The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD12-28

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/



Fourth Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
1840
Law Amendments Committee,
1840
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
FOIPOP Review Office Anl. Rept. (2011),
1840
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Westray Mining Disaster - Anniv. (20th),
1841
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 930, Westray Mine Disaster: Victims - Memory Honour,
1845
Vote - Affirmative
1846
Res. 931, Natl. Nursing Wk. - Recognize,
1846
Vote - Affirmative
1847
Res. 932, MacDonald, Dr. Bernie: NSAC - Serv. Thank,
1847
Vote - Affirmative
1847
Res. 933, Univ. Of King's College Journalism Students
- News World Summit, Hon. M. More « »
1847
Vote - Affirmative
1848
Res. 934, Nat'l. Mental Health Wk. (05/07 - 05/13/12)
1848
Vote - Affirmative
1849
Res. 935, Cornwallis St. Baptist Church - Anniv. (180th),
1849
Vote - Affirmative
1850
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 85, Workers' Compensation Act,
1850
No. 86, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Pension Plans Act,
1850
No. 87, Good Forestry Management on Crown Land Act,
1850
No. 88, Maritime Link Act,
1850
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 936, Westray Mine Disaster: Victims
- Memory Respect/Honour, Hon. S. McNeil »
1850
Vote - Affirmative
1851
Res. 937, Westray Mine Disaster: Victims - Remember,
1851
Vote - Affirmative
1852
Res. 938, McKillop, Ed: Death of - Tribute,
1852
Vote - Affirmative
1852
Res. 939, Maronite Patriarch: N.S. Visit - Thank,
1853
Vote - Affirmative
1853
Res. 940, Brooklyn Vol. FD - Anniv. (50th),
1853
Vote - Affirmative
1854
Res. 941, Ross, Ray: Death of - Tribute,
1854
Vote - Affirmative
1855
Res. 942, Boyd, Bob: Death of - Tribute,
1855
Vote - Affirmative
1856
Res. 943, Harvey, Charlotte: Retirement - Congrats.,
1856
Vote - Affirmative
1856
Res. 944, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- P.C. Party Leader Lobby, Mr. L. Preyra »
1856
Res. 945, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- P.C. Party Lobby, Ms. B. Kent »
1858
Res. 946, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- Argyle MLA Lobby, Ms. V. Conrad »
1858
Res. 947, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- Inverness MLA Lobby, Mr. M. Smith »
1859
Res. 948, Flanagan, Kathleen: Photographic Skill
- Acknowledge, Mr. H. Epstein »
1860
Vote - Affirmative
1861
Res. 949, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- P.C. Party Members Lobby, Mr. S. Prest »
1861
Res. 950, NDP Gov't. - Cultural/Historical Priorities:
Fed. Gov't. - Approach, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
1862
Res. 951, Himmelman, Rosanne: Rose Fund. Soc. - Creation,
1863
Vote - Affirmative
1863
Res. 952, Cumb. Reg. Health Care Aux.: Highland Fling Fundraiser
- Anniv. (30th), Mr. B. Skabar »
1864
Vote - Affirmative
1864
Res. 953, Commun. Access Prog. - CAP Sites Cuts:
Gov't. (Can.) - Reconsider, Mr. J. Morton »
1864
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 238, Educ.: Africentric Learning Instit. - Name,
1865
No. 239, Prem.: Power Rate Increases - Gov't. Intervention,
1867
No. 240, Prem. - NSP: Monopoly - End,
1869
No. 241, Energy - ERDT Min./Prem.: Power Rates - Stance,
1870
No. 242, Energy: Electricity Plan - Rewrite,
1872
No. 243, Health & Wellness - Physician Recruitment:
Liberal Bill - Pass, Hon. S. McNeil « »
1873
No. 244, Energy - Muskrat Falls: Excess Energy - Marketing,
1875
No. 245, Health & Wellness - Mental Health Strategy:
Prov./DHA Strategies - Incorporation, Mr. L. Glavine »
1876
No. 246, ERDT - Ships Start Here: Info. - Deliver,
1878
No. 247, Health & Wellness - Forensic Hosp. Unescorted Pass:
Non-Return - Public Notification, Hon. M. Samson « »
1880
No. 248, Health & Wellness: Mental Health Disorders/Domestic Violence
- Advisory Comm., Ms. K. Regan « »
1882
No. 249, Justice - Job Relocations: Efficiency Improvement
- Explain, Ms. K. Regan « »
1884
No. 250, Environ. - Bedford Waterfront: Infilling - Permits,
1886
No. 251, Justice - Forensic Patients: Absences
- Public Safety Protocol, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
1888
No. 252, Health & Wellness - Forensic Hosp. Patient (05/04/12):
Unescorted Passes - Hist., Hon. M. Samson « »
1889
No. 253, Justice - Legal Aid Prog.: Cuts - Explain,
1891
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 72, Capital Projects Review Act
1893
1896
1899
1902
No. 27, Cyberbullying Intervention Act
1906
1909
1911
1914
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 10th at 12:00 noon
1918
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 954, Monk, Bill & Ann Marie - TripAdvisor Recognition,
1919
Res. 955, Burns, Raymond - Cdn. Cancer Soc
Youth Vol. of Yr. (2012), Hon. S. McNeil « »
1919
Res. 956, Commun. YMCA Midget Boys Basketball Team
- Silver Medal, Hon. S. McNeil « »
1920
Res. 957, Marshall, Georgia: RCL Poster Contest - Congrats.,
1920
Res. 958, Bent, Jim - Spirit Award,
1921
Res. 959, Tolbart, Catherine - Dr. W.P. Oliver Award,
1921
Res. 960, Westray Mine Disaster: Victims - Remember,
1922
Res. 961, Caldwell Rd. Elem. Sch. Girls' Group:
Participants - Congrats., The Premier « »
1922
Res. 962, Francis, Ryan – Nat'l. Aboriginal Hockey Championship:
Selection - Congrats., The Premier « »
1923
Res. 963, Northeast Kings Titans - Prov. Hockey Champions,
1924
Res. 964, Davis, Marla - Educ. Wk. Award,
1924
Res. 965, Forney, Charles - Kenya: Contributions - Thank,
1925
Res. 966, Anna. Valley Health: Accreditation Can
- Leading Practices, Mr. J. Morton « »
1925
Res. 967, Valley U-18 Girls Soccer Team
- N.S. Soccer League Victory, Mr. J. Morton « »
1926
Res. 968, Waterbury Newton Cdn. Bar Assoc
- N.S. Equity & Diversity Award, Mr. J. Morton « »
1926
Res. 969, Brown, Philip - Special Olympics Can. Winter Games:
Medals - Congrats., Mr. J. Morton « »
1927
Res. 970, Lumsden, Louise - Canso Vol. FD Ladies Aux:
Volunteering - Thank, Mr. J. Boudreau »
1927
Res. 971, Symphony N.S./Schools - Link: Participants
- Recognize, Hon. R. Jennex « »
1928
Res. 972, Gildart, Nathan Curtis - Japanese Charities:
Donations - Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson »
1929
Res. 973, Sackville Rotary Club: Sackville Commun
- Welcome, Hon. D. Wilson « »
1929
Res. 974, Fawcett, Zoe: Name the Mascot Contest - Congrats.,
1930
Res. 975, Fitzpatrick, Marissa: Name the Mascot Contest
- Congrats., Hon. D. Wilson « »
1930
Res. 976, Phillips, Steve: Endurance Racing - Accomplishments,
1931
Res. 977, Dooley, Wade: Sackville Vol. of Yr. (2012),
1931
Res. 978, Sackville Cares Food Drive - Sackville Dr. Bus. Assoc.:
Support - Applaud, Hon. D. Wilson « »
1932
Res. 979, Navy League Cadet Prog.: Sackville Commun
- Welcome, Hon. D. Wilson « »
1932
Res. 980, Williams, Terry - Porter, Kevin & Bonnie: Fundraising
- Thank, Hon. D. Wilson « »
1933
Res. 981, Warner, Peter: SkinFix Inc. - Success Congrats.,
1933
Res. 982, Dugas, Jacob - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
1934
Res. 983, Swinkles, Thomas: Sackville Waves Aquatic Team
- Accomplishments, Hon. D. Wilson « »
1934
Res. 984, Jaggi, Sam & Meera/Taj Mahal Rest. - Anniv. (15th),
1935
Res. 985, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- PC Party Members Lobby, Ms. P. Birdsall »
1935
Res. 986, Museums/Archives - Funding: Fed. Counterparts
- PC Party Members Lobby, Mr. J. Boudreau « »
1936

[Page 1839]

 

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2012

Sixty-first General Assembly

Fourth Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordon Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 1840]

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

Bill No. 30 - Promotion of Respectful and Responsible Relationships Act.

Bill No. 52 - Conservation Easements Act.

Bill No. 55 - Community Easements Act.

Bill No. 78 - Justice Administration (2012) Act.

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

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 79 - Education Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to present The Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Office, 2011 Annual Report.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

HON. DARRELL DEXTER « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to introduce to the House of Assembly today Lee and Shannon Ferrier from Toronto who are in your gallery. Lee Ferrier is a retired Superior Court Justice for the Province of Ontario and is serving on the Pension Appeals Board which is taking place in Halifax this week.

[Page 1841]

Shannon is a former teacher and published author, having penned the award-winning Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook series with her sister, Tamara Shuttleworth, and is a multi-award winner in many disciplines year after year at the prestigious Dunchurch Fair and you'll see they're sitting with a familiar face around the House, Kelly Fawcett. Shannon is Kelly's aunt.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the House to welcome our guests today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : We welcome all our guests to the gallery and hope they enjoy this afternoon's proceedings.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place today to talk about one of the deadliest mining disasters in this country's history, a tragic event that resulted in an improved approach to the protection of Nova Scotia's health and safety and greater awareness of safety issues. The Westray mining disaster is a tragedy that continues to haunt workers and their families in the community of Plymouth, throughout Pictou County and right across Nova Scotia and, in fact, this country.

As all the members here are aware, today marks 20 years since a massive explosion ripped through the mine, killing 26 men who were working underground at the time. It was 5:18 a.m. on May 9, 1992, when people miles away from the mine felt the ground shake under their feet. Windows shattered and houses trembled from the force of the explosion. Then Nova Scotians received the terrible news.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that I speak for most everyone in this room when I say I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news and like so many other Canadians, I remember watching anxiously in the days after as rescue crews worked desperately to find someone alive. Sadly, Nova Scotia lost 26 good men that day, 26 fathers, 26 brothers, 26 sons, 26 husbands, who would never again return home to their loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, this devastating disaster has left a scar on our province, on the communities in Pictou County, and on so many workers and their families here in Nova Scotia and across Canada. The incredible response and support for the rescue teams and the local community was evidence of the deep feelings about the Westray disaster. I would like to thank members of the labour movement, especially the United Steelworkers who are hosting a memorial ceremony this evening in New Glasgow, for their ongoing support and efforts to honour this tragedy. Almost 20 years has gone by. Those lost are most certainly not forgotten. This tragedy stands as one of the most sobering reminders of the potentially deadly cost of an unsafe workplace.

[Page 1842]

In the aftermath of the disaster, the province established a Commission of Inquiry to review the factors that contributed to this unthinkable outcome. Mr. Speaker, as many of the members know, this review resulted in the Westray Inquiry report, which included 74 recommendations to improve workplace health and safety, particularly in the mining industry. The majority of those recommendations were addressed with the implementation of the underground mining regulations in 2003. Successive governments made significant improvements and took steps to make sure that the full force of the law was felt in support of this national goal.

Today Nova Scotians across the province, but particularly those in Pictou County, will gather to remember those who were killed. I know that not a single day has gone by where the community in this province hasn't felt the weight of this incredible loss. Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to say that Nova Scotians have made a commitment: together we will ensure that Westray is never forgotten, and together we will stay vigilant to make sure that something like this never happens again.

During this, the North American Occupational Health and Safety Week, we owe it to the brave, hard-working men who were killed on this day 20 years ago. In fact, we owe it to all the men and women and young people who have been hurt, gotten sick, or died on the job in this province. Even one incident is too many.

Workplace safety is everyone's responsibility. It must be made a priority in all workplaces across Nova Scotia. We have made progress, but that doesn't mean that we are done. I urge employers and employees not to be complacent. Workplace health and safety is something you need to work hard to achieve every day.

We cannot undo the past, but we can certainly learn from it. To the people of Pictou County, the surviving workers and the families and friends of those killed, our thoughts are with you on this and every day. Nova Scotia will never forget.

I would like to leave the members with a quote from the Westray report, a line from a French sociologist which I find particularly poignant on this anniversary. It says, "The most important thing to come out of a mine is the miner." The men lost that dark day will never again emerge to breathe fresh air and feel the sunshine on their face.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, after the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party have had an opportunity to respond to this statement, I would ask that the members of the House observe a moment of silence to honour those men who were lost. Thank you.

[Page 1843]

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the Premier for an advance copy of his remarks. I think all members of the House want to associate ourselves with his remarks today.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus and join all members of this Legislature, and indeed all Nova Scotians, in remembering the victims of the Westray mining disaster. On May 9, 1992, at 5:18 a.m., 20 years ago today, a spark in the southeast corner of the mine ignited a cloud of methane gas, triggering an explosion that trapped and killed 26 miners.

For many of us, both inside and outside this Legislature, we were once again reminded of the dangers of coal mining, but this modern-day reminder should never have happened. All of us, each and every Nova Scotian, witnessed the triumph of the human spirit in the face of this inconsolable tragedy. As media stories beamed to the world, letters and donations poured in while families waited for word of their loved ones. Communities throughout Pictou County provided much-needed nurturing. Volunteers and staff of community centres, fire departments, relief agencies, and the clergy provided food, care, and spiritual support. In their darkest days, draegermen pushed through the devastation, leaving bare-faced miners the heart-wrenching task of carrying the bodies of their friends and co-workers. Ninety-six of them, in total, did the unthinkable: they remained true to their valiant traditions, despite their own grief, and were later honoured by the Governor General of the day with bravery medals.

The Honourable Ray Hnatyshyn described their efforts best in the investiture when he said, "Look about you, the faces you see are the faces of decent people, (who) . . . did not want to have to be heroes, but heroes they are."

As legislators, we are left with the task of ensuring history never repeats itself. While legislative changes for the better happened after Westray, there is still work to be done. While ensuring legislation and policies are followed, it is our job - we must never forget why it is important that the job gets done. We must never forget the 26 men who lost their lives at Westray, we must never forget their wives, their children, their parents and their brothers and sisters. The challenge for each of us is to work diligently to ensure history does not repeat itself.

At the Westray monument the inscription reads, "Their Light Shall Always Shine". Mr. Speaker, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those 26 miners not only today but every day.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[Page 1844]

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, thank you to the Premier for a copy of his statement. Today I rise in my place and join my fellow Nova Scotians as we remember the 20th Anniversary of the Westray mine disaster.

In the early morning of May 9, 1992 a tragic explosion took the lives of 26 hard-working Nova Scotians. I certainly offer my sincere condolences and the condolences of the Progressive Conservative caucus and I'm sure all members in this House to the families who lost their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons on that fateful day. We pray that time has helped to heal their sorrow and these families are able to find comfort in fond memories of their lost loved ones. To the fellow miners and community members who worked tirelessly to recover those lost, your heroic actions continue to inspire us even two decades later.

Like many Nova Scotians, I too remember watching your efforts hour by hour during those fateful days. Westray was the worst mining disaster in our country since 1958 when 75 men died in a coal mine in Springhill. As the MLA for Cumberland South, I know how a community can be forever changed by such a disaster. I've also witnessed the resilience of a community that rallies together to grow beyond the grief.

The tragedy at Westray and the following inquiry into its cause shone a bright light on the shortcomings and shortcuts that create a dangerous workplace. It led to legislation that made it clear where responsibilities lay when it comes to the operation of a safe workplace. For government, for industry and all Nova Scotians today, better awareness of workplace safety and increased vigilance is a goal that we all share.

As a father myself, my thoughts are especially with the children of Westray. Now adults, many with families of their own, I hope they have been able to remember the good times they shared with their fathers and those memories may bring them some peace. I hope too that they come to see that their fathers did not die in vain. It is for them and the loved ones they leave behind that we as a country and as a province remain committed to providing the safest work conditions possible.

