The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., Nov 16, 2001

[Page 7209]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Jerry Pye, Mr. David Wilson

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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. 84 - Vital Statistics Act.

Bill No. 87 - Cosmetology Act.

Bill No. 88 - Underground Hydrocarbons Storage Act.

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

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[Page 7210]

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

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 bill:

Bill No. 86 - Pharmacy 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.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Alcohol and Gaming Authority for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Public Accounts of the Province of Nova Scotia for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Community College for the year 2000-01.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister responsible for the administration of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

[Page 7211]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the fiscal years 1998-2000 for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2515

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

Whereas the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia has received one of 10 Canada Exporter Awards at the 2001 Canada Exporter Awards; and

Whereas the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, which has performed for some 2.5 million people on four continents, will be presented with a letter from the Prime Minister congratulating it on its recent honour; and

Whereas this Windsor-based company that employs upwards of 50 people was also honoured with the Outstanding Export Performance Award, one of eight awards that were given out at the 17th annual Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia on its recent achievements and for being one of Nova Scotia's outstanding cultural ambassadors.

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 7212]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 95 - Entitled an Act to Establish a Day to Recognize the German Settlers of Nova Scotia. (Hon. Michael Baker as a private member.)

Bill No. 96 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

Bill No. 97 - Entitled an Act to Implement Measures Agreed to by the Government of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada Respecting Occupational Health and Safety in the Offshore. (Hon. Gordon Balser)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2516

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

Whereas the Cole Harbour Minor Baseball Association has a long history of building strong baseball teams and even stronger players; and

Whereas the 2001 Cole Harbour Bantam A baseball team won the gold medal at the Nova Scotia Provincial Bantam Championship; and

Whereas the Bantam A team went on to win the silver medal at the Atlantic Bantam Championships in Miramichi, New Brunswick;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Cole Harbour Bantam A baseball team and in particular Coaches Wayne Mercer, Terry Mathews, Wayne Moores, and volunteers Andrew deVarennes, Heather Mathews and Patti Glencross on their gold medal performance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7213]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2517

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

Whereas on Thursday, November 15, 2001, friends; wife Dawn; and family gathered at the Holiday Inn in Dartmouth to honour Don Valardo; and

[9:15 a.m.]

Whereas Don is an outstanding citizen of Dartmouth, devoting much of his time and energy on civic life, political activities and countless other worthwhile causes; and

Whereas one of Don's proudest achievements, the construction and operation of the Dartmouth Sportsplex, is one of Dartmouth's greatest assets;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature extend their thanks and best wishes to Mr. Don Valardo and family for his many years of selfless devotion and dedication to Dartmouth.

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 North.

[Page 7214]

RESOLUTION NO. 2518

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

Whereas the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton, through community support and the dedication of volunteers, assists the Cape Breton Regional Palliative Care Service to meet the specific needs of patients and their loved ones so that they can receive special care in hospital or in the comfort and privacy of their homes; and

Whereas Harding Medical Supplies Ltd. has donated an electric patient lift chair to the Hospice Palliative Care Society to help in providing good care for patients and practical help for their caregivers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Harding Medical Ltd. for their active support of the Hospice Palliative Care Society, thank the society for their help for the dying, and encourage others to join with them in supporting the Hospice Palliative Care Service and their plans for a specialized unit for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2519

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

Whereas the Catholic Women's League at the Parish of Immaculate Conception was formed in the year 1926 and remains an asset for the Bridgeport and Dominion areas; and

[Page 7215]

Whereas the impact of this group is felt in the various activities of its sponsors, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Safe Grad and scholarships for high school graduates of both communities; and

Whereas this very worthy group celebrates its 75th Anniversary this year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Catholic Women's League of Immaculate Conception Parish on this milestone of their 75th Anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2520

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

Whereas the government's economic plan, Opportunities for Prosperity, has so far been a colossal failure; and

Whereas this so-called plan has indicated that Cape Breton would warrant the special attention of this government; and

Whereas so far that special attention means abandoning economic development to the federal government;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that Opportunities for Prosperity is a sham document with about as much credibility as the Tory blue book.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7216]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2521

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

Whereas RCMP Constable Joe Taplin of the Cole Harbour detachment was recently nominated for the Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award as presented by the federal Department of Justice and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, in recognition of the efforts of those police officers who demonstrate excellence in youth intervention and education; and

Whereas in this second year of the award, Constable Taplin was one of 33 nominations received from police services, community groups, schools and individuals across Canada; and

Whereas Constable Joe Taplin is a former athlete, a current assistant football coach with the St. F.X. University football team and coordinates his detachment's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program known as DARE;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Constable Joe Taplin for his dedication to the youth of his community, and for the significant community involvement and extension work which led to his nomination for this prestigious award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7217]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2522

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

Whereas in February the government made a unilateral proposal to fund municipal equalization from municipal property tax revenue, although property taxes are not based on the ability to pay; and

Whereas in October the government rejected the UNSM's counter proposal and declined to say when it would make a new proposal of its own; and

Whereas on November 15th, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations issued a news release to state, "Everyone involved in municipal government knows that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber and it's very difficult to hear the speaker. I would ask the honourable members to take their conversations outside, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North, start over, please.

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

Whereas in February the government made a unilateral proposal to fund municipal equalizations from municipal property tax revenue although property taxes are not based on the ability to pay; and

Whereas in October the government rejected the UNSM's counterproposal and declined to say when it would make a new proposal of its own; and

Whereas on November 15th the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations issued a news release to state that, "Everyone involved in municipal government knows that the February proposal is dead.";

[Page 7218]

Therefore be it resolved that this House affirm that the provincial government will not download municipal equalization onto the property tax base because property taxes are not based on the ability to pay.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2523

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

Whereas despite 243 promises in the last election, the Premier has in effect made only three; and

Whereas he promised to fix the health care system for $46 million, balance the books and give a 10 per cent tax cut; and

Whereas since coming to office none of these promises have been fulfilled;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House remind the Premier that failure to deliver on these three essential promises will not be forgotten by Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 7219]

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2524

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

Whereas since 1902, when it was known as the Liverpool Opera House, the Astor Theatre has been hosting local and touring musical and theatrical performances and since 1917, with the first showing of silent film, has screened movies as well; and

Whereas despite the renovations to the theatre, the modifications to the stage and the installation of a new projector, the theatre is in need of refurbishing and of an updated sound system; and

Whereas this arts and heritage facility is part of the character of Liverpool and its improvement and upkeep will be an asset to the town, the Astor's patrons and the performers too;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish the Astor Theatre Society all the best as it seeks support from Heritage Canada and the community to rejuvenate this wonderful cultural resource.

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 Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2525

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

[Page 7220]

Whereas Sport Nova Scotia through the KidSport Fund recognizes that social and economic obstacles often prevent young people from participating in organized sport and recreation; and

Whereas the KidSport Fund provides financial assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged children, enabling them to participate in a sport or recreational activity which is supported by Sport Nova Scotia or a municipal recreation department; and

Whereas the KidSport Fund depends upon donations from the public, from corporate sponsors and assistance from the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jessica Fraser, a young competitive swimmer from Halifax and a resident of Halifax Chebucto, who entirely on her own solicited sponsors for a swim across the Northumberland Strait which she completed on September 3rd, donating all the funds raised to the KidSport Fund and their program to assist disadvantaged children.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2526

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

Whereas Archbishop Vincent M. Waterman of 57 Hankard Street, Whitney Pier in Cape Breton Nova, is Primate and Metropolitan of the African Orthodox Church for Canada; and

Whereas Archbishop Waterman is now 75 years of age, yet carries on his work daily with enthusiasm and dedication that would be rare in a 55 year old; and

[Page 7221]

Whereas Archbishop Waterman has given leadership in a wide range of activities which have earned the commendation of the whole community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend Archbishop Waterman for his outstanding commitment to the people and to the church and wish him continued Godspeed as he continues his efforts in the days and years ahead.

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 Government House Leader.

RESOLUTION NO. 2527

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

Whereas the Dorian Hall Academy of Music is located in the old Victoria Hotel on Water and Stannus Streets in Windsor; and

Whereas the Dorian Hall Academy of Music now provides music lessons to more than 200 students on a weekly basis, whether it is in piano, percussion, fiddle, voice or other musical interests; and

Whereas the Academy provides above quality teaching with instructors having graduated with degrees of music and some even travelling from the Maritime Conservatory of Music in Halifax to provide private lessons to individual students;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Roger and Nina Taylor for their creativity, dedication and involvement in the musical lives of young children and wish them continued success with the Dorian Hall Academy of Music.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7222]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2528

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 Halifax Regional Municipality recently placed truckloads of organic material in the Otter Lake landfill to test plans to use it as a back-up disposal facility for organic waste, informing only one member of that council; and

Whereas this plan breaks a basic promise made to Timberlea-Prospect residents who have already suffered foul odours and other problems from the landfill and compost facilities in our community; and

Whereas it is incredible that the HRM would even consider a plan which would bring the leachate, odours and pests associated with organic landfill to the Otter Lake facility;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the HRM to keep the promises it made when it placed the landfill and compost plant in Timberlea-Prospect and to make sure that local residents are the first to know what's going on in these facilities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 7223]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2529

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

Whereas the member for Cape Breton North proves the old theory that the person who speaks the loudest usually has the least to say; and

Whereas this is becoming more apparent each day as the member has used the late debate as a forum to loudly talk about the Cape Breton economy; and

Whereas even though he talks loudly, the member supports a government that has done little to support economic development in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Cape Breton North recognize that his government's efforts to stimulate the economy consists of using federal funds as a cover for their own inaction.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 2530

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

Whereas the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia will launch the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign to commemorate the December 6, 1989 murder of 14 young women in Montreal; and

[Page 7224]

Whereas the campaign has been designed to coordinate with international recognition of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and to promote increased awareness and action to ensure the safety of women; and

Whereas beginning November 25th the Halifax Atlantic constituency office will participate in the campaign by offering ribbons for sale;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature commend the Transition House Association and their network of volunteers for conducting the Purple Ribbon Campaign and laud their legal, physical and emotional support for women at risk.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2531

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

Whereas Anna Allen recently completed her term as President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities; and

Whereas the UNSM represents the 55 municipal units in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Ms. Allen contributed to the UNSM with her commitment and dedication to the municipalities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Allen on her dedication and hard work during her presidency with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.

[Page 7225]

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 Needham.

[9:30 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2532

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

Whereas Victoria Hall, a retirement residence for women located on Gottingen Street, has a fascinating history which has been chronicled recently by Eileen Riley; and

Whereas Victoria Hall's origins can be traced as far back as the initial planning meetings in 1860 and incorporation in 1867 through an Act of this House of Assembly; and

Whereas Victoria Hall has withstood many tests of time, including the forces of the Halifax Explosion;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulate Eileen Riley on the publication of her work, Victoria Hall: A History 1860-2000.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

I would also like to table a copy of the history for the Legislative Library, please.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7226]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2533

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

Whereas the Tory blue book could be entered into any fiction competition and win the grand prize; and

Whereas the blue book indicated that the Tories would offer tax incentives in rural Nova Scotia to help spur economic development; and

Whereas there were also promises for generous tax breaks for family caregivers and students with high student loans;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the value of the Tory blue book as a work of fiction rather than a serious attempt to improve the lives of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2534

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

[Page 7227]

Whereas the importance of the introduction to entrepreneurship early in a student's life is invaluable; and

Whereas Gordon Watson, a school teacher for over 32 years before his recent retirement, taught the basic fundamentals of entrepreneurship to thousands of students, many of whom went on to become entrepreneurs; and

Whereas Gordon Watson most recently was a finalist for the Centre for Entrepreneur, Education and Development sponsored 2001 Planet Entrepreneur Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Gordon Watson for the innovative role he has played in helping shape the minds of young students as they prepare to be future entrepreneurs.

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 please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 2535

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

Whereas the Christmas season is fast approaching as the Premier continues to hold on to the $5 million destined for charities in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Premier would make Scrooge proud as he symbolically imitates the words of his fictional counterpart in every Question Period; and

Whereas Scrooge once said, "I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned (orphanages, work houses) -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there!";

[Page 7228]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should realize his day of reckoning will come soon, and while there will be no ghosts to visit him, he may have to visit the people of Nova Scotia and that will be scary enough for the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour- Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2536

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

Whereas South Woodside Elementary School has started a breakfast program to ensure all students at the school have a good breakfast to start the day and to help them on the path of learning; and

Whereas the South Woodside program provides a hot breakfast to all students who want one and, last year, 150 out of 199 students took part in the program; and

Whereas the program is able to continue to help children through the generous support of Imperial Oil's Dartmouth refinery, which has been a part of South Woodside for over 80 years, and another example of the refinery taking an interest in the education of local children;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Imperial Oil and in particular Ted Stonner, Refinery Manager, for donating $5,000 to the South Woodside Elementary School Breakfast Program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7229]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

RESOLUTION NO. 2537

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

Whereas the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is not what you would call a people person; and

Whereas instead of answering legitimate questions, the minister would prefer to hide behind press releases; and

Whereas of course the most offensive part of the minister's rebuttals is the content of the releases themselves;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to try to use this House to answer questions instead of stonewalling behind bad press releases.

