The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

Hansard -- Mon., Mar. 27, 2000

First Session

MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
APPOINTMENT OF SERGEANT-AT-ARMS
(Mr. Noel Knockwood), The Premier 2627
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Sport - Prospect Road Area: Arena - Build, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2630
Health - Windsor: Kidney Dialysis Machine - Provide, Hon. R. Russell 2630
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hants East: East Uniacke Road - Pave,
Mr. John MacDonell 2631
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Brookville Rd. (Pictou Co.): Condition -
Deplorable, Mr. J. DeWolfe 2631
Agric. - 4-H Clubs: Funding Cuts - Oppose, Mr. D. Downe 2631
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Route 354: Paving - Priority,
Mr. John MacDonell 2632
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Musquodoboit Valley: Engine Brakes -
Use Prohibit, Mr. B. Taylor 2632
Health - Aberdeen Hospital: Mental Health Unit - Move Cease,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 2632
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 780, Health - Care: Support (Gov't. [Can.]) Lacking - Recognize,
Hon. J. Muir 2633
Vote - Affirmative 2633
Res. 781, Petroleum Directorate - SOEP: Painting (Al Chaddock) -
Display, Hon. G. Balser 2634
Vote - Affirmative 2634
Res. 782, Nat. Res. - Westray Mine: Report (Rec. 75) -
Implementation (Gov't. [Can.]) Urge, The Premier 2634
Vote - Affirmative 2635
Res. 783, Health - Continuing Care Serv.: Conf. (Hfx. & Sydney
[27-31/03/00]) - Involvees Thank, Hon. J. Muir 2635
Vote - Affirmative 2636
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 27, Holocaust Memorial Day Act, The Premier 2636
No. 28, Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. M. Baker 2636
No. 29, Medical Laboratory Technology Act, Hon. J. Muir 2637
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 784, Econ. Dev. - C.B.: Employment Crisis - Ignored Condemn,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 2637
Res. 785, Human Res. - Civil Serv.: Plans - White Paper Release,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 2637
Res. 786, Sports - Basketball (CIAU Mens Champs.): St. F.X. Univ. -
Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 2638
Vote - Affirmative 2638
Res. 787, Fin. - Taxation: Cut (Gov't. [Can.]) Clawback - Recognize,
Mr. D. Downe 2639
Res. 788, Fin. - Drivers' Tests: Inaccuracy -
Budget (N.S. 2000-01) Signal, Mr. J. Holm 2639
Res. 789, Econ. Dev. - Harry Jerome Award Winner: Mayann Francis -
Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 2640
Vote - Affirmative 2641
Res. 790, Health - Nursing: Strategy - Status, Dr. J. Smith 2641
Res. 791, Culture - John Morris Rankin, Death of: Condolences - Send,
Ms. E. O'Connell 2641
Vote - Affirmative 2642
Res. 792, Fin. - Deficit: Total - Presentation Support, Mr. K. Morash 2643
Res. 793, NSLC - Rural (N.S.): Liquor Stores (Gov't. [N.S.]) -
Benefits Recognize, Mr. K. MacAskill 2643
Res. 794, Fin. - P3: Report (KPMG) - Value, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2644
Res. 795, Sysco - Agreements (14&18/06/99): Gov't. (N.S.-Lib.) -
Condemn, Mr. J. DeWolfe 2645
Res. 796, Tourism - Barra Strait Marina: Web Site (Tourism [N.S.]) -
Recognition Ensure, Mr. B. Boudreau 2645
Res. 797, Sysco - Employees: Savings ($2m) - Use Detail, Mr. F. Corbett 2646
Res. 798, Sysco - ABN Amro: Untendered Contract (14/06/99) -
Gov't. (N.S.-Lib.) - Condemn, Mr. D. Morse 2646
Res. 799, DND - HMCS Iroquois: Rescue ("Leader L") - Applaud,
Mr. M. Samson 2647
Vote - Affirmative 2648
Res. 800, Environ. - Water Testing: Results - Communities (18) Action,
Mr. D. Dexter 2648
Res. 801, NSRL - PanCanadian Discovery: Decision - Recognize,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 2649
Res. 802, Lbr. - Occup. Health & Safety: Violations (Min. Tour
Eastern Passage) - Action, Mr. R. MacKinnon 2649
Res. 803, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99 on): Deficit -
Address, Mr. Kevin Deveaux 2650
Res. 804, Agric. - Agreement (Can.-N.S.): Safety Net - Celebrate,
Mr. M. Parent 2651
Vote - Affirmative 2651
Res. 805, Educ. - P3 Schools: Construction Moratorium - Lift,
Mr. W. Gaudet 2652
Res. 806, Justice - Eddie Sheppard Jr. (Death): Public Inquiry - Order,
Mr. H. Epstein 2652
Res. 807, Fin. - Taxation: Individual - Policy Support, Mr. B. Taylor 2653
Res. 808, C.B. East (By-Election [04/04/00]) - Glace Bay: Agenda
(Gov't. [N.S.]) - Absence Condemn, Mr. P. MacEwan 2653
Res. 809, Agric. - Farm Safety: Initiative (10/03/00) - Recognize,
Mr. John MacDonell 2654
Vote - Affirmative 2654
Res. 810, DFO - Wharves (Anna. Co.): Funding - Urge, Mr. F. Chipman 2655
Vote - Affirmative 2655
Res. 811, Sysco - Dep. Min.: Posturing (PAC [22/03/00]) - Reprimand,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 2655
Res. 812, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Motor Vehicle Act: Cell Phones -
Usage Control, Mr. J. Pye 2656
Res. 813, Agric. - Hfx. Co. Ex.: Musq. Valley Agric. Soc. -
Best Wishes Extend, Mr. B. Taylor 2657
Vote - Affirmative 2657
Res. 814, Sergeant-at-Arms: Mr. Noel Knockwood - Welcome,
Mr. D. Downe 2657
Vote - Affirmative 2658
Res. 815, Health - Health Care: Access Increase -
Absence (Truro) Explain, Mr. Robert Chisholm 2658
Res. 816, Health - Lun. Co.: Hospital Auxiliaries -
Contribution Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 2659
Vote - Affirmative 2659
Res. 817, Health - Care: User Fees - Increase Undeserved, Dr. J. Smith 2660
Res. 818, Chester St. Margaret's MLA (Hon. John Chataway):
Health Recovery - Wish, Mr. J. Holm 2660
Vote - Affirmative 2661
Res. 819, Sports - Hockey (NSSAF AA HS Champs):
Ste. Anne du Ruisseau HS - Congrats., Hon. N. LeBlanc 2661
Vote - Affirmative 2662
Res. 820, Sports - Curling: Baddeck Club Opening (11/03/00) -
Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 2662
Vote - Affirmative 2663
Res. 821, Women - Global: Contributions Outstanding - Recognize,
Ms. E. O'Connell 2663
Vote - Affirmative 2664
Res. 822, Nat. Res. - Freeman's Lumber (Greenfield): Entrepreneurism -
Recognize, Mr. K. Morash 2664
Vote - Affirmative 2664
Res. 823, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Yarmouth: Road Improvements -
Petitition (Yar. MLA) Absence, Mr. B. Boudreau 2665
Res. 824, Culture - Craft & Design (C.B. Ctr.): Work - Recognize,
Mr. F. Corbett 2665
Vote - Affirmative 2666
Res. 825, Commun. Serv. - Bridgewater & Area Kinsmen Club:
Assist. (Lun. Co.) - Acknowledge, Hon. M. Baker 2666
Vote - Affirmative 2667
Res. 826, Econ. Dev. - C.B. (Indust.): Unemployment High - Alleviate,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 2667
Res. 827, Fin. - Deficit: Reduction - Consequences Reveal, Mr. D. Dexter 2667
Res. 828, Sports - Basketball (Girls Sen. Div. A HS Champs):
Cornwallis DHS - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 2668
Vote - Affirmative 2669
Res. 829, Educ. - Universities: Funding Level (1984-85) - Restore,
Mr. W. Gaudet 2669
Res. 830, Sports - Hockey (Cole Hbr.-Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Assoc.):
Irving Oil Challenge Cup (6-8/04/00) - Hosts Congrats.,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 2669
Vote - Affirmative 2670
Res. 831, House of Assembly - Standing Committees: Meetings/Reports -
Legislate, Mr. J. Pye 2670
Res. 832, NDP (N.S.) - C.B. Assist.: Positivity (PC Party [Sask.]) -
Follow, Mr. P. MacEwan 2671
Res. 833, Agric. - Dept.: Continuance - Ensure, Mr. John MacDonell 2672
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 10, Farm Practices Act 2672
Hon. E. Fage 2674
Mr. D. Downe 2675
Mr. H. Epstein 2680
Mr. R. MacKinnon 2687
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 2691
Mr. John MacDonell 2694
Mr. W. Gaudet 2698
Adjourned debate 2698
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Mar. 28th at 2:00 p.m. 2698

[Page 2627]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Wayne Gaudet, Mr. Kevin Deveaux

[The Legislature rose on Tuesday, November 23, 1999 to meet again at the call of the Speaker.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, as a result of a vacancy in the position of Sergeant-at-Arms, an all-Party committee has recommended the appointment of Mr. Noel Knockwood for a term of five years.

Therefore I move that this House appoint Mr. Noel Knockwood as Sergeant-at-Arms and an officer of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal Opposition House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal caucus, I will second the nomination.

2627

[Page 2628]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus, I also second the nomination.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to appoint Mr. Noel Knockwood as Sergeant-at-Arms.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would you please admit Mr. Knockwood. (Standing Ovation)

[The Sergeant-at-Arms entered the Chamber.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say welcome back to all the members of the House and I take great pleasure in introducing to them Mr. Noel Knockwood. I realize that many of you are already acquainted with Mr. Knockwood and have had personal dealings with him as a representative of the many communities of interest which he serves. He has served this province with distinction in a variety of roles for many years. As a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, he has been a leader of men both in the field and on the parade square and has been recognized with the United Nations Medal for his service in Korea, among other honours. He has worked with those in need of comfort, in need of strength and in need of discipline as an addiction counsellor. I know that work can test the measure of any man and those who undertake it have a special affinity for those they help.

As a member of this province's Mi'kmaq community, he has been a strong voice for his people, a leader as a Captain of the Grand Council and serves as Spiritual Leader for the Mi'kmaq Nation.

As a Nova Scotian he had proven himself a leader in the never-ending struggle for equality and human rights. As a soldier in that battle he was honoured with the Meritorious Award for Human Rights by this province in 1991. These awards and attributes qualify him beyond a doubt to perform any duty this House might ask of him. Yet it is the dignity with which he carried these many loads and the respect for others that he has demonstrated while doing so that suits him particularly well to represent this House and the people of this diverse province.

[Page 2629]

I am sure that as the unanimous nominee of an all-Party committee of this House, Mr. Knockwood will serve all Nova Scotians well. Mr. Knockwood, welcome. I thank you for your service and invite you to begin your duties as the Sergeant-at-Arms for this Legislature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and add my comments to those of the Premier. This Legislature is well into its third century. We are in the Year 2000. Mr. Knockwood is the first Sergeant-at-Arms chosen through an open competition. He was the unanimous choice of an all-Party committee that my colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, was part of and I know he was very proud to fulfil that duty on behalf of our caucus.

The government could have continued to do what has always been done and that is make their own appointment with an informal consultation among other Parties. The Premier and his colleagues did more than that, they rose above that. They agreed to participate in this fashion with an all-Party committee to come up with this selection and we congratulate them for that. (Applause)

Mr. Noel Knockwood has a lifetime of service to his country and to his community, distinguished by his service in the Canadian Armed Forces that formed part of the United Nations Force in Korea, and by his ongoing participation as a veteran. He has gone where the needs are great; to the poor, to those in prison, to those who need an education and to those who need spiritual guidance. Regardless of one's own beliefs, the spiritual dimension of Mr. Knockwood's service is evident. It is an inspiration to all of those who believe that there is more to life than material goods, that ideals and the spirit also needs nourishment.

Another dimension to his service as Sergeant-at-Arms in this House, this House, the birthplace of representative democracy within the British Empire, is the fact that Mr. Knockwood is a Captain of the Grand Council of the Mi'kmaq. The Grand Council's history predates the first European settlements on the shores of what is now Nova Scotia. We all live together within these boundaries and while he serves as Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Knockwood happens to be a living symbol of our long relationship with the Mi'kmaq people.

On behalf of my caucus I would like to join in welcoming Mr. Knockwood to this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal Opposition House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal caucus I also wish to take this opportunity to welcome Noel Knockwood as Sergeant-at-Arms. The appointment of Mr. Knockwood is the result of all three Parties working together and I

[Page 2630]

congratulate the committee that worked so diligently to get us this excellent choice that we are witnessing here this evening. I want to also bring greetings from our Leader, Russell MacLellan, who sends his best wishes to you, Mr. Knockwood.