In his report on the disaster, Mr. Justice Peter Richard said, "The Westray Story is a complex mosaic of actions, omissions, mistakes, incompetence, apathy, cynicism, stupidity and neglect." That may tell the story of the tragic accident itself but it does not tell the story of the 26 men who lost their lives and the 117 fellow miners whose lives were forever changed.

I am reminded of an individual story that I have come to know personally, not from Westray but from the Springhill Bump, which I will share briefly with the House, and that is the experience of a man I've come to know as a friend - Mr. Herb Pepperdine who is one of the last surviving members of the great Springhill Bump of 1958. Mr. Pepperdine spent nine days trapped underground with his fellow miners waiting to be rescued. He had nothing more than one bottle of water and one chocolate bar for that time and he shared that with his fellow miners.

[Page 1845]

I was there, Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Pepperdine shared his story with my own daughter and what we both remember most from his incredible experience, recognizing he was one of the survivors although his life was forever changed, was that weeks later when he got his final paycheque, the company had cut his pay off at exactly 8:00 p.m., the moment that the bump occurred in the Springhill mine.

I say that today because the lesson of Herb Pepperdine, the lesson of miners in Springhill and the lessons from Westray, are that workers deserve fair pay for fair work. They deserve a safe workplace. They deserve to return home at night from their job. They deserve to be compensated fairly when they are injured and they deserve a Legislature and a House of Commons that put in place all the appropriate rules and regulations to make all those things come true. That is what we think about as we remember Westray today.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I would ask all members now to stand for a moment of silence.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 930

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

Whereas 20 years ago on this date, May 9, 1992, 26 miners lost their lives in an underground explosion at the Westray Colliery in Plymouth, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotians will always remember with sadness the 26 men - husbands, fathers, sons and brothers - who lost their lives in the Westray mine explosion; and

Whereas the Westray tragedy will forever be one of the darker days in the history of this province and stand as a sobering reminder of the potentially terrible costs of unsafe work practices;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House honour the memory of the 26 men who tragically lost their lives in the Westray mine disaster on Saturday, May 9, 1992, and through our combined commitment to safety, help ensure that tragedies like this never happen again;

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

[Page 1846]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 931

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

Whereas nurses from one corner of our province to the other are hard-working and dedicated to patient care and our health care system, and this week, May 7th to 13th marks National Nursing Week with the theme of Nursing - The Health of Our Nation; and

Whereas on May 2nd, 11 nurses from across the province were honoured for their excellence at the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia annual general meeting; and

Whereas recipients were awarded for their contributions in the areas of nursing administration, nursing clinical practice and nursing education;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing National Nursing Week, our recipients, and the valuable work and contributions that the more than 10,000 nurses and 3,560 licensed practical nurses across Nova Scotia provide each and every day to the people of this province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1847]

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 932

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

Whereas over the past 18 years, Dr. Bernie MacDonald has been a guiding force at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College; and

Whereas Dr. MacDonald has been instrumental in shaping NSAC and helping to create the world-class institution we know today; and

Whereas Dr. MacDonald has recently decided to retire, after a long and successful career with the Public Service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Dr. Bernie MacDonald for his years of dedicated service at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and wish him well in his retirement.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 933

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

Whereas journalists provide a vital service in informing Nova Scotians of news, good and bad, in their neighbourhood and around the world, and journalists are often called upon to explain a complex issue in a way that is easy to understand and relevant to the reader or listener; and

[Page 1848]

Whereas journalism students from the University of King's College in Halifax are among 58 projects vying for a Global Editors Network Data Journalism Award in an international competition sponsored by Google and organized with the European Journalism Centre for their interactive project called (902) 9-1-1, which mapped 650,000 calls to Halifax Regional Police by street and the nature of the call into an easy to navigate and understand format; and

Whereas Geoff Bird, Ezra Black, Alex Boates, Schenley Brown, Dane Butler, Tim van der Kooi, Andrei Dezsi, Corbett Hancey, Patrick Odell, Lily Sangster, Brittney Teasdale, and faculty advisor Fred Vallance-Jones are up for that award;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the University of King's College investigative journalism students and offer them heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for a successful outcome when the winners are announced on May 31st during the News World Summit in Paris.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 934

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

Whereas Mental Health For All will be this year's theme for the Canadian Mental Health Association's 61st Mental Health Week; and

Whereas May 7th to 13th, which marks Mental Health Week 2012, will encourage Canadians from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect, and engage with others on issues of mental health; and

Whereas the Canadian Mental Health Association, one of the oldest voluntary organizations in Canada, provides direct services to more than 100,000 Canadians through more than 10,000 volunteers and staff in more than 140 communities;

[Page 1849]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize May 7th to 13th as National Mental Health Week and acknowledge the long-standing contribution of the Canadian Mental Health Association and its volunteers in helping those living with mental illness.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLTUION NO. 935

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Cornwallis Street Baptist Church, located in Halifax, has served as a beacon of light for residents and others far and wide since 1832; and

Whereas Cornwallis Street Baptist Church has been in the forefront not only in spiritual leadership, but as a vanguard in the struggle for human rights and social development in African Nova Scotian communities throughout our province; and

Whereas the 180th Anniversary celebration for Cornwallis Street Baptist Church, under the theme Moving Forward, will take place May 18-20, 2012, with a banquet at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel and a special service at the church;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend Cornwallis Street Baptist Church for 180 years of dedicated service and ministry, and extend our sincerest congratulations on this historic anniversary celebration.

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

[Page 1850]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 85 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Hon. Michel Samson)

Bill No. 86 - Entitled an Act to Provide Protection for the NewPage Port Hawkesbury Pension Plans. (Hon. Marilyn More)

Bill No. 87 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 114 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Crown Lands Act, to Enable Good Forestry Management on Crown Land. (Hon. Charlie Parker)

Bill No. 88 - Entitled an Act to Ensure a Regulatory Review of the Maritime Link. (Hon. Charlie Parker)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 936

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

Whereas today is the 20th Anniversary of the tragic Westray Mine explosion in which 26 miners were killed and the lives of their families and communities were forever changed; and

Whereas Nova Scotians will always remember the way communities and all Nova Scotians came together to mourn the loss of their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons; and

Whereas this tragedy and the inquiry that followed showed Nova Scotians the necessity for government, industry, and all workplaces to put safety first and foremost in our mind;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly respect and honour the memory of those who perished at Westray and ensure that their memory continues to inspire vigilance for safety in the workplaces in our province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 937

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

Whereas the Westray Mine disaster was a devastating event that will be forever etched in the memory of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas at 5:18 a.m. on Saturday, May 9, 1992, the Westray Mine exploded, killing 26 miners in the worst mining disaster in Canada since 1958; and

Whereas the 20th Anniversary of the disaster will be marked today at solemn ceremonies which began at 6:45 a.m. at Westray Memorial Park and will conclude this evening with a ceremony at 7:00 p.m. at the Miners' Memorial in Stellarton;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House remember the 26 miners who lost their lives in the Westray Mine and extend ongoing sympathy to the families as they cherish the memories of their loved ones throughout today.

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

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

Is it agreed?

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It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 938

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : On behalf of the member for Cape Breton Nova, the Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on Saturday, April 7, 2012, Ed McKillop, well known as a boxer and as a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment and Black Watch, passed away; and

Whereas Ed was inducted into the Canadian Forces Boxing Hall of Fame, Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame, World Boxing Hall of Fame, the Cape Breton Heritage Sports Hall of Fame, and the Oromocto and Area Sports Wall of Fame; and

Whereas Ed held the titles of Cape Breton Lightweight Golden Gloves Champion, the first Canadian Infantry Brigade Middleweight Champion, the Canadian Army Middleweight Champion and the Central Command Middleweight Champion, the fourth Canadian Infantry Brigade Middleweight Champion, the Canadian Army Light-Heavyweight Champion and the Eastern Command Middleweight Champion;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Ed McKillop for his fighting exploits in and out of the ring, and extend our deepest sympathy to the family of the late Ed McKillop.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

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RESOLUTION NO. 939

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

Whereas his Beatitude Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the Orient, is the head of the Maronite Church, one of the principal religions of Lebanon; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians of Lebanese descent are Maronite Christians; and

Whereas the Patriarch arrived in Nova Scotia last evening and was honoured with a banquet hosted by Father Pierre Azzi, pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon Church, a dinner which lasted into the wee hours of this morning;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly thank the Patriarch for honouring Nova Scotia with his visit and congratulate his parishioners on their significant visitor.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 940

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

Whereas in 2012, the Brooklyn Volunteer Fire Department in Hants West is celebrating 50 years of service, and thanks to the addition of new equipment is even better equipped for emergencies; and

Whereas members of the department are logging extra training hours in anticipation of about 2,700 new residences being built in the area for which both the Brooklyn and Mount Uniacke Volunteer Fire Departments will be responsible; and

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Whereas the Brooklyn Volunteer Fire Department responded to 193 calls for service in 2011, including 86 medical assists, 13 chimney fires, eight structure fires, and four requests for mutual aid;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Brooklyn Fire Department on 50 years of service, and thank them for their dedication and commitment to the residents of Brooklyn and surrounding areas.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 941

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

Whereas Raymond Charles Ross, known to all as Ray Ross, served as a school crossing guard for 20 years, protecting and assisting children at the corner of Gottingen and Kaye Streets, on their way to St. Joseph's-Alexander McKay School in Halifax's north end; and

Whereas Ray Ross passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 74, on April 28, 2012; and

Whereas Ray Ross was so well-loved by the children and families he helped safely cross the street that they have posted notes, pictures and flowers, and other symbolic items at Ray's corner, to express their appreciation and sorrow;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly thank Ray Ross posthumously for his dedication to the children he helped over the course of two decades, and extend our sympathy for their loss to Ray's family and to all the children and families whose lives he touched.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 942

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

Whereas Robert Wright Alexander Boyd passed away on May 4, 2012, after a valiant battle with cancer; and

Whereas Bob was a valuable, long-serving employee of our province with the Department of Tourism; and

Whereas Bob's friendly and professional manner made working with him a pleasure;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Bob for all he has done for our Nova Scotia tourism industry, and extend our condolences to the love of his life, Kim Jardine, and to his mother, Jean.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

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The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 943

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

Whereas an entire career at the same organization is increasingly a rare thing; and

Whereas Charlotte Harvey of Kennetcook is retiring after working at Hants North Rural High School in administration for 43.5 years; and

Whereas on June 10, 2012, a retirement celebration will be held for her at Hants North Rural High School;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Charlotte Harvey on her retirement after 43 years, and thank her for her career-long service to her local school and to education.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

RESOLUTION NO. 944

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

Whereas the heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries, and archives are valued by Nova Scotians and all Canadians; and

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Whereas the Shambhala Archives are an integral part of the Shambhala Buddhist community, not just here in Nova Scotia but around the world, and serve as a repository of film, audio and video recordings, photographs, negatives, transparencies, manuscripts, transcripts, books, and artwork by the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of Shambhala Buddhism; and

Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget imposed dramatic cuts on Library and Archives Canada, which led to the elimination of the National Archives Development Program, a program which helped build up the resources of the Shambhala Archives;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly call on the Leader of the Conservative Party to lobby his federal counterparts and Conservative Party colleagues on the importance of funding to local small museums and archives and warn them about the impact that these cuts will have on heritage institutions and their ability to preserve, protect, and showcase important historical and culturally significant artifacts. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, they've taken the progressive out of Conservative.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston on an introduction.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, seated in the west gallery, it's a great privilege to introduce Mrs. Laura Daye, better known as Mrs. Buddy Daye, a former Sergeant-at-Arms in this Legislature some time ago until he passed away in the mid-1990s. With her today are her two daughters, Melinda Daye and Leslie Daye. I would ask them to rise and accept the warm reception from the Legislature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : We welcome all our guests to the gallery and hope they enjoy this afternoon's proceedings.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

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RESOLUTION NO. 945

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

Whereas the heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries and archives are valued not only by Nova Scotians but by Canadians; and

Whereas the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society was founded in 1973 with the express goal to record and preserve what they could of the area's agricultural and natural heritage and in doing so operate the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum and Archives; and

Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget has seen dramatic cuts at Library and Archives Canada which has led to the elimination of the National Archival Development Program, a program which was to fund archival work at the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly call on the members of the Progressive Conservative Party to lobby their federal counterparts and Conservative Party colleagues on the importance of funding to local and small museums and archives and the impact that these cuts will have on these institutions' ability to preserve, protect, and showcase Nova Scotia's important rural and agricultural heritage.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 946

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

Whereas the heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries and archives are valued not only by Nova Scotians but by Canadians; and

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Whereas the Argyle Township Court House Archives which is owned and supported by the Municipality of Argyle and operated by the Argyle Municipality Historical and Genealogical Society with the mission to preserve, protect, promote and make available to the public the historic courthouse and the public records of the Municipality of Argyle; and

Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget has seen dramatic cuts at Library and Archives Canada which has led to the elimination of the National Archival Development Program, a program which has funded many projects at the Argyle Township Court House and Archives, one of which was the complete arrangement and description of municipal records for Argyle from 1987-2000;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly call on the member for Argyle to lobby his federal counterparts and Conservative Party colleagues on the importance of funding to local small museums and archives and the impact that these cuts will have on these institutions' ability to preserve, protect, and showcase Nova Scotia's important rural and agricultural heritage.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 947

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

Whereas the heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries and archives are valued not only by Nova Scotians but by all Canadians; and

Whereas the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre Archives and Resource Library in Judique, Inverness County, collects, preserves and promotes the traditional Celtic music of Cape Breton Island through education, research and performance; and

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Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget has seen dramatic cuts at Library and Archives Canada which have led to the elimination of the National Archival Development Program - a program which has assisted the development of an archives for the preservation of important documents related to Celtic music in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly call on the member for Inverness to lobby his federal counterparts and Progressive Conservative Party colleagues on the importance of funding to local small museums and archives and the impact that these cuts will have on these institutions' ability to preserve, protect, and showcase Nova Scotia's musical tradition.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 948

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

Whereas April 28th is marked each year as the International Day of Mourning for workers killed on the job; and

Whereas Kathleen Flanagan, a noted local photographer, created an exhibit of photographs of monuments located throughout Nova Scotia placed in memory of workers killed on the job; and

Whereas the exhibit, Sacrifices on the Job: Honouring Nova Scotians killed at work, opened April 28th in Alderney Landing, Dartmouth, and includes photographs of the monuments to John Michael Rossiter, the paramedic killed during Hurricane Juan, William Davis killed during protests over mining conditions, and of the monument placed to the miners killed 20 years ago today in the Westray mine explosion;

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Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the skill and dedication of photographer Kathleen Flanagan, and thank her for her exhibit, Sacrifices on the Job: Honouring Nova Scotians killed at work.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 949

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

Whereas the heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries and archives are valued not only by Nova Scotians but by all Canadians; and

Whereas the Lake Charlotte Area Heritage Society was founded in 1995 and owns and operates Memory Lane Heritage Village Museum and Archives chronicling the history of the communities of Lake Charlotte, Ship Harbour, DeBaies Cove, Owls Head, Little Harbour, Clam Harbour, Clam Bay, Upper Lakeville, Oyster Pond, and East and West Jeddore; and

Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget has seen the pullback of nearly $100,000 in funding to the museum for tourism development from ACOA, closed the museum's CAP site, and cut funding to the society's archives with the elimination of the National Archival Development Program;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly call on the members of the Progressive Conservative Party to lobby their federal counterparts and Progressive Conservative colleagues on the importance of funding to local and small museums and archives and the impact that these cuts will have on these institutions' ability to preserve, protect, and showcase Nova Scotia's important heritage and culture.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 950

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

Whereas in January I wrote a letter to the provincial Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage to allocate funds for regional archives; and

Whereas I recommended approaching the federal government about obtaining partnership funding in advance of our country's 150th Anniversary, so that we can remember the important local history for generations to come; and

Whereas this NDP Government Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage has yet to respond to that letter, four months later;

Therefore be it resolved that this NDP Government get their cultural and historical priorities straight and advance them in a spirit of co-operation with our federal government in Ottawa, before criticizing other levels of government.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

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RESOLUTION NO. 951

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

Whereas Ms. Rosanne Himmelman was a graduate of Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, who went on to Mount Saint Vincent University to achieve a Bachelor of Commerce degree, following which she began her career with Heinz Canada, becoming regional sales manager for western Canada; and

Whereas in 2001 Ms. Himmelman contracted cancer, causing her to leave her career and return to her home in Wileville, Nova Scotia, to live with her family, at which time she often spoke to them of her desire to set up a foundation that would help other families impacted by cancer; and

Whereas through her efforts and the efforts of family and friends, the Rose Fund Society established the Rose Fund to fulfill her wishes to help others with cancer, creating an annual fundraising dinner and auction, the 2012 event having been held on Saturday, May 5th, at the Royal Canadian Legion in Bridgewater, to the delight of a capacity crowd, raising much-needed funds to continue support for cancer patients;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the selflessness and courage of Ms. Rosanne Himmelman who, even while suffering herself, could only think of others, and congratulate her family and friends and the Rose Fund Society for creating a mechanism which continues to make her dream become a reality.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 952

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

Whereas the Cumberland Regional Health Care Auxiliary celebrates the 30th Anniversary of their Highland Fling Spring fundraising event, with a goal of raising $30,000 this month, the ribbon-cutting ceremony having taken place May 7th; and

Whereas the Cumberland Regional Health Care Auxiliary has been successful in raising over $0.5 million because of the strength and commitment of their volunteers throughout the years and the willingness of many local community groups to help make this event a success; and

Whereas the people of Cumberland County recognize the benefits of the fundraising efforts of the Cumberland Regional Health Care Auxiliary and continue to appreciate and support their efforts to make the community of Cumberland County a better place to live;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join me in saying thank you to all of those who have worked so hard over the last 30 years to make the Highland Fling a success and wish them good luck on reaching their goal of $30,000 this year.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 953

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

Whereas the Community Access Program assists communities in offering public Internet access sites and trains local citizens to make use of information technologies for social and economic benefit to the individual and to the community; and

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Whereas there are 209 CAP sites throughout the province that ensure Nova Scotians have secure and reliable Internet access in their community, for job searches, filing government forms, banking and recreational use; and

Whereas the Conservatives' recent announcement that they will no longer support this community-based program will cause hardship for those Nova Scotians from all parts of the province who rely on CAP sites for Internet access;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House - especially the members for Argyle, Hants West, Inverness, Victoria-The Lakes, Cape Breton West, Cape Breton North, and Cumberland South - make it clear to the Conservatives that they do not support their cuts to these important local resources and ask them to reconsider their rash decisions to isolate rural Nova Scotians.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : Question Period will begin at 3:01 p.m. and end at 4:31 p.m.

