The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD11-64

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Gordon Gosse

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/



Third Session

MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
5192
Private & Local Bills Committee,
5192
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
PSC: Civil Serv. Disclosure of Wrongdoing Regs. & Pol
Anl. Rept., Hon. F. Corbett »
5192
Fin.: Jobs & Building Plan (2012-2013 Capital Plan),
5193
Fin.: Victims' Assistance Fund (2011) - Financial Statement,
5193
Justice: Civil Procedure Rules - Amendment,
5193
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2954, RCR Hosp./Companies - White Point Beach Resort Employees:
Christmas Donations - Thank, The Premier »
5194
Vote - Affirmative
5194
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 135, Workers' Compensation Act,
5195
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2955, Anna. Valley Ex. - Mgr./Director: Efforts
- Applaud, Hon. S. McNeil »
5195
Vote - Affirmative
5196
Res. 2956, O'Connor, John: Retirement - Congrats.,
5196
Vote - Affirmative
5196
Res. 2957, Fougere, Cheryl/Christmas on the LaHave Comm./
Organizers/Vols. - Congrats., Mr. G. Ramey »
5196
Vote - Affirmative
5197
Res. 2958, Johnson, Marlowe - Bell Aliant: Retirement
- Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen »
5197
Vote - Affirmative
5198
Res. 2959, Adams, Emily/Wilson, Corey - Star Acadie:
Songwriting Contest - Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont »
5198
Vote - Affirmative
5199
Res. 2960, Tolton, Matt: Cdn. Red Cross/Japanese Relief
- Fundraising Congrats., Mr. M. Whynott »
5199
Vote - Affirmative
5200
Res. 2961, Lamb, Jim & Margie/Meadowbrook Market:
Bus. Awards - Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine »
5200
Vote - Affirmative
5201
Res. 2962, Johnson, Molly - The Nutcracker: Leading Role
- Congrats., Mr. K. Bain »
5201
Vote - Affirmative
5201
Res. 2963, Demone, David - Prov. House Christmas Tree:
Provision - Thank, Ms. P. Birdsall »
5201
Vote - Affirmative
5202
Res. 2964, Robichaud, Marie-Colombe: Book Publication
- Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet »
5202
Vote - Affirmative
5203
Res. 2965, Sluice Pt./Surettes Island: Bridge Const. - Congrats.,
5204
Vote - Affirmative
5205
Res. 2966, Survival Systems Training Ltd.: Safety Educ
- Congrats., Mr. A. Younger »
5205
Vote - Affirmative
5206
Res. 2967, Stears, Seamus: Tae kwon do Black Belt - Congrats.,
5206
Vote - Affirmative
5206
Res. 2968, Langille, Amanda: Master's Deg. - Congrats.,
5206
Vote - Affirmative
5207
Res. 2969, Mercier, Mike: Yar. & Area C of C Award
- Congrats., Mr. Z. Churchill »
5207
Vote - Affirmative
5208
Res. 2970, Stockman, Pat & Doug: Shuffleboard Achievements
- Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine « »
5208
Vote - Affirmative
5208
Res. 2971, MacDonald, Kevin - GASHA: Retirement - Congrats.,
5209
Vote - Affirmative
5209
Res. 2972, Doucette, Kyle & Lisa/Boudreau, Nathan:
N.S. Promotion - Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet « »
5209
Vote - Affirmative
5210
Res. 2973, Marshall, Dianne: Heroes of the Acadian Resistance
- Congrats., Ms. K. Regan »
5210
Vote - Affirmative
5211
Res. 2974, Webber, Sarah: Hockey Accomplishments
- Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
5211
Vote - Affirmative
5212
Res. 2975, McGuire, Cmdr. John (Jack) - Ryl. N.S. Int'l. Tattoo:
Commitment/Dedication - Tribute Pay, Mr. A. Younger « »
5212
Vote - Affirmative
5212
Res. 2976, d'Entremont, Jean Guy: Yar. & Area C of C Award
- Congrats., Mr. Z. Churchill « »
5212
Vote - Affirmative
5213
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 133, Bowater Mersey Pulp and Paper Investment (2011) Act
5214
5217
5224
5226
5230
5232
Vote - Affirmative
5232
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 90, Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act
5232
5233
5236
5236
5239
5240
Vote - Affirmative
5240
No. 96, Pension Benefits Act
5241
5241
5246
5247
Vote - Affirmative
5248
No. 109, Safe Body Art Act
5249
5249
Vote - Affirmative
5250
No. 110, Residential Tenancies Act
5251
5251
5255
Vote - Affirmative
5256
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
5256
Private & Local Bills Committee,
5257
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 7:21 P.M
5257
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:32 P.M
5257
CWH REPORTS
5257
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Dec. 13th at 2:00 p.m
5258
NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS:
No. 7, Educ.: Tuition Support Prog. - Transition Yr.,
5259
No. 8, Justice - Justice Complex (New Glasgow): Plan - Update,
5259
No. 9, Justice - Pictou Co. Reg. Policing Study: Costs/Funding - Details,
5259
No. 10, Justice: Policing Serv. - Support Confirm,
5259
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2977, North East Margaree Seniors' Club: Anniv. (30th)
- Congrats., Mr. A. MacMaster « »
5260
Res. 2978, Hooked Rug Museums of North America: Crystal Tourism Award
5260
Res. 2979, Hammonds Plains Cons. Sch.: Playground Facility
- Congrats., Mr. M. Whynott « »
5261
Res. 2980, Coast to Coast Against Cancer - Sears Nat'l. Kids Cancer Ride:
Contribution - Congrats., Mr. M. Whynott « »
5261
Res. 2981, Weir Rockin' Concert: Participants - Congrats.,
5262
Res. 2982, LaPierre, Holly: St. Margarets Bay Lions Club
Citizen of Yr. - Congrats., Mr. M. Whynott « »
5262
Res. 2983, Sackville Sports Heritage Fdn.: Inductees
- Congrats., Mr. M. Whynott « »
5263
Res. 2984, Domm, Lukas: NASA Prog. - Congrats.,
5263
Res. 2985, Eddy, Nicole - St. FX: Graduation - Congrats.,
5264
Res. 2986, Ocean View Elem. Sch.: Anti-Bullying Stance
- Commend, Ms. B. Kent « »
5264
Res. 2987, Tallahassee Commun. Elem. Sch.: Anti-Bullying
Stance - Commend, Ms. B. Kent « »
5265
Res. 2988, Rock, Denton: East. Passage - Cow Bay Lions Club
Awards - Congrats., Ms. B. Kent « »
5265
Res. 2989, Baker, Cliff: East. Passage - Cow Bay Lions Club
Life Membership - Congrats., Ms. B. Kent « »
5266
Res. 2990, Walker, William (Bill): East. Passage - Cow Bay Lions Club
Cert. of Serv. - Congrats., Ms. B. Kent « »
5266
Res. 2991, Murphy, Tristan/Proj. Coordinator/Students:
Cavalier Dr. JHS - Work Commend, Hon. D. Wilson »
5267
Res. 2992, Speirs, Odhran/Proj. Coordinator/Students:
Cavalier Dr. JHS - Work Commend, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5267
Res. 2993, Whiteside, Tatianna/Proj. Coordinator/Students:
Cavalier Dr. JHS - Work Commend, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5268
Res. 2994, O'Brien, James/Proj. Coordinator/Students:
Cavalier Dr. JHS - Work Commend, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5268
Res. 2995, Hunter, Hilda - Cavalier Dr. JHS Project:
Work - Commend, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5269
Res. 2996, Cavalier Dr. JHS: Music for Life Gala Commun. Concert
- Participation, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5269
Res. 2997, A.J. Smeltzer JHS: Music for Life Gala Commun. Concert
- Participation, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5270
Res. 2998, Leslie Thomas JHS: Music for Life Gala Commun. Concert
- Participation, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5271
Res. 2999, Sackville HS: Music for Life Gala Commun. Concert
- Participation, Hon. D. Wilson « »
5271
Res. 3000, MacKenzie, Lara - 4Cs Fdn.: Funding - Congrats.,
5272
Res. 3001, Parsons, Ajacisa: Garlapadu Well Fundraising
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
5272
Res. 3002, Baak, Julia: Garlapadu Well Fundraising
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
5273
Res. 3003, Lachance, Jennifer: Garlapadu Well Fundraising
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
5273
Res. 3004, Morgan, Lindsey: Garlapadu Well Fundraising
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
5274
Res. 3005, Cruickshanks, Jessica: Garlapadu Well Fundraising
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
5274
Res. 3006, Murphy, Cailey: Garlapadu Well Fundraising
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
5275

[Page 5191]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011

Sixty-first General Assembly

Third Session

4:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordon Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Ms. Becky Kent, Mr. Leo Glavine, Mr. Alfie MacLeod

MADAM SPEAKER » : Order, please. We'll now commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

5191

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Madam Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

[Page 5192]

Bill No. 120 - Liquor Control Act.

Bill No. 126 - Police Act.

Bill No. 128 - Public Sector Lobbyists Act.

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

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

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND « » : Madam Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 38 - Yarmouth North United Baptist Church Act.

Bill No. 99 - Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth Act.

Bill No. 101 - Halifax Kennel Club Incorporation Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of the Public Service Commission.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Civil Service Disclosure of Wrongdoing Regulations and Policy, 2010-2011.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. GRAHAM STEELE « » : Madam Speaker, I beg leave to table Nova Scotia's Jobs and Building Plan, the 2012-2013 Capital Plan.

[Page 5193]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The plan is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. GRAHAM STEELE « » : Madam Speaker, in response to a question raised during Question Period last week, I am pleased to table the financial statement for the Victims' Assistance Fund for 2011.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The statement is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Madam Speaker, I beg leave to table an amendment to the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules, dated December 9, 2011.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The amendment is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Premier, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the following resolution:

Last month a devastating fire . . .

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We're not quite there yet. This is Statements by Ministers and I've had a request for an introduction. Sorry to interrupt you.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm pleased to make an introduction of two individuals who are in the Speaker's Gallery this afternoon. I would ask that Mike Skinner and Dave McKillop please rise.

It's of note, Madam Speaker, that it has been 52 years since these two gentlemen have seen each other and through the good graces of our Sergeant-at-Arms, they were able to get together in his office today, and the good part is that they're both from Glace Bay. So I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : We welcome all visitors to the gallery and hope you enjoy today's proceedings.

[Page 5194]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2954

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

Whereas last month a devastating fire destroyed the main lodge at White Point Beach Resort near Liverpool, temporarily closing the popular tourist destination and putting more than 100 people out of work going into the holiday season; and

Whereas this past weekend resort owner Robert Risley joined all the resort staff at a local fire hall for the annual White Point Christmas party; and

Whereas the employees learned at the get-together that members of RCR Hospitality Group and their colleagues from other companies and hotels across the province had donated tens of thousands of dollars in Christmas presents and gift certificates for the families of those out of work;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House thank the employees at RCR Hospitality and all the companies that stepped up to show us the true meaning of the holiday by giving to those most in need and ensuring those families have a memorable Christmas.

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 5195]

Bill No. 135 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Hon. Michel Samson)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2955

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

Whereas it has been the combination of community spirit and enthusiastic unwavering optimism of the future that has seen the Annapolis Valley Exhibition continue to grow in challenging times; and

Whereas for more than 80 years this popular week-long event has been attracting visitors and returning expats to Lawrencetown, Annapolis County, to join in the celebration of a proud history and a bright future for agriculture in the Valley; and

Whereas the Annapolis Valley Exhibition is undergoing another major addition to an ever-growing, always popular showcase with the construction of a new 9,600-square-foot horse barn through the financial support of ACOA, the Municipality of Annapolis County, and private interests;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly join me in applauding the efforts of manager Rachel Taylor and Annapolis Valley Exhibition Board of Director president Elaine Marshal, in working to become Nova Scotia's primary agriculture showcase.

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

MADAM 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 5196]

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2956

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

Whereas long-time business owner John O'Connor recently worked his last day after 40 years at the Ultramar garage on Central Avenue in Inverness; and

Whereas O'Connor, a native Invernesser, started working in 1962 and only two years later decided to take over the garage on his own; and

Whereas at a customer appreciation tea Mr. O'Connor expressed thanks to the whole community which includes long-time committed customers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate John O'Connor on his retirement and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2957

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

Whereas Christmas on the LaHave is an annual event which kicks off the Christmas season in Bridgewater and the surrounding area, and which is supported by the Town of Bridgewater, the Municipality of Lunenburg, the business community, and volunteer organizations like the Bridgewater Fire Department and the United Way; and

Whereas the annual Christmas on the LaHave parade was held on Sunday, November 27th, on a beautiful evening that featured music, floats, fireworks, and jolly old St. Nick himself; and

[Page 5197]

Whereas by all accounts, approximately 20,000 folks filled the downtown core to attend this wonderful event, which bonded the community together and definitely got the Christmas season off on the right note;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Cheryl Fougere, chair of the Christmas on the LaHave organizing committee, all the committee members, the mayors and councillors of the municipal units, the local businesses, and the many volunteer organizations who contributed to the effort for a job well done.

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

MADAM 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 Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2958

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas at the age of 49, Marlowe Johnson, a long-time resident of Halifax Clayton Park, has reached a milestone in his life; and

Whereas on December 23, 2011, Marlowe will retire after 31 years of dedicated service as a technician with Bell Aliant, including 15 years working on the Nova Scotia Government accounts; and

Whereas over the past 15 years the caucus members and staff have appreciated Marlowe's warm personality and his commitment to excellence as the Bell Aliant representative;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Marlowe Johnson on his retirement after 31 years of service with Bell Aliant and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

[Page 5198]

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

MADAM 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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2959

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Madame la Président, à une date ultérieure je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivant:

Attendu que le dimanche 24 juillet 2011, au Centre communautaire de Par-en-Bas à Tusket, le Festival acadien de Par-en-Bas a présenté une première édition annuelle de Star Acadie, un concours de chanson en français; et

Attendu que le spectacle était divisé en deux parties, soit le concours de chanson en français avec 10 jeunes, divisés en deux catégories d'âges, qui ont présenté une variété de chansons, et en deuxième partie, un spectacle mettant en vedette le groupe réputé Grand Dérangement; et

Attendu que Emily Adams a gagné le concours dans la catégorie 10 à 14 ans et Corey Wilson dans la catégorie 15 à 19 ans;

Par conséquent qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Assemblée félicitent Emily Adams et Corey Wilson pour remporter leur catégorie respective et leur souhaites un succès continu dans le futur.

Madame la Président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas on Sunday, July 24, 2011, at the Centre Communautaire de Par-en-Bas in Tusket, the Festival Acadien International de Par-en-Bas held their first edition of Star Acadie, a French songwriting contest; and

[Page 5199]

Whereas the contest was divided into two age groups and 10 participants presented a variety of songs, followed by a concert featuring Grand Dérangement; and

Whereas Emily Adams won the contest in the 10 to 14 age group and Corey Wilson won for the 15 to 19 age group;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Emily Adams and Corey Wilson for winning the contest in their respective categories, and wish them continued success in their future endeavours.

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

MADAM 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 Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

RESOLUTION NO. 2960

MR. MAT WHYNOTT « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on March 11, 2011, Japan experienced a 9.2 magnitude earthquake resulting in a severe tsunami which killed over 15,000 people and injured thousands more; and

Whereas support and financial aid poured in from across the world for the survivors and their families; and

Whereas in April 2011, Matthew Tolton of Hammonds Plains organized a bake sale and T-shirt fundraiser for Japanese relief where kids wore red and white for two days and raised $588 for the Canadian Red Cross;

Therefore be it resolved that House congratulate Matt Tolton of Hammonds Plains on raising $588 for the Canadian Red Cross and Japanese relief with his bake sale and red and white T-shirt fundraiser.

[Page 5200]

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

MADAM 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. 2961

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Jim and Margie Lamb of Somerset in the Berwick area continue to grow their business, Meadowbrook Meat Market, by using their marketing skills along with time and money added to loads of energy by introducing such products as the Jimmie Dog; and

Whereas the Jimmie Dog continues to grow in popularity because it's gluten free, no MSG, and contains no animal by-products; and

Whereas the Lambs, Jim and Margie, continue to support local fundraisers at their business and host at least one monthly breakfast where funds are donated to a local charity;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Jim and Margie Lamb and their staff at Meadowbrook Meat Market for recent business awards, including a nomination for the Nova Scotia Business Ethics Award, and wish them continued success.

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

MADAM 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 5201]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2962

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 2011 edition and 21st year of Symphony Nova Scotia's The Nutcracker opened in Halifax on Friday, December 9th; and

Whereas a Cape Breton dancer is at the heart of this year's presentation after having appeared in the show in 1999 and 2000; and

Whereas Molly Johnson, a native of Baddeck, is taking the leading role of Clara, a young girl at a boarding school with no place to go for the holidays;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Molly on assuming this leading role and wish her the very best in her career in dance.