I am sure Mr. Knockwood will act with the same pride and devotion of service as did his predecessors in this place. Having served his province, his country and nation, Mr. Knockwood is an excellent choice for Sergeant-at-Arms.

[7:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if Mr. Knockwood is aware, but this session should become very lively and I am sure that his military experience should serve him well over the coming months. I can assure you that I will try and be on my best behaviour, as I am sure the rest of the members of my caucus will be during this session.

Mr. Speaker, more seriously, Mr. Knockwood's dedication to human rights and the Aboriginal community should serve him well as he continues his long and dedicated service to the people of Nova Scotia. On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I welcome Mr. Knockwood to this House. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We will now begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition on behalf of the citizens of the Prospect Road area. The petition reads as follows, "We, the undersigned, request an arena to be built in the Prospect Road area, serving the communities from West Dover to Goodwood." The petition contains 2,175 names and I have affixed my signature to this document.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present and table a petition from 453 residents of Windsor and district, "We the undersigned are concerned over the lack of a kidney dialysis machine at the Hants Community Hospital of Windsor. We would like to bring to the attention of the Minister of Health, the necessity of a kidney dialysis machine being made available at the Hants Community Hospital. It is important for individuals in need of this kind of treatment and who are unable to drive the long distance to Halifax, to have

[Page 2631]

access to such a machine, especially when the kidney dialysis machine at the Valley Regional Hospital is undergoing repairs."

Mr. Speaker, I have signed the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of the residents and users of the East Uniacke Road. The operative clause reads, "We the residents living on and near the East Uniacke Road, are regular users of this disgraceful, dangerous, frost-heaved highway, do hereby petition the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to immediately place the East Uniacke Road, which is a vital highway for the safe passage of the residents of East Mount Uniacke, on the priority list for repaving." There are 356 signatures on the petition and I affix my name as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents along the Brookville Road in Pictou County. It reads, "We, the undersigned residents of Brookville Road, Pictou County, Nova Scotia in the constituency of Pictou East wish to present a FORMAL PETITION concerning the deplorable condition of our Brookville Road." It is signed by 38 of the residents who live in some 25 homes along this three kilometre stretch and I have affixed my signature to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed in my area. It reads:

"Whereas 4-H has played a positive role in the personal development of our youth in Nova Scotia

Whereas 4-H develops leadership and organizational skills, self discipline, self confidence and provides opportunities for our youth to develop a sense of community and become our leaders for the future

[Page 2632]

We the below signed strongly oppose any potential funding cuts to the 4-H which may occur in the upcoming Provincial Budget."

Mr. Speaker, I have signed this. There are 63 signatures and there are more coming.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition again for those residents along Route 354 in Hants East. The operative clause, "We the undersigned, living on and near Route 354, on that section that extends from Gore through Kennetcook, and on to Noel, and who are regular users of this disgraceful, patched and increasingly dangerous highway, do hereby petition the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to immediately place Route 354, which is a vital roadway for the residents of the Cobequid Shore, on the priority list for repaving." I have affixed my signature. There are 365 signatures on this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the residents of the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley and area, I beg leave to table this petition. The residents are requesting the government establish a by-law prohibiting the use of engine brakes while travelling within our limits. The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour and the residents state that the additional noise is most unwelcome. I have affixed my name to that petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following petition regarding the short-term mental health care unit at the Aberdeen Hospital. Immediate and decisive action is required to end or stop the short-term mental health care unit of the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow from being moved to Truro Hospital by the Ministry of Health and the Northern Regional Health Board.

Mr. Speaker, it has been signed by 1,582 residents of Pictou County and I, too, have affixed my signature to the document.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

[Page 2633]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 780

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

Whereas the health cost share between the federal government and Nova Scotia has dropped from a 50/50 split when Medicare was first introduced to a current federal contribution of 12.5 cents of every $1.00 spent in health care; and

Whereas the loss of federal funding combined with a 38 per cent growth in provincial health care costs has meant Nova Scotia taxpayers have had to dig deeper to the tune of $660 million over the past three years; and

Whereas rich provinces like Ontario, Alberta and B.C. are struggling with health care costs, we can just imagine the toll these costs are taking on provinces like Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the federal government's lack of support for health care and urge the federal government to return to the table as a full partner and demonstrate its commitment to sustaining Canada's national health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

[Page 2634]

RESOLUTION NO. 781

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

Whereas first gas from the Sable Offshore Energy Project has begun to flow and the project has and will continue to make a substantial positive impact on the provincial economy; and

Whereas renowned Halifax artist Al Chaddock has captured the Sable project in a beautiful work of art that depicts the island itself and the Thebaud platform in the background; and

Whereas the Sable Offshore Energy Project has presented a copy of this painting to the Government of Nova Scotia for its support of Nova Scotia's first offshore energy project;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly dedicate this painting which commemorates a significant milestone in the history of resource development in Nova Scotia to be displayed permanently within the precincts of Province House.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask waiver.

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 782

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have the permission of the House Leaders opposite to have four whereases in this resolution which is not the custom of the House.

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

[Page 2635]

Whereas Recommendation 73 of the Province of Nova Scotia's public inquiry into the Westray Mine disaster called on the federal government to hold corporate executives and directors accountable for workplace safety, through amendments to the Criminal Code or other appropriate federal Statutes; and

Whereas for over two years Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough MP Peter MacKay has pressed Ottawa to act on Recommendation 73 becoming the first Member of Parliament from Nova Scotia to sponsor a private member's initiative to that effect; and

Whereas last week the House of Commons voted 216 to 15 in support of Mr. MacKay's motion and referred it to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for consideration; and

Whereas federal NDP Leader Alexa McDonough has sponsored her own private member's bill on Recommendation 73;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Government of Canada to act decisively to implement Recommendation No. 73 of the Westray Report, through amendments to the Criminal Code or other appropriate Statutes.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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. 783

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

Whereas for many years, health care providers, managers, administrators and consumers have identified the absence of single entry as one of the most significant barriers to ensuring timely and appropriate access to continuing care services; and

[Page 2636]

Whereas we are moving forward with plans to establish a single-entry system, which will help ensure service delivery is based on seniors' needs and that the full range of service is considered; and

Whereas a conference in Halifax and Sydney this week is giving stakeholders an opportunity to discuss and learn more about these important efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to thank those involved with the conference, including the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations for their efforts to make single-entry access a reality in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 27 - Entitled An Act to Recognize Yom haShoah as Holocaust Memorial Day in Nova Scotia. (The Premier)

Bill No. 28 - Entitled An Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

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

The honourable Minister of Health on an introduction.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, prior to introducing my bill, I would like to introduce some members in the gallery. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Sheila Stevens, who is the President of the Nova Scotia Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists and 19 other members of that association who are with us in the gallery tonight. I would ask the House to recognize them, if they would stand and be recognized in an appropriate fashion.

[Page 2637]

Bill No. 29 - Entitled An Act Respecting the Practice of Medical Laboratory Technology. (Hon. James Muir)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 784

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

Whereas the Cape Breton unemployment rate has once again reached over 20 per cent; and

Whereas in seven months since taking office, this government has not announced one new economic development initiative for Cape Breton; and

Whereas in the Chronicle Herald on Thursday, August 5, 1999, the Premier vowed not to ignore Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House condemn the Premier and his government for ignoring the Cape Breton employment crisis and breaking his vow to the people of Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 785

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

Whereas this Tory Government intends to eliminate hundreds more Public Service jobs; and

Whereas this Tory Government is also planning to merge provincial departments; and

Whereas this Tory Government is planning for a major revamping of government services, in secrecy, without input from its own employees;

[Page 2638]

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government should avoid the mistakes of the past by releasing a White Paper outlining its plans for the Nova Scotia Civil Service so that they can be discussed and improved upon by all affected parties.

[7:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 786

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

Whereas the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men gave new meaning to the term cardiac kids as they scored an amazing 10 consecutive points in the final five minutes and 28 seconds of the CIAU Men's Basketball Championship game to win the national title; and

Whereas the 61-60 victory over the University of Brandon brought Nova Scotia and the AUAA a second consecutive men's basketball championship; and

Whereas the championship win was the second for Coach Steve Konchalski, winning the title in 1993, and a fitting gift for retiring Athletic Director John "Packy" McFarland;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the members of the X-Men, their coaching staff, university officials and the people of Antigonish Town and County for their undying support of X's athletic programs.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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 Lunenburg West.

[Page 2639]

RESOLUTION NO. 787

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

Whereas the province will be collecting $100 million more in income tax this year because of the economy is growing and more people are paying taxes; and

Whereas the Tory platform stated of Ontario, "putting money back into the pockets of consumers has led to increased spending which, in turn, has led to greater economic growth, the creation of new jobs and increased government revenues"; and

Whereas if we were to believe this is true then the opposite should also stand the test of credibility;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that the blatant clawback of the provincial portion of the federal tax cut will mean less money in the pockets of Nova Scotians, less spending and less government revenue.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 788

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

Whereas today the Minister of Finance, to illustrate the need for his government to impose new user fees, claimed that driver's tests are free and are often taken daily; and

Whereas there already is a user fee to cover the cost of driver's tests; and

Whereas the Throne Speech promised a "rational, planned program of expenditure reduction";

[Page 2640]

Therefore be it resolved that if the Finance Minister cannot even get this one simple fact straight, Nova Scotians have an early signal of exactly how rational and well-planned the budget is going to be.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 789

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

Whereas Mayann Francis, head of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, was recently named a Harry Jerome Award winner for excellence in management and leadership in a professional role; and

Whereas the annual awards, held in memory of track and field star Harry Jerome, recognize excellence and achievement among African-Canadians; and

Whereas the Black Business and Professional Association and IBM Canada will present the 18th annual awards in Toronto on April 15th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and applaud Mayann Francis for her lifelong achievements and her commitment to excellence and congratulate her on being honoured with this prestigious award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2641]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 790

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

Whereas in their 243 promises, this government committed to consult with health care stakeholders to determine the number of nurses and beds needed to provide an adequate level of hospital care; and

Whereas an acute nursing shortage, for example, has resulted in the closure of five beds at the Abbie J. Lane Memorial Building; and

Whereas the bed closures was supposed to be temporary but may become permanent and will have a negative impact on the delivery of mental health services;

Therefore be it resolved that this government either admit it has made no progress on its nursing strategy promised almost eight months ago, or immediately reveal his plan to hire and to retain more new nurses in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 791

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

[Page 2642]

Whereas on January 16th this province lost a world-renowned musician when John Morris Rankin tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident; and

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia, along with his family, friends and colleagues, mourns his loss; and

Whereas John Morris Rankin will live on through all the music he has provided us with over the years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House send condolences to the Rankin family on the loss of their father, brother, son, nephew, and friend, John Morris Rankin.

