The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., May 21, 1999

First Session

FRIDAY, MAY 21, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Middle River (Pictou Co.): Bridge - Replace,
Mr. C. Parker 6073
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Pay Equity Commission,
Hon. R. MacKinnon 6074
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Econ. Dev. - NovaKnowledge: Knowledge Economy Report Card (2nd) -
Congrats., Hon. Manning MacDonald 6074
Fish. - Lobster: Buyers - Transactions Record, Hon. K. Colwell 6078
Patrick Joseph White - Death of, Hon. D. Downe 6081
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2905, Culture: Gaelic Council (N.S.) - Commend, Ms. E. O'Connell 6083
Vote - Affirmative 6083
Res. 2906, Fin. - Taxation: Low Income - Burden Review,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 6083
Res. 2907, Educ. - Ali Sampson (Port Caledonia): Achievements -
Congrats., Hon. R. MacKinnon 6084
Vote - Affirmative 6084
Res. 2908, Culture - Hackmatack Prog.: Creation - Congrats.,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 6085
Vote - Affirmative 6085
Res. 2909, Health - Pharmacare: Retired Civil Servants (Gov't. [Can.]) -
Benefits Equality, Mr. G. Moody 6085
Res. 2910, Sysco: Support (NDP Leader) - Congrats., Mr. P. MacEwan 6086
Res. 2911, House of Assembly - Gov't. Business: Opposition Parties -
Assign, Mr. J. Holm 6087
Res. 2912, Fish. - Lobster: Illegal Fishing - Action, Mr. N. LeBlanc 6087
Res. 2913, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Tourism Industry: Vibrancy -
Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 6088
Vote - Affirmative 6089
Res. 2914, Commun. Serv. - Child Abuse: Responsibility - Accept,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 6089
Res. 2915, Health - Ambulance Serv.: Deterioration - Stop, Mr. G Moody 6089
Res. 2916, Devco - MPs (C.B.): Edna Budden & Beverly Brown -
Emulate, Mr. P. MacEwan 6090
Res. 2917, Sports - Orenda Canoe Club: Dedication - Commend,
Ms. Y. Atwell 6091
Vote - Affirmative 6091
Res. 2918, Justice - Jail (Bedford): Concerns Ignored - Condemn,
Mr. M. Scott 6091
Res. 2919, Educ. - Info. Tech.: Students/Teachers - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Montgomery 6092
Vote - Affirmative 6093
Res. 2920, Educ. - Hudson Award (King's Col. Alumni):
Gordon Earle MP - Congrats., Mr. D. Chard 6093
Vote - Affirmative 6093
Res. 2921, Sports - Softball Hall of Fame (Can.): Mark Smith (Hfx.) &
Max Pye (Scotch Village) - Inductees Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 6093
Vote - Affirmative 6094
Res. 2922, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Jobs (N.S.): NDP Caucus (N.S.) -
Support Encourage, Mr. Charles MacDonald 6094
Res. 2923, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Train Services (Hfx.-C.B.[2000]):
Restoration - Supporters Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 6095
Vote - Affirmative 6095
Res. 2924, Environ. - Sydney Tar Ponds: Pollutants (Frederick St.) -
Public Meeting Organize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 6096
Res. 2925, Health - St. Martha's Hosp.: Mayfest - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Fraser 6096
Vote - Affirmative 6097
Res. 2926, Fish. - Lobster: Illegal Fishery - End, Mr. John Deveau 6097
Res. 2927, Educ. - NSAC: Teaching Achievement Award -
Prof. Carl Madigan Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 6098
Vote - Affirmative 6098
Res. 2928, Educ. - Malcolm Munroe Mem. JHS: Music Prog. - Congrats.,
Hon. R. MacKinnon 6098
Vote - Affirmative 6099
Res. 2929, Sports - Baseball: World Children's Fair (Japan) -
Candice Slaunwhite (Terence Bay) Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 6099
Vote - Affirmative 6100
Res. 2930, Educ. - Windsor Public Library: Maintenance - Encourage,
Mr. G. Archibald 6100
Vote - Affirmative 6101
Res. 2931, Justice - Non-Racist Soc. (Metro Coalition):
Legislative Pressure - Thank, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6101
Vote - Affirmative 6101
Res. 2932, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Budget (1999-2000):
Hwy. Funding - Advise, Mr. B. Taylor 6101
Res. 2933, Nat. Res. - Trans Canada Trail (Inv. Co.): Dedication -
Recognize, Mr. Charles MacDonald 6102
Vote - Affirmative 6103
Res. 2934, Sysco - Business Plan: Mgt. Course - PC (N.S.)/Lib (N.S.)
Caucus Enrol, Mr. D. Dexter 6103
Res. 2935, CNIB (Truro) - Visions Lunch: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Muir 6103
Vote - Affirmative 6104
Res. 2936, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 289 (Pictou Co.):
Disaster - Declare, Mr. C. Parker 6104
Res. 2937, Health - Emergency Medical Technicians: Benefits Improve -
Support, Mr. M. Scott 6105
Res. 2938, Educ. - Sc. & Tech.: Hants East Students -
Achievement Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 6106
Vote - Affirmative 6106
Res. 2939, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Cardiac Team (Dr. John Sullivan) -
Humanitarianism (China) Recognize, Mr. P. Delefes 6106
Vote - Affirmative 6107
Res. 2940, Justice - Anti-Racism: Media Awareness Network -
Efforts Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 6107
Vote - Affirmative 6108
Res. 2941, Sysco - Business Plan: Opposition Ldr. -
Fence Sitting Recognize, Mr. J. Leefe 6108
Res. 2942, Environ. - Sydney Tar Ponds: Clean-Up Participation
(Gov't. [Can.]) - Environ. Comm. (HC) Convey, Mr. F. Corbett 6109
Res. 2943, Sports - Yarmouth Multi-Purpose Sportsplex: Exco -
Prioritize, Mr. John Deveau 6109
Res. 2944, Educ. - Sc. Fair (Can.): Jennifer McRuer (Hants N RH) &
Brad MacPhee (Hants E RH) - Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 6110
Vote - Affirmative 6110
Res. 2945, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Sen. Housing: Requirement
Increase (2001) - Recognize, Mr. D. Dexter 6110
Res. 2946, St. Matthew's Church (Hfx.): Anniv. 250th - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Delefes 6111
Vote - Affirmative 6112
Res. 2947, Transport. & Pub. Wks. Road Work: Suggestions (NDP [N.S.]) -
Listening (Min.) Thank, Mr. W. Estabrooks 6112
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 98, Motor Vehicle Act 6113
Hon. R. Harrison 6113
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 6115
Mr. B. Taylor 6120
Mr. J. Holm 6123
Hon. R. Harrison 6126
Vote - Affirmative 6126
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 25th at 2:00 p.m. 6127

[Page 6073]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MAY 21, 1999

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition re the Middle River Bridge on Route 289 in Pictou County. The petition reads, "WHEREAS the bridge over the Middle River of Pictou is more than 65 years old and is in poor repair and WHEREAS this route is essential for the daily transportation of hundreds of area residents and WHEREAS this important provincial highway is vital to heavy commercial traffic, we the undersigned, urgently request the Minister of Transportation and his officials to take immediate action to replace this structure.". It is signed by 52 area residents and I have affixed my own name as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

6073

[Page 6074]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1998 for the Nova Scotia Pay Equity Commission.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the individual reports are being shipped down from the office so all members will have them probably within the half hour.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to congratulate NovaKnowledge on the release of its second annual Knowledge Economy Report Card. The results of the report are very encouraging for all Nova Scotians. The report card was researched and written by a professional staff under the direction of a steering committee drawn from private and public sector managers and it builds on the first report issued last year.

NovaKnowledge's work on these issues gives Nova Scotians, government, education, business and the community alike, a valuable tool upon which to continue building our economy. Mr. Speaker, NovaKnowledge has outlined several key issues for which both the private and public sector have lacked clear information. These findings not only serve as a guide but they are a good first step in helping to correct many misconceptions about our economy.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's economy is growing and Nova Scotians need to know this. NovaKnowledge has conducted surveys which indicate that the public continues to believe that our economy is heavily reliant on federal support. This is simply not the case. In fact, Nova Scotia's dependence on federal spending is lower than it has ever been.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that all members of this House, as well as the media, share a responsibility for conveying this message to Nova Scotians. Let's not be afraid of our own success. Let's promote it.

The report card also shatters another misconception, Mr. Speaker. Contrary to popular belief, Nova Scotia has the lowest level of business subsidies of any province in Canada. There is also good news about sources of money that is available to knowledge businesses in our province. More venture capital investments are being made here than ever before.

[Page 6075]

While there is more work to be done in helping businesses who need the money get their hands on it, the situation is evolving.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is a very cost-competitive location for knowledge-based business. In fact, in a recent KPMG study of 64 G-7 cities, Halifax was ranked the number one most cost-effective place for life sciences. The report also points to one of our greatest challenges, the number of talented and skilled young people leaving our province. As a government, we are very concerned about this. We must work with our partners in industry to find a balance between the cost of doing business and competitive salaries, which keep our knowledge workers here. It's an issue that needs a great deal more attention and the release of this report will help us to focus more on reversing migration trends. Of course, the recommendations outlined by the Labour Market Development Secretariat is also helping to address this issue.