The honourable member for Preston.

EDUC.: AFRICENTRIC LEARNING INSTIT. - NAME

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, May 4th marked the launch of the long awaited Africentric Learning Institute. This institute was borne out of the recommendations adopted by the government in 2003, from the Report of The BLAC Implementation Review Committee. Will the Minister of Education tell members of this House what this institute will be called?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, thank you for bringing up such an important institute today. The Africentric Learning Institute was launched on this past Friday and was a key recommendation of the BLAC Report. This is going to be a wonderful resource for our province; it is the first of its kind in Canada. Thank you.

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MR. COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the government's response to the report's recommendation states, and I will table it: "The ALI has officially become the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Africentric Learning Institute . . ."

In the letter from the Minister of Education dated May 2nd inviting the Daye family to the May 4th launch, called it the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Africentric Learning Institute. I will table that letter as well. Will the minister tell members of this House why, in the 2003 report and on the letter of May 2nd, it was called the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Institute but the institute itself was incorporated as the Africentric Learning Institute?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, the Africentric Learning Institute which was launched this Friday is going to be a resource for all of our teachers and for our students here in Nova Scotia.

I have to say that I did not know Mr. Daye, I did not meet him but I know that Mr. Daye was instrumental in making sure that all people in the Legislature, all Parties, moved forward the advancement of appropriate education for our Black learners in the Province of Nova Scotia. I have heard nothing but his commitment and his passion and dedication towards children of African descent receiving appropriate education.

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that there have been difficulties in the past and we are continuing with difficulties. This institute is going to be a resource that will help us along our journey to make sure that our students in this province get an appropriate education. Thank you.

MR. COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I have to ask the minister why she wrote the letter then of May 2nd. The letter clearly said that this was going to be the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Africentric Learning Institute. The Black community even went to the length of going all over this province checking to see if the name would be acceptable and it was, by everyone that they met with in the province.

Will the Minister of Education take this opportunity today to apologize to the Daye family and to those who have worked so hard in Mr. Daye's memory to see the institute become a reality and to all members of this House for insulting this name change?

MS. JENNEX « » : I want to say that past ministers and past boards wanted to recognize Mr. Daye's contributions but it has come to our attention that there is some conflicting information on the public record that needs to be sorted out. There has been a new board established on Friday, and I'm sure that the new board will be able to sort this information out.

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MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

PREM.: POWER RATE INCREASES - GOV'T. INTERVENTION

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday I tabled a statement from the Premier when he was in Opposition in this House where he said and I quote again:

"When the price of that power starts to outstrip the consumer's ability to pay it's time for the government to step in. It's time for government to provide leadership and solutions."

Well Mr. Speaker, as we know, power rates continue to skyrocket in this province under this government and at the same time the disposable income of Nova Scotians has declined, most recently by 1.8 per cent. My question to the Premier is, why has he decided that it is no longer the responsibility of government to provide leadership when the price of power outstrips consumer's ability to pay? I will again table that statement of the Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I saw the statement yesterday when it was tabled by the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. He neglects to say that in the press release that he actually tables, I actually point out the two things that should happen in order to show leadership. This says two things that have to happen: first, Nova Scotia Power must move quickly to use more renewables, renewable energy like wind and tidal power; and secondly, help consumers with the one big thing they cannot do, which is conserve the amount of power they use.

That is the exact program of government that we have laid out. We are doing exactly what we said we would do.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, you'll have to forgive Nova Scotians who, when they heard the Premier tell them that when the price of power outstrips their ability to pay that it's the government's job to step in, that they didn't notice that that promise - like so many others from him - contained a big magic asterisk. It contained two conditions that he's now disclosing that were not part of the deal at the time, that he only means it under certain conditions. Like the HST promise, like the balanced budget promise - now his power rate promise, we find out later, had conditions attached to it all along.

Mr. Speaker, one of those conditions that he is hanging his hat on now is that consumption has to go down. The fact of the matter is, according to Nova Scotia Power's filing yesterday, the average consumption for a Nova Scotian household in 2008 was 830 kilowatt hours of electricity - the average consumption today, after three years of this government, is 833 kilowatt hours of electricity. Consumption has not gone down, it has gone up and yet our power prices continue to skyrocket and it outstrips Nova Scotians' ability to pay as the Premier had told them before the election.

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My question to the Premier is, why is he okay with skyrocketing power bills now when consumption has not gone down as he had put a condition on his earlier promise?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I guess unlike the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, most Nova Scotians can actually read. They can read the whole text. They, in fact, endorse the agenda of this government by voting for them, the most important decision they could make. More to the point is that he uses 2008 as a year for comparison knowing full well that Efficiency Nova Scotia was not in place at that time and knowing full well that Allan Crandlemire appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and pointed out to the members opposite that more than $100 million in conservation savings were passed on to ratepayers as a result of their work.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, unfortunately for the Premier, Nova Scotians can read very well. They can read the election platform of the NDP which also said he wouldn't raise their taxes, that he would balance the budget. It said he would not let power rates go up and they can now read for themselves these new conditions that he places retroactively on his promises, like that it depended on consumption.

Well, consumption has not gone down but power prices have certainly skyrocketed. The only place where consumption is down is in the industrial sector, because of shutdowns at big companies like NewPage and like Bowater. As we learned from the Nova Scotia Power filing yesterday, even consumption among other companies, large and small, is down. Not because they honoured the Premier's magic conditional promise, but because they can't afford to pay for power like they used to be able to afford to pay for power.

The one place where consumption is down is in manufacturing - where jobs matter, where jobs are important, where jobs can be maintained. Here is a great example of where the Premier's electricity plan is actually reducing consumption by killing jobs in the manufacturing sector.

So my question to the Premier is, how many more shutdowns and job losses does he have to see before he admits his plan isn't working, he shows leadership and steps in on behalf of Nova Scotians who can't afford their power bills?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what Nova Scotians know, and I hear it from them almost every day, is that unfortunately, because of decisions made by past governments, Nova Scotians - whether they are in the industrial sector or in the residential sector - are chained to the international fossil fuel market as a result of decisions made by those governments. We have higher electricity prices because of the decisions that previous governments made.

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

[Page 1869]

PREM. - NSP: MONOPOLY - END

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are paying some of the highest rates for power in Canada. Nova Scotia Power has gone back to the URB to try to exact more money from families and businesses. Nova Scotians have had enough, and they're looking for this government to stand up to Nova Scotia Power. So my question to the Premier is, will the Premier end Nova Scotia Power's monopoly to ensure competition with better regulations?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we have seen the results of deregulation in other parts of the country. What has happened with deregulation is it has actually driven up the cost of power for ordinary consumers. Unfortunately, the members of the Liberal Party believe that embarking on a deregulated market will somehow benefit ratepayers when, in fact, what it would do is harm them. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to retract those remarks that I just heard.

The honourable member for Yarmouth, stand in your place, please.

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL » : Retracted, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : What you said.

MR. CHURCHILL « » : What I said, yes.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Thank you.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition has the floor.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to be clear that at no time has the Liberal caucus ever suggested that there should be deregulation. What we allowed for was for competition to happen in a regulated market.

I want to remind the Premier that, of all the provinces that he's quoting, they had cheaper power than we do here in Nova Scotia. The fact of the matter is that the NDP Government is afraid to stand up against Nova Scotia Power. They're afraid to allow competition in the energy market so that Nova Scotians can get an opportunity to have choice when it comes to who supplies their households with power. They had the ability to put in a regulated market to allow competition inside the Province of Nova Scotia.

My question for the Premier is, why does the Premier continue to stand up for Nova Scotia Power instead of standing up for Nova Scotians?

[Page 1870]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we are standing up for ratepayers. We removed the HST from home electricity - something that that member and his entire caucus voted against.

I want to point out to the Leader of the Official Opposition that he should talk to his Energy Critic, because I will table again the legislation that he tabled which calls for the deregulation of the electricity market, and I will table a copy of the news report of the day when that legislation was tabled in New Brunswick, which says it's all about the deregulation of the market.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, before the Premier starts chastising the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party about being able to read, I would suggest that he go back to (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, in actual fact, that bill that was put in front of this House does not talk about deregulation. I can't help, nor can this caucus help, what is written in New Brunswick, but what this government can do is keep their word.

Since this government is unable and powerless to stand up against Nova Scotia Power, perhaps it could give Nova Scotians a break on their power bill each and every month by doing what they said they would do before the last election; that would be to force shareholders to pay for the NDP electricity tax, not ratepayers.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we took the tax off electricity, not put it on. What he wants to do is try to confuse consumers by telling them that the $100 million in energy savings that they received for the $40 million that was paid is not a good deal. The $40 million of that money is recovered for $100 million worth of savings.

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

ENERGY - ERDT MIN./PREM.: POWER RATES - STANCE

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the - well, you know, my question is for the Premier, since he wants to get so angry about this, since he can't get his facts right yet.

Yesterday, in response to a question from the member for Glace Bay, the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism - his minister - said that some businesses in the province may be concerned about skyrocketing costs of power rates in the province, but he didn't think it was really a big issue. I'm going to table that.

In the follow-up supplementary to the Minister of Energy, he said he knows people are concerned about energy rates in the province, and I'll table that. Mr. Speaker, which minister is right?

[Page 1871]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we're all concerned about the costs of electricity - anything that affects people's quality of life or the ability for a business to function. That is why we have embarked on an electricity program that was widely lauded throughout the industry, that will invest $1.5 billion over the next number of years in order to make improvements into the electricity grid. That will mean that this province will finally be taken off fossil fuels and placed on renewables so that we have stable, long-term pricing.

Mr. Speaker, that's not just a goal. That is something that this government is actually doing.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, before the Premier starts blaming the other Parties for the reliance on coal in this province, he might want to talk to the member for Cape Breton Centre, who lobbied hard for coal in this House as an NDP MLA. We tabled lots of that the other day. All three Parties were fighting for coal in this province, including members of the NDP. The NDP ministers stand in this House day after day and they take credit for the amazing economic growth in the province that has happened since they took office - so amazing, in fact, that it is 0.3 per cent growth, the worst in Canada. It's amazingly bad.

Mr. Speaker, since the Energy Minister's colleague said that there are only some businesses that may be concerned about skyrocketing power rates and the Minister of Energy thought that, well, maybe everybody is, would the Premier please tell us which businesses in this province his Cabinet colleagues feel aren't worried about power rates?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we are three questions deep into Question Period and he's already reduced to rhetoric. That's because he has nothing left. He knows that it is this government that is standing up for its citizens, ensuring that we have stable, long-term energy prices so that this will become an economic advantage for the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier is worried about rhetoric and he gives that answer? I mean, that's unbelievable. The fact is, this Premier isn't standing up for ratepayers. He's standing up for Nova Scotia Power, the only company in the province that isn't concerned about rising power rates.

Let's take a look at some of these business users. The efficiency charge that the Premier said during the election they would charge against shareholders to get that $100 million in savings is increasing by 249 per cent this year on bills. The rate is going up 249 per cent in that application for industrial users.

Now, the HST changes that this government likes to talk about were irrelevant to businesses, because for businesses, there is a charge-through anyway, so it doesn't matter. The minister talks about switching to renewables when he knows that the costs associated with those changes that we've paid up to now were from the Tory Government's EGSPA legislation and the NDP costs will come later. What has this government done to reduce power rates, as they said were so important, for businesses in Nova Scotia?

[Page 1872]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we have entered into agreements that will ensure stable long-term rates. Those will become an economic advantage for Nova Scotia businesses. The reality is that despite what has been said in the last couple of days Nova Scotia does not have the highest power rates in the country; in fact we're in the middle of the pack. The other thing that's something that has been avoided to be mentioned by the Leaders of the other Parties is simply this - we also have one of the lowest basic charges in the country.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hants West.

ENERGY: ELECTRICITY PLAN - REWRITE

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, the province's pulp and paper crisis is creating a spiralling electricity problem in our province. High electricity costs were cited as one of the three major cost drivers that were making it difficult for them to keep their doors open. Ironically the shutdown leads to even higher energy prices. My question to the Minister of Energy is, will he rewrite his expensive electricity plan and replace it with one that sustains important manufacturing jobs rather than driving them away?

HON. CHARLIE PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, certainly, you know, as was mentioned in the last question, we are all concerned about the affordability of energy in this province whether for a family or for a very large industry. We continue to work to find alternatives to expensive coal that has really been the cost driver of higher energy prices, thanks to previous governments. We are working on a suite of alternatives - from renewables to natural gas, to efficiency programs, to taking the HST off electricity, a whole variety or whole suite of alternatives that will make electricity affordable in this province.

MR. PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, year after year these mills made big contributions to fixed costs of Nova Scotia's electricity system - they helped pay the mortgage on the power plants, the wind turbines, the dams, and the power lines that have been built, but as these mills exit the system it's forcing everyone else to pay more to cover these fixed costs. It's a spiral effect that's just going to keep getting worse.

Will the Minister of Energy tell us how many more jobs we will have to lose in rural Nova Scotia before he will admit his bite-the-bullet electricity plan is actually killing important manufacturing jobs?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, through our 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan we have an outline of a better way for a better future, and working with large businesses, small businesses, families, renters, the whole gamut of Nova Scotians, and we have various programs under the Efficiency Nova Scotia model that will help all of those ratepayers that I just mentioned.

[Page 1873]

MR. PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Question Period the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism said the cost of power may be an issue for some businesses. Well, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business's Business Barometer for March, the main cost pressure facing Nova Scotia businesses is fuel and energy, followed by taxes and regulation - and I'll table that document. Under the NDP's watch we have now the highest rate per kilowatt hour for power of all the provinces and some of the highest taxes.

Will the minister tell job creators which he would prefer them to do to deal with their rising cost pressures - lay off more employees or pay their power bills?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, the real reason that energy prices are high is because of years of inaction by previous governments that just did not have a plan, did not have a vision. (Interruption) On the contrary, this government does have a plan, it's a Renewable Electricity Plan, we're working toward renewables, we're working toward more natural gas, Efficiency Nova Scotia programs - there's a whole suite of alternatives to help Nova Scotians, to help businesses in this province.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - PHYSICIAN RECRUITMENT:

LIBERAL BILL - PASS

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, today the province released a Physician Resource Plan that confirmed what many others have been telling this government for quite some time - that we do not have a sufficient number of family physicians today and by 2020 the need will have grown by more than 120 physicians.