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 Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw to the attention of the House, guests in our gallery who are here to witness the tabling of the Holocaust Bill. We have in the gallery this evening, Mr. Victor Goldberg, who first brought this matter to my attention and his son, Eric. As well we have three generations of the Spatz family, Mr. Simon Spatz, Dr. Jim Spatz, and Josh Spatz. I would ask our visitors to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture on an introduction.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of the House, in the east gallery, a well respected member of our local community in Inverness County, the Municipal Councillor of Whycocomagh and President of the UNSM, Duart MacAulay. I would ask Mr. MacAulay to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 2643]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 792

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

Whereas one of the first acts of this government was to present the books of this province in a full and proper fashion, using only one bottom line; and

Whereas full and proper disclosure requires the government to show how costs, one time or recurring, still add to the deficit and the debt of this province; and

Whereas the Auditor General who reports to this House has endorsed the principles under which the government reports a single number for a provincial deficit or surplus;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House support the Auditor General and the government's efforts to present a true, honest, and proper account of the very difficult financial position of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 793

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

Whereas since 1930, employees of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission have provided excellent and consistent service across the province; and

Whereas government operated liquor stores provide good paying jobs to many people in rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas rural areas like beautiful Victoria County see great benefits from government run liquor stores in terms of tourist satisfaction and product selection;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the benefits of the provincially run Liquor Commission, especially in rural areas of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

[Page 2644]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 794

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

Whereas the Hamm Government commissioned a consultant to study whether Liberal P3 measures worked and how they could be improved; and

Whereas in its wisdom the Hamm Government paid $89,000 to the consultant, KPMG, to do just that; and

Whereas the consultants reported that they cannot decide whether Nova Scotians got value for money from Liberal P3 measures;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotian taxpayers should wonder whether they got value for money when they paid $89,000 for a report that could not answer the most basic question about P3.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 2645]

RESOLUTION NO. 795

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

Whereas the MacLellan Liberals signed a deal to retain ABN Amro to sell Sydney Steel on June 14, 1999; and

Whereas on June 18, 1999, the day after the budget was defeated, they signed the final contract that made Hoogovens the steel mill's interim manager; and

Whereas these eleventh hour deals shackled the incoming government to the Liberal's agenda long after they had been defeated as a government;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House condemn these Liberals who criticized the government for fulfilling agreements they themselves made during their swansong.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 796

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

Whereas the only Tory MLA in Cape Breton was given his very own department in the hopes of better promoting tourism, especially on the Island; and

Whereas the Grand Narrows Waterfront Development Association has tried many times to get the Barra Strait Marina recognized on the provincial Tourism website; and

Whereas this marina is a full-service facility and deserves to be mentioned in taxpayer-funded promotions of the area;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Minister for Cape Breton immediately make sure the Barra Strait Marina is given the recognition it has been trying to get from the provincial government.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 2646]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 797

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

Whereas on June 29th, during the last provincial election campaign Tory Leader John Hamm said he would take the $750,000 management fee paid to Hoogovens to run Sysco and give it to small businesses; and

Whereas some of the small business investments would include the IT sector, tourism, culture and UCCB; and

Whereas it has now been three months since the government has terminated that contract;

Therefore be it resolved that this Premier table today the names of the small businesses and other industries that have received help from the over $2 million this government has saved at the expense of Sysco employees.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a fellow Kentville Rotarian, Gerry Buchan and his dear wife, Marion. Gerry is the manager of Perry Rand Limited. I would ask them to stand and receive the recognition of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings South.

RESOLUTION NO. 798

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

[Page 2647]

Whereas the MacLellan Liberals approved an untendered contract that made ABN Amro the official agent to sell Sydney Steel in the dying days of their government; and

Whereas the effect of this deal was to cause months of needless worry and uncertainty for steelworkers and their families; and

Whereas Nova Scotians will never know if their tax dollars went to pay the right company or pay a fair price to sell Sysco;

Therefore be it resolved that members in this House condemn the irresponsible actions of a former government that carelessly committed millions of taxpayers' dollars to an untendered, unscrutinized deal.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 799

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

Whereas late Thursday the crew of the HMCS Iroquois took part in a dramatic rescue mission 650 kilometres northeast of Bermuda; and

Whereas the Halifax-based destroyer saved 13 crew members of the bulk carrier, Leader L, after the ship suddenly sank a few hours after taking on water; and

Whereas despite 12 men from the Leader L still missing, the rescue effort is being hailed as a success story;

[7:45 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the heroic actions of the crew of the HMCS Iroquois.

[Page 2648]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 800

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

Whereas 18 communities learned last December that their tap water contained higher than normal levels of cancer causing agents; and

Whereas these 18 communities were not notified of this by the Department of the Environment, but learned of their water problems through news reports; and

Whereas these test results caused major concern in the communities involved;

Therefore be it resolved that when there are problems with the water supply of individual communities, the Minister of the Environment must instruct his department to notify the affected communities immediately so that action can be taken.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 2649]

RESOLUTION NO. 801

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

Whereas both the Liberal and the NDP criticized the province for opting out of its half-share of the recent PanCanadian discovery which would have amounted to a high-stakes gamble; and

Whereas the Liberals criticized a decision they initiated while still in power; and

Whereas instead of taking that decision at face value, our government went a step further by asking NSRL to call for a private partner and seeing no takers, instead called for a risk-free guarantee that would amount to about 15 per cent of any potential gross profits;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the need, in this decision and so many others, to resist the lure of rolling the dice with money that today we need to hold on to just to buy the groceries.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 802

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

Whereas on Friday, March 24th, the Minister of Economic Development and the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage were both filmed on a CBC News broadcast, violating numerous occupational health and safety laws while touring a job site; and

Whereas both these members have a demonstrated aversion to the occupational health and safety laws of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 2650]

Whereas such actions signal the commencement of a two-tiered system of justice that once plagued Nova Scotia under the John Buchanan and Donald Cameron Regimes;

Therefore be it resolved the Minister of Labour ensure his staff take appropriate action and not use political influence to sweep these actions under the carpet.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 803

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

Whereas every day in the Province of Nova Scotia, six more children are born into poverty; and

Whereas since August 17, 1999, the day this Tory Government was sworn into power, 1,338 children have been born into poverty; and

Whereas this heartless Tory Government would prefer to talk about only one kind of deficit - a budget deficit;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by 1,338 children born into poverty under this Tory regime.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 2651]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 804

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

Whereas the new safety-net agreement with Ottawa ensures Nova Scotian farmers get their fair share; and

Whereas our farmers will receive a virtual doubling in federal funding under the new three year agreement, bringing the federal allocation to almost $6 million; and

Whereas this new deal is good news for a group that makes an essential and valuable contribution to this province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join together in celebrating with the farming community a deal which finally recognizes their needs.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party on an introduction.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in the gallery opposite, we have some visitors here today, members of the Sheppard family. You will recall the death of Warren Edward Sheppard and that this government committed to having an inquiry done into the cause. I would like to ask all members of this House to recognize Raymond Sheppard and other members of the Sheppard family who are here to watch over these proceedings. (Applause)

[Page 2652]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 805

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 recent review of the public/private partnership process stated that there are significant benefits to P3 procurement; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance, when he announced the review, placed a moratorium on the construction of the 16 P3 schools; and

Whereas students, parents and teachers are anxiously awaiting the construction of these 16 new schools that are so desperately needed throughout Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately lift the school construction moratorium so that the young people of Nova Scotia can receive their education in state-of-the-art education facilities.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 806

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

Whereas Warren Edward Sheppard Jr. was murdered in a small options home on March 13, 1996 over four years ago; and

Whereas Eddie Sheppard's murder raises many questions about the practices in and standards of small options homes as well as systemic racism in the treatment of persons with mental disabilities; and

Whereas during the last election campaign, the Premier told the Sheppard family that "an inquiry would definitely be held" and the Minister of Justice did in fact announce that there would be an inquiry, a position from which he has retreated;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Justice keep faith with the Sheppard family and immediately exercise their unquestioned power to order a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Warren Edward Sheppard Jr.

[Page 2653]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 807

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

Whereas the new method of calculating provincial income tax ensures Nova Scotians will receive the full benefit of the federal income tax cut; and

Whereas the change does not alter the fact that Nova Scotians will not pay more provincial income tax; and

Whereas the new policy gives Nova Scotia control over its provincial income tax policy instead of leaving such important decisions to a federal government in Ottawa that does not have our best interests at heart;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the benefits of the province taking control of its finances by taxing individual income and look forward to our commitment of the years 2003-04 when we are in a position to also pass along a tax cut.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 808

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

Whereas this government has scheduled a by-election to be held in Glace Bay, the constituency of Cape Breton East, to be held on Tuesday, April 4th; and

Whereas this government has deliberately scheduled this by-election so that it would come prior to the introduction of its budget here in the House and also prior to the revelation of its intentions on Sydney Steel; and

Whereas were it not for the scheduling, doubtless the Tories would not be able to obtain even a single vote in Glace Bay when the voters see how drastic and Draconian their agenda really is;

[Page 2654]

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned and censured for lacking the intestinal fortitude to put its agenda squarely to the people of Glace Bay.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 809

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

Whereas the Standards of Practice for Nova Scotia Farmers and Farm Accident Risk Management Program was launched on March 10th as part of the National Farm Safety Week; and

Whereas this program which consists of a manual and risk management checklist, provides farmers the information and tools they need to manage farm safety issues and protect themselves, their family and their employees from farm-related injuries; and

Whereas this program was developed by the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and the Nova Scotia Farm Health and Safety Committee in partnership with the Nova Scotia Departments of Agriculture and Marketing, and Labour;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of all of the participants in this initiative aimed at making farming safer for all farmers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 2655]

RESOLUTION NO. 810

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister of Fisheries had been urging the federal government to provide the necessary funds to repair and replace storm-damaged wharves in coastal communities across our province; and

Whereas wharves at Parkers Cove, Delaps Cove, Port Lorne, Hampton, Cottage Cove and Margaretsville all suffered damage caused by a vicious windstorm on January 21st; and

Whereas Annapolis County Council has expressed its concern over the delays of the federal Fisheries and Oceans Department and has asked it to repair the wharves through emergency funding so they could be fixed in as short a time as possible;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislative Assembly acknowledge the urgency of the situation for affected fishermen and express support to both the Annapolis County Council and the Fisheries Minister as they push for the necessary capital to improve the battered wharves in Annapolis County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 811

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

Whereas the so-called deputy minister responsible for Sysco has crossed the line between the role of a professional public servant and that of a political hack in a recent meeting of the Public Accounts Committee; and

[Page 2656]

Whereas the so-called deputy should concentrate more on the job at hand instead of playing the political blame game; and

Whereas the credibility of all public servants was compromised by the words of the so-called deputy minister responsible for Sysco;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately take steps to reprimand the deputy minister responsible for Sysco for his blatant political posturing while ensuring it is the minister responsible for Sysco and not his deputy who should be speaking for the Sysco file.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 812

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

Whereas cellular phones are now used as a form of common communication; and

Whereas the use of cellular phones while driving now causes many vehicular accidents; and

Whereas to date there is no enforceable legislation to prohibit the use of cellular phones by vehicle operators;

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial government amend the Registry of Motor Vehicle Act to make it illegal to operate a vehicle while communicating over a cellular phone or any other communication equipment that has the potential to endanger the life of a person.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 2657]

RESOLUTION NO. 813

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

Whereas the annual Halifax County Exhibition established in 1884 in Middle Musquodoboit is one of the oldest agricultural fairs in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas like many agricultural fairs and exhibitions across Nova Scotia, the agricultural society is constantly challenged to keep the support of exhibitors and the general public; and

Whereas the Musquodoboit Valley Agricultural Society is employing Greg Llewellyn, a marketing and promotion coordinator, for a six month period this year to increase attendance and secure the necessary sponsorship;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate and extend best wishes to the Musquodoboit Valley Agricultural Society and to Greg Llewellyn as they work toward making the 117th Halifax County Exhibition the best one yet.

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 Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: I just thought I should mention, I was asking for paper clips and we are getting them delivered one at a time. They said, if you need another one, we will bring it over. That is an indication of the budget, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 814

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

[Page 2658]

Whereas Noel Raymond Knockwood has been appointed Sergeant-at-Arms for the nation's oldest House of Assembly; and

Whereas Mr. Knockwood has served his country in the Korean War, being awarded several service medals including the United Nations Medal; and

Whereas Noel Knockwood has a long career of exemplary public service and will be honoured by the Aboriginal Veterans Association in June;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House welcome Noel Knockwood to the Legislature as he continues to serve the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 815

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

Whereas the Minister of Health's own riding is experiencing a critical shortage of doctors; and

[8:00 p.m.]

Whereas in 1997, the Truro area had 29 general practitioners, 22 in 1998 and now only 18 remain; and

Whereas estimates show 6,000 residents of the Minister of Health's riding are without a family physician and at the end of this week another doctor is leaving behind his caseload of 1,800 patients;

[Page 2659]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health explain to his own constituents and to all Nova Scotians why this government forgot to make better access to health care, including enough family doctors, first and foremost.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 816

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

Whereas hospital auxiliaries continue to enhance the care offered at the Fishermen's Memorial Hospital and the South Shore Regional Hospital; and

Whereas the auxiliaries assist in purchasing assets designed to enhance health care in Lunenburg County; and

Whereas the members of the Fishermen's Memorial Hospital and the South Regional Hospital auxiliaries are compromised of volunteers who contribute countless hours to their community out of a desire to improve health care for their fellow citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the hospital auxiliaries in Lunenburg County for their important contribution to health care.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 2660]

RESOLUTION NO. 817

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

Whereas despite promises made during the election, the Tories have obviously realized they can't cure health care for just $45 million; and

Whereas for weeks a desperate Premier has been sending up trial balloons to test the winds for the public appetite for health care user fees; and

Whereas when it comes to increased health care user fees, the Premier's trial balloon has been as successful as the Hindenburg; (Laughter)

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government realize Nova Scotians do not deserve to be hurt by increased user fees, which will in effect impose a two-tiered health care system in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 818

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

Whereas when political Parties are permitted, we put our political differences aside; and

Whereas the NDP would like to do this by wishing the member for Chester-St. Margaret's a speedy recovery from his recent illness; and

Whereas as members of the Opposition, we look forward to seeing the member for Chester-St. Margaret's back in the Legislature;

[Page 2661]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join together today in wishing the member for Chester-St. Margaret's a complete and healthy recovery from his illness and we look forward to his return to this House.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 819

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Monsieur le président, à une date ultérieure, j'ai l'intention de proposer l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que la Fédération athlétique des écoles de la Nouvelle-Écosse a tenu son tournoi annuel pour le championnat provincial de hockey AA pendant la fin de semaine du 25 mars dans le comté de Yarmouth; et

Attendu que l'équipe hôtesse de l'École secondaire Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau remporta son premier championnat provincial contre une équipe de l'Île-Madame dans le comté de Richmond par un pointage de 4 à 1; et

Attendu que le calibre et l'esprit sportifs on été maintenus à un haut niveau par toutes les équipes pendant la durée du tournoi;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette assemblée félicite l'équipe de hockey de l'École secondaire Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau pour son succès lors de ce récent tournoi de hockey provincial. Félicitations aussi aux entraîneurs, aux organisateurs et aux bénévoles qui ont fait de ce tournoi et de cette victoire un moment important pour la région d'Argyle en ce début du nouveau millénaire.

