The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

Hansard -- Thur., May 24, 2001

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HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 Noon

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Kevin Deveaux, Mr. David Wilson

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

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and Minister of Health should meet immediately with residents of Whitney Pier to hear those residents' concern about toxic substances in their neighbourhood.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition signed by 400 of the good residents of Canning and area. The operative clause is, "We, the undersigned, residents of Kings North, do hereby request the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Communications to repave Main Street (Route 221) Canning, . . ." I have affixed my signature and there are those of other MLAs in support of this petition.

3879

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MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to announce the success of the 17th Annual Export Achievement Awards that were held last evening in Halifax. We are proud to recognize the vital role exporters play in growing our economy and in providing work for Nova Scotians. Furthermore, our economic growth strategy, Opportunities for Prosperity, outlines the need to promote exports aggressively, and it is a strategy that is working.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's awards honoured some of the province's leading exporters. A sellout crowd of 324 people joined in the celebration of success and recognition, and I rise in the House today to congratulate seven Nova Scotia companies from Windsor, the Annapolis Valley, Digby and metro, on winning the Nova Scotia Export Achievement Award.

Windsor-based Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia received the Outstanding Performance Award and Shaw Wood Industries of Cornwallis Park accepted the New Exporters Award. Three companies, NeoCon International Incorporated of Dartmouth, Darmos Enterprises International Limited of Cornwallis Park, and Keane Canada Incorporated in Halifax, each accepted the Export Growth Award.

Mr. Speaker, Avon Valley Floral in Falmouth was presented with the Innovation Award, while Tom Jennegren, Marketing Manger with Maritime Paper Products of Dartmouth, received the award that recognizes an individual for his or her Outstanding Contribution to the Export Market.

Mr. Speaker, the Global Opportunity Award is a special award that partners an MBA university student with an emerging high-technology company. This was presented to Brooke Ocean Technology Limited of Dartmouth. The firm was also recognized with the Outstanding Performance Award.

Mr. Speaker, from toys to subsea platforms, Nova Scotia exporters are making their mark in the global marketplace. Last night's winners helped to contribute to Nova Scotia's spectacular 34 per cent increase in exported goods last year and, as outlined in our economic strategy, Economic Development works with these companies to help them develop the

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networks in their fields and bring them together to create levels of export readiness. Trade missions, like the recent successful mission to Atlanta, are just one way that we help convert readiness into business opportunities.

As we recognize the achievements of these companies, we look to the future and to the opportunities presented by ingenuity and the energy of more up-and-coming Nova Scotian companies. During the first quarter of 2001, Nova Scotia registered a trade surplus of $21.3 million. For the first time in years we are exporting more than we are importing; that is a milestone. There is more yet to come.

I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution from the corporate sponsorship in staging this wonderful event. We would like to thank the Export Development Corporation, Sable Offshore Energy Incorporated, StoraEnso of Port Hawkesbury, Michelin, Composites Atlantic Limited, the Royal Bank, and Nova Scotia Power. It is through their contributions and interest in promoting these companies who export, that will help grow our economy.

I would ask all colleagues in the House today to join me in acknowledging this year's Export Achievement Award recipients and in congratulating those companies for their contributions, their success, and their continued prosperity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I certainly join with the minister in offering our congratulations to those who have been recipients of the Export Achievement Awards. On the other hand let us recall, of course, there are different classes of exports, some from which we benefit more greatly than others. I have in mind, particularly, the export of something like gas in an unprocessed form which is far from being of benefit to Nova Scotians, certainly not at the level that we might expect and hope for. Indeed, when we export goods that are processed, goods that have had, in the traditional term, value added to them by the work of Nova Scotians here, then indeed we are engaging in the kind of activity that is probably going to maximize benefits here. But if we simply do things like export unprocessed raw materials, be they fish, be they logs, or be it our gas, then we are missing out on opportunities.

So what I say to the minister is, it is all very well for him to acknowledge and give awards to those who have managed to complete successfully export sales abroad, that is just fine. But I look to him and Nova Scotians look to him and his government to maximize the benefits to Nova Scotians from our resources, from our ingenuity, from our indigenous opportunities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for the advance copy of his statement today. One of the things I noticed in the statement right off the bat was his insistence on making yet another statement when completely ignoring the part of Nova Scotia that probably has more serious economic problems than any part of this province, namely, Cape Breton. Cape Breton is left out again, but I do want to say that growing exports were recognized by government since 1993 and exports have been growing each and every year since then. This year's award winners have worked very hard to achieve their success and I honour their commitment to the province.

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that companies like Keane software were lured to Nova Scotia by the previous government, and Shaw Wood received significant support from the MacLellan Administration. What speaks volumes, however, is the complete irrelevance of this minister's department. Forty-five days in this Legislature and this minister has only made one ministerial statement - one in 45 days - that speaks volumes about a department that is in free fall. If the economy is growing at all it is because of policies implemented by the previous government in this province.

Mr. Speaker, this year the minister praised the BDC success, even though he was replacing it with Nova Scotia Business Inc., or as some people call it Club Sobeys. As for the trade surplus, the majority of that is the result of Sable gas; unfortunately, sending raw gas out of the province does little to create jobs and value-added industry. Even the Deep Panuke project will mean few jobs because no processing will be done here in Nova Scotia. That speaks volumes about how this department has deteriorated. Again, the rise in exports is in large part due to gas flowing to New England and not as a result of any great insight by this government.

Mr. Speaker, the irrelevance of this minister and his department has never been more apparent, and I say again it is a department in free fall. The minister and his department are doing nothing to promote growth province-wide and exports will begin to falter. In fact, this minister won't be satisfied until all new industries, like filmmaking, end up only in Halifax, forget about the other areas of Nova Scotia. Again, in this ministerial statement, congratulations went out to a number of well-deserving companies in this province, but not one mention of one company from Cape Breton Island.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you how the member for Cape Breton North and the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury feel about that. Another threat to our exports is the high level of debt and taxation. The government won't pay one dime on the debt until the year 2007. The net debt has gone up $1.3 billion, and the tax cut for year four will have been paid

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for three times over by the rise in taxes. High taxes and the out-of-control debt will sink this government; let's hope it doesn't sink the province.

Mr. Speaker, one last thought. Last year's export award winner, Info Interactive, was bought by America Online. This was a Nova Scotia-grown company with international patents. The company will continue in Bedford, but it also means that Nova Scotian's high-tech sector is being bought up. The government has to provide tax incentives to grow this sector, and if it does not we will lose our future in the information technology revolution. (Applause)

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, up in the west gallery is the station manager for the new CHCN radio station that will be opening in Cole Harbour, Freeman Roach. He is also known to, I think, several members of the House from his time at CJCB in Sydney, a very popular show called Roach's Ranch. I believe, also, he is considered one of the foremost Nova Scotians with knowledge in country music and country music trivia. Mr. Roach, maybe you will stand and be recognized by the House. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might make an introduction before I read this resolution? We have several guests this afternoon in the Speaker's Gallery. They are here because of the International Day of the Lebanese Emigrant. As I introduce these gentlemen I would ask them to stand. They are Wadih Fares, Honorary Counsul for Lebanon; Sid Chedrawe, Chair of the Independent Food Store Association; Cesar Salah; John Ghosn; David Salah; Joseph Faddoul; Ghassan Haddad; and Sayed Arab. I wonder if the House could give them their usual warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education

RESOLUTION NO. 1328

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I am actually reading this resolution as minister responsible for immigration at the provincial level. I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Government of Lebanon has proclaimed that the last day of the second week of March of every year is the International Day of the Lebanese Emigrant; and

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Whereas during his visit to Halifax in March of this year, His Beatitude Mar Nasrallah Boutros, Cardinal Sfeir Maronite Patriarch of the Antioch and All the East postponed the recognition of this day until Saturday, April 21, 2001; and

Whereas a commemorative plaque will be unveiled at Pier 21 on May 26, 2001, in honour of all Lebanese emigrants who came to Halifax and passed through Pier 21;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish Lebanese Canadians living in Nova Scotia the very best on the upcoming International Day of the Lebanese Emigrant.

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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1329

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

Whereas Celtic Colours International Festival and Pier 21 have been selected as national winners for a countrywide contest designed to promote travel within Canada; and

Whereas the contest by Attractions Canada is the only countrywide competition aimed at promoting the quality, success, innovation and diversity of Canada's attractions; and

Whereas an event of this magnitude provides our Nova Scotia attractions with a great opportunity to increase their visibility and showcase our province's unique natural, historical and cultural heritage;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in wishing these attractions congratulations in capturing the national grand prize.

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Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1330

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College is an internationally respected teaching and research institution providing quality education in the science and management of agriculture and related disciplines; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College boasts that 95 per cent of its graduates are employed or pursuing further studies within six months of graduation; and

Whereas the NSAC hosts an annual program that provides prospective students, parents, guidance counsellors and teachers with the opportunity to discuss the study of agriculture at the college and to recruit interested students to the college;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that tomorrow, May 25, 2001, be recognized as Nova Scotia Agricultural College University Day.

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.