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 2963

MS. PAM BIRDSALL « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas each year, the Red Room of Province House is decorated for the holidays with a large Christmas tree to celebrate the season; and

Whereas the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association is a group of landowners who work in harmony with nature to produce an all-natural product which is shipped from Lunenburg County, often recognized as the "Balsam Fir Capital of the World" to locations all over the globe; and

[Page 5202]

Whereas David Demone of New Germany, Christmas tree producer and member of the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association, provided the elegant and impressive tree which is currently gracing the Nova Scotia House of Assembly;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend its sincere thanks to David Demone of New Germany for providing the Christmas tree which is beautifully decorated in the Red Room of Province House.

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER « » : Madam Speaker, today with us in the east gallery is Tom Urbaniak and Bernie LaRusic, and I understand they're here with respect to a bill that's before the House on behalf of the St. Michael's Polish Benefit Society. I would like the House to welcome them to watch the proceedings here today. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The House welcomes all guests to the gallery, hope you enjoy today's proceedings.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2964

HON. WAYNE GAUDET « » : Madame la Président, par la présente, j'avise que je proposerai à une date ultérieure, l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que les écrivains dans nos milieu jouent un rôle clé pour valoriser notre patrimoine; et

Attendu que madame Marie-Colombe Robichaud est engagée dans la publication de livres et dans la présentation de spectacle montrant différents aspects de notre communauté; et

[Page 5203]

Attendu que Mme. Robichaud a publié récemment un livre intitulé: Théotime et les feux follets rappelant différents aspects de notre folklore;

Qu'il soit résolu que les membres de cette assemblée offrent leurs remerciements à Mme. Marie-Colombe Robichaud pour son dévouement envers la cause acadienne à la Baie Sainte-Marie et la félicitent pour la publication de son livre, Théotime et les feux follets.

Madame la Président, je propose l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débats.

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

Whereas local writers in our communities play an important role in preserving our heritage; and

Whereas Mme. Marie-Colombe Robichaud is a local writer who publishes books and also stages theatre plays in Clare; and

Whereas Mme. Robichaud recently launched a book entitled Théotime et les feux follets depicting local folklore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend their thanks to Marie-Colombe Robichaud for her dedication and hard work to ensure the development of the Acadian heritage and culture in Clare and congratulate her on the publishing of her book, Théotime et les feux follets.

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

MADAM 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 Argyle.

[Page 5204]

RESOLUTION NO. 2965

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Madame la Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le 7 novembre 2011, les gens de la région de la Pointe-du-Sault et l'Île-Surette se sont rencontrés pour une conférence de presse dans le but de confirmer les intentions du gouvernement de devancer la construction d'un nouveau pont; et

Attendu que les trois niveaux des gouvernements, ainsi qu'Earl P. Muise, porte-parole du comité d'action, étaient présents pour cette annonce et qu'ils supportent tous la construction d'un nouveau pont; et

Attendu que le pont, maintenant âgé 102 ans, a besoin d'être remplacé et que la construction d'un nouveau pont va commencer pendant l'été 2012 pour se terminer en 2013;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Assemblée félicitent les gens de la région de la Pointe-du-Sault et l'Île-Surette pour leur dévouement pendant les dernières années ayant finalement comme résultat la construction d'un nouveau pont.

Madame la Président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas on November 7, 2011, residents from Sluice Point on Surettes Island met at the Indian Sluice Bridge for an announcement that confirmed the government's intention and moved up the construction of a new bridge; and

Whereas politicians from all three levels of government, as well as Earl Muise, speaker on behalf of the Indian Sluice Bridge Replacement Committee, were present for this announcement to support the construction of a new bridge; and

Whereas the bridge - 102 years of age - is in need of replacement and is slated to begin construction in the summer of 2012 and terminate in 2013;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating the communities of Sluice Point and Surettes Island for the hard work that they've done in the past years that has resulted in a new bridge.

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

[Page 5205]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2966

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Survival Systems Training Limited is a Dartmouth-based business specializing in a wide range of safety training in products and services; and

Whereas Survival Systems Training Limited, in collaboration with Dalhousie University, recently completed the preliminary research to develop a full-scale sea plane safety simulator to train pilots and crew on how to survive a ditching situation; and

Whereas Survival Systems Training Limited is now being recognized for achieving the completion of their research on the simulator by the federal government through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Survival Systems Training Limited of Dartmouth for their commitment to enhancing and protecting workers' lives through safety education, training, technology, and applied research and development.

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

MADAM 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 5206]

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2967

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on October 6, 2011, 10-year-old Baddeck resident Seamus Stears achieved his black belt certification in tae kwon do; and

Whereas training vigorously and competing regularly, Seamus has been a student at the Island Martial Arts Centre in Sydney for the past four and a half years; and

Whereas Seamus, with his determination and dedication to the sport, was one of nine red belts and three black belts testing before a panel of four adjudicators, including Grand Master Carabin;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Seamus on successfully achieving his black belt certificate and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

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

MADAM 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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2968

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Amanda Langille recently received her Master of Education in Leadership and Administration from St. Francis Xavier University; and

Whereas Amanda's leadership skills, which have already brought attention to her community, have been the driving force behind rejuvenation of the Thirsty Church; and

[Page 5207]

Whereas Amanda's efforts to unite her community have brought support from local residents, as well as personal and corporate support from around the province and beyond;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Amanda for receiving her master's degree, for providing initiative and leadership in her community, and for bringing life back to a church that has once again become the centre of the community.

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

MADAM 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. 2969

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Mike Mercier of Canadian Tire employs a staff of 75 people and is involved in many volunteer organizations and community boards, and in the last three years his donations to the community have been in excess of $75,000; and

Whereas on November 23, 2011, the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual business awards banquet; and

Whereas Mike Mercier of Canadian Tire received the Community Service Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mike Mercier of Canadian Tire on receiving the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award and thank him for being such a strong supporter of our community.

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

[Page 5208]

MADAM 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. 2970

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas nine Nova Scotians took part in the World Singles Shuffleboard Championships in Dieppe, New Brunswick, in August 2011 where Doug Stockman of Berwick, Nova Scotia, placed 4th out of 44 competitors in the men's competition; and Pat Stockman placed 11th in the ladies competition out of 37 competitors; and

Whereas these nine Nova Scotia players competed against players from Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and the U.S.; and

Whereas Pat and Doug Stockman represented our province with their significant accomplishments against many of the top shufflers in the world;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Pat and Doug for their accomplishments and wish them well in future competitions.

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

MADAM 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 Richmond.

[Page 5209]

RESOLUTION NO. 2971

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on January 14, 2012, colleagues, friends and family will gather to celebrate the retirement of Kevin MacDonald, chief executive officer of the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority; and

Whereas prior to working as a CEO of GASHA, Kevin MacDonald spent many years working at the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital and the Eastern Regional Health Board, where he was in time named vice-president of the board, meanwhile continuing to upgrade his education in health services administration, through the University of Saskatchewan; and

Whereas Kevin MacDonald dedicated 35 years of his career in the health care system;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly thank Kevin MacDonald for his 11 years as a chief executive officer of the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority and wish him well in his retirement.

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2972

HON. WAYNE GAUDET « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism launched a tourism campaign this past Spring to help promote tourism in Nova Scotia this past summer; and

[Page 5210]

Whereas almost 400 talented Nova Scotians told us what they loved about the province in this unique way and 22 winners were selected to help us promote Nova Scotia as the place to be this past summer; and

Whereas Kyle Doucette, Lisa Doucette and Nathan Boudreau from Clare were winners in My Nova Scotia contest to help promote tourism in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kyle, Lisa and Nathan for helping us to promote Nova Scotia as the place to be this past summer and wish them continued success.

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

MADAM 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 Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2973

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 18th Century produced one of the most fascinating periods in Nova Scotia's history, as Acadian resisters battled the British Empire; and

Whereas Halifax author Dianne Marshall has chronicled this exciting era in her new book, Heroes of the Acadian Resistance, prompted in part by research completed by a relative; and

Whereas this book follows the stories of Joseph Beausoleil Broussard and Pierre II Surette as they ambush British forces, complete with paternity scandals, prison escapes, and spies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dianne Marshall on illuminating this little-reported period in Nova Scotia's history in a lively and informative manner and wish her well in her future historical and literary endeavours.

[Page 5211]

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

MADAM 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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2974

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas 13-year-old Sarah Webber plays left wing on the Colchester Cyclones, a bantam girls hockey team out of Colchester County; and

Whereas the team defeated the Cape Breton County Islanders, a girls bantam hockey team from the Sydney area, with a score of 5 to 2; and

Whereas Sarah Webber led her team to victory by scoring a hat trick - the first hat trick of her hockey career;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Sarah Webber for her dexterity with the puck, which led her team to a decisive victory over the Cape Breton County Islanders.

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

MADAM 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 5212]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2975

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo has been a proud military musical tradition since its first occurrence in 1979; and

Whereas Commander John "Jack" McGuire was the principal arranger and music director for the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo for 27 years, writing hundreds of fanfares, marches, and finales; and

Whereas Commander McGuire passed away on November 26th at Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial Hospital and this year's Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo show plans a tribute to him;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in paying tribute to Commander John "Jack" McGuire for his commitment and dedication to making the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo truly music to all of our ears.

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

MADAM 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. 2976

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Jean Guy d'Entremont is the president of Scotia Harvest Seafoods, a two-generation fish harvesting company which has within its fleet one of the most innovative, technologically-advanced fishing vessels in the North Atlantic, a vessel which has enabled them to land top-quality fish traceable back to the vessel and the day it was caught, and the management of Scotia Harvest continues to travel around the world to learn and share information with other members of the global fishing industry, and this information sharing allows Scotia Harvest to continue to provide clients with a globally competitive product and superior quality of fish; and

[Page 5213]

Whereas on November 23, 2011, the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual business awards banquet; and

Whereas Jean Guy d'Entremont of Scotia Harvest Seafoods received the Business Marketing Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jean Guy d'Entremont of Scotia Harvest Seafoods on receiving the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce Business Marketing Award and thank him for his contributions to the fishing industry and our community.

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

MADAM 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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 133.

Bill No. 133 - Bowater Mersey Pulp and Paper Investment (2011) Act.

[Page 5214]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Madam Speaker, it's my pleasure to rise this evening on behalf of the members of the Progressive Conservative caucus to speak on issues surrounding Bowater Mersey in Liverpool.

Madam Speaker, this is a complex issue, but an important one, for many of us who live along the South Shore. Throughout this process many in Queens County and surrounding areas have feared for their jobs and their livelihoods. We now know that some of the employees of the mill will be affected by layoffs, and for that reason I want to take the time to address workers at the mill and, of course, their families. My message for them is simple - the members of the PC caucus remain committed to finding a long-term sustainable solution that will see the mill operating and the community thriving for years to come.

We do believe that we can get there, but we know it will not be easy. We recognize that the government has come forward with an action plan, and our caucus has taken the time to review it carefully. The members of the Progressive Conservative caucus will be supporting the government's deal but, of course, not blindly. We will be proceeding with caution and in a way that puts the people whose jobs depend on the success of Bowater Mersey first.

It would be easy to stand here in this Chamber and oppose the government's bailout - after all, Opposition Parties are typically supposed to oppose - but in the Progressive Conservative caucus we like to hold ourselves to a higher standard and this is one of those times, Madam Speaker. The deal is not perfect; it is expensive and it falls short of the employment guarantees that we would like to see. Nevertheless, we recognize the sacrifices made by the workers at the mill, their union, and the local municipality. We will support this deal, but we will do so with a watchful eye - like any good Opposition Party should do. We'll be scrutinizing each and every aspect of this arrangement, making sure the government will stay true to its word, but also making sure that they are mindful of taxpayers from one end of this province to the other. The members of the PC caucus will make sure that taxpayers' investment in the future of Bowater is not made imprudently.

We would also like to make sure that we view this as a lesson. We have an opportunity now to look at the conditions around Bowater and to figure out what's working and what isn't, what forces contributed to creating this mess - and it's not hard to identify some of those big forces right away. There are things we can control, things that government can control, things that if the right choices were made we would have prevented this from happening, or at least lessened the impact. I'm talking about things like our uncompetitive tax system, our out-of-control power rates, and labour laws that don't strike the right balance between employer and employee.

This particular case, Bowater Mersey, has to be seen for what it is - a symptom of a larger problem. The government has to recognize that the way they're approaching the economy in Nova Scotia isn't working, and that's why things like this are happening and that's why they'll continue to happen until we change course. We've got to get real about how we do business and run the economy here. The government has to realize that you can't have the highest taxes in the country and expect job creators to want to invest here; you can't have some of the highest power rates in the country and expect mills and other resources dependent on industries to flourish here; and, Madam Speaker, you can't have some of the most aggressive anti-investment labour laws and expect companies to want to set up shop here or even expand their existing operations.

[Page 5215]

Until Nova Scotia has an investment climate where we are attracting investment instead of losing it, this House of Assembly will be facing more challenges just like this one. In the PC caucus we want to focus on ways to grow our economy, ways to bring our young people home, innovative new ways to provide services in health care and education, the kind of things a government should be focused on when it isn't forced to spend all of its time cleaning up economic messes that they created.

So while this deal is a necessity, it is important that we don't lose sight of how we got here. It would do us no good to rush this bill through or go home for Christmas and then forget about Bowater Mersey for the next few years until the next challenge has arisen because the government didn't react and change course. This, Madam Speaker, is a wakeup call. It's a wakeup call for the Premier, for the Minister of Finance, for the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, for the member for Queens, and for the whole government caucus. They will continue to deal with problems like this as long as they continue down the path that they are on. This time the taxpayers and the members of our caucus understood, reacting appropriately; next time, Madam Speaker, they might not be so lucky.

I spent a lot of time talking about Nova Scotia taxpayers and how the members of the PC caucus are committed to ensuring that they are respected and protected. But we're also here to make sure that local governments in Queens County and throughout the whole South Shore get the kind of guarantees they need to move forward. They have to be treated fairly in the process and the government has to work with them. This has to be a bilateral conversation - it can't happen from the top down.

The government cannot simply come in and dictate to the local community and to the company; that's not going to work. In order for this deal to get the kind of outcome we need, the government is going to have to do something that they don't like doing - they're going to have to consult openly and transparently, and if I can be frank, Madam Speaker, they're off to a bad start. We now know that in putting this deal together, they refused to even consult with the IEF Advisory Committee, and that's what the committee is for - to consult on major initiatives like this one. If the government is prepared to keep them in the dark in regard to a deal like this, one worth tens of millions of taxpayers' dollars, that's a serious problem on multiple fronts.

[Page 5216]

Firstly it shows a major disregard for taxpayers' money. We're not talking about dollars and cents here; we're talking tens of millions over a very short period of time. The government can't simply forge ahead with an expense of this magnitude and not tell anybody. Secondly, by refusing to go to the IEF Advisory Committee the government has allowed a serious lack of transparency to cloud this whole process. If the government expects Opposition Parties and Nova Scotians to come forward and support them when they have to do things like this then they need to be open and honest about it.

Conducting business behind doors with little or no advice from credible sources does not inspire a lot of confidence. It doesn't inspire confidence in the members of the House, it doesn't inspire confidence in the business community, and it doesn't inspire confidence in the people of Nova Scotia. We're shedding jobs and despite the Premier's denials there is a crisis in rural Nova Scotia, the very fact that we're having this discussion today proves that, and yet we have a government that has decided to act in a way that makes Nova Scotians, all stripes and backgrounds, less confident about their economy and less confident about how their government conducts business. Clearly the government has a lot of work to do, to inspire confidence in Nova Scotia job creation community and to ensure that we don't have to deal with situations like this again.

A lot of people have come forward to express concerns about the deal and many of them are members of this House. While in some cases their concerns are legitimate, we have to acknowledge that choice that we're left with. The members of our caucus are faced with two options. There is only one bill and when there's only one bill you're faced with two options, either there's a deal or there isn't a deal, and our Leader has said no deal is not an acceptable outcome to the PC Party. There will be a time when this government is held to account by the people of Nova Scotia for the very way that they've mishandled our economy and created the kinds of conditions that have forced the situation upon us, and when that time comes Nova Scotians will have their say.

But that time isn't here and now, here and now we have the important responsibility of members of this House of Assembly. Our primary goal must be to welcome job-creating investments large and small, to create new jobs and to maintain existing ones. That's why the members of our caucus will be voting in favour of this bill. Although an unfortunate series of events has led us to this conclusion, the alternative to doing nothing is to put more jobs at risk and to create economic uncertainty. That may be an acceptable conclusion for some in this House but is not acceptable for any of us in the PC caucus.