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

[Page 2662]

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation held its Provincial AA High School Hockey Championship last weekend in Yarmouth County; and

Whereas the host team, Ste. Anne du Ruisseau High School, captured its first provincial hockey crown by defeating a determined Isle Madame high school team 4 to 1 in the championship game; and

Whereas amateur sport was displayed at its very best by all who took part;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Ste. Anne du Ruisseau High School Hockey Team for its accomplishment and also their coaches, organizers and volunteers who made the millennium year of 2000 one to remember.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for 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.

RESOLUTION NO. 820

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

Whereas the Baddeck Curling Club held its official opening on Saturday, March 11, 2000, during the Victoria County Winter Games Festival; and

Whereas the curling rink has quickly become a focus for winter sport and recreation activities in the area; and

Whereas about 40 students are already enjoying the sport of curling at this facility and the number of young people in the junior league is expected to grow;

[Page 2663]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations for the hard work and determination of the many people in the community who worked to make the Baddeck Curling Club a reality.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 821

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

Whereas March 8th was the 25th Anniversary of the first International Women's Day as designated by the United Nations; and

Whereas this date can be traced to labour strikes on March 8th in the years 1857 and 1908 in New York City, where workers protested dangerous working conditions and exploitative wages paid to women; and

Whereas March 8th is now seen as the day to celebrate the accomplishments of women over the past century;

Therefore be it resolved that all members recognize the outstanding contributions women have made to their communities, countries and the world, not just on March 8th but all year round.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2664]

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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 822

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

Whereas the motto at Freeman's Lumber in Greenfield really should be like a Phoenix rising from the ashes; and

Whereas the family-owned lumber mill has been a landmark in Greenfield since 1832, but has rebuilt numerous times over the last 168 years because of destruction due to floods, fires and hurricanes; and

Whereas instead of packing it all in after the last fire in 1990, President Harry Freeman and his workforce rebuilt the mill, a successful partnership augmented over the last decade with the many expansions and advances such as computerized equipment which has been added to the operation;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize and congratulate the operators and employees of Harry Freeman and Son Lumber, a business wish embodies the spirit of entrepreneurism, teamwork and, most importantly, perseverance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

[Page 2665]

RESOLUTION NO. 823

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

Whereas last September the MLA for Yarmouth promised his constituents he would present a petition for better roads during the fall session of the Legislature; and

Whereas the fall sitting of the House came and went and the MLA for Yarmouth failed to fulfil his promise; and

Whereas the petition was finally given to the Transportation Minister six months later during a visit to Yarmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the people of Yarmouth deserve to have their concerns addressed sooner by an MLA who will keep his promises on time.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 824

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design is quickly becoming one of the bright spots in Cape Breton's battered economy; and

Whereas the Island's craft sector is estimated to employ over 1,000 persons and provides an annual revenue of over $7 million; and

Whereas the centre has become the leader in developing the skills Island artisans need to compete in a highly competitive and pricey sector of the economy;

[Page 2666]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the excellent work and dedication of the members of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in aiding local artisans and helping to grow the economy of the area.

I seek waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 825

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

Whereas for three years in a row the Bridgewater and Area Kinsmen Club organized Food for Families which delivers food to homes throughout Lunenburg County; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Kinsmen Club has targetted the month of February because February can be a bleak time of year for those less fortunate; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Kinsmen Club wish to highlight the needs of those less fortunate throughout the year;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Bridgewater and Area Kinsmen Club for its assistance to those less fortunate throughout Lunenburg County.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2667]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 826

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

Whereas industrial Cape Breton is experiencing continually increasing economic and social hardships; and

Whereas the Minister of Economic Development has publicly stated Cape Breton residents must "think outside the box" and that any worthwhile proposal would be given serious consideration by the Hamm Government; and

Whereas to date, despite being provided with a detailed multimillion dollar proposal for Fortress Louisbourg, the John Hamm Government provides no firm commitment;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development take immediate action on this proposal in an effort to alleviate the chronically high unemployment rate in industrial Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 827

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

[Page 2668]

Whereas the most recent utterances of the Premier include musings about privatizations, massive layoffs and forced labour for welfare recipients; and

Whereas these whispers, nuances and hints point, so far, to a return to the bad, old backward days of the 19th Century, described by Charles Dickens; and

Whereas Uriah Heep, a key figure in Dickens' novel, David Copperfield, was a master of deception and misinformation through whispers and innuendo;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier stop the Heep-like rumours and innuendo and tell Nova Scotians, finally, what he really intends to do.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 828

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

Whereas the Cornwallis Lady Clippers recently won the Senior Girl's Basketball Championship for Division A High Schools, beating a very talented team from Margaree Forks; and

Whereas this event was hosted by the Cornwallis District High School and teams from across Nova Scotia were ably hosted at this event; and

Whereas the leading scorers for the Lady Clippers in the championship game were Tasha Reid, Shanda Reid, Candace Leyte, Jenny Rand and my own favourite, Kaitlyn Parent;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Coach Dale Sanford and the members of the Lady Clippers Basketball Team for achieving this hard-fought and well-deserved honour.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2669]

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. 829

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 recent joint report by the Association of Atlantic Universities and the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council revealed that one of Atlantic Canada's greatest resources is its universities; and

Whereas the total expenditures by universities in Nova Scotia in 1998-99 was $486,765,000; and

Whereas these expenditures allowed Nova Scotia universities to provide direct employment to 7,400 people, who in turn provided a significant economic impact throughout the province;

Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately restore university funding to at least 1984-85 levels so that they can get on with the job of educating our greatest asset, our youth, and continue to contribute in a positive way to our economy.

Mr. Speaker, I would request for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 830

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

[Page 2670]

Whereas the sport of hockey has always been important in developing strong team and leadership skills; and

Whereas Irving Oil Limited sponsors the Atlantic Provinces Bantam Championships on an annual basis to recognize the best Bantam team in the region; and

[8:15 p.m.]

Whereas the Cole Harbour-Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association hosts the Irving Oil Challenge Cup this year, with the tournament taking place from April 6th to April 8th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Cole Harbour-Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association and in particular the organizers of the tournament and wish the teams the best of luck at the Irving Oil Challenge Cup.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 831

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 the past this Legislative Assembly, recognizing the importance of public input to several departments, has established various standing committees with the responsibility of seeking input from concerned groups and individuals and then reporting back to this House; and

Whereas the previous majority Liberal Government had allowed some of these committees to stagnate with no meetings for long periods of time, even years; and

[Page 2671]

Whereas since it was elected, this Tory Government has somehow found it necessary not to have any meetings of the Standing Committee on Community Services;

Therefore be it resolved that this House enact legislation that will demand that all standing committees do the job that they were established to do by meeting regularly and reporting to this House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 832

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

Whereas the NDP claim that their new agenda is to fight for fair treatment for the Island of Cape Breton; and

Whereas no part of Canada has suffered so on account of the NDP as Cape Breton, whether it be by the attacks of MP Michelle Dockrill on Scotia Rainbow, the merry adventures of Reeves Matheson or the droning of Peter Mancini, who flies on constant autopilot; and

Whereas if the NDP really wanted to help Cape Breton, they could follow the model set by the Tory Party in Saskatchewan which dissolved itself as a political Party and ceased all operations;

Therefore be it resolved that if the NDP were to follow the example of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan then they would be really doing something positive to promote fair treatment for the Island of Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

[Page 2672]

RESOLUTION NO. 833

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

Whereas rumours circulate that the Department of Agriculture will be axed in the upcoming provincial budget; and

Whereas an industry that generates in excess of $1 billion annually and supports 12,000 Nova Scotians and their families deserves its own stand-alone department, just like Tourism; and

Whereas the Minister of Agriculture has done nothing to allay fears about this potential closure;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture rise today in this House and assure Nova Scotia farmers that he will not stand idly by watching the demise of this valuable and necessary department.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Before we begin the orders of the day, I just want to note there was a clerical mistake on the Order Paper, and that was the Address in Reply which should not have been there.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 10.

Bill No. 10 - Farm Practices Act.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. This was not on the Order Paper today, and I would refer you to Rule 5A(6) of the Rules and Forms of

[Page 2673]

Procedure of the House, which states that on the last sitting day of the House the order of business for the next sitting day should be made known to the members of the House. This did not happen. While I am in favour of it, personally I have looked at the bill, I have no problem with it, nor does our caucus, but the Government House Leader being the learned person that he is, over the years in this House, I think should follow the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House. In this case the Rules and Forms of Procedure have not been followed. I would ask that this not be read tonight.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think that it is extremely important that the rules, and certainly the traditions of the House, be followed. Certainly Paragraph 5B says, "Where the House has stood adjourned for one month or more after the Committee of the Whole on Supply has completed consideration of the Estimates, (a) Rule 5A does not apply to the first five sitting days when the House reconvenes; and", it goes on. The decision, of course, is certainly up to yourself but I will say this, and certainly we are willing to get on with the business of the House, we were notified. I know I was notified and my caucus was notified some considerable time ago as to what the business intentions of the government were for this evening.

Mr. Speaker, the ruling is certainly in your hands and we will support whatever ruling you make but we are prepared this evening, based on what we consider was to be reasonable advance warning about what the business would be tonight, and on that basis are prepared to continue to debate the bill that is intended to be called this evening.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The notice of the business for today was sent out to both House Leaders, I believe about two weeks or three weeks ago. I don't know where the honourable member for Cape Breton South picks up his mail but if he didn't receive it, I apologize, but it certainly went out and it is firmly in accordance with the Rules of the House as long as the message is conveyed to the Opposition House Leaders.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Again, Mr. Speaker, I did not receive notice of that and our caucus did not receive notice of it until today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a further point of order. We have no difficulty with the bill. The fact is, I think that the Rules of the House have not been strictly adhered to but nevertheless I will abide by the Speaker's ruling, as always.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am quite willing to accept an apology from the House Leader of the Liberal Party. (Laughter)(Applause)

[Page 2674]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader will never live that long. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: I thought things were going quite well. (Laughter) Obviously, it would be desirable to have everyone notified of what the Orders of the Day would be, but when I look back at June 29, 1998, the House adjourned until October 15th and there was no business notified to the other Parties at the time. However, when we return to October 15, 1998, we did resume business and we did have second reading on that date of the Financial Measures (1998) Act. So I will allow the request of the Government House Leader.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce for second reading, Bill No. 10, An Act to Protect Farmers Engaged in Normal Farm Practices from Being Sued in Nuisance or Negligence. The short name of this legislation is the Farm Practices Act. This is an important piece of legislation for the future of farming in this province and one that strikes a balance between farmers and their non-farming neighbours. It is a proactive step on the part of the farming community to be good neighbours.

The legislation sets up a cost-effective and fair process for the resolving of conflicts that arise from normal farming practices, for example, an odour arising from farm-related activities. It provides both farmers and non-farmers with an effective alternative to costly civil law suits and it protects farmers who are following normal farm practices from civil litigation and nuisance by-laws that restrict farm activities. The legislation also provides for the development of a code of practice or standards that will ensure the integrity of the industry.

This legislation is industry driven. It was supported by the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture because farmers know this legislation is a good thing for the industry; supporting improper farming practices certainly is not. While the vast majority of farmers in Nova Scotia follow excellent farming practices, this legislation will serve to encourage farmers to improve farm practices when needed. The legislation provides for the establishment of a farm practices board with representatives from the farming community, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the community at-large to hear and investigate complaints and decide on normal farming practices.