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The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1331

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

Whereas the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame will launch a new exhibit at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site next week; and

Whereas the exhibit recounts the challenges and successes faced by a community of religious women in establishing the first formal school for girls on Cape Breton Island; and

Whereas the exhibit highlights the role of the Congregation of Notre Dame in ensuring that young women in 18th Century Louisbourg were taught the necessary life skills to be active and successful members of their community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Sisters of the Congregation and Parks Canada for the creation of this exhibit and a Web site highlighting the significant contribution the Sisters made to the social fabric of Louisbourg.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1332

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

Whereas the Health Minister in his infinite wisdom has determined, without any consultation, that most tar ponds' residents do not want to move away from North America's largest toxic waste site; and

Whereas the minister claims that the cost of relocating these residents really isn't an issue, but the only part of the solution this government has really acted upon, dumping soil to cover up the ooze, happens to be the cheapest; and

Whereas a policy of surmising the residents' wishes and covering up the problem should be replaced by a real effort to listen to the residents and deal with the issue at hand;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately look seriously into the costs of relocating residents and commission a study of the chronic health risks of exposure to toxins in the tar ponds area, as residents have requested for so long.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1333

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 Université Sainte-Anne has recently launched Port Acadie, a scholarly journal devoted to research for and about Acadians; and

Whereas Port Acadie is the first journal of its kind in the world and it will act as a forum for the latest research into education, language, culture, economics, history and arts in Acadian and Canjun communities; and

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Whereas the editors of the journal also hope to explore the historical and contemporary relationship between the Acadian people and the First Nations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly commend the editors and sponsors of Port Acadie for enriching the cultural and historic presence of the Acadian people in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1334

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 Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia is a trade association representing 800 brokers working in 90 brokerages from Sydney to Yarmouth, serving consumers looking for vehicle and property insurance; and

Whereas an independent insurance broker is someone who works on behalf of consumers to find the best insurance for them; and

Whereas IBANS held their 20th Annual Dinner Wednesday evening, an event that well attended by insurance brokers and MLAs from all three Parties;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia on two successful decades and wish the members of this important association well in their work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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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 Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1335

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

Whereas yesterday, Wednesday, May 23rd, staff from Toyota East took time from their workday to help children, teachers and parents of St. Patrick's-Alexandra School in creating a safer, more natural school playground; and

Whereas St. Patrick's-Alexandra School is one of 126 schools across Canada to receive a financial grant through Toyota's Evergreen Learning Grounds program; and

Whereas Evergreen Learning Grounds is a program to transform traditionally barren asphalt and turf playgrounds into dynamic outdoor learning environments with trees, shrubs, wildflower patches, vegetable and butterfly gardens, murals and sculptures;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature extend a sincere thank you to the staff from Toyota East and the Evergreen Learning Grounds program and also congratulate students, teachers and parents of St. Patrick's-Alexandra School on their work in creating an outdoor classroom where children can have a safe and healthy place to play and learn.

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.

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The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1336

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

Whereas a report in today's Daily News outlines the benefits enjoyed by both Nova Scotia and the State of Maine as a result of bilateral trade; and

Whereas the estimated value of this trade is $4.5 billion, annually; and

Whereas the soon-to-be-shuffled Minister of Economic Development seems to have little interest in strengthening economic ties with the New England States;

Therefore be it resolved that this government get on with promoting economic growth in Nova Scotia by encouraging more trade with the New England States.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1337

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 South Shore Tourism Association will be holding the 2nd Annual "Lights Along the Shore" Lighthouse Festival beginning next Thursday and running through to Sunday, June 3rd; and

Whereas this year's festival will feature everything from art displays to boat tours, family events, lobster and a whole lot more; and

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Whereas events are scheduled in a variety of communities, including the Pump a Foghorn display and a scavenger hunt at Fort Point Light in Liverpool, and a boat tour from the Rossignol Surf Shop in Port Mouton;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend our congratulations to the South Shore Tourism Association and the launching of the 2nd Annual "Lights Along the Shore" Lighthouse Festival.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1338

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

Whereas Université Sainte-Anne has launched what may be the world's first scholarly journal devoted to research for and about Acadians and their communities; and

Whereas the biannual journal is entitled, Port Acadie: Revue interdisciplinaire en etudes acadiennes/An Interdisciplinary Review in Acadian Studies; and

Whereas the editors will publish scholarship exploring the historical and contemporary rapport between the Acadian people and the First Nations people as well as economic analysis focused on Acadian and Cajun communities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Université Sainte-Anne on its pursuit of scholarship and history in creating the biannual journal, Port Acadie: Revue interdisciplinaire en etudes acadiennes.

[Page 3892]

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 Oui. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1339

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

Whereas this year the Baddeck Lions Club will celebrate its 50th Anniversary; and

Whereas since 1951 the Lions Club has provided valuable service to the community, including the operation of the Kidston Island swimming pool, a Meals on Wheels program and the operation of the canteen at the Victoria County Civic Centre; and

Whereas the profits from the Lions Club are put towards youth conferences and field trips and also towards assisting the underprivileged;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Baddeck Lions Club for its 50 years of service to its community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3893]

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 1340

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

Whereas Lieutenant Governor Myra Freeman honoured Frank Jordan of Sherbrooke and Harold Verge of Bedford with the 2001 Sir John Coape Sherbrooke Award, named after Nova Scotia's Lieutenant Governor during the War of 1812, for their work in the early development of historic Sherbrooke Village; and

Whereas Mr. Jordan operated a general store in his community for over 20 years and has been active in numerous community organizations; and

Whereas Mr. Verge, widely recognized as the grandfather of community economic development in Nova Scotia, undertook the first feasibility study, drafted the Sherbrooke Village Restoration Act and was one of the first proponents of an historic restoration in Sherbrooke;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Jordan and Mr. Verge for taking pride in their culture and helping to ensure that Nova Scotia's past will not be forgotten.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1341

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

[Page 3894]

Whereas students, parents and staff from the Halifax West High School community met last night to express their hopes and fears about the school's location next year; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board has selected an option that would place Grade 10 and 11 students in the former B.C. Silver Junior High School; and

Whereas there are many questions about the environment at B.C. Silver that can only be resolved by a total environmental assessment;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Minister of Education to undertake an immediate environmental assessment of B.C. Silver Junior High School so that everyone in the Halifax West High School community can be assured that they are not moving from one sick school to another.

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 The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1342

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

Whereas MacLeod's Wholesale Cash and Carry in Sydney River celebrated its new grand opening from April 30th through May 12th; and

Whereas since 1937, MacLeod's has constantly been working to improve its service to retailers and food service customers in the community; and

Whereas MacLeod's also provides valuable employment for 22 people from the community;

[Page 3895]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the management and staff of MacLeod's Wholesale Cash and Carry for its new expansion and its commitment to service since 1937.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1343

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

Whereas North Preston native Jean Provo will soon be graduating from Dalhousie University with a degree in dentistry following the successful completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1998; and

Whereas Ms. Provo will be the first North Preston resident to graduate from Dalhousie with a degree in dentistry; and

Whereas Ms. Provo does not only have an outstanding academic record, but has also been an active member of the community as a volunteer with Big Brothers & Sisters of Dartmouth since 1998 and as a coach of children's basketball at the Halifax Club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jean Provo on her upcoming graduation and also for becoming the first dentist to hail from North Preston.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3896]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1344

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

Whereas the communities along the Prospect Road are known throughout the province for their excellence in the sport of fastball; and

Whereas women's and men's leagues will begin play this weekend on community fields in Hatchet Lake, Terence Bay and West Dover; and

Whereas these players and coaches will provide a summer full of enjoyment;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly wish a successful, fun-filled ball season for all involved in the women's and men's Prospect Road fastball leagues.

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1345

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

[Page 3897]

Whereas women's centres across the province are organizations that play important roles in their communities; and

Whereas this government has a terrible track record with Nova Scotia charities thus far; and

Whereas returning some of the $3.8 million taken from charities would be an excellent first step toward this government redeeming itself;

Therefore be it resolved that this government move immediately to return at least some of the $3.8 million they have pilfered from charities in Nova Scotia so that they can, in some small way, redeem themselves in the eyes of those charitable groups.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1346

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

Whereas firefighters are held in high respect but the Eureka Fire Department receives special attention by Ruth and Cyril Fraser; and

Whereas this Hopewell couple, proprietors of the Village Variety Store, opens their business, day or night, to serve the needs of the working firefighters; and

Whereas the Eureka Fire Department, in appreciation of this kindness, formally recognized the Frasers' dedication and consideration by presenting them with a certification of appreciation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud Ruth and Cyril Fraser for their unselfishness and for providing such excellent support for their community's firefighters.

[Page 3898]

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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1347

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

Whereas choosing to be a volunteer to enhance your community leaves a proud legacy for many years that follows one's work; and

Whereas improvements to community centres make them more functional and enjoyable; and

Whereas on Volunteer Awards Night, April 27, 2001, Mr. Ronnie Singer of Moose Brook was honoured by the Municipality of East Hants for volunteering of his time, including his excellent carpentry work done on the Minasville Community Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Singer on his volunteer award by the Municipality of East Hants and for using his talents so generously for the good of the local community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3899]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1348

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

Whereas in a recent issue of Truck News, officials from the Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Truckers Association voiced their concern about the privatization of Vehicle Compliance Officers; and

Whereas the representatives are concerned that if the number of officers is cut, it will cause a widespread rollback of industry standards; and

Whereas they also point out that government officials seem more concerned with saving money than maintaining safety;

Therefore be it resolved that the government stop the move to privatize provincial compliance officers and reaffirm its commitment to the hard-working men and women who have helped make our highway safety record one of the best in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1349

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

Whereas music fans will know that on this day in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1941, living legend, Mr. Robert Zimmerman was born; and

[Page 3900]

Whereas this entertainer, singer and songwriter's material includes such classics as Blowin in the Wind and You Ain't Going Nowhere; and

Whereas the title of one of his greatest hits has become a well-used phrase, The Times They are a Changing;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and wish Bob Dylan a happy birthday as he celebrates the big 60.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice. I realize it was before the time of some members.