While recruitment and retention is complex, it became clearly evident today that what we've been doing in terms of recruitment and retention is not working. Given what has been confirmed today, my question for the Premier is, will the Premier commit to passing our bill which would set aside 20 medical seats at Dalhousie Medical School for students who are willing to work in underserviced areas across our province?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I understand the Minister of Health and Wellness today had a press conference along with Doctors Nova Scotia in which Doctors Nova Scotia talked about the great level of co-operation they had with the Minister of Health and Wellness. I think she may like to respond directly to that question so I'm going to ask her to respond.

[Page 1874]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. Our government is committed to ensuring that every Nova Scotian has access to a family doctor and primary care, regardless of where they live throughout our province.

Today was a very good day for health care in the Province of Nova Scotia. We are the first province to have a Physician Resource Plan. We've worked very hard with our partners at the medical school, Doctors Nova Scotia, the college, the DHAs. We have the first steps moving us forward to expand primary care for new primary health care centres in the province, financial assistance for 16 others. A new locum program to support emergency rooms, there are many, many excellent features in our new Physician Resource Plan.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, three years later we have a plan and 60,000 Nova Scotians are still waiting for access to a family physician. Today, both Doctors Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Medical School talked about the need to introduce medical students to the reality of rural practices. Forty medical schools throughout the world have comprehensive third year clerkship programs that have been very successful in introducing students to the realities of rural medicine, then attracting these students back to the very communities in this province and other provinces who have difficulty accessing and recruiting family physicians. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier commit to passing our bill which would support Dalhousie Medical School so that they can implement a third year comprehensive clerkship program?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I will ask the Minister of Health and Wellness to respond to the Leader of the Official Opposition.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, one of the things this government will be doing this year is expanding the residency program from the medical school into the Annapolis Valley, where that member represents members of the public there. We will work very closely with Dalhousie, Dalhousie has been a full partner in the development of the Physician Resource Plan and they are very committed to working with the department and others to changing the mix of graduates that come out of their program to refocus and to more family practice and more generalists that will be able to work throughout our province and take some of the pressure off the Capital District Health Authority and our ERs.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, what Dalhousie Medical School has been clear about is the fact that the clerkship residency program which has worked in other provinces would be a tremendous asset to Nova Scotia. That is different than the residency program that the minister is talking about. The clerkship program takes place in the third and fourth year of studies. The residency program takes place after they graduate.

[Page 1875]

The residency program highlights another issue which happens in this province and in our country. There are 3,500 Canadians at any one time studying at medical schools abroad, about 100 Nova Scotians are part of that. But when they look for a residency program, a residency seat in Nova Scotia, we treat them as foreign students. We do not show them the respect and treat them as one of our sons and daughters. I would ask the minister and the Premier to support our bill which is in front of this House which is to build a residency program that addresses the very need to support those sons and daughters of ours who are studying abroad in this Province of Nova Scotia.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Health just pointed out, there is an enhanced residency project underway that will expand the residency program in those areas of the Valley. I'm sure now, though, that the Leader of the Official Opposition regrets the last Liberal Government when they were making cuts to those things like seats.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hants West.

ENERGY - MUSKRAT FALLS: EXCESS ENERGY - MARKETING

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : The Nalcor and Emera deal on Muskrat Falls was due at the end of January and is over three months late. Through the current proposals Nova Scotia would be entitled to about 160 megawatts of energy. However, the subsea cable is expected to hold up to three times that capacity. We see today that the Premier has finally come around to our caucus' position that there needs to be a formal review of the project, but there are still many concerns about securing a market for the extra electricity. My question to the Minister of Energy is, has his department talked to Emera about markets for excess energy from Muskrat Falls, and what would that mean for Nova Scotia?

HON. CHARLIE PARKER « » : The Muskrat Falls project is a real opportunity for Nova Scotia. It's going to provide 35 years of stable electricity rates for Nova Scotians, and that will help small businesses, large businesses, and families. There will be a certain contracted amount of power available once the URB decides on the format, but the extra power that's there will be available at market prices to Nova Scotians and beyond.

MR. PORTER « » : A market for the excess energy is key to helping that project get off the ground. Nova Scotia could benefit from moving that electricity through our province, but if there is no market willing to pay the premium price for electricity, then it becomes stranded here, forcing up power rates even more.

My question to the minister is, has Emera asked the government to accept more than the 20 per cent of our energy needs from Muskrat Falls to make sure there is a market for the expensive energy in order to force this deal with Nalcor to work?

MR. PARKER « » : As the Premier has been intimately involved in this project, I'm going to ask him to respond to it.

[Page 1876]

THE PREMIER « » : I want to begin by pointing out that right from the very first day that the memorandum of understanding was signed, we said there would be a full review before the Utility and Review Board, something that the legislation set out the terms of today. I would point out to the member opposite that we have an entitlement to a certain set amount of electricity. The rest of that will continue to belong to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador through their Crown agency, Nalcor. They will run that through into the competitive market in an enhanced transmission grid. That will also be good for the Province of Nova Scotia. It's part of the reason that New Brunswick has been intricately involved in the overall transmission project.

I would point out that one of the advantages for the Province of Nova Scotia is that the transmission line that will be used to carry that extra electricity will actually charge a tolling rate on the electricity as it passes through, which will help underwrite the cost of the transmission system.

MR. PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, Maine has an excess of cheap, natural gas-fuelled electricity, and there is not yet a link to the more profitable markets in Boston or New York. They may have no reason to buy more expensive electricity, and I bet customers in New England won't buy Muskrat Falls' energy without knowing the cost. My question to the Premier is, is he committed to even more electricity from Muskrat Falls without knowing how much it costs?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, as I said, one of the great benefits of Muskrat Falls is that we're going to get a guaranteed rate for 35 years for the amount of electricity that is contracted for. The cost will be based on the cost of the project, which will be reviewed by the Utility and Review Board - which, of course, is the way that every project is analyzed for the ratepayers' rate. But the great advantage to this will be that in addition to that, the extra power will flow through, into a competitive market, and then the Province of Nova Scotia will have the opportunity to buy the most competitively-priced power on the market.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - MENTAL HEALTH STRATEGY:

PROV./DHA STRATEGIES - INCORPORATION

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Mental Health Commission released a national Mental Health Strategy. For Nova Scotia this means we now have a national strategy waiting for a response, recommendations from a provincial advisory committee that have yet to be formulated into a provincial action plan, and DHAs that have been implementing their own mental health strategies, all in a vacuum. Could the minister please indicate how the federal Mental Health Commission strategy will be incorporated with the provincial and DHA strategies?

[Page 1877]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for an excellent question. On the working group for Nova Scotia's Mental Health Strategy Advisory Committee, was a young man whose name is Andy Cox, who is also on the working group for the national Mental Health Strategy; the co-chair for our advisory group, Dr. Michael Ungar, was also involved with the development of the national Mental Health Strategy.

I think, in fact, Nova Scotia probably is the best represented province on the National Mental Health Working Group. Louise Bradley, who is the executive director of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, is formerly from the Capital District Health Authority and has set up many of the mental health programs in this province. The Deputy Minister of Health in the Department of Health and Wellness has also been very active on the national file. So we're very aware of what is in the national strategy and are working hard to ensure that that strategy and our own are aligned. Thank you.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Unlike the provincial advisory recommendations, the federal strategy comes with a recommendation to increase mental health funding from the national average of 7 per cent to 9 per cent of Health budgets. Mr. Speaker, when you look at the national average of 7 per cent, Nova Scotia doesn't reach that mark, our funding is short by over $94 million. To get to 9 per cent we need to add at least $171 million. Given the absence of any provincial funding recommendation from the provincial advisory committee, will the Minister of Health and Wellness confirm whether they will be accepting the federal funding recommendations?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : First of all, Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what financial metrics the member is using but in Nova Scotia we are either at or very close to 7 per cent of the budget. (Interruption) Well, I hear the member for Halifax Clayton Park saying it's not true but I asked members of my department in finance to break out where we spend our budget, to establish - in fact, I have that information and it is the case that we are very close to the 7 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that we have set aside close to $4 million for our mental health strategy in the coming year and we will continue to look at the kinds of resources we need to invest in mental health services as we go forward. The mental health strategy is expected in the next few weeks and I look forward to having some support in implementing the mental health strategy from all members of this House.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, well, mental health and addiction spending, as a percentage of the overall budget, is 4.6 per cent and mental health spending alone as a percentage of the overall budget is 3.5 per cent. I can table that for the minister.

The final supplementary, then, in January, Premiers met, formed a health care innovation group, to look at scopes of practice, human resource management and clinical, practical guidelines - all great directions but none speak directly to the need for more funding. The report will be discussed in Halifax in July.

[Page 1878]

In March, our Premier was quoted in The Globe and Mail as stating, "Our role as premiers is not simply to blindly accept whatever the federal government says. Ours is to continue to make our case . . ." I don't think there is a person in the House or even outside this House that doesn't believe the Premier can't make the case for the federal government to provide more funding for mental health. My question to the Premier is, as the new chair of the federation of the council, would the Premier please indicate when he will be contacting his respective provincial counterparts to make the case for more federal funding for mental health?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the member meant the Council of the Federation - I get his point. In fact, all the Premiers are trying to bring to the attention of all Canadians what is happening in health care funding generally which, of course, reflects very directly on the question of mental health funding. The simple fact of the matter is that although the federal government likes to talk about the 6 per cent escalator, they don't often say that that is only with respect to a very small pool of money that comes from the federal government to the provinces.

What that means is that in our province it amounts to about 1.2 per cent of the health care budget, in terms of an increase. In fact, the federal government's funding is now, I think this year will slip below 15 per cent of the total funding for the health care system and we can see very soon it will go down below 10 per cent of the total funding for the health care system. This is an extraordinary set of circumstances so, of course, we intend to argue, intend to push the federal government for additional funding.

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

ERDT - SHIPS START HERE: INFO. - DELIVER

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you will be to the Acting Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. This government wants to keep the process around the Ships Start Here rule-breaking advertising contract secret. On March 8th our caucus, the Progressive Conservative caucus, submitted a FOIPOP application to the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, asking for the minutes of the Ships Start Here steering committee meetings, a group that met a handful of times. On April 11th we learned that the department decided to extend the 30-day response time. Now this is for a simple set of minutes sitting in a binder somewhere and then the application for an additional 30 days to May 11th, so that we are only a couple of days away from that date.

Today, we learned that that won't happen, that the person responsible for meeting the deadline was given time off by this government so that we won't hear the truth and they don't want us to hear the truth before this session is over. My question to the minister is, will the minister ensure that ERDT meets its obligation and delivers the information about Ships Start Here before the Friday deadline?

[Page 1879]

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite is confused about the reasoning for the Ships Start Here campaign, but simply put, this is the biggest economic opportunity the province has ever seen in its history and what we need is support from all members of this House as we move forward and implement that Ships Start Here campaign and program, and the awarding of the ships contract. This government is supportive of it; I just wish that Party over there would support it also.

MR. MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary will be to the Minister of Communications Nova Scotia. Part of Communications Nova Scotia's mission is, "Working as a team we bring projects to life, from concept to design and budget, through to a successful launch." We learned today that when it comes to Ships Start Here, this government kept the concept and design a secret from CNS, but stuck them with the tab. My question to the minister is, if the Ships Start Here campaign was not a political campaign in nature, why did the government bypass the able professionals at CNS and use an outside agency that is mandated to make a profit and not use CNS, who is accountable to the taxpayers?

MR. CORBETT « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but to the contrary, we've taken more contracts in the House rather than when that crowd was in government, where they put out - and I'm going to tell you something. Since we came to power, the Communications Nova Scotia budget has gone down over 27 per cent since we took over, and we've picked up what these people put by the curb. We made a difference. We look after the taxpayers' dollars. They wasted them.

MR. MACLEOD « » : It would be a waste of breath and time, that answer.

Mr. Speaker, this morning the assistant deputy minister told members of the Public Accounts Committee that the Ships Start Here campaign was intended to instill pride in Nova Scotians. She also said that the 811 campaign reaped tangible results by increasing the number of calls to that service. She could not, however, point to one single tangible result stemming from the Ships Start Here campaign. (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: Not even one?

MR. MACLEOD « » : Not one.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Question.

MR. MACLEOD « » : I do have a question. I'm just waiting for the time. I don't want the minister to miss it, sir.

[Page 1880]

MR. SPEAKER « » : That's all right.

MR. MACLEOD « » : Will the minister now admit that the taxpayer-funded Ships Start Here campaign was little more than a political PR campaign aimed at boosting the political fortunes of a government who has the highest taxes, among the highest power rates, and the second-lowest growth rate in the country?

MR. CORBETT « » : You know, Mr. Speaker, the proof that this is working - I've got a picture here that I'm going to table. It's not a poster for the blockbuster Three Stooges movie that's coming out this summer. It is the member for Argyle, the member for Hants East, and the member for Cape Breton North standing proudly behind Ships Start Here logos. That's why it works. They know it works. We know it works. All Nova Scotians know it works. Why don't they just agree to it, and we'll move forward.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - FORENSIC HOSP. UNESCORTED PASS:

NON-RETURN - PUBLIC NOTIFICATION

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday questions were asked to the Minister of Health and Wellness regarding the protocols used at the East Coast Forensic Hospital dealing with unescorted leave passes. We're now aware that the patient in question who failed to return on Friday night is still missing.

In light of the Denny incident mere weeks ago, which led to an unfortunate murder in our province, I'm wondering if the Minister of Health and Wellness could advise why in this case, the minister still waited 72 hours before notifying the public when the patient failed to return?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, there's the Criminal Code Review Board that reviews the medical information and makes a determination about individuals with respect to the risk they pose to the community. They lay out parameters for the doctors and the nurses to work within in terms of a treatment plan and a release plan for that individual.

That was the case with this particular young woman. She has been at the forensic hospital for close to a year. She has had numerous passes into the community. She was granted a pass on the Friday in question, and when she failed to return, the procedures that are in place in terms of informing the police were followed, and then subsequently informing the public. All procedures that exist were followed.

MR. SAMSON « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, one would say that all the procedures were followed in the Denny incident as well, and we know the most unfortunate result of that case.

[Page 1881]

Mr. Speaker, we've been through this just a few weeks ago and we've seen what can happen. Today we're now hearing the minister, even after the Denny incident - the very protocols she says have been followed are the ones her department is reviewing to see if they are actually the appropriate protocols, but what we now know today is the department waited 72 hours to notify the public.

The Halifax Regional Police today are saying that they suspect that the patient in question is now in the Province of Quebec, which Nova Scotians have to ask - had they been notified earlier, could the public have assisted the police and the government in trying to locate this patient and make sure that she returns to the facility to receive the treatment she needs?

So in light of the fact that the Halifax Regional Police now believe that the patient is in the Province of Quebec, would the Minister of Health and Wellness please tell us if she still believes that waiting 72 hours to notify the public was a prudent call?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday in Question Period, on a daily basis we may have anywhere between 10 to 15 patients who are at East Coast Forensic Hospital receiving some form of leave from the forensic hospital. These procedures are there to be used in the event that someone leaves the facility and doesn't return.

Police are notified within 15 minutes of the failure for an individual to return. If a person is AWOL for a longer period of time, it is their procedure to notify the public within 72 hours. They do have the flexibility to notify the public earlier if they feel that there is a risk to the public, and those decisions are made in consultation with the police department.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. We had a system which was brought to Nova Scotians' attention, a system that few Nova Scotians even understood how it worked, until the Denny incident. The government did react by saying they would order a review, and one would have suspected that the government would have put in place interim measures, while waiting for the review, to try to ensure that this would not have happened again.

Instead, today we're being told that the very same procedures that are currently under review were applied in this case to a patient who we're now being told has made her way to the Province of Quebec and is now even further away from receiving the treatment she deserves.

THE PREMIER « » : He'd prefer a kneejerk reaction.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I would prefer that the Premier would take the safety of patients and the safety of Nova Scotians seriously in this province and implement immediate measures to do so, rather than sit and wait until incidents happen and then provide excuses. (Applause)

[Page 1882]

Mr. Speaker, if the Premier again (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, order.