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 Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2538

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

Whereas community arenas are a focal point in our towns and villages; and

[Page 7230]

Whereas New Waterford and District Community Centre has just undergone a major expansion to its dressing rooms and facilities; and

Whereas this project was spearheaded by the volunteer board of the New Waterford and District Community Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the board of directors and all of the volunteers of the New Waterford and District Community Centre for their successful efforts in the expansion of their community centre.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 2539

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

Whereas the Premier had to be reminded by the media to bring up the issue of softwood lumber duties and Christmas tree exports with the U.S. Ambassador to Canada; and

Whereas one would think this issue was important enough that those issues would be in the forefront of his mind; and

Whereas the Premier claims he brought the issue up later, which I guess is better than never;

Therefore be it resolved that the memory lapses on the part of the Premier means that important issues like softwood duties and Christmas tree exports could fall by the wayside.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7231]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2540

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

Whereas the announcement of 3,200 mixed residential dwellings for about 8,000 people is proof that Timberlea-Prospect is the fastest growing provincial constituency; and

Whereas this development will result in more pressure on local schools, roads and residential facilities; and

Whereas planning is crucial by all involved at all levels of government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Departments of Education, Transportation and Public Works, and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations become thoroughly involved in the planning process of the Nine Mile River Development in Timberlea.

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 Glace Bay.

[Page 7232]

RESOLUTION NO. 2541

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

Whereas the Health Minister left last Thursday morning without a warning; and

Whereas he went south of Dellreo Texas, with a heck of a load on his brain but he kept on going without even knowin' how special his Cabinet post had been; and

Whereas now that his trip is near finished, he's down to his last dime and coming a part at the seams;

Therefore be it resolved that when it comes to a possible Cabinet shuffle, the Minister of Health is messed up in Mexico and livin' on refried dreams.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2542

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

Whereas Canadian Blood Services honoured Nova Scotians for their generosity and commitment to the blood program; and

Whereas Pierre Belliveau of Belliveau Cove was one of the Nova Scotians recognized at the awards ceremony; and

Whereas Pierre Belliveau has donated blood 100 times since he began donating as a university student, and travels to Halifax in order to donate plasma;

[Page 7233]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Pierre Belliveau for helping to improve and save the lives of many others through his strong commitment to the blood donor program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2543

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

Whereas responsible businesses lie at the core of Nova Scotia communities; and

Whereas communities thrive when its corporate citizens are active both in the business and volunteer sectors; and

Whereas the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce recently honoured Sean Murray of Advocate Printing and Publishing as Business Person of the Year at its recent achievement awards ceremony;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join in congratulating Sean Murray and the people at Advocate Printing and Publishing Limited on receiving the prestigious award of Business Person of the Year from the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7234]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Order, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth North, if you would read the therefore be it resolved portion only of your resolution, please.

MR. JERRY PYE: Therefore be it resolved that the Departments of Education, Transportation and Public Works and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations become involved in the planning process of the Nine Mile River Development in Timberlea.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2544

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

Whereas the Purple Ribbon Campaign is an annual campaign organized by the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia to commemorate the December 6, 1989 killing of 14 women in Montreal, as well as raise awareness about the far-reaching effects of violence against women; and

Whereas the campaign is unique to Nova Scotia and is conducted province-wide via local initiatives from volunteers through transition houses, women's centres and other concerned organizations; and

[Page 7235]

Whereas purple ribbons will be sold during the campaign with proceeds going to organizations that provide services to women who are abused;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the importance of the Purple Ribbon Campaign that runs from November 25th to December 10th as part of an international recognition of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2545

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

Whereas community volunteers have shown exemplary initiative in pursuing the establishment of a wilderness area in the land bounded by Highway No. 103 and Highway No. 333; and

Whereas this proposed 22,000 acre site will be 20 minutes from peninsular Halifax; and

Whereas this protected area, through the co-operation of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environment and Labour, is welcomed by all;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the involved community volunteers and the Departments of Natural Resources, Environment and Labour officials on pursuing the establishment of a wilderness area in the land bounded by Highway No. 103 and Highway No. 333.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 7236]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 92.

Bill No. 92 - Fatality Investigations Act.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 92. The Minister of Justice has asked that I introduce this bill for second reading and he has left me remarks that I would now make for the benefit of the House in explaining the purpose and principle of Bill No. 92.

Mr. Speaker, this bill was the result of a great deal of work and a large amount of consultation. This process actually began several years ago. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the work of Justice Department lawyer, Barbara Patton, who completed her research into the Fatality Inquiries Act in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Barb lost her battle with cancer. Her work formed the basis of a discussion paper that was widely circulated among the legal and medical communities.

Mr. Speaker, the input we received has formed the basis for the bill we are introducing today. I believe she would be pleased with the end product. This bill updates and clarifies the legislative framework which governs the office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The medical

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examiner must investigate when a person has died as a result of an accident, suicide or violence either in or outside of a health care facility. If they are in good health and die unexpectedly and are not in the care of a physician, or when the cause of death is undetermined, it's a medical examiner's case. If negligence or improper treatment is suspected, the medical examiner must investigate. If the person was in hospital and negligence or an accident on the part of the staff is suspected, the medical examiner must be notified. As well, if an individual dies within 10 days of an operative procedure, the medical examiner becomes involved. As is the case now, if a person dies while in custody, the medical examiner's office is notified and must investigate.

[9:45 a.m.]

This bill clearly sets out the roles and responsibilities of the medical examiner's office and those of police. For the purposes of the Act, police are required to assist and act under the direction of the medical examiner's office. During the Swissair tragedy in 1998 the role and importance of the office of the Chief Medical Examiner was certainly never in question. However, there was some ambiguity regarding roles and responsibilities. It is vital that all players are clear regarding jurisdiction and that's what this legislation will help to clarify.

The medical examiner must establish and record the person's identity, the date, time and place of death and the cause and manner of death. This legislation gives a medical examiner the ability to appoint physicians as medical examiners and to appoint medical investigators. The office also has the responsibility of supervising medical examiners and investigators.

This bill also clearly outlines the types of records that must be supplied to the medical examiner's office. It also gives a medical examiner the ability to take possession, without a warrant, of anything the medical examiner believes may be directly related to the death, as long as it is on-site where the body is located, and an investigation is underway.

The legislation allows the medical examiner to secure any scene for at least 48 hours. It also allows the office to inspect and make copies of a diagnosis, record or information relating to a person who has received diagnostic or treatment services. Again, the general goal is to ensure that there is no confusion as to what should be supplied and how materials may be gathered. Obviously, the thorough investigation of sudden death requires that all relevant information be available.

Another significant change in the bill is the process related to fatality inquiries. Previously the Chief Medical Examiner made recommendations to the Chief Judge as to whether an inquiry was needed. That recommendation will now be made to the Minister of Justice. If the minister is satisfied that an inquiry is consistent with the purpose of the bill, is in the public interest or is in the interest of public safety, the minister may direct that an

[Page 7238]

inquiry be held. The Chief Judge would then appoint a member of the judiciary to conduct the inquiry.

The legislation means that the medical examiner will now have more complete and comprehensive information in formulating a recommendation regarding inquiries. In making a recommendation, all supporting documents will be provided to the Minister of Justice with a written recommendation.

This bill also clearly outlines the process involved for the disposal of an unclaimed or unidentified body once the investigative process is complete.

In closing, we believe this legislation will improve the system for the investigation of sudden or unexplained deaths. We don't expect to proclaim this Act right away. We want to allow some time for the medical examiner's office, among others, to adapt. With the loss of a loved one through a sudden or unexplained death, many questions are raised. We sincerely hope this legislation helps to provide some answers.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would move second reading of Bill No. 92.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: My comments will be brief. I appreciate the Government House Leader making the comments on behalf of the Minister of Justice. I too want to recognize Ms. Patton and her efforts in producing this legislation on behalf of our caucus, the Official Opposition.

Obviously this legislation, overall, is a move forward with regard to fatality inquiries and the medical examiner's office. Any legislation that ensures that the medical examiner is able to do his job, is able to ensure that whether without warrant or with warrant he is able to get the information necessary, is able to break down those potential barriers that may be in place to prevent the medical examiner from being able to get all the information possible in order to resolve how someone died, I think is good legislation. Our caucus believes it is good legislation.

I would suggest to you, in this particular case, that in the example given in the paper of Mr. Comeau, he is one of many examples. In many cases in Nova Scotia we hear, from time to time, there are examples of families who just want answers as to why their son or daughter or brother or sister or father or mother passed away. They need those answers. Those answers sometimes can't be received just from an autopsy, just from comments that are made by certain people who may have been involved. Sometimes we need those fatality inquiries. I know, for example, that for Mr. Sheppard, who passed away in a small options home, has always wanted. I would suggest to you that in certain circumstances there is a need

[Page 7239]

to ensure that the medical examiner has the teeth, has the ability to go forward and make sure that he or she will get the information necessary to be able to do their job. In many cases closure must happen, we must have answers as to why someone died, and that is the medical examiner 's job and they must have the tools to be able to do that.

I will say in closing that one thing that jumps out at me, and I will be curious to see what type of feedback we get, the legislation, I understand, used to be that the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court would decide whether or not a fatality inquiry would occur. That's now going to be in the hands of the Justice Minister. Any time we are taking, potentially, an administrative (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I agree. Would the honourable members take their conversations outside, please. It's very difficult to hear the member who is speaking on the floor.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, one concern, potentially, and I want to hear at the Law Amendments Committee whether there are those who also have this concern, is that the issue of the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court used to be the one who would make decisions as to whether there would be a fatality inquiry, it is now going to be in the hands of the Justice Minister. Any time we are taking what is normally a bureaucratic or administrative or a legal decision and putting it in the hands of someone who obviously has a role in that legal system but also has a political function, I would suggest I may have concerns and something I would like to ensure that there are guarantees, whether it be through regulation or whether it be through the legislation to ensure that politics will not and cannot be perceived as being part of the decision-making process. That's the last thing we need with regard to fatality inquiries.

We need to know that those decisions are being made based on the law, based on the rules that are in place as to when one should occur, and not based on politics. I would hope that that is something that we can get guarantees from this government in this legislation to ensure that this change will not become something - as I say, it is not just about reality, it is about the perception. I would hope that any government would want to ensure that if the Attorney General, the Minister of Justice, is not going to be perceived - when provided with an opportunity to make a decision - of how that decision is being made, I would hope this is something the government will think about as this legislation passes through the House.

[Page 7240]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks I would request of the Government House Leader, I noticed that he did read from a prepared text on Bill No. 92, I am curious, could he make available a copy of that prepared text for us just to review the comments he was provided with.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak today, as the Justice Critic for the Liberal caucus, on Bill No. 92, the Fatality Investigations Act. One only has to look at the present Fatality Inquiries Act to realize that it was badly in need of being updated. While the bill put forward does manage to update and clarify the legislation, our caucus has very serious concerns with a number of the parts of this bill.

First of all, this bill has the potential of politicizing the process of initiating fatality inquiries or investigations. Under the present Act, the Chief Medical Examiner makes recommendations to a judge of the Provincial Court as to whether an inquiry is appropriate. The judge may call an investigation if he or she considers it necessary for a full study of the cause of death. There is also a provision in the present Act for the Attorney General or a prosecuting officer to direct a judge of the Provincial Court to hold an inquest.

Mr. Speaker, with this bill, recommendations will be forwarded by the Minister of Justice alone. If the minister is satisfied that an inquiry is consistent with the purpose of the Act, it is in the public interest or public safety, then the minister may, and it is the word 'may' not 'shall' but may direct an inquiry to be held. So basically it is in the hands of the minister to decide whether or not an inquiry should be held.

Mr. Speaker, this measure is not progressive, it is regressive. As long as judges still have a say in whether fatality investigations should occur, we have a better chance of keeping politics out of this process. Judges form a separate branch of government and many measures are taken to ensure their impartiality and independence. They have no worries about being re-elected in order to keep their office. A Minister of Justice, whoever the person is, not only represents the interests of Nova Scotians, but they are also a politician by trade. In no particular order, they are answerable to their Cabinet, their Premier, their caucus, their Party, this House, Nova Scotians in general, their constituents and the media. They hold their office by virtue of being elected and re-election is never far from one's mind.