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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1350

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

Whereas small rural communities reflect a lifestyle celebrated by many great writers and filmmakers; and

Whereas community clubs often reflect the soul of its residents; and

Whereas on Volunteer Awards Night, April 27, 2001, the Double M Community Club of Moose Brook and Minasville was honoured by the Municipality of East Hants for their many good works in and around their communities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly joins the Municipality of East Hants in this Year of the Volunteer in congratulating the members of the Double M Community Club for the noteworthy use of their free time for the good of their communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3901]

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1351

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

Whereas bird watching and wilderness recreation are of growing interest in Nova Scotia and throughout North America; and

Whereas Jeff Demm of Cow Bay recently published his second book on birds in Nova Scotia entitled, Nova Scotia Birds: Sea and Shore Birds, published by Formac Publishing; and

Whereas Mr. Demm's first book entitled, Nova Scotia Birds: Inland Birds, was a best-seller in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jeff Demm on the launch of his second book on the birds of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3902]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:42 p.m. and end at 1:42 p.m.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I am just wondering if the Government House Leader would inform us if the Premier is going to be here today, because we do have some questions for him.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader, in regard to the presence of the Premier.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier was at a function at the CIBC, I believe, and he is on his way here now. He should be along very shortly. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for a recess for a few minutes. (Interruptions)

Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order. We had not been informed that the Premier was not going to be in the House today for Question Period. We have some very important (Interruption) He is not here now.

MR. RUSSELL: He will be here.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Fine. We have some questions we would like to discuss with the Premier, and he is (Interruptions) When is he going to be here?

AN HON. MEMBER: Soon, very soon. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The recess is over. Question Period will be from 12:44 p.m. to 1:44 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - WHITNEY PIER BROOK:

CONTAMINATION - CONCERN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, on June 8, 1998, the Premier, who was in the Opposition at that time, expressed his concern for the children of Whitney Pier. The Premier identified a brook where children went to play that was found to contain 20 times the acceptable levels of arsenic. Let me quote the Premier, ". . . parents are terrified that their

[Page 3903]

children will be poisoned because the brook is a popular destination for children each and every summer;" This brook the Premier spoke about and was concerned about in 1998 is adjacent to the very spot where Dr. Lewis confirmed an acute health risk to children, yet the Premier has done nothing during his two years in power.

I want to ask the Premier, through you, why is the Premier so much less concerned

now than he was in 1998?

[12:45 p.m.]

HON. JOHN HAMM: (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I do remember with great vividness my visits to that area. It is for that very reason that this government is moving ahead quickly to identify the magnitude of the problem that exists in that area. We will be acting on the basis of the very best information that we are collecting, very, very quickly.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in 1998 the Premier talked about the undue stress and hardship being experienced by the families in Whitney Pier. He also talked about terrified parents being worried that their children could be poisoned. Now that he is in power, the Premier has given up on the people of Whitney Pier. Can the Premier explain why he is now allowing the people of Whitney Pier to be exposed to toxic substances?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the stressful issues that the people of the then Frederick Street area had to deal with at that time was the slowness of response. That is why we have accelerated the response to the information we have, to gather more information, to provide that information to the people in the area and we will be in a position to make the appropriate move in a very reasonable period of time.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, when the Premier was in Opposition he encouraged the then Minister of the Environment to have a formal meeting with the people of Whitney Pier. So, Mr. Premier, now it is time to put up. Will you commit to meet with the residents of Whitney Pier to hear their concerns, first-hand?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have already heard from the residents of Whitney Pier, first-hand. Last night and the night before they were, by way of public meetings, given scientific information relative to the environment in which they live. That is the kind of information and kind of meeting that they really need at this point. They also need the reassurance that this government has this issue on the front burner and it will not be removed from the front burner until the issue is dealt with.

[Page 3904]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - MIN.: INCOME TAX INCREASE - RECOGNIZE

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, on April 17th and again, on April 18th, when the Premier was questioned in the House, the Premier did not realize the debt was going to continue to grow in the Province of Nova Scotia until the year 2007, even with surpluses. On April 24, 2001, he didn't understand that taxes in fact in the Province of Nova Scotia were going up because of bracket creep. On May 3rd, even the Minister of Finance would not admit that income taxes were going up under his watch. So to help the minister and to help the Premier out, I would like to table a document called, The ABC's of Bracket Creep. This has been put together by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and is a very basic read even they can understand. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier clear the air and instruct the Minister of Finance to recognize income taxes are going up under their administration; yes or no?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I don't believe there is anybody who files an income tax return, including yours truly, who doesn't understand the principle of bracket creep. One of the commitments that we have made to the people of Nova Scotia, with their approbation, is that as soon as we have a balanced budget, we will move to income tax relief. That is what Nova Scotians have asked us to do, that is what we plan to do.

MR. DOWNE: I think the Premier just admitted that income taxes are going up in the Province of Nova Scotia under their administration. Fact number one; ending bracket creep is not a tax cut and if the Finance Minister won't recognize that then I suggest that he read the ABC's of Bracket Creep, put out by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Fact number two; taxes are higher now than they were in 1999 and in this year alone they will raise in excess of $12 million. Fact number three; by the year 2004, Nova Scotians will have paid in additional tax somewhere around $50 million because of bracket creep. My question to the Minister of Finance is, why won't the minister stop the rise in personal income taxes in Nova Scotia?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite hasn't listened to any of the answers we have given before, but I will try one more time. We are in a situation that when we took office we were faced with a $500 million deficit. We told Nova Scotians when they would get tax relief. The member opposite would like for us to give tax relief in advance of the plan that we had put forward in our mandate. We are going to stick to our plan. That means Nova Scotia will get tax relief in year four, not immediately like the member opposite would like us to do. I will leave it at that.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as you know, I have tabled a document that is a very easy-read document.

[Page 3905]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber and it is very difficult to hear the member on the floor. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor on his final supplementary.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. I have tabled a document that is very easy to read and very easy to understand for this Minister of Finance. The fact is that taxes are on the rise in the Province of Nova Scotia each and every year of their administration. The first step in solving a problem is to admit you have a problem, Mr. Minister. So why won't the minister just admit that income taxes are going up this year as a result of his own inaction?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, we have a problem. The problem we have is that we have a deficit, and the great Liberal hope that the members opposite speak about is Paul Martin. If you want to listen to what the member opposite is saying, then Paul Martin should have dealt with bracket creep immediately upon becoming Minister of Finance in Ottawa. He waited seven years, and the reason he did is that he balanced his budget. The Prime Minister indicated that he had a $15 billion surplus. Why did he say that? Because they dealt with the deficit problems before they gave tax relief, and we will follow the same route.

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

HEALTH - WHITNEY PIER RESIDENTS: SURVEY - PRESENT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health talks constantly about evidence-based health care. Yesterday he told reporters at this House that most people who live near the coke ovens site don't want to be moved. I am quite certain the Minister of Health would not be so irresponsible as to make these types of statements without having surveyed the people of the area. He certainly wouldn't say something like an urban legend, like doctors don't want to treat smokers. My question to the minister is very simple. Will the Minister of Health present in this House today the surveys that he has obviously taken and how he has come to the evidence-based decision, or is this just another urban legend, as purported by this minister?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in any community the least preferred option for most people is to be moved, including the people in Whitney Pier. Among those, there are certain houses 12 years old. People chose to live in that community. I would stand that the preferable option to most people, if that community is safe, then they would like to stay there.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I am amazed that this minister will make those types of statements without having any evidence-based facts. That is what he tells us, his whole theory is on evidence-based health care. Someone must have called him and said this. So I think it is time for this minister to do the right thing. Will you go down to Whitney Pier, meet with the residents north of the coke ovens and find out if they want to stay or go?

[Page 3906]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the Premier has indicated, I have met with representatives of the residents in that area, two groups of them. I have also toured the area. I think the concerns of the residents have been well articulated. I want to tell you that this government is paying attention to the concerns of the residents and indeed the steps which are being taken there now, this government has done more in the 21 months that we have been in power to address the concerns of the residents of that area than had been done in the previous 10 years.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the residents of that area don't want to hear this minister's cheap platitudes. He has no credibility with the groups in the area. He has no credibility with JAG. I want to ask the minister, will you go down this weekend, meet with the committees involved, meet with the citizens involved and take their concerns and move the people who want to be moved? Will you do that?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have met with representatives of the group on two occasions during the last two weeks.

MR. CORBETT: Will you go down to Sydney . . .

MR. MUIR: I have been in that area and toured it and furthermore, one of the things that the honourable member forgets is that there are people who are making professional assessments down there and quite frankly I don't put myself in that category but we are working in partnership with the federal government, with the JAG committee, to see that the appropriate solution for the residents who live in that area is undertaken in the most expeditious way.

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

PC CAUCUS - PAY INCREASE (3 PER CENT):

CHARITY DONATIONS - DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Last December the Premier ordered his caucus to give their 3 per cent pay increase to charity. On the surface, at least, it looked like a rather noble effort as long as you set aside the $3.8 million that has been taken from charities since 1999 by this government. Given that the Premier made this move for its PR value as much as for its possible humanitarian value, my question is, could the Premier indicate how many MLAs have made donations and to which charities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say to the member opposite is that this MLA has made his contributions. He has made them to three charities. I would be prepared to show you the receipts if you give me the guarantee that you will not announce which charities are involved.