I look forward to hearing from the rest of discussion surrounding this issue and with those few words I will take my seat and thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Thank you very much Madam Speaker, and it's certainly a pleasure this evening to join in the debate on Bill No. 133, which, of course, is a very important piece of legislation. It's entitled, An Act to Sustain Jobs and Invest in Southwest Nova Scotia's Pulp and Paper Sector. Here it has become increasingly known as the Bowater Bill because it has to do, of course, with an agreement that the province has entered into with the company of Bowater, Bowater Mersey, in order to ensure that piece of economic architecture on the south shore of Nova Scotia continues to operate.

[Page 5217]

Madam Speaker, I want to begin by setting the stage for this bill and what happened over the last number of months. You would be aware, and it has been reported in the press, and I have said in the past, that the context of this bill, or the context of the circumstances that the pulp and paper industry finds itself in, is one of declining demand for newsprint worldwide. I say worldwide, I would mention that not all newsprint markets are, in fact, declining and what we're seeing in some areas of the world where literacy is increasing, particularly in very populous countries, the demand for newsprint is, in fact, still climbing. That's a function of catching up on literacy rates and the fact that there will always be some demand for newsprint.

This particular mill, though, sells not primarily into the U.S. market but into the international paper market. This is both an advantage in many ways and, of course, a disadvantage in some respects; but for the purposes of our context, that means that it is not as tied to fluctuations in the Canadian-U.S. currency as the NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill, as an example.

Now you will remember that earlier this year NewPage Port Hawkesbury announced that they were going into - or I guess NewPage generally had announced they were going into creditor protection. This had to do with arrangements in both Canada and the United States whereby the creditors of the parent company were looking to realize on the security that they had on the assets of NewPage, who were failing to meet their obligations.

This required a response from the government, and I won't use this opportunity to go into the kinds of arrangements we made in order to keep the NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill in a hot-idle position so that it could be sold, but suffice it to say, it was a requirement for the government to be able to work through the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act to ensure that asset was maintained for the purposes of being able to be sold as a going concern and be able to, eventually, continue to contribute to the economic livelihood in that area and, as you know, that process is still underway.

The first thing that happens is that we know there is decline in the newsprint market; we have the problem at NewPage and then later on in the summer, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Garneau, who is the president of Bowater Mersey. In that meeting he indicates that it is the intention of AbitibiBowater to close the Bowater mill, that he was sensitive to the fact that there were difficulties already in place with respect to NewPage, that he was sympathetic to that but that he understood what his obligations were under the Industry Closing Act, that they wanted to make sure they were providing sufficient notice as required, as a responsible company in the province, and that to some degree they were willing to assist us by making sure that they gave us the opportunity, the time - the announcement of the closure to help them make sure that they met their obligations.

[Page 5218]

Well, as you can imagine, Madam Speaker, that's not much of a position to be put in as a government, as a Premier. To hear that a second of the three mills in your province faces the very real possibility of being shut down - and in this case, it is actually a shutdown, it's something that's being taken out of production completely.

At that point we realized the ramifications for the Brooklyn Energy company, for the Oakhill sawmill in Lunenburg County, for the many mills that are associated with Bowater because they sell fibre into that mill, and for the many people who work in the forest themselves, cutting and supplying directly to the sawmills - people who are involved in silviculture and the related industries in trucking, in the suppliers to the mill. So it was obviously a matter of great concern for us and for the Region of Queens, which would include all of the adjacent counties as well. In fact, the supply line for Bowater would extend all the way into Halifax County and right down to Yarmouth County and across over into Annapolis and Digby.

This was very difficult news to receive, and I can remember saying to Mr. Garneau that this was really not a situation which we found tolerable. We didn't feel that it was good enough for someone to simply come in and say that you were going to close a mill, never having had a conversation with the government of the province about the viability of that mill, either its efficiency or its cost of doing business. There had been no real discussion about whether or not it was possible to make that path from where it was now to where it needed to be in order to continue to be a viable industry.

Following that initial meeting, we started to work with the mill owner to go through the process and to look at every facet of the process where there might be an opportunity to make the mill more efficient or cut its costs or find a new way to supply a service to the mill itself. There was no doubt that one of the most important elements of this, and potentially the most difficult piece to try to achieve, was going to be on the question of the labour costs associated with the mill. They have had long-standing collective agreements in place at the mill and it was going to now fall to the members of those union locals to decide whether or not they were prepared to make the kinds of concessions that were going to be necessary in order to bring the labour costs down, in order to give the mill a chance to be able to go forward.

This was after we had canvassed various iterations of ways in which the cost structure could be brought down, but ultimately it was left to the people who were working in the mill to make those decisions. It was only after they made their decision that anything that we were going to do to assist them was actually going to become relevant. Labour costs were such a big part of this that they were going to have to make that decision first, and they did. It was not a very easy thing for the union locals there. They considered their options, they decided to accede to the - I will say they were "requests," but they weren't really requests, in many ways they were demands. They really were looking at a situation where they were either going to make the decision to continue on and to represent the membership that was there, or there was not going to be an operating mill for people to work at. They understood the gravity of the decision they were making and in a very close vote - I think it was 51.7 per cent of the members agreed that they would make the very tough decision to continue on.

[Page 5219]

Now I've said this before, but I think it bears saying again - there was no good decision to be made with respect to the decision that the workers were asked to make. It meant that some of the people they worked with, families that they knew, people who had been in that mill for 15, 20 years, were not going to have jobs. It meant that people who were working in the management administration of that mill were not going to have jobs. There was no good decision that could be made to protect all of the jobs of all the people there.

There was a right decision and there was a wrong decision, and I believe, and I think the people of Liverpool, the people of Queens County and indeed the people on the South Shore believe that the workers that day - in a tremendously stressful situation, looking at all of the options - made the right decision.

Since that time, as I mentioned, there are people in the mill who have decided to retire early in order to clear out the seniority list, in order to keep some of the people in the mill who otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to do so. I think the people who are making these decisions are making them because they genuinely understand the circumstances of many of the other people who are in that mill - they understand the circumstances of the community.

I want to say that I'm very proud of them. I'm very proud of the workers there, I'm proud of the people who are continuing to make these kinds of decisions because they're difficult; they're hard to make, these kinds of very stressful decisions. As you can imagine, we're coming through toward the end of the year and this is a time when many of those people will be looking at new transitions in life, as well as - I guess coming to an end, rather, of a job that they may have had for many, many years and are now going to be starting to look for other work.

So the decision that the government made was based on that context, on the fact that we know what's going on in the industry, we know what's going on with the other mills in Nova Scotia, we knew by then what's going on with the actual workforce itself. So the question then was, how would we go about ensuring that we could have a low-cost, high-efficiency mill?

Well, the first thing we did was we set up a capital loan in the amount of $25 million. Now, Madam Speaker, this is not simply turning over $25 million to the company where they can use it however they want; in fact, that would be the wrong thing to do and that's the kind of thing we've seen done in the past.

[Page 5220]

What we said is that we will set up a capital loan of $25 million that can be drawn down on the basis of the company using that money to put in place high-efficiency processes and machinery in order to bring down the overall cost of the operations of the mill. I'll give you a couple of examples as to how that is going to happen.

The first one was with respect to the long-fibre refining project. This was a project that would actually take place in the mill. It will result in reduced energy consumption at the mill, and once the machinery is in place and it starts to operate, the savings to the plant will grow over time. So they were going to have to use that money to make a capital improvement in the plant that will give them a better and more efficient process and use less energy, and therefore bring down the cost to the mill.

The second thing that they agreed to do was to put in place a topping turbine for the Brooklyn biomass facility. This will be a source of green energy, that's a good reason to do it, but most importantly it will recover way-steam that is currently not being used and use that steam to create additional renewable electricity that the mill will be able to sell into the grid and receive income from, which will be offset against their other power costs and therefore reduce the overall cost to the mill.

We set this up to ensure that the investments that were going to be made were going to go directly into the mill, that they weren't going to leave Nova Scotia and they weren't going to go anywhere else, and that the money was going to be invested right back into the plant to make it a more efficient, low-cost mill and therefore be able to survive in that exact environment.

It was not necessary for us to know that there was going to be a decline in the U.S. dollar or some rebound in the price of newsprint - many analysts say that that's not going to happen. What we wanted to do was put money in place that would allow that mill to actually operate in that low-cost, high-efficiency environment. We know that at some point in time the newsprint market will reach its equilibrium, and when it does, the remaining mills will be able to make money and be prosperous.

We also said to the mill ownership that in terms of the capital loan itself, for those efficiencies, we would be prepared to write down those particular investments at an expedited rate if the company would agree to make additional investments into the plant to increase the efficiencies - but also to see if they could diversify the kinds of products that are being produced. That's an ongoing conversation that the province is continuing to have with Bowater Mersey, because as I said before, it's now not enough for us to simply make these kinds of investments and walk away and say we've done our job. We have to continue to work with the industry to ensure that it has a healthy long-term future. I'm sure that the members opposite - because I heard this virtually the next day we want to see that mill operate, but we also want to see the mill in Port Hawkesbury up and running again. We know we have a world-class asset there.

[Page 5221]

Literally the next day I happened to be at the airport, and I met people there from Inverness and from Port Hawkesbury who were leaving for work out west. What they said to me as I went by them was, great job on Bowater, and now we have to sort Port Hawkesbury out so that I don't have to get on this plane anymore. I agree with them. I believe that there is a great opportunity with that mill as well. This bill is a demonstration of the commitment to the industry on the South Shore, but also a commitment to the industry generally.

In addition to the $25 million that has been put in place to improve the efficiency, to improve the cost structure of the mill - I want to make this clear, I don't believe that we did all of this on our own, there were many partners who came into the mix. I want to thank the Port of Halifax; I want to thank the municipalities who took part in this; Nova Scotia Power played its part in this; there were businesses right along the South Shore who made it clear through their encouragement that they wanted to see this bill take place, they wanted to see this agreement reached. I think that was a very good thing for them as well.

I want to talk a little bit about the $1.5 million agreement that would allow for a training contribution through the Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program. The reality is that there are going to be a lot of changes that are going to be made in the mill as a result of the new efficiencies that are going to be there. There's going to be new equipment for people to be trained on and this is an opportunity for the government to assist in that training so that they can very efficiently operate the mill itself, but also so they can do it safely. The thing about good training is that good training also means that workers are able to operate safely in an environment where new technology is coming on stream, something that might not be completely conversant with, and that's why we felt the training component of this was also necessary.

I saved the $23.75 million purchase of land to the last because I wanted to talk a little bit about that. There is a commitment to the province that was made by all of the Parties in this House to get to the 12 per cent protected threshold for land in Nova Scotia, to bring that into government ownership to ensure that we protect it for future generations.

As I understand it, we're somewhere in the 9.5 per cent range right now, 9.3, something like that, so we still have quite a way to go in terms of the acquisition of land to get us to the 12 per cent threshold. Some of the highest conservation value land in the province is owned by Bowater Mersey, which means that what we were able to do with this is to put in place an arrangement where we could pick up a sum of that very valuable property in this process and benefit both the company, from a cash flow perspective, and the province, by getting some of the available high conservation value property.

We realized that we wanted to make the transfer of that money take place before the actual property was identified. Why is that? Well, it is because we wanted to make sure that we were getting the best-valued property in the deal. What were we looking for? We were looking for land where there would be species at risk. We were looking at land where there are old forests. We were looking for land that would help protect the aquatic health of the forest. We were looking for land that was going to protect the diversity of the Province of Nova Scotia and that meant that there was going to have to be a process where we were going through and talking to the actual groups that knew this situation the best.

[Page 5222]

I'm sure that not all members in the House would know this, but there is a Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute that has done a lot of work with Bowater Mersey over the years. They have, in fact, gone through with them and helped them identify the kinds of property that they would like to see change hands. So part of that work that will take place is to work with those who are most conversant with the actual kinds of property, or pieces of property, we would want to acquire. We knew that was going to take time and we knew that if we were going to be able to properly do it that it would take a number of months, likely, but we didn't want the workers in the plant, we didn't want the community to be waiting for months on end to complete a process that was going to have to take place and in the meantime be waiting on an arrangement which, frankly, we wanted to have agreed on and settled.

This required that AbitibiBowater take the deal to their board of directors to have it signed off there. They had to take it to the minority shareholders at the Washington Post and have their board sign off on this agreement and, of course, we were going to have to sign on behalf of the province. So I've laid out, just generally, what the agreement looks like and I want to be clear again, I know that - and we heard a number of questions from the Official Opposition over the last number of days about this agreement and why they think this is a bad deal, a bad agreement, and clearly that is, I suppose, a matter of opinion that at some point in time will be tested by the people of Nova Scotia.

We're perfectly comfortable with that because we think that the result, or the only other possible result, would be a considerable loss of economic activity in our province, a loss of jobs on the South Shore, and that simply was not acceptable to us. If it is acceptable to the Official Opposition, then it will be left to them to explain why that is to the people of the province.

I believe it was during the last Question Period we had, the member for Cape Breton South called the pulp and paper industry a dinosaur industry and we just simply disagree. What we know is that there is an industry in transition and we know that there will be mills that do survive. The question is, how will they survive? They will survive in a low-cost, high-efficiency, and very competitive market, and that's the way that this mill is being positioned.

Yes, of course, we have seen Abitibi mills close before. We've seen the mill in Corner Brook close. Kruger is still operating in Newfoundland and Labrador. There is still production coming out of the market in newsprint as mills in other areas are closing but the reality is that the ones that survive in that, I believe, are going to be in for the long haul and we want to be. The simple fact of the matter is that pulp and paper, those mills have been a big part of the history of Queens County and of the surrounding region, and we hope that it's going to be a big part of the future.

[Page 5223]

We see ourselves as investing in the future. We know that there are going to continue to be challenges but we have to be prepared to meet those challenges and to be able to move the industry forward.

So the matter insofar as the Official Opposition is concerned is very clear. My assumption is that they are going to vote against the bill - I hope they don't, but from everything that they have said that would appear to be the case. And I know they've been very, very critical of the agreement and, in fact, really very critical of any kind of investment in that facility.

I want to turn for a second to talk about the opposition of the Progressive Conservative Party and what they have said over the last number of days. The Progressive Conservative Party likes to play this one very cleverly. They say we're going to back the agreement, we're going to vote for the bill, we don't agree with the plan, so it's very necessary for us to be really critical of the plan because that's our job, as the Opposition. They never, ever say, of course, what it is that they would have done differently.

They talk about the context of the bill and they say that there's a bad economy and that that somehow is our fault - as if the downturn in the pulp and paper industry and the international economic situation is somehow controlled by the 52 people in this House. That's simply not the case, but if it were, Madam Speaker, the simple fact of the matter is that we are the inheritors of the legacy that was left by the former Progressive Conservative Government.

They talk about taxation, Madam Speaker, but the truth of the matter is that taxation in this province, business taxation, is now lower than at any time in the last 20 years. That's a result of changes that were made in taxation by this government. The large corporation capital tax is continuing to be eliminated year by year; we have reduced the small business tax not once, but twice, something that the former government talked about but never actually did - that's with respect to businesses themselves.

They talk about investment in the province and how we have to be encouraging investment. So I don't know if you remember or not, Madam Speaker, the Progressive Conservative Party used to have a worker who worked for them, a guy who worked in their research office, a guy by the name of Peter Moreira - he's actually quite well-known, he's an author. He left the Progressive Conservative caucus for the reason - and this is interesting - for this very reason, he left in order to set up a new venture capital site. What he said is - and I'll table this - the landscape for start-ups in Atlantic Canada is changing for the better. He said, you've got outside investors coming into Atlantic Canada in ways that they never did before. He said that it's no longer a black mark to be based in Atlantic Canada. I'll table that article just to remind the Progressive Conservatives of what was said by one of their former researchers.

[Page 5224]

The simple fact of the matter is that we are, in fact, finding a very strong investment community here. We have collaborated for the new Atlantic Canada Venture Capital Fund with the Province of New Brunswick, and we're hopeful that Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador will soon join that venture capital fund as well, so that there are new pools of capital investment for the province, because we believe that this cannot be a stagnant process, that there needs to continue to be investment in the pulp and paper industry, but particularly in innovation and productivity really across the board.

In very difficult times when you see industries going through changes, when you see industries suffering from changes that are beyond their control in the general economy, those companies that stop investing at that point are usually the ones that don't survive. It's the ones who, in tough times, continue to make changes, continue to invest, continue to innovate, continue to become more productive, continue to become more efficient - those are the industries that not only survive, they thrive.