The honourable member for Richmond has the floor.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, it's most unfortunate that the Premier doesn't take this matter seriously and would not put more attention to this very matter. We've seen a very unfortunate incident, Nova Scotians are now being told to wait for a review, only to see how long that will take before implementing changes.

I would ask the Minister of Health and Wellness this again. In light of this second incident and the fact that we're being told this patient is in the Province of Quebec, what immediate changes, temporary changes, will this government implement to try to ensure that these incidents do not happen again?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, in my judgement, it is not appropriate to suspend the treatment of mental health patients in the forensic hospital, or the Charter rights of mental health patients in a forensic hospital, because we had a tragic incident. We all recognize there was a very tragic incident in our community. We are doing a review of the procedures and we are doing a review of the clinical oversight with respect to what occurred around that incident.

Mr. Speaker, we have many, many mental health patients in the forensic hospital on treatment plans, subject to the review board. Because we've had this incident, we cannot now say that they will not be able to leave the forensic hospital to go to school, to work, to visit family, to have a weekend home or any of those things. These are the treatment plans that are in place and for most of the people who are in that facility, these treatment plans are working the way they are intended.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

HEALTH & WELLNESS: MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - ADVISORY COMM.

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, women's organizations are concerned about the specific impact that health policy, namely mental health policy, has on women who experience domestic violence. In a report for the Canadian Women's Foundation, the BC Society of Transition Houses notes that women's experience of violence precipitates their mental health issues. The report revealed that 50 per cent of all women surveyed who had experienced violence had a clinical mental health diagnosis, compared to only 20 per cent of women who had not experienced violence. I'll table that report.

[Page 1883]

The women's organizations have raised these concerns with the Department of Health and Wellness and in focus groups. Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Health please tell the members of this House if she has heard the concerns from women's organizations and if so, was the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee directed to address these concerns in its recommendations?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Domestic violence is certainly of concern to myself and to this government. I am aware of the correlation between mental health disorders and issues and domestic violence. The working group advising on the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy held public consultations all over the province. They met with more than 1,200 individuals and people representing various organizations. As I indicated earlier today, their work and recommendations are quite comprehensive and the strategy will follow quite closely.

The department is very much involved across departments working with Justice, Status of Women and other departments of government - Community Services - in having a very comprehensive response to domestic violence in Nova Scotia.

MS. REGAN « » : And yet, Mr. Speaker, after all those consultations, the words "domestic violence" - we can't find them in the report. Women's organizations have concerns about the lack of consideration for domestic violence in the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee's report. The Domestic Violence Action Plan clearly outlines the connection between domestic violence and mental health. Organizations therefore naturally expected to see something in the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy recommendations about domestic violence. My question to the minster is, how is your department addressing the concerns in the Domestic Violence Action Plan that specifically speak to mental health and will these items be included in the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, the work of the working group is to be congratulated. I'm not sure if the honourable member is suggesting that the working group needed to address every single solitary issue that exists in the province.

What we have is a very comprehensive working group underway across government departments looking at domestic violence and all of the various departments' roles in addressing domestic violence. I'm sure that as that work unfolds, there will be attention given to access to mental health services and supports for victims of domestic violence as well as perpetrators of domestic violence.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, so either we're being nitpicky because we asked the minister to include recommendations on domestic violence or it's a broad report. I can't really tell because she said both things. Women's organizations are concerned about the lack of mention of domestic violence in this report. The Domestic Violence Action Plan is under the purview of the Minister of Justice and the Minister Responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

[Page 1884]

My question to the Minister of Health and Wellness is, did your Cabinet colleagues raise any concern about the lack of mention of domestic violence in the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee's recommendations?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. You cannot ask questions about the Cabinet, it's about confidentiality, so I'd ask you to reframe your question and ask it again.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, did anyone on the opposite side of the House raise any concern about the lack of mention about domestic violence in the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee's recommendations?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this government is very committed to developing good public policy with respect to domestic violence. To that end we have a working group across departments which would include the Departments of Health and Wellness, Community Services, Justice, Advisory Council on the Status of Women and so forth.

With respect to the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, the working group, the advisory group whose report was tabled last week, it's an excellent report, the strategy will be based on this report. The strategy will not be silent with respect to the issues that the member brings up. We are doing multi-sectorial work on a variety of fronts. We recognize that domestic violence is an area where there is a correlation between mental health issues and violence, and the impact on children, the impact on women, for example, and, indeed, the need for services for perpetrators of violence against women and children.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove on a new question.

JUSTICE - JOB RELOCATIONS: EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT - EXPLAIN

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, in a May 1st article in The ChronicleHerald, the Deputy Premier is reported to have indicated that moving the Maintenance Enforcement Program positions to New Waterford will improve efficiency. I will table that particular article. This is a laudable goal, improving efficiency and bringing jobs to rural Nova Scotia. However, the Maintenance Enforcement Program has been under-resourced and understaffed for years, in fact, the average caseload per worker is 426 active cases and that doesn't even include the inactive and the cold cases. Can the Minister of Justice please tell members of this House how relocating a program will improve its efficiency?

[Page 1885]

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, numerous times in this House the Opposition members have raised concern about the structure and format of the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) and asked my department and asked this government if we would examine and look at that. What we have done is examined it on an ongoing basis and over the last three years we've been trying to make some fundamental changes. Some of the characteristics that surfaced were the mentoring, the coaching, the training and development of the employees who are providing that service and bringing them into a co-operative structure where they can have quick exchanges and discuss particular cases.

Is the member suggesting to me then that what they were asking earlier - throw that out the window, I'm confused by their questioning. Either be consistent on their point of view. What we have done is that we've put it in a place where we can achieve those goals and objectives to improve the quality of the system, just as they have asked.

MS. REGAN « » : Clearly, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to have to get a dictionary out for the minister to explain what the word "efficiency" means.

Mr. Speaker, families in Nova Scotia are owed $81 million in maintenance payments. Maintenance enforcement officers are dealing with overwhelming caseloads and those enforcement officers know themselves that moving the problem doesn't solve it. In fact, if enforcement officers decide not to go with the program to the other end of the province, we actually lose a wealth of expertise and new hires will have to start from square one to be trained.

So, Mr. Speaker, how is this making the program more efficient and how is this a better deal for today's families enrolled in the Maintenance Enforcement Program?

MR. LANDRY « » : I will start off with a line by saying if there's no change, there's no future. If we continue to do the same thing over and over again, as that Opposition Party have said the system wasn't working, so we have made some changes. We're bringing people together in a co-operative manner to be able to mentor and discuss with each other issues that are going on. With the technologies that we have in place today, we're going to be able to automate the system much more quickly and get faster response, control the data information that's coming in to make sure that there are efficiencies. The difference between this government and the Opposition is that they just want to spend more money, leave things the way that they are. We want to be constructive, be progressive, and the future starts here.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the Maintenance Enforcement Program is an under-resourced program. It needs to be fixed. We don't need to move the people around, we need to actually increase the number of enforcement officers who collect the money. In fact, now, money that could be directed to improving that program is going to be eaten up by moving costs because as the minister should well know, you can't move people from one end of the province to the other without having that actually cost money. When the Auditor General suggested changes needed to be made in the program, I don't think this is what he had in mind.

[Page 1886]

Will the Minister of Justice just admit to members of this House that this is simply a job creation program in the riding of the Deputy Premier and not a move to improve the efficiency of the Maintenance Enforcement Program?

MR. LANDRY « » : I thank the member for that question. The under-resources - another example of the difference between this government and the Opposition is that this government wants to restructure and make sure that the resources that we have in place are being more efficient and effective. Their idea is just spend more money, hire more people.

The other thing that I want to make a distinction on is that the Opposition clearly does not want to put jobs in the rural areas and I'm very disappointed that they say keep all the jobs in the City of Halifax but don't give any to rural, especially Cape Breton. Why they are against Cape Breton when they have a number of seats there, I don't know.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove on a new question.

ENVIRON. - BEDFORD WATERFRONT: INFILLING - PERMITS

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, a number of people in Bedford-Birch Cove are concerned about the infilling project of the Bedford Waterfront. The infilling was approved several decades ago and most of the lands in the area are owned by the Waterfront Development Corporation, a provincial Crown Corporation. My question is to the Minister of Environment. Could the minister please indicate whether all provincial permits were properly obtained for this project at the time and would those same standards apply if the project were going for approval today?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU » : Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I really appreciate the question concerning the Bedford Waterfront Development project. I can assure you that the applications - you're asking kind of a general question but I can tell you that the jurisdictions that are involved, they're starting the process that is being followed, and we also know that the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is involved in this and also the Halifax Port Authority, and there is an application process through Nova Scotia Environment.

My understanding is this process has been followed to a T and I can reflect on some other accomplishments that we have done in a short period of 36 months. I can assure the member opposite this project will be the same. Thank you very much for the question.

[Page 1887]

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the Waterfront Development Corporation conducted extensive consultations as the plans were drawn up for that waterfront development in Bedford. In fact, the second round of those took place the day after this government was elected, but by the time the final design was presented to the public, considerable negative comments ensued about the lack of green space, proposed heights and the plan to infill an area with a natural reef.

Mr. Speaker, would the minister indicate, is there any requirement for the Waterfront Development Corporation to act on the comments of residents, or can they continue with the development, despite a lack of consensus on this plan?

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the member opposite there is a process in place, that there has to be an annual reporting to the Minister of Environment. Again, I want to point out that the infilling has only used proper material, which is clean, environmentally-friendly. This project, like I said, I can relate to a number of environment projects and we have a great track record of protecting the environment in Nova Scotia. This project is one of those that under our guidance is going to do the proper thing, protect the environment. Thank you for the question.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the Waterfront Development Corporation has indicated that if they stopped the project, it would be left as a moonscape on the waterfront. The community of Bedford has accepted tons and tons of pyritic slate from building sites across HRM. Clearly the community has done HRM and Nova Scotia a service and yet we are told that we have to accept a development plan that many don't approve of.

Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of Environment please explain how taking a substance that the rest of the province is trying to get rid of has left my community with an ugly moonscape on the waterfront, development plans that cannot be sustained by the infrastructure in the area and the possible destruction of several natural habitats?

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Again to the member opposite, Mr. Speaker, I want to assure that only approved fill, clean fill, will be used for this project and the jurisdictions are the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Halifax Port Authority. There is some guidance there to make sure that this is done in the appropriate manner.

Again I want to emphasize that we're there to protect the environment and to make sure this project is done in the best interests of all Nova Scotians and I thank you again for the questions.

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

JUSTICE - FORENSIC PATIENTS: ABSENCES - PUBLIC SAFETY PROTOCOL

[Page 1888]

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are more aware than ever that people found not criminally responsible for serious offences have to be absent without permission for 72 hours before the public is allowed to be notified.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, with a health perspective, staunchly defended withholding this information because she sees it as fundamentally a health issue.

This question is for the Minister of Justice because this question is also about the protection of the public. Will the Minister of Justice undertake immediate steps to ensure public safety by advocating a public safety protocol that will allow information to be released immediately when someone who is a possible danger to the public is absent?

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : I want to thank the member for that question. I want to assure the member and all Nova Scotians that I take their safety seriously. I'm very committed, I've spent a lifetime on safety and those issues. There are protocols in place, we have policies in our institutions - for example, in one of our criminal institutions there are very clear policies that are there. For those that are in our health institutions, there are very clear policies there and I respect the management and the people who provide those services. I know they work very hard to ensure that they comply with their rules and I have no issue with what's going on there. Thank you.

MR. MACMASTER; Mr. Speaker, we know that the individual we were speaking about in the Legislature yesterday was caught trying to abduct a little boy in Kingston. I can only imagine what was going on in the minds of the parents of that little boy.

This person has been called a risk to herself and others, by Capital Health, and if that is the case, people need to know that, without an artificial delay.

My question to the Minister of Justice, didn't the public in Kings County and elsewhere deserve to know that there was a person, at risk to herself and others, in their midst?

MR. LANDRY « » : I'm going to pass that question over to the Minister of Health and Wellness, because they are talking about a patient from a health institution.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : The member started off by making a point that we've learned some things about the mental health system and how people who are in forensic hospitals are patients rather than criminals who have been convicted of any criminal offence. I would also remind members that it has been more than 10 years since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the practice where people used to be held indefinitely in psychiatric facilities on Lieutenant Governor's Warrants and put in place a process of a Criminal Review Board that would lay out the parameters under which an individual would be kept in a forensic hospital, where an assessment of risk would be done, where a treatment plan would be developed, and where decisions about integrating that person back into the community would be made by competent experts who are psychiatrists and nurses.

[Page 1889]

Mr. Speaker, we don't just make this stuff up. There are well-established laws and practices and protocols that are used all across the country with respect to forensic patients. The patients who are in East Coast Forensic are there because they have at some point posed a risk, but that risk is not necessarily a risk that is going to continue throughout their entire life.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, while I feel for anyone who is suffering from mental illness, this is not just a health issue. An at-large person who is at risk to themselves and the public is first and foremost a public safety issue. Moreover, the system did Andre Denny no favours by not reacting sooner, and it is doing this individual no favours by not having done more to get her back into care, where she was supposed to be for good medical and safety reasons.

Will the Minister of Justice commit to immediately suspending the 72-hour delay rule until something that allows the public to be warned about a danger is put in place?

MR. LANDRY « » : I am going to refer this back to the Minister of Health.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, it is true that we have to look at these situations with more than a health lens. We have to look at these situations with a balance. We have to look at these situations in terms of public safety. That's why we have a forensic system. People are in that system because they do pose a risk to themselves or to someone else.

However, when they're in that system, they are patients. As I said earlier in Question Period today, their treatment needs to be determined by trained physicians and nurses, not by politicians on the floor of a Legislature. We need to be respectful and aware of the fact that these individuals have well-established Charter rights that the courts have made decisions on. The highest court in this country has made decisions on what their rights are and what the procedures need to be.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - FORENSIC HOSP. PATIENT (05/04/12):

UNESCORTED PASSES - HIST.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : I earlier asked the question to the Minister of Health and Wellness regarding the policies and procedures used by her department regarding the East Coast Forensic facility when a patient fails to return after they've been given a pass. I believe the minister has indicated to us the protocols of notifying the police within 15 minutes when the patient does not return and that there is a 72-hour notification policy to the public if the patient fails to return.

[Page 1890]

I'm just wondering, with the case that we are referring to today, could the Minister of Health and Wellness advise us if she is aware whether this was the first time this patient failed to return after being given an unescorted day pass?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm aware that this patient has had numerous passes in the close to a year she has been in the forensic hospital. I understand that on numerous occasions she has met the conditions of her leave, and I'm also aware that she hasn't always met the conditions of her leave.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, in the interest of full disclosure, allow me to assist the minister. In the matter of the Nova Scotia Review Board regarding the patient in question, which is dated January 25, 2012, it indicates that the patient returned to the hospital on her own accord on November 2nd, having been AWOL for several weeks. She reported she had spent some time in Dartmouth and then travelled to Montreal and Edmonton. Halifax Regional Police are now reporting that the patient is believed to be in the Province of Quebec. In light of this not having been the first incident, in light of the fact that the AWOL last time was for several weeks, would the Minister of Health and Wellness explain to us why she waited 72 hours before informing the public that this patient had failed to return yet again?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this patient has been in the forensic hospital for almost a year, has had multiple leaves from the hospital in the past. The member would know because he has the documentation - on many occasions the patient has returned and on other occasions the patient did not return. The decisions to notify the public are made by the treating psychiatrist and the nurses, in consultation with the police. There are protocols in place and those protocols were followed.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, it's unfortunate that rather than having full disclosure that we have to pick apart the story day by day as more information is being made available. We were led to believe, based on the minister's responses, this was a first-time offence and that standard protocols were being followed. Now we have an actual hearing in front of us - the actual decision which tells us that this was not the first time; in fact it tells us that the last time this happened was for several weeks and that the patient travelled outside the province, in fact to the other side of the country. One would expect that Nova Scotians should be made aware of this and that the department would have tried to find ways of alerting the public immediately in the hope that the patient would remain inside the province and be able to return to the facility for care.

So, in light of all of the information that we now have in this case, does the minister still believe that waiting 72 hours before informing the public of this incident was a wise and prudent public safety decision?

