime in our communities in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotians are very proud of the communities that we have, of the security that we have, and we want to maintain it, but we see incident after incident of where there's criminal activity that continues in our communities, and it's unacceptable. When we see those ads that are put on by the government, "Come to Life", we want all the rosy pictures that are painted in that - that is the Nova Scotia we would like to see in reality, but we all know that unfortunately for many communities that is not the case.

Mr. Speaker, we remember the famous blue book that told us they were going to get tough on crime. Most of the initiatives under Justice in that blue book have not even been introduced in this House, yet they were a means of trying to tell Nova Scotians, vote for us because we'll get tough on crime. We'll all remember well the former Minister of Justice, when the issue of home invasions was becoming so prevalent here in the city, his response was to make a home video for seniors and show them how to lock their windows and lock their doors at night, and how to make sure that no one got into the house - completely forgetting the issue of why our youth were breaking into people's homes in the first place.

Finally, we have a Minister of Justice who now stands and says he would like to get at the root of the problem and try to find out why our young people are getting in trouble with crime in the first place and, if they are, what can we do to prevent that from happening, what supports can we give them, what counselling can we give them to make sure that doesn't happen. That is something our caucus has been saying for the last seven years, and I certainly know that the NDP as well have been very vocal in trying to get the government to deal with the root issues of what is taking place.

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Finally, on the eve of an election, we hear the government say that they want to finally start dealing with this issue, Mr. Speaker. Yes, we have to look at existing programs, we have to look at other jurisdictions, but we also have to look internally because we all know well that the McEvoy Inquiry, which is taking place right now, and the tragedy surrounding that incident is in no small part due to a breakdown of communication that took place in the minister's own department - he wasn't minister at the time, it was the former minister - and I'm very concerned as to whether that breakdown in communication has been corrected to make sure that such incidents don't take place again. It's interesting that even before that inquiry is finished the minister now says he wants to have a minister's task force, when it's imperative that we see what will come out of that inquiry first to be able to see and not duplicate it.

So once again, on paper, and when you announce it, it sounds great - whether it will actually be put into effect is another issue, and it would have certainly had much more legitimacy last Fall when the House was sitting, when it could have been put in place, than being announced mere days before the Premier plans to go to an election. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Let me get to the right page here. Today I am pleased to inform my colleagues of a change to the Department of Health's long-term care Facility Placement Policy that will benefit French-speaking Nova Scotians and others with compelling circumstances including language and cultural issues.

As Minister of Health and Minister of Acadian Affairs, I am very aware of the unique needs and challenges of Acadian and francophone communities across the province in accessing important services in French, including long-term care. The department also recognizes the importance of ensuring that its policies reflect diverse needs and ensure equitable access to services for all Nova Scotians.

Monsieur le Président, aujourd'hui je suis très heureux d'informer mes collègues d'un changement à la politique du ministère de la Santé en matière de placement dans un établissement de soins de longue durée. Ce changement favorisera les francophones de la Nouvelle-Écosse et d'autres personnes, lorsque les circonstances l'exigent, incluant les questions de langue et de culture.

En tant que minister de la Santé et des Affaires Acadiennes, je suis bien conscient des défis et des besoins uniques des communautés acadiennes et francophones à l'échelle de la province en ce qui a trait à l'accès aux services importants en français, y comprise les soins de longue durée. Le ministère reconnaît aussi qu'il est très important de s'assurer

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que ses politiques répondent aux besoins divers et assurgent l'accès équitable aux services pour tous les Néo-Écossais.

Mr. Speaker it is important to note that all long-term care clients have the opportunity to identify the facility where they would prefer to live, and to wait in the community until a bed at that facility becomes available. The First Available Bed provision applies primarily to clients waiting in hospital for placement to a long- term care facility. The client is required to move to the first facility that becomes available within 100 kilometers of driving distance from their preferred community of residence and to remain there until a bed becomes available in their preferred facility. Continuing care staff will implement a policy change that will allow French-speaking Nova Scotians and others with compelling circumstances to wait for placement in the most suitable facility.

French-speaking Nova Scotians and others can ask for an exemption to the First Available Bed provision during the assessment and placement process. When compelling circumstances exist, Nova Scotians will be allowed to wait for their preferred facility in the most suitable long-term care facility rather than being required to accept the first available bed.

For the Acadian and francophone community, as for other minority communities, being moved to a facility under the First Available Bed provision can sometimes lead to isolation due to language and cultural differences and transportation concerns for the family. Mr. Speaker, we recognize that the First Available Bed provision is not ideal for everyone Obviously, we wish that everyone could be placed in the home of their choice immediately. Unfortunately, there are wait lists for long-term care facilities, as there are for many health services, so policies such as this one are necessary to ensure the appropriate use of hospital beds.

Mr. Speaker, what this policy change does is provide an opportunity for French-speaking Nova Scotians who want to be placed in a facility in or near his Acadian community to request an exemption of the First Available Bed provision. It also means that an Aboriginal woman may be able to remain close to her family and community support until she can be placed in her preferred facility. It will ensure that she isn't isolated in a facility an hour away from her family and others who speak her language and share her culture.

This change demonstrates a commitment by government to better reflect diverse needs and ensure equitable access to services for all Nova Scotians. To help address the issue of more patients waiting in hospital, we announced $3.6 million in Tuesday's budget to work with district health authorities to implement community-based initiatives for patients who need some level of home nursing support. These are individuals who are now in hospital but are awaiting placement in another facility. The DHAs have already begun planning and are excited about these new initiatives because they recognize that

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providing the appropriate level of care in settings other than hospitals, those who require critical and emergency care, will also be better served.

The province's plan for continuing care announced today will also help us better address the needs of aging Nova Scotians and those with special needs. It identifies extra supports needed to help people remain in their own homes, in their communities, or if a higher level of care is required, in long-term care beds in a facility that will be better suited to the needs of Nova Scotian communities. As we move the strategy forward, we are continuing to invest in improved home-care services so that Nova Scotians who wish to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible are better able to do so. Improved home care also means that those who do require long-term care in a facility may be able to, with increased support, wait in the community for placement in a facility that meets their needs.

These are important steps to improving continuing care for all Nova Scotians. This government is making changes where it counts, where it will make a real difference in the lives of all Nova Scotians.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I stand in my place as the NDP Critic for Acadian Affairs and I do want to thank both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Acadian Affairs for taking the opportunity to address an issue that we raised in this House yesterday. We raised it in the House in the Fall. I know the Leader of the Opposition has written to the minister with regard to this. This is an issue that I think all Parties would agree is one that needs to be addressed. There should not be a requirement that members of the francophone community, the Acadians in this province, have to leave their communities to receive those services in another language.

[2:30 p.m.]

It would have been nice to get a copy of the statement in advance, I will tell the minister that right now, but on top of that, Mr. Speaker, as usual, this is just another line that can be drawn through something else that's on their to-do list before the election. It would have a lot more credibility if this issue, this minister has known about this issue, this government has known about this issue for a number of years. They've definitely known about it for the last year and a half. They know the problem and yet on the eve of an election, that is when they decide to announce that they're going to fix the problem.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I think all of us would have a lot more faith in this government, a lot more faith in the promises that they're making and the commitments they're making if we actually understood and knew that they were being made not for political gain, but were made because of their concern for the people of Nova Scotia, and

[Page 330]

that's the biggest problem with what the minister is announcing today. On the eve of an election he decides to announce, after seven years in government, that now is the time to fix a problem that they've known about for a number of years.

That is why the people of Nova Scotia have trouble swallowing what this government is selling them today and yesterday and tomorrow, and I'm sure for the next number of weeks to come, Mr. Speaker, and this is the problem, but I'm glad to see that with regard to the Acadian community, there's some recognition that they should be able to receive those services in their own language, in their own culture, in their own communities. I understand this may also apply to other groups, including indigenous Nova Scotians and others. That's good as well.

I would suggest to you though that, like a lot of other issues, this government had to be prodded into passing legislation that has guaranteed French-language services. They had to be coerced into making sure those regulations would be passed in a timely manner that would actually provide the details as to when francophones and Acadians in this province will actually get to see these services implemented. We're beginning to see that now, again just before an election. Well, Mr. Speaker, why is it that every time there's a problem in this province that the people of Nova Scotia can say is a serious problem, we could all agree it must be addressed, it's only on the eve of an election that this government decides they're going to turn their mind to it. That is cynicism at its best and that's why Nova Scotians are only going to be half-heartedly supporting what this minister is saying today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister, I guess I was fortunate to receive prior notice. On my way out the door I did receive a copy. So I want to certainly pass that on to the minister.

Mr. Speaker, during Question Period last Fall this long-term care facility placement policy was brought to the government's attention. I know I've had some discussions with the Minister of Acadian Affairs at the time over this issue. This issue has been ongoing, not just in my community, but in Argyle, in all the Acadian communities throughout Nova Scotia. So I'm glad to see that the government has finally listened and is planning to do something to change the policy. I'm looking forward, of course, to see the government documentation to prove this change will become reality.

Mr. Speaker, there is no greater feeling of isolation than not being able to communicate with health care workers. This is why our caucus and I know my colleagues in the NDP brought this matter as well to the floor of the House last Fall. There is no doubt we will be following this matter closely as this matter is resolved.

[Page 331]

Mr. Speaker, among the stories I heard, I have to share one in particular with you that comes to mind. I recall that last Fall there was an older lady who was in the Yarmouth Regional Hospital waiting for a long-term care bed. Her family was told they were not going to send her away from her community.

She even went further than that, she actually told her family she was prepared to go on a hunger strike. Now just imagine someone 87 years old prepared to go on a hunger strike. Well, of course, Mr. Speaker, her family members were very upset when this was shared with them. That story was brought to the attention of the former Minister of Health and the former Premier. I'm sure many of my colleagues have heard stories like that from people across this province.

Mr. Speaker, when I hear the minister talking about an exception to the first available bed provision, it's a step in the right direction, I agree, but is it enough? I have to say that I'm extremely disappointed, because I don't think the government went far enough. I'm awfully curious if this is just a last-minute quick solution to try, before we go to the polls, to buy some time.

Mr. Speaker, I've raised this matter before, and I would hope that the Minister of Health and the Minister responsible for Acadian Affairs will take this under consideration. There has to be a better coordination. Just last Thursday I was speaking with the administrator at the Villa Acadienne in my riding, in Meteghan. She was indicating to me at that time there were five people from outside the Municipality of Clare, one of whom was from the community of Clare, one of whom was from the community of Bridgewater, who happened to be in Meteghan at the time.

At the same time, we have some residents from the Municipality of Clare who are currently in Annapolis Royal, in Granville Ferry. I'm sure there could be some better coordination to at least allow these individuals to be placed closer to their residence and to allow residents from Clare to be moved closer to home. There are all kinds of possibilities here. I know the former Premier undertook, last Fall, to review this policy. I'm glad that the Minister of Health is coming forward today announcing at least a little bit of change, but at the same time I think there is still some room to do a lot more for Acadians and francophones and other minorities in our province. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay on an introduction.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, in our west gallery today, perhaps in the other galleries, I can't see, but also outside the Legislature, there is a group of people who are members of the CAW Local 4622, who are - or were anyway - employed at Highland Fisheries in Glace Bay and are currently locked out by that company. They've made the long trip here today because later on we'll be debating that

[Page 332]

issue. Hopefully they'll get what they came here for, to be treated fairly, and to go where they want to be and that's back to work at Highland Fisheries. Members of the Legislature, would you please welcome the people in the gallery. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome all our guests to the Legislature today.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 211

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

Whereas 2006 marks the 80th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; and

Whereas Lieutenant-Governor Myra Freeman extended birthday greetings to Her Majesty on April 21st and invited all Nova Scotians to sign a book of congratulations, available at Government House until June 1st, at which time it will be sent to Her Majesty; and

Whereas Her Honour and His Honour extended an invitation to the people of Nova Scotia to join them at Government House on the afternoon of June 17th, to coincide with the official celebration of Her Majesty's birthday in Great Britain;

Therefore be it resolved that, through the Office of the Speaker, all members of this House send their collective best wishes to Her Majesty, and congratulate her on her grace, longevity and steadfast commitment to her role.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

[Page 333]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to do an introduction in advance of reading my resolution. I would draw the attention of the members of the House to the east gallery, where we have Sylvia Parris. Sylvia is here today with her partner, John Norris, and her colleagues from the Student Services Division at the Department of Education. Sylvia has been involved in the education field for more than 20 years and has worked at all levels of the public school system, and is currently the multicultural education consultant with the Department of Education. I would ask all members to welcome Sylvia and her colleagues to the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, there was another part in the note of introduction that I had, but I prefer to put it in this one.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 212

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

Whereas Sylvia Parris was honoured Friday, May 5th, by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for her vision and leadership in promoting multiculturalism in our schools; and

Whereas Ms. Parris is an educator who is leading the implementation of our racial equity policy, enabling Nova Scotia schools to encourage critical thinking, dialogue and awareness of racial equity; and

Whereas some of Ms. Parris' work involves monitoring and researching of racial issues and improving the information available in the school system;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Parris on receiving the award in thanks for her outstanding contributions to promoting racial equity to Nova Scotia schools and students. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 334]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 213

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

Whereas Bay Ferries Limited has brought the CAT into Halifax Harbour this week for a retrofit before beginning its new run from Portland to Yarmouth, which will bring tourists from the New England market to our shores; and

Whereas we worked closely with Bay Ferries, and invested $1.25 million to re-establish this important link so that Nova Scotia tourism operators can welcome more United States visitors and build their businesses; and

Whereas we're bringing the CAT to Boston on the long weekend for a huge promotion to make sure New Englanders know about the new route and the wonderful experiences they'll have when they visit Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize our important partnership with Bay Ferries in securing this critical transportation link with one of Nova Scotia's key tourism markets.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 214

[Page 335]

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Atlantic Geoscience Society has produced an exciting video called Gateway to Canada: the Story of Halifax Harbour; and

Whereas this half-hour video is a superb educational tool for students interested in learning more about one of the world's great harbours; and

Whereas scientist Gordon Fader and video producer Charles Doucet, and many other volunteers, were instrumental in the production of this video;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate them and the Atlantic Geoscience Society for this video journey through the natural and cultural history of Halifax Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 215

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 Carolyn Mae Maxwell of Sydney Mines worked in the health care field for 40 years; and

Whereas Carolyn's career involved her working at the Harbour View Hospital in various departments such as X-ray, senior daycare, physio, and the rehab department, until her retirement on April 30, 2006; and

[Page 336]

Whereas Carolyn served the community with hard and faithful work for over 40 years and is loved by her colleagues, family and friends;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in wishing her all the best in her retirement.

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 216

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

Whereas more than 8,000 seniors acquired general fishing licences in 2005 at a reduced rate of $5.75, for a total amount of approximately $41,000; and

Whereas the monies raised from the seniors' licences are used to fund a variety of projects that directly enhance sport fishing in Nova Scotia such as operating the province's fish hatcheries, stocking lakes with species for fishing derbies, and conducting fishing clinics for younger anglers; and

Whereas our seniors' participation in this activity does a great deal to assist us with the management, development and promotion of sport fishing in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank our senior anglers for their continued support through the purchase of licences, and encourage them to introduce this great outdoor activity to our youth.

[2:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 337]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 217

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

Whereas the Black Loyalist Society is a community group that works to preserve an important and significant historical site in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, where Black Loyalists settled centuries ago; and

Whereas the society's offices, which contained close to 20 years of research, records, artifacts and office equipment, were tragically destroyed by a fire on March 31st; and

Whereas the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage recognizes the Black Loyalist story as an important part of our province's rich heritage, and has been working with the society for a number of years on the interpretation of Black Loyalist history in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the commitment and outstanding efforts of the Black Loyalist Society - Nova Scotia's Black Loyalist and African-Canadian story is much more than the building in which it was housed, and our department will continue to provide support to the society as they move forward in their rebuilding efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 338]

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 59 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Hon. Richard Hurlburt)

Bill No. 60 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 61 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 27 of the Acts of 2000. The Employment Support and Income Assistance Act. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I just want to do a quick introduction of a couple of guests in our gallery. I want to welcome from the NSGEU, Joan Jessome and Linda Power; from the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, Janet Hazelton - and I see someone else, but I forget her name, I apologize (Interruption) and Stephen Topshee is there as well. So I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Bill No. 62 - Entitled an Act Respecting Safe Needles in Healthcare Workplaces (Hon. Christopher D'Entremont)

Bill No. 63 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 231 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Insurance Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 64 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 7 of the Acts of 1996. The Occupational Health and Safety Act. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

Bill No. 65 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Hon. Richard Hurlburt)

Bill No. 66 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 147 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Energy Resources Conservation Act. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 67 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

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

[Page 339]

The honourable Deputy Premier.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I'm reading a bill that was tabled by the Leader of the New Democratic Party which is entitled the Energy Resources Conversation Act. I'm wondering whether or not that is the correct title of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: We'll bring it to the attention of Legislative Counsel and I can assure my friend it's the Conservation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: I'm glad we have the clarity of the House.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, before I do my bill, could I do an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you. Mr. Speaker and to all members of the House, we have with us today Mr. Hans Christian Jost. He is the President of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia. We have Greg Beaulieu, he's with the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation and staff from the Department of Agriculture - Rosalind Penfound, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, as well as Linda MacDonald, Executive Director of Industry Development.

Bill No. 68 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 6 of the Revised Statues of 1989. The Agriculture and Marketing Act. (Hon. Ronald Chisholm)

Bill No. 69 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2001. The Fatality Investigations Act. (Mr. Jerry Pye)

Bill No. 70 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1993. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (Mr. Michel Samson)

Bill No. 71 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

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

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

[Page 340]

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just want to take a moment to introduce in the east gallery, a gentleman from Inverness County, who many of you would know, who also happens to be the father of one our Pages, Donny MacInnes, who goes to Saint Mary's University. Donny's father is here, Frankie MacInnes, and I would like to welcome Frankie here to the gallery today. (Applause)

Bill No. 72 - Entitled an Act to Declare the Sable Island Horse to be the Provincial Horse of Nova Scotia. (Mr. John MacDonell)

Bill No. 73 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1993. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (Mr. Michel Samson)

Bill No. 74 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 123 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Degree Granting Act. (Hon. James Muir)

[3:00 p.m.]