Mr. Speaker, before I continue, I want to clarify for the record that my concerns are not focused merely on the present honourable Minister of Justice. No aspersions are being cast here today against him. Our concern is with the wisdom of giving this power exclusively to whomever holds the Office of Minister of Justice and Attorney General. For example, this bill addresses the situation of fatalities that may occur in a health care setting. If cuts to health care services and increasing wait time for surgery might have played a part, should a

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member of the provincial Cabinet be the only person who can authorize a fatality investigation? That person is collectively responsible to Cabinet and his or her colleagues - would it be a prudent and impartial public policy to put the minister in that position? Clearly, it would not. The same concerns apply to suicides that might occur in a health care facility or on its grounds. The findings of an investigation could point out huge deficiencies in the funding and delivery of health care services and those revelations can certainly be politically embarrassing to the government of the day.

Mr. Speaker, another scenario is someone who dies in police custody or in an institution where overcrowding or inappropriate mixing of prison populations may exist. Nova Scotians should not be dependent on the integrity of individual Justice Ministers to call for inquiries when they are needed. Fatality investigations have the potential to be politically embarrassing in their findings, so there is no substitute for giving an impartial and non-political third party the ability to order an inquiry. In Ontario, coroners - who are the equivalent of our medical examiners - have the authority to order an inquest and also, in Ontario, relatives of a deceased person can request that a coroner hold an inquest. The government has not seen fit to include similar measures in Bill No. 92. Overall, it might be the best policy to give a variety of actors the authority to order investigations so that a number of checks and balances will exist within the system. That way the whole process won't rest on one person's decision and discretion.

Mr. Speaker, another concern we have is with the very Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The government has been portraying this bill as ensuring the independence and autonomy of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. It is an improvement over the present Act, which stipulates that a Chief Medical Examiner holds office "during pleasure". In administrative law, this simply means that you can be terminated at will. This bill does set out a number of reasons for which a person would cease to hold the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. They include ceasing to hold a medical licence, ceasing to be a resident of the province or being terminated by the minister for just cause.

However, the government seems to be talking out of two sides of its mouth on Bill No. 92. Clause 3(2) of the bill also stipulates that, "The Chief Medical Officer holds office during good behavior." Mr. Speaker, in legal terms, this measure seems to place the position somewhere between one that can be terminated at will and one in which just cause has to be given. At the very least, this drafting is ambiguous. More than that perhaps, it seems to be inconsistent and conflicting. It calls into question whether the government is providing adequate safeguards for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The Chief Medical Examiner should be in a position where he or she cannot feel intimidated by the prospect of losing their job if their actions embarrass the government of the day. This bill also stipulates that a medical examiner or an investigator may not act if they have a professional or personal interest that conflicts with their duties unless they are authorized by the Chief Medical Examiner.

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[10:00 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, you have to wonder if this government thinks that we have so few qualified people who can work on these issues in this province that we have to consider allowing people with conflicts of interest to work on such cases. Any person with a professional or personal conflict should not be allowed to carry out their duties in that particular case, period; someone else should be selected to fulfill that role so public confidence in the process can be maintained. Like the previous Act, this bill also outlines situations where a judge may direct that a hearing or part of the hearing should be heard in camera if the circumstances warrant. Unlike the previous Act and unlike the Coroners Act of Ontario, this bill says that such a decision is now unappealable.

This bill contains an unusually strong "privative" clause that prevents a judge's decision to hold a hearing in camera from being appealed in another court. As a legal term, a privative clause refers to statutory measures which attempt to immunize or exclude a court from using its jurisdiction to intervene and review the processes of administrative tribunals. This section wasn't included in the previous Act and it doesn't form a part of Ontario's legislation, therefore we are very curious why the government considers such a strong-arm measure necessary now in Bill No. 92.

Mr. Speaker, speaking of the Coroners Act of Ontario, we are also curious why this government did not take the opportunity to institute a jury system for fatality investigations as exists in Ontario. One of the best features of the Ontario system is the recommendations by a jury which typically accompany its decision. Under this bill recommendations would only come from one person - a judge rather than a panel of ordinary Nova Scotians. Recommendations would only be forthcoming in a judge's report if the minister included that as an issue to be addressed by the inquiry; therefore it is certainly not a given under the current Act.

Mr. Speaker, once again, this bill takes the law a few steps forward, but it's our position that, clearly, not far enough. The Act also stipulates that once a person has knowledge of someone having died in one of the listed circumstances, then the Chief Medical Examiner, or an investigator, must be contacted. Failure to do so is a breech of the Act and a person can be libel to prosecution for a summary conviction. What actually happens in reality is that in these tragic circumstances people call emergency services, the police, or even a physician, and those people in turn call the medical examiner or an investigator if circumstances warrant.

People know very little about provincial Statutes, so requiring them on paper to call a medical examiner, or an investigator, is pointless and counterproductive. The Act should reflect what people actually do when they encounter these difficult circumstances and how the system actually responds in turn. Under the Ontario legislation a person must notify either

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a coroner or a police officer; if they inform a police office, then they, in turn, must notify the coroner. That is what happens in reality in Nova Scotia and our legislation should reflect that as well.

Mr. Speaker, we have additional concerns about this legislation, issues such as the definition of common-law spouse under the bill, ownership of records made under this Act, and some other drafting ambiguities. It is very difficult to not criticize this bill line by line, but we intend to follow up on these matters at the Law Amendments Committee and Committee of the Whole House on Bills. So, in closing, we do agree it was time for a new Act respecting fatalities, the investigation of fatalities but, based on the concerns that we have raised today, some of the other concerns which we expect will come out at the Law Amendments Committee and through Committee of the Whole House on Bills, we do hope that the government will be willing to look at those and be willing to make the necessary changes. I know the Government House Leader introducing this said they didn't intend to enact the legislation immediately so that they could have time to, I believe he said, do some consultation with those most impacted.

Well, one would have hoped, Mr. Speaker, that they would have done that consultation before bringing this bill forward to see exactly - and I believe at that point then they would have heard the same concerns that I have just raised here with the legislation and that they could have changed the legislation before bringing it here to the House. But it does not appear to be the way that this government likes to operate, instead it likes to bring bills in, see where there are problems and then come back asking forgiveness and wanting the bills to be passed at that point.

Mr. Speaker, being the good Opposition caucus that we are, we will certainly be ready for when they come asking for forgiveness once again and be ready to provide them with the necessary forgiveness at that time, I guess, for their actions. But clearly, there are serious concerns with this bill that if the government is not prepared to make the necessary changes, I think it is safe to say that we are going to continue to raise these concerns both at Committee of the Whole House on Bills and on third reading. So I do hope the government will work on those concerns immediately so that we can make sure that this is the best piece of legislation that we can put forward on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia whom we all represent here.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I take my seat and I thank you again for the opportunity to make those representations on Bill No. 92.

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

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 7244]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for Richmond and the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage for their remarks on this bill. There was a senior solicitor from the department in the gallery who was listening to the remarks made by both members. I don't think I am in sufficient status with the Bar Society to make remarks in response to the concerns raised by the members of the Opposition. However, I can assure them that their remarks will be given consideration by the Justice Department and that when this bill moves on to the Law Amendments Committee and further stages through this House that consideration will be given to changes.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification. I was remiss in my comments. I just wanted to point out that I have just been given this. I want to acknowledge, I guess, on behalf of all members of the House the work of Justice Department lawyer Barbara Patton, who completed her research into the Fatality Inquiries Act in 1999. Shortly thereafter, I am informed, that Barbara lost her battle with cancer and unfortunately was not here to see Bill No. 92 to fruition. Certainly, our caucus and, I am sure all members of the House, want to thank her and her family and all the hard-working civil servants in this province who bring forward this legislation for us to debate on the floor of the House.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that. I now move second reading of Bill No. 92, the Fatality Investigations Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 92. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 93.

Bill No. 93 - Youth Justice Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, again, on behalf of the Minister of Justice I am very pleased to speak to second reading of this bill.

[Page 7245]

The Youth Justice Act will bring Nova Scotia in line with federal legislative changes, Mr. Speaker. This bill replaces what was the Young Persons' Summary Proceedings Act. It will ensure we are consistent with changes made as a result of the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act.

This bill provides procedures for young persons charged with provincial offences such as violations under the Liquor Control Act and the Motor Vehicle Act. It provides these procedures for youth from ages 12 to 17. The federal Youth Criminal Justice Act outlines procedures to be followed for youth aged 12 to 17 charged with Criminal Code and controlled drug and substances offences. It is important to note our legislation doesn't deal with any Criminal Code offences. Our youth justice legislation is for provincial offences only. One of the reasons we are updating our legislation - in fact all provinces in Canada, Mr. Speaker, are in the process of doing the same - is to ensure there is consistency and clarity regarding provincial legislation. Our legislation hasn't been updated since the Young Offenders Act was brought forward in 1985; change is long overdue.

The changes we are making will provide the language and principles consistent with the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act. Let me give you an example. Provincial legislation uses the term disposition. It will now be changed to sentence to mirror federal legislation. I do wish to note that police are now required to provide written notice to parents of young offenders charged with provincial offences. However, we do not wish to add to the burden of police officers, Mr. Speaker, therefore police will not be required to provide notice to parents of young persons aged 16 and 17 charged with motor vehicle offences. The changes we are proposing are the result of recommendations made by a committee of representatives of Nova Scotia Legal Aid, police the Public Prosecution Service and the Justice Department Service.

Mr. Speaker, the legislation is designed to ensure consistency and clarity with a federal legislative framework. I thank you and I now move second reading of Bill No. 93. If the critics opposite would like a copy of the notes that I just read from, I will have them circulated now.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be able to speak on Bill No. 93 on behalf of my caucus as the Justice Critic and I guess as the Youth Secretariat Critic. I guess both of them sort of them meld together in this piece of legislation. I am going to talk a little bit on this, longer than I may have on some of the other legislation. Before I got into politics, there were a couple of different areas in which these issues would have arisen. As a Crown Attorney in the past, I had an opportunity to deal with youth who came before the court, both for quasi-criminal matters, which is what this legislation applies to and criminal matters.

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Then, subsequently, in the mid-1990's, I was a volunteer mediator with the Youth Alternative Society in Halifax where we were doing what is, in this legislation, called extrajudicial measures or extrajudicial sanctions for those involved in youth, particularly criminal matters, but sometimes quasi-criminal matters, as well. It was an opportunity to observe how what is also known as restorative justice as well as extrajudicial measures were being applied. I want to comment a little bit on that as this legislation begins to introduce and discuss extrajudicial sanctions as an alternative to court proceedings, something that our caucus believes is important as an alternative, something that must be addressed, something that we think has an appropriate role to play in our justice system.

Talking a little bit about that, Mr. Speaker, one of the key principles I have observed in this new legislation is the promotion of alternatives to court for youth, something that I know has come up under the Young Offenders Act, but also is now introduced in Bill No. 93. Extrajudicial sanctions, restorative justice, whatever term you want to use, it basically means that when an individual between the ages of 12 and 17 commits a quasi-criminal offence, anything from a parking ticket to the implications under the Motor Vehicle Act, the provincial requirements under impaired driving because there are requirements, whether it be the loss of license, seizure of vehicle, all those things could potentially be violations of the Environment Act or Occupational Health and Safety Act, in certain circumstances. If those violations occur, this Act applies. Those individuals between the ages 12 and 17 would normally be given a ticket or be issued a summons to appear in court and from there, they would have the matter dealt with. This legislation states that in every circumstance possible, we should try to find alternatives to court, where it is appropriate, and the alternative, as it is called here, extrajudicial measures, should be utilized.

[10:15 a.m.]

Most of the restorative justice issues that have come up in the past have come up around violent versus non-violent crimes, maybe not as appropriate for this legislation because this is summary proceedings offences but, Mr. Speaker, there is still a need to address that. In many cases it is the old story you hear about people who are violent towards animals, it is a symptom of people who are probably going to be violent towards human beings. In many cases, those who may have a run-in with the law under these circumstances, whether it be motor vehicle violations, it could be reckless driving, a very serious offence, as you would know, Mr. Speaker, from your background, a potential offence under the Motor Vehicle Act. There are many times in which police officers have to decide whether they will charge reckless driving under the Motor Vehicle Act or dangerous driving under the Criminal Code. It's a fine line that is walked. In many cases the reckless driving may be chosen. I am going to use that as an example. Reckless driving is chosen under the Motor Vehicle Act.