[Page 1891]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, we have procedures in place to alert the public after an individual has been away for 72 hours. There is the ability for the medical staff, who know the individuals, in consultation with the police to initiate an earlier notification to the public if they believe that the individual poses any significant risk to the public. These are decisions that are made by the nurses and doctors in the forensic service of the province, in consultation with the police.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Richmond on a new question.

JUSTICE - LEGAL AID PROG.: CUTS - EXPLAIN

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Legal Aid program provides legal representation to low-income Nova Scotians, primarily in the areas of family and criminal law. Those who access legal aid do so because they cannot afford a private lawyer. While the demand for legal aid continues to increase, this government responds with further cuts.

Last year the Minister of Justice cut $553,000 from the legal aid budget; this year the cut has been $184,000, for a two-year reduction of legal aid budget by the NDP Government of $737,000. My question is, will the Minister of Justice explain to Nova Scotians why he is again cutting funding to the legal aid program?

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, every department has a responsibility to work more efficiently and effectively in trying to get ourselves back to balance. One area that came forward was I compliment the staff and all workers within the legal aid system for doing a very good part in bringing their costs under control.

I also had recent discussions with my federal counterparts to look at ways of where there should be more progressive funding from the federal formula in regard to legal aid and so we're looking at all avenues in which to be able to fund our initiatives.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, one of the main barriers for Nova Scotians accessing legal aid is the income cap that determines who will qualify. This is a long-standing issue in this province; in fact it was raised on November 18, 2008, by the MLA for Halifax Fairview, now the Minister of Finance, while in Opposition. He said, " . . . because legal aid rates, for example - the qualifying income for legal aid is so low now that essentially anybody who's working doesn't qualify for legal aid. Even if you're working full time at minimum wage, you would still earn too much to qualify for legal aid. So you have this whole stratum of society that doesn't qualify for legal aid and yet can't afford a lawyer, and there's an enormous gap in between those two."

Since the Minister of Finance increased 1,400 user fees last year to reflect the cost of living increases, will the Minister of Justice explain why after three long years, the NDP Government has not increased the income cap to access legal aid?

[Page 1892]

MR. LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Fairness and equity in the system is an important ingredient. I couldn't agree more that we have to find ways to balance that fairness out. That whole issue of the cap is being reviewed.

I can't overlook the fact that when you put a new government in place and you leave a legacy of over $13 billion worth of deficit, then you come in as an Opposition Party and your whole theme is hire more people, spend more money and don't come forward with constructive points of view. I agree the cap has to be looked at and as I said in my earlier answer, we are looking at discussing with my federal counterparts, but I also would like the Opposition to come forward with some consistent message on spending and what ideas they'd like to have instead of just hire more people, spend more money. We have our priorities in place. We want to invest more in crime prevention and not in detention.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure, hearing the Minister of Justice say he wants to invest more in crime prevention will help all the mothers out there that are trying to get out of abusive relationships and trying to access legal aid, to do so. I'm sure they will find that very reassuring.

It's so interesting to hear the Minister of Justice upset about recommendations being made by the Opposition when I just gave him that quote from the Minister of Finance while he was in Opposition. Allow me to help the Minister of Justice again. The member for Cole Harbour, who is now the Premier, was concerned about legal aid when he was in Opposition. In fact, on March 20, 2007, he said, ". . . there also needs to be additional money in legal aid services to allow people who are unable to afford the services of a lawyer to get access to those services as well because the system really functions much more efficiently when the people who are caught up in the system have fair access to those resources."

While in Opposition, the Premier thought that access to legal aid was an important issue. My question to the Minister of Justice is, why now, three years into their mandate, is access to legal aid no longer a priority?

MR. LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to just go over some of the points that the honourable member has made. He made the accusations about mothers that are being abused and getting supports. I can't stress enough the importance about domestic violence and ensuring the population of Nova Scotia that this government is very sensitive, that's why we got the pilot project in Cape Breton with the domestic violence court. That's why we're looking at the mental health court, that's why we're taking on these types of initiatives. It's not just about putting money in one place.

The member of the Opposition there did stress about taking priorities and putting the money wisely. We put them in those areas and that will make a difference for mothers in this community who are being abused. We believe in the safety of all Nova Scotians.

[Page 1893]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, members of the Community Services Committee recently heard from restorative justice agencies across the province. These agencies have been able to divert 17,000 cases from the courts in the past 10 years. We've also heard that they're required by their service agreement with the Department of Justice to provide services for which they receive no funding from this government.

So my question to the Minister of Justice is, can the minister please explain how it is fair that a department can require an agency to provide a service, if the department doesn't fund the agency for that . . .

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Progressive Conservative House Leader.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Progressive Conservative House Leader.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 72.

Bill No. 72 - Capital Projects Review Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I take great pleasure in rising to speak on this important bill, a bill that the Progressive Conservative caucus has been calling on the government to take action on for months and months now. In the absence of any action by the government, a bill that the Progressive Conservative caucus brought forward, introduced to this House and is now today called for debate on.

I can't help but start by pointing out the great irony that just this morning the government brings in a bill of its own, which has the same general intent. Not as good a bill, I might add, as this one but at least it is headed in the right direction. So maybe they are finally listening to common sense and trying to react to it in their own way, although there are some important differences between the two bills.

[Page 1894]

I just want to start off by pointing out that if the government members are serious about wanting to ensure that important, expensive projects get reviewed, that we don't need to wait for the half-measure bill that was introduced this morning. We could actually debate this bill right now and we can call this bill to a vote right now. We can pass this bill and ensure that ratepayers and taxpayers are protected at an earlier date than would otherwise be the case.

Mr. Speaker, just to take a moment on the contents of the bill itself, the bill provides for an independent review of certain capital projects, whether they are taxpayer-funded projects undertaken by the government itself, or whether they are ratepayer-funded projects undertaken by the public utility in Nova Scotia, which as we all know is Nova Scotia Power.

Mr. Speaker, the bill requires that on major capital projects, $100 million or more in value, that they must undergo a cost-benefit analysis, a proper review by an independent reviewer; that the analysis must outline both the costs of these projects and the benefits that are expected to accrue to Nova Scotians, whether they be taxpayers or whether they be electricity users; and finally, that review must also include an analysis of all the other options available, to ensure that the option that is selected is the lowest-cost, most beneficial option for Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, this bill could easily have been called the common-sense bill because what it provides for really is common sense. In any Nova Scotia household when they are considering a major purchase, whether it's a car or whether it's a new home or whatever it might be, this is what common-sense Nova Scotians do. They review the costs compared to the benefits, they look around at all the other options available to them and they make the decision based on the costs of the benefits of the purchase. I find it's kind of sad that it requires an Act of the Legislature to cause the government - the NDP in this case - to do what is common sense to most every other Nova Scotian living in our province.

Mr. Speaker, if the capital project that is being considered is one that is being considered by Nova Scotia Power, by the public utility, then of course, if they would outline the costs and benefits, then they should pay for the independent analysis and the bill provides for that. It also points out in the interest of efficiency and saving that if it is a project that the Utility and Review Board is going to review, that the Utility and Review Board does not need to do the same review twice - they can rely on this review, which has already been done and paid for.

More importantly than anything else I think, Mr. Speaker, the bill requires that when this independent review is done, that it be tabled in this House, that it be made public instantly to all Nova Scotians, so that everyone is involved in major important provincial projects and can make the best decision possible, after a healthy debate, about which way to proceed.

[Page 1895]

Mr. Speaker, an obvious example of where this bill would be effective is in the case of the Muskrat Falls hydro electric project and the subsea cable - the Maritime Link that will bring power from Muskrat Falls to Nova Scotia. The benefits of such an arrangement are apparent but do need to be properly reviewed. Ironically, after months and months of questioning in this House and outside this House to the Premier and the government about how much that project will cost, how much will the power from that project actually cost to Nova Scotia ratepayers, it's still the case that we don't know, that the government doesn't know. The Premier hitched this province's wagon to this mega project, a $6.2 billion project with a Nova Scotia contribution of $1.2 billion, without asking the question of how much will it cost Nova Scotians?

That is fundamentally flawed and, Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the problem that this bill addresses. I'll give you an example, sir, as I give to all Nova Scotians, that if you're driving a Honda Civic and your Honda Civic is getting old and it's starting to use more gas, if its energy efficiency has gone down, if it's starting to need repairs that are expensive, and a car salesman comes up to you and says, you know, I see your Honda Civic is getting old, I think you should buy a Lexus hybrid, what is the first question that almost every Nova Scotian with any common sense is going to ask of that car salesman? They're going to ask how much does the Lexus hybrid cost? I see the benefits of the hybrid, I see the benefits of lower emissions, I see the benefits of being green, I support those things, as we all do, but I need to also know how much it's going to cost to know if it's affordable for me and my family.

That is what households do in Nova Scotia but that is not what the Premier of Nova Scotia did in the case of Muskrat Falls. He was only too excited to sign on the dotted line that this is a great thing for our province without even asking that most basic of questions - how much will it cost? It's for that reason, Mr. Speaker, that we need a bill like this that requires that common sense prevails, that before we get too excited, before we get too far down the road, before we have a government that's so naive that it would commit to something without knowing the costs, that a proper independent analysis is done and that it is shared with all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, Muskrat Falls is only one example. It's a big example and it's an example that is before the province today. But as we know from Nova Scotia Power's recent application for a rate increase, over the next few years, they are going to be required to spend $1.5 billion on capital projects, many of them related to renewable energy target achievement that has been put into law by the NDP Government and that they must comply with.

Now, let me just stop right there, Mr. Speaker, for a moment, and state very clearly to all members of this House that it is very important that we have renewable energy targets and it's very important that those renewable energy targets be respected and that they be achieved. I say that for the record because after all, those targets in the beginning go back to the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act of 2007, which for the first time put into law real achievable renewable energy targets that were calculated and integrated to be consistent with a growing economy with real economy targets that were consistent with having the economy of Nova Scotia grow at the rate of the national average, or greater, each year. That is a balanced, responsible and important way to go about getting green energy and to do it in a way that's affordable to Nova Scotians.

[Page 1896]

So what we have before us today, Mr. Speaker, is a bill that really is about the future. It's not about the future versus the past; that is a false dichotomy. What we have before us today is a bill that outlines two very important, different versions of what the future for Nova Scotia might look like - both are green, both are renewable.

One version, the NDP version, is that we go hell-bent for leather as far as we can go without regard to cost on megaprojects, expensive projects like Muskrat Falls, that we are in dreamland about the benefits, but we won't calculate the costs, that when the common everyday Nova Scotian says how much will it cost, their own Premier says I don't know, I already signed on, we're just going to go for it anyway. That is a vision of the future that leads to the skyrocketing power rates that we see today. That is a vision that might be green, but it is impoverishing our province, it is costing real jobs, it is putting too much of a squeeze on Nova Scotia households. That is the vision of the NDP, what they are putting forward.

What this bill highlights is that there is another vision, a vision that says we want to be green, we're going to go for those targets, but they have to be matched to a growing economy that sustains jobs, that protects our manufacturing base, that makes it affordable for Nova Scotians, that sets the pace of those targets in a way that is affordable to people. Whether it's a taxpayer or an electricity ratepayer, they ought to know that at the heart of decision-making by their government - in this alternative view of the future - is their pocketbook, their ability to pay, their job, their lifestyle, so that we can have all of those things; and real, meaningful green targets. That is the better way forward that this bill sets up. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VICKI CONRAD « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to speak to the second reading of Bill No. 72. I want to thank my honourable member and colleague for Cumberland South for speaking to this bill. I'm really pleased to hear that members opposite are very interested in knowing about our capital projects that we have been investing in since we formed government. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, I'm hearing all kinds of noise on the other side.

I want to assure the member opposite that this government is very serious about each and every one of the dollars that this government spends, and whether it's for major capital projects such as the Maritime Link, which includes Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls, or whether it's for projects that are valued under $100 million, we take investing our dollars very seriously and we fully appreciate that each dollar we invest in one project is a dollar that we can't spend on another project. To that end, our government is taking a new approach to ensure Nova Scotians are well informed of the investments that we're making.

[Page 1897]

I know the member opposite, in presenting this bill to the House, is looking for better review standards, and what I can assure the member opposite and this House is that this government will ensure that a transparent and accountable review process is in place. If I can remind members of the House, our Minister of Energy introduced today legislation entitled an Act to Ensure Regulatory Review of the Maritime Link. That's a very important piece of legislation that will indeed ensure that this project moving forward, the Maritime Link, will have all of the appropriate checks and balances in place and that review process is very important.

We know that the Maritime Link project is a very important component of the Lower Churchill Energy Project and it will provide Nova Scotians with stability and a source of reliable power for well over 35 years. This link is very important to the province, but it's also a very complex project involving multiple governments and corporations. Nova Scotians need assurance that it is in their best interests and, I can tell you, the piece of legislation that was presented today in the House by the Minister of Energy certainly gives that assurance to Nova Scotians.

Although I can't speak to the specifics of that piece of legislation what I can tell you - as a bit of an overview - is the legislation will certainly require the Maritime Link project to be reviewed by the URB and it will ensure that the project can be reviewed in a full and open and transparent way. It will also oversee the project in ensuring that it is properly managed and planned.

I want to just talk a little bit about the Lower Churchill energy project, which we know will provide Nova Scotians with access to an abundant supply of clean hydroelectricity for many, many years to come, Mr. Speaker. The Maritime Link will also strengthen connections throughout Atlantic Canada and provide the opportunity for all of us to benefit, from Newfoundland and Labrador's abundant hydroelectric resources. We will have a better connected system and will be part of an energy loop instead of being at the end of the line. This will provide Nova Scotia with greater options for purchasing power from different sources and possibly at more stable and lower energy costs.

The Premier, Mr. Speaker, has said all along that the Maritime Link will be reviewed by the Utility and Review Board and we will ensure that it will be a transparent and accountable process. The member opposite indicated earlier that they weren't seeing the full cost of this project being presented to the floor of the House. The member of the Opposition Party seems confused about the process of costing multimillion dollar projects such as this. The project is still in its infancy stage, there are still a lot of negotiations and discussion happening around various tables between other provinces and between other corporations. One cannot expect to have a concrete price tag on what this project is going to be costed at, at this point in time. There is much information that needs to be gathered and it's really impossible to put those kinds of numbers forward that the Opposition is looking for.

[Page 1898]

Mr. Speaker, I did hear the member opposite indicate that members of his Party are certainly interested in looking at renewable and green energy expanding across this province. However I'm not exactly certain that the member opposite was in support of this great Maritime Link project that will be moving, and is moving, forward. What I have heard is a lot of negativity around this great project so I'm a little bit confused as to whether or not the members opposite really do want to see Nova Scotia get off coal-fired fuel. I'm wondering if they are really serious about seeing us move into the future with green and renewable energy sources. Certainly the Maritime Link, which includes Muskrat Falls and Churchill Falls, is part of that great renewable resource that we can tap into.

The bill that the member has presented does seem vague and lacking in some details. They are looking for a projects review, and that is what the Premier has indicated several times in this House over the last week. Certainly it's what the Minister of Energy has indicated when he tabled a great piece of legislation today entitled an Act to Ensure Regulatory Review of the Maritime Link. So I'm not sure what the member opposite is actually looking for when they're asking for a capital projects review because we certainly are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure that a project of this magnitude is certainly reviewed in an accountable and transparent way, with an end result being not only a good and solid review process through the URB, but certainly the end result being that Nova Scotians will see a much brighter energy future when we tap into that great hydro resource from the Maritime Link.

I want to give kudos to the Premier and also to the Minister of Energy for all of the due diligence that they've been doing around this project and the many staff who have been working on negotiating not only with the province of Labrador, but also with Nalcor and Emera, as this project moves forward.

We really have to trust in those people who have the best expertise and experience when it comes to developing such a huge project such as the Maritime Link. A lot of engineers are certainly part of that planning process; companies like Nalcor and companies like Emera that do have the expertise when it comes to developing our electricity needs, whether it be through hydro or whether it be through wind, and certainly they are partnering together to ensure that we get the best value for the dollars that all provinces are investing in this.