[Page 3907]

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, when the Premier spoke, he ordered the entire Tory caucus to do exactly that. If this government is truly open and accountable, then that information would be made public. They took $3.8 million from charities, people at least would have the right to know how much of it is being given back. The press release by the caucus chairman at that time indicated that not all MLAs would be required to pay the full amount. In fact, the release said the value of the individual contributions from MLAs would differ on the basis of the MLAs' marital status, type of insurance, amount of other income sources, whether they serve in Cabinet. Again my question to the Premier is, could the Premier indicate for the House and all Nova Scotians exactly which MLAs and Cabinet Ministers will be, or have been giving, their full raise to charities?

THE PREMIER: I have indicated to the member opposite what my commitment was and that my commitment has been carried out. The whole issue of what our caucus decided to do was based on a decision by caucus and that is (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton East on your final supplementary.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we already give to charities. We don't have to be ordered by the Premier to do it. This is bizarre and what is needed here is full disclosure because we need proof of those donations. Either money is being given to charities or it is not being given to charities. For the sake of the Premier's alleged integrity and honour and plain honesty, I will ask the Premier again, will he table in this House the full amount that each Tory MLA and Cabinet Minister has given to specific charities, including the Premier's own personal donations?

[1:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared, as I indicated earlier to the member opposite, to show him my three receipts if he will guarantee me that he will not reveal the charities to which the donation was made.

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

JUSTICE - HUMAN RIGHTS COMMN. REVIEW (PHASE I):

LAW PROFS. (BLACK) - CONSULTATION LACK EXPLAIN

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice is in possession of an analysis with regard to the Phase I review of the Human Rights Commission and the analysis had some startling insights. For example, this analysis pointed out that despite the report's claim to have interviewed observers from the legal profession and universities, not one Black law professor at Dalhousie was interviewed with regard to Phase I of the Human Rights Commission review. I want to ask the Minister

[Page 3908]

of Justice why is it that Black law professors were not consulted during the review of the Human Rights Commission?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the question of who was consulted is purely up to the decision of the consultant conducting the study.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that when the consultant was being hired and the review was going on, there would have been some mandate provided to ensure that those groups that were particularly affected by the Human Rights Commission would have an opportunity for input and it goes further. The other thing is that not one Black lawyer was interviewed with regard to the review of the Human Rights Commission. Ignoring Black lawyers and ignoring Black law professors' input is taking away crucial legal opinions from a Black perspective. I want to ask the Minister of Justice how can he explain why this review proceeded, why this consultation proceeded without input from the Black legal community?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, how I can explain the matter is that it was up to the consultant to consult with whoever he chose and, you know, there are lots of professors at the Dalhousie Law School and they all have interesting insights to share, I am sure.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I find it incredible this Minister of Justice would compare the insights of lawyers and the law professors without considering the fact that certain lawyers and law professors have a perspective because they come from groups - visible minorities or women - that are clearly affected by the Human Rights Act and the Human Rights Commission's activities.

The Phase I review that was going on claimed it had interviewed members and organizations that represented visible minorities, but they don't list one single interview with any of those groups. They only identify interviews, a long list, with government agencies, boards and commissions. I want to ask the Minister of Justice why was the review of the Human Rights Commission based on consultations with government organizations and not with those organizations that represented those most affected by the Human Rights Act?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, this is a multi-phase process. You had the first phase, there will be other phases. Members of the public are going to be given ample opportunity to put their input into this process.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 3909]

HEALTH - TOBACCO CONTROL STRATEGY:

RECOMMENDATIONS - IMPLEMENT

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Some time ago I asked the minister about the tobacco control strategy which has been sitting on his desk for almost a year, and at that time he didn't know so much, but maybe in the meantime he has had some time to reflect. The report recommended several steps to reduce the number of smokers in the province. It was clearly laid out in that report. Other than the Youth Advisory Committee that was previously announced, my question to the minister is, can the minister tell the House what measures from the tobacco control unit's plan have been implemented so far?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the Youth Advisory Committee, as the honourable member has mentioned, we think that is a very positive step and look forward to its continuing feedback. It has provided a report for us. As the honourable member knows as well, the price of tobacco did increase by $4.00 a carton although we weren't largely responsible for that. That was a federal government initiative. We do support that, obviously. I would have preferred to see it much greater, and hopefully we will be able to do that. Hopefully in the fall we will be introducing legislation which will lay out, probably in a pretty concise way, what our plans are.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we know that the minister's colleagues in the Cabinet aren't interested in either fighting tobacco smuggling or increasing taxes to levels that would deter the youth from smoking. I am curious, of the dozens of recommendations in the report that was presented to the minister last October, which ones does he plan to act on?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we are currently reviewing that report. As a matter of fact, one of the things that is very high on the agenda, I will be meeting with our tobacco control people, our lifestyles director, as soon as this House closes. We will be presenting options, which will be reviewed by Cabinet and, as I said, hopefully, in the fall our direction will be very clear to everybody.

DR. SMITH: . . . report, we have seen a full year of inaction. In that time how many Nova Scotians have actually died from cigarette-related illnesses right here in Nova Scotia? My question to the minister is, why has the minister ignored this important report for an entire year?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we have not ignored the report. As a matter of fact the honourable member for Dartmouth East will remember the conference we had about a year ago up on Citadel Hill where we talked about a number of initiatives. The Premier was there. I think, actually, the member may have been there. He may not have considered it important enough as a Health Critic to attend.

[Page 3910]

AN HON. MEMBER: How much did that cost?

MR. MUIR: It cost a fair bit. We have also been working with the Medical Society and other organizations, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and, of course, the Canadian Cancer Society to develop the steps which will be rolled out later.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - JANITORIAL STRIKE: PRIVATIZATION - MIN. ACTIONS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. If there was ever any doubt before, today we learned for sure that the Halifax Regional School Board is considering hiring private cleaners to do the work of striking custodians. The Minister of Education no doubt will tell us that she has nothing to do with this decision and is not responsible for the current situation, but the minister is responsible. She underfunded the school boards, and when they couldn't make ends meet she told them to cut transportation and property services. She has been at the right hand of the Halifax Regional School Board throughout this entire strike and her inaction has shepherded this situation to its current crisis. I want the minister to explain what she will do to stop the privatization of these services.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, an additional $7 million this year is a curious form of underfunding. I have ordered the school board to do no such thing. The school board is in charge of those services under the Education Act. It is responsible for those services and its employees, and the Halifax Regional School Board will continue to try to do its job the best way it can.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the reports in the papers today aren't news, they are simply public acknowledgement of a private agenda. Privatization is part of this government's plan, and all we hear from the minister is what she can't do. She can't intervene; she can't settle the strike; she can't order the school board back to the table; she can't find funding to fund school boards properly. I want to ask the minister to stop avoiding responsibility and will she not direct the school board not to privatize custodial services?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the money that we give the school boards, the extra money we gave them last year and more this year, the priority for the Department of Education and for me, the minister, is the money should go to the classroom and that's where it is going. That is the kind of direction I give the Halifax Regional School Board and all the school boards.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know whether or not the minister has ever been in a public school classroom, but who does she think keeps those places clean? Classrooms don't clean themselves. The 400 cleaners, custodial and

[Page 3911]

maintenance workers who are on strike are loyal employees and they are now involved in mediation and the threat of privatizing their jobs could jeopardize attempts to reach a settlement. So I want to ask the minister, will she not stand in her place here today and make the commitment to these workers that she will not allow the board to privatize their jobs?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what I will stand here in my place and say today is I truly hope that this mediation between the custodian workers and the school board will be successful and that the custodians will be back at work; that is what I really hope will happen.

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

EDUC. - RURAL LIBRARIES: FUNDING REDUCTION - EFFECT

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Earlier this session I had the opportunity to meet with the Western Counties Regional Library Director. She was able to tell me several things of interest about the state of libraries in our province. For example, the system was expecting a budget increase of $500,000 this year, but only received an increase of $100,000. This isn't just a monetary issue, it is also an urban/rural issue. In the rural parts of the province, libraries play a much more significant role in communities than they do in metro. My question to the minister is, would the minister indicate if she has considered the serious effect reduced funding to libraries has on rural communities?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is quite right, we were unable to give libraries what they were expecting. We did, however, give them an increase. I am not sure how much time the Leader of the Liberal Party has spent in metro, but I can assure you they are extremely important to communities in metro as well as in rural Nova Scotia; this is not an urban/rural issue. The libraries are very important to communities across Nova Scotia; they did receive more funding this year and they will receive more in future years.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, libraries were expecting to receive $500,000, but that is not what they received and the minister knows better. This is a government that came to power on promises of fair treatment for rural Nova Scotia but has turned its back on everywhere outside of metro. Something else that this regional director told me was that throughout the province there are 20 positions on regional library boards appointed by the minister and, of those positions, 14 are currently vacant. My question to the minister is, could the minister tell the House if she is planning to fill those 14 vacant positions or will she continue to neglect the library system?

[Page 3912]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago I was actually at the library boards' conference down on the South Shore and I committed to them there, and I will commit here in this House, those appointments will be done by the end of this month.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I was talking with the regional director this morning and she did indicate that they had the opportunity to meet with minister earlier this month, and the minister did indicate to them that those vacancies would be filled by the end of the month. Unfortunately we have seen the list that is coming before the Human Resources Committee at the end of the month and there is not even one word or even one person mentioned on that list to fill these vacancies. As I said earlier, by neglecting libraries the minister is neglecting a vital part of rural communities. My final question is, will the minister commit here and now to protect libraries and the important role that they play in rural communities?