Bill No. 75 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 224 of the Acts of 1920. An Act to Incorporate the Temple Sons of Israel, Sydney. (Mr. Gordon Gosse)

Bill No. 76 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 380 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Utilities Act. (Mr. Michel Samson)

Bill No. 77 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 89 of the Acts of 1982. The New Minas Water Commission Act. (Hon. David Morse)

Bill No. 78 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Environment Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 79 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter of the Acts of 1995-96. The Education Act. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 80 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Environment Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 81 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 82 - Entitled an Act to Require the Payment of a Royalty on the Bottling of Water. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 83 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 371 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Highways Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

[Page 341]

Bill No. 84 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 85 - Entitled an Act to Ensure a Right of Way for the Beechville Baptist Church to Lovett Lake for Baptisms. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

Bill No. 86 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

Bill No. 87 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

Bill No. 88 - Entitled an Act to Declare the Brook Trout to be the Provincial Fish of Nova Scotia. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

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

If I could have the attention of the House. As Speaker, I would like to do an introduction today of a couple of people from my home constituency. I want to introduce to the House, in my gallery - and I would ask them to stand as I introduce them - Chief Dave Julian, who is the chief of the Florence Volunteer Fire Department. Dave has just received his 25-year service medal from the Department of Environment and Labour. Also Melissa O'Neil, promotions coordinator for the Cape Breton Firefighters Museum in Florence, Cape Breton. I would ask all members to give a warm welcome to our guests. (Applause)

Bill No. 89 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 203 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Homes for Special Care Act. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet)

Bill No. 90 - Entitled An Act to Promote Physical Education and Fitness in Schools. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet)

Bill No. 91 - Entitled An Act to Establish the Junior Order of Nova Scotia. (Mr. Wayne Gaudet)

Bill No. 92 - Entitled An Act Respecting the Establishment of a Process to Implement Senior Home Medication Reviews. (Mr. Stephen McNeil)

Bill No. 93 - Entitled An Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 94 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Enhancement of School Libraries. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

[Page 342]

Bill No. 95 - Entitled an Act to Establish Joseph Howe Day. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 96 - Entitled an Act to Provide for the Use of Safe Needles in Workplaces. (Mr. David Wilson, Glace Bay)

[3:15 p.m.]

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

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's not often we have this many people from Inverness County in the gallery so I want to take the opportunity to introduce in the east gallery, Ed MacDonald and his wife Mary Jess MacDonald who is on the local school board. They're both Inverness County residents and I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Welcome to our visitors and all visitors in the House today.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, if I may be permitted an introduction on the grace of the House? I would greatly appreciate bringing to the attention - as a matter of fact, I'm honoured, to introduce to the House, in the Speaker's Gallery, the participants of the National Snow Sculpture Contest in Ottawa. Those individuals are Mr. Ray LaFresne, Mr. Nigel Maney and Mr. Al Collette. I want the Nova Scotia Legislature to know that they came in third representing this province and I hope we will give them a warm applause. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 218

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

Whereas in February 2006, competitors from all of Canada's provinces and territories gathered in the National Capital Region to participate in the National Snow Sculpture Contest; and

[Page 343]

Whereas the competition tests the physical ability and brings out the creativity and the talent of the competitors who create a work of art out of a two-story block of snow; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia team, composed of Ray LaFresne, Nigel Maney, and Al Collette stood out from the rest of the competitors by placing third in this year's event;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Nova Scotia team of Ray LaFresne, Nigel Maney and Al Collette for winning third place at the 2006 National Snow Sculpture Competition.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 219

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

Whereas Don MacIntosh of Truro was named the 2006 male curler of the year by the Nova Scotia Curling Association; and

Whereas Don MacIntosh skipped his team of Peter MacPhee (mate), Mike Currie (second) and Peter Neily (lead) to the Nova Scotia Senior Men's Championship and his rink also led the province in provincial senior money winnings; and

Whereas Don MacIntosh's rink was runner-up in the Nova Scotia Labatt Tankard emblematic of the Nova Scotia men's curling championship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Don MacIntosh on being named the 2006 male curler of the year by the Nova Scotia Curling Association and wish him continued success in the 2006-07 curling season.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 344]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 220

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

Whereas elementary students across Nova Scotia took part in this year's National Wildlife Week Art Contest which was held from April 9th to15th; and

Whereas the contest encourages our youth to learn more about the beauty and value of our local watersheds; and

Whereas the winning entries will be unveiled this year at the opening of the Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Legacy Interpretive Centre at the Provincial Wildlife Park in Shubenacadie which resides in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House encourage our students to continue to explore our province's natural resources and all they have to offer.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 345]

RESOLUTION NO. 221

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

Whereas Ryan Kidson,16 years old, was a dedicated athlete and a hard-working young man beloved by many friends in and out of his Grade 11 class; and

Whereas Ryan's family as well as the village of Herring Cove, the school community of J.L. Ilsley and his fellow employees at EastLink and Canadian Tire have all suffered a deep loss with Ryan's drowning during a camping trip to McNabs Island Provincial Park; and

Whereas Ryan has left enduring gifts with all who knew him;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend their condolences to the family and many friends of Ryan Kidson and wish them comfort from their grief.

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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 222

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

Whereas Chronicle Herald Legislature reporter David Jackson and his wife Jeanette recently had some good news; and

Whereas on April 12th, David and Jeanette celebrated the birth of their baby girl, Lauren Elizabeth; and

[Page 346]

Whereas David is probably already training Lauren to be the first female member of the Montreal Canadians and the New England Patriots;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly join in congratulating David and his wife Jeanette on the birth of their daughter Lauren Elizabeth and wish her a successful sports career.

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 favor of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford.

RESOLUTION NO. 223

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

Whereas Bedford's Alma Dingwell had an extra special 80th birthday last month on the same day as Queen Elizabeth's, April 21st; and

Whereas Alma Dingwell and her husband Murdoch dined with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, at Buckingham Palace; and

Whereas Alma Dingwell was one of 99 people chosen from around the Commonwealth invited to a birthday luncheon with the Queen;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish Alma Dingwell a Happy Belated Birthday.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 347]

It is agreed.

Would all those in favor 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 wonder if I could be permitted an introduction before I start.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MS. MARILYN MORE: In the west gallery I'd like to introduce to the members of the Assembly Helen Fleet who is a well respected senior and volunteer in my constituency. I ask you to give her a warm welcome.

RESOLUTION NO. 224

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

Whereas the Passage Project, administered by the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, provided leadership and vision in building organizational capacity among community museums across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the award recognizes that the project was nationally significant, exceeded current standard of practice and demonstrated creativity, leadership and effective use of resources; and

Whereas the CMA Award was presented at its national conference in Saint John, New Brunswick, May 3rd, 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the staff, volunteers, and board of directors of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum for receiving the 2006 Canadian Museums Award for Outstanding Achievement in Management Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 348]

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 Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, by agreement among the three Parties, would you please call the order of business, Oral Questions Put by Members.

MR. SPEAKER: The request is to go to Oral Questions Put by Members.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:25 p.m. and will conclude at 4:55 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME BEDS - SHORTAGE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. No matter which part of the province you go to, hospitals are filled with patients waiting for a nursing home bed. In the last report from the Capital Health District alone, a record 222 people were in hospital beds, even though they had been medically discharged. This is three times the target. Ground has yet to be broken on the announced and re-announced 150-bed facility in the Bedford-Sackville area. There will be no new beds built under the government's so-called plan for continuing care in the next three years. So my question to the Premier is, why is his government refusing to address the critical need for more nursing home beds in Capital Health and across the province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Health put forward today, and through the continuing care strategy, is not just about beds, it goes well beyond beds.

[Page 349]

It deals with the self-managed care program, with home oxygen, with palliative care. Beds are a very important and critical part of that plan - 1,300 beds - and over the next four years we will see over 800 of those beds. Those beds cannot happen overnight. This plan was done after expert consultation, done with the best research, based on consultation with over 1,400 Nova Scotians. It is a plan which makes sense, it is a plan which is well thought out, and a plan which will be put forth.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, a plan delayed is no plan at all. I would like to read a quote from the Capital Health report to ensure the Premier understands the severity of the situation. This is the quote, and I'm going to table this, "The waitlist has continued to increase over the past ten months and is now the highest on record at almost three times the target with 222 patients."

The number of people waiting for nursing home beds once hovered around 100, and then last year it was consistently at 150, and now it's over 200 and still climbing. The nursing home bed shortage represents the single-largest bottleneck in our health care system, impacting on surgery wait times, emergency room access and the burnout of our front-line health care workers. My question to the Premier is, how much higher will these numbers have to climb before you realize that waiting three years to address the problem will create a crisis in our health care system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, obviously the Leader wasn't listening to the budget yesterday, as $3.6 million was allocated to address just some of the issues, but there's a lot more than that in yesterday's budget. When you have a plan, it has to be well constructed; when you have a plan, it has to be well thought out. This is not a political plan, like the NDP likes to have, this is a real plan.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I don't think allowing people who need nursing home beds to languish in hospital is much of a plan. Of course we need other supports, like assisted living, home care, seniors' housing and health promotion initiatives, but first we must stop essentially warehousing the elderly ill in hospitals where they get few or no activities, socialization or stimulation. It is a cruel fate for those who have worked so hard and long to make Nova Scotia the great place it is.

My final question to the Premier is, what will it take for your government to address the immediate needs of these seniors and their families, instead of stalling to get through an election?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I know is that the plan we put forward is best based on evidence-based research. I do know that we had consultations. We not only had consultations with the public, we had consultations with those in the health profession. It is a plan which makes sense for today, and it is a plan which makes sense for tomorrow.

[Page 350]

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - SHAW WOOD INDUSTRIES CLOSURE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, we've all heard by now the most recent announcement that Shaw Wood Industries, located in Cornwallis, was forced to close down, putting 200 people out of work. We've obtained documents that show that this government was considering providing substantial financial assistance to Shaw Wood Industries as early as November of last year.

[3:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that this government has substituted giving financial assistance to Shaw Wood for two questionable loans with S&J Potato Farms and Magic Valley. So my question to the Premier is, why did your government refuse to approve financial assistance for Shaw Wood Industries that may have saved 200 jobs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Economic Development.

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we discussed this yesterday at some length. It is certainly a very unfortunate occurrence, but when a company loses its only customer there really is nothing that can be done, and there was nothing that could be done in that situation.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, we also learned this morning that the Minister of Economic Development was actually served notice some time ago that Shaw Wood Industries would be closing. The loss of 200 jobs will have a devastating impact on the local economy. We know as of this morning that the Department of Economic Development was proposing a $600,000 loan to Shaw Wood Industries back in November as part of their survival plan. Instead of helping Shaw Wood, the government has focused on giving taxpayers' money to a company that did business with a minister and another for friends of the former Premier. So my question is again to the Premier, why did this government turn its back on Shaw Wood Industries and their 200 employees?

THE PREMIER: I will refer that to the Minister of Economic Development.

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, there were discussions that took place with the company, and there had been ongoing discussions with that company and many other companies. No particular request was put forward at that point in time because they were trying to secure the contract and discussions hinged upon that contract. Unfortunately,

[Page 351]

that contract did not come about. They lost their sole customer, and there really aren't any options at that point.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: You know, Mr. Speaker, people who worked at that plant are looking for leadership. They're looking for answers and they're looking for it from the Premier. It's unfortunate the Premier refuses to even address this issue and instead passes it off to the Minister of Economic Development. Whether it's Shaw Wood Industries, or whether it's the employees at Stora, both are looking for leadership as to what this government is prepared to do not only to keep their jobs, but what is the plan if those jobs cannot be maintained. So my final question, again to the Premier, is the government prepared to work with Shaw Wood Industries and the local community to try to save those 200 important jobs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Economic Development said, a very important contract, unfortunately, is now no longer going to be in place for Shaw and, first and foremost, certainly going out to those 200 workers and their families - that is where the real challenge is, for those families - we certainly are thinking of them at this time. As a government, through the Minister of Economic Development, we are doing all we can to be of assistance in the local community, to be of assistance to Shaw, and we have been working with them and we will continue to work with them in the best interests of the local area.

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: NEW ENTRANTS - ASSIST

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. You know, call them what you will, but broken promises of this government just keep piling up. During the Progressive Conservative leadership race, the Premier committed to creating a separate Department of Agriculture and one for Fisheries. Now, he will say that this has happened but, in reality, just like yesterday's book of promises it's only true on paper. Instead we are left with the Department of Agriculture and the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Well, there were high hopes for some commitment to the fishery in yesterday's book of broken promises. For example, it was widely hoped that there would be announcements to help new entrants secure needed access to capital, but this did not happen. My question for the Premier is what does the government intend to do to help new entrants gain better access to capital?

[Page 352]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, our government has been very supportive in the past and will continue in the future to be very supportive of our agricultural producers, of our agricultural community. That is why we put a specific minister in place, set up the Department of Agriculture again as separate, to put the focus on what is a very important part of rural Nova Scotia, what is a very important part of the economy for all of Nova Scotia. I can assure that member and I can assure all members, in the past four years, we provided $25 million in direct support to primary producers. That has made an impact, and we will continue to make such investments.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question was actually on the fishery, so I'll go back. The fishing industry needs new blood. To attract new entrants, they need easier access to capital, to purchase their boats, their gear and the ever-important licence. New entrants can borrow for the cost of their boats and gear, but the greatest problem for new entrants is finding the necessary capital to buy a licence. Just as an example, a lobster licence in South West Nova can cost as much as $1 million. A solution to this problem would be have Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board accept the licence value as collateral. We have been told by the previous minister that this is not possible. So my question is, when will the government bring forward changes to allow the loan board to use the value of licences as collateral?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to support the agriculture industry as well as the fisheries industry. Just recently in the federal budget, the Capital Gains Tax was reduced $500,000, in order to help new entrants into the industry. So we will continue to work with the federal government. Work with the industry to support the industry.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this demonstrates a very poor understanding about how one goes about generating capital in order to actually finance the purchase of things such as fishing licences. Nonetheless, I would like to table in this House a copy of a Supreme Court of Nova Scotia decision, from January of this year. In short, this case lays out that in the case of a bankruptcy, a fishing licence is, in fact, personal property that can be taken by a creditor. In his decision, Chief Justice Kennedy states, these licences do in fact provide a bundle of rights which constitute marketable property capable of providing security.

So my question is this, since this case sets a clear precedent, when will this government move forward to aid new entrants and allow them to use the value of licences as security?

[Page 353]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition is aware, the legislation that was passed last Fall, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, was dealing in part with this issue. We have the Fisheries Loan Board which is in place, which deals with many of our local fishermen, and we'll continue to do all we can to help our local fishermen access the capital they need to do the job that they do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE : HIGHLAND FISHERIES PLANT - ASSIST

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. One hundred and eight workers at the Highland Fisheries Plant in Glace Bay have been locked out of their plant by Clearwater Seafoods. These employees want to get back to work and they've come here today looking for help from this government. They're looking for help from the federal government as well. My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, what is the minister going to do to make sure that these workers will get what they're looking for and finally get back to work and be treated fairly?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we will be working with the union. I guess we have a meeting set for right after Question Period, discussing those issues that are taking place in Glace Bay. It's very unfortunate that there is a labour stoppage there. I know the Minister of Labour has supplied conciliators and that sort of thing. Conciliators are on standby to work with that union, as well as work with the company, to get them back to the table to start talking.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, these workers are not even getting the employment insurance now because they've been locked out of their plant. I wrote to the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture some time ago, I wrote to the federal Fisheries Minister some time ago, I copied the Minister of Environment and Labour of this province on this issue, asking to intervene and to help these workers. Not one reply, not one word did I get back from that government, not one word.

Mr. Speaker, I know the minister is a new minister, I'm going to give him the chance today to make a name for himself. I want him to stand up in this House and tell us what he is going to do to help the workers in Glace Bay finally get back to work where they should be.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. While we welcome all our visitors to the gallery on every day, I just note members and visitors to the gallery are not to respond positively or negatively to what is going on on the floor. I would appreciate your respect to that.

[Page 354]

MR. CHISHOLM: It is my intent as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to work with the Minister of Environment and Labour to have conciliation to do whatever we can to get both parties back together at the bargaining table.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I gave the minister his chance. Let me ask the Premier then, the new Premier of this province. If the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture didn't have the common sense to pick up the phone and to talk to the federal Fisheries Minister in Ottawa, then will the Premier of this province do what is right for the workers in Glace Bay to help the economy of Glace Bay? This is an important part of Glace Bay's economy. Will the Premier of this province do something to help get these workers back to work and at least pick up the phone and talk about it with the federal Fisheries Minister in Ottawa?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue and it is affecting many workers in Glace Bay. We know it is a difficult time this time of year with fishing having started again. As the minister has said, he will be meeting with the representatives of the workers later on today. He will do all he can within his purview in dealing with them, but we also have to be mindful that there is a labour dispute ongoing and that we do have a role to play in that but it is a neutral role. We need to ensure that the conciliation takes its course and that both sides are treated fairly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

COMM. SERV.: PUB. HOUSING (CBRM) - ASBESTOS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. In mid-April, the NDP member for Cape Breton Nova obtained a letter from the Atlantic Indoor Air Audit Company. This letter to the Cape Breton Regional Housing Authority stated that tests done on samples of insulation from a public housing unit at 3 Rose Terrace in Ashby tested positive for asbestos. That letter was dated October 25, 2005. This material was discovered while workers were placing chimneys in these units thereby exposing the workers and the tenants to asbestos-laden insulation. We all know that when repairs are being done, home owners and tenants are usually left to do any residual cleaning.