Mr. Speaker, the NovaKnowledge Report Card also outlines something that we Nova Scotians have long known about our province. Our quality of life is extraordinary; a factor that is increasingly taken into account by companies and industry looking for places to invest or to expand. Nova Scotia's appeal as a place to live and work should not be underestimated. Our cost of living is lower than most of the larger knowledge centres in the U.S. and Canada and that is after taxes. Our knowledge-based sectors, like information technology, life sciences, film and new media continue to grow and contribute to the quality of life we enjoy here. I am pleased to say that my department is playing an important role in their development.

Mr. Speaker, knowledge industries are key industries for Economic Development and Tourism. Last year, together with the federal government, we made the largest technology investment in Nova Scotia's history. The Information Economy Initiative is a $62 million project that is putting computers and Internet access into the hands of students, businesses and community members from one end of the province to the other. Hundreds of computers are now being delivered to schools and community access sites all through the province. Three of our universities, UCCB, Acadia and Dalhousie, are well along in upgrading their technology infrastructure and creating new, high-end IT training programs for our students and teachers. This ambitious initiative uses technology to connect education to business and economic development. It's helping to create a better educated workforce and provide business and marketing opportunities for business operators wherever they live.

Mr. Speaker, our efforts haven't stopped there. Our Investment and Trade Division has been working diligently to showcase for the world what we have to offer knowledge firms and their efforts are paying off. In the past few years alone, Mr. Speaker, many IT and telecommunications companies have set up shop. Staples, CISCO Systems, ICT Group, Watts Communications, Keane, Fastlane Technologies and Matrixx Marketing are just a few.

[Page 6076]

Mr. Speaker, last year we entered into a three year development life sciences initiative with our federal counterparts. The aim of our $1.6 million investment - to make Nova Scotia a leading centre for the biotechnology, medical devices and information technology sectors, and we are getting there.

Today Nova Scotia has 95 biotechnology, medical devices and health-related IT firms. The sector employs between 500 to 1,000 Nova Scotians and last year alone, close to 200 new jobs were created. Another 200 jobs are expected to be developed this year with $3.5 million in new capital investment. Ocean Nutrition Canada, Jellett Biotek, MedMira, ECI Medical Technologies and Tri-Star Industries are just a few of the Nova Scotia companies helping to put our province on the life sciences map.

Mr. Speaker, the value of our local film production industry is growing. It is now valued at more than $120 million. That is about a 25 per cent increase over the previous year and my department is playing an important role. We are helping to develop the kind of environment necessary to ensure companies like Salter Street and Cochran Entertainment can continue their ground-breaking work. Our film development tax credit and our investments in sound stages are key parts of this strategy.

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate NovaKnowledge and its steering committee for this report and I encourage all members of the House to read the document carefully and work with us to make Nova Scotia's economy an even more prosperous one in the years ahead. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I have been in this House and listened to many statements over the last number of months. I must say this is one of the most troubling. I am put in mind of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. (Interruptions)

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

MR. DEXTER: The reality is that the height of the ridiculousness of this statement is only exceeded by the gall of the members over there. What that report really says is that they are driving young people out of this province. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DEXTER: We raised in this House some number of weeks ago that promoting the low-wage economy in this province through their website was the wrong thing to do. It sent the wrong message to people and that is exactly what this report says, that sending our young people down the road, out of the province, is not the way to promote a knowledge-based economy here in this province.

[Page 6077]

We have the infrastructure here, that is true. We have good universities and we have good facilities for teaching and keeping our own young people here and yet what do we find? We find that they are constantly being exported out of the province, either to New England, Calgary, or to British Columbia, or to places where they can find jobs at reasonable wages. That is not happening here because of the failure of that minister and of that government. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

Mr. Speaker, right now in the New England States there is zero sector unemployment in knowledge-based industries. So now ironically what is happening is our young people are going to New England. Well, I guess the solace we can take from that is at least they are closer to home than having gone to Calgary or B.C.

They talk about the cost of living. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, the reason the cost of living is staying down here is because it is being driven down by low wages, by not positive economic indicators, but rather negative ones. In sum, this government ought to be ashamed of itself for trying to make a positive out of a negative. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I would like to first of all thank the minister for making a copy available before the House today. It is always interesting when we get comments regarding the economy because I think for Nova Scotia, you are get into a situation that most people sometimes look at the negative, but there also are some positive reports that are there.

In this report card I notice it was made up by both the public and the private sector and when I see comments that Nova Scotia receives the lowest level of business subsidies, I somehow find that hard to believe. I am wondering whether or not it includes a subsidy to Sysco that is put there every year.

[10:15 a.m.]

There were other comments in here and I had only a few minutes to look at it, but I want to make a few comments. Staples was mentioned here and it was mentioned here as being a good luck announcement. I would like to see if we could have some information so that we could judge that. Our caucus has been trying to find that information for some time and the minister has been hesitant in making some comments.

[Page 6078]

In here we are talking about our skilled workers leaving the province and I think that is true. We have a high level of secondary education here in Nova Scotia which we are all very proud of, and I think if we are prudent then we will succeed in using that educational system to keep Nova Scotians here in our province, rather than leaving.

One thing that it doesn't mention in this report and I think it is something that we should do is that there are many people who are not high-tech workers who basically don't have that ability or that have medium skills. I think our education system in this province has failed those people and I look at situations of high-skills trades that many of these people, if they had the opportunity to receive those skills, would be able to build their lives as they did in the past. As of right now, I believe that the community colleges of our province have not addressed that.

It is a challenge for the minister to basically take back to his Cabinet colleagues and to see whether or not the Department of Education can work with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism to bring about the type of system that all Nova Scotians will be addressed in their educational needs. It isn't only the high-techs that we need to address, it is the wide spectrum of all of education and to make sure that all Nova Scotians have an opportunity to build upon.

As I look here, there was other mention about the local film production and they have done some wonderful things here in Nova Scotia and the initiatives that were brought about by government, I think, had quite a bit to do with it. But there are warning signs in that also that the industry is telling government that they are going to have to modify the tax credits in there because if they don't, we will be losing (Interruptions) stay tuned.

The minister has obviously indicated that is probably going to be in the budget and I hope that it is. That is what we want to hear because that is what the industry is saying and if the minister is listening to that, then we will give him credit. The warning signs are out there. Don't stand on your accolades, listen to what the business is telling you and if the Department of Economic Development and Tourism will do that, then they will do their job. As of right now, we see more questions than we see answers.

I thank the minister for making the announcement in the House today. We will be following this up as the House goes on. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, many members of this House know how relentless I have been along with my department in protecting our fishing industry. I have continually repeated that illegal fishing and buying activities in Nova Scotia will not be tolerated.

[Page 6079]

Today, as part of a continuing campaign to stop illegal fishing in Nova Scotia, I am announcing that licensed lobster buyers will now to be required to keep specific information on the lobsters they purchase or hold. The requirement will take effect on June 1, 1999, and will affect the provinces 314 lobster buyers.

Being able to more accurately track the buying and selling of lobsters is going to help enforcement. With this change, my department is taking a big step in conserving and protecting our most valuable catch. A mail-out of letters explaining the change is going out today. Along with the letter a questionnaire giving the buyers a chance to provide feedback and some basic information will be included.

On Tuesday, June 1st, my staff will begin hand delivering the condition document to lobster buyers. Licence conditions will become part of their current licence and no fee is attached to it. This initiative is expected to take six weeks to complete. This change is a result of our joint provincial-federal task force. I am happy with this step and I know that we are going to take more steps and efforts to curb this activity.

Let me review some of the department's actions on this file. And I add that these measures are part of our continuing efforts along with other protection agencies. More are scheduled in the coming weeks. Last fall I announced 104 federal fishery officers had been appointed as provincial inspectors to bolster efforts to curb illegal fishing. They are authorized to enforce the province's fish buyers regulations. They will charge violators who disregard the strict rules set forth in our legislation. As well, last fall I sent a letter to all fish buyers stating that unscrupulous behaviour, as ascribed in our legislation, will not be tolerated.

For those who jeopardize our lucrative fisheries and encourage or engage in illegal buying of fish, there will be penalties. The lives of Nova Scotians in our many coastal communities and fishing villages are being threatened, they are being put at risk. My department is supporting me fully in this effort. It is not fair that those breaking the rules are hurting the ones that follow them.

This is an issue that goes beyond Party lines. I challenge the Opposition to support the department's efforts by coming forward with information from our communities on illegal buying. It will take an all-Party effort to eliminate this problem. This illegal activity doesn't just hurt the fishermen, it is money that those fishermen who follow the rules won't be spending at their local hardware store and in their local community. It starts a chain reaction of economic events that will cripple our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I say, we simply will not tolerate offenders. I repeat, these illegal actions will be stopped. We will make this happen. The livelihood of the people in the province's many coastal communities and fishing villages must be protected. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 6080]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister for such a fine ministerial statement. But I would also like to remind the minister that back in March 1999, I and my Party, tried to address the issue of illegal lobster fishing in the form of a bill. That minister over there talked it out. It makes me wonder, did he draft this from the literature that we had in our bill? Who knows. But, again, I want to go on record as emphasizing that back in March we tried to have this issue addressed.