The board will have the ability to determine if a farmer is following the normal farm practices. If so, the farmer is protected from civil action. Conversely, if the board orders a farmer to make modification to an unacceptable practice and the farmer fails to comply, the farmer is guilty of an offense and open to civil lawsuits.

[Page 2675]

This bill was introduced for consultation and first reading in the last legislative session. We wanted to provide it to the farming community and the public at-large so that they could have an opportunity to provide comments. A number of individuals and groups responded and we were pleased with these comments and suggestions that have been made.

In general, the comments supported the need for such a bill. I want to address briefly three issues that were highlighted; one was the term normal farm practices. Suggestions were made that it be accepted, or lawful farm practices. Six provinces use the term normal. What matters though is how this definition is defined in the legislation. The legislation clearly defines what is, or what is meant by, normal farm practices.

Clause 3(g) states, "'normal farm practice' means a practice that is conducted as part of an agricultural operation (i) in accordance with an approved code of practice, (ii) in accordance with a directive, guideline or policy statement set by the minister with respect to an agricultural operation or normal farm practice, or (iii) in a manner consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards as established and followed by similar agricultural operations under similar circumstances, including the use of innovative technology used with the advanced management practices;".

Second was the need to have the broader community involved in the determination of the code of practice. The bill addresses this issue as well. Clause 8(1) states that, "A person may make a request to the Minister that a code of practice be developed. (2) Upon receipt of a request pursuant to Subsection (1), the minister may refer the request to the Board for an opinion from the Board as to the desirability of adopting a code of practice. (3) Where the Board recommends that a code of practice be adopted, the Minister shall, following such public consultation as the minister deems appropriate, develop a code of practice." The details of how codes of practice will be developed will be laid out in the regulations that follow.

Third, there was a call for an addition of the word "storage" to the list of farm activities under the definition of an agricultural operation. At this time I am prepared to forward a recommendation for the addition of the word "storage" to the Law Amendments Committee. The consultation process we went through was an important step in the process, just like this legislation is an important step in securing a solid future for the growth of agriculture in Nova Scotia. This is fair, balanced and effective legislation. That is why it is my pleasure to move second reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I want to start off by congratulating the minister for bringing this bill forward. I know the amount of work that has gone on over the last number of years in developing Bill No. 10 has been extensive. It has involved the Federation of Agriculture and a number of people within the department and the work is very positive in effect, showing that farmers do have rights in the production of food.

[Page 2676]

Mr. Speaker, the minister who has brought this bill forward realizes that this work had been undertaken for some number of years. For that, it is not necessarily for us to be talking about when in fact it was brought in, but I just wanted to let you know that this has been underway for quite a period of time under a number of different ministers. To be able to make it through that shows the respect this House has for the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. It doesn't matter what political stripe we are, we are here to help promote and develop programs that are beneficial to the farm community, while at the same time protecting rights on both sides of the agricultural community.

The bill, Mr. Speaker, was open for public consultation, as the minister indicated when he tabled the bill, from October 27, 1999 to January 17th, 2000. That is a very long period of time, time that clearly everybody has a chance to have input into the process. It shows that openness for consultation and I appreciate what the minister has done in regard to that.

[8:30 p.m.]

As I indicated, the Federation of Agriculture, which is really the umbrella organization in agriculture in the Province of Nova Scotia, has given its support. In fact, one of the mentors to this bill is a former president of the Federation of Agriculture and now a member of the senate of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture; I, too, am a member of that same senate. I know that individual has worked very hard and tirelessly to bring forward this bill, Bill No. 10.

The main provisions in this bill talk about the protection of farmers and the farm community for those who are following the normal farm practices. I remember a number of years ago in the farm community when sometimes people do move out to the rural community and I can understand why they move into a rural community because it is so beautiful, especially on the South Shore, in the Lunenburg County area, and people are just literally flocking from Halifax down to the beautiful South Shore. The reason they are coming to the rural communities is because they do appreciate the natural beauty, but sometimes people move from the cities and all of a sudden they see this beautiful countryside, the rolling hills, the farmland in production and so on and so forth, but all of a sudden the farmer has to spread a little manure. They do that for the purpose of fertilizing land and invariably all of a sudden some of these people get pretty upset about that. They say, you are not allowed to do that, you are hurting my environment.

I remember a number of years ago the hog sector that was expanding had been under a lot of pressure in the Valley and other areas of the province with regard to potential litigation from individuals. At that time the government of the day - and I will give a compliment to the government of the day - brought forward what they referred to as "the right-to-farm legislation". That started the process of saying farmers do have rights in rural Nova Scotia, but they also have an obligation and a responsibility to establish codes of

[Page 2677]

practice that talk about the right way to farm in regard to the environment and to the rights of both parties.

Some of those codes of ethics and codes of practice took a long time to develop. I am interested in the regulations that will follow this that the minister has indicated, in fact, will have the definition of how these codes will be redrafted and farm practices be established under the regulations. I will watch with interest in making sure that they are fair for the farm community and obviously fair for the general public.

I will say, Mr. Speaker, in regard to the establishment of a Farm Practices Board as an appeal process, it is, in fact, allowing the individual a right to actually have an appeal process with regard to farm practices. So it protects the consumer and it protects the farm community, and I think it is a good move. There are a couple parts in that that I have some concerns about and maybe the minister can enlighten me.

The first part is that in this legislation this body, this board, which consists of a cross-section of representation, will make a recommendation to the minister, but in the bill, as I understand it, the minister has the right to accept or not accept the recommendations of the board and for that I feel that, depending on who the minister of the day is, this body that we think is a good body, is a cross-representation of community and individuals who obviously understand the concerns of what is going on, and they can make a recommendation to the minister and the minister could just on his own say no, I do not accept that and I am going to decide in another direction.

I think there should be some efforts made on that and I would ask the minister to look into that. We are not trying to undermine this process, what we are trying to do is strengthen it. One of the things that I feel is important is that the minister has an obligation to listen to the recommendations of the board. I believe that the board's decision should be mandatory for the minister to implement. For that, I would ask the minister to look into it. Obviously after second reading it will be going to the Law Amendments Committee and recommendations will be made there. We will follow that and we will look forward to the revised bill that comes back to the House.

The second area of the appeal process that concerns me, as I understand it, and the minister can correct me if I am wrong, is that the minister will be able to appoint this board. Now behind the minister is the Chairman of the Human Resources Committee. The Human Resources Committee just recently appointed an individual to the Farm Loan Board, for which the previous chairman, who did an exemplary job in chairing the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board, and that individual had submitted an application to assume that portfolio or that position again, that individual has shepherded the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board through a number of years of changes, to the extent where last year the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board provided a tremendous service to the farm community, and secondly, made $1 million profit.

[Page 2678]

So when the chairman, who is responsible to report directly to the minister, and the minister is his boss, asked to continue on because he was doing a good job and the farm community supports him, this individual, by the way, who is past president of the Federation of Agriculture in this province, who without question is highly regarded and respected in the farm community, who is non-partisan and was appointed, not because of political stripe, but appointed in the Liberal Government time for his credibility, integrity, morality and professionalism in making sure that he would go forward doing the right job . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I am sure the gentleman you are talking about is of fine character but I think we are here to discuss this bill at second reading, which would be the principle of the bill. I would ask the member to bring himself back to the principles of the bill.

MR. DOWNE: Yes, I am actually getting to that point, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. I know that it is related but I appreciate that until you see where I am going with this, that you would appreciate why I am saying what I am saying because I am making a point. I am making a point that the ability for a minister to hand-pick a political crony, a backer of an individual Cabinet Minister to a post, who has very little personal background in the running of the Farm Loan Board, I don't think he has ever been involved with the Farm Loan Board as a member of the board ever, whereby the current one, the one who applied for this, ran it for a number of years.

Now I am not condemning, I think the member who now is the chairman of this, is a good individual and a qualified individual. I am not debating that, but I am debating the fact that the minister does have the ability to rule for whatever reasons he wants to, and in that particular case of the Farm Loan Board, it was for political reasons in my view. Now I know the minister very well. The minister understands agriculture, has farmed for many years, and understands the importance of being credible. But under this bill, as I understand it, the minister now can continue with the ability to be able to appoint whoever he wants to this particular board.

Now the past record of this minister is obviously that he wants to appoint political friends of the Party to positions that should not be political. I look across this floor to the members who are from rural Nova Scotia and from the farming community of the Annapolis Valley, and I ask any one of them, to stand up here and condemn the leadership that Mr. Ueffing has played to the Farm Loan Board. Ask any one of them to stand up here in this House and say that the minister is right to fire that guy because he has done a bad job. Well under this particular bill, the minister can continue with that right to be able to do whatever he wants to in the hiring of these individuals. I ask that the minister take this temptation away from himself, this temptation of picking hacks as it were or Party faithfuls to a board that is an appeal process, that is trying to set up an appeal process to maintain integrity to dispute-settling mechanisms for the farm community. So I say that the minister should follow his own government practices, and that is to revert those decisions to the Human Resources Committee.

[Page 2679]

Now the minister across the way, he knows I don't get mad very often but I am upset about Mr. Ueffing's situation. I am disappointed in the minister. I am disappointed, but I will say . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to please keep his comments to the principle of the bill as opposed to personal, whether he agrees or disagrees.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am talking about Clause 5(1) of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to speak to the principle of the bill, not sections, not individuals. Please, for the second time, I would ask you to return to the principle of the bill.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your patience with me. I realize it is important to make sure that I keep to the principle of the bill and I will do the best I can to keep to the principle of the bill. The reason I brought this up, and maybe I shouldn't have been so emotional about it but I believe so strongly in that individual, Mr. Ueffing, being treated so poorly that I brought it up.

Back to the intent of the bill, I would say that the minister might want to consider the Party's and the government's policy and that is that all appointments should go through the Human Resources Committee. I would ask the minister to possibly look into that (Interruption) because I don't think we want to go back, as my learned friend has said, to the old days when things were done in the back rooms no matter what the situation was. Those are a couple of areas that I would ask the good minister to take a look at, to possibly see some opportunities to clarify those particular points. Like I say it is really taking a look at the issue of not only this minister but ministers to come.

The normal farm practice in the farming activity that follows the codes of practice. I think an individual farmer who is following those practices should be assured that they have some protection. That is what I believe this bill is trying to do, and I think the minister is wise to support this, as long as they are in accordance with the guidelines and the policies that have been developed through this consultation and discussion and the regulations that will be forthcoming with regard to how those practices will be established. It says in here that those policies, and I would assume that these guidelines, codes of practice, whatever we want to call them, will be developed in consultation with the Federation of Agriculture, the farm communities, whether they are dairy policies or poultry policies or horticultural policies, they would deal with individual groups.

It says, as I understand it, and I would assume the minister would mean to involve the farm community in those issues, but it also says, or directives set by the minister. I know that the Department of Agriculture is a department that has a lot of respect in the farm community. It might not be around in the next period of time, as I understand there is about an $8 million

[Page 2680]

cut coming to the department and most of that is going to be happening in staff. I would assume that the minister will be hopefully using whatever is left of the department staff but more importantly I hope they develop the guidelines with the involvement of the farm community. I am sure the good minister will do that. He understands the importance of the Federation of Agriculture and the farm communities and will want to work with them, I am sure. What the bill basically says, as I understand, it leaves you with the impression that he could go either way, and I would hope that the minister would certainly use the farm community.

[8:45 p.m.]

The proposed Farm Practices Act is expected to replace the existing Agricultural Operations Protection Act of 1986. As I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, I think you probably know the minister of the day who brought that in. I think farmers from all across Nova Scotia supported the ministers efforts in that particular area. I am sure that they will support this minister's efforts and, hopefully, this House will support the minister's efforts, as long as he involves and continues to involve the farm communities in developing these codes of practice.

The minister has suggested that he is recommending to add the word storage to the bill. We will support that amendment that the minister is requiring. I would like to now sit and hear the next speaker with regard to Bill No. 10. Again, I want to compliment the minister for bringing forward a bill that, for the last number of years, no matter who the political Party was that was in power, is doing the right thing by bringing this bill forward. I want to thank the minister for that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have been looking at the array of background, education and talents of my fellow caucus members. I have been reviewing in my mind what their backgrounds are in our impressive front bench. We have several educators. We have a television camera operator, formerly, in the second bench that tries to back them up. We have another educator and perhaps an overabundance of lawyers, but we do have three lawyers here who do try to back up the front bench. In the third row of our caucus, we have a community activist and a man who has been a long-time worker in the reproduction department of Dalhousie University.