So getting back to Bill No. 72, I want to assure my good member - and colleague – for Cumberland South that we absolutely will ensure that this project, and all capital projects of this magnitude, are reviewed in the most transparent and accountable way, Mr. Speaker. I can't stress that enough. I know that I have repeated that phrase, "in a transparent and accountable way" in ensuring all members of this House and Nova Scotians, but it is what we are doing, for the ratepayers of this province to see that in years to come, there will be a stable resource of renewable energy that will help complement the energy sources today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 1899]

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

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There's a lot of different ground that's covered by this. Let me first start by saying the member opposite from Queens had talked about the bill that was introduced today by the government. I'm certainly glad to see the bill tabled. I'll table Hansard from Wednesday last week when the Premier told me in this House, and the whole House, that such a bill was not required, when I told them that a bill was required, and now at the press briefing they said it is.

The fact of the matter is, the Premier stood in the House and said that I was absolutely wrong that legislation be required and they wouldn't need it. In the press briefing today they said legislation was required when they looked at it, after Wednesday. In fact, they actually said that it was after Wednesday that they looked at it.

The fact of the matter is, I agree, we support the legislation that was introduced today and we're glad that they introduced it and glad the Premier actually has changed his mind, because he was adamant last week.

The thing is that (Interruption) And of course, the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island is right, and that came out from Mr. Gurnham in the morning at Public Accounts Committee, where the Premier told us that he was wrong, too, that legislation was not required. So apparently everybody was wrong but the Premier and now they're right.

What is interesting about it is that the bill that the Progressive Conservatives introduced actually also wouldn't allow a review of Muskrat Falls in the way that the Leader of the Progressive Conservatives had suggested that it would, for the very same reason that a bill was required by the government. That's because the way that this bill is worded, and I know we can't get into the line items details of the bill here and so I won't, but the bill here only allows - although it goes further than what is currently allowed in the Public Utilities Act, it actually doesn't allow a review of the capital costs associated. The rate information will be related solely to the Maritime fixed link, whereas the bill the government introduced today will also allow for a review of the entire capital project cost of the dam itself.

This bill, as it is currently worded, would not permit that review. Even what the Progressive Conservatives are standing up and saying that they want to achieve isn't achieved in this bill. In fact, it actually prohibits it, which is intriguing. I have to assume the bill was written before that issue arose. I know this bill was introduced last Wednesday, the same day as that issue came up, so I suspect the bill was written before that issue arose, although I certainly support the idea behind it.

[Page 1900]

I also find it a little bit strange that the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is standing up and introducing a bill that would suggest hiring consultants - some of them obviously paid by Nova Scotia Power and some of them paid by government. If you don't mind, I'll take a few minutes to explain why.

On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, in this House, the member for Cumberland South complained to Minister Paris that the only jobs being created are consultants, and I'll table that. Then on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, the same member for Cumberland South complained that the NDP was hiding "behind fancy consultants instead of making decisions Nova Scotians hired them to make . . . they've hired more than a dozen fancy consultants . . . instead of hiding behind these fancy consultants, will you commit to some form of real cost containment?" I'll table that.

Then in the same day he said, "I suppose fancy consultants deserve fancy answers." Again, he was opposing the Premier hiring consultants. On November 16, 2010, again, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party was concerned about the number of consultants being hired and complained when it came down to the convention centre. Then on the same day, the same member was complaining about consultants in the Environment Department related to bio-solids, and was again talking about the fact that," . . . if there was ever an issue that did not require the use of fancy consultants. . . ". Now he's introducing a bill to hire more fancy consultants.

On April 29, 2010, the member for Argyle complained that the government was spending too much money on consultants when he was talking about Deloitte. I'll table that. Then on November 23, 2010, the member for Cumberland South again complained about hiring economic development consultants and consultants to review - in fact, he did use the words "fancy pants consultant." I'll table that. He went on to ask for the invoices because he thought consultants were being paid too much, and I'll table that.

On April 28, 2010, the member for Argyle was again concerned about ERs and consultants hired in the ER. Downloading a minister's responsibility to consultants was his concern. Then the member for Cumberland South, on November 23rd, was concerned about consultants about administration and research.

You know, I can go on and on with one for almost every member of that Progressive Conservative caucus over the past three years complaining about either government or Nova Scotia Power hiring consultants to review things. Now they've introduced a bill that requires government and Nova Scotia Power to hire consultants to review the very things they've spent three years complaining that consultants are being hired to do.

[Page 1901]

I don't understand. If this is a change of heart on this issue, that's great. Let's have that discussion. But I'm confused, because the member for Cumberland South stood up earlier and said that this is to review or that one of the things - sorry, not only, but one of the things this could review would be Muskrat Falls. But it doesn't actually allow the complete review of Muskrat Falls, because it wouldn't allow the capital elements and the other elements. It only allows the part applied for by a regulated utility. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Thanks. The bill only allows whatever the regulated utility allows to be put into rates to be applied for through this bill. Unlike the bill that was tabled today, which was the one we talked about last week and the government has introduced, which actually allows the capital project itself to be evaluated and reviewed and so forth itself.

On the premise of saying that these projects should be reviewed by some mechanism and some very appropriate and proper mechanism, I absolutely agree with that, I absolutely agree that it makes sense. I am concerned, when you look at Muskrat Falls. When it was first announced, I did the response to the minister's statement and we spoke and said we think that that's a very good project, we think that the public deserves answers as we go along, but we think that it has some benefits, but that you're going to have to balance this off with other energy sources such as Hydro-Québec, for example. But there hasn't been any information that has come out of the government since then.

The member for Queens stood up a few minutes ago and said that she was impressed by - I believe her words were - the due diligence of the Minister of Energy and the Premier. In estimates the Minister of Energy said they haven't actually done any due diligence, so how can she be impressed by the due diligence if the minister said they haven't done any? That doesn't make any sense whatsoever because that's what we were asking them to do. We were saying who is doing the due diligence to make sure it comes through? That's where we came to this issue of we need to make sure that whoever does this project can review the entire thing, not just the elements that are covered by Section 35 of the Public Utilities Act.

I think the people have reason to be concerned and reason to want answers. When the project was announced, as I say, we said, we think this has a lot of benefits for Nova Scotia, but you have to give the public answers as we go along. The government hasn't actually given any new answers. They've heard in Newfoundland and Labrador, talking about a price of about 23.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which is almost double what we are here. We heard a landed price in Newfoundland and Labrador is 17.5 cents, which would be about 75 per cent higher than it is and people want answers, they just want to know how that's going to work out, how that's going to work down the stream.

[Page 1902]

The Newfoundland and Labrador Government is having a healthy debate up there about it and they're at least providing the information they have to the public. This government hasn't provided any information and the Minister of Energy actually said his department hasn't done any analysis of it. I just don't understand how they can not do any analysis of the project and not review it. Mr. Speaker, I think that a review of this project makes sense. Obviously, as the member for Queens said, legislation was introduced today on that in what I assume are the dying days of the session. I think a proper review of all capital projects that are suggested also makes a lot of sense.

I just wonder why it is that suddenly the Third Party is all keen on consultants when for three years they've been complaining about the use of consultants. It seemed like every Question Period for a long time there was at least one question complaining about the use of consultants by either Nova Scotia Power or most of them by the government. So this is certainly a change in tack, although however it's reviewed it is important that these projects are reviewed because people need to know they're getting their money's worth and that it does make sense financially. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to rise this afternoon to make a few comments on Bill No. 72, an Act to Provide for the Independent Review of Certain Capital Projects. It has been interesting listening to some of the debate in the last 40 minutes or so, or however long we've been talking about it now, 35 minutes and a variety of different opinions. This is really about spending big money that belongs to the taxpayers in this province and this is about accountability. I haven't heard anybody mention that whatsoever, it doesn't seem to be an interest, it just seems to be more political rhetoric than it is anything else, about we're doing the right thing and we're doing the right thing now, we've got it right.

So far from what we've seen, given that government has signed on the dotted line, the Premier says this is okay and we heard the member for Queens stand up and say - and she's right - that we don't know what this is going to cost. That is what she said, we don't have any concrete numbers and I'm pretty sure that language is pretty close, you could check Hansard, but I'm pretty sure that's what she said. That is fine, we've been asking and asking and we've been asking more. Finally somebody, the member for Queens, stood on her feet this afternoon in this House and admitted that they don't know what it's going to cost. Finally, somebody has said that. All the more reason that this piece of legislation that has been proposed makes sense, it's about accountability.

This is a piece of legislation that would say that if we are going to, as a province, invest over $100 million - can you imagine that, Mr. Speaker, say that to the average Nova Scotian, $100 million - and ask them to grasp what that means to them. That's a lot of money. We spend tens of millions of dollars on investments, which is good on things, and we've done it for many years in this province, and we've never gone out and we've never asked Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer what they think about that.

[Page 1903]

To some degree, maybe you can't do that, we're not suggesting you do that with every single investment that you're making but people are paying attention. You need only go to your constituency, and I'm sure other members are hearing it too, they'll come to your office, they'll meet you in the coffee shop, or anywhere for that matter, when you're out around in your constituency at events, and they will talk about some the things that matter to them.

Mr. Speaker, some of the things that matter to people, and matter a lot, one of the highest priorities has been the ever rising cost of power in this province. They are worried. I've talked to individuals who are having trouble paying their bills - and I've talked about that many times in this House, that's no surprise to anyone - I've talked to business people who are wondering where we are going, how we are going to resolve the issue. Do you know what they think? They see this go on in here. I could call it a number of things because they do - charade, daycare, child's play - there are all kinds of names for what happens in this place from time to time, instead of coming together.

I just heard the honourable member for Dartmouth East, the Liberal Party, stand up and talk for at least five minutes or so of his time on consultants that somebody was talking in Question Period, not even about the bill. Why are we not coming together? I've heard it said by the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect numerous times and I've repeated it myself, that no one Party or no one member in this House has all the right ideas when it comes to putting forward good legislation. Now some would claim otherwise, like the member for Dartmouth East, he would like to stand up and claim he has it all right, he has all the answers, well good for him. Where are they? So far he has not presented them.

The Minister of Energy presented a bill today that goes hand and hand with what we've proposed, what we're talking about. There is nothing wrong with that. We're saying yeah, maybe we have it part-way right. Maybe the two are combined somewhere down the road, maybe there are amendments to one and/or the other to say, it's good, let's look at this Maritime Link, $100 million taxpaying dollars is what we're talking about here. That is a large investment when we don't know what the return will be.

We would like to think - and we stand here and sit in this place day after day after day and we ask questions, the Minister of Energy and the Premier of this province will stand on their feet - and others - and they'll talk about getting off of fossil fuels. Well nobody said that isn't the right path, we believe that is the right path, we've said that all along. As a matter of fact a lot of the members that sit in that House today who were here in previous years in 2007-08 when the sustainable prosperity goals were put forward in this House, voted for that very bill because they felt that was a good step; that was a good thing. Again that's another piece of how all 52 members in this House can come together and actually say yeah that makes sense, we're okay with that, let's send it over to Law Amendments Committee, let's talk about it more. Perhaps there is an opportunity to add to it, amend it, edit it, call it what you will. Bring it back for more discussion, maybe get something through that works. Does it matter what Party puts it forward? Not to me, it doesn't matter at all. It's not about partisan politics, it's about Nova Scotians. It's about their energy costs, their survival, how are they going to pay the bill. They are having a hard time struggling to pay the bill.

[Page 1904]

Large industry has a large problem. We've seen the issues with NewPage. We've seen the issues with Bowater in the South Shore. We've seen investments made there to try and make that happen. I have in my own very backyard Minas Basin, which also is struggling. You haven't heard much about that. They're a proud company; they have generated their own power since the 1930s when Mr. Jodrey had the vision to say this is going to affect us in the years ahead, so he started it. But they still buy power. It's still a large, probably the largest, piece of their business but you don't hear much from them but they're struggling along too. There was an investment made, and you might recall it, back a number of years ago, I believe it was in 2008 maybe early 2009, previous government made a huge investment down there in that energy sector of Minas Basin. It was on the development of biomass and some other good things that were going at the time.

Unfortunately, what I understand to have happened is that government reneged on that; that money came back. I don't have the documents today, Mr. Speaker, or I'd speak specifically to them and I would table them, but I'm working on that. Is that the right thing to do? Well maybe they never had plans in place. You know what, there was a three level tier government, I believe, involved, there was company money. I don't know what all the facts are but I do know there were issues.

I do know, Mr. Speaker, as well, that there were layoffs down there this past winter for weeks at a time. Nobody was complaining, nobody had their hand out saying how come you're not helping us. They are a proud company. They struggle along and continue to survive. The cost of doing business is largely in part to energy. We know that, that's no shock to anyone in this House. Small businesses, I hear from them all the time, they're also concerned about the investments that government is making in this sector. All the more reason when we look at a project like the Maritime Link, what it's going to cost, who knows what, the investment is $1.5 billion, maybe more, and again we don't know what the return is or even if there's a return. We don't even know if it's going to happen.

There's word out in the last couple of days, Mr. Speaker, about excess. I asked a question today, excess amounts of energy, but they have no sale for that. Is Nova Scotia Power interested? Well, probably, they're a private company, probably they are interested in moving that power along. Is there a benefit to Nova Scotia because of this Maritime Link, because of this large investment? I think all of these pieces through a review process that would be put in place would be beneficial because you would have each and every one of those pieces singled out.

[Page 1905]

Nova Scotians would know, the government of the day that is making this decision and signing off on this, Mr. Speaker, would know that this is a good project. This is a viable project. It's a beneficial project for Nova Scotians whereby everything that we say is accurate. The numbers are the following numbers. The benefits are the following benefits. The costs for energy going forward in the years ahead will be the costs that are dictated on paper and signed off. How did we get into a deal where we don't know what that will be? That has been a big problem for the Opposition and others, not just us standing here, but for everyday Nova Scotians who say how can we count on those numbers to be correct? Now, how can we count on a review to be done?

The honourable member for Queens stood on her feet a little while ago and she said trust us, basically, we will ensure that this will be done she said, Mr. Speaker, trust us to do the right thing. Well, this is the same government that said in 2009 when they campaigned, we won't increase taxes and this and that, but people are skeptical, and rightfully so, that's okay. That's the nature of people to be skeptical when it comes to being told one thing and having something else happen. Now, if people think that that 2 per cent didn't hurt, and I know government members know that that 2 per cent hurt because they heard from their constituents as well on this very same issue.

Mr. Speaker, it comes back to this bill and again, as I said, you know, we saw a bill, Bill No. 88, I believe was the number that it was finally tagged with this afternoon, that was introduced by the Minister of Energy. Why couldn't these two bills go next door? We know the government's bill is going to go next door to the Law Amendments Committee and it's going to have the opportunity that it should have to be reviewed and put through and, you know, a quick look at it today. We had the technical briefing as well. It's going to go through. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. It will make it back here and it will pass. What an opportunity now that we have before us, Bill No. 72, to be added into this, to be considered, to be looked at, to be combined with.

Call it what you will, Mr. Speaker, there's an opportunity here to make it better and certainly if the Liberal Party who like to stand on their feet, especially the member for Dartmouth East, and claim that they got it all right. If they've got it all right, perhaps they should go over there to the Law Amendments Committee and offer what it is that they think they've got right with both the minister's bill, Bill No. 88, and it sure would be nice to see Bill No. 72 over there for some discussion, or maybe even considered once it gets over there some of the ideas that have been put forward. Perhaps he should go over there and offer his input that we've yet to hear other than standing on his feet, wanting to be political and criticizing everything that goes on.

Well, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are sick and tired of that philosophy. That is not the direction that we need to be going in this province. We need to be looking out for Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer who are working hard every day to provide for their families, to give their kids some future. We heard members in this House stand up and talk – the future starts here. Well, that's great, I hope it does because I've got three more kids who are going through the school system. One is already in Ontario and she has no plans to come back. There's nothing here for her and she'll tell you that straight up. What about the other three? What about all the other young people in this province, people who have lost their jobs?

[Page 1906]

So let's focus on Nova Scotians. This is all part of that, Mr. Speaker, and I know my time is running out unfortunately but with those few comments, I hope some serious consideration will be given to what we consider to be a decent bill on the floor of this House.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The time allotted for Bill No. 72 has now expired.

The honourable Progressive Conservative House Leader.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 27.

Bill No. 27 – Cyberbullying Intervention Act.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to stand this evening and speak for a few moments on this bill. I know it is a little different for an Opposition Party when it comes Opposition Day to call a bill a second time, because we've already called this one once and we already had a number of our members speak to the issue of cyberbullying and bullying in this House of Assembly. We felt that because of the testimony that we heard in Law Amendments Committee just a few days ago, as we were debating the issue of Bill No. 30, that it would warrant a second look at a couple of other options. A few other things that we feel that the government has not presented and really has not necessarily looked at what we feel is the restorative justice side of bullying in this province.