Mr. Speaker, the literature on asbestos is crystal clear. It should not be disturbed, it should not be swept up with a broom or vacuumed. However, without knowing this material posed a danger, that is exactly what happened. My question for the Premier is this, why did it take six months for his government to notify residents of the Terraces of the asbestos present in their homes?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I couldn't agree with the Leader of the Opposition more. The fact that a letter sat in someone's desk is completely unacceptable in this case

[Page 355]

and that is why upon hearing that, we are conducting a review within government to see how this happened and to make sure it never happens again.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, these units house everyday people including seniors and children. Last year the NDP member for Sackville-Cobequid asked the Minister of Community Services about the use of zonolite insulation in public housing. The minister responded that he was unaware of the substance and that annual audits of all the public housing units take place and he undertook to get an answer for us. We never got an answer - representing yet another broken promise by this government. So my question is this, why did this government not act a year ago instead of ignoring the issue and allowing these workers and residents to continue their exposure to asbestos?

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

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is absolutely right, this is an issue of concern. It did come up during Question Period, I remember it was referred to me. I think originally it went to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and this was the first I had heard of it. I did check back with my staff and at that time they were not aware that Zonolite had been used in any of the public housing units at that time.

That was the information that was given back to me and, Mr. Speaker, I would also say that quite often when I'm asked questions in the House, I will quietly go back to the person who asked me the question afterwards and give him the answer as opposed to bringing it up officially in the House.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, we know that since being pressured to look into the problem, asbestos has been found in public housing in Whitney Pier, Ashby, Antigonish County, Wolfville and Middleton. Because this government did not examine this issue when first informed, it risked exposing all residents in these units to this harmful substance. If this situation had not been pointed out by the NDP, this contamination would likely remain literally swept under the carpet.

We know that during renovations workers and residents were exposed. We know that insulation continues to fall through the walls into the basement of at least one unit and we know that this material was disturbed by the workers contrary to a Health Canada warning. So my question is this, what steps are being taken to evaluate the short- or long-term health effects these residents and workers face in the future and what is being done to protect tenants throughout the public housing stock in Nova Scotia?

[Page 356]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, for the Leader of the Opposition to suggest that the government somehow is trying to sweep this under the carpet is completely and utterly wrong. He's trying to play politics with a very important issue. When the government found out, the appropriate steps were taken. The housing authority (Interruption) the staff is taking the appropriate steps. The appropriate code of practice is being followed now. As I said, I couldn't agree with the Leader of the Opposition more, but when the government found out the information, the government took the right steps.

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

COMM. SERV.: PUB. HOUSING (CBRM) - ASBESTOS

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. As stated by my Leader, we know that people have been exposed to asbestos in housing units and the days following the discovery of the letter from Atlantic Indoor Audit Company, the minister should have put his entire attention on safeguarding the health of residents and workers. Instead this minister put his attention on damage control. He knew that when workers did renovations, the asbestos was disturbed. He knew that workers and residents would have been exposed to airborne asbestos and he also knew he dropped the ball again.

Mr. Speaker, if this letter I will table had not been made public last month, it is likely that no one in any of these units across the province would know they are living with asbestos. My question is, why did the minister sit on his hands for almost 12 months instead of acting on this a year ago?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as I stated before, I did ask the question and I was told there was no Zonolite in the public housing units. However, I just want to clear up one issue here. This came to light because the contractor went directly to the housing authority director, also to us, and went to the Department of Labour. When it happened, we reacted immediately. We've been taking the appropriate steps to address the issue. We brought in a contractor, a consultant to advise us. We've been taking many tests and everything is being done according to proper practice.

MR. GOSSE: Proper practice. Mr. Speaker, no matter how hard this government tries to ignore this issue, it's not going away. We know that bulk samples of vermiculite have been taken in units in the Terraces. We know that these bulk samples were going to be tested for asbestos. My question to the minister is, how many of these samples have actually been tested and what was the percentage of asbestos found in these samples?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, we are taking samples of the vermiculite. The initial results came back at 1.6 per cent asbestos level. Health Canada says 1 per cent is deemed

[Page 357]

to be acceptable, so it is over the minimum. We are taking the appropriate precautions and we will continue to do so.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, appropriate precautions. The minister asked two senior members of the department - Cyril LeBlanc and Dave Ryan are investigating why it took five months for this issue to be made public. They were supposed to report back to the minister 10 days ago. When should we expect this minister to table his report to the House, or, at the very least, notify the residents and the workers of why this delay was allowed to happen?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would know, there has been a lot of communication with the affected residents. We have had a public meeting for both of the units in question. There have been letters sent to them. In fact, the honourable member has been sending letters to them, too, for the ones in Sydney. Actually, as long as we're talking about communication with the residents, I personally hopped on a plane and went up and knocked on the doors of the two affected residences and just talked at random with people to try to get a sense of how they were feeling about this and whether the housing authority was attending to their concerns. So I would say we have been very attentive once it was brought to our attention.

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

STORA ENSO - LABOUR DISPUTE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, more disturbing news today regarding the lock out at Stora Enso. The news today is that the parent company is bringing in assessors to determine the fate of the equipment at the mill should the company determine to have it closed permanently. Last night, during an emergency debate on the lockout at StoraEnso and its impact on our province, the Premier's silence was deafening. Not one speaker for the government gave any indication of a plan to meet the concerns raised by Stora Enso. We now know that the $65 million woodlot deal announced last week does absolutely nothing to deal with the issues surrounding the lockout. Being that the Premier did not see fit to speak during the emergency debate on this issue last night, my question is, will the Premier tell the House today what plan his government has to address the issues of power and taxes at Stora Enso?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has put forward $65 million for the 200,000 acres of land. That is a major commitment. Also, keeping a commitment that we had to the parent company, a commitment that we had to oblige by 2013.The honourable member does not have to indicate to me the importance of Stora Enso. I see that each and every day in my riding. I see that each and every day. So, I can assure that member the government is doing everything it can. I will say this much, unlike that group

[Page 358]

over there, we will not have the taxpayers of Nova Scotia subsidizing StoraEnso or any other large producer in this province.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it appears that loans to potato farms and Magic Valley have much more importance than the 600 employees - his own family who work at that mill from Inverness. That's priorities for your government there, Mr. Premier. The Premier knows that that lockout and the mill will not reopen unless Stora Enso has some sort of predictability and stability of power rates and on taxes. The Premier knows that the $65 million woodlot deal has absolutely nothing to do with the lock out and is nothing but a smokescreen in trying to convince the people of the Strait area they've done something to deal with that lock out.

When the Premier spoke to the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, he said there is no bigger issue on his plate than securing the future of the company. I ask today, will the Premier tell us exactly what plan his government has to deal with the issues that Stora Enso has so that this lockout can end and the people can get back to work at that mill?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we're going to continue doing what we are doing. The fact of the matter is, there are a number of pieces which need to be addressed in this issue. The government has stepped up to the plate and provided $65 million. Yesterday we announced in the budget that the large corporation tax, by 2012, will be gone, another important step for that company and many other large companies. The reality is that the discussions at the negotiating table need to happen between the union and Stora Enso, and that has to happen. The other issue of taxation is also a discussion piece between the municipal unit and Stora, and that is ongoing.

Mr. Speaker, I will say it again, we are not going to allow the taxpayers' electricity rates in this province to go up to subsidize Stora or other large producers. Maybe the Liberals will do it, but this side of the House won't do it.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: What I can tell you, Mr. Premier, is that the Liberal Party would make sure that Stora stays in this province and no Nova Scotian would have to fear that that would happen, that I can assure you. This government has sat silently while there has been skyrocketing increases in energy here in this province, and now the Premier is trying to see the fruits of his labour by staying silent, and his government is silent. Now it's Stora, who is going to be next? Six hundred employees.

The Premier also said I believe the union has a role to play, Stora management has a role to play, the local community has a role to play and, yes, government has a role to play as well. I assure you tonight, my government will play a role. Tonight we want to know, what is that role, and, more importantly, when will the Premier put the interest of those 600 workers and Stora Enso ahead of his own selfish re-election interests?

[Page 359]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member makes me laugh, that's what he makes me do. The reality is that the electricity rate issue is being dealt with at the Utility and Review Board, and that's where it should be dealt with. That is a fact, and that member knows it. I don't know - again, if he and Liberal Party stand today on that power rates should be raised for all Nova Scotians to subsidize that, then say it. Say it. He doesn't have it. If he believes that, then stand up and tell the members of this House, tell the people of Richmond County, tell the people of Inverness County. He won't do it.

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

EDUC.: FED./PROV. STUDENT LOAN PROGS. - HARMONIZE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. There are few groups in this province that have been treated worse by this government than students. When they first came to office, the Progressive Conservatives cut the Loan Remission Program from $10 million a year to zero. They forced tuition up by 53 per cent from their first year in office until this year, and under their memorandum of understanding it will just keep going up. You can appreciate that students were pleasantly surprised last week when in the Throne Speech there was a commitment to reduce tuition by $400 a year. It's too bad that promise has been broken already.

I want to ask the minister about another commitment in the Throne Speech. Is it, as stated in the Throne Speech, your government's intention to harmonize the provincial and federal student loan programs?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in the Throne Speech and in the budget the government announced a number of improvements to the student loan program, including doubling the repayment bonuses for students who graduate this year.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Members of the House and those in the gallery, let's look at what the actual changes will mean to these students. I'll table an important bulletin from the New Brunswick Government's Web site. It informs students of some very disturbing news. It says of that government's move to harmonization that "The province will no longer be paying the interest on behalf of the students during the grace period. All other integrated provinces treat the grace period interest in that way as well."

In practical terms, Mr. Speaker, this means that loan integration will add an additional $1,000 to each student's debt in Nova Scotia. So much for the tax credit. So will the minister explain to this House, and to students across this province, why his government wants to add to the debt of students in Nova Scotia, instead of meeting their promise to reduce it?

[Page 360]

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm not entirely sure if the honourable member has his facts correct as I would understand. I can tell you that in Nova Scotia, in that grace period, before a student has to start paying back the Nova Scotia Student Loan, they don't have to pay the interest - that's picked up by the province. But in New Brunswick, although the grace period is there, that is added onto the principal of the loan and it has to be paid back.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the members opposite are impressed with the Helter Skelter approach that continues in education, but let me tell you, post-secondary students, they're no longer fooled. This is part of the very government that is driving young people out of this province to the Alberta oil field. But perhaps it's not so much the call of Fort MacMurray, but the indifference shown by their own government that is leading them down the road. So my final question to the Minister of Education is, you've made so many grand promises to students and their families and kept so few of them, so why should we believe you now?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honorable member started off with higher education and believe me, like others who have had young people go through the higher education system, I understand and my sons and daughters understand about high tuition fees. Notwithstanding that, I think the fact is, we have to recognize the high quality of the post-secondary education system here, and the other thing is, in terms of access, granted, we made that commitment about tuition fees at the university level. Our community college fees are below the national average, but the other thing is in this province that the participation rate of Nova Scotia students in higher education is 50 per cent higher than the national average and 50 per cent higher than it is in Alberta.

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

NSLC - EXECUTIVE SEVERANCE PKGS.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for the revolving door at the liquor corporation. I want to ask the minister about the sorry state of affairs at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, when it comes to the ongoing game of musical chairs in the executive offices? In the last few years, taxpayers have been on the hook for more than $0.5 million in severance and related payments. Just in March our former vice-president walked away with six months pay in severance, plus a bonus for eight months work. I can sure tell you most Nova Scotians would love to have a $60,000 severance entitlement after six months on the job. How can this minister justify sticking taxpayers with the bill for such outrageous severance packages?

[Page 361]

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the question. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation strives to provide quality service, a solid business plan each year, and provide the province with many millions of dollars that go toward education and hospitals. I assure the honorable member across that we will continue to provide those well-used dollars to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, well-paid severance packages. It used to be that such sweet deals only happened when you left the NSLC. Now it appears you can get a pretty nice benefit when you join the NSLC executive. I will table a document obtained under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy that shows the new CEO, Bret Mitchell, was given a $40,000 allowance to cover his moving expenses, that in addition to covering his living expenses for three months, his $156,000 salary and his$23,000 bonus. Now for anyone wondering, I'll do the arithmetic for them. That would almost be 1,100 two-fours of Keiths. So I ask the minister, just who is watching the till at the NSLC offices, to prevent taxpayers from being ripped off?

MS. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, to my honorable colleague across the way, am I understanding correctly, that my honourable colleague from the NDP would like for me to intervene in a labour contract? Mr. Speaker, I don't believe that that is what I'm hearing from the honourable member from the NDP. I want to assure all members that the Liquor Corporation is proud of its new president.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order, please.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, they do pay their salary there. A senior in Nova Scotia waiting in hospital to be placed in a nursing home bed could probably think of better use for that kind of money. For that matter, so could a student struggling with a debt the size of a mortgage and also a tourism operator struggling to cope with the declining visitor numbers. I'm going to ask the minister, where does your government place priority, on helping the booze barons in this province or the elderly who will be needing nursing home beds?

MS. STREATCH: To my honourable colleague across the way, I am sure that the seniors in nursing homes, the students in schools and certainly the tourism operators welcome the dollars that the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation brings to the provincial coffers and will continue to appreciate those dollars and spread the love of the money throughout Nova Scotia.

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

EDUC.: TUITION COSTS - ADDRESS

[Page 362]

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Again this year we've seen a white flag of surrender from the minister and an unwillingness by the Cabinet to address the enormously high cost of tuition in this province. Unfortunately, it is not the government who is immediately paying the price for this lack of progress, it's the students of our province who pay the price. In the Premier's Throne Speech he mentioned that they would address the tuition by bringing us instep with the national average within five years. My question to the minister is, Mr. Minister, how do you plan on addressing the issue of high tuition costs when you've conceded yesterday that there is no tuition relief coming this year for students?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister of Finance answered that question yesterday in the media. We announced this year that we would work towards getting the university tuition in this province down to the national average over a five year period and a plan will be developed. We're obviously going to have to consult with the stakeholders to get that done. Everybody in this House knows that this is a government in which a commitment made is a commitment kept.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, there isn't enough time today to go over the commitments that have not been kept and the people who are waiting for those commitments. This minister has the power to begin discussions right now to alter the MOU with universities. I'm sure the students of this province and the presidents of our universities would welcome more money that would lower what are by far the highest undergraduate tuition fees in the country. The programs that this government has put in place are half measures, band-aid solutions for a problem that requires much more extensive surgery.

Proof of this point is found in the Educational Policy Institute study on affordability which was recently released, which saw Nova Scotia come in dead last out of all the Canadian provinces and all American states- 60th out of 60. In terms of affordability of our universities, to our shame, that study found us the least affordable in North America. My question to the minister is, will you enter into negotiations with the university presidents and student leaders now to alter the current MOU and lower undergraduate tuition?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows and would have seen is that there has been a budget tabled in this House that has a certain amount of money committed to a higher education. The government in the Throne Speech has committed to work with stakeholders to try and reduce university tuition to the national average over a five year period. That commitment will be kept.

I would like to go back and remind the honourable member of something that I had mentioned to the member for Timberlea-Prospect in the last question I received, we recognize that we have the highest tuitions. I want to tell the member that despite that,

[Page 363]

the university participation rate in Nova Scotia is 50 per cent over the national average. Obviously the quality that we have in our universities is attracting students. Secondly, in terms of Nova Scotia's contribution on a per capita basis to higher education it stands fourth in Canada.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I have to respond to the point about 50 per cent higher participation, and so on, than the national average. What's important to note is that our students are bearing 50 per cent more debt than the national average. Each one of those students who is seeking a better life and a better education is suffering an enormous amount of debt. In seven years of government, we have seen nothing that would address the rising costs of tuition. The gap just continues to grow. The government lacks a coherent policy, and that alone speaks volumes to the students and to the many parents in this province who have an interest.

On the government's watch the tuition gap has widened and it's a looming crisis now that threatens our universities' competitiveness. The enrolments at Dalhousie last year were down by 300 first-year students. It is beginning to be felt. The CFS is not happy, and neither is ANSA. My question for the minister is, will you commit today to the members of the House and the students of this province that you will finally help students and begin to address the high cost of tuition now, not at the end of the MOU period?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the honourable member that the memorandum of understanding was a very good thing for the students in Nova Scotia. I'll tell you why, the tuition increases were going at the rate of between 6 per cent and 7 per cent, the undergraduate tuition, because of the extra money put in by the government to cap tuition fee , cut that tuition fee, on the average, about in half.

Now, again, I recognize that we are higher, but I want to tell you that this government has taken concrete steps to slow down the rate of increases. We will, as was outlined in the Throne Speech, over a five-year period, endeavour to work with the stakeholders to get our university undergraduate tuition down to the national average.

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

HEALTH - CANCER (COLORECTAL) SCREENING

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon is for the Minister of Health. Three hundred twenty-five Nova Scotians die from colorectal cancer each year. That's six deaths a week. The Canadian Cancer Society has recommended that every woman and man aged 50 to 75 get a fecal occult blood test, an FOBT test, every two years to screen for colorectal cancer. The screening in Nova Scotia is inadequate, and with the aging population, that number of deaths from cancer

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is only going to get worse. My question to the Minister of Health is, why hasn't Nova Scotia made any move toward regulating screening for colorectal cancer?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. It's something that's very important to this department and to this government. We're working with Cancer Care Nova Scotia in order to have the right protocols and the right systems in place, so we can go forward in having a screening program for Nova Scotians.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, we know there are many challenges to offering this program right away, and it will take some resources to get it up and running. But if we never start working towards a screening program, it will never happen. Studies in other countries have shown that only 2 per cent of the people tested require follow-up procedures. That would increase the demand of diagnostic, but it's far from impossible to meet those needs. I ask the Minister of Health, how much study has his department actually put in to implementing the FOBT screening for colorectal cancer?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, from the CIHI report that came down a number of months ago, underlining the issue of colorectal cancer, and other cancers as we go down the road, we do have higher incidences of cancer, of course, in this province, and it's something that's very important to us to try to rectify this problem. We need to continue to work with Cancer Care Nova Scotia in order to have the right protocols in place so we can move forward on a screening program.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, FOBT screening costs only a few dollars a test. What's the price for sparing Nova Scotia families the pain of losing a loved one to colorectal cancer? What we need in this province is a screening program, and a plan by government to implement one. My question to the Minister of Health is, when will his government finally recognize the value of implementing colorectal testing as recommended by the Canadian Cancer Society?