What the minister is missing here with his statement is that he has to involve all of the stakeholders: industry, fishers, the coastal communities. It is their livelihood that is at stake. Until he meets and consults with all of the stakeholders and comes back to this House with a plan to share with this House then illegal lobster activity will continue to grow and continue to hurt and decimate our coastal communities. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister first of all for making the announcement in the House, I think it is very appropriate. I will just start off making mention of the previous speaker, the Fisheries Critic for the New Democratic Party, who said that until there was a full debate this shouldn't go forward. Actually the piece of legislation that he had in March basically called for discussions to be made and tabled into the House. I said at that time that I felt that that wasn't the way to go because I would much rather have a situation whereby there are initiatives taken immediately and if you want to have consultation taken after as to what the feedback is, then that is the way to go.

With regard to this one specific announcement that is here, it is a little light on detail but I like the thrust of it. I would like to say first of all that lobster buyers, which is where the Minister of Fisheries for the Province of Nova Scotia controls the agenda, let us all be clear on that. I think many people mix up the federal and provincial situation. The Province of Nova Scotia controls the buying and the federal government controls the fishing aspect of it so there are two different roles.

The minister is saying here in this statement that the province will force buyers, I assume, because the details aren't there, to keep detailed records of where they are getting those lobsters and I agree with that. Our caucus has been on record as saying that is where you have to go. During the summer people are bringing in lobsters and taking them to buyers, that is where the lobsters are going. You are not moving thousands of lobsters every day through illegal channels. You are moving through some sort of legitimate buyer whose taking part in this illegal activity. So I agree that this is the way to go.

[Page 6081]

I would have much rather had this consultation taking place before May 21, 1999. We are 10 days away from the end of the fishery in my area of southwestern Nova Scotia, which is the biggest fishing area in all of Canada for lobsters. I think the minister, as much as I like his announcement, could have done this a month ago. He could have done this two months ago and the situation is that you would have had the information so on May 31st these regulations would have been put in place. The six weeks that were there, I find regrettable.

I want to look at the situation that we have in here. I mentioned that there are 104 DFO personnel who have been appointed by the province. Where are the provincial enforcement officers? We have a $1.5 billion industry in Nova Scotia in the fishery and we have a budget that has $5.5 million. You have to ask yourself, where is the beef? I know that the minister is only one of all the members of Cabinet and you have to lobby for money, but I am sitting here today saying to your colleagues, saying to the Minister of Finance, saying to the Premier, give this minister the personnel that when he tries to enforce these regulations and when buyers are doing things that are illegal, that you have the teeth and you have the resources to stop them because the communities that we are involved in want it stopped.

There is the question here also, Mr. Speaker, he makes mention that the Opposition Parties are to give the information. The information is out there. People call all the time and if you think they don't, talk to the DFO officers. They have this information, it has not been acted on. Now, that is the big question, that many people in our communities are saying you call and nothing happens, so what am I calling for.

Don't look to the Opposition Parties to be giving you the information. It is already there. If you want that, you can act on it now, but I still say starting on May 31st, this could have started two or three weeks ago, but this specific initiative was one that we said a long time ago that you had the power to control. The fishing side of it, the Native fishing side of it and all those other aspects, those are controlled by DFO. You are the spokesman for Nova Scotia, and if DFO is not doing it, then you have the responsibility, you have to take the leadership to basically make sure that that happens.

Today this is a good announcement, but the second side of it, you, as a spokesperson for the lobster fishermen in this province, have to take seriously, so you should be going to your counterparts in Ottawa and making sure that lobster fishermen are addressed. I would like to thank the minister for the announcement today. This is a good first step, but there is a lot more to do. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is a sad day today. I want to inform the members of the House that last night the father of the Honourable Ray White, Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, passed away. The funeral will be on Sunday, May 23rd, at Stella Maris Church in Pictou. There will be a wake at McLaren's Funeral Home on Faukland

[Page 6082]

Street this evening. They are requesting donations to be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Cancer Society. I wanted to inform members of the House with this information, as we just received it late last night.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the wish of the members that I look after this?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: It is agreed.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

MR. HYLAND FRASER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure, through you, to introduce to the House today some guests in the east gallery from the Kingdom of Bhutan. They are principals of eight different schools. There are more schools than that in the kingdom, but they are principals of eight different schools. They are here in Nova Scotia for about two and one-half months to receive an international certificate in school administration and management from St. Francis Xavier University.

I want to introduce them, but if they do not recognize what I am saying, really I am having a problem with some of their names. I will introduce each of them: Mr. Gyeltshen, Mr. Sangay, Mr. Wangdi, Mr. Jigme, Mr. Gyeltshen, Mrs. Chhoden, Mr. Dhendup, and Mr. Rinzin. The coordinator of the program is a friend of mine from Antigonish, Ms. Brenda Berthiaume. I would like through you, Mr. Speaker, to ask the House to welcome them to the House. They have had a tour of the House. (Applause)

I might say, Mr. Speaker, that they have left Antigonish. They are touring some of the schools in the province. They told me just a little while ago, when I met them out in the lobby, that they were extremely impressed with the schools that they have seen compared to what they have to teach in in their kingdom; in fact, probably the worst school they have seen they would be pleased to teach in. So I think with some of the things that have been done in this province they are very impressed within the education system that we have here. (Applause)

[10:30 a.m.]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 6083]

RESOLUTION NO. 2905

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

Whereas May is Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas its purpose is to help Nova Scotians understand that the Scottish culture so familiar to us is based in the forms of the Gaelic language; and

Whereas there are Gaelic stories and songs in Nova Scotia that can no longer be found anywhere else in the world;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, and all involved in Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month, for revitalizing this rich component of our cultural history.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2906

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

Whereas across Canada household debt, which includes consumer borrowing and mortgage debt, has soared from 73 per cent of disposable income in 1990 to 103 per cent in 1998; and

Whereas the International Monetary Fund has pointed to the fact that high taxes have eroded Canadians' incentives to work and save; and

[Page 6084]

Whereas the ill-conceived idea of the harmonized sales tax placed an even greater burden upon low income Nova Scotian families who are forking over $10 to $15 in taxes for such basic necessities as school supplies;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government review the immense tax burden being imposed on low income families across Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2907

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

Whereas Ali Sampson of Port Caledonia, Cape Breton County, will receive her International Baccalaureate Diploma in June 1999 with the first group of students to do so in Cape Breton; and

Whereas Ali Sampson was a member of the 1999 Nova Scotia Provincial Debating Team, taking first place and the national seminar qualifier for the Vancouver, British Columbia tournament; and

Whereas this individual, also recognized as the top speaker at Sydney Academy's Model Parliament, was nominated and accepted for an international leadership seminar conference in Washington, DC;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Assembly congratulate Ali Sampson on these remarkable achievements.

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

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 6085]

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2908

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

Whereas a partnership has been formed among many of those interested in promoting children's literature; and

Whereas the Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award offers the opportunity for books to be read and children's opinions to be heard; and

Whereas these prestigious awards will be celebrated in the year 2000;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate the provincial library, the writers' federation, the home and school association, the Atlantic Canada book publishers and special associations of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union in the creation of this exceptional Hackmatack program that promotes an excellent source of Atlantic Canada children's literature.

I request waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2909

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

Whereas as many as 10,000 retired federal public servants are being denied prescription drug coverage under the federal pension plan; and

[Page 6086]

Whereas this Liberal Government made Nova Scotia's retired public servants unsuspecting victims of a federal-provincial squabble when it changed the Seniors Pharmacare Program in 1995; and

Whereas this Liberal Government has a responsibility to ensure Nova Scotia seniors are treated fairly by Ottawa;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government immediately stop playing lapdog to its federal Liberal cousins and that it demand Ottawa provide the same benefits to retired public servants living in Nova Scotia as it does for retirees living elsewhere across the country.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2910

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

Whereas yesterday the Opposition Leader once again attempted to hijack a TV interview involving a minister of this government, namely the Minister of Economic Development, on the topic of Sydney Steel; and

Whereas the Opposition Leader met his come-uppance, as the minister confronted and challenged his lack of support for the Sysco business plan and for the Sydney steelworkers; and

Whereas after much struggle, the minister obtained from the Opposition Leader a confession that, yes, he would consent to support the steelworkers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Minister of Economic Development for having procured the Damascus Road-conversion of the Opposition Leader to supporting Sydney Steel and its workers, and hopes the conversion may last longer than five minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 6087]

RESOLUTION NO. 2911

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

Whereas Liberal MLAs and their Conservative auxiliary have been outraged, insulted and gravely concerned by the statement that this is the most unproductive minority government in Canadian history; and

Whereas on Tuesday and Thursday, the government chose to adjourn early rather than take the full four hours available to proceed with government items already on the order paper; and

Whereas this confirms that no Throne Speech was presented because the government has no plans and virtually no business to conduct;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to assign conduct of Government Business to the Opposition Parties, so that the dozens of positive bills on the order paper can fill this Liberal vacuum.