[1:15 p.m.]

MISS PURVES: I repeat, libraries play an important role in all communities, urban as well as rural. This is not a rural/urban issue. Library boards received an increase last year, they received an increase this year and we will continue to work with libraries to make sure they maintain their vital role in all Nova Scotia communities.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - ADV. STUDIES PROG.: CURRICULUM - TABLE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: My question is for the Minister of Education. Despite earlier claims, the minister now tells us that the curriculum for the Advanced Studies Program was developed in her department. She says that Knowledge House was not involved. If that is so, then the minister should not object to tabling the curriculum. Other department curricula are posted on the department's Web site, so there is no reason to keep the Advanced Studies Program a secret. I want to ask the minister if she will table today the curriculum for the Advanced Studies Program?

HON. JANE PURVES: As I said previously, the curriculum being used in the Advanced Studies Program is part of the public school program and certainly I would be delighted to table that. I don't have it with me right now, but I can arrange to get it.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Perhaps we will have a look at that curriculum soon, but we still don't know what the Advanced Studies Program will mean for teachers. Knowledge House is bragging about demoting teachers to becoming learning facilitators, whatever that means. They tell us that teachers will have to be certified to work in the Advanced Studies Program, but they don't tell us who is going to certify them. These are radical changes, but the minister didn't even consult with the Teachers Union before going

[Page 3913]

ahead with the Advanced Studies Program. So I would like the minister to explain what the teacher's role in the classroom will be and who will certify them to work in the Advanced Studies Program?

MISS PURVES: The teacher's role in the classroom in this program - as in any other - will be to teach. This is simply a different method of learning. The curriculum is the same, teachers are still required, there is no radical departure except in the format of the course. There are certainly teachers who have already done this in your area, Mr. Speaker, up in Parrsboro and Advocate Harbour who could certainly tell the member opposite all about how the program was taught.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: The Knowledge House deal is not an isolated contractor situation. It is part of a larger plan to privatize public education; just like the minister wants boards to privatize cleaning and custodial services, she knows Knowledge House will privatize classrooms. But public education should not be for sale. I want the minister to admit that the Knowledge House deal that she is so reluctant to let us see, is the beginning of privatization of Nova Scotia classrooms.

MISS PURVES: If I didn't know the member opposite was so busy, I would say she had been watching too many Oliver Stone movies lately. This is not a conspiracy to privatize education. If this government was interested in privatizing education, it would certainly not have dropped the P3 concept and gone into a totally new one. This government believes in public education, but it believes in private sector involvement in textbooks, in some of the aspects of building, in all of the aspects in which the private sector always has been involved.

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

EDUC. - SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS: FUNDING - PROVIDE

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education so I am sure that the students from Brookfield Junior High School in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley will be interested in my question today.

The Minister of Education has shown her disregard for students in a general sense, time and time again, but now I have a chance for her to prove her interest in at least one specific case. Eleven year old Jeffrey Mombourquette is a student from the Timberlea area and he has been diagnosed several times as being at least two and a half years behind where he should be academically. However, the province will not provide any funding toward Jeffrey's rather expensive private schooling that he needs in order to catchup with his peers. My question is, will the minister indicate if she is familiar with Jeffrey's case and whether or not she has any intention of doing something about it?

[Page 3914]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to discuss the cases of individual difficulties on the floor of this House. I will say there are many proven procedures for children with certain difficulties to go through, both with the board and the department.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, for those of you who don't remember Jeffrey, he was the youngster with the lemon aid stand at last year's protest outside this Legislature. His sign read: Lemon Aid for sale - proceeds towards my education. The sad fact is that for his parents, that is almost what it has come to. The minister has an obligation to every student in this province, not just to the ones fortunate enough to be able to learn in a typical learning environment. I will ask the Minister of Education again, will the minister commit to the House that she will table a strategy for effectively dealing with special needs students by the time that this House resumes this fall?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have a number of strategies for dealing with the difficulties of special needs students. I would be quite happy to table them.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, as I asked the Minister of Education in my first question, I hope she is working on that specific case. She may not want to discuss it in this House today, but Jeffrey's parents and Jeffrey himself would like to discuss it with the Minister of Education.

My final supplementary is to the Minister of Finance. This question has been posed to your federal counterpart and he is considering it, but I would like to ask the Minister of Finance as well. The cost to the Mombourquette family and others like them is more than $10,000 a year. Is the Minister of Finance prepared to investigate extending a tax credit to families who, for medically valid reasons, are forced to pay private school tuitions?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite asks a good question and I will take it as noted. There are many reviews that we do for taxation. Most of them have been covered by the federal legislation rather than provincial, but I will endeavour to look into the matter and give it some consideration.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - ABERDEEN HOSP.:

PHYSICIANS' REPLACEMENT - PLANS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, for months now, we have been hearing of more and more doctors and specialists leaving our province. In the New Glasgow area in particular there has been concern over doctors being lured away by the P.E.I. Government. Well, sadly, yesterday those fears were confirmed. Doctors Peggy and Peter Bethune are leaving next month. Dr. Peggy Bethune is the hospital's only pediatrician and her husband is an obstetrician-gynecologist. I want to ask the Minister of Health - we have known that

[Page 3915]

these departures were a possibility, he knows too well the state of health care in this province - what plans have you put in place to deal with the loss of the Aberdeen Hospital's only pediatrician and a crucial obstetrician-gynecologist?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, like the honourable member, I too regret the fact that the husband and wife team have decided to relocate on Prince Edward Island. The reason for that was, to be quite frank, and we have talked about the issue of critical mass and we have talked about best practices and all of those things, and what I explained to the House was that unfortunately the pediatrician was practising by herself and that was a major problem, but I can tell the House right now that interviews are going on to replace the husband and wife team that have or are about to leave the Aberdeen Hospital.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, for the sake of those in Pictou County who use the Aberdeen Hospital, I wish that these were the only positions that were vacant, but they are not. The same health authority is now searching for two orthopedic surgeons, two radiologists, two psychiatrists, one general surgeon, and two family doctors for the New Glasgow area. So I want to ask the Minister of Health, will the Minister of Health tell this House how and why he has allowed the situation in Pictou County to get this bad?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, we have known and we have taken steps to address it, but there are shortages of specialists throughout the province. I think, if the honourable member looks, he will see that our recruiting record and our retention record for both specialists and family practitioners would probably be the second best in Canada.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that New Glasgow area specialists have long raised concerns about the workload and about the call schedule and still the problems get worse. I want to ask the Premier, since the hospital is right in his own backyard, how this situation squares with his 1999 election promises to have more doctors and specialists, open more beds, and provide better access to medical services?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to point out that in fact we do now have more specialists and doctors in Nova Scotia than we did have, but I don't want to make light of the question that the member brings to the House. The area that I am responsible for is saddened by the impending loss of two very excellent specialists. As the minister had indicated, it has to do with a critical mass. In the case of the pediatrician, the funding has been in place for a second pediatrician for some period of time, but because of the relative lack of pediatricians across Canada, that position has not been filled and that played a great role in the determination for the husband and wife team to go to Prince Edward Island.

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

[Page 3916]

EDUC. - TEACHERS:

SALARY INCREMENTS - RESOLUTION TIME FRAME

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. On January 28, 2000, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia upheld an arbitration award restoring salary increments that were lost to teachers because of the wage restraints in the early part of the 1990's. During estimates the Minister of Education gave an indication to myself that she would be forthcoming in the resolve on this particular issue. My question to the minister is, how long does she intend to hold the Supreme Court decision in contempt?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I won't venture into the contempt area, but I would like to say that this has been a very long process. The union and the department have been working together on these teacher increments. There have been a number of decisions made. Those who are a definite yes to getting the increments have already been notified. They will be receiving the increments. Those whom the committee said would not be getting the increments, I believe have also been told, and there are roughly 250 or so teachers in the mid range where it is not quite so easy to decide if they should get the increments and those are still pending, but the majority of those issues have been settled.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, every day that goes by adds an additional $1,000 of interest to the payments owed to the teachers according to our calculations. This government can't find money for schools and hospitals, but yet it can find $365,000 a year to hold back in salary increments from the teachers who are owed this money. So my question to the minister is, how much more debt must this government add to what the taxpayers already owe before they will pay the teachers what the courts have indicated they already deserve?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the court did indeed indicate that teachers deserved these increments, but the number of applications was so high and, in fact, some of the teachers applying for the increments did not deserve them, according to the terms of the judgement. It was a very long process to work this out. That being said, the payments start June 14th. About 750 teachers will be getting the increments, a couple of hundred will not, and another couple of hundred may or may not. Definitely the 750 who deserve the increments, their payments start June 14th.

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, essentially what is happening is the minister and her department are dragging their feet on paying these increments to the teachers. During estimates the minister indicated, at that time, the issue would be resolved very shortly. Now she is saying the same thing again. What she is doing is forcing the Teachers Union into a rather untenable position. What action must the union take before the minister will be compelled to live up to their legal obligation?