[4:15 p.m.]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my first two answers, we are working towards looking at a program like that, and working closely with Cancer Care Nova Scotia. I need to say Cancer Care Nova Scotia and the system that we have set up in this province is a model for the rest of the country on how we take care of our cancer patients. We need to find a better way to screen things. We are working towards that to protect Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

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HEALTH: CARE FACILITIES - PRESSURES REMOVE

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Earlier today the minister finally announced his Continuing Care Strategy for the province. Perhaps the best way to sum the strategy up is recycled, rebundled, old, tired, behind schedule, lacking in detail, but, you know, it's just the right size to fit in the mailbox during election time. I know many Nova Scotians were looking for more detail and less vagueness, and today they got nothing more than promises 10 years down the road from now.

My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is, given that any time there are between 350 and 425 people in hospital beds waiting for nursing home beds, how will today's announcement remove the immediate pressures on acute care facilities that are stretched to the limit providing long-term care?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, sometimes I'm amazed with the way those questions come forward. I have to say, we come down with a strategy - listen, the member for Richmond was up in this House on Monday night talking about not having a plan, where is your plan? - we bring a plan down, and there you go, it's not good enough, it's not big enough. This is a good plan for Nova Scotia. It sets out priorities for the next 10 years. It will be protecting and taking care of Nova Scotians, as they deserve to be.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, there were initiatives that the minister announced today that the government promised in 1999, and again in 2003. For instance, adult daycare programs and palliative care, and, today, they touted self-managed care as a centrepiece, something that they promised in 1999 and they were forced kicking and screaming to bring it in last year by this Liberal caucus. That's why it was there today.

Mr. Speaker, while the minister indicated that this announcement was no coincidence, he failed to table the consultation report that served as a framework for the minister's strategy - or campaign brochure - that he unveiled today. My question to the minister, why weren't the consultation report and recommendations tabled today so that all Nova Scotians could see the minister's strategy actually reflected what was recommended through consultation?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say from the consultations, that we did have the 1,400 individuals who worked hard and long on this issue, bringing forward proposals and ideas that are cutting-edge, things that we need to do to change the way that we take care of our seniors, because we do need to do it. Both Parties have underlined the issue of people waiting in hospitals where they shouldn't be. We have brought forward a $3.6 million investment to the DHAs in order to try to expand the

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ultimate level of care so that we have a better home setting for these folks who are waiting for placement in long-term care. We are bringing forward a plan, a plan that looks forward to new beds in year four. We need to start planning now to take care of our folks tomorrow.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I don't know if I heard correctly, but I can't believe that minister used the phrase "cutting-edge" to describe today's document and the ideas that are in there. Yesterday's news coverage of the budget indicated that the government plans to invest an additional $3.8 million in programs and services to keep seniors in their own homes. When you factor in the number of seniors over 65 living in the community, it works out to be about $2.62 per month, per senior. Now, all of a sudden, the minister's strategy is not so attractive. So my question to the minister is, can the minister explain exactly what type of programs and services you're going to offer to keep seniors in their own homes for $2.62 per month?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I think the member opposite needs a new calculator to figure out how these things work. Making an assertion that everyone over 65 needs home care - I can't believe he would actually say that, that we have folks like that. We have a phenomenal amount of help within this continuing care strategy, we have over $60 million of funding in this year's budget in order to get new health care entitlements, to get home oxygen, to get a palliative care program. We are protecting Nova Scotians and this continuing care strategy sets the stage for bigger and better things.

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

PSC : CIVIL SERVANTS (SR.) - BONUSES

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister in charge of the Treasury and Policy Board. It has become a tradition in the last few years with the turn from Winter to Spring that we also have the announcement of new, senior civil servant bonuses, from this government, to upwards of 30 deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers in the Government of Nova Scotia, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and never explaining to the people of Nova Scotia either the criteria on which it's based or the rationale for why these civil servants get the amount they're getting.

Instead of listening to Nova Scotians who are outraged over this practice, this government this year increased those bonuses by 50 per cent. We had 30 civil servants receiving over $370,000 in bonuses. My question to the minister in charge of Treasury and Policy Board is very simple, how can he justify this spike in bonuses for senior executives in the Government of Nova Scotia?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member and all members of the House of course would know that we operate in a very competitive

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market with respect to being able to attract employees to the province, especially at the senior level. The private sector and the federal government are very effective at promoting and being able to take people from the senior public service in Nova Scotia - we're not in a position to be able to allow that to happen. We need to be very competitive with respect to ensuring we attract the very best people we can in this province, and we will be taking further action to improve the level of compensation so that we're more competitive and that more of it is above- board.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have an opportunity to respond with my first supplemental. This government is trying to defend something that clearly they have made a decision, they have made a choice, in this particular budget they just introduced yesterday. This government in the past few months has issued, as I said, $370,000 in bonuses to 30 senior executives. I think there was $13,000 on average given to deputy ministers, yet no new money for nursing home beds, their promise with regard to tuition reductions is put off for five years, and there is no money to address the bad math marks we have in this province. This government has made a choice. So I want to ask this minister, can you explain how these bonuses fit into the priorities that Nova Scotians have for more long-term care facilities and for a better education system?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, obviously, the honourable member is choosing to remain unaware of the fact that we operate in a very competitive market with respect to being able to attract senior employees to government. The method that has been employed in the past is a method that has used bonuses.

The honourable member does put his finger on a question that I believe is one worthy of consideration. We are taking steps to change the method of compensation so there is less, if not an elimination of the concept of bonuses and moving toward a compensation package that adequately sets a range of compensation, that allows us to be competitive and will not require the use of bonuses into the future. I hope to be able to come forward with a program to that effect in the near future.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, all along what we have said is that there needs to be clear criteria on which they are actually providing these bonuses. We should have some sense of how an evaluation is done and why, for example, in Community Services does the deputy minister get a bonus, and on what basis when you take a look at the sad state of income support in this province and the sad state of housing in this province as we've heard earlier today. How does someone get a bonus as Deputy Minister of Community Services? My question to this minister is, when is this government going to produce the criteria and the basis on which it evaluates its senior executives so we have some sense as to why and how those people are getting those bonuses?

MR. MACISAAC: The revised program to which I referred in my first supplementary is something that I will be bringing forward in the very near future.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

TCH: TOURISM REVENUES - MISLEADING

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. The former Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, now the Premier, said in 2002 that he would double revenues from tourism from $1.34 billion to $2.68 billion by 2012. Last year the department said the industry was worth $1.29 billion, which is a $50 million decrease from 2002. In every year in between, the revenues from tourism decreased in this province. The current Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage told the South Shore Tourism Association last week that she expected a modest 2 per cent increase next year. My question for the minister is, if you expect a modest 2 per cent next year, why is your department still misleading the tourism industry of this province in saying you can double revenue by 2012?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague across the way for the question. There is no question that the tourism industry is vital to the economy of Nova Scotia. We employ more than 33,000 Nova Scotians, we account for 7 per cent of the workforce, we bring $1.2 billion to the Nova Scotia coffers and absolutely will we continue to work with our partners in the industry to make sure that we continue to contribute. The 2 per cent gain this year is absolutely attainable and we will work toward that long-term goal of doubling in the future.

MR. MCNEIL: It was nice to hear the minister say that the 2 per cent was attainable because the former minister was unwilling to say that doubling it was unattainable when everyone in this province knew it was not realistic. During the current Public Accounts meeting, when the deputy released revenue figures for the sake of showing growth in the industry, it became apparent that the department was downgrading figures from 1999-2000. A press release from the department in 2000 stated that revenues were $1.25 billion, last week they said it was $1.2 billion - that's a difference of $56 million.

My question is, given the track record of adjusting numbers, misleading operators, how are you ever going to fix the tourism industry problems if you don't admit there is one?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable colleague for the question. There's no question that the Province of Nova Scotia will continue to work in partnership with our tourism industry. We will continue to work with the industry to move forward. The $1.2 billion is welcome in the provincial coffers and we will continue to work toward growing the industry.

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MR. MCNEIL: In southwestern Nova Scotia last year the tourism industry was devastated by the loss of the Scotia Prince, yet this government's solution is that the only ferry left in Yarmouth will make one trip less a month. Earlier today the minister read a resolution which talked about putting $1.25 million to help re-establish that link, but what you forgot to tell Nova Scotians is we'll have one less landing per week in this province. How will this help the tourism industry in southwestern Nova Scotia and indeed the rest of Nova Scotia?

MS. STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I thank my honourable colleague. I know that my honourable colleague is well aware of the important partnership we have with Bay Ferries. We were extremely pleased when Bay Ferries stepped up to the plate and provided three extra runs from Portland to Yarmouth which will bring those much needed New England visitors here to Nova Scotia. I know my honourable colleague knows that the scheduling is such that the ferry will dock and the people will be able to spend a night for sure in the area in the province. So we welcome that service. The $1.2 million was indeed a worthwhile investment.

[4:30 p.m.]

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: HIGHLAND FISHERIES - WORKERS SUPPORT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. We know that the owner of Highland Fisheries is the globally-active company, Clearwater. Now Clearwater has benefited quite well in this province from government assistance in the reality that they have access to our natural resources. Now many Nova Scotians will remember in mid-1980s when the then-owner, John Risley stood on the wharf in Arichat and told then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, you give us free trade, we'll give Nova Scotians jobs. Well, the workers from Clearwater in Glace Bay want to know where those jobs are. I want to ask the minister, why are you supporting the John Risleys of this world instead of the workers at Highland Fisheries?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, as the member would know, there are a lot of companies in the Province of Nova Scotia that operate fishing facilities in the Province of Nova Scotia. We support Clearwater in their endeavours to bring a fish quota to the Province of Nova Scotia for processing, as we support all industry in the province.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, we know this is not the only processing plant that this company is playing hardball with. We realize that over in the surf clam plant in North Sydney it's the same thing. They're taking that resource and processing it in Newfoundland and Labrador. These workers in Glace Bay have been very accommodating, if you will, to Highland Fisheries. They said, look, we will negotiate, we

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will give you a loan, if you will, but when the situation turns around, we want our money back. Highland says no, Clearwater says no, we want that gone forever. We want you to take a drastic cut in your pay.

Mr. Speaker, it is not right to ask workers to do this. So, again, I want to ask the minister, what are you prepared to do to help these workers?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess I would say to the member opposite that there is a labour dispute. We know there is. There's a lockout. The employees are in a lockout situation. It's not my role as the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to be speaking about that, that is the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Labour, and I will leave it to the Department of Environment and Labour to deal with those issues.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, we also know that it's the minister who is responsible for who owns those licences and who gets them; he has the responsibility. My final supplementary, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador have legislation that requires all fish landed in those provinces to be processed in those provinces. Now Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec were able to secure grandfathering rights in their legislation during negotiations surrounding an agreement on internal trade. Now this was back in 1994, over 12 years ago. To this date, Nova Scotia has no such legislation. I want to ask this minister, since 1994, why do we not have this type of legislation that would protect processing here in Nova Scotia?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess I would have to say to the member opposite that I wasn't around in 1994 as the Minister of Agriculture or as a member of government. I can tell you there was a federal Liberal Government in Ottawa, there was a provincial Liberal Government in Nova Scotia that apparently has ignored the fish processing sector in the Province of Nova Scotia. That's all I have to say on that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

AGRIC.: PORK INDUSTRY - SUPPORT

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Yesterday's budget brought forward a variety of monetary gifts for Nova Scotians, however one major component the government forgot about was the pork industry in Nova Scotia. It seems that this government cares little for the rural communities of our province, and like their federal counterparts have once again overlooked the real needs of Nova Scotians. My question to the minister is, where is the support promised long ago for our vanishing pork industry in Nova Scotia?

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HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome that question from the member opposite. It is a good question. The Government of Nova Scotia, just in the last five months, has supported the hog industry in the Province of Nova Scotia to the tune of $2.8 million. If he's suggesting that the government is not supporting that sector, I would say he's terribly mistaken.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, 1,500 people depend on the pork industry in Nova Scotia. It has been vital to people across our province and they've been pleading to the government for years now to assist them in their hour of need. I cannot comprehend why government continues their consistent request for help. You've given funds to the pork industry over the years, but it's basically just patchwork. Pork Nova Scotia has devised a long-term sustainable plan that would put the industry back on its feet in five years. My question to the minister is, will you and your government commit to implementing Pork Nova Scotia's long-term plan to help revive the crucial industry to rural Nova Scotia?

MR. CHISHOLM: What I can commit to the member today, and to the hog producers in the Province of Nova Scotia, is that we will work with the sector to implement their long-term strategy.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I implore the Minister of Agriculture to take notice of this issue because his predecessor took half measures only when pushed to the wall by hog producers. Not only is this business dying, but its constant decline is leading people, both young and old, from rural communities. Sixty people from Larsen's alone have moved to other provinces in search of work because of four days' work due to lack of hogs. If the government would put into place Pork Nova Scotia's long-term plan, it would help solve the aggravation and worry of many families and businesses. My question to the minister is, will you find employment for all the people who will be without work in the near future because of your government's lack of initiative towards the hog industry situation?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I have stated before in the previous question, our government has supported the hog sector just in the last five months with $2.8 million. We will continue to support the sector. We will work with the sector on their long-term planning as we will with the cattle producers and all sectors in the agricultural industry.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC.: PORK INDUSTRY - STABILITY

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I won't let the Minister of Agriculture allow his seat to get too warm. Nova Scotia pork producers approached the provincial government in September 2005 with a plan to help their industry move

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towards sustainability. What they received is an aid package and an extension that is going to run out of money by the end of this month. To paraphrase one of Nova Scotia pork producers, Dennis Boudreau - one-quarter of the roughly 60 producers in the province could shut down by September if no long-term plan is in place. Yesterday's promises have given farmers little or no comfort. So, Mr. Minister, what do you plan to do to bring about stability for Nova Scotia pork producers?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, government does recognize the challenges faced by the farmers in the Province of Nova Scotia, and we have worked with the industry over the last number of years. Over the past four years there is probably $25 million that has gone into all sectors of agriculture in support.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm not knocking the minister or the government on their support. I think the industry asked for it, they needed it, and I'm sure they appreciated it, but farmers want to make a living raising whatever product it is that they raise and they are tired of coming to government for handouts and ad hoc programs, and they have delivered a plan.

On Wednesday, May 3rd, Pork Nova Scotia came before the Economic Development Committee. The honourable member for Pictou Centre seems to have understood more as a member of that committee than he could grasp while he was in the Premier's Office. He said, according to The Halifax ChronicleHerald, and I will table this, Mr. Speaker, ". . . the industry needs a long-term strategy. He said his 'sense of things' is the province would be receptive to whatever information they provide." The industry's plan has been in the hands of the government since last September. So my question for the minister is, will you take the advice of the former Premier, the honourable member for Pictou Centre, and implement the pork producers' plan that your department has had since September 2005?

MR. CHISHOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the advice from all members of our caucus, and, as I've said before, we will work with hog industry. We will work with the agricultural sectors in the province to see that there's long-term sustainability in the agricultural sector.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, recent feel-good announcements by this government have done nothing to help farmers move toward sustainability. Farmers need help with bridging their industry into a more sustainable model and the pork producers have presented models they feel will move them in this direction. Recent announcements by this government do nothing for them. Farmers have the answers and they know what needs to be done, and they provide a direction to this government. So Mr. Minister, why won't you listen and act on what farmers are telling you?

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MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we will act and we will respond to the agricultural industry, the hog sector and all sectors of the agricultural industry.

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

ENERGY: HOME HEATING PROG. - MAINTAIN

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Energy. The government announced it is taking the provincial portion of the HST off home heating. The government also announced it was scrapping the Keep the Heat Program. This new plan will benefit some, but it does little for low-income Nova Scotians.

The savings for the average Nova Scotian family from this new plan, is about $200. For many low-income families, it will be much less than that. The average savings from the Keep the Heat Program provided low-income Nova Scotians with $250, if they heated with oil. That was in the last program. My question for the minister is, why is your government doing less to help low-income Nova Scotians than it did last year?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, all Nova Scotians are concerned about the cost of energy. This government is also concerned about that as well, and we put a plan in place to help all Nova Scotians to deal with the cost of rising energy.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it doesn't alter the fact that low-income Nova Scotians are going to get less under this recently announced program from this government. My question again is to the Minister of Energy. The fact is that Nova Scotians will get less with the HST reduction than they will get with the Keep the Heat Program. That's evident. They haven't even denied that. With heating costs going up, people can't afford to get less. Surely this government understands that the $100, $250 provided under the Keep the Heat Program was not enough. People are struggling to make ends meet and keep their homes warm during colder months. Now, the government is telling low-income earners that they must get by on less. That is unacceptable. My question again, is to the Minister of Energy. Will the minister commit here today to maintain the Keep the Heat Program?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, Keep the Heat Program is not under my portfolio. It's under the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, but once again I stand in my place to tell the House and to tell all Nova Scotians that our government is supportive in avenues to help people to beat the cost of rising energy. We have many initiatives put in place, not only the reduction in the tax, but many initiatives have been put in place to continue to help the people of Nova Scotia.

[Page 374]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, let me remind this government and the minster that low-income people in this province are going to get less under this program. This government does nothing but provide Band-Aid solutions on problems that require surgery and this is one that requires surgery, and this announcement is more of the same. This government should be providing Nova Scotians with long-term solutions to problems, not short-sighted policy for political gain. My question to the minister is, when is this government going to start implementing policies that actually help low-income Nova Scotians?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's clear. We had a program in place last year called, Smart Energy Choices. It talks about efficient use of energy. That program is also in place this year. This government has put many initiatives in place: the tax initiative, smart energy choices, and we've allowed an extra $10 million in this budget this year for people to deal with efficiency, and that's what is important. This program helps all Nova Scotians, and this government is committed to stand beside Nova Scotians, as we go through this difficult time.