Finally, we have a farmer. We have my honoured colleague for Hants East, who actually works at farming. I want to assure all members of this House that my colleague and I, both of whom serve on the Standing Committee on Resources, speak frequently with respect to agricultural problems and that they are a major preoccupation and concern of this caucus. We worry about loss of agricultural land. We worry about supports, through the tax system and otherwise, for farmers. We worry about the growth of agri-business that squeezes

[Page 2681]

out small family farms. We worry about commodity prices and we worry about drought. We discuss all these things.

My colleague, the member for Hants East, who is the Critic for Agriculture, will be following later with a variety of remarks. I have some comments as well that I would like to make with respect to Bill No. 10. I do want to say, immediately, that we are prepared to support Bill No. 10 at second reading. We are prepared to support it so as to give the opportunity to have further and more detailed discussion and, perhaps, amendment of this bill. Because as we see this bill, it is seriously in need of amendment.

Now, first, of course, I want to point out an irony with respect to this bill. The irony is that the very first piece of legislation that this government chooses to bring forward for discussion this session is one that creates a brand-new board for which they are going to pay expenses and travelling. I could have sworn that this was the government from which we have heard, non-stop, for months on end, that we have too many agencies, boards and commissions. I could have sworn that this is the government that says we have to economize and one of the places in which we want to economize is by getting rid of all these agencies, boards and commissions. But, lo and behold, the first piece of legislation that comes forward for debate is not something that calls upon departmental officials who are already in place to go away and study farming practices and make recommendations for changes. The first piece of legislation that they call for debate is one that is going to create a brand-new seven person board to get together on a regular basis on the government's tab with daily expense claims for each and every member.

I find this very peculiar. How can the government consistently claim any kind of consistency if they are behaving in this fashion? Is it not possible for them to hold two ideas in their head at the same time, compare the two ideas, and realize that there is something inconsistent? I characterize this as an irony. I am sure the taxpayers of Nova Scotia will regard it as something more than that and they will regard it as a serious problem.

What is it that this bill says it is designed to do? What is it that the minister says? The minister says that this bill is designed to offer protections to farmers. Mr. Speaker, do you know what? I think lots of protections are needed for farmers and that there is a lot that ought to be done for the farming community. Our caucus is very much aware of all of those issues that I outlined before and we would like to see something done about them, but this bill, as it has been presented before us, really does not do the job, which is why I said before that we would like to see some amendments made to it.

Even the particular problem, the particular aspect of farming that this bill choses to focus on, which is the interaction of farming with their neighbours, is not really adequately dealt with. Let's be clear that the interactions could be of farms with other farms next door or they could be the interactions of farms with other kinds of developments that may come next door. I understand there is at least a perception in the farming community that there is

[Page 2682]

a potential for litigation arising out of what they would chose to regard as normal farming activities, but is the answer to set up a special board to deal with these problems and at the same time to deny access to the courts to a limited group of people, namely those who happen to live next door to farmers, because that is what this bill does.

Obviously, since as the minister said this is industry driven, there are many who carry on farming activities who think that if this bill is enacted, they will have a degree of comfort and protection and be able to make investments. I can well imagine that there are those in the farming community who think that if this bill comes forward, endorsed by the Minister of Agriculture and endorsed by the Federation of Agriculture as well, I have to say, that they may well be safe in making investments in either new operations or expanding their operations.

This caucus does not want to see any farmer in this province put in a position of making investments in either setting up a new farm or expanding an existing farm only to find later on that the bill does not protect them the way they thought it might, and what I fear is that the bill as it presently exists is just that, it is a snare and a delusion. What I fear is that there may well be farmers who will make investments that may well be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, only to come along later and find that the courts strike down this legislation as being invalid legislation. If that is the case, they are going to be very unhappy, and if that is the case, I suspect they are going to have harsh words with the minister. That is why we want to start off by drawing to the attention of the minister what we see as the range of problems.

Before I get into some of the details of the legal problems with this bill, I want to point out what, as an alternative, might have been done. Because there is not doubt that there is a real need for dealing with the problem of incompatible activities being carried on side by side. This is the kind of problem which ought to be dealt with in advance, thought through and planned for. This is not the kind of problem that ought to be sorted out after the fact, either before a board or in the courts of law, if we can avoid it.

What you really need is clear, detailed codes of practice or setbacks. You need proper zoning, which is traditionally what municipalities do, or you need the province to step in through perhaps the agency of the new Municipal Government Act, which we put in place last year.

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

MR. EPSTEIN: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: I would like to thank the honourable member. Mr. Speaker and members of the House, I would like to introduce an outstanding member of our

[Page 2683]

community in Dartmouth, Mr. Jim Shea, who is up in the gallery. I would ask the members to recognize him in their usual fashion. (Applause)

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I was at the point of explaining what was really needed and what our alternatives are. I was saying that the problem of incompatible land uses, being located either side by side or within the same neighbourhood, is a real problem. We know it in the cities and we know it in the rural areas. What I encourage is for this government to engage in detail with these problems.

Last year, we put in place a new Municipal Government Act, for example. One of the things it says is that the province can adopt statements of provincial interest. If the province does that, then every municipality has to amend its municipal development strategy and its zoning by-laws so as to conform with the statement of provincial interest. I think there are probably other tools available to the Minister of Agriculture, either through his department or through other departments, through existing legislation, that would allow him and his officials to create standards and setbacks so that incompatible uses are not allowed to go forward side by side. This is planning. This is thinking through a problem in advance. This is anticipation of something that is obvious to all of us. What is obvious is that you will get incompatible uses and that we want to minimize them. This is what zoning is traditionally about. Let's not forget that zoning, although it is normally carried on by the municipal level of government, exists only within the context of the powers that the provincial government chooses to give to them. If the provincial government chooses to set standards and details for the municipal governments, they can do that and make it stick.

So the government has a choice in terms of alternatives. It can either leave it to the municipalities to zone or they could step in themselves and say, here are the zones or here are the standards that the zoning has to meet. This should happen. But this is an alternative. The reason it is an effective alternative is that it deals with the problem in advance. We know that going to court, or even going before a board is cumbersome and expensive and risky. It is not the most desirable state of affairs, not just because it is cumbersome and risky, but because it deals with the problem after the fact. It deals with the problem after parties have maybe invested money and put themselves in a position where, if they lose litigation or lose at a board, they will be seriously out-of-pocket. I don't want to see that happen to anyone in the farming community. This legislation doesn't seem to do anything to really deal with that problem.

I said before that I thought there were legal difficulties with this bill. Why is it that it would turn out that someone interested in making an investment in an agricultural facility might take comfort from the bill but then invest money and then find the bill set aside? There are at least two problems with them and they are both constitutional law problems.

[Page 2684]

[9:00 p.m.]

The first one has to do with Section 96 of the Constitution Act and here is what that says by implication. This is the way the Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted Section 96, that if a provincial government wants to create some kind of administrative body and give to that administrative body the kinds of powers that have traditionally been exercised by the courts, that it can only do so in very narrow circumstances.

When I read this bill I am very worried about the combined provisions in this bill that say, if there is a dispute between neighbours they have to take it to the board and the board will make a ruling and they can enforce that ruling, combined with the statement that is also made in this bill that says, and you cannot go to court. You cannot sue in negligence and nuisance. For 400 years the Superior Courts starting in Britain and now, throughout North America, have dealt with tort law focused on elaborating and developing the law of negligence and nuisance. It is one of the things we pay judges to do and it is one of the things they do best.

Do you know what? This function that is being given to this board is a Section 96 function and I don't think it is going to take a court very long, when this legislation is challenged, to come to the conclusion that for that reason it is not constitutionally valid. I could be wrong. No lawyer knows all the law. No lawyer even knows all the law in one particular subject. I certainly do not know all the law and I do not know all the law about one subject. I don't even claim to know all the law about the subject that I teach at Dalhousie Law School, which is land use planning, in which we study exactly these kinds of problems. So I could be wrong but do you know what, I have actually investigated this.

I know the history of this bill and where it first appeared in Canada. It appeared as the result of a 1985 decision in New Brunswick. The case was Desrosiers versus Sullivan Farms. What happened in that case was that what was predominantly an agricultural area, Sullivan Farms was carrying on a hog business and the farm next door was developed as a subdivision. At the same time as the character of the neighbourhood changed to include a subdivision, Sullivan sought to expand the size of his hog operation. It came to the point where it was so smelly that life was intolerable for all the neighbours. They went to court and sued for an injunction.

Now the courts are very reluctant when someone has, as they say, moved to the nuisance, to grant an injunction. What they say is, well, listen, it was smelly when you moved into the neighbourhood, you knew what you were doing when you were moving there so why should we grant an injunction and close this business down? But do you know what, two things had happened. Not only had the people moved into the neighbourhood but the size of the hog operation had grown to such an extent that the two uses were incompatible and the judge was persuaded that in these circumstances it was so overwhelmingly, clearly a nuisance, that he was going to issue an injunction to stop the farmer from carrying on his business.

[Page 2685]

This is not a desirable state of affairs. It is not desirable that that kind of dispute should arise in the first place, and it is not desirable that someone who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars should be told, whether those are hundreds of thousands of dollars in building homes or buying homes or hundreds of thousands of dollars in expanding hog operations, it is not desirable that either of them should be told your money has been wasted on your homes and if life is intolerable, too bad on you, and it is not desirable that the farmers be told too bad, you have spent the money but now you have to go do it somewhere else.

What should happen is that circumstance should be planned for, dealt with in advance, not by the courts, not by a tribunal. One year later in the New Brunswick Legislature, as a result of the Desrosiers versus Sullivan case, the minister came forward with an Agricultural Operations Act that basically said you can't sue a farmer in nuisance or negligence. This spread across Canada, a number of other provinces adopted it. New Brunswick has now elaborated their legislation so it is like Bill No. 10 that we have in front of us right now.

I am not aware that this legislation has been challenged yet in court, and as I said, I have searched for it. But this legislation is buying a lawsuit. What we don't want is to set up circumstances in which people are lured into a sense of security falsely; what we don't want is that they should end up in court fighting with their neighbours. What is desirable is that if we are going to pass bills, they should be able to pass constitutional muster. I have to say that it is not at all clear to me that this bill does. I am seriously worried about it, and I am worried that we are offering false comfort to those in the farming community whom we would wish to protect. This is just the wrong way to go about it.

There is a second constitutional defect here. The constitutional defect that is next is the problem of access to the courts and treating people in one locale significantly differently than other people. What this bill says is that if you own land beside a farmer, you can't go to the courts to deal with lawsuits founded in negligence or nuisance. It doesn't say that to anyone else in the province, it picks out one group of people and it says we are going to treat you with respect to access to the courts differently. Now whether this violates Section 7 of the Charter of Rights or Section 15, there is an arguable case under either of those sections. Let me tell you, again, we are buying a lawsuit. We are buying a lawsuit for citizens of our province. That is unfair to them.

There is a problem but the problem isn't really being dealt with by this legislation. This legislation could be amended in ways that would not only allow it to pass constitutional muster but that would improve it. Here are some suggestions. Now, the board could just disappear. That is one possibility, but if the government is so wedded to the board then what it might do is make the use of the board by someone who has a complaint optional. That would still preserve the right of access to the courts, it wouldn't give any binding powers to the board. It would essentially say to the board, if parties come to you, you can act as a facilitator, as a conciliator, not necessarily as an arbitrator with binding powers, but if they come to you, do your best.

[Page 2686]

Or the government could amend the legislation to say well, if you want to go to court you can but you have to go to the board first. They could say go to the board and see if you can't work it out in an expeditious, less adversarial, less expensive fashion than going to court. This kind of device, an alternative dispute resolution, is being used more and more, but the point is that if they made that amendment, they would not be saying that the board has binding powers to issue orders and they would not be saying you cannot go to court if you want to.

There are a couple of obvious ways in which this legislation could be amended and be improved. At its core, the problem with Bill No. 10 is that it chooses the wrong remedy for the problem. Indeed, it is not clear that the problem has really been engaged. I want to give one small example, if I may, arising out of the hog industry. The reason for it is that I think although it is easily to be anticipated that disputes between nearby landowning neighbours might arise in a variety of circumstances, the reality is, as the Desrosiers versus Sullivan case tells us, that it is really hog operations that are frequently going to be the particular point of difficulty and if it is hog operations, as we know from looking at the litigation and as we know from reading all the articles that have been written about it, then let's deal with it.

We know that hog operations have transformed themselves so that it is a rare instance when they can really be characterized as a small scale family farming operation now. Carried on at large scales of efficiency, they tend to become very much like industrial activities. The newest form of hog operations are known as CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations. They are big and they produce a lot of liquid manure. There are lots of problems with those kinds of operations. We should not mistake industrial hog operations with traditional small- scale family farms.

When you look around at what has happened, you will find very quickly that all over North America, residents, and not just urban residents who have decided to move into the country to admire the view, other farmers have taken issue when hog operations nearby have gotten too big.