That was the way we approached this bill and this agreement with Bowater. We said we want you to be investing directly in the plant, we want you to be looking at innovative new ways to approach your industry, and we want you to look at new efficiencies in the mill. That's what this agreement is all about - it's about innovation, efficiency, and investment. That's what this bill is about and that's what I would ask the members of the Opposition to think about when they're called upon to vote.

With those few words in favour of Bill No. 133, I'm going to take my place, and my hope is that I can count on all the members of the House to make the right decision and to vote for Bill No. 133. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MS. PAM BIRDSALL « » : Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place today to speak to Bill No. 133, the Bowater Mersey Pulp and Paper Investment Act. This package for Bowater Mersey Paper will help the mill become more cost-effective, giving it a more competitive place in this ever-changing world.

Who would have thought five years ago that many of us wouldn't be reading newspapers that were delivered every day on our doorstep? Who would have thought that the book printing industry would be changed by different appliances that people now use to read books? The world is changing and moving quite rapidly in different directions that are very difficult to predict, and all of this helped reduce the demand for newsprint. Times have changed in so many ways and we are all aware our province and our country are parts of the global economic puzzle.

[Page 5225]

New ways of solving these economic issues are needed, and that is just what has happened with the Bowater Mersey situation. The bill is a multi-year agreement between the province and Bowater Mersey which includes a capital investment of $25 million to be used on a long-fibre refining project and a topping turbine at the Brooklyn energy power plant; the province is also moving toward making land acquisitions of 10,000 hectares for $23.8 million - and there's an opportunity to buy more land, up to 20,000 hectares more; and there will also be $1.5 million for worker training.

I'd really like to talk about how the regions worked together. The region of the Queens municipality has provided a tax break for $135,000, and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, under the leadership of Mayor Don Downe, is considering their options in ways to help as well.

In August, AbitibiBowater was ready to close the plant. That would have been something that would have devastated the south shore of Nova Scotia and affected many people in my area. At that time, the Premier wanted to get everyone at the table to look at ways to avert this closure. This is a very complex issue. I remember being in a meeting held at the office of the member for Queens, which was attended by the member for Lunenburg West, the Premier, members of the planning team from government, representatives from the office of the Mayor of Queens, and representatives from Locals 141 and 259, Bowater management, and representatives from the Lunenburg-Queens Rural Development Agency and local businesses were also there.

This type of in-depth consultation happened many, many times. I can't stress enough how collaborative and focused everyone has been. Everyone has been working for the higher good, and the solution and the plan the government has put forward certainly shows that to be true. Workers in the community and all levels of government have put forward the best possible solution showing good leadership - and not just one big cheque being written.

The Bowater sawmill is in my constituency, in Oak Hill. I know that many families in my area heaved a sigh of relief when this bill was put forward. A large number of people in my area are involved in forest operations, and many of them have been working in the mill for up to five generations. The skills and the lifestyle have been passed down from one generation to another. In our area there are small and large woodlot owners. With a lot of our young people going out West, we're trying to reinvigorate small woodlots by introducing some of the aspects in our forest strategy that we've put forward this year.

The numbers of direct and indirect jobs related to Bowater Mersey are measured up and down the South Shore. This situation keeps good jobs in rural Nova Scotia, and workers in that area had very tough decisions to make to keep the mill open. We will not lose sight of the sacrifices that many of the workers made to move this plan forward.

[Page 5226]

The aspect of Bill No. 133 that reflects the 25,000 acres of land the province will be purchasing from the company has been very well received. I've had many e-mails to my office saying that people thought this was a terrific idea and that they applauded this move. Conservational groups and outdoor enthusiasts think that we have followed the right path. Nova Scotia is such a beautiful area and families enjoy being together, travelling outside and being on trails, being in the wilderness. People come from all over Canada and all over the world to experience our clear air, water, and forests.

Some of this land may be used toward the province's goal of 12 per cent protected land by 2015. This will provide more recreation and tourism, as well as commercial and community use. Bill No. 133 has provided an innovative plan to keep families secure in their jobs on the South Shore. Keeping good jobs and communities strong in rural Nova Scotia is of utmost importance to our government.

When the Premier made the announcement about the deal that was reached, a wave of relief was felt through the whole South Shore. People have been very grateful for the government's leadership. To quote the Premier, "During difficult times, the people of the South Shore stood together. And I am proud to say the Government of Nova Scotia stood right there with you." Thank you, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am very pleased to rise here today and speak on this bill, an Act to Sustain Jobs and Invest in Southwest Nova Scotia's Pulp and Paper Sector. This is a bill that not only supports the southwest but supports all Nova Scotians in our future - in our future for communities to be strong and in our future for the job market for Nova Scotians.

This is a good bill. It's a bill about jobs in rural Nova Scotia. It is a bill about innovation and keeping an industry globally competitive. It has all the components of a very good bill, because it's a solid bill.

The company Bowater had to make some tough decisions in today's world, in today's economy. I'm very proud to be part of a government that was able to take what looked to be a fait accompli and turn it around from a business totally closing and leaving our province and the loss of up to 2,000 jobs, and what that would have meant to all those family members and to those people who lost their jobs, and how that would have rattled our economy in Nova Scotia.

To be under the leadership of this Premier of Nova Scotia - it is incredible to watch him and our team coming together to be able to create a situation where the company has done a total turnaround in order to stay in this province. I want people to realize when they speak about Bowater, now and in the future, that is a major factor we can't forget. If it were not for this government, those doors would have been closed and we would have been writing a very different history in this province, but because of the great leadership that we have in our Premier and the people who surround him, along with the leadership in the community of Queens, the leadership of the community itself, and the workers from Bowater who had to make a very tough decision, came together as a community, came together as caring individuals - as we often see in Nova Scotia - to say they would do their part in making sure this company could still be part of their community, as it has been for many years.

[Page 5227]

This bill is a good bill because we're looking at not just, as my colleague said, writing a cheque. We did what any good negotiators would do: go in, sit down, take that leadership and talk about what best value out of this poor and sad situation we could gain for the people of Nova Scotia. So we're very grateful to all those who came together, through the corporations, the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia Power, along with the municipal council, to make this a reality.

I must say that it's very fortunate that we do have an NDP Government because of the fact that this is the way this government has been thinking from day one in terms of developing plans and strategies. Believe me, Madam Speaker, we can peel back the pages of the history books in Nova Scotia and what we would discover is that there was very little planning in the past by the former governments. There were a lot of ad hoc decisions, quickly writing the cheque if it looked good politically and would advantage those Parties politically. That's not who the NDP are. We look at these situations in a long-term, strategic manner.

Madam Speaker, I know for years, even way before I was involved in politics, one of the things I often heard people talk about when they were talking about politics was, why don't they plan for the future? It seems that all that ever happens is to plan for that political cycle in four years. So we know that over 250 years people were absolutely right, that was the way that business was done in this province. However, when Nova Scotians elected this NDP Government, they also elected futurists, individuals who realize that if we're going to have a strong today, we have to plan for a strong tomorrow.

So certainly this bill is a good bill. There is leadership in this bill, and also this government has looked at the fact of the importance that business plays in our province and in our society, from small business to the large corporations and, yes, we do have experience in our caucus and the members from the NDP in the business world.

We've often heard the other side asking that question and we do. Many people here have owned their own business, have worked for corporations, they know the business world, and for that reason one of the first steps that we did as a government was to reduce the business tax and that, as the Premier has mentioned in his speech, is the first time in 20 years - just think about it - the first time in 20 years that that tax has been reduced to create an atmosphere for business in this province, along with the fact, as we all know, that with the ships contract and the Churchill Falls, it gives our Nova Scotians hope, and this is what we did with Bowater. We gave hope.

[Page 5228]

So we also, however, do not want to forget those workers who have lost their jobs and have sacrificed what they've been doing as a living for many years, for most of them. That fact is that what goes around comes around, so we know that good will come around for these individuals and we're here as a government to help them in finding employment. But as I said before, Madam Speaker, this is about community, this is about government working with municipal government, and this is about government taking leadership.

I know that we heard different numbers in terms of how many individuals this affects in the workforce and we have to realize that there is a domino trickle effect. Living in the South Shore representing Chester-St. Margaret's, there are people all the way down the South Shore that actually work at Bowater or they work at one of the sawmills, or they have a forestry business, there are many, many businesses. So 2,000 is probably only really hitting the tip of the iceberg when we say that if this deal was not sealed through this government that what we would be looking at is a devastating effect of 2,000-plus jobs in Nova Scotia being lost.

When you look at the deal that we were able to make at a very stressful time, it is, as I said, a good bill because of the fact that the deal with Bowater was not just opening up the chequebook, which would have happened by the past governments, they would have done it in that manner in their scurry to try to make a deal. But what we did as an NDP Government was talk about things that would be important to Nova Scotians and one of those, Madam Speaker, is certainly our lands.

We know over the years that most of the lands, a lot of our beautiful forestry lands, were bought up by the Bowater company because that is their business. There are many people that have lost their accessibility to that land. When we made this deal we could have just ignored that, but we didn't as a government, we brought that forth as part of our negotiation leverage that here is an opportunity to create a legacy, a history. That land could have been gone forever if it was one of the past agreements as the former governments would have done, just sign the cheque and away we go. We put into that deal that those very important lands would be available for us to purchase, and that's $23 million worth of land. You can ask people in Nova Scotia just how important it is to them to have their land back, to the people of Nova Scotia.

As the Premier also indicated in his speech, the fact that this deal also talked about modernization and what could Bowater do in terms of modernizing themselves, and what area could we focus on so they could be a leader in an industry that has been struggling. An industry, because of the newspaper industry around the world facing the difficulties of modern technology, and so therefore we know that that is a struggle, it's a struggle with many businesses within Nova Scotia in terms of becoming modern.

[Page 5229]

The leadership needs to be there in a government to create that knowledge and to plant the seeds to the corporations that we are here as leaders to support you as we face tough economic times. We face the issues globally that are creating problems for corporations and added on top of it, if it's a product that there's less demand for in today's world, then there's much more of an opportunity that that business is going to have quite a difficult time.

That is one of the things, as I said, Madam Speaker, that I'm very proud of is the fact that we are visionaries and planners and we do know that it is important to plan for the future. We don't have a crystal ball, Madam Speaker, but at least what we can do is to talk and consult and be involved with the businesses in Nova Scotia, to be able to encourage them to look forward to the future.

As I said, unfortunately, in the past this did not happen with former governments - there wasn't a discussion of the future and planting that seed and working together on changes that may have to be made to major corporations. So that is a very good thing that this NDP Government has done, and it's been a very collaborative approach.

As I said, it's very important, Madam Speaker, that we, as Nova Scotians, support this, that we support the people of not just southwestern Nova Scotia, but all of Nova Scotia. These types of situations can happen anywhere in this province so it's important for us to be prepared because things are changing very rapidly in this world. We have to have strategies in place, we have to know that as we go forward in the future that changes will take place and that we just do not open the chequebook and write a cheque, that what we do is that we take the leadership in developing what that contract will look like - and that is what our Premier and our team has done.

I know the people of Nova Scotia are very proud of that and they are very proud of the fact that they have a government that has been able to take a situation that, only even a month ago, looked very dooming to all of Nova Scotia, with a major corporation that has been here for years and has so many other businesses tied to it. When we say the businesses tied to it, it's not only the fact that you have direct ties to a sawmill but you also, if the economy in that area is not functioning well, you're going to have other small businesses that are going to have struggles in that community and may have to close their doors. So the domino effect is huge, and that's why it was so very important for this government to be able to come in with partnerships and with the communities, to be able to bring Bowater back to the table and back to the community.

We are very strong, as I said, in terms of looking at the future. There are situations that will occur that we have absolutely no control over, Madam Speaker, in the corporate world, but as a government we are prepared to take the leadership and consult and work with those businesses, whether they're small, medium, or large.

[Page 5230]

So I would encourage and would hope that everyone sitting in this House would support this, because if they don't support it, Madam Speaker, it's very clear what that message gives to all Nova Scotians, that they're not supporting jobs in rural communities, they're not supporting the communities themselves, and they're not supporting the people of Nova Scotia who get up at 5:00 a.m. and work 12-hour shifts, who are worried about their jobs. That's what a vote against this bill would be, and that would be very sad.

We're here as a government to support it - we're proud of Queens, we're proud of all the South Shore, we're proud of all Nova Scotians, that they know we're here to support them because we care and we're visionaries. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. GARY RAMEY « » : Madam Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise in my place tonight and speak briefly in support of Bill No. 133, the Bowater Mersey Pulp and Paper Investment (2011) Act. I say "briefly" because a number of my colleagues have already said a number of the things that I'd like to say - but I do have a few things to add.

Madam Speaker, in August the province received some very devastating news, that Bowater Mersey would close its mill in Brooklyn. This, of course, as has already been stated, would have had a disastrous effect on the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia. It not only would have had a devastating effect on those working at the mill in Brooklyn, but the ripple effect would have been significantly larger in the greater community, affecting literally hundreds of workers in Queens and Lunenburg Counties, Shelburne as well, with additional far-reaching effects felt as far away as Yarmouth, Annapolis, Digby and Halifax.

I know the other day in the House the member for Glace Bay, who is a good fellow I might add, was speaking about this, was mentioning the job loss at the actual mill in Brooklyn and rightly so. But I'm not sure if he really was aware at the time of just how many other folks would have been similarly affected and I want to reassure all members of this House that it would have been a significant impact on that whole southwestern region.

These impacts would affect forestry crews working on the woodlands and there are a good number of them in Queens and Lunenburg. It would have affected sawmill workers at several mills. It would have affected employees at Brooklyn Energy and not insignificantly for us in Queens-Lunenburg, a number of truckers. They haul both saw logs and chips. By all accounts up to 2,000 folks would have been adversely impacted and 2,000 folks being affected by any plant shut down is certainly a significant number, in any part of the province where it occurs.

The spinoff effects on local businesses - I think that's obvious - from grocery stores to car dealerships, would have been horrendous. Fortunately though - I say fortunately because of the swift action of the Premier and the government, none of that came to pass. But the possibility of it coming to pass was there.

[Page 5231]

An enormous amount of credit has to go to the workers and the wider community in the region. The workers had an incredibly tough decision to make. None of us would have wanted to have been put in that position. Some workers were making decisions about other workers and we know this. They had to make a tough decision and they really got the ball rolling by having the fortitude to make it. They should be, and I hope they will be, by everybody in this province, roundly applauded for doing that.

Moreover, all members of the community came together. It was another perfect example of how, if you want to get something done, especially if it's a big thing, in the Province of Nova Scotia, everybody has to get on the boat and row the same direction. When I say the community came together, what I mean by that is the municipalities of Queens and Lunenburg were terrific, the Port of Halifax folks, Nova Scotia Power and as I stated earlier, our government.

The folks in the region know they have not been forgotten by this government and this Premier. Although sadly this does not appear to be the case for all members of this House, some of whom, on the benches opposite, have been highly critical of the deal. In any event, we on this side of the House feel this is the right package, at the right time, and will benefit all parties. The people of Nova Scotia, all of the people of Nova Scotia, receive a considerable amount of land for public use, which will help us meet our goal of 12 per cent protected land. That's a widely-touted figure and most Nova Scotians know that is the figure we have to hit. I think the Premier mentioned in his remarks that there is some absolutely beautiful land among the lands that we're looking at that will be a great boon to that package of land in the land bank.

The mill becomes the beneficiary of energy efficiency upgrades, which will make it more competitive - which it has to be - and will help to ensure its future viability, again, another part of the package that makes total sense.

I'm proud of the people in Queens and Lunenburg Counties for being tough in times of adversity. This isn't the first time, by the way, that people down there have had to be tough. We lived most of our lives by going to sea and we all know what that's like. I applaud them for that toughness in times of adversity, while showing two other great traits that everyone down there has, and actually I think all Nova Scotians have, and those traits are compassion and empathy for their fellow citizens. When we see people in times of distress or trouble, there aren't very many Nova Scotians who don't get it.

I am equally proud of the Premier and our government for doing the right thing at the right time to keep this mill a viable operation and a going concern. I know for a fact that many of the people on the South Shore of Nova Scotia will have a great Christmas as a result of this and I hope - and I think we all should hope and I think this will very much come to pass - a great future as well.

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So, with those few words, Madam Speaker, since I already alluded to the fact that many people have spoken before, thank you very much and I will take my seat.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. CHARLIE PARKER « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker, I rise to close debate on Bill No. 133, the Bowater Mersey Pulp and Paper Investment (2011) Act. I want to thank all members for their interventions on this important bill as we invest in the workers and the families and really the communities of southwestern Nova Scotia and in the pulp and paper industry here in our province.

Again, Madam Speaker, I close debate on Bill No. 133.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 133. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 90.

Bill No. 90 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 90.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Richmond.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Madam Speaker, it's a pleasure to have the opportunity to make a few remarks on Bill No. 90, the Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act, which the name in itself is slightly amusing.