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

IMMIGRATION: NOMINEE PROG. - FEES

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Immigration. Yesterday's book of promises provided a promise that this government would eliminate its portion of the fee for the Nominee Program, which amounts to between $500 and $1,700, but let's put that in perspective. That means for economic nominees under our immigration program their fee will go from $130,500 to $130,000; for skilled workers it will go from $5,500 down to $5,000. These are clearly nominal changes in the fees and this government has requested a fee review. Clearly, as a result, is admitting that there is a need for some fee dropping.

[4:45 p.m.]

I want to ask particularly this minister, is he willing now to admit that since the government is eliminating its portion of the fee that the privatization of the Nominee Program has created an excess of fees that need to be brought down?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: No, I wouldn't agree with the honourable member opposite. Our Nominee Program is quite successful. However, it does need tweaking. We've just completed a review by a company called Halifax Global Associates, I believe it is, and that study will be released probably in the next few days actually and we will have responses to some of the recommendations of that particular study. One other thing that we would like to do is get rid of all the fees that we charge immigrants. I'm an immigrant and when I arrived in Canada nobody asked me for any money, and nobody

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offered me any for that matter. Truthfully, we do need to encourage immigration to this province and we will do so through the program that we have under our control. Mr. Speaker, we must remember that we only have a portion of the immigration screen under our control.

MR. DEVEAUX: I'm sure we all know the minister was an immigrant to this province and I agree, he probably wouldn't have paid the $27,000 that would have to be paid now, he probably would have chosen somewhere else and that's our problem with these fees. These fees are actually a disincentive for people to come to Nova Scotia and it's all through the privatization with the Nominee Program with Cornwallis Group. That is the reason why we're having such a hard time not only bringing them in, but retaining the immigrants when they come here.

I want to ask with regard to this fee review - I know the minister has said we're going to see it soon - my question is, is he willing to table that report today in this House so that we can all see exactly what that fee report says?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I can't table it today, I haven't got it with me, but I shall speak to the Department of Immigration and see if they are finished their review of the recommendations that Global have brought forward. If they have done so I will probably give them to the House sometime this week. However, before the honourable member gets to his feet and asks another question, I'd just like to point out that our success rate is quite high. The number of immigrants to Nova Scotia has increased in the last two years by almost 9 per cent per year. This year we will reach the maximum number that we are allowed under the Nominee Program, which is 300 applicants per year. It has been a very successful program.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if we could say it's a very successful program, particularly since the big question is how many are staying in this province, particularly with the economic nominee program there is a big question why he didn't come under the Nominee Program. Under the Nominee Program there is no guarantee that the people who are putting down the $130,000 are actually staying in this province and aren't moving to somewhere else in Canada. This is the problem, Cornwallis Group is charging $27,000 for people who want to immigrate to this province under our program. It's preventing people from coming here, maybe we've had an increase, the increase would be substantially more if we actually had a reasonable fee structure.

I want to ask this minister, when is this government going to admit that the privatization of the Nominee Program was a mistake and when are they going to start getting rid of Cornwallis running the Nominee Program?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, actually our Nominee Program is the envy of the rest of Canada. Although, I must confess that $130,000 does look like a daunting fee for

[Page 376]

people to come to Nova Scotia under the Economic Program, however, we are encouraging other streams which cost less money and it would be my intention, if I remain in this House long enough, to actually get rid of all the fees - except for the one for the economic stream, which we can't do anything about until such time as the contract we presently have with Cornwallis expires. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME BEDS - INCREASE SPECIFY

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for the Senior Citizens' Secretariat. Last December, government made great fanfare releasing a document entitled, The Strategy for Positive Aging in Nova Scotia. At the time consultations were occurring for this strategy, the former Minister of Health indicated that a response to the Middleton Nursing Home Society would be addressed. Then they said it would be revealed in the Continuing Care Strategy today.

Well, today, the minister slammed the door on this volunteer organization which has worked hard to build a facility in its community. My question to the minister is, why was the minister so vague in not providing specifics when it comes to announcing more nursing home beds for Middleton and other communities around the province?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the member opposite asked the question. It is a very important facility, especially in the Middleton area, that we do need to be focusing on. As we announced today, we were talking about 1,300 beds around the province. We're looking at the different regions, by DHA, and where we're going to be placing them. We're also looking at a formula and trying to find the best formula to place those beds where they are needed. I'm sure the work has been done in the area he referenced and will be considered in the next few days.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Middleton Nursing Home Society has provided this government with more details and more numbers. They know full well those beds are needed in that community.

The Positive Aging Strategy also talked about transportation for senior citizens. According to the Continuing Care Strategy, seniors in this province can look forward to a transportation strategy anywhere between the next 4 to 10 years. However, it is the Department of Health that is now apparently responsible for transportation and they will now be developing this transportation strategy. So, my question is, why wasn't the responsibility of a transportation strategy given to another department so that seniors could see results sooner than 10 years?

[Page 377]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, had everyone had the opportunity to look at the strategy, to see what is in the strategy - it talks about a program over the next 10 years. We're talking about things that can get started early, things that could get started later. I would say the transportation issue is something we can closely at and have some wheels on the ground per se in a very short period of time. We're looking forward to bringing the transportation strategy as a part of the overall Continuing Care Strategy for Nova Scotians.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, we have heard from seniors living in apartments under the auspices of Community Services, who are in desperate need of elevators. If they had an elevator, those residents could live in their homes longer, a guiding principle to the Positive Strategy for Aging. Given that the minister is now responsible for transportation, maybe he can answer this - perhaps he can tell us when the seniors, like those in Canso and on Circassian Drive in Dartmouth, can expect an elevator in their apartments so they can live comfortably in their own homes?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I would refer that to the Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, indeed, there are still a few seniors' units in this province that do not have access to elevators - 85 per cent do have access though. When we look at those remaining 15 per cent, as we're trying to establish priorities, we look at the geography in the province, the access in the area. If a senior needs an accessible apartment and is not in one, we encourage them to apply to the local housing authority and they will be put on a list to move to one that is accessible. We're doing all we can to try to accommodate the needs of seniors that need an accessible apartment in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS - PRIORITY

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Thousands of Nova Scotians are on wait lists for mental health services, yet in yesterday's budget this government cut funding for mental health services. I want to ask the minister, why are people with mental health disorders such a low priority for your government?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: That's not true, Mr. Speaker.

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

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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. 45.

Res. No. 45, CBRM: Pub. Housing - Asbestos - notice given May 5/06 - (Mr. G. Gosse)

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, Resolution No. 45 states:

"Therefore be it resolved that this government acknowledge that both residents and workers in these housing units in Whitney Pier and Ashby were most likely exposed to airborne asbestos while renovations were being carried out, and admit that conducting air tests six months following the construction does nothing to gauge the level of risk faced by the workers and residents."

Mr. Speaker, not only the workers, the residents, when the construction was going on, when they did the chimneys and roofs in these units, this vermiculite asbestos, as they cut through the attic, they went down through the attic and all this vermiculite containing asbestos poured all over the place. This exposed the children in the families, the seniors in the units, it exposed everybody. There's only one thing, asbestos is 100 per cent known to cause cancer. It's one of the most dangerous materials known to mankind. It takes many years to develop into cancer. It will stay in the lungs for many years.

Just recently, Mr. Speaker, as of last week, the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority was going into the units. In Juanita MacKenzie's place, where the vermiculite is still pouring down all over the furnace, they went in and tested, and the air monitoring equipment was put in the living room. She asked the worker, would you mind testing the furnace where the vermiculite is falling. The worker said no, I cannot. I was told to test here, not where the substance was actually falling.

Mr. Speaker, we heard this afternoon from the Minister of Community Services that this government is doing everything they can. The Premier also said this government is doing everything they can. Now, the two people who were investigating have not filed their report yet. Ten days ago that report was supposed to be filed with the residents. It's overdue, and the residents want to know where that report is. Why, from October 25th

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until now, it took that long to get that report, and why the residents were not notified when that landed on the safety coordinator's desk.

I would also like to point out, Mr. Speaker, the government is ignoring this issue. The acting regional medical officer is saying that you're at very low risk, you are only at risk if the vermiculite was disturbed. That was a letter sent to the residents by Ann Roberts, a medical doctor. I sent her a letter the following day responding to her, stating, does she not understand that these residents were exposed when the renovations were being carried out? The residents and the workers were exposed.

Now they're at low risk, it says, only if disturbed. It was disturbed. These ladies, Kelly Pendergast , Juanita MacKenzie, Tracey MacNeil, four children, a single mother with four children living in that unit. Being a nice person, she decided, well, I'll clean up after the workers are finished the construction. She vacuumed and swept up the vermiculite on the floor. Now we know, as of today, the minister has said in this Legislature, 1.6 per cent, that's over the allowable limit in Health Canada. Naturally, these people were exposed to this human carcinogenic.

The sad part about this, Mr. Speaker, is that this stuff is what they call bystander. It means that when these people were exposed, their children - this stuff may take five years, 10 years, 15 years to work its way into the lungs to go and cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, all of those things. Ed MacNeil lives in Terraces up in Ashby, with his wife, who has cancer. You can imagine how she feels when this happened, her having cancer, still living in that unit, to come in and seal the hatches and seal the other fixtures. Well, it's too late to do that now. These residents should be relocated at the cost of that department. They should be relocated and the stuff should be taken out of their units and the proper insulation should be put in those units for the health and safety of the people who live in public housing in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, what happens if there's a fire? What happens if there's a water leak? They're still going to be exposed to this vermiculite containing asbestos and for this government to say we're doing everything we can, well, nothing has been done. It has been a big PR spin by this government and by that department. This minister flies into Cape Breton, he tells nobody he's coming, and flies back out. I think his quote was, "I knocked on a few doors."

It's a shame what these people have been put through. They're going to their family doctors and their family doctors are telling these people to move. I've spoken to two residents in those units, Mr. Speaker, who are pregnant, who are scared to death for their children. Last week in the Toronto Star there was an article talking about a 16-year-old boy who died with cancer because his father worked at an asbestos plant.

[Page 380]

This is a dangerous situation and it takes many years to develop. Just recently, in the 1990s, we started realizing how dangerous asbestos was, Mr. Speaker. I just feel that this government should look at taking the residents one at a time, or whatever units they have to, getting the people removed, putting them in a safe place for the time being, and going in there and removing this dangerous substance out of these units so that these people, these families and the seniors who live in these units, can feel good about where they're living. Right now they're scared to death.

AN HON. MEMBER: And the minister should have the housing available for their move now.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, the minister should have the housing available, the empty units that he has available for these residents to move into now so that these people can feel safe. He should have the residents moved to safe units within the public housing department right away, no more delays, and he has the facilities to do that. He has the units to do that and let's do this right and put these people at mind. The councillor in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the work that they're doing with the committee that they have, let's see him go and meet with that committee as soon as possible.

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

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is good to be able to have the chance to get up to debate what has taken place up in the Ashby and Whitney Pier public housing units. There is no question that when that report came back on October 25th that it should have gone forward and for reasons that we are investigating internally it did not go forward. However, on March 31st, one of the contractors who works for the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority brought it to the attention of the executive director and brought it to the attention of the Department of Environment and Labour. We did take action and as soon as we took action, we informed the residents. We went out there, we met with the residents. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member had his moment to speak. It is now the time for the Minister of Community Services.

MR. MORSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for bringing a sense of decorum to this Chamber, which it deserves.

Mr. Speaker, when we became aware of that, immediately we brought in the appropriate professionals. We are using best practices to deal with this issue. We are trying to protect both the tenants and the people who have been involved with working on those units. We have an internal investigation going on and that is winding down. We

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are waiting for the Department of Labour to conclude theirs. We do not want to do anything that is going to in any way compromise their investigation. So we're being respectful of the parallel investigations as it should be.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, when I became aware of this, immediately I asked the question of my staff, what about the other housing authorities in the province? How could it be that this would happen in Cape Breton and, in fact, of course, it was checked in Halifax, but for some reason 15 years ago, the other housing authorities did not check their units for asbestos. That is being done. We have identified 23 units outside of Cape Breton that, in fact, have vermiculite, and 20 of those do have residues of asbestos. The appropriate steps are being taken, we are sealing the ceilings and anything that is adjacent to the walls that have asbestos. That is what we're advised to do by the professionals, and of course as we go forward with the air quality testing we are very mindful that we always want to go to the appropriate professionals so that we can get the right advice.

We're very concerned about the health and safety of the tenants and that is why we're taking these steps. It's also good to see that we're in sync with Health Canada and with Dr. Ann Roberts, the Medical Officer of Health for the Department of Health Promotion and Protection. She has been in contact with the residents, the housing authority has been in contact with the residents, and I've been in contact with the residents. Mr. Speaker, the medical officer of health has written to the residents of Ashby and Whitney Pier, in the public housing units, and she reiterates that the risks are low as long as the insulation is not disturbed and the exposure is minimal. The question and answer sheet prepared by Dr. Roberts for area residents is also available. We are doing all that we can to protect the health and safety of those tenants, and we are also concerned about the contractors who may have been exposed to it.

Mr. Speaker, we are taking action when we are made aware of a situation. The Cape Breton Island Housing Authority has inspected 76 units for vermiculite insulation and also tested air quality and sealed off the attics in those 76 units. The housing authority expects to finish its testing and sealing program by next week and, in addition, the inspection process for the other housing properties in Cape Breton is underway, with 142 properties already done.

Our priority is to ensure that our residents have safe and healthy homes in which to live, and to that end the housing authority crews are working six days a week sealing off the attics. The regional medical officer of health for environmental health issues continues to work with the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority to deal with any health-related concerns that the residents may have, and we continue to communicate directly with the tenants when there is information to share. Again, when we became aware of the issue we immediately brought in the appropriate specialists to advise us to take tests. There was a public meeting in each of the two units and indeed there have been

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letters following up with those tenants, making them aware of the various steps that have been taken.

In addition to that, as I pointed out earlier, I wanted to go up and personally hear from those residents what they were feeling about the way that the housing authority was dealing with them - were they comfortable with it? Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that when I went there some residents always had confidence in the housing authority. Some residents had concerns, there has been a lot of churn around this, but they were very pleased with the way the housing authority had come out and met with them, they were pleased with the communications, and I felt comfortable with the way that the housing authority is stepping up to the plate once the executive director was made aware that there was a problem.

Mr. Speaker, that is all that you can expect of the housing authority. When made aware of the problem they are taking the appropriate steps, best practice is being taken and when more information is available there will be another public meeting, and they will continue to work with the residents to ensure that we're doing all we can to take care of their health and safety.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is certainly with concern that I rise in the Chamber today, on behalf of the Liberal caucus, in regard to Resolution No. 45, respecting asbestos in public housing. I would say that there are three elements around this situation which certainly are indeed very disturbing. The first one obviously is when Atlantic Indoor Air Auditing Company informed the Cape Breton Regional Housing Authority on October 25, 2005 that asbestos was present in the units at the Terraces in Ashby. They did not inform workers or residents until April 2006. This is obviously too long a timeline. We are talking about a well-documented, a well-known carcinogenic.

In fact, quoting from - I'll table this document - the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, they say, "Exposure to asbestos usually occurs by breathing contaminated air in work places that make or use asbestos, but also asbestos is also found in the air of buildings that are being torn down or renovated. Asbestos exposure can cause serious lung problems and cancers."

With the exposure that workers had when they cut holes in ceilings and roofs to replace chimneys, disturbing the insulation, obviously they had to expose residents and workers to these potential dangers. This is probably the first - and in my view, foremost - serious element around this particular event in public housing. It not only has been a concern over the last number of months, but it will continue to be for some time to come.

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Furthermore, as testing has gone on in a wider number of public housing units across the province, we are now finding out that it's not only in the Whitney Pier area but also in Wolfville, Middleton, Antigonish County. They also have units that have asbestos in them.

Having been in a school that had asbestos and was considered a health problem for children potentially being exposed five or six hours a day, it was undertaken by our board to have the asbestos removed. Without question, this is the process that government must afford these people. Their health here is number one and their long-term health.

Some of the processes that have been put into place don't necessarily guarantee that there won't be a disturbance of the asbestos. People's health will continue to be at danger. I think it's incumbent upon Community Services and government to address this problem in a very, very firm way and to bring a complete resolve to this question.

There's no question if you have asbestos in a building, as I said in the school where I formerly taught, they took a Summer and had the asbestos removed and all the air testing and so forth done to make sure there would not be a lingering or a problem for the future. These families are living here in these 76 units, there's no question these people need peace of mind about their future health. I think also it should be incumbent upon government to make sure these people are tested. There is a test to see the level of exposure that residents did have and these are the kinds of assurances that, in my view, should be put in place.

It seems that government has gone to a half measure here and it's now the time to make sure these residents get the kind of assurance that they are requiring. I believe the government should take this matter more seriously and perhaps even call in an independent company to do a full array of testing on these units. It seems like certainly a second-class approach is being taken here.

[5:15 p.m.]

So it speaks loudly to the people of this province that the Department of Community Service does not have a good handle on its criteria for inspecting public housing for deadly substances. This question of asbestos certainly speaks to a wider issue about public housing that timely inspections and inspections that cover a wide range of potential hazzards that could have been in these homes when they were build, 20, 25, 30 years ago. Knowing, certainly in my area, that many of these affordable homes are not always kept up to the highest standard. Certainly, I think the time has come for Community Services to launch a full, wide-range investigation across Nova Scotia to make sure that our affordable housing is indeed safe housing.

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So that's what our Party is calling upon government to do, and do this with a firm resolve that will bring peace of mind to the residents of Whitney Pier and the other areas of the province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure for me to rise today to speak on Resolution No. 45. I think we need to recognize the good work from the member for Cape Breton Nova who brought this to the attention of not only the residents and the workers, but the people of the province, and this government, that something should have been done sooner. It's amazing to me that I'm going to stand here tonight and talk for a few minutes on this issue. It's not the first time I spoke about what is possibly lurking in the attics of Nova Scotian families.