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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2912

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

Whereas the lobster industry in southwestern Nova Scotia simply cannot tolerate another summer of illegal harvesting; and

Whereas the federal and provincial Liberal Governments have applied nothing more than token measures thinly veiled as attempts to address this serious problem; and

[Page 6088]

Whereas the fishermen of southwestern Nova Scotia deserve responsible, clear and effective measures that will prevent further threat to this vital industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture show the fishermen and their families the respect they deserve and take decisive action that will address this issue once and for all.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 2913

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

Whereas last week Halifax hosted Rendez-vous Canada 99, the country's premier tourism industry show; and

Whereas long-term estimates indicate Nova Scotia could reap as much as $25 million worth of tourism business as a direct result of the event; and

Whereas tourism already pumped $1 billion into our economy in 1997 and 1998 and another $1 billion is forecast for 1999;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House offer congratulations to the many businesses, services and volunteers who make our tourism industry so vibrant, and also wish them luck as they get ready for another record-breaking season.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 6089]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2914

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

Whereas in April the Minister of Community Services refused to address concerns about abuse of children in the department's care because she claimed she did not have key documents or information; and

Whereas in May when presented with key documents, the minister still refuses to address these concerns; and

Whereas the government has meanwhile reverted to the unacceptable practice of blaming children and youth for abuse they suffered at the hands of departmental employees;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to face the facts and accept responsibility for abuse that should have been prevented long before the abuser was given a false, clean employment reference.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2915

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

Whereas ambulance service across Nova Scotia has been in a steady decline since the government monopolized control of the service with a single Nova Scotia company two years ago; and

Whereas this monopoly has resulted in a continuing reduction of service with the number of ambulances serving Nova Scotia dropping significantly; and

[Page 6090]

Whereas metropolitan Halifax, Pictou County and Windsor-West Hants are among the areas facing a reduction in ambulance services;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately commit to ensure that the Liberal Government will not allow any further deterioration of emergency ambulance service in any area of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2916

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

Whereas the work of Edna Budden and Beverly Brown representing the concerns of the Cape Breton coal mining community at Ottawa in a single week stands in contrast to the lack of similar effort by the elected NDP Members of Parliament for that area; and

Whereas if Peter Dockrill and Michelle Mancini had made the same kind of effort during the two years that they were sent to Ottawa by the voters, things could be very different from their present sorry state; and

Whereas if the elected Members of Parliament had the commitment, they could be knocking on every single door in Ottawa every week, but instead prefer to jet to Peru or spend days at a time in the library;

Therefore be it resolved that the example set by Edna Budden and Beverly Brown should be emulated by the elected Members of Parliament, for it is they who are elected and paid to voice the people's needs.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 6091]

RESOLUTION NO. 2917

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

Whereas the Orenda Canoe Club of Lake Echo is well known for their wonderful attitude towards children; and

Whereas every year the Orenda Canoe Club engages in water safety orientation for pre-schoolers; and

Whereas this club continues to promote safety through various mechanisms within the community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Orenda Canoe Club for their dedication and continued presence in the promotion of water safety within the community.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2918

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

Whereas residents of Bedford have clearly stated their profound opposition to the proposed correctional and forensic facility being located in their community; and

Whereas even in the face of such extreme community opposition, the Liberal Government has made it clear that they intend to move forward with this project; and

[Page 6092]

Whereas in spite of residents repeatedly requesting that the Premier attend a meeting with them to discuss their concerns, they have been refused;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government be condemned for their lack of regard for the residents of Bedford and begin a process that will effectively recognize the concerns of the community.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2919

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

Whereas NovaKnowledge, an organization which promotes growth in the information technology sector, released its second annual report card on Nova Scotia's standing in the wired world; and

Whereas students in Nova Scotia placed first in Canada in the use of electronic communications in schools and libraries; and

Whereas this report card has also indicated that knowledge-based jobs will dominate the future labour market in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Nova Scotia students and teachers for leading the country in recognizing the opportunities of information technology.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 6093]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2920

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

Whereas the honourable Gordon Earle, MP for Halifax West, was awarded the Judge J. Elliott Hudson Distinguished Alumnus Award at the annual alumni dinner of the University of King's College on May 18, 1999; and

Whereas this award is in recognition of Gordon Earle's significant contribution to his discipline and his community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Gordon Earle on this noteworthy distinction granted him by the Alumni Association of the University of King's College.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[10:45 a.m.]

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2921

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

[Page 6094]

Whereas Halifax native, Mark Smith, and Scotch Village, Hants County resident, Max Pye, will be inducted into the Canadian Softball Hall of Fame during Softball Canada's national annual meeting in Halifax; and

Whereas Smith is renowned across the globe for his outstanding softball talent and pitching prowess, while Pye has served as the umpire and chief for Softball Canada while remaining active in a sport which he began umpiring nearly 25 years ago; and

Whereas Smith and Pye, along with Brookfield's Mike Henderson, will become three of a total of five Nova Scotians to have ever been inducted into the Canadian Softball Hall of Fame;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature, through this notice of motion, extend our best wishes to Mark Smith and Max Pye for their ongoing dedication to a sport which has provided numerous years of excitement for Nova Scotia softball fans.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2922

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

Whereas in response to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism's statement earlier this morning, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour accused the minister of forcing Nova Scotia youth to leave the province; and

Whereas a CBC news report on the 1998 election revealed that the NDP election workers were imported from as far away as British Columbia; and

[Page 6095]

Whereas in that CBC report, the candidate for Timberlea-Prospect stated strongly his opposition to his Party's practice of using imported campaign workers and was in favour of relying on Nova Scotians to do the work;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour to join with his colleague, the member for Timberlea-Prospect, and that they use every opportunity to persuade their caucus colleagues to support the employment of all Nova Scotians. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2923

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

Whereas VIA Rail's recent announcement of a once weekly tourist train between Halifax and Sydney, starting next year, is being welcomed by locals who have been lobbying for the restoration of a regular passenger service since it was cut a decade ago; and

Whereas few will forget the two rail worker representatives who chained themselves to the last passenger train scheduled to serve Cape Breton; and

Whereas the new train service represents an important, but first, step in the right direction;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Charlie Palmer, Dave King, the Silver Dart Railway Society and all of those who have worked so hard to regain passenger service for Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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.

[Page 6096]

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2924

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

Whereas residents of Frederick Street have asked time and time again for a formal meeting with the Minister of the Environment; and

Whereas time and time again, the minister has refused to organize a formal meeting with the area residents and, instead, has made it a practice to ambush residents one by one; and

Whereas this is simply unacceptable;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment start treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves by immediately organizing a public meeting with all concerned.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 2925

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

Whereas Mayfest is the major annual fund-raising event held in support of St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish; and

Whereas this year's Mayfest has been described as the best yet, with figures expected to top the $30,000 raised last year for this worthy cause; and

[Page 6097]

Whereas over 200 volunteers from around the area pitch in to contribute to the success of this annual event;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the many organizers and volunteers who continue to make Mayfest a success, as well as extend special thanks to the impressive support given St. Martha's by members of the community.

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 2926

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

Whereas the lobster fishery in Yarmouth is coming to a close; and

Whereas the lobster industry is vital to the Yarmouth economy; and

Whereas illegal lobster fishing during the summer months is out of control;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries pool his resources and end such a destructive, non-sustainable illegal industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 6098]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2927

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College held its Spring Convocation on May 7, 1999; and

Whereas during the ceremony, Professor Carl Madigan of the Department of Math, Physics and Humanities, received the 1999 NSAC Faculty Award for Achievement in Teaching; and

Whereas Professor Madigan earned this award by portraying excellent teaching skills and by constantly modifying his courses to reflect changes in technology;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Professor Madigan and thank him for his exemplary concern, patience, persistence and dedication to students throughout his teaching career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2928

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

[Page 6099]

Whereas the senior band and jazz band of Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High School recently participated in the Classic Music Fest held in Toronto where they perpetuated the reputation of their fine music program; and

Whereas the jazz band merited the Award of Excellence while the senior band was given the Superior Award, the highest accolade possible at this prestigious event; and

Whereas the previous year both bands were given the Superior Award for their performances at the same event held in Quebec City;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of both bands, their teachers and all those involved with the Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High School's music program.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2929

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

Whereas a number of young Nova Scotians will be travelling to Japan this August to participate in the World Children's Baseball Fair; and

Whereas this trip will allow participants to develop their baseball skills and meet other young people from 27 countries; and

Whereas Candice Slaunwhite of Terence Bay will be representing the Prospect Minor Baseball Association and Nova Scotia;

[Page 6100]

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations and best wishes for a great trip to Candice Slaunwhite and her fellow Nova Scotian ball players.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2930

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

Whereas the Windsor Public Library may be forced to close; and

Whereas the Hants West Economic Development Association has a goal to encourage 1,000 new families to become residents of the area by the year 2001; and

Whereas the Windsor Public Library is an essential ingredient to the vibrancy of the local community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature encourage the residents of Hants West to support the efforts of the Hants West Economic Development Association to maintain and to improve the Windsor Public Library.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 6101]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2931

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

Whereas Mi'kmaq, African Nova Scotians and immigrant Nova Scotians have lived with the demeaning and destructive reality of racism for centuries; and

Whereas members of this Chamber were recently reminded by the Metro Coalition for a Non-Racist Society that it is within our power to reverse institutional racism; and

Whereas a long line of recommendations and concrete strategies for the elimination of racism dating from the Marshall Inquiry onward have yet to be adopted by this government;