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Madam Speaker, this is similar legislation that was brought in by the previous Progressive Conservative Government in 2008-09. At the time it was agreed by both our caucus and by the then NDP caucus that this was not appropriate legislation, it was not going to achieve the intended goal and as such it should not move forward. Fast forward now to life under a majority NDP Government, where this bad Tory idea has now become a good NDP idea.

At the end of the day, Madam Speaker, this as well, Bill No. 90, will not have the intended effect of preventing metal theft in Nova Scotia. What has changed from then until now? Basically a new government, but again, the bill is significantly different in any way from what was brought forward by the previous Progressive Conservative Government, which again I remind you, the NDP caucus at the time voted against it at Law Amendments Committee and the bill never proceeded any further than that. But with a majority government, obviously this bill is moving forward.

Madam Speaker, as I have said before, this bill is the government's public relations attempt to tell Nova Scotians that this government is somehow getting tough on metal theft in Nova Scotia. It is a reaction to news stories of most unfortunate events where, again, we saw in Nova Scotia families having to go through the horrendous reality of having their fuel line cut and the ongoing contamination around their property and the very significant expense that that brings.

Madam Speaker, as I said before and I will say again, it is a reprehensible act that anyone would go and cut someone's fuel line for a piece of copper or for any other reasons, or people who go steal from substations or from any other businesses, including scrap metal dealers themselves, as we heard on a number of occasions at the Law Amendments Committee phase.

This bill is not going to stop that activity from taking place, so the government will try to send the message to Nova Scotians that they've done something to put an end to this. I fear, Madam Speaker, that once this bill is put into effect, you will still see stories of Nova Scotians having their fuel lines cut or having metal or wire stolen from their properties or from their businesses. This will not stop that.

What will this do? It will add red tape to an industry at a time when the Nova Scotia Government is trying to tell them that we want to reduce red tape, make life easier for you to operate your business. Bill No. 90 does the exact opposite.

Naturally, when this bill was brought forward, this recycled bill from the former Progressive Conservative Government, the industry asked, give us the specifics - what metals do we have to report? What wire do we have to report? What types of transactions do you want us to report? Bill No. 90 is silent on that, and that is a fundamental flaw with this bill. Instead, the Minister of Justice tells us, we will work with the industry to draft regulations.

[Page 5234]

If proper consultation had taken place, the minister would be able to bring those regulations forward now - a criticism that the NDP levelled at the government of the day when they were in Opposition, of not seeing the regulations beforehand. Yet now that they're in government with a majority, when they have an opportunity to do differently, as per their criticisms in Opposition, they as well asked this House and asked the members to pass a bill and to leave it to the Cabinet to determine what the regulations will be. As you know, Madam Speaker, and as all members here know, regulations do not come back before the House of Assembly. We are at the government's whim as to whether they are going to show us regulations before a bill is passed or not.

In some cases, I know some of the ministers have brought the regulations forward with their bill, and I commend them for doing that, but this is an example of where the government is basically saying, trust us, we'll work with the industry and we'll put the regulations in place that will specify exactly what types of metals and transactions need to be reported.

When this bill was first brought forward, it was suggested that there was going to be a reporting period of 24 hours. If a dealer had a suspicious transaction, they had 24 hours to report that to the police. Ironically, it is my understanding that it was actually police agencies that went to the minister and said, that's unreasonable. It wasn't the dealers themselves who had their own concerns; it was police agencies that told the minister, unless you're giving us more resources, it is not practical to expect that we can get officers at a business within 24 hours of an incident taking place.

Now why is that? I think it's important to realize the very nature of this industry. One of the largest dealers in Nova Scotia, John Ross & Sons, is doing 300 to 400 transactions a day - an incredible amount of business, interacting with dealers and buyers throughout the province. That's 300 to 400 a day. Naturally, any suggestion of added reporting requirements would send a chilling effect through this business and so many others.

Again, the question we have is, what guarantees or what assurances can the government provide that this is actually going to have its intended effect? Unfortunately, it's not there. At the same time, this government is unable to point to any other jurisdiction in Canada to say how it's working in those jurisdictions, because no other Canadian jurisdiction has such legislation - nobody else.

Now, one could say that Nova Scotia is being a trailblazer on this, but I would think that would be overly generous. There's a reason no other jurisdictions have such legislation: it simply will not work. At the same time, the message we heard loud and clear from the industry, through the Law Amendments Committee, is that they are looking for the government to work with them, with enforcement agencies, with Nova Scotia Power, with Bell Aliant, and with some of the other major industries that have victims of metal, copper or wire theft. Many of those presenters already indicated that they have installed security camera systems; that they are already in close contact with the police; that if someone is acting suspiciously, they're just refusing to buy that product.

[Page 5235]

One of the other fundamental problems with this bill, Madam Speaker, is that right now there is no licensing requirement to be a scrap dealer in Nova Scotia. So for the police to do enforcement, other than those who self identify themselves as dealers or join the associations, there's really no means of being able to know who is and who is not in the business of buying and selling scrap metals. It's my understanding that the industry itself suggested to the minister that maybe the government should work with them creating a licensing system, such a system that would say you need to register to carry out this activity and if you don't then the police can charge you with carrying out an activity that is prohibited without proper licensing.

It's my understanding that the Minister of Justice didn't really acknowledge that suggestion and instead was determined to move forward with Bill No. 90, which as I have suggested to you is more of a public relations exercise than a means of actually putting an end to the practice of the stealing metals and wire here in Nova Scotia.

Madam Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to commend the dealers who came before us because I know that many people have negative impressions of scrap metal dealers and that's unfortunate because as some of the dealers presented to us at Law Amendments Committee, they said the fact that the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment, as others before him, myself included, can brag that Nova Scotia is a leading jurisdiction in waste diversion, scrap metal dealers are a big part of that success. They take the old car away, they take the old appliance away, and they've helped create the collection of bottles and other recyclable materials.

They have been partners with the province to allow us to achieve the waste diversion success that we have. Yet today, Bill No. 90 is not treating them as partners. It is treating them as an industry that is somehow undertaking illegal activity and supporting that illegal activity. That is most unfortunate. There was a better way for government to do this. There was a better way to treat that industry. The message we heard loud and clear was an industry looking forward to working with government and other stakeholders, not an industry that had to be forced to act through legislation.

Again, there was a better way of doing this. It's unfortunate the government chose instead to try to have something, to send a message that they are acting strong when at the end of the day we know this simply won't have success. Again, I want to commend the men and women who work in the scrap metal industry in Nova Scotia. It is my hope that the minister will work with our caucus and with those dealers ensuring that the regulations are reasonable, that they don't place an unnecessary burden on this industry, and that this province works with the men and women in the scrap metal industry to continue to move forward on new initiatives, and existing initiatives, of waste diversion here in this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Thank you, Mr Speaker, I just have a few comments. We support the idea of taking away the market for scrap metal from thieves. This piece of legislation, we in fact proposed an amendment that specifically stated that no person may sell to a scrap metal dealer or recycler, nor may any scrap metal dealer or recycler accept anything that is or would appear to a reasonable person, who made diligent inquiries, to be a copper pipe used to transmit home heating oil unless the seller holds a valid certificate of qualification as an installer pursuant to the petroleum management regulations under the Environment Act.

Mr. Speaker, the reason we put forward that amendment was really to stop the sale of stolen copper oil line. When you think about it, who should be dealing with copper oil line other than people who are licensed installers? So we put that amendment forward and we are disappointed that the government did not choose to include that amendment in its legislation.

We were pleased to see that government took our advice to make this legislation less intrusive on scrap metal dealers when it comes to investigations, so that it would be more respectful of civil liberties.

One thing that came up in Law Amendments Committee that I think needs to be pointed out - and it was something that I raised and I think the industry, the scrap metal dealers, seemed to look favourably on, was the idea of possibly future self-regulation of their industry. If there are ways that the industry can work to eliminate a market for scrap metal theft, maybe there's a way that the industry can start doing that so that we don't have to have this kind of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, until that happens, we need to help protect people who are victims of scrap metal theft. So I am disappointed, especially with the fact that the amendment that I just mentioned has not been included in the legislation and, because of that, I will not be able to support this legislation. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to say a few words here tonight on Bill No. 90, which is the scrap metal bill that is before us. As the member for Richmond pointed out, this isn't the first time we've looked at a bill that was intended to crack down on the theft of scrap metal in our province. Earlier, in 2008, we had a similar Progressive Conservative bill that came forward and it was shelved and left at Law Amendments Committee because at that time, and a minority government, there were enough voices around the table and enough votes to say that the consultation had been inadequate and that the bill should be left there until more consultation took place.

[Page 5237]

That worked well at the time, the only difficulty was, from my perspective, the consultation didn't take place and that several years passed and it wasn't a hot topic during that time. Now, suddenly, this year yet again we've seen I guess the damage that has been caused to homeowners who have had copper wire stolen from their oil tanks and that has created some environmental spills that are disastrous, really, for a homeowner - I know it can be devastating and extremely expensive to clean up.

Then, in response to that, the government has brought in yet another scrap metal bill that is intended to crack down. My concerns are twofold, really, with it. There are a number of points that I think are worth mentioning, as well as the bigger reasons that I think that this is a problematic bill. One is that we have fines in the bill that are only fines for the scrap metal dealers, who are legitimate business people, small-business people in every community of our province. Very often they also run the recycling depots for returning bottles and recycle materials, so they are partners with the government. They all know government and the Department of Environment well, they work closely under regulations on those industries, but they are now being asked to bear a considerable burden in the bill that is before us.

It's going to create a lot of red tape and a lot of cost - that was what we heard from one after another of the scrap metal dealers who came before us. I should mention, Mr. Speaker, they did travel from around the province to come here and to be heard. I know that always means a lot to us here in the Legislature, to acknowledge people who have taken that time.

My concern really is that we are penalizing legitimate businesses. What we did here is that there's a significant amount of scrap metal that is traded in Nova Scotia and isn't in any of the scrapyards. It goes straight onto trucks and those trucks go out of our province and up to Quebec. There are a number of Quebec companies that are doing exactly that, moving material from Nova Scotia, and probably from New Brunswick as well, right out of the province. So even though we bring in this bill and we include fines that are very significant for a small business to bear there's still every likelihood that we may not be capturing the wrongdoers and we may not be able to put a stop to it through this mechanism.

I think it's really important to mention, as the member for Richmond did, just the goodwill that we saw with those small-business people who came before us, the scrap metal dealers had been working diligently to try to identify any perpetrators of theft. Whenever they see suspicious items, they contact the police. There's a network where the police will often notify them all by e-mail or fax to tell them of an item that has been stolen and they could point to quite a number of times when they were able to respond and to identify that item at their place of business. So if somebody came to them, they would be able to identify it and get in touch with the police.

[Page 5238]

The difficulty we have, however, is that in order to get convictions, people pretty much have to be caught in the act and the reason for that is none of these items are marked and you can't say definitively that a piece of copper wire came from Nova Scotia Power or it came off an oil tank, or was actually the one that came off that particular house. It could be legitimately that it's an oil tank that is being thrown out and somebody took that wire. It's because there is no marking on this, and the fact that it has no self-identifying marks is a real drawback to this legislation as well because it becomes a very generic product and, as I say, one piece of metal looks much the same as another, and so there has not been a great success in getting convictions, but they have certainly been able to identify items and have them returned, and that is particularly possible when they are very identifiable.

The point that is important is the industry has tried hard. They are trying to abide by all the rules and to help police and government, Nova Scotia Power and all the other players, to stamp out this reprehensible theft that is going on and is a risk to other people.

Mr. Speaker, I think what's important is that we recognize that the industry is going to be difficult to completely regulate. It's not a licensed industry. There are legitimate players in the business who are known, as I said. Often they have relationships through the recycling depots, so they're known to government. Those players we can identify but anybody can buy and sell scrap metal without being properly licensed or regulated because that's an industry that doesn't have any regulations that go with it directly. That makes it difficult to capture all the players in this kind of legislation and at the same time we know that there are other companies that are not even established here, don't have operating premises here, that are buying scrap metal and removing it from the province. There's no economic benefit or activity to any Nova Scotian company when that's the case.

So my concern, primarily, was the red tape and the fear that this has put into the industry where many of them are such small players, Mr. Speaker, that the fines that are outlined in the bill are very scary to the operators because if they don't maintain the paperwork that they're required to maintain, I think the first infraction is a $15,000 fine and for any small business that would be very significant and difficult.

Now, in looking at this bill - and I know we're here on third reading today, so the bill is going to pass, there is no question about that even though we heard from the Third Party that they are not in favour of this bill - I think there is an important point to raise and that is the amendment that was accepted by the government, proposed by the Liberal Party at the Law Amendments Committee, and that amendment calls for a three-year review of the bill. I very much appreciated the fact that the members of the Law Amendments Committee and the powers that be agreed to include in the bill a clause that said that after three years there will be a mandatory review and we'll actually get to look and see whether or not the incidents of these household threats . . .

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MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The chatter is getting a little on the high side while the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has the floor.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has the floor.

MS. WHALEN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for that ruling and a little quiet. I wanted to say again that I thought it was a very good thing that the government had accepted the amendment I proposed and I'm very pleased that we will be able to go back in three years' time to just take sober second thought and see if it's working. If it's working, I'll be the first to say that's a wonderful thing that you've been able to eliminate these kinds of thefts, particularly as we said they cause tremendous damage to householders and they can cause injury and death when it involves the electrical wires and installations that are Nova Scotia Power's.

We want to see that decreased as much as anybody and this three-year review will allow us to see whether it has been effective and done the job it was intended to do. I would like to see as well - and it's in the bill - that in that review we'll also look to see what the impact has been on those legitimate small-business people who are doing their very best to follow all the rules that are given to them. So we want to see whether they can come back and say what the cost has been to them and the difficulties that they've had to endure administratively in order to abide by all of these rules.

I know that at that time, I trust that the government will then do the adequate consultation that's needed to find out from industry exactly how this bill has affected their bottom line, affected their employment, affected their business in total. It does have some far-reaching effects.

I want to thank the dealers who took the time to come in and visit us at the Legislature. Many of them are small business, it meant time away from their office, time away from their depots and they don't have big staffs so that's a commitment they made and a cost to them. I think it shows how important it is that they took that time to come in.

In the meantime, Madam Speaker, I would like to take my seat and certainly with the amendment in place, the Liberal Party is going to support this bill. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Madam Speaker, I just wanted to add a couple of words to my colleague's comments, mainly because some of the commentary that we heard in support of this bill related to two incidents in my own constituency. This bill, if it had been in place, would have done nothing to have prevented those two incidents. I just want to clarify that there is obviously some merit in trying to deal with this issue, but the two incidents that were dealt with were the theft of some copper piping from oil tanks. Both of them caused fairly significant incidents. One family with a young child actually woke in the middle of the night to the smell of oil on the property and it was quite a lengthy process to have that removed. Then the perpetrators of that seemed to have moved somewhat down the road and they stole another piece and in the end we saw oil making its way into the lake and the river system there.

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The reason I point this out is because when the police looked at this, it was the opinion of police at the time that the copper was actually moved out of province. The member for Halifax Clayton Park alluded to that, that this bill would do nothing to prevent that. I'm not sure there is anything that the bill could do to prevent that, but I just want it recorded for the record that there are examples being used that this bill would purport to solve but the bill would do nothing for and those are two examples.

There's no question that the theft of copper piping, copper wire, is a serious issue. We also see incidents where, for example, they're pulled out of lighting posts and so forth and then the insulation is burned off and so there's really no identifying marks to that copper. In some other cases, the copper is broken down or melted down and then sold as copper slag. There's not a lot you can do in those situations. It is an issue that needs to be addressed, there's no question but I think we need to be realistic about what the opportunity is here and I'm certainly glad the government has accepted the Liberal amendments to have a review after a number of years because we can see whether it is actually doing something in the end.

Madam Speaker, with that, since we're at the close of debate on this - or very close to the close, I don't know if anybody else is speaking other than the minister, but I think we do need to recognize that this bill has very fundamental limitations and many of the examples that have been used simply would not have been addressed by this bill. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS « » : The former Justice Critic also, thank you to the member for Richmond. Thank you for the comments from the members opposite. Your comments, particularly in terms of your experiences in your communities are much appreciated. With those few comments, I move third reading of Bill No. 90.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 90. Would all those in favour of the motion, please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 5241]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 96.

Bill No. 96 – Pension Benefits Act.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 96.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Thank you very much Madam Speaker, I just wanted to say a few words about the Pension Benefits Act that is before us today, Bill No. 96. I think most of the points and clauses that are included in this bill were called for in the review that was done of pensions in our province and it was a review conducted by Mr. Bill Black, who is very well known as a former executive and owner of one of the large Canadian insurance companies and is definitely an expert in this area. He did a lot consultation. There were multiple submissions that were all posted online. There was good consultation in this instance, I can absolutely say.