It was almost one year ago today, Mr. Speaker, on May 18, 2005, that I stood in this Chamber and asked the Minister of Community Services and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations about the potential risk of a product called Zonolite in the homes of Nova Scotians and in public housing. We all know Zonolite was made with a material called Vermiculite, which is known to be contaminated with asbestos. The same product that we found lurking in the ceilings of our public housing in Whitney Pier and in Ashby. This isn't something that just happened overnight and we stumbled upon it. I asked the Minister of Community Services at the time what he was going to do about this. His response that day was that he was unaware of any products like this being used in public housing in the province and that he would get back to me about the possibility of this.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I can honestly say to this day that the Minister of Community Services, no one from his department, no one from government has ever gotten back to me or my Party on the potential dangers lurking in the attics of public housing in Nova Scotia. I congratulate the member for Cape Breton Nova to take this upon himself, to ensure the safety of the residents who elected him to represent them here in the Legislature, to bring this forward and to force the government into acting on this important and serious issue.

We're not talking about something that we can just go and remove without causing any problems. The government has stated many times that there is limited risk if it's left undisturbed. We heard the member for Cape Breton Nova stating that these residents, these units, went under renovations over the last several months. They cut holes into the ceilings. They repaired chimneys . My God, if that's not disturbing this potential hazard, then I don't know what is, and maybe the government should tell us what is disturbing this product.

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I'm alarmed that it took nearly five months for the Department of Community Services and this government to warn the residents, and the workers who worked there, Mr. Speaker, that there was a potential hazard when they found out about these tests and availability of asbestos lurking in their ceilings, in their attics. Five months. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that if any member of the government had found out that this material was in their attic, well, they wouldn't be living in those homes right now and neither would their family members. That's why I think the government should act now and get these families out of these units, remove this material, and protect Nova Scotians, protect these individuals who are in certain circumstances requiring the services of the Nova Scotia Government to provide housing, to provide low-income housing for these people. They need to ensure the safety of Nova Scotians who are living in public housing, that there's no risk.

It says if you don't disturb it, there's minimum risk, Mr. Speaker. What happens if there's a problem with the roof in the next several months? What happens if there's a problem in the ceilings or something happens that disturbs it? What happens if there's a possibility of another Hurricane Juan to hit the province? What will these families do if the potential destruction or damage to their houses occur?

When the government had the opportunity to move these people, these residents, in the hopes that they don't become patients in the health care system down the road, they had the opportunity to move them, they have refused to move them to this date, and I hope that the member for Cape Breton Nova and our caucus will continue to push for government to do the right thing. Here we are on the eve of an election, you would think maybe with all the nice announcements they made that they would go down there and make the announcement that they're going to move these residents out of these units that might be potentially hazardous to them and their families and put them into new units, but I have to remind everybody that in Cape Breton there are no new units for public housing.

Since the Affordable Housing Agreement has been signed with the federal government, there has been zero construction of any new units in Cape Breton, Mr. Speaker, and that's disgraceful and that's a shame because the people in Cape Breton are just as much in need of public housing as the people are in the rest of the province. I think it's important that government do the right thing and ensure the safety of these residents who are living in these units, that they can live without the threat or the possibility of being exposed.

Mr. Speaker, these residents have been exposed and we may not know for years the health consequences of what these individuals might be exposed to and we're not talking about some little disease. We're talking about the possibility of cancer and that's going to be a huge cost on the health care system and, not only that, the possibility of loved ones losing their lives because of this terrible disease. These residents are children. They're seniors living in these units and I think it's up to the government to make sure

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their safety is well taken care of and that they move these residents out of those units and get them into a safe environment. I again applaud the member for Cape Breton Nova who stood up and brought this to the floor of the Legislature and brought this to the attention of the people that live there.

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

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, can you please call Resolution No. 21.

Res. 21 - Highland Fisheries: Clearwater - Bargaining Resume - notice given May 5/06 - (Mr. Frank Corbett)

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say it gives me great pleasure to speak on this tonight, but really it doesn't. "Therefore be it resolved that this government remind the owners of Clearwater that fish in our oceans belong to the people of Nova Scotia and should be harvested to the benefit of Nova Scotia and urge Clearwater to return to the bargaining table to end this lockout."

Well, Mr. Speaker, that seems like a motherhood issue. We shouldn't even be here on this floor debating that but, you know, last night we spent two hours here in an emergency debate talking about what's going on at Stora Enso and it's the same thing. It's our resources. Multinational corporations are coming in and taking our resources and we're left like beggars in the street looking for the crumbs. At what point in Confederation did we become the beggars? Do we not say to the people of the rest of this country, globally, that it's our resource, we will own it, we will manage it.

Yet, what we see today is a lockout at Stora and a lockout at Highland Fisheries, because greedy employers want more than their just rewards. We don't mind an employer making an appropriate amount of profit for their investment, but neither one of these employers are here in this province doing anything except taking our natural resources. When we say to them, well, we want appropriate pay for them, or we want to discuss around that issue, they want to cut it off.

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier in a question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the very owner of Clearwater Fisheries at the time, John Risley, stood in his plant that was being developed with money from the federal government and told then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister, you give us free trade and we will give you jobs. Well, that is a statement that really beared little or no fruit. There were jobs for a time, but at the end of the day when Mr. Risley feels that his profit is not large enough -

[Page 387]

he's not saying he's not making any money - when his profit isn't large enough, he wants to pack that plant up and go away, or, worse still, go to the workers and say, look, we want you to take $2- and-some cents off your pay per hour so I can make more money.

What do we say to that? It's clear. The union then says, look, Mr. Risley, we know that there are things going on globally in this industry, and we know, because of the Canadian dollar and a few other things, that you've kind of hit a rough spot. So we're willing to sign an agreement that says, look, we will roll back our wages for a period of time, and that's what we should do. I think that's more than generous for these workers. It's not because of what these workers were looking for in their wage envelope that has created any problems with the Canadian dollar. I would suspect, without fear of contradiction, that there is no one who works in that fish plant who sits with the IMF, the International Monetary Fund, and there is no one who sits with the governor of the Bank of Canada who sets our rates. So why should they be the ones who get punished?

We've seen, on that wharf in Glace Bay, two major employers being injured this year. Glace Bay Fisheries - and we hear maybe a smattering of good news out of there that will be welcomed by the workers there, and I hope that the group that's looking at it can help turn that around. There is a market, and there are some supply issues. We hope that those can be resolved.

Mr. Speaker, when we're here today talking about a large well-heeled employer that says to people who aren't making great wages, are not making these huge amounts of money, we not only want you to roll back your wages, but we want to do it forever,

then what happens, in real dollars, you roll back.

Let's look at some of the changes. Since this Winter started we've seen a new rate set at NSPI for electricity. We've seen soaring gas prices, even to the point where this government has agreed to control them somewhat. We've seen, this very week, when they came down with their wish list in the budget, that they've even recognized our position, the good position we put forward, of taking the HST off home heating fuel. These are all items that have gone up. Even this government has recognized that.

Yet, large corporations, like Clearwater, that owns Highland Fisheries, are ignoring them, saying, we've got problems. Well, you know what, Mr. Speaker? These people, these good people who work in that plant, they have problems. They have to educate our kids, they have to send them to universities with the highest tuition. We have to send these kids to school. We have to clothe them, we have to feed them. What does Mr. Risley say to that? How can you take $2.20 an hour away from those workers, which on 40 hours is almost $100 a week out of their pay envelope, and say how are we going to grow in this economy?

[Page 388]

That is just plain wrong, Mr. Speaker. We own the resources, as I said in the resolution, we should manage the resource. The John Risleys of this world should do the right thing and bargain in good faith with his workers and tell them once and for all that we are partners in this, we are not a landlord-tenant position, we are equals in this province, we own the resource, the government should tell them so and we should have the benefits of those resources. Thank you, very much.

[5:30 p.m.]

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

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: I thank the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre for bringing this resolution forward. As you know, Mr. Speaker, and everyone knows, that the fishing industry in the Province of Nova Scotia faces many challenges and the workers at the Highland have experienced some of these challenges. These fish plant jobs in Glace Bay have been there for many years. The plant and the workers survived the groundfish collapse in the early 1990s and will hopefully find a way to work through their present problems.

I know only too well the problems a community faces when fish processing jobs are lost or at risk. As you know, the Town of Canso is in my riding, the town's major employer is a fish plant. This plant has struggled since the codfish closures. In some years the plant did turbot and the workers had employment. In other years shrimp was processed, in other years snow crab became the target but it always seemed that the plant struggled to find enough resources to process so that the workers could get their time in and there was never security from one year to the next.

The Highland plant has been relatively successful over the years and has carried on in the face of resource shortages. I'm sure that the efficiency of the plant workers was the major factor in this success. I've mentioned the challenges the industry is facing and I'd like to address these challenges. China, everyone is talking about China, I understand that they have set up huge modern fish plants and that they can process tremendous volumes of fish. I have been told also that they do it well, their quality standards have improved dramatically over the past several years. What do fish plants in China have to do with us? For starters, they compete for unprocessed fish. After the groundfish collapsed, many Nova Scotian fish plants bought containers full of frozen groundfish caught in other parts of the world.

These plants processed their fish keeping their plants active in continuing to serve their markets. Now Chinese plants are able to outbid us for this fish that is caught off Alaska or Russia. They can bid higher prices because their labour is so cheap. We all know this is not fair for our plants in Nova Scotia but you might ask what can we do about it? Mr. Speaker, these Chinese plants can undercut us on the markets and because

[Page 389]

of their cheap labour and their used modern plants they can pay more for the frozen fish and sell it for less on our traditional markets. If we can't beat them in the frozen fish game we must look for other ways to compete.

Another huge challenge we have is the strength of the Canadian dollar. Every time our dollar increases in relation to the U.S. dollar it causes financial pain to the fishing industry. Not too long ago our dollar was worth less than 70 cents U.S., now it is worth about 90 cents U.S. That change has dramatically hurt the industry. At an exchange rate of 65 cents, the fish product sold to the U.S. for $4 U.S. per pound would bring home $6.15 Canadian. Today, the same product sold for $4 U.S. at a 90 cent exchange rate would bring home only $4.44. Without changing anything, our fishing industry is losing $1.70 on that $4 U.S. product. From a percentage perspective, we were getting 38.5 per cent more for our fish at the low exchange rate than we are getting it at today's rates. That difference is a huge loss.

We all know the cost of fishing and the processing of fish has not gone down by 38 per cent in fact, the opposite is true. Particularly with increased fuel prices, costs have gone up and it looks like the trend will continue. There are challenges but our fishing industry is large and diversified in Nova Scotia and I'm confident that we will survive and thrive.

I would like to remind my colleagues that we are the leading fish province in Canada and have been for decades. I also want to note that fish has historically been the largest export commodity in our province.

You might ask, how can we survive? We have to build on our strengths. We have experienced fish plant workers, like the workers at Highland, who can rise to the challenges. We are next to one of the richest markets in the world, the eastern U.S. This market knows fish and likes fish, so we have to take advantage of it. I mentioned earlier that we may not be able to compete with China when trying to sell some frozen fish products, so we should look to our strengths.

We are next to this big market, so perhaps we should be targeting fresh, high-quality groundfish products - think fresh, think high quality, think high value. You can get a fish out of the water, process it, and on a plate in New York or Boston within a short time frame, a few days. China cannot do this unless they want to fly fish from the boats to the plants in China and back to New York. I think we just might be able to compete with that one.

As I said, we are the leading fish province in Canada. We didn't get to be on top by chance. Our fishermen, our plant workers and companies have worked hard and have been resourceful. I am confident we will continue to see this ability from our industry.

[Page 390]

In reference to the resolution, I'd like to speak to the notion of Nova Scotia fish - do the fish off Nova Scotia belong to the people of Nova Scotia? Yes, Mr. Speaker, I believe they do; in fact, they belong to the people of Canada.

For years the Nova Scotia Government has been careful to avoid putting provincial flags on Canadian fish. Our traditional groundfish vessels used to harvest their catch from the waters of Baffin Island to Georges Bank. These Canadian fish fed our plants in Shelburne, Lunenburg, Canso, Petit-de-Grat, Louisbourg, Glace Bay, North Sydney, and Cheticamp, plus many other communities in the province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order. Time has expired.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I wish I didn't have to get up at this point and speak about this resolution because I sincerely wish this lockout wasn't even underway.

For those of you who don't know - and I think the minister does have an understanding of the fact of just how important these workers in this particular fish plant are to Glace Bay. The two fish plants that are there, one went bankrupt and one is now involved in a lockout, would be two of the major employers in Glace Bay. The only other, what you would call large-scale employment there is, of course, the Stream call centre - and then there would be the usual hospitals and schools and so on as the major employers. So to have 108 workers who are not only locked out in this instance, but are not collecting employment insurance benefits because of a lockout is a major blow to the economy.

Not only is it a major blow to the economy, but it will mean that resources that are already stretched, such as social services - although they can't access social services either because they're involved in a lockout. Then you go to the food bank. When I talked about basic needs, there are actually some workers now who are finding it hard to even supply themselves with food, so they've been forced to go to the food bank, and the food bank officials will tell you - I've talked to them - they can't handle an onslaught of people coming in large numbers. They don't have the resources there to handle that sort of situation. That's how serious it is right now, involving Highland Fisheries.

The workers want to be there, they want to be at work. They've been forced into a situation, in my opinion, where they're looking at an 18 per cent wage reduction. Their wages would be lowered by about $2.25 an hour, if indeed they were to accept what the company was offering. They've offered concessions of their own, they've offered to do away with bonuses, they went as far - the union involved, the CAW, I believe offered a loan to Clearwater in order to keep the plant open. They turned that down.

[Page 391]

Now, the ironic part of it is that this is not a labour dispute that involves a fish plant that wasn't successful, this is not a labour dispute that involves workers who were out on strike, they did not go out on strike; this is not, in my opinion, a labour dispute at all. This is a case where a company decided that they weren't getting what they wanted in contract negotiations, and they decided to lock out the workers. Because of that it has caused a great deal of turmoil in the community.

Mr. Speaker, when something like that happens, I don't think what the workers are asking for is unfair. What they're asking for, and it's the purpose of this Resolution No. 21, which was introduced by the member for Cape Breton Centre - and congratulations to the member for introducing this resolution. What it asks for is very simple. In Nova Scotia - and the minister has already made reference to it - fish that swim off our shores are considered Nova Scotia fish when they're caught, and should we not process Nova Scotia fish in Nova Scotia? The minister says yes as far as he's concerned, those fish that are off our shores belong to this province.

Mr. Speaker, the minister also made reference to the fact that we have to build on our strengths. Well, the biggest strength that we have in this province is our people. It goes without saying. For instance, the 108 people who work at Highland Fisheries. They have a very good track record in terms of making that plant work. Labour disputes are not common at this plant. Absenteeism is not common at this plant. You have a group of workers here who want to go to work every day. They're seasonal, it's seasonal at the best of times for some things such as the crab fishery. Then you have a product which these workers have to stand by now and see being shipped to other jurisdictions. Yes, there's a problem in terms of international competition. There's a huge problem, if we're competing with a place like China and our fish is being shipped to China and processed.

Mr. Speaker, I can recall at one point visiting Highland Fisheries, and I also visited Glace Bay Fisheries. The most impressive part of it was that Highland Fisheries is a modern plant. This is not a plant that's out of date. This is a plant - and giving full credit to Clearwater - they invested money in it, of course that money has to come from somewhere and some of it came from the federal government and some may have come from the provincial government, I don't know at this point in time - I'm not sure anyway. But that money was invested in the plant because the product was there, the workers were there, and they had a successful operation. This plant has been in Glace Bay for some time, which makes it even more important, we have to keep it there.

Reasonably, Mr. Speaker, and I don't know what took place at the meeting today between the Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister and the workers from Glace Bay. I'm glad that he sat down to meet with them, and all I'm saying is that at some point in time, to try to solve this, the workers are calling for a couple of things. One, they'd love to get back to work, that's number one. There's a federal Fisheries Minister involved here as

[Page 392]

well, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans which comes into play, and federal regulations which come into play.

All I'm asking - I don't know exactly what the workers asked of the minister, but all I'm asking of the minister is to pick up the phone and talk to the federal Fisheries Minister to say, let's get together, let's see what we can do to try to make sure that this lockout doesn't continue any longer. If that means getting tough with Clearwater Foods, then fine, this government has to get tough with Clearwater Foods, whatever it takes to put those people to work where they want to be, because, as I said, you have a successful operation, you have good workers, they want to go to work, they want to be there, and there's absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be there with the exception right now that their employer locked them out. This was the first strike by the employer, to stop things from going any further. They're being treated unjustly right now.

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

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to have a few minutes to speak on this very serious situation at Highland Fisheries in Glace Bay. I had the opportunity back in February to visit the plant - at least I tried. I was with my good friend, Clary MacKinnon, who is a recognized expert on many fisheries issues. I'm sure you've heard of Mr. MacKinnon, he's a candidate in the upcoming provincial election. Mr. MacKinnon was good enough to show me around some of the fish plants and wharves in Glace Bay. We visited Highland Fisheries that afternoon, but unfortunately we couldn't get into the plant because of the pending labour dispute. It was actually the day before they were locked out. We did, on lunch break, meet with a number of the workers and talked to them about the serious impact it was going to have on them and on their lives.

[5:45 p.m.]

In fact, some of those workers have been there for 25 even 30 years working for Highland Fisheries and all of a sudden they're told you're going to have to take an 18 per cent rollback in your wages. I think the tradesmen were offered a 9 per cent rollback - if that's the right word - offered. It was more or less an ultimatum to the workers either take it or leave it. I have here a copy of the letter that was given to the workers, it was hand delivered to each one of them and one of the workers was good enough to give me a copy at the time. It says that your two-year contract and an 18 per cent rollback in your wages - who would want to take an 18 per cent rollback in your income? I'm sure, Mr. Speaker, you would not and none of us would. It's quite a dilemma when you're told to keep your job you lose 18 per cent of your wages or you're out of a job. I'll table that and it just outlines the ultimatum the workers did receive at that time - pretty serious.