Therefore be it resolved that we thank the Metro Coalition for a Non-Racist Society for pressing government and Opposition members to legislate in the interests of Nova Scotians of all colours and ethnicities.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2932

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

Whereas this Liberal Government does not have the courage and refuses to meet with the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders Association before they table their budget; and

[Page 6102]

Whereas a continued erosion in both provincial highway funding and federal funding has resulted in at least 60 employees from Argyle, Shelburne, Clare and Yarmouth to be laid off and not called back to work; and

Whereas the president of one construction company, in a letter to his foreman, said "The number of jobs to be lost in the road building industry at the assumed level of funding for this fiscal year could be more than double the 1,100 jobs lost at Devco.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works and this Liberal Government advise Nova Scotians as to whether they are prepared to burn, cut and slash provincial highway funding for another year and continue to make Nova Scotia's roads the worst in North America.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2933

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

Whereas the Trans Canada Trail will be the longest of its kind in the world and will touch each province in Canada; and

Whereas Premier Russell MacLellan has declared that work in our province on the Trans Canada Trail will be a millennium project for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Ceilidh Coastal Trails Association is taking a lead road in developing the trail in Inverness County;

Therefore be it resolved that this summer the members of this Assembly be invited to enjoy the Ceilidh Coastal Trail and recognize the dedication of the various volunteer associations across the province who are working to make the Trans Canada Trail a reality.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 6103]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2934

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

Whereas the position of the Progressive Conservative Party is to condemn the Sysco business plan before they have seen it; and

Whereas the position of the Liberal Government is that the business plan should be endorsed before anyone sees it; and

Whereas business management programs at post-secondary institutions across this province teach students to conduct proper research and analysis before rejecting or endorsing a business plan;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Progressive Conservative and Liberal caucuses enroll immediately in a business management course to teach them this basic business principle.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2935

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

Whereas the Truro area branch of the Canadian Institute for the Blind held its 7th Annual Visions Luncheon on May 12, 1999; and

Whereas the luncheon, attended by nearly 200 people, is the branch's major fund-raiser; and

Whereas the luncheon is organized and supported by local volunteers and businesses;

[Page 6104]

Therefore be it resolved that this Assembly congratulate the luncheon's Chairman, Pam Osborne, and her dedicated group of volunteers for putting on the most successful luncheon ever and thank the local businesses and individuals who so generously supported this worthwhile event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[11:00 a.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2936

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

Whereas there are major sections of Highway No. 289 in Pictou County that are undergoing complete roadbed failure; and

Whereas the provincial government designated Highway No. 289 as a 100-Series Highway and allowed heavily loaded trucks to use the road during the spring weight restrictions; and

Whereas the citizens who live on and commute via Highway No. 289 are becoming desperate and are beginning to talk about taking the matter into their own hands and of blocking off this road to truck traffic;

Therefore be it resolved that this House declare that Highway No. 289 is a roadway disaster and directs funds to be applied to the repair of this road before anyone is injured or killed because of an unsafe section.

[Page 6105]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2937

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's paramedics are being called upon each day to respond to life and death situations; and

Whereas these highly trained, overworked and underpaid professionals deserve recognition for their efforts; and

Whereas presently it costs these individuals thousands of dollars to train and prepare themselves for their professional careers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature offer support to the emergency medical technicians of Nova Scotia and encourage the government to immediately respond to concerns related to hours of work and low wages.

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 Inverness.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the House, I would like to introduce two ex-educators from Inverness County who are now retired, I believe. Leonard Kuniski who was superintendent of our school system for a number of years, and is now a resident of Halifax; and the second one is Burton MacIntyre, resident of Whycocomagh. They are both very active - or were very active - in their communities. Burton, particularly, was honoured in Whycocomagh lately for his contribution to that community. I would like the House to extend their usual approbation. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 6106]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2938

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

Whereas science and technology has become a dominant force in our society; and

Whereas knowledge in this field can lead to high-paying and satisfying careers; and

Whereas 30 students from schools in Hants East won top honours at the Chignecto-Central Western Regional Science Fair earlier this spring;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate these students for their achievements.

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 Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 2939

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

Whereas a team of seven cardiac health care providers, headed by Dr. John Sullivan, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, travelled to Beijing, China on May 2, 1999; and

Whereas for a two week period the team donated their time to perform cardiac surgery both in Beijing and in a remote area of the province, as well as to teach cardiac surgical techniques to local surgeons; and

[Page 6107]

Whereas the trip was organized by the surgical team, who took all the necessary supplies to China with them, having had the materials donated by various manufacturers and suppliers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the voluntary project organized by Dr. John Sullivan and his accomplished team from the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, and congratulate them for an outstanding humanitarian act.

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 Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 2940

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

Whereas the first-ever Canadian Race Relations Foundation Awards of Excellence were announced this spring; and

Whereas the Media Awareness Network, one of Canada's largest education websites, received the highest award, the Award of Excellence, for its extensive on-line program of anti-racism for media educators; and

Whereas the Media Awareness Network received a cash prize of $10,000 and a trophy designed by renowned sculptress Yoshiko Sunahara;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Media Awareness Network for its superb efforts against racism and convey its appreciation on-line to the network's website http://www.media-awareness.ca.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

[Page 6108]

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.

I was wondering if I could just ask the honourable member of the intent of the "Therefore be it resolved . . ." is that the House is going to respond?

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I didn't make it clear. My intention was that the House simply put it on-line at their website for them to know that we did because it is a national organization.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, no problem.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2941

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

Whereas some seek fame sitting atop flagpoles; and

Whereas others seek fame sitting proximate to persons of renown; and

Whereas such sitters usually face stiff competition from those who would displace them;

Therefore be it resolved that the House recognizes no one could possibly supersede the Leader of the Opposition when it comes to sitting on the Sysco fence.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 6109]

RESOLUTION NO. 2942

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

Whereas Charles Caccia, MP, Chair of the Commons Environment Committee, has written the Cape Breton Post to state that "the combined effects of deficit and tax reductions do not permit action in the foreseeable future" to rehabilitate the Sydney tar ponds sites; and

Whereas federal Liberal Cabinet Ministers and Senators have been paraded through Sydney to assure citizens of federal participation in a future clean-up;

Therefore be it resolved that this House convey to Charles Caccia and the Liberal majority on the Commons Environment Committee, Nova Scotians' determination to have the federal government honour its promise to participate in cleaning up Canada's worst industrial site.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 2943

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

Whereas the recent federal decision not to fund the Yarmouth multi-purpose sportsplex has dealt another blow to the Yarmouth economy; and

Whereas it has been clearly identified the paramount need for such a facility; and

Whereas the good people of Yarmouth have wasted and have been patient for over 30 years hearing successive Tory and Liberal Governments promise such a facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier make the Yarmouth multi-purpose sportsplex a Cabinet priority.

I request waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 6110]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2944

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

Whereas the Canada-wide Science Fair being held in Edmonton this year is an important showcase for science students from across Canada; and

Whereas it is important that recognition be given to students from Nova Scotia who excel; and

Whereas Jennifer McRuer of Hants North Rural High and Brad MacPhee of Hants East Rural High qualified to attend this fair by achieving top honours;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate these two students for their achievement.

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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2945

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

[Page 6111]

Whereas the recently tabled report of the Department of Business and Consumer Services on Vital Statistics indicates that the highest rates of live births for this province took place between 1941 and 1966; and

Whereas the first of these Nova Scotians born in 1941 will celebrate their 60th birthday in the year 2001; and

Whereas the lack of housing for aging Nova Scotians is forcing seniors out of their communities to find suitable housing;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs recognize the real Y2K problem and present to this House the department's plan to address this critical shortage.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 2946

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

Whereas St. Matthew's United Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, having been established in 1749, is currently celebrating its 250th Anniversary; and

Whereas the church is the oldest United Church in Canada; and

Whereas St. Matthews has just published a book entitled, A Sentinel on the Street: St. Matthew's United Church, Halifax, 1749-1999;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of St. Matthew's Church on their 250th Anniversary and recognize the important role played by the church in the history and evolution of this city and province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 6112]

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. 2947

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 New Democratic Party has constantly urged the Minister of Transportation to expand his department's criteria when establishing clearly defined priorities for road work throughout this province; and

Whereas the minister, in reply to an NDP opinion piece in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on road criteria, wrote that such factors as the importance of the road to economic growth, accident rates, the length of time since work last took place on the road, are now also considered; and

Whereas previously this same minister only spoke of traffic volume, riding comfort and pavement condition as factors;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank the minister for listening to the NDP suggestions for expanded criteria when establishing road-work priorities across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 6113]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: 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. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 98 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 98 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday I tabled legislation that contained changes that will make our highways safer for all who use them. There are three major points in these amendments. (Interruptions) I am getting no help from the Speaker.

First, we will create a wrecked vehicle information registry that will begin collecting information on wrecked vehicles and help ensure that badly damaged automobiles are never allowed back on the road again. In the future, the system will also allow consumers to check the major accident history of a vehicle they may be planning to buy.

Secondly, we will protect from potential legal action psychologists who report in the interests of public safety patients to the Registry of Motor Vehicles who should not be driving because of mental or emotional difficulties.