We had an opportunity to see them as they were posted and have a chance to speak, as members of the Opposition, and I know government members as well, to speak to Mr. Black and learn more about the perspectives that were there. I believe, overall, the changes are welcome and I know from speaking to some advisors that I have talked to in the past they're very happy with some of these changes that harmonize our Act with other provinces, make it easier to move between provinces and maintain your rights. There are multiple changes in this bill.

My one point that I'd like to rise today, which I don't believe is there, is the consultation that is underway right now in the regulations. I know they were posted last week on the internet so that stakeholders and interested parties could get in touch and comment on those regulations that are before us. But what I was particularly looking for look for in the regulations was some hope that they would include solvency relief, not only solvency relief but exempting certain organizations from the solvency requirement.

For the members of the House many of you may not follow this issue closely but there are two ways to value your pensions. One way is on a going concern basis and the other is on a solvency basis. If you use solvency it means that at any given time, on any given day, if your business were to close or your organization, your activity were to stop work that day and cease to exist, you would have enough money to be solvent, to pay your requirement under the Pension Act.

[Page 5242]

The going concern basis assumes that your organization will always continue and the province uses that basis for evaluation of our pensions. We would be severely underfunded as a province if we took that solvency rule and applied it to ourselves, the Province of Nova Scotia and our employers, but we recognize that there will always be a government in Nova Scotia, that that government will have activities and a tax base and will be able to meet their going concern needs. The going concern needs are, how do they continue to pay the pensions that they have today and continue to, at the same time, look after their employees and put money aside, but they don't need the amount of money that would say, if we wrapped up everything today, do we have enough money in the pension plan to pay off all our employees that would be entitled to a pension?

It's a much more stringent requirement to go with the solvency rule and the sector - and I'm sure the Minister of Education would be particular interested in this with post secondary education because we have, I believe, only one university in the province that offers a defined benefit plan and that's where this becomes of interest. It's not of interest with defining contribution because there isn't a long-term ongoing promise to pay a certain amount of benefit. Madam Speaker, if you have a defined contribution plan, individuals put in their own amount of money that they're required to, their employer may match that, but it's much like an RRSP, you get out what that fund has grown to over a period of time.

It is very much dependent on the ups and downs of the stock market and on investments and there is no guarantee that at the time you come to retire you will get x amount of dollars per month or per year. It has a lot more uncertainty and there are only a few employers, and unfortunately a shrinking number employers, who maintain a defined benefit plan, as you get with government. People are left at much greater risk of retiring into poverty without that. A defined benefit plan is certainly the most desirable to have for any employee.

Dalhousie University came to speak to us at Law Amendments Committee, both the faculty and the administration. They have a defined benefit plan which they see as very much part of their recruitment.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The chatter is becoming a little too loud in the Chamber.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has the floor.

MS. WHALEN « » : Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I really wanted to speak to the concern that Dalhousie University brought to us, that is that they believe as a large institution that has been in existence for well over 100 years - they are approaching 200 years, I think - maybe somebody in the House knows how long they have been incorporated or in existence. It followed, I believe, they got money from the War of 1812 that helped fund that university and start it up, so it's been a long time. They are our largest institution in Nova Scotia, again a long history. They are a professional university, the only university offering medicine and law, and that university believes they have no danger of not continuing their operation.

[Page 5243]

If they were, by some absolutely extraordinary event, not to continue to operate, they said that their own investments and land holdings would more than helpful to pay for all of the outstanding obligations they have in their defined benefit plan to the employees and current pensioners of Dalhousie. So they feel there is no risk whatsoever in exempting Dalhousie from a solvency requirement and measuring them, as we do ourselves, on a going-concern basis.

Madam Speaker, my big concern is that this isn't just a lot of financial intricacies or complexities, this comes down to dollars and cents to the university, to the students, to the government that helps to fund the operations, to everybody who's involved in Dalhousie because if they are held to the solvency requirements, they have only about another year and a half that they were given relief for that, and they have to be fully funded to their level by I think within seven years. That's going to cost, they said, about $50 million, I think, a year. They said it was equal to their Faculty of Medicine, that it would cost that much money to fund this.

That means you either take it out of extra tuition from students, which would be a terrible thing to do when we're at a point in time when actually our tuition is coming more into the realm of sort of the average in Canada. We were at the top and we want to bring it down for our students. We don't want to hit the students up for higher tuition to fund pension plans to a level that really is not necessary. It's really putting millions of dollars aside for that possibility that they will never exist or that they will cease to exist. It's not going to happen and, as I said, Madam Speaker, they have the resources to back up their requirements - they have the land in peninsular Halifax and elsewhere that would more than cover their obligations, so the risk is minimal.

I know I had this discussion with another member of the House, Madam Speaker, who said well, what about the risk? We have to ensure that these plans are viable and strong. I don't see any risk in the case of Dalhousie University. What I do see is that under the current system it's going to suck a lot of money out of the university's plans and programs, out of the students' pockets, possibly more money from government to maintain them, for the purpose of bulking up those pension plans to a level that really is not needed, to a level that isn't going to make a difference at the end of the day. I believe the university should be funded on a go-forward basis.

The other party that this also affects and will affect every single taxpayer in Nova Scotia - no, I'm sorry, in Halifax, in HRM - it's not all over Nova Scotia, but the property taxes of HRM will be impacted, and that's our municipal unit of HRM. They are in the same situation as the municipality - they are not treated the same way that we are as a province. They are being measured on that requirement to be fully funded on a solvency basis, so unless we exempt them completely, they also are going to have to come up with millions more dollars.

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We had this discussion a few years ago at the time when they were given a few years exemption and that exemption came about because of the poor performance of the markets and their funds were so low. At that time they make the point that it would almost double the amount of money they'll have to take from their employees as contributions, each year and, again, as the employer HRM is going to have to double their commitment annually to the pension plans. That's going to have an impact on every single homeowner and business in HRM because property taxes are already high in this area and we're going to become even less competitive.

Again, it seems like a moot point to be funding to that level when the municipality - HRM - is not going to cease to exist. It has land, it has assets, and it can back up its pension plan. It would be much like at the earlier amalgamation - if HRM didn't exist, then there would be another municipal unit that would take over. At one time it was Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and the county, and now we're one municipality, but there has to be a government that will govern this area. So they said they will not cease to exist, but the impact is going to be tremendous on the individuals who work for HRM, who are going to have to pay into that solvency plan.

I wonder if the members of the House remember - particularly the HRM members. I think there are 18 members of the Legislature who represent HRM ridings, and I would think that this would be of importance to all of them. I do think it has gotten a little quieter when we talk about 18 members of this House representing workers and people, and probably we could add in Hants and a few other areas; a lot of people commute into Halifax from the area surrounding Colchester, perhaps, and certainly Enfield. There are a lot of other towns and so on just on the edge of the HRM, but I'm sure all of those, and all of us who represent HRM ridings, are going to be hearing from HRM employees when their contribution level is suddenly going to double off their pay. When we see that and we see the sudden increase in property taxes in order to fund that, again, I guess the HRM members aren't paying too much attention today.

AN HON. MEMBER: I'm listening.

MS. WHALEN « » : Thank you again, Madam Speaker, for calling for a little quiet. I just want everybody to recognize that this is going to affect the pocketbooks of all of our constituents when they have to pay more for property taxes. Our businesses in HRM are taxed at two and a half times the rate of a homeowner. You can imagine they're paying very hefty taxes to operate a business in HRM, and if we're funding our pension plan for that rainy day that is never going to come - that is more of a theory than any real risk whatsoever - I think we've gone too far.

Before I take my seat, it's important to note that some other provinces have exempted municipalities and institutions like Dalhousie University. When Dalhousie was in, they mentioned a couple of other provinces - which are provinces having universities that we compete with. We compete to attract good professors. We want to offer them a defined benefit plan so that they'll come and bring their expertise and knowledge here to Nova Scotia, and this is going to make it that much more difficult for Dalhousie to do that. I would think it would be a sad day if we lose the defined benefit plan that Dalhousie is able to offer now, but if we don't make pragmatic and sensible changes now with the pension Act open before us, I believe there is an opportunity in the regulations for the government to do just that.

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From reading the discussion paper, I don't believe there is a move afoot to do it. I'm asking today, here on third reading, if the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education would consider looking again, or maybe even enlightening the House when she closes on third reading, to let us know whether there's any possibility of that being incorporated in regulation so that HRM could have the same relief that other provinces give to their large municipalities, and to also provide that relief to Dalhousie. I understand that Dalhousie, if they go to a jointly-sponsored plan, will get a little bit - 20 per cent - relief on the solvency question, but in order to do that the employees who work there and are covered under their pension plan will have to agree to be jointly sponsored. That means they have to take on half the risk and half the responsibility for the plan. Right now, it's the employer's plan. Shortfalls are all on the shoulders of the employer.

So I don't think that that's going to be an attractive move. I'm not sure why that was proposed in the legislation, if it was actually aimed at Dalhousie or not, but Dalhousie was the only group that came to speak to us - their faculty association, who are represented by this pension plan, as well as other people at the university also represented there - but both of them did come. I see that one of my fellow members has given me both their submissions to have a quick look at. Both came and both said they would like to see the solvency relief, complete solvency exemption, in the regulations or in the bill. They didn't care which, but they really want to see that kind of assistance in the future. Honestly, this will make a huge difference to the operation of the university.

So, for the members of the House, this is not just a moot point. It's not an obscure financial lecture that I've been trying to impart. I'm really trying to tell people that this is going to cost our people money. I want to bring it down to the bottom line, the dollars and the cents. It's going to cost all of us who live in HRM more money on our property taxes. It's going to harm our university. Dalhousie could be given a real lift, a real support from the government by a complete exemption from the solvency requirement. They are not irresponsible; they are going to run that pension plan just as well as it can possibly be run. They want to look after their employees as much as we expect them to look after their employees. They're going to do it. They are a good institution, and of all of our universities, they are the largest and the one that came asking for that help.

I'm hoping we can hear from the minister if there is any ray of hope that that might happen in the regulations. I realize we have a couple of months for consultation - perhaps it's six weeks for consultation - and we will be interested to see. At the same time, I've talked a fair bit today about HRM, and as the former Finance Critic, I earlier had a chance to speak to HRM's pension people quite often. They were unaware of the opportunity to come to the Committee on Law Amendments. The person who is the head of their organization was not in town last week when the Committee on Law Amendments was sitting, but I did speak to them and they have not changed their position. They would very much like to see this complete exemption from the solvency requirement for HRM.

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They are large. They are an area bigger than Prince Edward Island - they are a large municipal unit and they have the financial wherewithal and the certainty that there will always be a municipal unit or a governing unit for HRM. They feel as well that the risk is minimal to none, and Dalhousie, having told us how much they have in assets and land value and so on, is also a minimal to zero risk. If you knew that they stopped operating tomorrow, they would sell those assets and their pension plan would be fully funded.

With that, I certainly hope to hear some feedback afterward from the minister, and I thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to this bill.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Madam Speaker, I rise in disappointment. The other night I put forward amendments to this piece of legislation, the Pension Benefits Bill, because we have a short opportunity to do something that I think would help the pensioners at NewPage and also anybody else in this province whose company winds up. As we've just heard the last member speak, that institution is essentially backstopped by taxpayers, but there are a lot of organizations and companies in the province that don't have that, one of them being NewPage.

I was also disappointed that the minister did not get up and say why her government voted against the amendments. The only thing I can think is that she's waiting to come up tonight so that we can't have any debate on it. I could be wrong. Maybe she'll get up and say that she's going to do something about it. I don't think it's anything to laugh about. I know I'm not laughing about it. It's going to result in the permanent loss of - should the pensions be wound up at NewPage, which is a real possibility, I will state right here and now that we hope the new company will take over those pensions, but should they choose not to and the pensions are wound up, the legislation as it's put forward, unamended, will result in those people losing 30 per cent to 40 per cent of their pensions.

I look forward to the minister's comments, and I also recognize that I will not have a chance tonight to get up to respond to them, but we know there are other avenues to let our feelings be known on that, and I will certainly take the opportunity when the time comes. I will say it again: I'm disappointed that I had put these amendments forth days before in the Committee on Law Amendments and I offered to speak to people - certainly open to communication on it - but there was no communication. There was just a flat "no."

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I would like to think that governments would sometimes be open to ideas from other sides of the Legislature so that we can help improve things. I thought this was a sensible recommendation but no response, no reply.

There are other matters in the legislation that I had referenced in previous reading. I'm not going to go into that now because I'm already on the record for those items. I think there are some things that could have made this legislation better but the most important one, certainly for the people I represent in the Strait area - I know there are other members who represent people in the Strait area who are going to be affected by this or could be affected by this. We hope that they won't be, but I do believe it's a real possibility.

Anyway, people know where I stand and with that, Madam Speaker, I will take my place.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. MARILYN MORE « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank all members for their comments on Bill No. 96, the Pension Benefits Act. I do have some information for the member for Inverness. I just want to say we are very pleased that he recognized the efforts this government has made to mitigate the impact of the 2008 economic downturn and I thank him for that.

He did acknowledge that no one has a crystal ball and that NewPage and its pension plan members chose to extend the time allowed to return their pension plan to solvency. Now our government is helping to keep that mill resale-ready, and we're helping the people and the economy of that region. We take the concern of the member and the concern of the members of those various pension plans very seriously. We know how important this security is to the families and to the economy of that area. We continue to be optimistic that some operations will resume in short order.

The member has suggested that those pension plans, which chose to take advantage of the extended solvency recovery periods, should have some sort of timeline or schedule to accomplish that. I want to assure the member that a solvency deficiency identified before January 2nd must be fully funded within 10 years of its reporting. In Section 6A(3)(a) of the existing Act, which will be in the regulations of this new Act, it requires special payments by equal instalments, with interest, at the solvency valuation interest rate.

The member for Inverness also questioned the death benefits provision. I'd like to clarify what the bill proposes for plan members who die before retirement. Currently if a member dies, their survivor would be eligible to receive 60 per cent of the pension benefit that the worker had earned. The bill proposes that the survivor would be eligible to receive 100 per cent of that earned pension benefit.

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Madam Speaker, I believe the member for Inverness interpreted that to mean that the survivor would receive 100 per cent of the deceased plan member's full pension but that is not the case. The bill would allow the survivor to receive 100 per cent of the value of the benefits that the non-retired member had earned, up to the time of their death.

The member also referred to a financial vehicle called the "safe harbor." He is correct in saying that the Pension Review Committee panned the concept of applying safe harbor in Nova Scotia. It is more prevalent in the United States and we have a different legal system here in Canada.

In an ideal world all pension promises would be fully funded, Madam Speaker. Imposing that on Nova Scotia's businesses right now would likely be a disincentive to have a pension plan. Bill No. 96 introduces more plan design options to make it easier for more businesses to offer pension plans to their employees.

A higher percentage of Nova Scotians have a pension plan when compared to other Canadians; that said, the majority of Nova Scotians do not have a pension plan. Bill No. 96 would make a pension plan available to more Nova Scotians, we hope, and that is the intention of Bill No. 96 - to make life better for Nova Scotian families.

I just want to mention briefly, and I refer to the comments made by the member for Halifax Clayton Park around solvency relief, just to suggest that some of this discussion will happen during the consultation on the regulations. Government has to be very careful in terms of providing solvency relief. The various post-secondary institutions and the municipalities have a variety of defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Certainly something that Mr. Bill Black and his colleagues on the Pension Review Panel have emphasized over and over, and over, to me is that the primary principle should be that employer and employees pay for what they promise in terms of their pension benefits.

It's important to maintain balance and to appreciate both what the member suggested in terms of impact, but also to understand the responsibilities undertaken by the advisory committee plan administrators and the employers and employees.

Madam Speaker, I want to thank all members for their comments, and I now move that we close debate on Bill No. 96.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 96. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

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The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 109.

Bill No. 109 - Safe Body Art Act.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, I now move third reading of Bill No. 109.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place and speak for a few minutes to this bill.

In many respects, our Party considers this piece of legislation long overdue. This is an industry in our province that has no regulations in place to safeguard the health of Nova Scotians who engage in tattooing, body piercing, and other art forms that require some kind of invasive procedure. We had asked about this some years ago, about the Departments of Health and Health Promotion looking into regulations around this industry, because it has become much more mainstream over the past decade.

Because of its widespread practice - for example, in Halifax alone, there are 30 to 40 parlours now that provide some form of tattooing, body piercing and other body art forms - because of that kind of movement into mainstream, it is time that we take a look at what is taking place in other provinces, especially the Province of Alberta, which has a very, very high standard around hygienic practices, and also on reporting and proper ways of dealing when there is blood present from the practice.