[Page 3917]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, a representative of the union and the department have been working together on this process. It is not a matter of doing something to harm the Teachers Union. The Teachers Union has been working with the department and the issues are now largely resolved, and the cheques start June 14th.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HEALTH - FUNDING AGREEMENT (AUDREY WALSH):

HONOUR - REFUSAL EXPLAIN

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, Audrey Walsh is severely disabled from the effects of multiple sclerosis and relies on others for assistance with daily living. She was entered into a written funding agreement with the Municipality of West Hants on January 1994, which was taken over by the province on April 1, 1998. The province stopped honouring that agreement in September 1998, placing enormous financial, physical and emotional strain on Audrey and her family. My question to the Premier is, why does your government refuse to honour the provisions of a funding agreement with Audrey Walsh that is evidenced by a written offer of assistance, a written acceptance, and more than four years of written compliance?

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that is a rather well-known situation, certainly the family members have made it public and, indeed, I believe it has been raised on the floor of this House, perhaps by the honourable member for Halifax Needham earlier. The fact is that the person the honourable member has mentioned is receiving assistance at this particular time. One of the disagreements is over how much assistance that person is entitled to.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the minister is absolutely correct, it is over how much assistance ought to be provided. There was a written agreement, and there were written compliances with respect to that. Prior to April 1, 1991, Ms. Walsh's brother was promised more than $50 a day, by a government social worker, should he agree to return from Ontario and become his sister's primary caregiver. Mr. Romans returned in April 1991, and was providing, virtually, 24 hour care for his sister for more than 10 years. Mr. Romans has kept that part of the agreement. My question to the Premier is, when will the Province of Nova Scotia honour its commitment to Audrey and her family?

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

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the province is of the opinion that the commitment to the individual to whom the honourable member refers has been kept.

[Page 3918]

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to question the credibility of the Minister of Health, so, again, I will question the Premier. I understand that the correspondence assistants wrote to Mr. Romans on April 26, 2001, indicating that Audrey's situation is being reviewed and that a reply can be expected shortly. That was from the Premier. Can you advise of the scope of this review, and when Mr. Romans can expect a response?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite would provide me with the information that he has, I will see that his question is answered. I would suggest to the member opposite, when he wants detailed answers from members of government, if he would at least provide some advance information on the question, we can give him definitive answers. But if we are going to be continually asked about specific cases of which there are many thousands, then obviously the member opposite wants to play politics. He doesn't really want answers.

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

CANADA POST (N. SYDNEY) - CLOSURE:

REVIEW - PREM. INVOLVEMENT

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, last year Canada Post announced that it would close the sorting station located in North Sydney. The closure would mean the loss of up to 60 respectable and good-paying jobs. This facility has been a vital part of our community for over 50 years. Last fall, again, after some persuasion, Canada Post announced it would review the decision to close this facility. That review is over and the result doesn't look positive. My question to the Premier is, what role did the Premier play during this review?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member just repeat the question only, please?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, what role did the Premier play during that review?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is quite correct. There is a proposed move to take postal workers out of his area and to move those workers to New Brunswick. This very morning I received correspondence from the local union representative, relative to this issue, asking for my support to try to stop the movement of those workers from the members riding. I am prepared to do that and will do that.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the truth is the Premier did absolutely nothing during that review period. He didn't voice the concerns of the Province of Nova Scotia for keeping those jobs in Cape Breton. History indicates the Premier has failed when it comes to dealing with his counterparts in New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Now those jobs will be lost to

[Page 3919]

those provinces. My question to the Premier is, what specific action will the Premier take to protect the postal workers in industrial Cape Breton? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER: . . . to put this squarely on the shoulders of the federal representative from that area. I will respond to the letter I received this morning from the local union asking for support for their position. I am prepared to do that and I would certainly hope and would expect the member opposite will do that; I would certainly hope and expect that the federal member will do the same.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the Laurentian Sub-basin, the Campaign for Fairness, Marine Atlantic, the destruction of Sysco, the Premier's list of failures keeps growing. If he doesn't act now he will add the sorting station to his list of personal failures. My question to the Premier is, what will the Premier do to ensure that these Nova Scotian jobs will be maintained and the service will continue in North Sydney as it has for over 50 years?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, since I have already answered the question that he has re-asked, rather than answer the question again I will suggest to him, very strongly, that in 21 months this government has done more for job creation in his area than in any 21 months that the member opposite was able to provide in the caucus in which he sits.

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

FIN. - EQUALIZATION PMTS.: ACCURACY - MIN. EXPLAIN

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. It has recently been pointed out, I believe it was an article in The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, that the government projections for equalization payments in the coming year are a little wonky. The federal government with all its resources is claiming that its equalization payments to Nova Scotia will be $88 million less than the Nova Scotia Government is claiming in its projections. Given the resources of the federal government and its dealings with the other provinces on a regular basis, how can the Minister of Finance still claim that his projections on equalization are more accurate than the federal projections?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, when the honourable member says that the numbers coming out of Ottawa are different than Nova Scotia, I would say that they always are. In the past, history has shown that to be the case. The numbers for equalization to be received from Ottawa are prepared by staff using the information that they have. They also take into effect different factors that the federal government has used and I will use an example. The federal government was using a national average growth of GDP of 3.5 and in actuality, we heard last week that that number will be 2.4. To give an example, our

[Page 3920]

department when we calculated our equalization, we used an average of 2.7. So, we don't always use the numbers that Ottawa uses. We incorporate local input into it.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the equalization formula is quite complicated, as the minister full knows. But one thing is for sure, equalization can only stay at the same level if the economies of Alberta and Ontario are working and are creating growth at the same level they were last year. Every major economic forecast in Canada is predicting that Alberta and Ontario's economies won't grow as fast as they did last year. Given these economic forecasts for Alberta and Ontario, how can this Minister of Finance stand by his numbers and predict that equalization for the coming year will be as high as it was last year?

MR. LEBLANC: As I indicated before, Mr. Speaker, the projections that we use for growth nationally were lower than what Ottawa was using, which reinforces the point that he is trying to make which is that we should incorporate different data into our equalization calculation. That is what our staff did and that is why we are comfortable with the numbers that we have projected. We always know that the numbers that we calculate for equalization are adjusted as we go forward in the year and they will be adjusted as quarterly reports come forward. The only way we will know the actual number is, obviously, when we get to the end of the year and we get the information.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the minister's assumptions in his budget are already falling apart even before the Financial Measures (2001) Bill is passed by this House. Retail sales have collapsed in Nova Scotia, unemployment is increasing at a rate that hasn't been seen since the 1980's recession and our equalization predictions are completely out of whack with that of the federal government. My question to the Minister of Finance is, will the Minister of Finance release a revised budget before we leave this House that updates his numbers and verifies that the economic conditions are what we are facing now, not what we were facing two months ago?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. In regard to retail sales, I remember reading something this morning that retail sales have actually rebounded, which shows that the consumer confidence is rising.

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

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege. I would like to point out that on four different occasions, I have brought up the issue of tax issues to the Minister of Finance. At no time have I asked for a tax cut. I simply have asked the minister to freeze taxes, yet each time the minister gets the question, he says I am asking to cut taxes. I would ask the Minister of Finance who said he would not raise taxes during his mandate - to me and

[Page 3921]

to all Nova Scotians - if the minister won't be truthful with members of the House, he could at least be truthful and do the courteous thing and listen to the questions that I am asking.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, no matter what the member opposite said, if we were to change the brackets in our taxation system, it would equate to a reduction in taxes that people pay and that is a tax cut no matter how you slice it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of privilege, it is a dispute between two members over facts.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[1:45 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. David Wilson in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5 (5)

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

[Page 3922]

ENVIRON. & LBR. - WHITNEY PIER RESIDENTS:

PREM./HEALTH MIN. - MEET

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I want to read the therefore be it resolved into the record.

"Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and Minister of Health should meet immediately with residents of Whitney Pier to hear those residents' concern about toxic substances in their neighbourhood."

Mr. Speaker, this is a timely item for debate, not only given the fact of Dr. Lewis' report this week, but for the outlandish statements made by the minister today in the House and yesterday outside the Chamber, and again today outside the Chamber, when he makes the assertion that most people don't want to be moved. He clearly said here in the House that most people don't want to be moved; he said it to the media outside. Yet, when we asked the minister for his fact-based data he has on this, he refuses to answer.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give the minister, for the record, some data from a group we have talked to in Whitney Pier, called ROC, Rescue Our Community - it's an acronym. That group surveyed every home in that area, on Hankard, Tupper and Laurier Streets; 68 residents there. Of those 68 residents, 63 residents have returned the survey. Of that 63, 98 per cent of those people have said we want to be moved.

I wish the minister would table for us, as we asked him earlier today in Question Period, your data that says that people want to stay there. He said something about people whose homes are only 12 years old. There is a couple of things there, but do you think these people actually said, oh, this is a contaminated site, I think I will build my home there. They are people of probably modest means to start with, and said, look, this is an area where I can afford to build my home. It is an area that I know, I have grown up there, probably, and they are going to live there.

That is the type of data that this government will use. This minister has said continuously in this House that we are going to do a report, we are going to do a study. Dr. Lewis just finished his, and there are countless other studies of that area. Yet, when faced with the facts of a study done by the residents, he doesn't want to put any faith in that. The very people who live there, that this government purports to want to do something for, he ignores. He ignores 98 per cent of the respondents saying they wanted to be moved. Yet, the minister will not own up to that, will not look at that report in the light it was given.

Mr. Speaker, this would be fine if this minister hadn't already been caught out on what is called urban myths or urban legends. We all know that once before this very minister said doctors in the area were not treating certain people because they were cigarette smokers, and then had to retract that statement in this House.