Third, Business and Consumer Services has for the last five months been getting ready to implement Bill No. 83. We will all recall that Bill No. 83 was passed in December and put into law more serious penalties for those who drink and drive. We are putting forward additional changes that will permit the effective implementation of alcohol-related convictions.

The wrecked vehicle information registry will come into play when a vehicle is in a major accident and is written off by its insurer. When an insurance company opens an accident claim for such a vehicle, it will advise the Registry of Motor Vehicles if the vehicle is deemed as either salvage or non-repairable, depending on the severity of the damage. The status is then marked accordingly on the vehicle's registration file at the registry. A vehicle marked non-repairable can never be driven again. A car marked salvage will only be allowed back on the road once it has been repaired and meets established safety requirements. Then and only then will its status change from salvage to rebuilt. All these status indicators - non-repairable, salvage and rebuilt - will be clearly marked on the vehicle's registration certificate and will remain there for the life of the vehicle.

[Page 6114]

It should be noted that this system is not designed to record vehicles that are involved in minor accidents or fender-benders. Instead, it is designed to help control those vehicles that are so badly damaged they pose a potential threat to the safety of their owners and to the rest of us who share the road.

Another feature of this amendment addresses a problem faced by consumers when they are considering buying a used car. Today, when it comes to the vehicle's accident history, it is caveat emptor - buyer beware. A seller has no legal obligation to tell a potential buyer if the vehicle has been written off and repaired. When this new system is developed, one look at the registration certificate and a copy of the vehicle's history record, will give consumers the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.

This program will have a significant impact on safety to consumers and enforcement agencies by eliminating the possibility of vehicle identification numbers switching, by permanently branding non-repairable and non-salvageable vehicles on both the vehicle permit and with the Registry of Motor Vehicle.

[11:15 a.m.]

The second part of this amendment extends to psychologists the same protection afforded medical doctors and optometrists who feel, in the interest of public safety, that a patient should not be permitted to drive. Upon receipt of a report, a patient's drivers license will be suspended and remain suspended pending a medical review. This amendment will protect a psychologist, along with optometrists and physicians who take this rather extraordinary step, from any legal action by their patients. It should be noted that psychologists currently have the ability to report patients to the RMV. We are simply proposing that they be extended the same legal protection as other professionals.

The third major component of this legislation targets drunk drivers. Bill No. 83, which passed last December, made our drinking and driving laws tougher. This legislation goes one step further and imposes a minimum, 10 year driver's license suspension, on those who are convicted of a third alcohol-related driving offence. Impaired driving is a serious problem not just in Nova Scotia but throughout our nation. The message is clear, we will not tolerate it on Nova Scotia roads. We are intent on effecting change.

We are confident that these measures will have an immediate and lasting impact on highway safety. As our roads have become busier and the number of vehicles on them increase daily, it is vital that government enact every means at its disposal to help Nova Scotians and visitors to our province arrive at their destinations safely and soundly. Mr. Speaker, I would move second reading of Bill No. 98.

[Page 6115]

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I rise to debate Bill No. 98, amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act. This is the second time this session that we have had amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act debated. I think the Minister of Justice noted that Bill No. 83 dealt with some of the issues around the drunk driving offences and the province's ability to increase penalties against those who are convicted of drunk driving or refusing the breathalyser.

What we saw in the fall was legislation that was to toughen the provincial response to someone who is convicted of a Criminal Code offence for drinking and driving or refusing the breathalyser. What we see in this bill is more omnibus, not just dealing with some changes that were necessary because of Bill No. 83, but some other changes as well. I would like to take the opportunity to go through some of those changes before putting forward our position with regard to this particular piece of legislation.

The Minister of Justice noted Clause 4 of the legislation which deals with the wrecked vehicle registry. Our caucus is fully in support of this particular clause because it brings Nova Scotia up to national standards, standards that have been set with regard to a registry that will identify those vehicles that are irreparable because of an accident or whatever and therefore should not be put back on the road. It does provide some consumer protection to those going out there and buying used vehicles to ensure that they are not going to be buying vehicles that are so severely damaged that they could not be fixed but yet someone is trying to pull a fast one. So we are fully in support of Clause 4 and what it stands for.

I want to go back to Clause 2 of the legislation that deals with the issue that came up under Bill No. 83 and I believe it is a clarification of the rules that were passed under Bill No. 83 in the fall of 1998. Let me first say that Bill No. 83 received a fairly quick passage from this House, one that was supported by our Party at the time but I think it is important to note that here we are, six months later, coming back and having to make some changes.

I think if the government was in a position to know there were problems or ancillary changes from Bill No. 83, that during the Law Amendments Committee process they could have ensured that those amendments came forward at that time. I find it unfortunate that a bill was passed in the fall that this government was aware of, or should have been aware of through those people in the Justice Department that deal with this sort of thing, that clearly they had to make more changes to the legislation than Bill No. 83 called for.

What we have seen in the past six months is a piece of legislation clearly in the Motor Vehicle Act that was not full, was not complete. (Interruptions) Well, the member opposite is saying, I could have done it. Well, I am not the government, and you have the bureaucratic power and the bureaucratic efficiency to identify the problems with a piece of legislation and

[Page 6116]

your government is the one that called it forward to debate and was so quick in trying to expedite it but did not take the time to realize that more changes were necessary.

I find it unfortunate that the Minister of Labour cannot think so far ahead as to realize that the bureaucrats and the lawyers in his department or in the Department of Justice, or whomever has responsibility for ensuring the legislation is passed, that it identifies the particular points that need to be fixed.

I want to get to the crux of Clause 2. Those whose memories are long enough - you may recall that the debate in the fall was around a third conviction for drinking and driving or refusal of the breathalyzer which is considered equivalent in the eyes of the law. What did we see? We had a debate about what happens after a third conviction.

It was our Party's suggestion at that time, and it is still our Party's position, that it should be three strikes and you're out. On a third conviction with regard to drinking and driving, the province has the power and the authority to say that you will never get your license returned.

I think it is particularly important that we look at this, because what we have here is we are saying that someone on a third conviction, after 10 years, can reapply for their license. Why? I have to ask why, after how many convictions, how many risks and how many injuries to people or potential risk of injury to people do we have to allow a driver who is chronically violating the law, how often are we going to allow that to happen before we say your right to a license has been revoked and you will never get it again.

What this law particularly says is that after 10 years, we will give you an opportunity to reapply. That is something our caucus thinks is a little too lenient in these particular circumstances. What we are saying is if you have three convictions for drinking and driving, you should not ever get your license back. To do differently, to allow someone to have that opportunity to get their license back, I suggest, is not in the best interests of the people of this province. If you have had three convictions for drinking and driving, I don't think you should get your license back, even after 10 years. I think that is the real problem with regard to this whole issue.

Our caucus, at the Law Amendments Committee, would like to bring forward some amendments that would maybe ensure that with regard to a third conviction, that it is permanently revoked and not giving someone 10 years to potentially have the right to come back and ask for a particular exemption from the rules and to look for an opportunity to get their license back. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

[Page 6117]

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Clause 5 is an interesting one as well. Clause 5 is what I am calling the second-chance breath test. Now if I can understand exactly what it means, and I should give notice to the Minister of Justice, part of what I am particularly looking for here may be some information to help with my understanding of what Clause 5 particularly means, but I call it the second-chance breath test.

My understanding of this is that it is only going to apply to lower threshold testing, for those who have beginners' licenses, as it is commonly called, or newly licensed drivers. Those particular drivers have a lower threshold that they must pass with regard to allowing them to have alcohol in their blood. I forget what it is now; .08 is the normal limit, I think it is .01, but I am not absolutely sure of that. It is a much lower threshold.

What we have is a situation where those people, if they are stopped and the police officer senses that they might have been drinking, he is allowed to give them what they call the approved screening device test. It is a little red box that they blow into to see whether they pass or fail or are borderline. If they fail it then they are taken to the police station and given the more detailed and more powerful test that will determine their specific blood level.

What we have in this particular case is if this Clause 5 passes, we have a situation where someone may pass the test. The test may show that they actually have passed. Now that might be because the particular screening device is only calibrated to deal with a .08 blood level, but then what we are doing is we are saying that if a police officer sees that the person has passed the test, they have the right to administer a second test to that person in order that that person then may pass or fail again, I presume.

In the minds of our caucus, this raises a couple of key questions we think need to be addressed. First of all, what is the rationale of Clause 5? What is this government thinking about when they are introducing Clause 5? I mean that with all sincerity because I see a few concrete problems with regard to what Clause 5 would mean. First of all, let me just say if we have screening devices that are meant for people who have to have a blood alcohol level of below .08, should we be using the same screening device for people who are beginner licensed drivers or newly licensed drivers because, clearly, the test that they must meet is different, and then why are we not using a different screening device for them to ensure that we are going to be able to match, and ensure that we are going to be able to properly test whether they are in violation of the legislation.

To use the same device is a problem because what it will mean, Mr. Speaker, is that there will not be adequate, clear guidelines and technical data to ensure that those people who are new drivers, or beginner drivers, are actually passing or not violating the law. So our first question is why are we using the same devices if that is the case?

[Page 6118]

Secondly, what happens if we get a pass on the first test and then on the second test they fail? Well, what does that mean? I can assure you, if they went to court I would suggest that there would be a big debate within the court with a judge as to whether or not there was reasonable and probable cause to take the person to the police station and administer the more detailed breathalyser test. The screening device is not a very accurate instrument, but when you have a pass and a fail, clearly is there reasonable, probable cause to bring them into the police station? That is a question I think is going to be raised in court some day if Clause 5, particularly, passes.