We know that over the past number of years concerns have risen around hepatitis B and C, and also AIDS as a possibility because there are times, especially with youth, an age when the apparatus and needles used in the process may go deeper than the one or one-and-a-half millimetres beneath the skin and that can definitely lead to problems. I know the Department of Health and Wellness, and Dr. Strang in particular has now moved from the investigative stage, if there were reports to his office to a stronger, more proactive and regulatory approach. We have heard from the industry that they also have been asking for regulation for some time.

Those artists that are well regarded already have the proper measures in place and are following a code of practice which is exemplary. However, there is no distinguishing of those artists from people who may come into the province and set up in a hotel room for a week, who may set up a storefront for a period of time, arrive on a university campus, whatever the case may be. Because they have a storefront does not mean at all that the best practices associated with the industry are indeed taking place.

[Page 5250]

What this legislation will do, it will in fact require a certification, signage, inspection that will indicate very clearly to those who are going for any kind of body art that safe practices and inspected premises is where they are going. We had heard, especially through their annual convention that this legislation, which is in place in a number of other provinces, wanted to come to Nova Scotia.

Again, I think this is a movement in the right direction. I know one of the artists in my area that has a lot of dealing, especially with the Canadian military, is very keen to have this legislation put in place in the province. I know he didn't appear during Law Amendments Committee but I know that regulations are going to take some time and he is one of the people that I would recommend, that those who already went around the province to consult with tattoo and body piercing and body art practitioners, that can offer some very fine suggestions.

So I hope that he will either present to that committee as they work over the next year to a year and a half. There is a good chance that what we've had so far is basically an announcement on the work that has been done so far and an outline of where the department would like to go. I commend government for bringing this bill forward. More importantly, we'll be looking very closely at what regulations are developed, what kind of enforcement plans and practices will emerge from what I consider to be the first phase of this legislation, and with the way the whole body art movement and the practitioners who are continuing to develop in this area, based on the evolution and the changes that we see.

We know that this is a piece of legislation that will need to continue to be updated. So our Party and our caucus members look forward to seeing how this emerges over the next months. So with that, Madam Speaker, I take my place.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 109. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 110.

Bill No. 110 - Residential Tenancies Act.

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MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 110.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Madam Speaker, I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to say a few words on Bill No. 110. I think of all the ridings in Nova Scotia, Halifax Clayton Park probably has the highest density and the most apartments of any of those ridings. We do have the largest number of voters, that's clear, and I know the boundaries committee is looking at that, but the reason we have such a high population in Halifax Clayton Park is that there are over 9,000 apartment units in my riding. As many of you will know, there are many others in Fairview and on the other side in Bedford-Birch Cove.

It's an area where there's high density. It has many pluses. It allows people to live close to the services that they need. It allows things like our buses to run efficiently because there are a lot of people in one area. It's cheaper for the municipality to maintain the roads and services. So there are a lot of great things about some density, and in our area I can say as well that we've done a great job at maintaining trails, parks, and open spaces, so that there's a nice balance between that.

As you would know yourself, Madam Speaker, the area now has the Canada Games Centre. So we have a wonderful recreation centre that's within walking distance and biking distance of thousands of people. I think that's a real plus to our neighbourhood in Clayton Park. But as I said, it is my privilege to represent people, and more than two-thirds of my constituents live in multi-unit buildings. There are some condominiums in there, but the majority are rental units and the vast majority of those buildings are kept very wonderfully. They are really great landlords who maintain the buildings, who see them as their portfolio, as an investment for the future, often for their family-owned businesses, and they do their very best to keep wonderful properties with nice landscaping. They keep them up. They make repairs when they're needed, and I get very, very few complaints from tenants - or from people in general - about the apartments in my area. That is a big surprise to me, really, when you consider the vast number of buildings that I have.

In the last election I had counted them, before beginning the election, and there were over 175 different buildings. At this point in time I know that there are four or five cranes on the horizon at the Washmill Lake area, that new street that has just opened into Bayers Lake. There are many new buildings that are under construction, and I'm sure that number has risen significantly; I just haven't done a count of all the new buildings.

It is a pleasure to represent that area, to watch the conditions and the balance that exists in legislation, that protects the people who are renting their accommodation, and also protects the owners and builders of those buildings, because they are providing safe and comfortable homes for many families. That is very important, the role that the landlords and the building owners play as well. That's why I say I commend the ones in my area because the complaints are not there, the people who are renting are, I would have to say the vast majority, very happy with the quality and the standard provided.

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Madam Speaker, a few years ago I had a couple of meetings that were billed tenants' rights meetings, a chance to talk to tenants and let them know some of the rules that we have in our province governing their rental arrangements. There are often things that people didn't know and it's really important that they understand the obligation you have as a tenant, as well as the obligation that your landlord has.

Now that we have amendments to an amended Act before us in this bill, I think that's probably a good time for me to do another series of those, and I would recommend others who have significant numbers of apartments to do the same thing. That's where the problems often arise, when people don't understand some of the nuances in their signing of a lease, some of the things they are committed to, as are the landlords.

Interestingly with this bill, we're actually amending an amended Act which has yet to be proclaimed. Last year we passed a new Act for residential tenancies and it had a lot of changes in it based on some significant consultation. I know the minister acknowledges that and I am sure was involved in a great deal of those consultations.

One point I would raise is we do hear from landlords because they are organized and they have an association, which is a very good and long-standing association - I'm thinking of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia. They have an office and an executive director who has done a wonderful job to represent their interests. At the same time, though, we have tenants who don't have an organization because, as I said, many of them are perfectly happy, they choose that choice of home really, to live in an apartment. For many of them that is a deliberate choice - I know a lot of older people selling their homes and choosing to live in some of these lovely apartments in my area and they are happy. They haven't organized or gotten together.

Sometimes the group that we look to for the tenants' viewpoint is probably Dal Legal Aid because they come out and represent tenants on quite a number of occasions. But, at the same time, we have the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations responsible for the Residential Tenancies Board, Madam Speaker, and the Residential Tenancies Board does a great job as well, in advising tenants.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park has the floor.

MS. WHALEN « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was saying that within our own government we do have a very effective and good organization, the Residential Tenancies Board, which hears disputes from both parties and helps to educate tenants, provides information to tenants - when they are signing leases they get information about what services are offered.

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One of the difficulties we've seen over the last number of years is that there have been so many issues that the Residential Tenancies Board has been called upon to deal with that there have been tremendous delays. That was mentioned in the submission that came from the Investment Property Owners Association at Law Amendments Committee, they talked about some significant delays of six and eight weeks, and even longer, to have some fairly straightforward issues heard at the Tenancies Board. That is a big cost to them, and if there's clearly an issue of non-payment or they feel there's nothing being disputed, particularly when it comes to payment, if a tenant has not paid and that's clear, they think it should be faster to come to the board and to get a decision.

I don't know if that suggests to the minister that there might be a reallocation of resources needed, but this bill has taken a step to kind of expedite some of those issues. I think we should go there with caution, it's in the Act, I know we're moving in that direction. I just think it's very important that, again, we do the education for tenants, that everybody understands what the rules are.

This is quite a significant change from where we've been before. I know at Law Amendments Committee I was actually surprised by asking a couple of questions to the presenters who represented landlords, or were landlords themselves, and I wanted to know why it wasn't better because we passed the Act last year. That was when it became clear that the Act has not been proclaimed, so none of those new rules had begun yet. They're still telling us the same story about long delays in going through the Residential Tenancies Board. That did surprise me, Madam Speaker, that we were still at that place, because I thought they could now give us an update on how it's working and how it has improved these days. As that goes along, this bill before us includes some other amendments that are going to be added to the Act that we passed last year, and then I understand that the whole thing will be proclaimed as one, so we'll have all of those changes.

Again, I think that the consultation that was done the year before is really important, and I think that the many people who are renting and choose to be renters need to somehow have a voice in this. At the moment I can only take the fact that I get very few complaints as a reflection on the good landlords in our area and the fact that people are very satisfied with their housing. I do think we have to be cognizant that a lot of the apartments in Clayton Park are more expensive; they're very new and they are very well maintained, as I said. A lot of them are within 20 years, and a lot of them are just a couple of years old.

I want to be very careful that we look for balance in our Acts as we go forward, to ensure that all the parties are going to be properly considered as we look at the balance between landlords and tenants. Whenever you raise this issue there is quite a divergent opinion between the two groups. I'm sure the minister has had to go though that, find the happy medium, or the balance, that would represent both groups. I was glad to see that the bill last year did have that reflected in it, and that everybody said there was a good balance.

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We did hear some presentations at the Committee on Law Amendments this time, saying that the new amendments may put some of that balance out of whack, that it might favour one party over the other. But overall this bill also includes a lot of amendments to mobile home parks, and people who are renting spaces in mobile home parks. Those are actually changes that we've been asking for for a long time, and my colleague the member for Preston, in particular, has raised that on numerous occasions. When I first looked at this bill I thought that that was really all that was included. It was only as I looked at it a little more that I saw some other changes.

The changes that would relate to my area, where I don't have any mobile home parks - but I have two thirds of the people I represent living in the wonderful apartments in my area - what I did see is that the change there is a little bit more of a change on what can be done with the security deposits in the event that somebody is being evicted. The landlord can now keep those security deposits to cover rental arrears. That was an addition; I don't know if it was an omission by accident in the first go-round, but it seems to be that that was something very important to have addressed, about what you do with the security deposit.

I think what's important to note here is that if you are having an eviction for non-payment, your security deposit is only half a month's rent - that is what we set it at in Nova Scotia - so the most that a landlord can take as a security deposit is half of a month. This probably is not going to have a tremendously big impact. I would imagine that that would definitely be going toward the - maybe in the past you could only use it for damages, maybe that's the difference that is in this bill now, that now you can keep it for rental arrears, but I think that given that it's only half a month's, it may not have a huge impact.

I think it's worth mentioning that there are the processes that you could go to for getting back the money overdue, and that would be through the regular Residential Tenancies Board process. That may be that it's just a delay, and certainly, the landlords did not want to use that process.

Overall, I think this, as it's an amendment to what we passed last year - and last year's changes certainly had our support. I do support, very much, the changes that are in here for mobile home parks. I'm not speaking against this bill at all today. I'm only speaking about caution and about monitoring how this actually works in effect, to see if we hear from more tenants or if there are some actual cases where people are not happy.

As I said, my experience is that overall there is a good relationship between landlords and tenants, but I think we need to maintain that balance, have respect for both parties always, and that government needs to find the middle ground which can support both parties in this type of legislation. I do commend the staff at the Residential Tenancies Board. As I mentioned earlier, I've had the opportunity to hold a couple of meetings that were targeted at bringing information to tenants and the Residential Tenancies Board director, the previous one, had come and actually provided the information and did a presentation for the people present. It was really successful. I think they know their stuff and they give really good, really balanced advice to both parties. So I want to commend them for the work they do and I hope this new bill will maintain good relations with both landlords and tenants as it goes forward. Thank you.

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MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT « » : Madam Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery. We have with us today Matt Tolton and his mother, Angela. Earlier today I did a resolution on their behalf. Back in March of this past year Matt raised over $588, by himself, for the Canadian Red Cross and the efforts of the tsunami relief in Japan. I would ask the House to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : I welcome all visitors in the gallery today. I hope you enjoy tonight's proceedings.

The honourable member for Preston.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Madam Speaker, I'm just going to be very short here. I want to thank the minister for bringing these amendments forward in the bill. I have a couple of mini-home parks in my area and in one particular park it has been an ongoing problem for a long time with ever-increasing rent increases, all kinds of difficulty when somebody builds a deck. The deck may not be what the landlord wanted. It may be a little bit too big and even though they had a permit from the municipality to build the deck, they would make them tear it down. It was really a major problem.

I want to thank the minister and his staff because over the past several years I've been dealing with his staff and trying to get some resolution to this and indeed, they have come forward. I believe the amendments that have been brought forward - time will tell, of course, because you never know when you pass new law - but I believe it will address most of the issues that my constituents have been talking about. I'm sure the same thing has been happening in other areas. I want to really thank the staff for the support they have given to myself and to our community and trying to work within the Act that was there to give some stability to people in our community who needed stability with rental agreements.

Also, now with the new bill, it appears it will also be easier to sell your mini-home whereas before the landlord could be very restrictive on who could get the mini-home, and indeed, a very valuable investment gone for some of the tenants who owned these mini-homes. With that, I'd like to look forward to the regulations when they come forward with this bill and hopefully they will follow through with that. It also has some good clauses in it so the landlords can get paid as well. I think it's a good balance in the law, a double approach with it.

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Again I want to thank the staff and the department and the minister for bringing this forward and hopefully it will do the job the staff and the minister have intended it to do. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 110. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, with the consent of the House, I would like to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Madam Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 131 - Snow Sport Helmet Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. GARY BURRILL « » : Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Private and Local Bills Committee, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

[Page 5257]

Bill No. 129 – St. Michael's Polish Association and Benefit Society Act.

Bill No. 132 – Acadia Recreation Club Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, with the consent of the House, I would like to revert to Committee of the Whole House on Bills to deal with the bills that now reside there.

[MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request to revert to Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.]

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[7:21 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

[7:32 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK » : That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 38 – Yarmouth North United Baptist Church Act.

Bill No. 99 – Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth Act.

[Page 5258]

Bill No. 101 – Halifax Kennel Club Incorporation Act.

Bill No. 120 – Liquor Control Act.

Bill No. 126 – Police Act.

Bill No. 128 – Public Sector Lobbyists Act.

Bill No. 131 – Snow Sport Helmet Act.

Bill No. 132 – Acadia Recreation Club Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bill to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Ordered that these bills be read a third time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, that concludes the government's business for the day. I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. to midnight or until the conclusion of business. The order of business will be Public Bills for Third Reading, Nos. 120, 126,128 and 131; Private Bills for Third Reading, Nos. 38, 99, 101, 132; time permitting Committee of the Whole House on Bills, No. 129; and if we need more time, Resolution No. 2920. I move the House do now rise.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House now rise to meet again tomorrow, December 13th, between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and midnight.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 7:33 p.m.]

NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

[Page 5259]

Given on December 9, 2011

Pursuant to Rule 30(1)

QUESTION NO. 7

By: Mr. Eddie Orrell « » (Cape Breton North)

To: Hon. Ramona Jennex » (Minister of Education)

(1) In May 2009, Opposition Leader Darrell Dexter's Chief of Staff Dan O'Connor in a letter on behalf of his Leader was critical of the established funding criteria concerning the Tuition Support Program being put forth. The letter sent to Landmark East clearly left a firm impression that a fourth year of funding would be made available to students. Will the minister explain why her government in April 2010 added only an optional fourth year for transition instead of a guaranteed fourth year?

QUESTION NO. 8

By: Mr. Allan MacMaster « » (Inverness)

To: Hon. Ross Landry « » (Minister of Justice)

(1) The Town of New Glasgow has met a total of six times with four different members of the Executive Council including the Minister of Justice, as well as the Premier between November 9, 2009 and August 30, 2011. Concerns were raised each time about the establishment of a new permanent justice complex within the Town of New Glasgow. Will the minister provide an update as to the government's plan concerning such a complex?

QUESTION NO. 9

By: Mr. Allan MacMaster « » (Inverness)

To: Hon. Ross Landry « » (Minister of Justice)

(1) In May 2010, the Government of Nova Scotia, through the Department of Justice, agreed to cover the cost of a regional policing study for Pictou County. More than 18 months later, the government has not made any funding available. Why?

QUESTION NO. 10

By: Mr. Allan MacMaster « » (Inverness)

To: Hon. Ross Landry « » (Minister of Justice)

(1) Does the Minister of Justice support a regional policing study, which will ensure a high standard of policing services throughout Pictou County or is it his intention to dissolve the municipal police forces and accept RCMP policing?

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 5260]

RESOLUTION NO. 2977

By: Mr. Allan MacMaster « » (Inverness)

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

Whereas the North East Margaree Seniors' Club celebrates 30 years; and

Whereas members of the seniors' club and community gathered in their hall to celebrate their 30th Anniversary with music and a shared meal and to honour the club's three founding members: Frances MacDonald, Gladys Ross, and Lorraine Robertson; and

Whereas the club is active with a sewing club that produces quilts and other handiwork, card games, guest speakers, and meetings with other seniors' groups in the county;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the North East Margaree Seniors' Club on celebrating 30 years and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2978

By: Hon. Denise Peterson-Rafuse (Community Services)

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

Whereas the 2011 Tourism Summit was held at the World Trade and Convention Centre on November 27-29, 2011; and

Whereas on the evening of November 29th the Annual Gala Dinner was held and included the presentation of the 2011 Crystal Tourism Awards of Excellence, of which there are nine categories, and one of which is the Sustainable Tourism Award with the criteria that the business exemplifies leadership in balancing the economic, environmental, and cultural authenticity of the tourism industry; and

Whereas the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, located in Hubbards, Nova Scotia, was awarded the 2011 Crystal Tourism Award of Excellence in Sustainable Tourism;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Hooked Rug Museum of North America on receiving this prestigious tourism award and wish them all the best in their future endeavours as they continue to build and expand their museum.