[Page 393]

I also had a chance to visit a fishing boat that was unloading at the plant that day, they were unloading red fish. I had a chance to talk to some of the fishermen and some of the workers who were loading the red fish into the plant - very, very concerned for their jobs. Mr. Speaker, the fishing industry has sustained rural and coastal Nova Scotia for more than 500 years now and since the days originally long before that for the Aboriginal people, and since the 15th Century certainly Europeans have come over here to harvest the rich bounty of fish; Spanish, Portugese, English, French, and others have made a living off the rich resources from our oceans.

In many ways these resources in the ocean are a public resource, they belong to all of us. They belong to each one of us in this room, they belong to all Nova Scotians and all Canadians, but over time that public resource has been migrated and transferred to individuals and into the hands of private enterprise. We all know how business works, the big get bigger and the little guy gets swallowed up - often to the detriment of ordinary Nova Scotians. That's exactly what's happening in our fishing industry.

I just want to mention briefly, Clearwater Seafoods Limited is the owner of the fish plant Highland Fisheries, and they've done very well for themselves over the years. I was looking at their latest newsletter, it reads: We have been and continue to be a very profitable company. That's by their own admission what they're saying. Another line I read there: The underlying seafood business is healthy and through our quota ownership we continue to have unparalleled access to a tremendous resource and there's a growing international demand for premium seafood. That's from the company's own words in their newsletter most recently and maybe the important point to highlight is that they continue to have unparalleled access to a tremendous resource. The resource that belongs to the public is known in legal circles as common property and now it has somehow migrated into fewer and fewer hands and is ending up in the hands of large corporations.

Clearwater also owns a fish plant in North Sydney where they process surf clams and have been doing that for a number of years, although recently that product - which is caught off of Nova Scotia - is being processed elsewhere, primarily in Newfoundland and Labrador at the Grand Banks and also in China. One hundred per cent of the quota on this particular fish product is owned by Clearwater, yet very little benefit to Nova Scotians whose resource it really belongs to.

Over the years the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has managed or mismanaged the fishery to the point that has allowed this privatization to occur. More and more we're seeing our public resource going out of the hands of the coastal fishing communities, whether it's in Canso or River John or Yarmouth or, in this case, Glace Bay, and it's ending up in the hands of large corporate interests to the detriment of our coastal fishing communities.

[Page 394]

As the fish is exported away for processing, so are the jobs and so are our coastal communities. More and more people are ending up in Alberta or working in the tar sands, not here at home where there could be jobs if the government simply said we'll do the same as Newfoundland and Labrador, we'll say that any fish caught in this province will also be processed in this province. That would allow many more jobs, it would allow for the thriving, not only surviving, of our coastal fishing communities. That's what needs to be done. Secondly, we need a wider distribution of ownership so that it's spread around among many individuals and small companies, and not end up in the hands of one company.

I call upon government to look at those issues, work with management, work with the union, and find a solution to get our people back to work, and treat people fairly. Let's support coastal Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The time allotted for debate on Resolution No. 21 has expired.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the Opposition Members' Business for the day. Before we adjourn, though, I think we had cut short resolutions and we were prepared to revert back. So I would request, with the unanimous consent of the House, that we revert to the order of business, Notices of Motion.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to revert to Notices of Motion.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 270

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

[Page 395]

Whereas Canning historian Ivan Smith will celebrate 10 years this year as Web master for one of the most popular sites for Nova Scotia history; and

Whereas the creator of the Nova Scotia History Index celebrated the longevity and popularity of the large and detailed site in February of this year; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia History Index was recognized by the popular search engine Google for being one of the top 10 for hits in North America for users searching for the Seven Years War, and is regarded as a leader among personal Web sites devoted to elements of Canadian history;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their thanks and congratulations to Mr. Smith for his 10 years of service to Nova Scotia history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 271

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

Whereas the honourable J. Fraser Mooney passed away on January 5, 2006; and

Whereas Fraser was a proud citizen of Yarmouth, who served his community as a businessman, town councillor, MLA and Cabinet Minister; and

Whereas he was a fierce competitor in sports, having won the top student trophies at Dalhousie and St. F.X., and is a Hall of Famer at St. F.X. and in his home town of Yarmouth;

[Page 396]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly extend sympathies to family and many friends of Fraser Mooney, and acknowledge a lifetime of accomplishment of a former member of this House and a former Minister of the Crown.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 272

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

Whereas multiple sclerosis is most often diagnosed in young adults, aged 15 to 40, and also affects children as young as two years old; and

Whereas MS is unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility, with permanent effects and no cure; and

Whereas Canadians have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, with MS being the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize May as National MS Awareness Month, and support the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada as it provides support to those with MS and strives to find a cure.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 397]

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. 273

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

Whereas the North Queens Board of Trade will be celebrating its Centenary this year; and

Whereas the organization has been an integral part of the North Queens community since May 10, 1906, when it had its first meeting at the Masonic Hall in Caledonia; and

Whereas in honour of this achievement, the board of trade is hosting a reception on Saturday, May 13th in the same location and will include an address by the North Queens Heritage Society member, Robert Johnson;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the longevity of the North Queens Board of Trade - such an event exemplifies the dedication which Nova Scotians bring to their communities and the importance they place on cornerstone organizations such as the board of trade.

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 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. The House will sit from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00

[Page 398]

p.m. The order of business will be the debate on Resolution No. 1, that's the estimates, and they will be referred to the Committee of the Whole House for examination of individual departmental estimates. Following that, we will do some second reading on bills if time permits.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[The motion is carried.]

The House is adjourned.

We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Kings North:

"Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the very positive initiatives contained in Budget 2006-07 which will help foster a healthy economy, healthy families and a healthier future for Nova Scotia."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

BUDGET 2006-07 - INITIATIVES

MR. MARK PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

A United church minister and a Baptist minister were on an airplane and the stewardess came by and she offered a drink to the United church minister who was reading the latest issue of Cosmopolitan and he said, thanks, I would love to have a drink, I'll have a rum and Coke. She got it for him and came back and turned to the Baptist minister beside him who was reading his floppy, big, black Bible and she said, would you like a drink, sir? He looked over scornfully at the United Church minister and he said, why, I would rather commit adultery than have something to drink. The United church

[Page 399]

minister looked at the glass in his hand and gave it back to the stewardess and said, here, I didn't know we had a choice.(Laughter)

Nova Scotians will have a choice about whether to judge this as a good budget or a bad budget. We've already seen in both The Daily News and The ChronicleHerald, I think their choice is going to be that this is a good budget based upon the preliminary feedback that we have, based upon the reception I'm getting in my own riding.

The reason why they're going to choose it as a good budget and make that choice is because it's the fifth consecutive balanced budget this government has brought in. Five balanced budgets, Mr. Speaker, five, count them, not one, not two, not three. How many? Five. All fingers on the right hand. Yes.

They've given it a thumbs-up in that regard. They've made the choice this is a good budget. They'll also make the choice this is a good budget because it will benefit children of low-income working families. This is something that's near and dear to my heart and something I and others in the caucus have been pushing for as we extend prescription drug coverage to the children of low-income families. I know those families will make the choice, those families in my riding, to view this as a good budget because of the extended prescription drug coverage.

More than 33,000 children under the age of 18 will benefit from this investment. I know that all members in the House on either side would have to say this was a good decision, and this was the right choice.

The citizens of Nova Scotia will make the choice that this is a good budget because it will invest $250,000 in an independent study to better assess and understand the social and economic impact of gaming in Nova Scotia. Again, Mr. Speaker, this is something that's important to deal with the problems that gaming inflicts upon individuals and upon families and their loved ones. So this extra money that's in the budget is well received by people who have relatives or loved ones who are struggling with this terrible addiction. I know Nova Scotians will make the choice to say that this is a good budget because of that as well.

[6:00 p.m.]

Nova Scotians will make the choice to say that this is a good budget because they will receive an 8 per cent rebate on a wide range of fuels, not just on home heating, not just on fuel oil, but on wood, electricity, on other items that they use to heat their home - wood pellet stoves for residential heating - starting in January 2007. They will make the choice that this is a good budget based upon that.

[Page 400]

Mr. Speaker, incidentally in that regard I want to give credit to the Women's Institute in Sheffield Mills and in Port Williams and in Canning who have written me about this. I've passed on some of their messages and the President of the Women's Institute, Mrs. Ruth Blenkhorn - the Women's Institute has taken this up as a cause and I know that they will receive this news very well and they will say this is a good budget, they will make that choice. Mrs. Ruth Blenkhorn is of course a supportive person for other reasons as well, her husband Wayne Blenkhorn, happens to be my campaign manager, so I know that he will choose to see this as a good budget.

They'll also choose to see this as a good budget because the capital budget for Transportation and Public Works has been increased by almost $39 million to about $199 million - $199 million, I think that's the most that has been spent on . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: What about when the Liberals were in?

MR. PARENT: When the Liberals were in I think it was a much smaller item, honourable member, but it's $199 million when the Tories are in and this is good news as we're able to make improvements to our roads, bridges and highways. In my riding alone, thanks to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works who sent me a letter recently, I am going to be getting some much- needed pavement in north Kentville where there are some chip-sealed roads that need to be redone that haven't been redone in awhile. I'm going to have five or six roads chip-sealed there. Black Rock Road, which I share with the member for Kings West, I was able to get that on the list to get that repaved, 6 kilometres there, Gospel Road, about four kilometres there, along the scenic look-off fresh pavement will be there as people go to one of the most scenic places in Nova Scotia and look out over the wonderful riding of Kings North - and they'll be driving on beautiful new pavement.

There was a bridge in Baxters Harbour, an old timber bridge that was beginning to shift, it was no longer safe. The residents came to me and I got a commitment from the minister at that time that the tender would be called, and the new minister honoured that and there will be a new bridge in Baxters Harbour for those residents and I know they are pleased about that. Mr. Speaker, a little goody that I wasn't expecting was that the road between Belcher Street and Highway No. 101 crossing the Middle Dyke Road, crossing across Highway No. 101, will be repaved, so that was good news. That will result in my OS being able to use some of the money he put aside for patching for that section, to use it elsewhere. I applaud this budget, $199 million and I know that the other honourable members are very envious of what I'm getting, and I can just attribute it to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works who is a very good minister, an excellent minister.

Also, the citizens of Nova Scotia will choose this to be a good budget, they will make the choice that it is a good budget because of a $1.2 million investment in Nova Scotia's Student Debt Reduction Program. They will make that choice that this is a good

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budget because of $40 million in capital grants to the district health authorities, $38 million for hospital improvements and $2 million for medical equipment - one of them is the new MRI for the Valley Regional Hospital that I've worked so hard on and that I'm so pleased seeing going to the Valley Regional, a much-needed piece of equipment.

They'll make the choice that this is a good budget because of the gradual lowering of personal income tax. Everybody I know feels that this is an issue that they struggle with and we're moving in this direction, helping people as we lower their burden in this regard. They'll make the choice that this is a good budget because of the fact that it highlights that there will be a new minister in charge of volunteerism, a very important sector in the economy, and one that's important to me coming out of that sector as a church minister.

Mr. Speaker, you may ask how this government can do all these good things and so many more - I'll tell you why. In 1999, when this government came into power, it made some hard decisions, it made some wise decisions, and it balanced the budget. It did away with a deficit that the Liberals had run up that was crippling this government and it resulted in the ability nowadays, with the good government we've had over the six, seven years, to produce these budgets that are being well received.

Mr. Speaker, already I mentioned in both The Daily News and The ChronicleHerald the accolades that this budget is receiving from many different people, and more important to me are the accolades being received by the residents of Kings North. So I know Nova Scotians already, they've said it and I know in the future they'll make the choice that this is a good budget, they'll say this is a good government, and they'll support it. I find it interesting that the Official Opposition really doesn't know what to do with this budget. They're trying to claim it as their own because it's such a good budget. So I find that approbation by the Official Opposition as confirmation. (Interruption)

Well, the Leader of the Third Party, he doesn't have a seat in the House so you don't actually know what the Leader is saying. At first he seemed to say that the budget was spending too much on things and we couldn't afford it as a province, then he began to be saying that maybe it wasn't spending enough. So, Mr. Speaker, I don't really know . . .

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

The honourable member for - no? Very well, the late debate has ended.

The House is adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:06 p.m.]

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[Page 403]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 225

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 two Pictou County men, Ron Langille of E&R Langille Contracting, and Neil Kenney of N.R. Kenney Logging, have become among the first in Canada to achieve Master Logger certification from the Canadian Woodlands forum; and

Whereas the Atlantic Master Logger Certification Program, launched last year, is part of the forum's mission to promote professionalism and best management practice's in forestry; and

Whereas Ron Langille and Neil Kenney are two of 13 forestry contractors to acquire board certification, they hope the certification shows their knowledge and commitment to their customers and the environment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ron Langille and Neil Kenney on their recent certification and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 226

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 well-known Pictou Country businessman, David Sobey, earned the title of outstanding individual philanthropist at last months Association of Fundraising Professionals annual awards gala; and

Whereas the award is presented to those who engage others to give to important causes through their own actions of good will; and

Whereas in March 2005, David Sobey made a personal donation of $3 million to the Sobey School of Business for the Hearts and Minds Capital Campaign at St. Mary's University, marking this gift as the single largest donation in the university's 203-year history; and

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate David Sobey on his award and thank him for his dedication and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 227

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 Pictou County duo, Amanda Sponagle and Norma Marshall, took home gold at last months Canadian Cadet Boxing Championships in Sarnia, Ontario; and

Whereas Amanda Sponagle trains at the Pictou County Amateur Boxing Club, and Norma Marshall trains at the Albion Amateur Boxing Club where the other Albion boxers came home with bronze medals; and

Whereas Albion Head Coach Jim Worthen says the girls showed their strength and power in dominating the competition at the national level;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Amanda Sponagle and Norma Marshall on their gold medals, and also congratulate all of the participants and coaches for representing Pictou County on a national level.

RESOLUTION NO. 228

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 there was a strong Pictou County representation at this year's 109th Boston Marathon held last month; and

Whereas 10 Pictou County runners finished the marathon that over 20,000 participants started; and

Whereas Charlie MacDonald, Dana MacIvor, and Joe Pound were among the 10 county runners that finished with official times, all under three and a half hours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Pictou County runners for finishing the gruelling Boston Marathon with such great race times.

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RESOLUTION NO. 229

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 Pictou's John Ashton was presented with the Ambassador Award at last month's Pictou County Tourism Gala; and

Whereas John Ashton was recognized for his work on a community kiosk project with the East River Valley Community Development Association; and

Whereas the Ambassador Award is presented to an individual or group who has demonstrated community pride and are involved with community development;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate John Ashton on his recent award and thank him for his dedication and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 230

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 marking their 10th Anniversary, the Wood Shop Select Home Decor & Gifts owner, Kelly Murray, is giving back to the community; and

Whereas Kelly Murray's gift shop donated $1 from each purchase during a week-long celebration for a decade in business; and

Whereas cancer patient navigator, Joanne Cumminger accepted the $350 donation on behalf of the hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Kelly Murray for donating to the hospital and also for showing her commitment and concern for her community.

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RESOLUTION NO. 231

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 the Pictou County Tourist Association honoured its best and brightest in tourism at the 9th Annual Awards Dinner held last month; and

Whereas Eric and Linda Barker of New Glasgow were recipients of the award of excellence; and

Whereas the Ambassador Award for demonstrating community pride and development was awarded to John Ashton of Eureka;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Eric and Linda Barker, and John Ashton on their recent awards and thank them for their dedication and commitment to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 232

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Agricultural College President, Dr. Philip Hicks, recently released the 2006 President's List; and

Whereas Julia Aitchison of Tatamagouche, a third-year Bachelor of Science student at the college, was included in the list of outstanding students; and

Whereas it is important that we recognize the achievements of the many students across our province and, in turn, acknowledge the important place that higher education holds in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join with me in congratulating Ms. Aitchison and all Colchester County students for their hard work and academic achievements. Nova Scotia students continue to push standards higher every day, securing this province's growing reputation as a leader in many disciplines.

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RESOLUTION NO. 233

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix was held in Toronto recently; and

Whereas Willem and Maja van den Hoek of That Dutchman's Farm, claimed first prize in the Gouda category; and

Whereas in addition to being named best Gouda producer in Canada, the van den Hoek's took third prize in the blue cheese category for their Dragon Breath cheese;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send congratulations to the van den Hoeks for their 25 years of farming and cheese production. That Dutchman's Farm is also a popular tourist outlet, receiving as many as 10,000 visitors a year to their beautiful farm with walking trails, tea room and gift shop, adding to their contribution to Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 234

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas John Sutherland of J. Sutherland Logging was recently awarded Master Logger certification; and

Whereas Mr. Sutherland was the first such recipient in Colchester County and one of only 13 in Canada; and

Whereas the distinction acknowledges the industry's highest standards for certified, sustainable woodlot operations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send sincere congratulations to John Sutherland and J. Sutherland Logging for their outstanding achievement, and in doing so, support and acknowledge the first-class woodlot management that is at work every day here in Nova Scotia.

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RESOLUTION NO. 235

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the 2006 Atlantic Book Awards released its short list for the Booksellers' Choice Award; and

Whereas Colchester County author, Joan Baxter, was named to that list for her work, The Hermit of Gully Lake: The Life and Times of Willard Kitchener MacDonald; and

Whereas the annual award is administered by the Atlantic Independent Bookseller's Association and was presented at a ceremony held at Alderney Gate Theatre in Dartmouth as part of the Atlantic Book Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Baxter on her achievement and thank her and her peers for telling our stories. Through this acknowledgment all members pledge to support the arts in our community and recognize its importance to our Nova Scotian identity.