What we would like to see is a legal opinion, or an analysis that was done by the Department of Justice, that would explain why they feel (a) that this law will stand up in court, and (b) what the rationale of this particular law is, because I do believe reasonable and probable cause is going to be in dispute if the police officers are allowed to have two kicks at the can with regard to new drivers or beginning drivers.

The second question I have, I guess - and again, hopefully, maybe some staff from the Department of Justice can answer this - does the Criminal Code allow for a second test with regard to the actual driver who has been stopped? Now, I agree this particular clause is only applying to those drivers who meet a much lower threshold; maybe the Criminal Code does not have to apply. I would only suggest to the Minister of Justice that there are some key questions here that need to be answered and I hope that his staff can sit down with us, help us answer them and then we can, hopefully, support Clause 5 but, as it stands now, there are a lot of questions about the rationale that is being used in Clause 5 and whether it is (a) legitimate, and (b) whether it will stand up in court.

Given that, I would hope that, between now and the Law Amendments Committee process, the Department of Justice will take the opportunity to provide us maybe with a little more information as to how they see this particular section working in the Motor Vehicle Act. As I say, if a legal opinion has been developed around this, or some form of a memo or an analysis, our caucus would appreciate an opportunity to at least be briefed on it so we would have an opportunity to get a better sense as to where the government is coming from on Clause 5.

Clause 7 of the bill deals with insurance and whether a person has insurance for driving a vehicle. I think we have all been in the situation, Mr. Speaker, where we are driving on the road and there is a spot check, or a stopping of vehicles - or maybe it is only when we are stopped for speeding, or what have you - and the officer will come to us and ask to see your insurance, and 90 per cent of the time, 95 per cent of the time I would say most people keep it in the glove department of their car and they have their insurance with them and there is no problem, but there are those rare, or semi-rare circumstances where maybe a person is driving the second vehicle or is borrowing a friend's vehicle and, in those circumstances - or it could be a rental car - maybe they do not know where the insurance is. In those circumstances, normally what has happened in the past is a ticket will be issued but, if the person can show

[Page 6119]

up in court, or at the police station and show their actual insurance policy, then the ticket is ripped up or the charges are dropped.

[11:30 a.m.]

When I first read Clause 7, I had a few questions and I am hoping again that the Department of Justice may help us with this one. This is how I read Clause 7; that there is an assumption of a violation when the police officer stops a vehicle and no insurance policy can be produced. Unless and until proof of insurance is provided the charges will continue and presumably a guilty conviction will be issued in court. If someone shows up later and can show their insurance policy, whether it be at the police station or at the court, then the ticket is ripped up or the charges are dropped. Now that is my understanding of how things have happened in the past.

Having read the briefing given out by the Department of Justice, I note there was a case somewhere in Nova Scotia at the provincial court level where there were some constitutional issues and that this piece of legislation, this Clause 7 was brought in to try to ensure that the requirements under the Motor Vehicle Act meet the constitutional requirements, as set down by the provincial court judge. But I have a worry here and again, maybe the Department of Justice can help us clarify it.

My worry is that Clause 7 has a different meaning and that meaning is whether or not someone can prove in the future that their insurance policy was actually in place, by showing up in a police station or the court with the actual valid insurance policy. If a police officer stops someone and they have no proof at that time, then they are automatically guilty. If that is the reading of Clause 7, I do have concerns. It is my opinion and the opinion of our caucus that there are those circumstances where someone, for whatever reason, doesn't have the policy on them. I understand the rationale for having a policy and it is important that insurance policies be in place but whether or not the actual card is in the vehicle may be secondary to the fact that they actually have a policy that will cover them if they are in an accident.

I would hope this piece of legislation and in particular, Clause 7, is not an attempt to gouge fine money out of the people of Nova Scotia who may, inadvertently and without intent, not have a valid insurance policy on their person or in their vehicle when they are driving it. In those circumstances I would suggest the best means is the means that has gone forward in the past, if a ticket was issued and if proof can be proven later on that there was a valid policy the ticket is ripped up. Anything else that would say that unless you have those papers on you that day you are guilty and therefore a fine will be paid, is not appropriate, I suggest and therefore this clause should be amended.

[Page 6120]

Again, I am not sure exactly what Clause 7 is saying and I would hope that there would be some clarification from the Department of Justice to make it more clear so that we can feel comfortable with the provision. If we don't, then at the Law Amendments Committee, our caucus will be bringing forward amendments, hopefully, to make it more palatable as we would believe, not only to our caucus but we believe to the people of Nova Scotia. Again, if there is a legal opinion, an analysis, or a memo that was done by the Department of Justice that provided a rationale for this particular section, we would love to look at it or have the opportunity to be briefed by the Department of Justice staff as an opportunity to really see exactly where this government is coming from with Clause 7.

Clause 8 of the legislation deals with psychologists reporting unsafe drivers and ensuring that they are not persecuted or prosecuted for violation of the confidentiality clause. This is something that has been in other provinces and I guess the only question I would have is what consultation was performed with regard to Clause 8 of Bill No. 98, prior to being introduced. It is fine and well maybe if the psychologists were consulted but I think it is crucial that the Nova Scotia Mental Health Association or the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been consulted and do feel comfortable with this. Perhaps this is something the Minister of Justice can let us know either in the House, or on the side, whether that was actually done. I just want to ensure that consultation was performed and there has been buy-in from the key parties with regard to Clause 8.

Having said that, there are a couple of clauses that our caucus does have concerns with, Clause 5 and Clause 7 specifically, and on Clause 2, I think we will probably be bringing some amendments forward at the Law Amendments Committee process. On the whole, we understand the content and the rationale for Bill No. 98, our caucus will support it on second reading and we look forward to the Law Amendments Committee process for an opportunity to have some amendments and debate about where this bill should go. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this morning and speak on Bill 98, the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act. I had the opportunity to attend the minister's press conference relative to this bill and he indicated that the Progressive Conservative caucus was in support of this legislation and in fact, the Progressive Conservative caucus, especially our Leader, you might recall, brought in legislation and supported legislation relative to drinking and driving. We believe that by the province proposing a minimum 10 year license suspension for a third drinking and driving conviction, that the government and all legislators in this House, by supporting the legislation, are being very responsible. Obviously, as the previous speaker indicated, when you have three strikes against you, usually you are out.

[Page 6121]

I do have some concerns that possibly the Charter would preclude any provincial government from taking away the ability for anybody after a suspension or in this case a 10 year license suspension to reapply for their drivers' license. As much as perhaps some of us believe that a chronic offender should have their license forever denied, it probably is not plausible to do such a thing, for any government.

The minister indicated that road safety is the clear theme of this legislation. I don't intend to go off on a rant relative to the state of this province's highways, but it is sort of ironic, so to speak, that the proposed changes will set up a wrecked vehicle identification program. Now I can't tell you how many times I have had to - and some of my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus have had to - communicate with the manager of third party liability for the Department of Transportation because so many vehicles are hitting potholes and becoming wrecks.

This registry that the government is setting up, I hope it isn't a bureaucratic nightmare. It doesn't look like it is going to be. If we read the legislation correctly, if we understand that Business and Consumer Services is going to establish a registry for wrecked vehicles, ones that are apparently so badly damaged and in cases where they are written off the insurance company, I believe within five days, must report the accidents and the permits of the vehicles would be permanently red-flagged, I think is the term that the minister used, and we support that. We believe that is good legislation.

Again, the government is bringing this legislation in primarily to help the consumers, and we support that. We think consumers should have information when they make major purchases. When you go out and buy a motor vehicle, register it and buy your insurance and deal with all the licences and permits and go out and purchase the expensive gas that you have to buy here in Nova Scotia, it is an extremely major undertaking for Nova Scotians.

In that sense, we do support most of this legislation. We have some concerns. I have to be honest that a newspaper article in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on May 20th, yesterday, brought the message to my ear and to some of the caucus's ear that this provision in the legislation that permits a registered psychologist to report an unsafe driver, obviously as the previous speaker indicated too, we are not sure just how widely that particular profession was consulted. In fact, the President of the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, a Mr. Henderson indicated that he wasn't consulted at all, and he read about the legislation in the paper.

I do know that the minister, when he made his statement, and I believe the Business and Consumer Services Critic for the Official Opposition was also present, indicated clearly at that news conference that he had consulted with the stakeholders, and here we have almost the very next day, the President of the Canadian Mental Health Association saying that he was not consulted. So we wonder if, in fact, the minister was misleading us a little bit, Mr. Speaker. We believe he was. I am not sure, again, under the Charter of Rights whether or not

[Page 6122]

the minister, in fact, is taking a step here that subsequently could be challenged down the road. No doubt there will be some concerns raised about that.

Mr. Speaker, there also is another provision in this legislation that I have personally great difficulty with and I believe some other colleagues have some concern too. That pertains to Clause 1. There is a provision in this amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act that enables an official of the Department of Transportation, or a peace officer, to enter any place where a motor vehicle that is expected to be driven on the public highways, any place where that vehicle is stored, whether it is out in the middle of your yard, it is in your basement, it is in a private garage, or it could be literally, according to the legislation, sitting anywhere. The department officials can come in and carry out some type of an audit, a mechanical fitness test of the motor vehicle.