[Page 3923]

Mr. Speaker, what I want to know from this minister is why, or how did he come up with this data, who developed it for him, and would he table it? He is not prepared, obviously, to table that document, because I will tell you today there is no fact-based document. He does not have a document, he has not talked to anybody. I will even go further for him, I will go on the record saying two people want to be moved that I can come up with, Anne Ross wants to be moved and Lorne Green wants to be moved. I will start with two names, now if the minister can put two names on the table, just two names, that is all we are asking him, just to put two names on the table, of the type of people who don't want to be moved, who want to stay there.

Mr. Speaker, let me move away from that for a moment. While that makes me angry, it takes you away from the point. There are almost some rabbit tracks there because it is not a matter if you should want to stay or want to go. This government is not giving anybody that option. This government is saying you are staying, we are going to study you and you are going to stay. They are human guinea pigs. If only two people wanted to move, the government should move them. So what is going to happen if in four, five or six weeks' time, the data comes out and says that the whole area should be moved? If the minister thinks, well, I don't have to move them because people are saying they don't want to move, so what point is there now.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy in some ways, Mr. Speaker. These people have the right to live in a clean and safe environment and that is why when I started to speak tonight, I quoted: "Therefore be it resolved . . .", because if the minister is telling this House and telling the media trumped-up numbers that aren't true or aren't accurate, I think he, and indeed the Premier, should go to the affected sites. They have to go down. Neither one has been in the area since the Lewis report has been released. Yet they are telling us everything is okay. Well, if you talked to people from the federal side of the Department of Health, Health Canada, they will tell you straight up that the problem here is with the provincial government, they don't want to move on it. You ask them. You ask the residents in the area of Laurier, Tupper and Hankard Streets, and that is what Health Canada officials are telling them, that the roadblock is this Minister of Health and indeed this Premier. I have accused this Premier before this House of being immoral in his actions around that group of residents and I will stand by that assertion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame on you.

MR. CORBETT: Shame on me.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. All members in this House are considered to be honourable and I would suggest that to call somebody immoral would be unparliamentary. I would ask the honourable member to retract that, please. I would think that to accuse a member of being immoral is going a bit over the line.

[Page 3924]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, if it is your wish, I will withdraw it. This government has been less than honest - and led by this Premier, a family physician who should know better - and I mean, ask the people of those streets I have quoted tonight who the stumbling block is and they will clearly tell you that it is the Premier and the Minister of Health. That is the problem. Maybe I used a descriptive word that may not be appropriate for this House, but I can tell you something, that it is the lack of action of this government. He stands in his place and said we have done more. I haven't heard one person, they have gone against their own Joint Action Group that have been the ones who were originally put up by this government, supported by this government financially, who have said move it, yet they will not listen to them. I mean the residents, again, will tell you that this government has put up roadblocks for JAG, put up roadblocks for the federal government and now they are putting up roadblocks about the Lewis report.

After saying that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on this matter and on the resolution presented by the member for Cape Breton Centre. It is disheartening and dismaying that he would use and refer in such a manner as he has about the Premier of this province and his actions and his leadership, but I think it is indicative. Sometimes I believe that the NDP think they have a patent on compassion. Well, they don't. Members of this government are very much attached to the realities of what has happened and what is going on in and around the tar ponds, and I take exception . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Then do someting.

MR. CLARKE: We are doing something; we are consulting with the community. I want the record of this House to show and note that while the member for Cape Breton Centre got up and said no one from this government . . .

MR. FRANK CORBETT: I didn't say that.

MR. CLARKE: You did. The other day you said nobody from this government was talking with the people of Whitney Pier. Check the Hansard, I say to the honourable member, because it is on the mark and it is false. Mr. Speaker, as a concerned member of the Progressive Conservative Government, led by the very moral John Hamm, I have been on the ground in Whitney Pier meeting with the people myself. I was there last Saturday to meet with those people and I went in to meet with Rescue Our Community representatives, and I have . . .

MR. JOHN HOLM: I was just wondering if the member would entertain a brief

question?

[Page 3925]

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Cape Breton North entertain a question?

MR. CLARKE: No. Mr. Speaker, in fact I will retract. I will take a question from the honourable member.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: I do appreciate the fact that the member is willing to take the question, regardless of what the answer will be. I appreciate the fact that he has said he has been in and met with the residents. What I would like to ask him, of the residents he met - and I don't know how many he did meet with - how many of those residents indicated that they would like to be moved from their current site and do you have, because the minister didn't seem to have, any information? The minister said many people don't want to be moved. Do you have any information that you could put on the table to indicate the number of people who do want to move and the number of people who wish to remain?

MR. CLARKE: Thank you for the question because I was going to address those very points and I will continue with my response and I will answer your question in the process, honourable member. Once again, here we have the member for Cape Breton Centre getting up and speaking and taking out of context what the Minister of Health has said. The Minister of Health said most people don't want to leave the area because those people are part of a community. I do agree with his sentiment though, that the people of Whitney Pier do not want to leave their community, the people do want to leave their homes. I do not, in any way, shape or form, want to suggest that people in Whitney Pier, in the NOCO area, that they are in a position. The request has been made from those people and the government is responding and being responsible by being on the ground in the public consultation.

Once again, I think it is important for this House to be provided with information on how this government is providing open and transparent processes with the community. I have had the opportunity, as I started to say before, to meet with representatives from the Rescue Our Community, with Joe Pettipas, Lorne Greene and Todd Marsman. I provided them with a commitment that I provided to the people who were protesting outside this House, and that was to become informed on the issue as a member of this government and also, importantly in Cape Breton, as a Cape Bretoner who does care about the future and the area that I live.

While that may not be my constituency, I do share the concerns of those people and that is why I don't mind rising in this House and defending our government, because our government is doing responsible actions to ensure we have the evidence to move forward with decisions that are going to ensure the long-term well-being of the community of Whitney Pier. That means that the federal government must be a full partner and player in that process, not deflecting things, but being a full partner. I want to see that federal government show their leadership.

[Page 3926]

Mr. Speaker, part of the process of ensuring that we move ahead as a community is not comments such as were made by the mayor of the CBRM, suggesting that this process is a sham, that it is smoke and mirrors. This government has gone down on the ground in Cape Breton and has been there to provide public consultation, to allow the frustrations, the very real frustrations of very real people to be heard, and for the government to provide its approach and articulate what it is doing for the citizens there to provide the clarity and the understanding that they want to make sure that we move forward. (Interruption) The honourable member is saying I am not answering the question. What I have said is (Interruption)

[6:15 p.m.]

What the honourable member is missing is that they are trying to create all this hysteria while we are trying to create moving forward based on fact. Once again, we will do that and we are doing it because I have made a pledge to those people to ensure that their concerns will be heard.

I have spoken with the minister on this and I am happy to report to this House that the officials that represent Rescue Our Community, they will be meeting with the minister on behalf of the citizens that they represent in the NOCO area. So I am pleased to table that information before the House and to suggest (Interruption) Well, to provide the information for the House - I will retract the word, table - to present that information, because this government is responding to the people on the ground. I have made a commitment to ensure that I would be informed on the matter in Cape Breton and Whitney Pier. We are continuing to ensure that those people have the benefit of a government that is listening, is responding and is being, more importantly, responsible.

I ask some of the honourable members if they could share and maybe join in that spirit, rather than trying to once again create a health scare everywhere. We need to get back to the facts and back on basing decisions based on evidence. Thank you.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I know that the member must have forgotten - it would have been inadvertent - but I asked him a question and he said that he would answer the question before he finished and he still has a couple of minutes. He said that he would provide the information on the number of people that he has spoken with, the people who wanted to be moved and the number of people who wished to remain. He certainly talked about the fact of scare tactics and people being on the ground and, of course, he would know that there are arsenic pools in people's basements, he would know that people have been told to have . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton North on that response. You still have a little over two minutes.

[Page 3927]

MR. CLARKE: As I have said, and I have stated the names of the individuals I met with upon my request to go down and respond and be in that community. That area that they are talking about, from my understanding as well, there are about 100 homes in that area and my understanding is that a significant number of people are worried about the status of their home as it affects their ability to remain in that community. I acknowledge that people have made a request to be moved. I also acknowledge that we need to get the evidence and the information necessary to make informed decisions to move forward. I will (Interruption) I have answered the question and I will conclude my remarks at this time.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: This is a very good resolution to debate. It is unfortunate that we have to even debate it because I believe if the government had taken action similar to the proclamations that it made when it was on this side of the House, I think we wouldn't even be debating this resolution today.

Let's just recount a little bit of history here. What we see here, as the honourable member for Cape Breton North has mentioned - I wrote down as he spoke - he said that the government was misunderstood on what it said. He said the government ministers indicated - the ones that did speak - that the residents didn't want to leave their community, but they wanted to leave their homes. Okay, that is item number one.

Essentially, he also indicated he was going to the site, to the various homes in Whitney Pier and becoming more familiar with the issues so that he could better understand and better advise his government on what to do or what not to do. Essentially what he is saying is the government is going to wait until he is briefed on the issue before they make a political announcement. That is what I understood.

Further, he went on to state about the federal government having an obligation to show some leadership and I think the term was used, federal participation. Well, that is true, it is a joint effort, it is a joint responsibility. But let's not forget, the federal government several weeks ago offered to move those residents with the co-operation of the provincial government and it is the provincial government that is refusing to proceed. So while the member is quite correct that it has to be a co-operative effort, one party has already agreed and the second party, the provincial government, is dragging its feet.