RESOLUTION NO. 236

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Cumberland/Colchester Credit Union handed out its Distinguished Service Award for 2006; and

Whereas Economy resident, Neil St. Clair, was this year's recipient of the award honouring his long relationship with the Cobequid Credit Union, starting when he helped found the organization; and

Whereas Mr. St. Clair was not only honoured for the dedication he has put into the credit union, but to the greater community, for serving on many boards and clubs, including the West Colchester Development Agency;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. St. Clair on receiving his award and take this opportunity to thank him for his service to the greater

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Colchester community. Citizens like Mr. St. Clair represent the best of rural Nova Scotia values and how such values can benefit the entire Nova Scotia community.

RESOLUTION NO. 237

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Cobequid Chapter of the IODE is celebrating its 90th Anniversary in May 2006; and

Whereas the IODE's mission is to show their enthusiasm and hard work to improve the quality of life for children, youth and those in need through education, social service and citizenship programs; and

Whereas the organization was founded in 1900 by Margaret Polson Murray as Imperial Orders Daughters of the Empire, and today is known as IODE;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Cobequid Chapter of the IODE on its 90th Anniversary and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 238

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Dean James, a member of the Springhill Fire Department, was honoured for his 15 years of service; and

Whereas on January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Dean James is one of many dedicated firefighters who worked many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dean James on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 239

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Denyse Karn, of Ship's Company Theatre, in Parrsboro, was honoured for her work by receiving the Robert E. Merritt Award for Set Design; and

Whereas Denyse has received multiple awards for her work over the years, including the set design for the 2004 production of The Parrsboro Boxing Club; and

Whereas the Robert Merritt Theatre Award recognizes achievement in theatre in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge Denyse Karn on this well-deserved, prestigious award and wish her many more years of success.

RESOLUTION NO. 240

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Frederick Kennedy, of Ship's Company Theatre, in Parrsboro, was honoured by receiving the award for Outstanding Sound Design for the production of Brighter Than The Light Of the Sun; and

Whereas this was the second straight nomination and first win for Kennedy for his work at Ship's Company Theatre; and

Whereas the Robert Merritt Theatre Award recognizes achievement in theatre in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Frederick Kennedy on this well-deserved prestigious award and wish him continued success in all endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 241

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jenny Lee, of Springhill, is a youth destined to make her mark in her community for being a caring and concerned person who gives of her time, energy and efforts to her school and the community; and

Whereas Jenny was named Volunteer of the Year for 2006 in Springhill for her volunteer time spent as a member of the student council, yearbook editor, peer helper, Youth Advisory Council, student police, school spirit, and peer tutor; and

Whereas Jenny is also active with the CanSkate Program, All Saints Hospital, and family planning agency, all while averaging marks in the high 90s and holding down a part-time job;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jenny Lee on this outstanding award and her volunteer accomplishments to her school, community and to the Province of Nova Scotia and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 242

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Kyle Legere, a second-year student at Nova Scotia Community College, Cumberland Campus, was the bronze medal winner of the Skills Competition on March 8, 2006; and

Whereas the Skills Competition was hosted by Kingstec Campus this year; and

Whereas the Skills Competition is an incredible display of hands-on expertise, talent and determination which helps showcase the many promising futures to be found in trades and technology careers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kyle Legere on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 243

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Phil Legere was presented with a prestigious award in February 2006, being named one of Canada's 30 Outstanding Principals; and

Whereas the judges were impressed by Phil's efforts to improve the food choices at Dartmouth High School when he lead the way, several years before the province moved in the same direction, to eliminate junk food and soft drinks in the school; and

Whereas Phil is a Springhill native and was named top principal in both metro Halifax and the province before being named to the national honour following his four years as principal at Dartmouth High School, along with his 13 years at Millwood High School in Sackville;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Phil Legere on this prestigious award and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 244

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Stephen Likely, a Grade 8 student, realizes the importance of alternative forms of energy, and he has explored how to develop those; and

Whereas Stephen won the Judges Choice Award at the Springhill Junior and Senior High School Science Fair; and

Whereas Springhill sits on a huge natural resource in geothermal energy, and Stephen used his project to outline how this resource would help people save costs, and also the environment by not using a mass abundance of fossil fuels such as oil and gasoline;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Stephen Likely on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in all future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 245

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jim MacDonald, of Springhill, was chosen by the Town of Springhill Leisure Services Department as its representative Volunteer for 2006; and

Whereas Jim has been a dedicated volunteer in the Town of Springhill for over 40 years, where he began his commitment to his community in high school when he co-organized the Springhill Minor Hockey system and completed duties of treasurer and coach, also an active member for the past 36 years of the Knights of Columbus and many other organizations; and

Whereas Jim has also been a valued member of the Springhill Rotary Club for over 20 years, holding such positions as president, and chairman of special events, and he has also given many hours to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation and has been an active blood donor giving over 115 donations;

Therefore be it resolved that the member of this House congratulate Jim MacDonald on receiving this outstanding award, and thank him for his many years of volunteer service to his community and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 246

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Isabel MacNeil, of Malagash, was honoured for her volunteer efforts by being named representative Volunteer of the Year for 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was made at a special dinner at the ED Fullerton Municipal Building at Upper Nappan on Wednesday, April 5th, 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was given to Isabel in Council Chambers along with five other local volunteers for their volunteer activities in Cumberland County;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Isabel MacNeil on this outstanding achievement, and thank her for her many hours of volunteer service to her county and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 247

By: Hon. Murray Scott ( Justice)

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

Whereas Shelby MacPhee, of Springhill, is a local celebrity that the community is very proud of; and

Whereas Shelby travelled to Dartmouth to participate in the Shannon Open 2005 Figure Skating competition; and

Whereas Shelby brought home the gold medal in the Preliminary Free Skate Group 2;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 248

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Shelby MacPhee, of Springhill, gave yet another outstanding performance on the ice at the Nova Scotia Provincial Figure Skating Championships; and

Whereas Shelby won a bronze medal in her category to add to her many other medals and awards that she has earned over her skating career; and

Whereas Shelby will hang up her skates when the season ends and will pick up her soccer cleats to get ready to compete in track and field at Springhill High School;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Shelby MacPhee on this outstanding achievement, and wish her many more successful years of figure skating.

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RESOLUTION NO. 249

By: Hon. Murray Scott ( Justice)

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

Whereas Dan Martin of D.R. Martin Metal Works was honoured by the Springhill Chamber of Commerce on January 25th, 2006; and

Whereas Martin, who received the Person of the Year Award for 2006, began his welding business in 1975 at the age of 17 when he saw the need for that market; Martin started his business in the old Irving garage, then in 1978 moved to another old Irving garage and then in 1987 relocated to his present facility in the Springhill Geothermal Industrial Park; and

Whereas Martin credited his dedicated employees who he says are instrumental in his success, along with his wife, Debbie, and his sons;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dan Martin on this outstanding achievement and wish him many more years of continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 250

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Ryan Matthews of Parrsboro is a 17 year old who represents his town well by being an active volunteer throughout his youth and recently his efforts have been noticed; and

Whereas the Town of Parrsboro was proud to submit Ryan's name as their representative to the province's Youth Volunteer Awards, and the province has responded by naming him Nova Scotia's Youth Volunteer of the Year; and

Whereas this Grade 12 student keeps busy as a member of the student council, student police, has helped arrange school food drives, is the longest-serving member of the local air cadet squadron, has coached and refereed with local minor hockey, and spends time twice a week with long- term care residents at South Cumberland Community Care Centre;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ryan Matthews on this well-deserved award, and thank him for his volunteer efforts to his community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 251

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Craig and Linda McCormick have provided tourists with a home away from home and an experience that they won't find anywhere else; and

Whereas Craig and Linda McCormick, owner and operators of the new Maple Sugar Bed & Breakfast on Rodney Road, started their new business last summer and have received guests from throughout North America; and

Whereas the Maple Sugar Bed & Breakfast has been given an impressive three-and- a-half star rating by Canada Select;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Craig and Linda McCormick on opening this exquisite Bed & Breakfast and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 252

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Ida McCormick, of Southhampton, was honoured for her volunteer efforts by being named representative Volunteer of the Year for 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was made at a special dinner at the ED Fullerton Municipal Building at Upper Nappan on Wednesday, April 5th, 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was given to Ida in Council Chambers along with five other local volunteers for their volunteer activities in Cumberland County;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ida McCormick on this outstanding achievement, and thank her for her many hours of volunteer service to her county and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 253

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Gerry and Marion McLellan, of Oxford, have been named the Canadian Council of Snowmobiling Family of the Year; and

Whereas Gerry and Marion have both been staunch supporters of the sport of snowmobiling and the Cumberland Snowmobile Club for over 20 years; and

Whereas Gerry has served as club president for 13 of those years, and Marion as the grooming and trail development treasurer, both of them playing a major part organizing many fundraisers, making the club such a success;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Gerry and Marion McLellan on this prestigious award and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 254

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Judy Moore of Westchester was honoured for her volunteer efforts by being named Representative Volunteer of the Year for 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was made at a special dinner at the E.D. Fullerton Municipal Building at Upper Nappan on Wednesday, April 5, 2006; and

Whereas the presentation was given to Judy in Council Chambers along with five other local volunteers for their volunteer activities in Cumberland County;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Judy Moore on this outstanding achievement and thank her for her many hours of volunteer service to her county and to the Province of Nova Scotia.

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RESOLUTION NO. 255

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Cassandra Morris, a 14-year-old from Parrsboro, showed great initiative when she contacted CBC's production manager with a comedic TV show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, for a chance to experience job shadowing during the production of the television series; and

Whereas Cassandra successfully achieved her goal on November 2, 2005 when she went off to Halifax where she experienced the chance to be an observer of how the show is put together; and

Whereas Cassandra has always been interested in politics and world events and was very excited about the experience and hopes to someday pursue a career in broadcast journalism;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 256

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Justus MacPhee, a Grade 7 student at Springhill High School earned a first place award for his "Fun With Paper Airplanes" entry; and

Whereas the young scientists had their projects judged by science students from Mount Allison University; and

Whereas the science fair was sponsored by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Justus MacPhee on winning first place in the science fair and wish him all the best in all future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 257

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Floyd & Ruth Morris of Advocate Harbour put their own lives in jeopardy in March, 2006, when Floyd and others pulled a man and his on out of a burning vehicle; and

Whereas the vehicle was totally engulfed in flames and smoke when they arrived at the scene; and

Whereas the fire happened at about 10:15 a.m. on Highway No. 209 in the heart of the village and thanks to the quick thinking and bravery of the Morris family the father and son are both doing fine after being treated and released from the hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Floyd & Ruth Morris on their brave act and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 258

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Mike Murphy, a member of the Springhill Fire Department was honoured with the title of "Most Work Nights by a Firefighter"; and

Whereas on January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Mike Murphy is one of many dedicated firefighters who work many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mike Murphy on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 259

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Helen Murray, a long-standing chartered member of the Cobequid Chapter of the IODE is being honoured this year for her 50 years of valued service since she was chartered in 1956; and

Whereas the IODE's mission is to show their enthusiasm and hard work to improve the quality of life for children, youth and those in need through education, social service and citizenship programs; and

Whereas the organization was founded in 1900 by Margaret Polson Murray as Imperial Orders Daughter of the Empire and today is known as IODE;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Helen Murray on this outstanding achievement and wish her many more years of service.

RESOLUTION NO. 260

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Harold Nicholson, a member of the Springhill Fire Department was honoured for his 53 years of service; and

Whereas on January 28, 2006, local dignitaries, friends, family and special guests gathered together to honour the firefighters of the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Harold Nicholson is one of many dedicated firefighters who worked many long, hard hours to protect the Town of Springhill and surrounding areas when needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Harold Nicholson on this outstanding achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 261

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jade Noiles, a Springhill native, came out victorious at the Senior Girls Provincial Dart Championship on February 28, 2006; and

Whereas Jade won five out of six games for the win and has been playing darts for three years, this being the first time she played in a major tournament; and

Whereas Jade's next step is to go on to Saskatoon in May to see how she will perform in the National Championships;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 262

By: Hon. Ronald Chisholm (Agriculture)

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

Whereas Ria Vanderlinden placed third in the Strait Regional School Board Science Fair; and

Whereas Ria also received the St. F. X. University Environmental Award; and

Whereas Ria is attending the Canada Wide Science Fair in Saguenay, QC.;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ria Vanderlinden on receiving the St. F. X. University Environmental Award and wish her success in the Canada Wide Science Fair in Saguenay, QC.

RESOLUTION NO. 263

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

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Whereas in 1974 Jack Flemming established Ocean Contracting Limited which has become a leader in the construction industry and employs 300 people; and

Whereas Mr. Flemming's compassion and philanthropic support has made significant contributions to the lives of many people, his support lends strength to organizations such as the YMCA, Bonny Lea Farm, Phoenix House, the Sisters of Charity, and Adsum House to name a few; and

Whereas Dalhousie University will recognize the contributions Jack Flemming has made to Nova Scotia with a Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa during the 2006 Spring convocation;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Jack Flemming on receipt of his Honourary Doctorate and acknowledge the many contributions he has made to his local community and to the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 264

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas geocaching is a new Web-based sport where searchers look for a cache located at specific longitude and latitude coordinates with the assistance of GPS units; and

Whereas Dave and Norma Horne discovered this new adventure in Vancouver's Stanley Park and enthusiastically joined other people who set out to access the coordinates and find the prize here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Hornes have created several geocache locations in the province and have used the Web sites to discover new areas to visit while on vacation;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House wish Dave and Norma Horne every success in the future with this outdoor adventure.

RESOLUTION NO. 265

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

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Whereas the Clayton Park Veterinary Hospital has served the community for 27 years, providing a safe haven for families to take their pets in times of need; and

Whereas in 1979 Dr. Ron Abrahams and his partners, Dr. Gerry Solomon and Dr. Virginia Vaughan, opened the clinic with Dr. Abrahams serving as vet and has now grown to have six veterinary doctors with individual specialities; and

Whereas in April 2006 the Clayton Park Veterinary Hospital opened a new modern facility with a separate ward for dogs and cats, full laboratory facilities, and specialized treatment rooms for everything from dental care to orthopaedics;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Clayton Park Veterinary Hospital for its recent expansion and wish the veterinarians and staff continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 266

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas the Fairview Legion is the only Legion in mainland north serving as a source of strength and camaraderie in the community; and

Whereas in 1952 the Fairview Legion Auxiliary was chartered and since that time the women of the auxiliary have been the driving force behind many successful events the Legion has undertaken; and

Whereas Betty Fry has served the auxiliary for 47 years and dedicated her efforts to building a strong community base through her role as secretary of the auxiliary and branch public relations officer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge the commitment Betty Fry has made to the Fairview Legion Auxiliary and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 267

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

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Whereas volunteers are the heart and soul of our communities and their efforts support so many important organizations and activities; and

Whereas Joseph Daniel received a volunteer award from the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee on May 4, 2006, for making a real difference in his community; and

Whereas Joseph was nominated by the Canadian Lebanon Society for his commitment to the society and his record of service in each of the many positions he has held, which helps keep the Lebanese culture alive in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Joseph Daniel, recognize the tremendous contribution he is making to his community and wish him every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 268

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas volunteers are the heart and soul of our communities and their efforts support so many important organizations and activities; and

Whereas Tom Willdey received a volunteer award from the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee on May 4, 2006, for making a real difference in his community; and

Whereas Tom was nominated by Our Lady of Perpetual Help for his contribution to the parish and for being willing to step up and help many worthwhile charities and organizations such as Ronald McDonald House and the Rockingham Heritage Society;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Tom Willdey, recognize the tremendous contribution he is making to his community and wish him every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 269

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

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Whereas volunteers are the heart and soul of our communities and their efforts support so many important organizations and activities; and

Whereas Carolyn Muise received a volunteer award from the Mainland North Volunteer Recognition Committee on May 4, 2006, for making a real difference in her community; and

Whereas Carolyn was nominated by Burton Ettinger School for her steadfast commitment to supporting all the volunteer activities at the school, from safe arrival to fundraising;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Carolyn Muise, recognize the tremendous contribution she is making to her community and wish her every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 274

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell(Shelburne)

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

Whereas Shelburne County is a dynamic area for business growth; and

Whereas Allendale Electronics in Lockeport is presently reviewing a $250,000 expansion; and

Whereas the Kenney and Ross Marine Extraction Plant in Port Saxson, Shelburne County, is nearing completion of a major expansion to their facilities of a new fish gelatin product;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the vigorous work ethic of businesses such as Allendale Electronics and the Kenney and Ross Marine Extraction Plant for their confidence and belief in Shelburne County's business community.

RESOLUTION NO. 275

By: Mr. Gary Hines(Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank)

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

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Whereas Larry Gibson, described as "one of the best-kept secrets in the black community in Nova Scotia", was in Toronto recently to accept the 2006 Harry Jerome Business Award from the Black Business Professionals Association; and

Whereas Mr. Gibson, the founder and president of Dartmouth-based Install-A-Flor Ltd., was recognized for overseeing a business that employs 80 full-time and 110 contract employees, and has been projected to have sales upwards of $30 million this year; and

Whereas Install-A-Flor is currently working on projects in Bermuda and has opened offices in Ontario and China, in addition to being involved with local residential land development in the Fall River area through Perry Lake Developments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations to Mr. Gibson and the entire team at Install-A-Flor for their superior work; organizations like Install-A-Flor are to be held up as representative of the best that Nova Scotia has to offer not only in the rest of Canada, but to the world.

RESOLUTION NO. 276

By: Mr. Mark Parent(Kings North)

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

Whereas former Weston resident and Dexter Institute Heavy Construction Program (NSCC) graduate Jennifer Richardson was one of a few female graduates from the customized training program unique to North America; and

Whereas Ms. Richardson, also a former Province House page, at one time was the only female employee of Dexter Construction in the metro Halifax area, working as an asphalt spreader operator; and

Whereas she is currently employed with the company at its main Bedford quarry in a busy scale house, the third female employee in 23 years to work in the scale house, and insists "there is a lot of opportunity for women . . . to learn in this industry";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the achievements of Ms. Richardson, and encourage the unique program on offer at the Nova Scotia Community College.