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This legislation applies to someone between the ages of 12 and 17; they go before a court; decisions are made as to whether they should be moved into the extrajudicial sanctions and measures. In those circumstances, potentially, we're looking at someone who may be showing the symptoms of a much bigger problem; maybe not, maybe this was a one-time offence, and the person will learn their lesson and this won't happen again. In other cases, we could be looking at someone in which this is a symptom or potentially the sign of someone who is going to be a repeat offender, an offender who is going to go on to do other things with regard to vehicular issues or even greater issues around violence or property damage or what have you.

Mr. Speaker, that is why this legislation is important. This is, in many cases, the stepping stone, potentially, to either addressing those people, those children, those youth who are at risk of committing criminal and quasi-criminal offences, and addresses them in a way to ensure that they do not repeat and do not create other offences, either under this legislation or under the Criminal Code, or whether we are treating them in such a way that they are then going to turn around and potentially re-offend. In many cases, if you look at the history of many people who have criminal records, the early offences, particularly as a youth, first come under this legislation, whether it is because the police departments or the Crowns are willing to give them a bit of break and want them to go under Motor Vehicle Act, for example, for reckless driving, or whether it be just the nature of the offences, property offences or by-law infractions that are being imposed, these are the first signs of someone who is potentially a child at risk.

I would say the principles of this legislation are nurturing. They reflect the fact that youth, if they are charged with an offence that comes under provincial jurisdiction, quasi-criminal offences, are given a second chance. Our caucus doesn't have a problem with that. But there are certain requirements under the legislation that I would suggest must be met and should be in this legislation to ensure that if they are going to be given a second chance, if we are going to use - in many cases in this legislation it talks about, the least restrictive form of sentencing should be imposed, in fact shall be imposed, I believe is how the legislation puts it - if we are going to talk about taking them out of the court system and putting them into sentencing circles or into mediation, as it is sometimes called, as a means of trying to ensure that they learn their lesson, we better be darned sure that they learn that lesson, and that this is not just seen as a slap on the wrist and therefore an opportunity for them to re-offend.

Youth at risk are at risk because of a lot of issues that they may have in their life. When they are part of the justice system, when they become a defendant, particularly with regard to quasi-criminal offences, that is a symptom of a much bigger problem, whether it be at home, whether it be at school, whether it be behaviourial issues, whether it be issues of intellectual disability or what have you. There are different reasons why people end up being part of the justice system. It is important that we understand that when they do come before

[Page 7248]

it, that there be compassion, there be caring for those youth, but at the same time that we understand that we want to ensure that they are not going to be repeating, they are not going to be coming back.

The goal of any good piece of justice legislation is to prevent recidivism. I would suggest to you that this legislation must have that as its test as well. Talking about extrajudicial sanctions and measures, Mr. Speaker, there is a history of discussing why we want to move in that direction. Originally it was discussed around non-violent crimes, recognizing that putting non-violent individuals in jail, in prisons only results in them becoming violent, they become part of a culture that creates and promotes violence, and therefore they end up leaving jail afterwards, subsequently, and may become violent. If we can put non-violent criminals not into jail but into community-based corrections, whether that be supervision, probation, mediation, having to confront the victims of the crimes and having to deal with them so that they learn their lessons, whether they be adults or youth, is a good thing and our caucus has always supported that. In fact, specifically, it was in our legislation in 1998.

But if we are to do that, if we are to have those extrajudicial forms of sanctions and measures, whether it be mediation or sentencing circles or what have you, there are various forms. The RCMP has its own form of restorative justice, the provincial government has a diversion program that it originally introduced back in the early 1990s that is now being used at least in four counties; Cumberland, Digby, HRM and CBRM, I believe are the four areas but it's going to be ramped up fairly quickly.

That legislation and this legislation can only work where the community and the victims have the right to be involved. They may decide not to be involved, but they need the right to be involved in extrajudicial measures. This legislation does not reflect that. It does not recognize the fact that an individual, a youth, who is charged with a quasi-criminal offence and is moved to extrajudicial sanctions is moved to mediation, is moved by the court or Crown or police officer to a sentencing circle, there must be the victim present so that there's an opportuntiy for the defendant to be able to confront the victim as a way of them learning the consequences of their offence. Many people will tell you that the problem, in many cases, is that the youth do not understand that there are consequences for their actions. If we can implant that in them, if we can help them understand that there are consequences, whether it be the victim whose house was damaged, whether it be the stop sign that was damaged and could potentially cause a traffic accident, whether it be, as I suggested, reckless driving or in some cases maybe the conditions under impaired driving that would result in certain sanctions by the provincial government.

We must ensure that the community or the victim is present as part of that extrajudicial sentencing process so that the individual, the youth, has as clear an understanding as possible of the consequences that can occur. That is not in this legislation. I would suggest to you that

[Page 7249]

if the principles of extrajudicial sanctions, if the principles of youth justice are to be met we must ensure that the community and the victims have the right to be present and, indeed, the community must be present. The victims may decide not to attend, that's their choice, but the community in some form must be present to ensure and to have a specific role of expressing the concerns of what the youth has done to ensure there's an opportuntiy to prevent this from happening again so they know the consequences.

The second component that I have a particular concern around, and this is more politics than it is principle, but we in our caucus have consistently raised concerns with the principle of restorative justice being used as a means of trying to save money on the part of the government. Instead of using correctional officers or probation officers as a means of supervising those who are doing probation under a court order, we use volunteers through NGOs like the Youth Alternative Society who do the supervising.

I will say, quite clearly, I had to do supervising when I was a mediator for the Youth Alternative Society, and while doing a law practice, while having other parts of my life that I was dealing with, supervising a youth who is completing certain community service hours or personal service commitments isn't always the top priority. Nor should it be for volunteers. They have paid work, they have families, they have many other things, school in some cases, that they are trying to do. That's my concern, that the supervision of individuals who are then under the extrajudicial sanctions being provided with community service or personal service orders should not be done by volunteers. Those volunteers have many other things that they can and must be doing. It worries me that the government attempts to try and save money by not having to hire the extra probation officers necessary to supervise legitimately those youth who would fall under this legislation. That's not the way we should be doing it.

Let's not nickel and dime our justice system to death. Let's not nickel and dime the future of our youth to death. We need to ensure that those youth have an opportunity to not reoffend, let's give them every opportunity to not reoffend by ensuring that they're supervised properly, and that part of it that they continue to understand that the supervision, the community service that they are providing as part of the consequences of their actions, they do not repeat it.

One of the other principles in this that I thought was interesting is that there is an actual clause in the legislation - not going clause by clause, Mr. Speaker - that talks about the fact that minimum sentences under provincial legislation, quasi-criminal legislation, do not apply to youth. I am going to give a very specific example. I recall in the last three years we passed legislation in this House that imposed very specific sentences for impaired driving under our provincial legislation, on top of what would be imposed by the federal Criminal Code.

[Page 7250]

For example, I think it is a year of suspension, minimum, under provincial legislation. Therefore even if the federal Criminal Code or the courts, in dealing with it under the Young Offenders Act, may impose a lower sentence or a lower supervision. The legislation that we passed under the Motor Vehicle Act would impose a minimum sentence of a one year suspension of a license; there are other things around seizure of a vehicle, there are other things around fines that we put in place under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act to parallel the federal Criminal Code to ensure that we were going to be tough on drunk drivers.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that under this legislation we are now saying that if you are under the age of 18, if you are 16 or 17 years old, and you are caught driving impaired, the provincial legislation minimum standards and sentences don't apply to you. That is done primarily because they want the courts to have the opportunity to be flexible, to be able to say well we may want to, because we want to give this youth a break, do things differently.

Again, not a problem with the principle, but these are colliding. We have the principle that with regard to impaired driving in Nova Scotia. under the Motor Vehicle Acts we are going to take a tough stand. I heard this Premier, when he was the Leader of the Third Party, make that position quite clear. It is something we all voted on and supported. In fact, in our case we tried to make it even more stringent, and that was opposed by the other two Parties. My point is that we said a principle in this province is that we want minimum fines, minimum suspension of license with regard to impaired driving under the Motor Vehicle Act.

In this legislation, Mr. Speaker, we are saying those minimums don't apply to children, to youth under the age of 18. Well, something has to give, something has to be met in the middle so that we have an understanding of which principle is more important. It is unfortunate that we don't have an opportunity to hear today from those in the House who are representing the Justice Department, to be able to give us some understanding. I hope, as we go through the debate in this House, whether it be second reading, the Law Amendments Committee, Committee of the Whole, or third reading, we have an opportunity to have a full debate about which one of these principles we as a Legislature are going to say is more important. That is important for us to discuss and that is why I am bringing it up here today, as a principle of this legislation.

There are other clauses in here that talk about - and, again, not going clause by clause - the principle. I will tell you, any good lawyer, if you look through this legislation, can find some major loopholes. There are some issues in here on principle that talk about the fact that the courts must impose the least restrictive form of sentencing. There is another clause - again, not going clause by clause but just using them as examples, Mr. Speaker - that talks about the fact that the court cannot impose a sentence on a youth that is any greater than would have been imposed on an adult in the same circumstances.

[Page 7251]

Well, I can tell you that there are probably lawyers out there who can rub their hands with glee, because they can make a lot of money off challenging these things in court. I can see a judge imposing a sentence on a youth with regard to, again impaired driving, reckless driving, and then having, because of that, some lawyer look up precedents to say that that's not what an adult would have gotten in these circumstances, here is a specific case showing that an adult got less of a sentence with regard to this.

Then the arguments will begin as to whether this was the least restrictive, whether an adult in the same circumstances would have gotten the same. It creates a lot more debate and a lot more discussion that I suggest, in this legislation, could be avoided by just stating in a couple of clauses that are there with regard to being least restrictive as possible or saying that there are certain hierarchies that must be met with regard to how the sentencing will be done.

That's in the legislation, the extra clauses, the extra principles that are put in place with regard to trying to clarify that will only lead to lawyers making a lot more money. I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that is not what this legislation should be about. It should be about ensuring that those who commit offences, admit those offences as soon as possible so that we can begin to rehabilitate and begin to ensure that they do not repeat, and ensure that if they are youth at risk that we address those issues as well and not drag these things through the courts with clauses that are only going to create constitutional and appeal reviews.

[10:30 a.m.]

Other principles, talking about review of sentences, Mr. Speaker, I think that is a good thing. Six months or so after a sentence is imposed, the court can review it. Again, you may find that that may be used by lawyers in a certain circumstance. I would like to see, after this legislation is implemented - if it is passed by this House - whether or not that is something that (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Again, there is too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the members to take their conversations outside, please.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, there are certain limits put on fines, on personal service orders. I think these are good things. We don't need youth being told they have to spend 1,000 hours painting someone's house. I think there needs to be limits placed on that, and I am glad to see that in the legislation. But at the same time, there are also clauses in here that talk about reviewing sentences after six months. I would suggest to you that that could work. I would like to see how it will work. I am willing to support that, but at the same time, again in the back of my mind, I think about lawyers sort of advising their clients and saying wait six months and we'll get this thing reviewed. I worry about how that's going to play out, and I hope that we can maybe talk about that and see if there are ways that we can all feel comfortable as this legislation goes through the House.

[Page 7252]

There are also clauses in here, Mr. Speaker - again going back to the principles of youth at risk, not using custody for the wrong purposes and limiting the amount of custody - about putting them in custody versus putting them in child protection or mental health committals. Good legislation on that point - good opportunity to say that courts shouldn't be imposing custody as a means of child protection or as a means of mental health commitment. I would hope that that is something that isn't happening in this province, but it is good to see the legislation is making it clear.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is happening.

MR. DEVEAUX: My colleague, the member for Dartmouth North, says it is happening. Well, I hope this legislation will prevent that from happening, Mr. Speaker.

I guess in wrap-up, I will say that the principles of this legislation with regard to restorative justice, with regard to imposing the least severe sentences, where possible, on those who are responsible for certain quasi-criminal offences and are between the ages of 12 and 17, are good principles, but let's make sure we do them right. Let's make sure the community and the victims have a right to be involved in the community-based correctional sanctions that are being imposed. Let's ensure that we're not creating more work for lawyers by putting in clauses that are only going to create judicial and constitutional reviews. That's not what we're here for.

Mr. Speaker, we're here to ensure, and this legislation is here to ensure, that youth who are involved in quasi-criminal offences and again, these are symptoms; these are the first step to potentially youth at risk and bigger problems. Let's ensure that we're going to nip it in the bud. Let's ensure that we're going to be able to help these youth at risk and prevent more offences, whether they be criminal or quasi-criminal. This legislation can do that, but let's not let the details, let's not allow a few points in this legislation that maybe go a little too far prevent us from being able to ensure that youth at risk are going to be helped and not hindered.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak on Bill No. 93, the Youth Justice Act. On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I want to commend the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage for his interesting comments, certainly based on his involvement with youth, both in his political life and before his political life. Certainly he expresses some of the concerns I think we all have with this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I am pleased to be able to speak today on Bill No. 93, the Youth Justice Act. When you look at the principles contained within this bill, number one, about how young people should be treated differently in the justice system and two, about how

[Page 7253]

different considerations must go into their sentencing, it is hard to believe that this bill is coming from this Tory Government. The definition of a young person is noteworthy, as this legislation would apply to persons over 12 and under the age of 18.