I know that my learned colleague, the previous speaker, stayed away from Clause 1. I am not sure if he purposely did that, but I would think with his legal background, and perhaps the Minister of the Environment's legal background, they might have some concerns relative to, again, another challenge in the courts. I would think that these individuals, the Department of Transportation official, to come in and ask to inspect, or demand to inspect a motor vehicle sitting in my basement, he might have a problem. He might encounter quite a heated argument and I bet if he came into your driveway, or into your yard, of any member in this Legislature, and demanded to conduct a motor vehicle fitness test, then he might have some problems.

I can certainly tell you from this corner, and on behalf of my constituents, that we may find that as an invasion of one's privacy, quite frankly. I think the government is perhaps, if you will, going too far. Again, we wonder how widely this government consulted with Nova Scotians. Is there a great need to provide the Department of Transportation's workers and officials with the ability to come on private property and carry out audits? I personally do not believe that that is needed. I really do not. A number of people restore vehicles. They rebuild them and do things of that nature. A person might store a vehicle that has a motor vehicle safety inspection on it. There is nothing in that clause that states who these officials will be from the Department of Transportation.

So, again, I know that the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Business and Consumer Services, one and the same, surely, his Justice Department officials, the legal people, have carefully examined that clause before putting it in this legislation, but does the minister and this Liberal Government have any studies that they might want to share with the Progressive Conservatives and Nova Scotians relative to that clause and the need for that clause to be inserted in this legislation?

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not want to take all the time, but I want to say that I do support bringing legislation forward that is reasonable and supports the consumers in this province and gives them an opportunity, especially relative to purchasing vehicles that may

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have been wrecked, I think you will find that the Progressive Conservative caucus supports that. We certainly do support a minimum 10 year license suspension for a third drinking and driving conviction. We do support those, but the fact that psychologists have not been consulted - well, the minister, you know, perhaps he is laughing about something else, but that is what the president is telling us, Mr. Henderson, that he was not consulted with, he read it in the paper.

[11:45 a.m.]

We have concerns on behalf of that profession and we also have concerns for those out there who may want to go to a psychologist. With all due respect, who in their right mind would go see a psychologist if they knew that their driver's license was going to be revoked, quite frankly? Now, we have concerns with that, and as I pointed out earlier, we have concerns (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, we do also have concerns with this government sending Department of Transportation employees onto private property to conduct audits on people's private property. We are going to support this legislation going to the Law Amendments Committee, but we do have concerns with this legislation. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a few points this morning. I am not going to try to go over the territory that has already been canvassed by my colleague but there are a couple of points and I have already privately mentioned a couple of my concerns to the minister. I would like to raise those on the floor as well.

The first area that I want to deal with is Clause 4 and this of course is requiring the, ". . . insurance companies and owners of vehicles to report to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles when a vehicle has been so seriously damaged that the vehicle is either non-repairable or the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds the fair market value . . .", and it goes on. I listened to the minister's comments and I fully support the intent in this particular clause. That is so that those who would be purchasing a vehicle that has been so severely damaged that when they are going to purchase that vehicle or a vehicle that they can check to find out if that vehicle has been severely damaged.

My problem with the provision here is not what the government is trying to do, I fully support that, my problem with it is that the penalty for failing to comply, I believe, is too low. The minimum penalty for somebody failing to register the vehicle as required by the legislation is to be a minimum penalty of $100. That of course does not prohibit the courts

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from charging a higher penalty, but it sets it at a rate that I believe as even a minimum penalty is far too low.

I will use this as an example, a number of years ago, we amended the penalty structures for those who were driving without insurance. What we did, in effect, was to increase the fine so that the fine for driving without insurance would actually exceed the amount that a person would have to pay for the insurance in the first place. If, for example - and these are just hypothetical figures, they aren't the actual numbers, but if hypothetically - it was going to be costing a person let's say $500 for the kind of insurance that they would need in order to legally have a vehicle on the road, some people might have decided, well, if the fine was only $100, it is cheaper to run the risk of getting fined, on the assumption that they are never going to have an accident, than it would be to buy the insurance. We addressed that issue in this House by increasing the fine, which made perfectly good sense to everybody.

My point here is that there are some, I don't necessarily believe that there are very many, but there are some who are not always the most reputable dealers who purchase and have been known to purchase vehicles that are called "totalled" as the result of an accident. Those vehicles are then restored, they are made to look good and to sound as if they are in good shape, sometimes they may still have a bit of a bent frame or other things. Then they turn around and they sell those vehicles, not advising the purchaser that that vehicle had been involved in a major accident, and the value of that vehicle being resold is much higher, I would suggest, than it would be if the purchaser knew that was a vehicle that had been declared to be non-repairable.

Mr. Speaker, that is not to say that some vehicles - and this does happen as well - sometimes a vehicle is involved in an accident and the costs of the repairs would actually be more than the market value for that vehicle, or the book value, so that it does sometimes make sense for people who have the ability to obtain parts and to work on vehicles themselves, to restore that vehicle and it can be restored to full pre-accident shape and maybe even better than it was before, if you are not going to have to pay the costs, and so people do that.

I am trying to get at those who would consciously try to make money at the expense of unsuspecting consumers. So what I am saying to the minister is that I would like to ask that he, and his department, consider amendments to the penalties so that the minimum fine, whether it be a business or an individual who knowingly is violating this new provision with the intent of taking a vehicle that has been destroyed in an accident, restoring it to some kind of so-called reasonable shape, and selling it for personal gain, Mr. Speaker, if they are knowingly doing this, I believe that the penalty should be higher than the potential reward that they would receive for violating this particular legislation.

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Another clause that I would like to reference is Clause 7. Again, I understand the intent of this and that is that if a person is found to be driving, without having in evidence that they have motor vehicle coverage, that that is sufficient grounds for charges being laid. If contrary evidence is not provided, then that would be sufficient evidence really for the courts to find them guilty of driving without insurance. Currently, if people do not have valid insurance on them, they can certainly be charged; however, they are usually given 24 hours to provide proof of insurance and they can take that to the police station to prove that they actually did have the insurance when they were operating that vehicle, that it was covered, and then the charges would not proceed. I am not so sure how this changes what the current situation is.

I am hoping, Mr. Speaker, there will not be a requirement under this particular clause that a person would have to actually go to court to produce the proof of insurance because all that would needlessly do is tie up the time of the court. I am sure the minister has more than one family member who occasionally drives the family car. I know the minister has a number of children who are of legal driving age; I am not sure if they are still at home, but they may borrow his vehicle. We are advised that we should not be keeping registration, licenses and insurance cards in our vehicles because of the break-ins that do occur from time to time, so you are often encouraged to carry that on your person and, if you have numerous drivers on the vehicle, that can cause situations from time to time where the actual person operating the vehicle, if it is the minister's son, or my son, driving a vehicle where the insurance card is actually in their parent's wallet . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . a copy.

MR. HOLM: Yes, indeed, they should have a copy on them, but sometimes they do not and certainly I would not like to see the courts' time - as I am sure the minister wouldn't want to have it - all being eaten up by cases where the actual insurance is in existence. I believe and hopefully there is the continued opportunity for people to take proof of that to the police station.

Another point I would like to refer to is Clause 1, and it was referenced by the previous speaker. I would like to ask if the minister would provide us with the legal opinions on the authority of granting this kind of power. I know that most other government departments do have similar kinds of authority - health and safety officers and others - in those quasi-criminal type of activities, if it is not (Interruption) my colleague to my right asked me where I got that word, well, he knows I got it from him, I am not learned in the law.

We certainly know that if it is a criminal matter that warrants and so on can be required in order to enter private property, but for many of the other things, health and safety aspects, that is not required. I would like to know if the minister could provide us with a legal opinion indicating that the authority actually would be there for this kind of thing. I would also like a little bit more explanation as to the purpose. Are these entrances on the private property to inspect, are they going to be complaint-based, are they going to be based on situations where

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a vehicle may have been on the road and there were concerns that that vehicle while it was on the road was not in a safe working condition?

There are all kinds of situations where a vehicle could be stored in a person's garage, the vehicle is intended at some time to be on the road. I know one of the minister's colleagues has a prize car that he is restoring, it is an antique vehicle. That vehicle is being stored, I don't know if it is on the road at the present time or not. I have a little toy that I occasionally drive, and sometimes it is and other times it isn't on the road. It may need repairs from time to time.

I am trying to find out from the minister the basis for determining when that kind of inspection would be permitted.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member adjourn the debate at this point?

MR. HOLM: Sure. I am just about to finish up. I will wrap up then just with my final comment that I also look forward to hearing from groups like the Canadian Mental Health Association on Clause 8, but with those comments, given the time, I will adjourn the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate, but I would suggest that perhaps you would just like to adjourn the debate at this time.

Is it agreed?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I would move second reading of Bill No. 98.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 98. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that concludes Government Business for today. The House will sit on Tuesday between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and following the daily routine and Question Period, we will be calling Bill No. 99 and Bill No. 100.

I move that we do now adjourn.

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

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The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 11:59 a.m.]