AN HON. MEMBER: It affects their farms, too.

MR. EPSTEIN: Of course, it affects their farms. It affects their quality of life and it can be intolerable. There was a very dramatic article, September 28, 1999, in The Globe and Mail. It talked about the problem with respect to large hog factories in Ontario in Huron County. There are articles to be found about similar kinds of problems in Quebec, all over the United States. A 5,000-hog factory opposed in Quebec is one article. Quebec Government admits hog factory is not in compliance, another article. Quebec farm communities appeal to the commissioner for environmental cooperation, another article. It goes on and on.

[Page 2687]

There is no shortage of this, but do you know what? If this is the problem, then the department should engage in it. I want to be clear that the hog industry has begun to develop voluntary standards of practice and compliance. They should be specified in setbacks or in the kinds of locations where those operations can be put. We know that this problem of incompatible uses is one we deal with through zoning. That is why we have industrial parks and why they are not immediately beside residential areas. It is to keep them separate. That is the whole thought behind the idea of zoning. So what should be happening here is that the municipalities, or the province, should take the lead and decide what the standards are. We are all in favour of that. We are not in favour of seeing any member of the farm community led on to think it is going to be safe to invest money when perhaps it is not.

[9:15 p.m.]

There are other details in this bill that worry me. I will save that for the Law Amendments Committee. I will save it for detailed discussion in the Committee of the Whole House. I know there are other members of our caucus who want to speak with respect to this bill, as well. The bottom line here, Mr. Speaker, is that although we are prepared to support this bill at second reading, it is because we want the opportunity to continue to discuss with the minister, with his colleagues, ways to better put in place rules that will really offer good protections for those carrying on their farming activities. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a few interventions on this particular piece of legislation. Initially I had not intended to make any comments, but seeing the tone and direction for which the debate is headed, I thought it would be important to raise a number of issues that I feel the government would certainly take under advisement and reflect upon.

At the initial outset, I would say in general principle that it is a good piece of legislation because anyone who has been involved in farming in Nova Scotia knows that because of the way things have changed over the number of recent years, in the last 20 years in particular, for farmers, and even as recently as the last five years, because of large issues such as global warming, the NAFTA agreement that we have, that has placed many of our farmers in this province in some rather precarious positions, and indeed the fact that we have had a rather clear delineation of who we actually define as being a farmer.

We may recall, Mr. Speaker, not that long ago when Premier Cameron was here before this House with his Minister of Agriculture defining who was a full-time farmer and who was a part-time farmer. Within this legislation it really doesn't clearly define who a farmer really is, although I think the intent of the legislation is to protect farmers from being sued from what would normally be a practice undertaken in the farming community.

[Page 2688]

Before I get into the mechanics of some of those issues, Mr. Speaker, I can't help but reflect on the purpose for which this legislation is creating a problem for the government before they even bring down their budget, before they even complete their public proclamations. This government has indicated that it wants to reduce the size of government. It wants to reduce the total number of agencies, boards and commissions in the province because of the heavy cost to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. Yet, we have a piece of legislation before us which does that very thing.

Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Education and the government is stating that this will be of no additional cost to the government, this government-appointed body, then who in effect, will have to pay for it? Are we talking about a direct charge to the farming community? Are we talking about some type of a user-pay system for anyone who would file a complaint with the board, any type of administrative or application fee?

Mr. Speaker, the government really hasn't clarified that. So, right at the outset, their very first piece of legislation on the order table is a contradiction to what the government is proposing for the people of Nova Scotia. They are planning on increasing the size of government and, yet, they are telling the people of Nova Scotia that we have to cut down because we have to reduce the cost of government to the people of Nova Scotia.

I would be very interested, Mr. Speaker, if not the Minister of Agriculture, certainly the Minister of Finance or, indeed, the Premier would be kind enough to stand before this House and rationalize the methodology that they are applying. Because, certainly, it could be argued that many of the other agencies, boards and commissions, which, by the way, if we see what has been transpiring before Human Resources over the last number of months, we can see that even some of the most worthwhile and effective agencies, boards and commissions have been essentially served notice by the fact that some of the reappointments are very short-term, as short as three months.

If you look at the Occupational Health and Safety Board with the Department of Labour, the recent appointment was only for three months. Another is to bring it to the end of the fiscal year, i.e., in line with the budget and the proposed legislative package so we have a very worthwhile, important, and a related board to this particular piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, because of the issue of occupational health and safety and the fact that the Minister of Labour is now delaying the implementation because of concerns that are raised in the agricultural community and, perhaps, rightly so. So we have a contradiction in what the government itself is proposing.

Now simply to limit liability, I don't think is quite the answer if you look at the board and the composition of the board, Mr. Speaker, that the government is proposing. I will just quickly review, the minister is planning to appoint two members from persons recommended by the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, which we would presume are representatives from the agricultural community. That is fine. One member from persons recommended by

[Page 2689]

the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. Well, that makes sense because you would think, with the overlap between municipal and provincial zoning regulations, by-laws and with the new Municipal Government Act, we would want to ensure continuity and symmetry between the various processes.

The third part of this board, four members at large. Well, Mr. Speaker, therein, I believe, lies a bit of a difficulty and a quandary for the Minister of Agriculture because if you look at Clause 3 of the bill, we can see that the definition of an agricultural operation covers a whole range of items, even to the point of referring to maple syrup. We are also dealing with issues of water drainage. In other words, we are dealing with under the new Water Act and the Environment Act.

The Water Act, by the way, was an Act that was introduced to this House and approved by the previous Conservative administration, which took the rights of the landowners away from any pond or stream within their property. In other words, it made it an asset of the Crown. In other words, if there is a pond in your backyard, you don't own that. That is excluded as being part of your property under the piece of legislation that was approved by a previous Conservative administration. That being the case, I would suspect that the Minister of Agriculture would want to include somebody from the Department of the Environment and/or from the Department of Natural Resources, because we are not simply dealing with agriculture in the traditional sense of a beef farm, a dairy farm, a hog farm or growing various types of agricultural crops as we would know, wheat, potatoes, turnips, whatever.

Mr. Speaker, I believe there is an opportunity for the Minister of Agriculture to make some correction here on this particular issue because otherwise what we will have, and history will prove correct in what I am saying, and that is that we will have nothing more than another political board. Regardless of whether it is Liberal, Tory or NDP, although that would probably never happen, or it could be the Banana Republic, but the fact of the matter is . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You hope it never happens.

MR. MACKINNON: I believe our colleagues from the NDP are detecting some slippage. The fact of the matter is I believe on this particular issue that the Minister of Agriculture would be well advised to review the composition of the board, otherwise I think we could fail. We are dealing with an issue and I don't necessarily agree with my colleague for Halifax Chebucto, I do not have a legal background, but it would appear to me from a layman's perspective that any time an issue comes before this House that the NDP either doesn't understand or can't find some way to defeat it then they raise the flag of a constitutional issue. They have done that time and time again, and I think that type of philosophical fluff that they seem to put out all the time really doesn't seem to add much to the quality of the debate.

[Page 2690]

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the issue of liability as it comes to farmers. The reason why I raised the concern about having a representative from the Natural Resources division within government and from the Department of the Environment is because farmers use fertilizer. Farmers use fertilizer, they spread it, and in many cases on a dry, windy day, some of those by-products drift onto the properties next door. If there is a subdivision established after a farmer has been there pretty well all his life and generations before, this therein becomes an issue.

Does a political board really have the full dynamics to be able to make that final decision? Are they going to be able to draw on the resources from the various departments before they make that decision? If they are going to be independent, what type of a consultation process is there going to be? I can certainly identify. In the community where I live there is a rather large dairy farmer. He has been there, and his father and his grandfather before him, long before the community of Howie Centre was even one-tenth of what it is today. It is probably the largest dairy farm in Cape Breton County right now. He is essentially surrounded by subdivisions, one of which I live in.

In the springtime there are always the side effects from when he is spreading the manure, when he is making hay. You have the dry summer days. You have people who suffer from hay fever, or whatever, they have complaints. But the fact of the matter is you go back to the traditional problem, which came first, the chicken or the egg. I don't mean that in a satirical form, but it is a fact of reality. How do we protect these farmers? I do believe that this particular piece of legislation offers some merit in that they are quite concerned that the effort to limit the liability doesn't address the full dynamics of, let's say for example, run-off. In Nova Scotia, it is becoming a well known fact that many farmers are forced, in the Valley section of the province, to irrigate their water from various streams and rivers in Nova Scotia. That creates an environmental problem. For everything you do, there is upside and a downside. The downside would be, obviously, for anyone who doesn't want a farmer to have the water out of a particular stream or river because they say that may affect their fishing, that may affect the recreation, the river banks and the whole environment.

[9:30 p.m.]

So, Mr. Speaker, I am not so sure if that is really the intent of what the minister is trying to do, but I would hope that he would, perhaps, put some parameters on really what he is trying to achieve here because a normal operation today certainly wouldn't have been a normal operation 10 or 20 years ago. So I would ask for the minister, perhaps, when he is wrapping up on second reading, if he would be kind enough to draw that to our attention.

Also, Mr. Speaker, I notice that under Clause 15 of the bill it makes provisions for regulations. But that is not a requirement, that is only an option with the minister if the minister and the Governor in Council would like to make regulations. It says, under Clause 15, "The Governor in Council may make regulations". I know that it is an option to have and

[Page 2691]

it is generally considered that any time a piece of legislation would come before the House, that the Governor in Council would prepare the regulations. Perhaps, if the minister were willing, as has been done in past practice with some of these more resource-related pieces of legislation, he would provide us with at least an outline or a working copy of the regulations so we would have a better sense of the intent of this legislation and the dynamics of really what he wants to achieve.

Other than that, Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a piece of legislation that could generally be accepted by the House. I think it offers the type of protection that perhaps farmers haven't been afforded in the past and, for many reasons beyond their control, they find themselves in litigation. But I do draw those other points as cautionary notes. I certainly want the Premier to take note of the fact that he is increasing his political bureaucracy and not shrinking it, as per his public commitment, but we will leave that for a debate on a future day. I will certainly be supporting this piece of legislation to go on to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am only going to take about 5 or 10 minutes to debate this particular bill. I am happy to have an opportunity to debate Bill No. 10, particularly because it is, I think, a very important piece of legislation. I don't think anyone in this House can deny the importance of the principles and would have any trouble endorsing the principles of this legislation, which is recognizing the right of farmers to farm, particularly in those parts of Nova Scotia where they are being so increasingly encroached by suburban and exurban dwellers, whether that be in Kings County or Hants County or parts of the Musquodoboit Valley in Halifax County. These are areas that are rapidly developing into suburban and residential areas.

The real issue is, Mr. Speaker, how do we ensure that those farmers that were there, those farmers that have been farming there for generations have the opportunity to continue farming and continue to protect their livelihood. Because it isn't just their livelihood, it is, obviously, a necessity for this province to have some form of agricultural base in which it can maintain a certain amount of its own food development and production. I think that is important and I don't think there is anyone in this House that would deny the importance of the legislation.

Here is the point, Mr. Speaker, I read Bill No. 10 today, knowing that it was going to come up for second reading. I must say, there are many parts of this bill that you could drive a truck through. I was actually quite surprised. My recollection was, originally, that at first reading, this was supposed to be a bill that was a draft piece of legislation that was only for consultation and then what would happen was that it would be removed and another bill would be introduced. What I am amazed at is given some of the definitions, given some of the broad clauses in this piece of legislation, I would say to you, just having read it a couple

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of times, clearly this bill will not meet a lot of the criteria that it would have to meet if it is going to meet legal requirements.

This is a bill that results in a new form of adjudication with regard to farms and those who live near farms, a very contentious issue, an issue that is going to be a lot more contentious over the next 10 to 20 years and what we need is a bill that is solid, that is drafted well and identifies clearly the rights of all parties so we can ensure that both farmers have the right to farm and those around them have some form of adjudicating it and addressing issues that they may have.

This bill does not do it. In fact, all it will create is, quite frankly, pandemonium. It will create a situation, Mr. Speaker, where this province is basically setting up a system that will not work, whether that be because of the comments made by the member for Halifax Chebucto or whether it be for other general clauses, this bill can be broadly interpreted by many parties and that in itself will result in a lot of problems.

I guess, Mr. Speaker, this goes to a different issue and some of it is with regard to the creation of a board and some of it is broader, but here is the real concern. This government has seen fit to bring forward this legislation and to do it in a way that is, quite frankly, slipshod. What we are going to get out of it is a short-term solution that will result in long-term problems and long-term costs to this province. Quite frankly, this is not the first time this has been done by a government in this province and that is the problem we have had in this province I think for many years.