Mr. Speaker, I just note in passing that the Tory blue book promised to "work with the legal community to create a process whereby an offender under the age of 12 can be remanded for assessment and treatment." It is from the famous blue book that my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East, nominated this morning for best fiction. It may even be in line for the Governor General's Award.

Mr. Speaker, that promise of theirs just seems very noteworthy given the scope of this present bill. Perhaps the government is finally realizing that these issues are a little bit more complex than they realized when they drafted the blue book. The very promising part of this bill deals with the penalties that may be imposed for an offence. Regardless of what our provincial Statutes state as the minimum penalty, this bill provides a menu of options for penalties. Mr. Speaker, this will provide a welcome degree of latitude and flexibility to tailor a penalty that takes into account the individual young offender, the offence committed and the larger context of how it was committed. Some of these options include community service, restitution and fixing amounts for compensation.

Mr. Speaker, some of these options reflect a concept of restorative justice which has been gaining ground in recent years. The idea behind it is that the offence committed is not merely a crime against the Crown and the peace but is also something that, in appropriate circumstances, should be made up to the victim or to the community at large. Other positive principles require the consideration of the least restrictive sentence that is appropriate in the circumstances, and where possible, custody is to be avoided in favour of other alternative measures.

This bill also enables the creation of a program where police and prosecutors can administer warnings and cautions to young persons. Mr. Speaker, early on in a young person's contact with the justice system, measures such as these may be more productive in the long run than proceeding straight to prosecution. Hopefully, the creation of a program for issuing cautions may result in more consistency in their use throughout the province.

However, Mr. Speaker, it should be pointed out with respect to extrajudicial sanctions that these can only be part of a program of sanctions authorized by the minister or by people designated by the Governor in Council. While regulations would provide the government with some flexibility for instituting programs, the effectiveness of and rationale behind any such program are matters of concern to the members of this House and to the general public throughout the province. They should have been introduced as part of this bill where they could be debated and put under scrutiny.

[Page 7254]

Mr. Speaker, of course, the range of penalties under this bill will be imposed by a youth justice court created pursuant to this Act. With respect to who will be youth court justices, the bill only says that a person may be designated to be a judge of a youth justice court. Nothing is said about whether this person would be a Provincial or Family Court Judge, for instance, or if they would have to actually be a judge at all. Nothing is said about what they would need in terms of qualifications . . .

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

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gracious member for Richmond for this opportunity. In our Speaker's Gallery, I would like to bring to the attention of the House, we have a special representative from the Province of Manitoba, the MP for Brandon-Souris, Rick Borotsik, and his wife, Norma, and their constituency assistant, Linda Burton. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today and hope you enjoy the proceedings, and welcome to Nova Scotia.

The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to welcome our guests also. The member for Preston didn't indicate the Party he represents, but I think it is safe to say it is not the Liberal Party. Possibly some other Party out in Manitoba - but better days ahead in Manitoba for the Liberal Party such as here in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Laughter)

As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, the concern is with exactly who will be able to be a judge of the new youth justice court. As I said, nothing is mentioned in the bill about what these new justices would need in terms of qualifications, experience, training or education; what, if anything, qualifies them to act in a judicial capacity. Since these judges will have the power of an actual judge of the Provincial Court under the Summary Proceedings Act, this ambiguity in the present bill is very troubling. Once again, this is something which should be right before all of us today inside this text of this bill and not left to be devised later on in the backrooms of the government Cabinet.

This bill also notes that after being arrested a young person can be released unconditionally into, ". . . the care of a parent or other responsible person;". Mr. Speaker, who would constitute a responsible person is quite vague and subjective. Also under this bill, police will be required to provide written notice to parents of young offenders charged with

[Page 7255]

provincial offences. However, they will not be required to do so for those age 16 and 17 charged with Motor Vehicle Act offences.

Mr. Speaker, they are not required, but they may give notice under the bill. The bill provides no guidance as to when giving notice would be appropriate. This raises concerns about how consistently this will be applied. It is very possible that it may turn out that certain parts of the province may be more lax about this than others. We can't forget that consistency in the law and the application of the law is crucial to our legal system.

Another glaring ambiguity is that the provincial director under this bill may transfer a young person in custody from one facility to another. No grounds are spelled out as to when this would be justified, such as safety concerns or the existence of certain programs in other facilities. Instead, provincial directors have unrestrained discretion to move young offenders and this could be very problematic.

Also, Mr. Speaker, if a young person is held in custody in a facility, the bill stipulates that every effort must be made to hold the young person separate and apart from any adult inmates. This clause of the bill sounds a bit like what we heard earlier this week from the Department of Health with respect to Carefield Manor. They said that they will do all they can to place those 12 residents. In this bill it seems that the government is attempting to enshrine the inadequate state of facilities for young adults.

Mr. Speaker, it is our caucus' position that under no circumstances should young people and adults be held in the same area. When the government says it will do all it can to place people in long-term beds, that is not enough. It certainly is not appropriate to state in a Statute that, ". . . every effort shall be made to hold the young separate and apart from any adult". These words should not even have to appear in Bill No. 93. They shouldn't be necessary and, unfortunately, under this Tory Government they are not only necessary, unfortunately, it appears that they are a reality. This House should not be expected to give its approval to legislation that seeks to legitimatize the existence of an inadequate system of detention and rehabilitation that provides only half measures. This government must do better.

Mr. Speaker, one of the other examples of showing how this government has not been able to adequately deal with social problems and justice problems in this province, I give you as an example the problems with home invasions, especially against seniors in this province. This government when elected said that they would take action to deal with this and to take strong measures to end home invasions. We know that, unfortunately, the incidences of home invasions against seniors which have occurred in this province have been committed by young people. That is a reality. So when the government said they were going to deal with the problem of home invasions, what do they do?

[Page 7256]

Well, Mr. Speaker, they make a home video for seniors in this province, showing them how to lock their doors and lock their windows properly. What have they done to address the problem where we have young people in this province who believe that home invasions are appropriate or that they are a means of trying to take items from others and steal from others? This government is absolutely silent - no programs from the Education Department, no programs from the Department of Community Services, no programs from the Youth Secretariat, to deal with the problems of young people in this province who have been engaging in home invasions. The government instead shows home videos for seniors on how to lock your doors and lock your windows, giving the impression that this government feels it is because seniors left their door open, or their window open, and not dealing with the root of the problem to begin with and that is why we raise this as an example of where this government has failed to address the serious problem surrounding the youth of this province with regard to our justice system.

Mr. Speaker, we also have concerns regarding how the records of young people will be treated under this legislation. On a brief survey of this bill, it seems to include an abridged version of similar measures from the Young Offenders Act. Our caucus will be looking at these measures more carefully to ensure that young persons under this bill have the same level of protection regarding their records as they would under the Young Offenders Act.

[10:45 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, many of these measures will depend on how the youth justice court is designed and implemented. Unfortunately, we do not have that here today before us; it is left to the government to establish through regulations and guidelines. In the meantime, we will be pursuing our areas of concern in the Law Amendments Committee and the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, where we certainly hope, through the Law Amendments Committee, to hear from different stakeholder groups involved in this to see exactly what changes we can make to this legislation to make it the best possible legislation to deal with the issue of youth who are in trouble with the justice system of this province. I believe this is legislation which, in principle, is good legislation. We have raised some concerns. We hope the minister will be open to changes to the bill and that with those changes hopefully this bill, as other bills this session, will receive speedy passage. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I will just briefly take the time of the House this morning to address a few matters relative to Bill No. 93. This bill was tabled yesterday and we have had a chance to review it to some extent, but not to the full extent that we intend to. As my colleague, the member for Richmond, has mentioned, we will be looking forward to having representations at the Law Amendments Committee and addressing this bill as it proceeds through the House. My purpose of rising this morning is my interest in the Young

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Offenders Act and various programs within the Department of Community Services relative to the protection of youth and the programs relative to those who are in need of protection, those who are suffering abuse and neglect and the programs relative to that.

Mr. Speaker, I would also compliment the government in bringing this bill forward. There certainly is a great need for clarification and standardization and to address issues relative to youth who find themselves involved with the law. The history of this service and these programs within this province and across this country is not stellar, it is not great. There are many in our society, and learned people, who say that our society has failed our youth. We have failed to recognize their needs, identify the programs that would address those particular needs and we have either dealt with them, in some people's opinion, in a very punitive manner, such as referral to the Shelburne School for Boys and the abuse that we know took place in that institution and also those who feel that we are much too lenient with youth.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member permit an introduction?

DR. SMITH: Yes.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank, very much, the previous speaker for affording me the opportunity. We are joined this morning by nine students from the Career Academy of Canada, which is located in the Downsview Mall. They are students who are studying in travel and tourism and they are accompanied by their instructor, Mr. Michael Ernest - who actually is a member, I understand, from the riding of the Attorney General - who travels up and provides instruction on the history in Nova Scotia and I believe you said on outdoor tourism within Nova Scotia. I had the opportunity to speak with the students briefly outside in the corridor.

AN HON. MEMBER: Briefly?

MR. HOLM: For me, briefly is defined as half an hour or longer. People in here know that whenever I stand up and say that I wish to say a few words that that means that I am normally going to be talking for an hour. They asked, I thought, some very pertinent, very straight questions. I don't know if I was able to answer them fully, but certainly they are very inquisitive and very knowledgeable about what is going on in the House. I would like to ask them to rise and to receive the traditional warm welcome from members of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Warm greetings to our guests, to all our guests in the gallery.

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The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome the guests this morning and thank the member for being a bit briefer than usual.

Mr. Speaker, this bill does recognize the special needs of our youth, those who are in contact with the law and young persons who have rights and freedoms in their own right, as the bill says, and a special guarantee of their own rights.

I had the opportunity in this province to be the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for a period of time, and I mention this only to highlight that being a non-lawyer I thought it was a unique opportuntiy. As the Minister of Transportation, I wouldn't be encumbered by special knowledge in my work, as he might say.

But seriously, what attracted me were the number of programs within the justice system addressing the special needs of youth, particularly those of alternate sentencing, restorative justice, those initiatives. I felt very comfortable in those areas having come from Community Services where we had revamped and addressed the special needs with the Children and Family Services Act, such matters as definition of neglect.

So when I speak in terms of a special institution such as the Shelburne School for Boys and the abuse that took place there, it was not only the abuse that was alleged and proven in court that was perpetrated on those children that society in a way and many families, had abandoned to the system, it was also the abuse of the governments of the day toward the neglect of programs and funding those programs.

The physical layout of the building that allowed abuse - where the showers were L-shaped, where the ritual was that children to be abused, either sexually or physically, would be around the showers, would all be running in the hidden area around where supervisors couldn't see, and that's where the abuse took place. So the abuse was perpetrated on each other and also by some of the staff members. But the larger abuse of society, not knowing what to do in that particular era with the children who were out of control, behaviour disorders, that we as a society assigned them to a period of abuse and neglect that I hope we never go back to.

These are some of our concerns that we have with this legislation here today. This idea - and the member for Richmond has mentioned it - that in no way should youth who are incarcerated and sentenced under this Act and the provisions of this Act be with adults. This is unconscionable and the Act has to be clear in this and has to state this clearly. The problem we have with this bill - and I've been able to read in the last couple of hours since we've had this bill, or hour or two, really - is that it must be very clear on that, and it is ambiguous. We

[Page 7259]

have learned now what we have done wrong in dealing with youth, and it's no longer acceptable to be ambiguous as to where we should be going with our programs for youth.

We're in the process in this province - between Health and Community Services - of building a secure treatment facility, and we are already starting to make some moves in that direction that are concerning me. It will be located in a physical area that will be away from most of the specialized services that many of these children need. What you hope when you find a child in need of protection or in trouble with the law, that they do have a condition that is amenable to treatment. Almost all of our mental health problems start in youth and adolescence and this is a known fact.

We didn't know that a few years ago, or at least it wasn't talked about. We know that now and you hope when you get a child who is in contact with the law and in some difficulties and have committed a crime, that they have some behaviour disorder, some dysfunction or maybe the start of an early illness of a mental health nature that can be identified and can be referred, that person can be in the system, it's a sensitive system, with proper supports and controls that they will be recipients of proper care. We have not done that. We have incarcerated these children, we have put them in institutions, facilities that are from the Dark Ages, and we are slowly moving in a positive direction. I would say the secure treatment has to be resourced properly and the warehousing of our children is not acceptable. We have done that.