[Page 5261]

RESOLUTION NO. 2979

By: Mr. Mat Whynott « » (Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville)

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

Whereas the parents and staff of Hammonds Plains Consolidated School have been working to raise funds to construct an addition to their playground facility in order to make it accessible to all students; and

Whereas the school will, with the support of a $27,000 grant, be able to improve the accessibility of its playground facility; and

Whereas this playground will improve the health and happiness of attendees at Hammonds Plains Consolidated School by offering all of the students a safe and fun place to participate in active leisure;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the staff and students of Hammonds Plains Consolidated School on their future playground facility which will help all students build happy, healthy lifestyles.

RESOLUTION NO. 2980

By: Mr. Mat Whynott « » (Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville)

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

Whereas the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation began the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride in Vancouver on September 7th, completing their journey here in Halifax on September 22nd; and

Whereas the participants travelled across this vast nation in order to raise funds for both national and local childhood oncology programs, with the goal of improving the lives of children living with cancer and their families; and

Whereas the ride not only raised more than $1 million toward its goal but continues to provide inspiration for anyone wanting to work toward making a positive impact on their community;

[Page 5262]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, as well as all the participants and contributors to the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, for the incredible contribution they have made to this province and the lives of cancer sufferers.

RESOLUTION NO. 2981

By: Mr. Mat Whynott « » (Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville)

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

Whereas on August 20, 2011, the Springfield Lake Recreation Association, in conjunction with Weir Rockin', hosted their fifth annual rock concert at Weir Field with this year's performers, popular 1980s rock bands Lee Aaron, Sass Jordan, The Headpins, and Honeymoon Suite; and

Whereas this continues to be a sought-after event for the Upper Sackville community and brought a sold-out crowd for an evening of rock music; and

Whereas this event could not have happened without the hard work and dedication from this year's organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate all involved in this year's annual Weir Rockin' concert on a successful, sold-out event in Upper Sackville, and grant best wishes to the event organizers in future years.

RESOLUTION NO. 2982

By: Mr. Mat Whynott « » (Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville)

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

Whereas on October 24, 2011, Hammonds Plains resident Holly LaPierre was named Citizen of the Year by the St. Margarets Bay Lions Club; and

Whereas Holly LaPierre is an active community member, which includes being the president of the Hammonds Plains Baseball Association; and

Whereas the Citizen of the Year Award is given each year to a member of the surrounding area who has made a significant contribution to St. Margarets Bay and surrounding areas;

[Page 5263]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in commending Holly LaPierre of Hammonds Plains for the work that she has done for the St. Margarets Bay community, and congratulate her for having recently been named Citizen of the Year by the St. Margarets Bay Lions Club.

RESOLUTION NO. 2983

By: Mr. Mat Whynott « » (Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville)

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

Whereas the 9th Sackville Sports Heritage Foundation Induction Dinner was held on Thursday, October 20th; and

Whereas kayaker Jilian D'Alessio, archer Paul Sheppard, the 2003-05 Sackville Blazers Jr. B hockey team, and long-time administrator George Matthews, were all inducted into the Sackville Sports Heritage Hall of Fame; and

Whereas these individuals have not only succeeded in promoting active, healthy lifestyles, but they also provide strong models for youth in our province of how hard work, dedication, and teamwork can culminate in great success;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in commending the Sackville Sports Heritage Foundation and its 2011 inductees to the Heritage Hall of Fame for promoting healthy-living and providing positive examples of hard work, dedication, and teamwork.

RESOLUTION NO. 2984

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas Lukas Domm,a resident of Cow Bay, is currently a junior studying at Dalhousie University; and

Whereas earlier in the Spring, Lukas was selected to take part in a 15-week Undergraduate Student Research Program at Dalhousie University, which allowed him to travel to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to take part in a program in NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; and

[Page 5264]

Whereas Lukas contributed to the initial design, fabrication, and testing phases of a new drill and a piezoelectric actuator that may be used in future space exploration;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Lukas Domm for being chosen for an Undergraduate Student Research Program at Dalhousie University where he travelled to NASA to take part in the initial design, fabrication and testing phases of a new drill, a piezoelectric actuator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, and wish him every success with his field of study to infinity and beyond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2985

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas Nicole Eddy of Eastern Passage graduated from St. Francis Xavier University, class of 2011, with a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree; and

Whereas while completing her degree, Nicole spent one month volunteering in a hospital in Rwanda, Africa, an experience that will help her be a better nurse in Canada; and

Whereas Nicole's career as a nurse will be strengthened greatly by her volunteer experience in Rwanda;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Nicole Eddy on her recent graduation from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, and commend her volunteer efforts in Rwanda, Africa, and wish her every success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2986

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas bullying in our schools and communities continues to cause harmful and painful effect on our citizens, especially our youth; and

Whereas this year Ocean View Elementary School in Eastern Passage is celebrating its 6th Annual Anti-Bullying Week by participating in the "Say No to Bullying" program; and

[Page 5265]

Whereas guidance counsellor Christa Pope meets with the students throughout the week to discuss bullying and what they can do to prevent it by acting as ambassadors for peace, respect, and kindness;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly commend students, staff, and volunteers of Ocean View Elementary School in Eastern Passage for standing up to bullying during Anti-Bullying Week and throughout the year.

RESOLUTION NO. 2987

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas bullying in our schools and communities continues to cause harmful and painful effect on our citizens, especially our youth; and

Whereas this year Tallahassee Community Elementary School in Eastern Passage is celebrating its 6th Annual Anti-Bullying Week by participating in the "Say No to Bullying" program; and

Whereas guidance counsellor Christa Pope meets with the students throughout the week to discuss bullying and what they can do to prevent it by acting as ambassadors for peace, respect, and kindness;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly commend students, staff, and volunteers of Tallahassee Community Elementary School in Eastern Passage for standing up to bullying during Anti-Bullying Week and throughout the year.

RESOLUTION NO. 2988

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas Eastern Passage Lion Denton Rock has been involved with volunteer committee work through the Lions Club for many years; and

Whereas in the Spring of 2011 Denton received the Lion of the Year Award and a King Lion Appreciation Award from the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club at the 39th Charter Night; and

[Page 5266]

Whereas Denton is the chairman of many committees, such as Finance, Building, New Year's Eve Dance, Monthly Breakfast, and the Summer Student Program, and has received a Lions Foundation of Canada Life Membership;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly commend Denton Rock for being awarded both Lion of the Year and King Lion Appreciation from the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club and congratulate him on receiving a Lions Foundation of Canada Life Membership

RESOLUTION NO. 2989

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas Eastern Passage resident Cliff Baker has been involved with volunteer committee work through the Lions Club for many years; and

Whereas in the Spring of 2011 Cliff received a Nova Scotia Foundation Life Membership from the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club at the 39th Charter Night; and

Whereas Cliff has volunteered on numerous committees in the club, such as Bar, Bingo, Carnival, and Breakfast;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly commend Cliff Baker of Eastern Passage for being the recipient of a Nova Scotia Foundation Life Membership from the Eastern Passage Cow Bay Lions Club.

RESOLUTION NO. 2990

By: Ms. Becky Kent « » (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas Eastern Passage resident William (Bill) Walker has been involved with volunteer committee work through the Lions Club for many years; and

Whereas in the Spring of 2011 Bill received his 15-year Monarch Certificate for his years of service from the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club at the 39th Charter Night; and

[Page 5267]

Whereas Bill has been very active in the club, and his volunteer roles include Chairman of the Ocean View Manor bingos and helping with the Carnival Committee;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly commend William (Bill) Walker for being awarded his 15-year Monarch Certificate from the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club.

RESOLUTION NO. 2991

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Tristan Murphy is a junior high student at Cavalier Drive School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Tristan worked with Hilda Hunter, coordinator of a project started in October 2010 to construct a wooden puppet theatre; and

Whereas Tristan Murphy and six other junior high students from Cavalier Drive School worked with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and have donated this puppet theatre, along with 13 puppets, to the Sackville-Bedford Early Intervention program, to be used by preschoolers with developmental challenges;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Tristan Murphy for his work with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and six other junior high students at Cavalier Drive School, and wish them all success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2992

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Odhran Speirs is a junior high student at Cavalier Drive School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Odhran worked with Hilda Hunter, coordinator of a project started in October 2010 to construct a wooden puppet theatre; and

[Page 5268]

Whereas Odhran Speirs and six other junior high students from Cavalier Drive School worked with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and have donated this puppet theatre, along with 13 puppets, to the Sackville-Bedford Early Intervention program, to be used by preschoolers with developmental challenges;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Odhran Speirs, a junior high student at Cavalier Drive School of Lower Sackville, for his work with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and six other junior high students at Cavalier Drive School on revising an outline and building a wooden puppet theatre to be donated, along with 13 puppets, to the Sackville-Bedford Early Intervention program for preschoolers with developmental challenges, and wish them all success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2993

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Tatianna Whiteside is a junior high student at Cavalier Drive School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Tatianna worked with Hilda Hunter, coordinator of a project started in October 2010 to construct a wooden puppet theatre; and

Whereas Tatianna Whiteside and six other junior high students from Cavalier Drive School worked with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and have donated this puppet theatre, along with 13 puppets, to the Sackville-Bedford Early Intervention program, to be used by preschoolers with developmental challenges;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Tatianna Whitetside, Hilda Hunter, and the six other junior high students at Cavalier Drive School, and wish them all success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2994

By: David Wilson (Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas James O'Brien is a Grade 8 student at Cavalier Drive School in Lower Sackville; and

[Page 5269]

Whereas James worked with Hilda Hunter, coordinator of a project started in October 2010 to construct a wooden puppet theatre; and

Whereas James O'Brien and six other junior high students from Cavalier Drive School worked with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and have donated this puppet theatre, along with 13 puppets, to the Sackville-Bedford Early Intervention program, to be used by preschoolers with developmental challenges;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend James O'Brien, a Grade 8 student at Cavalier Drive School of Lower Sackville, for his work with project coordinator Hilda Hunter and six other junior high students at Cavalier Drive School, and wish them all success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2995

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Hilda Hunter is a student support teacher at Cavalier Drive School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Hilda Hunter is coordinator of a project started in October 2010 to construct a wooden puppet theatre; and

Whereas Hilda Hunter and seven junior high students from Cavalier Drive School have donated this puppet theatre, along with 13 puppets, to the Sackville-Bedford Early Intervention program, to be used by preschoolers with developmental challenges;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Hilda Hunter, a student support teacher at Cavalier Drive School of Lower Sackville, and the junior high students at Cavalier Drive School, and wish them all success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2996

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas the 4Cs Foundation is a privately-funded foundation established in 1998 to provide grants in support of the arts in the Halifax Regional Municipality, whose motto is to "build connections between children and their communities through arts projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality"; and

[Page 5270]

Whereas Cavalier Drive Junior High School will be participating in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert to be held on May 26th at Sackville High School; and

Whereas Cavalier Drive Junior High School will participate in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert along with Sackville High School, A.J. Smeltzer and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, and the Sackville Community Band;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Cavalier Drive Junior High School on their participation in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert on Mary 26th at Sackville High School, with performances from elementary students and children from Sackville High School, A.J. Smeltzer and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, along with the Sackville Community Band, and wish all participants well in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2997

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas the 4Cs Foundation is a privately-funded foundation established in 1998 to provide grants in support of the arts in the Halifax Regional Municipality, whose motto is to "build connections between children and their communities through arts projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality"; and

Whereas A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School will be participating in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert to be held on May 26th at Sackville High School; and

Whereas A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School will participate in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert along with Sackville High School, Cavalier Drive and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, and the Sackville Community Band;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School on their participation in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert on Mary 26th at Sackville High School, with performances from elementary students and children from Sackville High School, Cavalier Drive and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, along with the Sackville Community Band, and wish all participants well in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2998

[Page 5271]

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas the 4Cs Foundation is a privately-funded foundation established in 1998 to provide grants in support of the arts in the Halifax Regional Municipality, whose motto is to "build connections between children and their communities through arts projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality"; and

Whereas Leslie Thomas Junior High School will be participating in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert to be held on May 26th at Sackville High School; and

Whereas Leslie Thomas Junior High School will participate in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert along with Sackville High School, A.J. Smeltzer and Cavalier Drive Junior High Schools, and the Sackville Community Band;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Leslie Thomas Junior High School on their participation in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert on Mary 26th at Sackville High School, with performances from elementary students and children from Sackville High School, A.J. Smeltzer and Cavalier Drive Junior High Schools, along with the Sackville Community Band, and wish all participants well in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2999

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas the 4Cs Foundation is a privately-funded foundation established in 1998 to provide grants in support of the arts in the Halifax Regional Municipality, whose motto is to "build connections between children and their communities through arts projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality"; and

Whereas Sackville High School will be participating in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert to be held on May 26th at Sackville High School; and

Whereas Sackville High School will participate in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert along with A.J. Smeltzer, Cavalier Drive and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, and the Sackville Community Band;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Sackville High School on their participation in the Music for Life Gala Community Concert on Mary 26th at Sackville High School, with performances from elementary students and children from A.J. Smeltzer, Cavalier Drive and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, along with the Sackville Community Band, and wish all participants well in their future endeavours.

[Page 5272]

RESOLUTION NO. 3000

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Lara MacKenzie is the instrumental music teacher at Sackville High School and is organizing the Music for Life Gala Community Concert to be held on May 26th with funding from the 4Cs Foundation; and

Whereas the 4Cs Foundation is a privately-funded foundation established in 1998 to provide grants in support of the arts in the Halifax Regional Municipality, whose motto is to "build connections between children and their communities through arts projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality"; and

Whereas Sackville High School will host the Music for Life Gala Community Concert on May 26th along with A.J. Smeltzer and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, and the Sackville Community Band;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Lara MacKenzie, instrumental music teacher at Sackville High School, for her work in obtaining funds through the 4Cs Foundation and for organizing the Music for Life Gala Community Concert on Mary 26th with performances by elementary students and children from Sackville High School, A.J. Smeltzer, Cavalier Drive and Leslie Thomas Junior High Schools, along with the Sackville Community Band, and wish her and the bands success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3001

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Ajacisa Parsons is a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Ajacisa Parsons and other Grade 8 students participated in learning about water around the world with their science teacher, Walter Moyse; and

[Page 5273]

Whereas Ajacisa and fellow students raised $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village in India;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Ajacisa Parsons, a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville, for her participation in raising money to build a well in Garlapadu Village, India, and wish her future success in her endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3002

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Julia Baak is a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Julia Baak and other Grade 8 students participated in learning about water around the world with their science teacher, Walter Moyse; and

Whereas Julia and fellow students raised $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village in India, with Julia raising $213 by selling hot dogs and Rice Krispies squares at Halifax Water;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Julia Baak, a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville, for her participation towards raising the $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village, India, and wish her future success in her endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3003

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Jennifer Lachance is a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Jennifer Lachance and other Grade 8 students participated in learning about water around the world with their science teacher, Walter Moyse; and

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Whereas Jennifer and fellow students raised $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village in India;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Jennifer Lachance for her participation in raising $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village, India, and wish her future success in her endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3004

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Lindsey Morgan is a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Lindsey Morgan and other Grade 8 students participated in learning about water around the world with their science teacher, Walter Moyse; and

Whereas Lindsay and fellow students raised $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village in India;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Lindsey Morgan, a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville, for her participation in raising $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village, India, and wish her future success in her endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3005

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Jessica Cruickshanks is a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Jessica Cruickshanks and other Grade 8 students participated in learning about water around the world with their science teacher, Walter Moyse; and

Whereas Jessica and fellow students raised $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village in India;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Jessica Cruickshanks, a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville, for her participation in raising $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village, India, and wish her future success in her endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 3006

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Communities, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Cailey Murphy is a Grade 8 student at A.J. Smeltzer Junior High School in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas Cailey Murphy and other Grade 8 students participated in learning about water around the world with their science teacher, Walter Moyse; and

Whereas Cailey and fellow students raised $650 to build a well in Garlapadu Village in India, with Cailey selling chocolate chip cookies door-to-do;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Cailey Murphy for raising money to build a well in Garlapadu Village, India, and wish her future success in her endeavours.