Whether they be Liberal or Tory Governments, Mr. Speaker, they have a tendency to look for the short-term quick solution, not looking at any long-term impact and whether or not there are other ways of addressing the issues that can resolve it if a little extra work is done, but instead looking for that short-term solution and that is the dilemma that we have with regard to Bill No. 10. Farmers deserve the right to farm. Farmers deserve legislation that will protect that right to farm. Bill No. 10 I am concerned does not do that.

Let me talk specifically about this government, Mr. Speaker. This is a government that in its Speech from the Throne said Nova Scotians must have a smaller government. Nova Scotians must be more self-reliant. These are the buzzwords of a Party and a government that is intending to make government smaller. We hear the rumours every day about job cuts in government, or user fees, or other cuts in government departments, but at the same time, as we have with the one hand the cuts, with the other hand we have the burgeoning of a new bureaucracy around the Farm Practices Board.

How can this government sit across from us and say that they believe in smaller government when the first piece of legislation to come before us in this spring session creates a new board and creates a board that, quite frankly, is in itself not only bureaucratic, but it is costly, costly obviously in per diems, costly obviously in expenses to the members, but here

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is a bigger factor, Mr. Speaker, what about those other costs? If there is a problem before that board, we know full well that farmers are going to have to hire lawyers. They are going to have to bring those lawyers in to represent them at this board in order to get their case put, so that they are able to make an argument as to why their practices should be maintained or allowed to expand.

Mr. Speaker, that is a real problem because what we are setting up here, when you set up a bureaucracy you are setting up a system that only helps those who are appointed by the government and in this province we know that means patronage. We also are setting up a system where lawyers are able to earn extra money off the system and where those who are directly impacted, those who should have the right to farm and have legislation to protect them are instead forced to have to go out and find the money to actually adjudicate matters.

Mr. Speaker, while this government talks about smaller government, it does the opposite. It is that kind of hypocrisy, I think, that is a real problem for this government, not only with regard to Bill No. 10, but Bill No. 10 is a symptom of a much bigger problem. I think we are going to see this over the next few months as to what their intentions really are and I would suggest to you that that hypocrisy will probably grow and grow over the next few months and years of the term of this government.

Let me talk a little bit though, Mr. Speaker, because I think it is important in an Opposition Party that we not only talk about whether or not there is a problem with a piece of legislation, I would suggest it is not only the job of an Opposition Party to oppose, but to suggest solutions and new ideas that potentially can solve some of those problems and although this is at the principle stage, I will throw out a couple of ideas.

For example, we talk about a board, the Farm Practices Board, Mr. Speaker, that is quite clearly in place, a level of bureaucracy, a new layer of bureaucracy, that this government that is so bent on smaller government, seems to be willing to produce.

Mr. Speaker, there is a much easier way of doing this. This board really has two main mandates, two components. Number one, its job is to create codes of practice that they will recommend to a minister. That code of practice will be developed in a way that of course will involve all the parties involved. That is a good thing. The second component of this particular board is to issue orders where they feel there has been a violation of the codes of practice or other factors and therefore orders should be issued, or make a decision one way or the other.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that those two components can be broken down within the current bureaucracy. The development of a code of practice, I would suggest to you, should be and can be done by the Minister of Agriculture and the staff that he has; whether they be policy or direct operational staff, they can do that job. Quite frankly, I would suggest they are there to do that job. Indeed the only factor that needs to be considered is that they must consult with those same stakeholders, whether it be the Union of Nova Scotia

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Municipalities, the Federation of Agriculture or other stakeholders. Yes they must be consulted, but let the Minister of Agriculture do his job and let that deputy minister do the job on behalf of the minister. There is no need for a board to develop this. There is no need to appoint more people. There is no need to use patronage as a favour to some political cronies. Let's do this the way that is efficient and let's not talk about the waste that is necessary in government.

Mr. Speaker, the other component of this is issuing orders. Here is a simple little solution I will suggest. If we had some form of an inspector, one inspector, maybe even half-time, depending on the amount of work involved in this particular job. That inspector, much like they do in health and safety or environment, could go out and listen to the parties, listen to both sides of the story, no lawyers involved, no need for hearings or adjudication, and that inspector then can make that decision. That is a person who clearly has been appointed by the government, is going to be unbiased with regard to specific issues, much like they are under other pieces of legislation, and that inspector then, in a cost-effective manner, can make the decision. If the parties don't like it, there is an ability to appeal that to the court.

Quite frankly, if you look at other situations in this province and across the country where inspectors are used, most of those cases are never appealed. Why? Because the parties feel they have had a fair shake in a simple cost-effective manner that doesn't involve more bureaucracy, more appointments and more lawyers. Mr. Speaker, that is a simple solution to this problem, that if the government had thought a little harder about this, maybe they could have actually identified it.

So, Mr. Speaker, I guess I just wanted to point out a couple of those factors. As I said, this is a good piece of legislation in its intent and in the principle, but quite frankly, if this government is serious about being efficient with how government activity is, if this government is serious about ensuring that farmers have a legitimate right to farm and a legitimate right to deal with it without having a costly adjudication, then they will make the changes to this legislation that will make this bill better; can make it the best in this country. Not mediocre, not one of the last provinces to adopt it, but to go to a new higher standard, a standard that the rest of Canada can emulate and one in which all Nova Scotians can be proud. The farmers in this province will have the right to farm and it will be protected legitimately. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I have learned my lesson from letting a leadership candidate go ahead of me. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, I definitely have some concerns about this piece of legislation. I think I understand where the minister and the Federation of Agriculture are coming from and the reason for drafting this bill. The question is whether or not the bill does what they intended

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it to do, or if it even can do that. I think we can all relate to the idea that with increasing pressure on rural communities and those rural communities generally have an agricultural base, and as people move to the enjoyment of those communities, then they may or may not have the same feeling about how that land is being used agriculturally.

I think we have all heard stories of farmers whose families have been on a particular piece of land for 150 years or 200 years, and that is not to say that they are maintaining the same practices of 150 years ago, but they are maintaining practices that in their own time are considered normal practices of agriculture. We are assuming that in carrying out those practices that they are not breaking any other laws as far as environmental regulations, et cetera. Here we have an individual who is carrying out what he thinks are normal farm practices, and a new neighbour moves in beside him, builds a house, and all of a sudden doesn't like the odour or some other factor about this farming operation and intends to have something done about it.

[9:45 p.m.]

I think the minister and the Federation of Agriculture are trying to have a framework whereby this type of conflict could be resolved and that they are assuming this individual who was carrying out what they refer to as normal farming practices will have no adverse effect due to this person's complaint. Well, I am no Philadelphia lawyer or no Halifax Chebucto lawyer, but (Laughter) I certainly will listen to one. (Interruptions) Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, all of the legalese around this bill, I can't say that I know one way or another, but I do have concerns and I would like the minister to somehow, through this process, seek some consultation on the constitutionality of this legislation because I think it has implications for the farming sector and the dollars that they spend. I think all members of the House have to be aware of what is going to drive the agenda if somebody goes to this board and doesn't like the results of the decision that this board puts forth. The thing that is going to drive that agenda is how much you have to lose in that decision. If you have a lot to lose, then you are going to fight a lot more than if you have a little bit to lose.

I think it is the intent of this legislation that if we can avoid the courts then we will avoid a long, drawn-out, cumbersome, expensive procedure. Well, I am not sure if this legislation or this board will put an end to that. My colleagues have stated or alluded to the fact that when members go to this board, on both sides, then they are going to go stacked with the best help they can get, and that means they are going to spend money on lawyers when they go there. I am not at all sure that that is going to make this process less cumbersome or less expensive or much shorter. I can see it being dragged out longer and longer . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Fair?

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MR. JOHN MACDONNELL: . . . or even fairer.

Before I get into specifics that might be helpful, I would like the minister to think for a minute about some of the natural things that can occur in the agricultural community that might put aside any type of controversial relationship between the two parties that we think are going to be involved in these disputes. I wish the minister would stop and consider that if he could stabilize the industry in some way, in other words those sectors of the agricultural community or those commodities that have pretty good incomes or are supply managed for the most part, those are those commodities that will be able to afford land to prevent the competition.

In other words, I live in a constituency that has a section that has very rapid urban growth, but I also have sections of that constituency that have some of the largest dairy farms that the province has and actually the abundance of those farms produce 20 per cent of the milk that is produced in this province, in that one constituency. These dairy farms are very successful, and when it comes to buying land around them, they can compete with anyone. Well, in doing that they tend to minimize the effect of those individuals coming into that area and buying land for a different use and that land for a different use is going to result in a conflict.

So by having incomes that allow them to buy up land that they need to make use of, they tend to keep other individuals that may have conflicting uses out of the area and you might say, well, that may be a bad thing or a good thing but, certainly, conflicts have been minimized by the affluence and the stability of this particular commodity. But if we are to consider those commodities that are produced in the province where those operations are borderlined, as far as income, then they cannot compete very reasonably with those individuals coming in to do subdivisions or whatever, who want to buy up surrounding land around those operations; they aren't going to be able to compete effectively for that land. Therefore, there should be some mechanism that controls land use in a particular area.

This really shouldn't be left up to the municipalities. In other words, it is not right or fair, in my judgement, that one municipality will have by-laws regarding agriculture that are different from another municipality. We should have by-laws that affect the size of farming operations, setback limits, et cetera, but they should be constant throughout the whole province, not different from one area to another.

I understand that Kings County is one municipality that has been looking at this very question. I applaud them for that, but it is not really their responsibility; it has been dumped on them to be their responsibility because the province has not been willing, in either of the previous governments, to address this concern. So I would encourage the minister, if he is looking for a long-term, viable, less confrontational solution, and my Halifax Chebucto lawyer colleague has already stated that when individuals get to this board, Mr. Speaker, it is because a conflict has already occurred, then it is too late, what we want is legislation that prevents

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the conflict in the first place and, therefore, perhaps, some other board or inspector or individuals already with the department - something I have noticed in this legislation is that this legislation doesn't refer to individuals in the Department of Agriculture.

So I am wondering what is happening with the Department of Agriculture that is identified by this piece of legislation. It identifies individuals from the municipalities, it identifies two individuals that will be from a group identified by the Federation of Agriculture and other individuals appointed by the minister but it doesn't mention anybody from the Department of Agriculture. What is happening with the Department of Agriculture in this regard?

I would like the minister to consider, in carrying out his responsibility or the responsibility of the department, I assume that the minister is going to want to encourage farming in the province, trying to at least prevent the withdrawal from the industry that we have, try to encourage young farmers, or as we regard them now, new entrants to the industry, but we want to expand the agricultural sector in this province.

This bill is not going to do that, but it is not to say that the intention of this bill had to. But the minister could have done that. I think the minister should be aware that if we look at agricultural production in this province, that Prince Edward Island will fit into the school board in my area twice - which goes from Mount Uniacke to Amherst and Prince Edward Island will fit into that area twice - yet the agricultural receipts from Prince Edward Island are the same as agricultural farm gate receipts in this province, around $300 million. A province the size of Prince Edward Island has agricultural farm gate receipts the same as the Province of Nova Scotia, so that should give the minister some indication of as far as land mass, what the possibilities of expansion are.

Now we know that we are not going to cover the whole province with agriculture but it should give him some relative size terms to relate to and the possibility of expansion in agriculture. If you are going to try to encourage expansion of agriculture, then you need laws that affect agriculture that should be spread throughout the whole province, and I think this is where this bill is lacking. It should not be leaving it up to the municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I want to impress upon the minister that this caucus is supportive of seeing this bill go forward, it is supportive of seeing this bill improved, and certainly it is our intention to dialogue with the minister through the Law Amendments Committee to see that this bill can be improved. I would certainly like to encourage the minister that before proclamation of this bill that he seek good legal counsel as to the constitutionality of this bill. It is certainly not our intention to want to support a bill that is going to leave the industry high and dry. If farmers are going to invest dollars based on the notion that they have protection from this piece of legislation, then we want to be sure that they have protection. I think that if they find out they don't, then they are certainly going to be looking for somebody. I am sure it will be the minister's head that they will want to find.

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Mr. Speaker, I will sit down and hope the minister listens to my comments.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, in light of the hour maybe I could adjourn debate and resume my comments tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the hours will be from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Following the Daily Routine and Question Period, we will continue with Bills for Second Reading. We will call Bill No. 10. If we complete Bill No. 10, we will move on to Bill No. 27. If we complete Bill No. 27, we will move on to Bill No. 28. If we get through Bill No. 28, we will move on to Bill No. 29. All those are bills for second reading.

Mr. Speaker, I move that we now adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:58 p.m.]