Mr. Speaker, there are special needs and some of them are identified in this area. This bill must be clear on this. The warehousing of children with adults is not acceptable. The bill is vague on that. We need the programs for youth. We know now some of the matters that can be addressed, as I said, the mental illnesses, the behaviour dysfunctional disorders which are much more difficult to treat than the mental illnesses often, and that is why society in general has a problem with these programs. The bill must be clear. It should address the misunderstandings of issues surrounding the Young Offenders Act, that they are getting away with all of these matters, that these are kids who are just smirking and having a great time out there and getting away with the offences.

Some of this has come from the police themselves, who are not happy with the requests for paperwork that is required of them. I think a lot of that has been blown up in the media and has added even more to the misunderstanding of what we're trying to do with the young offenders, of who they are and to put a human face on them. It's a whole different story when it's someone we know, or a child is out of control, or in a family that we consider to be a good family is having problems with a youth out of control and they are in trouble with the law. Everybody wants to make special arrangements for that person. That's the same, regardless of what socio-economic group you come from.

[Page 7260]

We tend to have, as in matters of Health, in the broad issues, in the justice system, if you don't have a parent who is there for you, then you are less likely to do well within the justice system. I thought it was very interesting, the bill has - and I want to highlight that and I compliment the government for having that in the bill - the parental involvement, the proceedings may stop until the parents are involved. The dust-up that took place where a policeman at St. Pat's High School was going to be hit with a baseball bat, they drew their gun and, there was a great to-do about that. I happen to believe that if a law officer is threatened, and I consider someone raising a baseball bat is a threat to an officer, I think they have to do what is reasonable, and think that was so. Those officers were attacked by youth. Later, in the media, some attacks were alleged from, I believe, some of the parents, that undue force was used. I am sorry but if they are going to act that way, then the officers must do what's proper.

It was interesting, and the point of my story, in speaking of this, is that when these matters came to court I think - I'm pretty sure in saying this - the judge recessed the proceedings to ensure that the parents were there. They were not in court. Whatever their concerns were, as to how their children were dealt with at the time of their arrest . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. Honourable members, my goodness, the honourable member for Dartmouth East is competing. The honourable member does have the floor, and I would ask honourable members to turn down the private conversations just a tad, please. Thank you.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am about finished in my comments. I would like to use the weekend - the NDP are anxious to get out of here, I know they have other plans. They are probably out there recruiting a few new members or something. Goodness knows, they need them.

The issue of referral, when the youth can benefit from Community Services programs, again if the bill says that, the programs must be there under Community Services. That's highlighted under Clause 15. I know we are not to go through specific matters, but I think the general thrust is good. It's reading well, but the programs have to be there. You can't take someone out of the justice system, put them in another system, Community Services, under a different bill, if those programs aren't there, then the system isn't going to work, Mr. Speaker, and that will allow for the misunderstanding, misconceptions and misinformation that swim around these matters when they see someone not being held accountable for their actions. So the limits must be set for behavior of our youth and I think this bill can go a long way to supporting that. But the bill itself needs the support of this government, not only of Department of Justice or the Department of Community Services, but of all the front bench

[Page 7261]

and the Executive Council and the Premier of this province. So we will be following this with interest.

[11:00 a.m.]

I will be looking forward to the Law Amendments Committee. I think there are a lot of good things here. There are some weaknesses and there is no room for ambiguity. And on clearness, the standards must be the same across the province - the options of whether a police officer should do this or that and it is an option. It is just loaded with trouble and we had some comments here from our staff, and I thought it was a great line here: we can't forget that consistency in the law and the application of the law is crucial to our legal system. I will end with that, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South on an introduction.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we have a special guest with us today in the west gallery, Mr. Kevin Ramon, who is the senior special assistant to Dominic Agostino, who is the Liberal Party Whip in Queens Park in the Ontario Legislature. I, on behalf of the members here - and also through you, Mr. Speaker - would like to welcome him here today and hope he enjoys his stay. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed, warm greetings are extended to our guests in the gallery.

If I recognize the minister it will be to close debate.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to move second reading of Bill No. 93, the Youth Justice Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 93. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 7262]

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 94.

Bill No. 94 - Halifax Regional Municipality Marketing Levy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to rise here today to open debate on second reading of Bill No. 94 - Halifax Regional Municipality Marketing Levy Act. But before I go on with my comments, I would like to make an introduction of two people who are in the gallery. We have Mr. Paul Stackhouse, who is the General Manager of the Holiday Inn Harbourview, which is the one on the Dartmouth side of the bridge, and we also have Mr. Nicholas Carson, who is the General Manager of the Prince George Hotel here in Halifax. Mr. Stackhouse is the President of the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia and Mr. Carson is the Chairman of the Greater Halifax Conventions and Meetings Bureau. I would like to have the two gentlemen rise and be recognized by the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed, welcome to our guests.

MR. HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, there has been some discussion about the implementation of a marketing levy in the HRM, and it has been ongoing for some time. I recall when I was a municipal councillor, during our early days, after the amalgamation - this should be a topic of a program service review as a possible opportunity for the municipality to deal with the situations. Those discussions have focused on the strong desire of the industry to ensure that monies raised by this levy are directed in total to the marketing of HRM as a tourist destination. As well, the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia seeks to ensure that current tourism marketing resources are maintained or increased.

It should be recognized that it takes significant courage for an industry to suggest incremental taxation. Some people may call this a hotel room tax. Some people may call it a user fee, but the industry trade would call it a marketing levy fee. Balancing this desire of the industry, HRM requires legislative responsibility and the accountability to make all the decisions over the taxes it levies, and that is why we need this bill before us today.

In an effort to match this to position, there has been a Memorandum of Understanding that has been drafted between the hotel association as well as the Halifax Regional Municipality and for the benefit of the House members, I would like to table that MOU for their information. That MOU articulates the intention of each party and recognizes the desire

[Page 7263]

of both to move forward in this partnership. The MOU outlines the principles of the partnership between HRM and the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia, but it does not limit the council's legislative authority over the taxation. The expenditure plan for the marketing levy will be subject to an annual review and approved by council through the standard business planning and budget process. The MOU calls for a marketing levy of 1.5 per cent of the selling price of the room, applicable to all tourist accommodation of properties containing 20 or more rental rooms.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House, I understand that Bill No. 94 has not been circulated yet for the full benefit of every member, but there has to be a correction brought up and that this correction be brought to the attention when it goes to the Local and Private Bills Committee. There has to be an amendment because the intent of the bill was to have 20 or more rooms. There has to be a slight adjustment in the wording because right now it says consists of less than 20 rooms but that correction will be made through the process at the committee.

In other jurisdictions we hear there are levies also applied to accommodations and I am going to give you a list of those particular areas that do have it. They have it in Victoria, and they have it in Vancouver. They have it in Whistler, B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Laval, Quebec City and St. John's, Newfoundland, and, I believe, Toronto is now considering the implementation of such a levy.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this levy is to help with promotion and marketing. It's going to have a comprehensive role in all the markets in an effort to produce the maximum dollars and the major portion of the accommodation sector needs to contribute towards this. The overall conclusion of the establishment of this destination marketing organization, which the Memorandum of Understanding outlines, is the resourcing through the marketing levy and is most effective and desirable to ensure that HRM tourism marketing is maximized and responded to and better challenges lie ahead. There has been consultation in the industry, and I understand the Opposition caucuses were briefed on this bill on Wednesday of this past week.

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the House, I would like to give out a couple of letters on file. There is a letter here from Mr. Paul Stackhouse, President of the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia, to His Worship Mayor Kelly in regard to requesting such an implementation of this levy. Also there is a letter here from Nicholas Carson from the Greater Halifax Conventions & Meetings Bureau, dated November 3, 2001; and also a letter here from the Tourism Industry of Nova Scotia under the signature of Carl Webb, President of TIANS, in regard to asking for this levy to be filed.

[Page 7264]

So, Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation in the community about this and I would also like to give a list of all the hotels that are currently going to be affected by this particular piece of legislation, those hotels with accommodations of 20 or more rooms in the HRM. So I will table it for the Clerk. It was the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia that requested HRM to support this and the HRM has made the request to the province and I am proud to stand here today to speak on Bill No. 94 and bring it to the next stage. The tourism industry has cited the need for incremental resources to strengthen HRM's identity in the marketplace in the face of ever-increasing competition in order to maintain and increase its revenues. Further, the industry recognizes the trend in other centres to produce an incremental marketing value through the marketing levy mechanism which is outlined in the MOU. These things will be linking marketing dollars to sales performance. It is one of the objectives of the provincial Tourism Department, to look at our meeting and convention potential. That is one of the issues brought up in the Partnership Council, and I believe this will go a long way to bringing that to fruition.

Mr. Speaker, that concludes my remarks on Bill No. 94.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I must take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Preston. Was that a prepared speech, or was that, shall I say, off the top of your head? (Interruptions) I can tell that when comments are delivered here, it's appreciated for the fact that they are prepared, that there is documentation available, that the correction that is going to be brought to Private and Local Bills is just a typo. I want to thank the member for showing the initiative to support this piece of legislation.

There are a couple of things that I want to bring to the attention of the House and members present. This list here is of some consequence. There are a lot of places on this list, I noticed, for example - I am looking forward to the member for Chester-St. Margaret's comments because the member for Chester-St. Margaret's has a facility called the Bay Breeze Motel and Cottages in Boutiliers Point that could be affected by this legislation. There are other motels and hotels outside of the peninsula, whether it's in Enfield or Fall River, so it is of some consequence that those members who represent parts of the HRM take this opportunity to step up and express their opinions, express their views on this, and after we go through Private and Local Bills Committee, whether they are going to support this legislation or not.

I would like to recognize Mr. Stackhouse, who's here this morning. In particular, we had a very useful session, and I am saying that as a past history teacher with Lewis Rogers from the HRM who is in charge of Heritage for the HRM. It was really an interesting conversation when the evitable question comes out, let's put it clearly, on a $100 room, there is going to be a $1.50 - I hear the word levy, I hear the word user fee, and eventually, I

[Page 7265]

suppose, if we really got down to it we could use that nasty three-letter word tax. I don't think that's necessary. There has been consultation, there have been people who have stepped up, particularly I noticed Carl Webb, Carl Webb and his TIANS group. Mr. Webb is aware of the fact that there have to be funds available for a marketing strategy.

I know there are members here who are probably saying, ah, here it is again, the capital district gets everything. When it comes to Tourism marketing, I think we have to be very clear on the fact that there are certain primary destinations. Primary destinations across this province. I know the member for Victoria will tell me that Ingonish is a primary destination. I don't question that under any circumstances, I don't question that. I know there are wonderful areas down in the Pubnicos, there are areas in Yarmouth, of course the Annapolis Valley, and all kinds of wonderful scenic areas throughout this province.

I think we have to be aware that the capital district is a magnet when it comes to having people come to the province. They use the capital district as a base. They will, for example, stay at a downtown hotel on the peninsula, or they can stay out at the airport hotel, for one reason or another, of convenience, where they are close to a 100-Series Highway, and then they will move from the downtown hotels or the hotel out in Timberlea or the one in Boutiliers Point and they will move to other areas for a day trip. They can go see the Swissair Memorial, for example, whether it is on the Aspotogan Peninsula or whether it is the Swissair Memorial down in Whalesback, Indian Harbour. They will take a day trip to the Valley; they will take a day trip to other parts of the province, and then, of course, they will return to the capital district that evening for their base. Of course, that means extra money for the area which we are fortunate enough to represent.

Let's be clear, there is nothing wrong with any other member in this House coming forward with a Private Member's Bill from another region of the province to bring this forth. If there is a member from the CBRM and there's an endorsement from that particular part of our province and they consider it a valuable idea marketing that particular part of Nova Scotia as an important place to visit and the paperwork and the homework - if I can use that expression with the member opposite - is done as it has been done, then that is something that we would certainly be receptive to in this caucus.

[11:15 a.m.]

I think it's quite important to realize that the industry and Mr. Stackhouse in particular, have a strategy in place, that of the $1.50 per $100 room - if I can use that and my math skills, as some members of the media constantly point out, are not that strong - but if we look at that 1.5 per cent on a $100 room, we're talking about $1.00 of that being actually involved in the marketing strategy for the capital district, and the other 50 cents will be set aside for special projects, and those special projects will be allowed to accumulate.