I would like to go back a little more in history when the Premier, when he was on this side of the House, insisted, he demanded, and I will state exactly what he wanted, he wanted the residents to be moved out of Frederick Street if for no other reason, compassionate grounds, for compassion. Now, if he is as compassionate as he says he is, and the government and the member for Cape Breton North suggests that he is, why isn't he doing something? We have far more evidence to support the movement of those people from their homes than we did back in 1998-99, but you know we didn't have to wait for the federal

[Page 3928]

government. As a government, we did it. We provided that option to those residents. We purchased their homes. We provided them the option and there was less evidence then than there is now.

Perhaps the honourable member for Cape Breton North may want to take a little time to look at this document that I tabled during budget debate, dated March 23, 2001, the Sydney Tar Ponds-Coke Ovens Cleanup Implementation Schedule. I will table it again if need be, but it is already tabled. Unfortunately, at that time during budget debate, the minister didn't even know about it and he is a party to it. It is Nova Scotia-Canada; it is a joint agreement. It is a joint action plan by both parties on how they were going to proceed with one of three options - Option A, B or C - and the minister himself didn't even know about it. I would suggest that perhaps the honourable member for Cape Breton North didn't even see this document, but yet it is the province that is funding it and party to it.

Clearly what is happening with the residents in the Pier is bordering on being inhumane. Can you imagine being advised by the Chief Medical Examiner of this province not to let your children play in the dirt in your backyard? What are you going to do, carry them around for five, six or seven years, until they attain the age of reason? Not so, but yet this is the same Chief Medical Examiner for the Province of Nova Scotia who has stated that he wouldn't live there himself, or he wouldn't let his children live there. What is the difference? Why the inhumanity of this? Why the double standard when it comes to protecting people's health? The people in Whitney Pier are as human and Nova Scotian as anyone else in this province, why are they treated as second-class citizens?

If the message hasn't gotten through to the government by now, I don't think it ever will, and for the member for Cape Breton North to suggest that the government is holding back, waiting for him to be brought up to speed so he can be involved in the process to make it look like he is going to make a political announcement, I would say that's bad news.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton North on a point of order?

MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is suggesting something that I in no way implied or suggested. No one is waiting for my response on things and I would like to get that clarified for the record from that member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North certainly clarified that matter.

MR. MACKINNON: He clarified it but, as you would suggest, Mr. Speaker, a difference of opinion between two members, because clearly that is the message that he is leaving, that this government will not do anything until he is politically positioned to try and score some cheap political points like he did on the hospital issue over on the Northside. This

[Page 3929]

is too important. This is the lives, the health, and the well-being of the people in Cape Breton, particularly in Whitney Pier.

Mr. Speaker, he can go on and he can huff and puff all he likes, but the fact of the matter is they are playing politics with the lives and the well-being of children in this province. It is bad enough they do it with adults, they are old enough and they are smart enough that in the worst case scenario they will move on their own, one way or the other, but what about the children? Why would you leave them in a poison, contaminated site is beyond my comprehension. The same Premier, when he was on this side of the House, demanding we do something for compassionate reasons. Where is that compassion now? Cold-hearted, stone-hearted. It is an absolute joke and it is a disgrace for a member, for a backbencher to suggest that the government will wait for him to be brought up to speed so he can jump in and try and score some cheap political points.

The action plan is clear, Mr. Speaker, (Interruption) and he suggests we are cheap over here because we are concerned about the health of these people. We did what we were obligated to do, not only legally, but morally. We moved them out of there. We didn't wait for the federal government. We didn't wait to play cheap political politics for a Tory backbencher to try and enhance his profile. It is too important. He will rue the day, and the Minister of Justice may laugh because he is so preoccupied with his gun control challenges and his right-wing agendas to satisfy his constituency, he has misrepresented that office so we wouldn't expect much better. The residents in Whitney Pier deserve a lot better than what they are receiving from this government.

Mr. Speaker, when we have a Minister of Environment and Labour who doesn't even know that he is minister and is responsible for a document, he doesn't even know the document exists. He confessed to that during budget debate - a critical piece of information. Then the member for Cape Breton North will stand up and say that he is a member of a compassionate government. Well, if that is compassion I would hate to see if they were insensitive. Isn't that some bravado from the Rambo Justice Minister. Elmer Fudd has nothing on that honourable member when it comes to dealing with public affairs. Let me tell you, I don't think he would be a very welcome sight down in Whitney Pier these days, or any member of the government for that matter.

The Minister of Environment and Labour, when he went to visit the site just after being appointed minister with the Cabinet assistant, Mr. Alfie MacLeod, he said, I am so overwhelmed by the site and the smell of this place that I can't speak, I am speechless. That is what he tells his staff. Mr. Speaker, what credibility does this government have?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired. There are two minutes left.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 3930]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thought somebody on the government side was getting ready to get up. I hadn't intended to speak on this particular motion this afternoon. Certainly, my colleague for Cape Breton Centre spoke very well. The reason why I got up, and I had to get up, the member for Cape Breton North stood in his place and he talked about all kinds of bravado about how the government is listening to and trying to hear from the people who live in the Pier area. He talked about himself being down there last Saturday. Then I got to my feet and I asked him a direct question because the minister would not answer it on the floor of the House today; the minister would not answer what evidence he had that the majority of the people, or even a significant number of the individuals who live in that area, want to remain.

I asked the member for Cape Breton North, who said he has been down there listening, therefore, he should have some direct information, I asked him what evidence he had about a significant number of people who wish to remain in that toxic area. He promised that he would answer that question. Instead, what he did is he stood up and he said that the minister and some other officials are going to meet with the minister. He provided absolutely no information to backup what he was saying or what the minister was saying. As a new member, I hope he doesn't continue down the way . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has expired on the late debate. I would like to thank the members for taking part in this evening's lively debate. The House will now revert to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[9:58 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 3931]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 18 - Registered Nurses Act.

Bill No. 19 - Licensed Practical Nurses Act.

Bill No. 21 - Transportation Amendments (2001) Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit until 3:00 p.m. or perhaps we can adjourn earlier. (Interruption) 9:00 in the morning, a.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: 9:00 a.m.

MR. RUSSELL: Yes. The order of business, Mr. Speaker, will be to continue (Interruption) We will report them tomorrow. (Interruption) We will revert again, yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Yes, I just wanted to know if the one bill is going to have a couple of letters attached, because I think one of the bills in order to be reported back had to have a couple of letters from the Private and Local Bills Committee.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, can we revert, with the concurrence of the House, to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

[Page 3932]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 26 - Chester Trails Act.

Bill No. 54 - District of Barrington Health Professionals Assistance Act.

Bill No. 57 - Halifax Corresponding Committee Act.

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

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

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 24 - St. Francis Xavier University Millennium Centre Grants Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there was some reference to a document to be tabled and that will be done tomorrow.

[Page 3933]

Mr. Speaker, following the time required for Bill No. 20, we will go into Public Bills for Second Reading, commencing with Bill No. 31, then Bills No. 28, 25, 14, 12 and 9.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House now do rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[The motion is carried.]

The House is adjourned until 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 10:02 p.m.]

[Page 3934]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1352

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Wendy's Restaurants are once again offering an opportunity for 12 finalists to take part in Wendy's Classic Achiever Scholarship Awards Program in the Maritime Provinces; and

Whereas Toven MacLean of Windsor; Patricia Doyle of Sydney; Tracy George of Sydney; Abigail Astle of Boiestown; Nikki Hoffman of Oxford; Amanda Noble of Yarmouth; Travis Anderson of Parrsboro; Jonathan Harris of Greenwood; Allen Furlong of Quispamsis; Tyler Johnston of Dartmouth; David Hirtle of Briggs Corner; and Keir Campbell of Kensington, Prince Edward Island, are the 12 finalists taking part in this exciting awards program; and

Whereas Mr. Dave Thomas, owner of Wendy's Restaurants, is recognizing the potential of our young graduating students by rewarding them for their academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and community service, as graduating students from high schools across the Maritime Provinces;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the contestants and also Mr. Dave Thomas for his commitment to the youth of the Maritime Provinces and wish them all the very best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1353

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Dave Thomas, owner of Wendy's Restaurants, is once again offering an opportunity for youth in the Maritime Provinces to take part in the Wendy's Classic Achiever Scholarship Awards Program; and

Whereas young men and women from across the area, who include Travis Anderson of Parrsboro Regional High School and Nikki Hoffman of Oxford Regional High School, as well as 10 other graduates from across the Maritimes have been selected; and

[Page 3935]

Whereas these students are being recognized for their academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and community service, with two final winners, one male and one female each receiving $6,000 while the remaining 10 finalists will receive $1,000 scholarships;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate these 12 youth finalists in Wendy's Classic Achiever Scholarship Awards Program and Mr. Dave Thomas, owner of Wendy's Restaurants, and wish them all the very best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1354

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Ron and Kathy Reynolds, owners of the Lamp Cabin Dining Room and Lounge in Springhill, and Bill King, Manager of the Lamp Cabin continue to support individuals and families in the community of Springhill and area in various fundraising efforts; and

Whereas the Lamp Cabin Dining Room and Lounge over the years has helped many individuals in their time of need; and

Whereas Ron, Kathy and Bill so freely give of their time and effort through the business which enables the community of Springhill and area to continue to be successful in so many fundraising efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the owners and manager of the Lamp Cabin Dining Room and Lounge in Springhill for their efforts to make the community of Springhill, in the Province of Nova Scotia, such a great place to live and wish them all the very best in the future.