[Page 7266]

This is a levy that has an actual purpose. This is a levy that is not going to disappear into the great black hole of general revenues and expenditures. This is a revenue that is going to be designated for specific reasons. That is something that the tourist operators, those people who are attracting people from across North America and the world to the capital district, have designated as a way that they would like to have the money assigned. That shows good planning, that shows a marketing strategy and that's, as far as I am concerned, the key item in this particular issue.

If we look at some of the major events that have been hosted here in Halifax in the last decade, those things don't just happen miraculously. They happen because of a lot of volunteers, they happen because of a lot of coordination, they happen because of some of the guests that we have here today but, more importantly, they happen because the money has been set aside; the money has been set aside for a marketing strategy that will allow these events to be properly promoted across Canada and, of course, across the world.

This is a piece of legislation which we look forward to looking at more carefully under the Private and Local Bills Committee. We also are pleased with the fact that the MLA who initiated the bill very quickly pointed out that there is a bit of a typo there, that's it's 20 rooms or more and certainly not the reverse. The small B&B operators or the small operators in other parts of the HRM are not affected by this. This is a good piece of legislation that we are looking at in more detail when it comes to private and local bills. It revolves a strategy that we support. TIANS is an important organization in this province, and I would like to thank the member for Preston for bringing it forward. Thank you.

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak today on Bill No. 94, the Halifax Regional Municipality Marketing Levy Act. This bill will serve as enabling legislation for the HRM. It will result in a measure that will allow the municipality to fix a visitor levy on hotel rooms for the purpose of generating funds for the promotion of tourism in this region.

For your info, Mr. Speaker, 70 per cent of tourism in the HRM is from outside Nova Scotia. We understand that the Halifax Regional Municipality Council passed a resolution back in November approving this idea and requesting passage of the enabling legislation. It is also encouraging to note that this is a model which other municipalities in this province could follow if they chose. They could have an opportuntiy to ask that a similar bill be passed to benefit their own situation. Many other North American cities do charge a similar levy and HRM could enjoy considerable benefits resulting from this measure.

[Page 7267]

We have heard that a number of stakeholders have been engaged in efforts for some time now to provide a new method for marketing the HRM as a tourist destination. In addition, it is noteworthy that TIANS and the Innkeepers Guild of Nova Scotia are in agreement with this proposal. On behalf of caucus, I would like to thank all those who have been involved in bringing this bill forward. I think it is important, Mr. Speaker, to recognize the efforts of the various individuals and organizations who have spent considerable time co-operating, consulting and working hard to achieve their common goal.

We understand the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture is supporting this initiative; that is our understanding, at least, Mr. Speaker. In terms of substance, this bill will see about 44 hotels in the HRM with more than 20 rooms charging a marketing levy for each room they rent out. The bill specifies that this hotel room tax should not exceed 2 per cent. At the moment, the proposed levy is 1.5 per cent. Two-thirds of the tax will be directed toward the new destination-marketing organization. This organization would coordinate the marketing efforts between several entities involved in tourism and marketing in the HRM. That would include, for instance, the World Trade and Convention Centre and the Convention Bureau. The remaining amount would be used for the HRM's tourism, culture and heritage reserve fund. The funds in that reserve will be put to good use when the HRM is considering competing for big events, such as the G7 or major sporting events. Currently, combined funding for efforts to market the HRM is approximately $800,000 to $900,000 per year, including administration costs. With this new tax, this amount could climb up to approximately $2 million.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, our Liberal caucus will be supporting this bill to go to the next step and we certainly look forward to hearing from individuals and from groups who may wish to appear before the Private and Local Bills Committee. With that, again, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I just want to speak very briefly on this amendment. I want to point out that there is a request that will be made from the Department of Finance to make sure that the levy would not be HST applicable and there is a similar case in the City of St. John's, Newfoundland, whereby it is exempt. There will be a request going from our department to the Minister of Finance in the federal Department of Finance, or it might be the CCRA, I am not sure which of the two, but the letter is being drafted today to ensure that this does not become HST applicable. It was never the intent of everyone involved in this levy.

So I would state, Mr. Speaker, that our intention is to put a proclamation clause on this bill until such time as all those approvals are put into place. I have had some discussions with the hoteliers regarding this and I just wanted to bring that to the attention of the members of

[Page 7268]

the House that in the Private and Local Bills Committee, we will be bringing forward a proclamation clause and I think all members would agree that that is the direction that we would like to go in. So with those very few comments, I will take my chair.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that I did yield the floor to the Minister of Finance to hear that he is going to deliver a proclamation that will exempt the 1.5 per cent from the HST tax levy. It is a positive move. I also want to thank the member for Preston for bringing this bill forward in a right and positive direction. I remember serving on the Dartmouth Tourism Committee and the Dartmouth Tourism Convention and Visitors Bureau. I served with such individuals as Tom Rath, Janice Blackburn and Scott MacRae and I want to tell you that we talked about this very issue, about how to enhance tourism within the City of Dartmouth at that time, now the former community of Dartmouth because of the HRM amalgamation.

I want to talk to you and tell you that at that particular time we called it, or termed it a bed tax. The bed tax was going to generate x number of dollars worth of revenue so that Dartmouth could compete with the City of Halifax in attracting tourism because, at that particular time, members of this Legislature, Halifax, as a city, was a large major city that had an unlimited budget with respect to putting money forward to tourism. That money that was put forward to tourism was, in fact, competing with the City of Dartmouth, and I want to tell you that they delivered some of the most beautiful brochures that travelled all across this continent in order to attract conventions to the City of Halifax. Now, mind you, when the Visitors and Convention Centre was built in Halifax, it meant a very good reason why there should be this additional revenue put into the attraction.

I want to tell you that when I served on the Dartmouth Visitors and Convention Bureau, we were a proactive committee, and I like to take pride in the fact that we were the initiators of IcelandAir that actually came to the metropolitan area and visitors had done a tremendous amount of shopping in what is known as MicMac Mall. That tourism in itself brought tremendous dollars to the metropolitan area, dollars that cannot be measured today because now we have lost IcelandAir, but allow me to tell you that that kind of money went into the revenue of all sorts of businesses, including even the automobile industry. They would come here and purchase automobiles and go back. No one can truly measure the kind of dollars that in fact that tourism had brought here.

To think that now, in the year 2001, we have a Private Member's Bill before this Legislative Assembly that will levy a tax on clients who are going to occupy hotel rooms and that that money is going to be channeled back into the community in a way whereby it's going to enhance tourism and that, in fact, not only is it going to enhance tourism, but my understanding of it is that $1.00 will be going back towards the enhancement of tourism, but

[Page 7269]

for greater productions and events that are going to take place, the additional 50 cents for that 1.5 per cent, or $1.50 on $100, will in fact be a source of revenue that will bring in even more and larger major events and so on.

I want to tell you that historically the notion of promoting the enhancement of tourism, be it by the province or be it by the municipality, or be it by the individuals who are actively involved in the tourism industry, one can only recognize that that is measured by the growth of your municipality and no one can - you know I was often amazed at the number of people who take the promotion of tourism for granted.

I do know that the government did not do that when it came to power, that it recognized the importance of tourism, so it decided that it would make tourism a separate entity unto itself and a government unto itself, now called Tourism and Culture, I do believe, and I do know that the minister has tried his best in trying times to make sure that tourism was in fact a promotion to this province and it was going to be second to none within Atlantic Canada, if not all of Canada, but I want to tell you that if I hearken back, I want to tell you that people don't realize that for every dollar invested in tourism, it gives a $7.00 value in return. The numbers might be a bit higher now, but that was during my period of time, and that's a measurement that people don't fully understand. The consequences of the loss or the reduction in tourism - one can certainly see the evidence of them, and the minister can attest to that as a result of the reduction in tourism this year. That is no affront to the minister or his department, with respect to its promotion.

What I what to say - I want to get back to this very good bill; I want to tell the private member that this is a very good Private Member's Bill because it brings about the promotion of an industry that I have tremendous respect for, and that is the tourism industry. I always have been actively involved, always believed in the promotion of that, always believed in the promotion of my community, my municipality, my province and my country. (Interruptions) I want to tell you that that, to me, is the single most important - With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and I do welcome the support.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I only have a few words today. I want to thank the member for Preston for bringing this Private Member's Bill forward.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Dartmouth North?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Of course, and I want to thank the member for Dartmouth North, as well as the member for Timberlea-Prospect and the member for Cape Breton The Lakes for their comments. I think they were very positive, very articulate, as the member for Sackville-Cobequid has mentioned.

[Page 7270]

Mr. Speaker, the bill which is before us will create a levy that will support tourism marketing initiatives and special events within the HRM. These initiatives will bring incremental visitors to HRM; they will stay longer as a result, and it will mean positive results for the rest of the province. As was mentioned by the member for Timberlea-Prospect, indeed, HRM is one of the anchors in the province to bring tourists here, which also benefits the rural areas in this province.

The Hotel Association of Nova Scotia has expressed its full support of the Destination Marketing Organization, otherwise known as DMO, and it's associated hotel room marketing levy. The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia has also expressed its support and has sent a letter. As was mentioned in its letter, this is not uncommon in other jurisdictions like Vancouver, Newfoundland, Whistler, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Laval and Quebec City, among many others. This is not uncommon in other jurisdictions. It has been seen as very positive in many other jurisdictions.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to go through many of the things which have already been said regarding the 1.5 per cent, regarding the number of rooms, which has to be over 20. I think that is a positive step forward, especially with regard to our smaller organizations like our bed and breakfasts. In my conversations with the Hotel Association and HRM, it is one they felt very strongly about, as well as the DMO concept. I want to congratulate both HRM and the Hotel Association for moving towards the DMO concept, which I think is a positive one - positive not only for both organizations but positive for bringing together the marketing for HRM.

Mr. Speaker, my comments, again, as I mentioned, are short. I appreciated the comments of the members opposite as well as those of the member for Preston and the Minister of Finance. I think the importance of ensuring that it's not part of the HST is one which would be supported by all members of all Parties. With that, that ends my comments. I would like to congratulate the member for Preston, as well as welcome our friends in the gallery, along with - I don't know if his name was mentioned - Rick Young, Department of Tourism and Culture, who was also very involved in this file. I too would like to welcome Rick Young along with our other guests in the gallery. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed, welcome to our guests.

If I recognize the honourable member for Preston it will be to close debate.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise to close debate on this, but I want to raise a couple of points before I move second reading. We have before us the Nova Scotia Integrated Tourism Plan for 2002. I will just read a couple of excerpts

[Page 7271]

from Pages 11 and 12: The strategic objective of the bill is the 12 month season. We believe that we can increase our non-peak business by making our direct consumer efforts in Atlantic Canada more cost effective while increasing our focus on an area that holds great potential - the meetings and conventions market.

Further to that, it also says about the meetings and conventions that the national and international medium-sized meeting market currently accounts for 25 per cent of all the room nights sold in metro, a substantial proportion of that non-peak season business. Operators throughout the province have also told us there is potential in the regional smaller meeting market. So the TPC which is the Tourism Partnership Council, marketing conditions include working with the Greater Halifax Conventions and Meetings Bureau to increase Nova Scotia's share of this multi-million dollar industry and to work with partners to address the regional smaller meeting markets.

MR. SPEAKER: Will the honourable member be tabling that document?

MR. HENDSBEE: Yes, I will table that document for the benefit of the House. I just want to point out that this will help with the coordination of a lot of other organizations with the promotion of Halifax and the province as a whole. That would include Halifax Tourism, Culture and Heritage Department of the regional municipality, the Halifax World Trade and Convention Centre, the Greater Halifax Conventions and Meetings Bureau and the Nova Scotia Tourism and Culture with regard to various aspects.

Mr. Speaker, with Bill No. 94 we'll go a long way in bringing a lot more people from across the world to beautiful Nova Scotia to enjoy our hospitality. With that, I would like to move second reading and close debate on Bill No. 94, the Halifax Regional Municipality Marketing Levy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 94. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 7272]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 29.

Bill No. 29 - Elections Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I move third reading of the Elections Act.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I am glad to be able to have a few minutes to talk on Bill No. 29 on third reading. This is a piece of legislation that will enhance elections in Nova Scotia. I, on second reading, made some comments around whether this was not a lost opportuntiy to really re-democratize Nova Scotia. I still believe that those are issues that this bill has sadly missed, that this government has sadly missed. It is fine-tuning legislation when there is an opportuntiy to actually try to reinvigorate democracy in this province and give all Nova Scotians an opportunity to feel that this is something that they should be taking part in instead of - as is happening on a more increasing basis - people are deciding to walk away and vote with their feet, so to speak, and not vote at all.

Having said that, I will say that this legislation does move certain issues that have been discussed amongst our caucus and other caucuses ahead. Whether it be the admission during canvassing and voter contact to apartments, whether it be the possibility of a permanent voters list, whether it be the issue of DROs and polling clerks and how they're appointed - these are all things being addressed in Bill No. 29. Some of them are things that our caucus has fought for a while, like admission to apartments, and we're glad to see it finally happen. I know the other caucuses have their issues that they may have championed and are glad maybe to see them as well.

I think the other point is that in Law Amendments Committee there was an issue as to who would be appointing returning officers. These people are appointed for life, I believe. Now they're appointed for approximately 10 year terms and there was an issue as to whether they would be appointed by Cabinet and is now going to be done by the Chief Electoral Officer making recommendations to Cabinet. Hopefully that will help eliminate the politicization of the Returning Officers so that the Chief Electoral Officer, who is well respected by all Parties and all Nova Scotians will be providing information, providing recommendations and hopefully that will help eliminate the possibility of this being used as a form of patronage, God forbid.

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Beyond that, this is legislation, as I said, that does move forward the elections in this province. Hopefully, it will modernize our election process. We've moved to mail-in ballots from proxy votes - something that I think is a good process. In the future, come the next election, when this Act is used, we'll all have an opportunity to see the benefits that this has brought to the election process in Nova Scotia. I don't think it's going to bring more people back to the voting booth, I don't think it's going to invigorate people to believe in democracy again for those who have become disenfranchised, but in ensuring that political Parties have an opportunity to improve their ability to deal effectively and fairly during an election process, this legislation does do that and I am glad to see that it is going to be passed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to make a few comments on Bill No. 29, the Elections Act. We have supported this bill since its introduction. In many ways there was a similar bill, introduced while our Party was in office back in 1998-99, and certainly we're pleased to see that the government has moved forward on it. As was pointed out by the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, the government did adopt two of the Liberal amendments dealing with the voting of DROs and the Chief Electoral Officer and the fact that they will not be permitted to vote, as was requested by them. That provision was removed from the bill originally tabled and, again, we were able to convince the government to add a clause which will have the Chief Electoral Officer making the recommendations to Cabinet on the appointment of the returning officers for the different constituencies. We are certainly pleased that our amendments which we feel are an important part of giving the confidence that this Elections Act is void of partisanship and that our elections will be carried out as impartially as possible.

I just want to say again, Mr. Speaker, how pleased I am to see that the proxy voting system will come to an end in the Province of Nova Scotia. As I said on second reading, I am sure I speak on behalf of all the doctors in my riding, for sure, in saying that they will be very enthusiastic at not seeing (Interruption) Yes, there aren't too many as it is; I am glad you pointed that out. It has been 11 months since we've had a doctor at the Strait-Richmond Hospital, but maybe the Minister of Health will have luck down in Mexico. He might be able to bring one back with him from Mexico or maybe somewhere on his adventures down to South America and wherever else the Premier might send him as the Acting Minister of Education.

Back on track, Mr. Speaker. Clearly the proxy voting was a big problem in rural Nova Scotia, especially in areas where the number of physicians was not the amount that we had wanted. So now the idea is, regardless, if you cannot vote in person on voting day, the mail-in system will allow for much greater access, I believe, to participation in our democratic system. I know - as you're probably aware in your first election, Mr. Speaker - it was my first election in March of 1998. I had a significant number of constituents who were what they call

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Snowbirds, who were down South, and those were a lot of votes I certainly would have been pleased to have. At the end of the day, they weren't critical, but one never knows. As is shown by the case in Shelburne, every single vote counts. Clearly these are important changes that, hopefully, at the end of the day will encourage greater participation in our election system and strengthen the democracy of this province.

Again, I commend the government. It is good to see it has got all three Parties supporting this legislation and I look forward to having it go to Royal Assent.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Government House Leader, it will be to close debate on Bill No. 29.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 29.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 29. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 75.

Bill No. 75 - Revenue Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, this is in regard to the tobacco increase that was stated earlier on in the session. I think I have given a full explanation. I move third reading.

[11:45 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I have said it before but I think it's worth saying again, that the NDP, the Official Opposition supports this increase in tax because studies show conclusively, in our view, that the single most cost-effective way of cutting

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down on smoking in Nova Scotia is to increase the price of the product. It's still disappointing that the government hasn't taken the Opposition's straightforward constructive advice, something that we always do, that if you're going to claim on the one hand that the tax is to deal with the smoking problem in Nova Scotia, then it only makes sense that the additional revenue actually gets spent on dealing with the smoking problem in Nova Scotia.

This government wants to have it both ways. They want to claim that they are dealing with a health issue but they are taking the money into general revenue. An extra $6 million that is pouring into the coffers of the Minister of Finance right now, an extra $12 million in a full fiscal year, and they are not even going to spend a dime on their so-called enhancements of the anti-smoking program until the next fiscal year. The government is dealing with this issue as a financial measure. The basis on which the Official Opposition supports this measure is on the impact that it will have on smoking. It's a shame that the government doesn't see its way to doing the right thing on this particular piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I think Nova Scotians expect better from this government. I think they have a right to demand better, but once again this government is letting us all down.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I will briefly speak on behalf of our Liberal caucus, relative to this tax bill brought forward by the Minister of Finance. It's been indicated by the government and the minister that they hope to receive revenues of $6 million this year from this initiative and $12 million next year. The split of the tax that they're sharing with the federal government is a bit different than the tax on the last increase, the sharing of tax was more profitable to the province, I think it's in the area of $20 million per annum that they're looking at as receiving from this new tax.

Mr. Speaker, as the previous speaker mentioned, I too share those concerns, I also raise them as Health Critic for our caucus. I congratulated earlier in this House, in second reading I believe, and other interventions that the Minister of Finance, all of a sudden when he has budget unravelling on him, some of that due to September 11th events but is well documented by our Finance Critic, the budget being in trouble prior to the September 11th events. All of sudden when you have that scenario coming, lo and behold, as I mentioned, the road to Damascus, there is a conversion, a reconversion or whatever, a readjustment in the attitude of the Minister of Finance. He is quite supportive of this initiative, the tax on negative health effects of tobacco.

Mr. Speaker, again, we are concerned that there is not more money channelled from this tax into health promotion of programs, it doesn't necessarily even have to be in tobacco, because we know the widespread impact of tobacco, certain areas like enhancement of programs like they have in the Glace Bay Hospital, for chest diseases, treating some of those

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persons who have the effects of tobacco but, more importantly, programs that are focused on youth and children of a very young age who are subject to the cool style of being a smoker that will impact so negatively eventually.

Rather than pooling this money, the $6 million this year and the $12 million next year plus another $20 million from the earlier tax, in April I think it was, that this is just going into revenues. There should be a more substantive amount of that money put into the health care system that needs funding. Although this government has put in now over $300 million since it has been involved, the system still tends to deteriorate as we speak. So the monies should not be lost out there in the ether and the so-called general revenues; they should be focused into health care and targeted to programs specifically for youth and adolescents.

In saying that, I will conclude my comments on this tax revenue bill, on a tax on tobacco, and agree on the third reading of this bill. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I appreciate the comments of both Opposition Parties in regard to this tobacco tax. People are asking whether or not this is going to work. What we have said, and it was stated very eloquently by both members, that tobacco taxation is the most cost-effective, best way to reduce taxes. I just want to point out for members of the House that even Harry Flemming has said, that is it, I am quitting. Here it is in yesterday's Daily News, and he is saying he is not going to give any more money to that Neil LeBlanc. Well, I hope that literally thousands of people make the same decision and stop smoking. I don't need the taxes. What I need are citizens of Nova Scotia with good health and I hope that they all quit. Harry Flemming has led the way. Let the people follow! With those few comments, I move third reading of Bill No. 92.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to remind the honourable minister across the floor that if he had paid attention to Paul Martin and Alan Rock last year, then Nova Scotians would have quit smoking much sooner. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: It is not a point of privilege. Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

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HON. NEIL LEBLANC: I am listening to the honourable member opposite and if Paul Martin was so concerned, why didn't he raise tobacco taxes last year?

MR. SPEAKER: It is not a point of privilege or a point of order. The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 75. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 82.

Bill No. 82 - Municipal Law Amendment (2001) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the members to go outside if they have to talk.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for the third time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, of course, this bill has gone through the Law Amendments Committee and has come back, and I don't believe there were any presenters or witnesses before the Law Amendments Committee on this bill. There were two particular issues which I had with respect to this bill and I believe, without going through the bill, that they were Clause 14 and Clause 15. I am still not clear what rights citizens have with respect to trying to tidy up the process, expedite the process, or eliminate a process whereby it is one less debt to the Utility and Review Board. I am talking particularly about the infrastructure charges and also with respect to subdivision bylaw regulations.

Those are the two areas that I do express concern with and I will continue to express concern with because I believe that, in my opinion, it is just my assessment and interpretation of those bylaws that cause me the concern. However, since there have been no presenters in the Law Amendments Committee on this issue and obviously it is an issue with respect to one that was brought through HRM, particularly on the infrastructure one, with respect to

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water and sewer charges and services then I at this particular time, will recommend and support the bill as it now stands, that, of course Mr. Speaker, is Bill No. 82, the law amendments bill, Municipal Law Amendment (2001) Act as put forward by the honourable minister.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I am happy to close the debate and I can assure the honourable member opposite who just spoke that there is nothing in these provisions that take away any protection from individual property owners. These provisions are to enable development to occur and allow for the negotiations between the developer and the municipal unit to occur with respect to these matters without reference to the URB in the first instance. There are still provisions for the developer to go to the URB if they're dissatisfied with what happens as a result of that but it in no way takes away the rights of individuals and protections of individuals. It is all prior to the development occurring. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 82. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 7:00 p.m. The House will sit from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The order of business will be Public Bills for Second Reading, Public Bills for Third Reading, Committee of the Whole House on Bills and other such matters as may come before the House.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for the House to adjourn.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House will adjourn until 7:00 p.m. on Monday evening.

[The House rose at 11:57 a.m.]

[Page 7280]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

(Tabled November 15, 2001)

RESOLUTION NO. 2514

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 the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department will hold their Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet Friday evening; and

Whereas the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department, under the very capable leadership of Chief Darren Rushton, provide an immeasurable service that is available around the clock, 365 days a year, with no better example than the 11:30 p.m. call earlier this year on New Year's Day when firefighters were summoned to a challenging blaze in the downtown core which eventually destroyed a local pizzeria and a vacant building; and

Whereas the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department also has a dedicated and hard-working ladies auxiliary which works diligently year-round raising funds for the department;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs acknowledge the terrific work of Oxford firefighters in conjunction with their ladies auxiliary and wish them continued success in the future.

[Page 7281]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

(Tabled November 16, 2001)

RESOLUTION NO. 2546

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas Yarmouth's Handicapped Organization Promoting Equality (HOPE), which began operation in 1999, and HOPE Coordinator Eleanor Cottreau are planning Christmas light tours, each lasted for a few hours, of the Town of Yarmouth and the surrounding area for the week of December 17th to December 21st; and

Whereas the Christmas light tours are offered through HOPE's Dial-A-Ride transport service which is funded by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and which provides over 600 rides each month to residents of the Town of Yarmouth and the surrounding area using a fully accessible vehicle and a seven passenger minivan; and

Whereas each of the tours, which are primarily meant for shut-ins and the physically challenged, can accommodate up to 11 passengers each night with room for two wheelchairs;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank HOPE and its Coordinator Eleanor Cottreau for all of their hard work throughout the year, as well as for their innovative and thoughtful proposed Christmas tours of Yarmouth which are sure to help light up the lives of those serviced by Dial-A-Ride during the upcoming festive season.

RESOLUTION NO. 2547

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 the Parrsboro Lions Club was recently recognized by Recreation Nova Scotia with its Bluenose Achievement Award; and

Whereas the award is presented annually to volunteer organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to recreation in Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7282]

Whereas there is no finer example than the Parrsboro Lions Club, which has been instrumental in the provision of recreational opportunities and promoting healthy lifestyles in its community since it was incorporated in the spring of 1946, including through its "Spook-a-Rama" - a safe Halloween activity held in conjunction with the RCMP, Old Home Week and the outdoor rink which progressed to an indoor arena for the community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the Parrsboro Lions Club on being presented with the Bluenose Achievement Award for 2001 and thank these volunteers for their dedication to improving the social fabric of their local community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2548

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 the Advocate District High School Coyotes cross country team recently won a pair of silver medals at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Championships at Point Pleasant Park; and

Whereas sisters Lesley Ross (senior runner) and Mallory Ross (intermediate runner) both earned silver medals in their respective divisions; and

Whereas senior runner, Katie Spicer, and junior division runner, Helen Ross, both performed well in their races also;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these young women for their tremendous performances and thank their coach, Pat Spicer, for her leadership and commitment to the Coyotes cross country team.