Mr. Speaker, for some of us it is a long time since we were teenagers but we do recognize that life can be tough for teenagers. Certainly life isn't as simple as it was or even as it seems sometimes in this House. While it is possible for the Speaker of this House to plunk down a box to protect the decorum of this House from cellphone use in Question Period, it should not be difficult to give a similar option to our courts to protect kids.

Think about this, Mr. Speaker, the House cellphone rule is supposed to be about fairness and decorum. It was important enough to members that a rule was created a number of years ago. Now the box and, of course, the Speaker's interventions have discouraged members from using those phones, of course, during Question Period. More importantly, though, there are cellphones being used to intimidate and cause misery. We heard over in the Red Room not so long ago that they even cause death. Yet we do not have a law to discourage kids who send texts and Facebook posts or what we would qualify as maybe "the haters" is what a lot of these people are referred to as, as you follow Twitter streams or Facebook streams.

[Page 1907]

Nobody has a magic box to wave, that can help kids with problems that are sometimes bigger than life itself. There's no way to take a cellphone away from someone who is misusing it, as it can happen here in the House of Assembly. The Speaker, of course, during Question Period can ask a member to stop using it and remove them from this Legislature, in case they disobey that order from the Speaker.

There is no way for a court to steer someone toward the kind of restorative measures that would help, there's no way to intervene to help. That means, Mr. Speaker, with great respect to the enforcement of the cellphone rule here in the House of Assembly, I think we have our priorities just a little mixed up. I'm sure that all honourable members want to be able to look back some day on their time here and say that they did something substantive, to make a different in the lives of kids who have been miserable and for kids who are going down the wrong path.

Mr. Speaker, restorative justice is a progressive, thoughtful approach, particularly adept at helping young people. Restorative justice is about making people and communities whole. Restorative justice is a concept endorsed by the Minister of Education's own task force and has been bandied about on this issue for long enough.

The challenge is that getting to restorative justice means acquiring jurisdiction over that person. By that I mean having the power to compel a person who is going down the wrong road, to come to court. Now, Mr. Speaker, that can be done in two ways - using federal criminal powers or using provincial, preventive and other jurisdiction. Now we have the power here to enact laws that compel people to court and punish them for many manner of things. Sometimes, as has been done by this government, jail is even prescribed as penalty. Usually the penalty is a fine, but courts can also intervene to make preventative orders and compel or restrict behaviour.

Why not do that for kids, and do it now to help prevent a great scourge of our time? Why not compel people who cyberbully our kids before court to answer for their wrongdoing? Why not give the courts the power to take away a phone or a computer for a time to help prevent bullying? Why not steer the majority of kids and adults who cyberbully into activities and programs to help them understand and make them, victims, and the community whole once again? Why not reserve the ability for a measured punishment to deal with those who don't respond to alternative measures, who commit more serious breaches?

I think many of our constituents send us here to do the right thing and to give - as we've heard from the Truro Police Department only a few days ago - our police, the courts, to give victims and communities an important tool to combat cyberbullying. Why not do it now to help kids who face being bullied tomorrow, that are going to be bullied this summer, or are going to be bullied next Fall? I know regardless of how much we speak about it here in this Legislature, how much as we try to impress upon government to take more of those recommendations and put them into place even in their own Act, that this will continue to happen.

[Page 1908]

As I started off talking about, it has been a long time since we've been teenagers - maybe not for the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, but he's probably the younger one of this bunch. I was 17 just the other day, I'm sure. The world all of a sudden means everything on whether you were in love for the first time, whether you were attacked by a bully, whether you were in a fight in a courtyard or in the schoolyard, or what happened, all those instances - or just the basic feeling of loneliness when it seems like you're not part of the group, you're not part of the pack - to have that compounded today by some of the hurtful things that we see on Facebook. Not only is that directed at that single person, that's directed for all those people who are friended on Facebook to see and sometimes maybe believe the statements that are there, whether they are true or false.

I can only imagine what that would be like. I can only imagine what it would be like to be 15 years old and to see some of the things that kids are saying. I'm lucky enough today that I have a couple of wonderful children and, yes, I do allow the older one to be on Facebook, but it's under very important criteria - that I and his mother have access to his Facebook and that we're friended on his Facebook. If something is happening there we, as parents, can take action on that, can even, at the worst, console him and say don't worry about that, that's just the thoughts of another child who maybe doesn't know you, understand you, or love you like we do.

My heart broke a little bit when I heard the statements from the mum who talked about it - I forget her name, I have it written down. (Interruptions) When Pam Murchison came and presented to us - to see the support that she had from the police department in Truro and then to see the challenge that the police officers had in doing anything. In the particular case of her daughter, the perpetrator or the person that did say these things apparently about her, just sort of laughed at it and didn't understand the gravity of what he did.

I think we need to find a way to make sure those people are taken care of through restorative justice or other means and I think that's what this bill provides to us today. Thank you.

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

MS. BECKY KENT « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today for second reading of Bill No. 27, Cyberbullying Intervention Act, which was introduced by the honourable member for Inverness.

[Page 1909]

I want to reflect a little bit on what an Opposition member spoke about a few minutes ago on a previous bill. I want to echo that I think he was bang on when he spoke about the reality that no one person has a patent on good ideas. No one Party has a patent on good ideas.

This is an issue that takes the engagement of everyone, everyone's ideas, everyone's input, to find resolution. I'm not going to go down the road of a heated debate on this issue about whose bill would be better. Government has a bill before the House as well on cyberbullying and our government is taking action. There is no right bill or wrong bill. There's no magic wand that is going to address this very serious issue. There are no winners when it comes to cyberbullying; there are only losers. That's really the crux of what brings the passionate debate that's coming before us.

When I was first making my notes for rising to speak about it today, the first thing that came to mind was the curse of cyberbullying. I thought, oh, is that a little dramatic? But, no, it isn't because as a mom of three young men - one who is just leaving, my baby has turned 18 - I think about the almost trance-like state that our young people, including my boys, kind of get consumed by when they are in front of the Internet.

Yes, the member opposite is sort of mimicking what a child looks like on the Internet or texting, which we look like as well. You know, Xbox LIVE, and when they're on these social networking - it is a trancelike state which is like a curse. I think about a curse, this incredible harm and the catastrophic consequences of these media that they then are allowing our young people to engage in this culture of harm, if not properly used. Then I sat through the Committee on Law Amendments, as other members of the committee did as well, when a mother from Truro and the constables from Truro came forward and our hearts were wrenched by her sharing of her agony and anguish with the loss of her dear daughter.

Our concerns were certainly with her, as they are. Unfortunately, as well, I attended a funeral in Eastern Passage for a young woman by the name of Emily, for whom our whole community was hurting and in pain, not only for the family and their loss but on the tremendously negative impact that it has on our whole society.

This is certainly on the minds of Nova Scotians but unlike a curse that's portrayed on the movies or on television, there is no magic bullet, there is no magic potion, there's no magic wand that's going to correct these wrongs. It takes deliberate and thoughtful measures. That's what our government is doing. That's certainly what our intentions are of doing. I thank the members opposite for being engaged on the issue of bringing this bill forward.

I know the former government, since I became elected as an MLA, they adopted an anti-bullying day in September and that was one step. Frankly, we're proceeding with that. It would have been nice to have had more measures in place before we had these devastating losses to these families, but I can't say that anything we do even today or tomorrow is going to be the thing that is going to stop somebody tomorrow. This takes a large, collaborative effort of your government, your community, the students, the educators. It takes that whole effort.

[Page 1910]

I want to drill down to what's really important here, that we're now in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly talking about bullying. We're talking about cyberbullying. We're not only talking about it and saying the words, we're talking about it in ways that are going to take strategic efforts to change it. We're doing something about it.

It hasn't always been that way. I can tell you when I was on the Halifax Regional Council, before I became an MLA, I attended a number of anti-bullying conventions, and probably the thing that stood out the most for me was the lack of legislative steps that provinces were taking. The other thing that stood out for me was that the panel representations, the people on the expert panels, many of them were from Nova Scotia; many of them are here, who we can draw upon.

I want to emphasize that it takes so many people, so many partners, because this is not a black-and-white issue. This is incredibly grey, so it takes thoughtful process.

We have that knowledge base here. We have the students who are talking about it. I know there was a rally at Cobequid Educational Centre, and no doubt the member opposite in the Liberal Party will speak to that rally, that students in schools and teachers and education administrators are bringing it forward, as well, and of course our pink days, our anti-bullying efforts with the Education Department now.

I'm so pleased that we're now having those conversations and we now have the opportunity to sit in the Law Amendments Committee, where we actually have something real, a piece of legislation that is moving in that direction. I don't recall during the five years that I've been here that we've had as fulsome conversations and debates about this, so this for sure, we're on the right track. Our government is not only talking about it. We have Bill No. 30, the Promotion of Respectful and Responsible Relationships Act.

Those are first steps, absolutely. There's no argument that there are more to take. We're just not convinced that it's captured in the bill of the member opposite, but we certainly acknowledge that the things that are being brought forward - for instance, the member spoke about restorative justice, and one of the benefits of the Law Amendments Committee was the presentations. There have been some changes as a result of Law Amendments Committee presentations and Professor Wayne MacKay's presentation and the constables, that there were changes made there. That's a good thing and that's showing that the process is working and we're moving in the right direction again.

The cyberbullying task force, Mr. Speaker, was an opportunity for students, parents, teachers, and citizens to become engaged with their government. On March 22nd, the cyberbullying task force report was released, and it was entitled Respectful and Responsible Relationships: There's No App for That.

[Page 1911]

I want to take the time to thank Professor MacKay and the whole team of people who participated in that and facilitated the opportunity for citizens to engage, but I also want to say that those discussions can't be finished. They have to continue to happen, and 85 recommendations came out of that report.

I want to note as well that Bill No. 27 - there's no basis in law for a crime associated with cyberbullying, and these changes, as presented in this bill, would require significant change in legislation and practice, which again would require extensive work by the appropriate agencies. So I have no doubt in my mind that even to adopt such a bill as that, there would have to be groundwork legislation put in place similar to what our government is doing now through Bill No. 30.

Bill No. 30 is a government bill providing a framework to take a measured, focused approach to address bullying and cyberbullying. Bullying is ingrained in our culture and it requires a cultural shift that goes well beyond the classroom. We can't simply legislate bullying and cyberbullying away any more than we can stop our students by confiscating their computers or their cellphones. The province has policies in our education and school code of conduct that address behavioural issues and promote restorative practices and we're building on that foundation that already exists.

Cyberbullying, Mr. Speaker, is a complex issue involving rapidly evolving technology. We spoke about that earlier today at the Public Accounts Committee, about the change in technology. It requires a very measured and thoughtful approach. The Department of Education has an action plan to address the recommendations, those 85 recommendations. The hiring of a coordinator to facilitate and lead that action plan is another step. Laying the foundation for positive change, for real change, although I would stand in my place and say as quick as anyone, I wish tomorrow that whole thing, cyberbullying and the harm associated to it would disappear, it's not going to but Bill No. 30 is a start.

I appreciate hearing through Bill No. 27 some other ideas and I believe that when we're working together and all Nova Scotians continue to see this as a real step forward, I look forward to being part of that and I welcome more debate in the future.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester North.

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place today to speak to Bill No. 27. Bill No. 27 is a bill to promote cyberbulling intervention and parental responsibility. It has been said here, previous speakers have talked about the seriousness of cyberbullying and talked about some of the steps that have been taken to date, most recently with Bill No. 30, and now with the amendments to Bill No. 30 which were proposed, and now Bill No. 27.

[Page 1912]

I think it's important to recognize that we talk about the issue of bullying, it is a social problem. It is one that has developed with the advances in technology. We recognize bullying has been around for a long time and schoolyard bullies were there a long time ago. Their actions were very obvious because it was visible. There were two people engaging in some activity on the playground and it was easy to identify that and it was, you know, not always easy but those of us on playground duty would try to respond to that.

As we have become more involved with technology, that kind of bullying is very subtle, it's very discreet, it's very sly, and it's very difficult to detect. So we have a challenge. We have the challenge of the cyberbullying and we have the challenge of how you identify it and how you respond to it.

Just a few facts that I shared earlier but I think they remind all members of the House that it is an issue. For example, according to Bullying Canada, one in 10 children has been bullied. So if you think about that, if you're a teacher and you have 30 kids in your class, one in 10 of those children have been bullied. When you look at upper elementary grades, in particular Grade 4 to Grade 6, 25 per cent of those students have been bullied. When you look at all across Canada, ages 11 to 16, one in seven children, that's a huge percentage of our kids who are at some time or another exposed to, and the victims of, cyberbullying.

We recognize that this is a social problem. We recognize that it takes place, you know, 24/7, because people have access to cellphones and Internet and it knows no time limits or no bounds. Unfortunately, one of the places that that plays out and manifests itself is in our schools, so I was pleased when I heard the Minister of Education call together a task force to address the issue of bullying, cyberbullying. I was also pleased when Dr. Wayne MacKay . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The conversations are getting a little loud. If there are conversations that need to take to take place, I would suggest you take them outside the Chamber.

The honourable member for Colchester North has the floor.

MS. CASEY « » : I was pleased when the task force was pulled together; I was also pleased when somebody with the credibility that Dr. Wayne MacKay has was asked to chair that.

So the task force set about and spent about nine months working, researching, and looking across jurisdictions to determine what was happening in other places and what might be included as a set of recommendations; 85 recommendations were included in that report, which was presented to the minister - I guess it was in February when that was completed and that was presented. It was a very strong document. It contained exactly what the minister needs in order to put together legislation which will begin to address something that has grown beyond any of our scopes.

[Page 1913]

Again, I was pleased. I've gone through that report and recommendations. The recommendations, 85 of them - and that sounds like a huge number and it's hard to grasp that - but I went through them and I categorized them because I think when you narrow it down to 12 categories it is much easier to comprehend.

Those 85 recommendations, all focusing on the problem of cyberbullying and the response to it and what we might be able to do to address it, one of those is collecting data; another one is the anti-bullying coordinator; another one is engaging youth in the process; another one is maintaining the Web site; having an annual conference; and co-operation with other agencies - in that it includes parents; expanding existing programs; defining, so we actually know what we're talking about when we're talking about cyberbullying, what is the definition that this task force is recommending that we accept and we adopt so that everyone knows what they're actually talking about; it talks about legislation in other jurisdictions; it talks about action towards bullies; it talks about safe and healthy school communities; and it talks about funding.

When you take 85 recommendations and sift and sort them down - and those are my categories but that helped me get a handle on what is in the report - it's much easier to digest that. So when the minister came to the Legislature and introduced Bill No. 30, it was a first step, as the member opposite has said, to respond to the issue. We knew when the task force was struck that we had a serious problem. Almost a year went by and with the legislation coming in it was very disappointing to see that the legislation didn't have more concrete steps that would be both short-term and long-term responses to the problem.

When we heard Pam Murchison, when we heard Dr. MacKay and when we heard Constable Taylor talk at the Law Amendments Committee, and prior to that responding when the bill was introduced, their comments were that they were very disappointed. They - in particular Constable Taylor and Dr. MacKay - had spent the nine months working hard to put together a document that they believed would drive legislation and help to begin to address the problem. When they are telling you that they are disappointed that it does not go far enough, I think Nova Scotians, I think members of the Legislature, need to listen to that.

As a result of that, at the Law Amendments Committee there were amendments that were put forward by the Liberal caucus. There were amendments put forward by the PC caucus, and all of those amendments were intended to strengthen the bill. One of those was to look at bringing together a team from the Executive Council in Nova Scotia, under the direction of the Premier, to lobby for changes to the Criminal Code, and that was not included. That was one of our amendments that was not included. When you are looking at Bill No. 27, you need to have some teeth in the Criminal Code so some of the things in Bill No. 27 can actually be implemented. So I go back to A Starting Point, an excellent document that every educator in this Legislature should read, and so should every member, as far as I'm concerned.

[Page 1914]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The chatter is getting really, really loud and I would like for members to either remove themselves from the Chamber so we can hear the debate that's going on or please tone it down a bit. Thank you.

The honourable member for Colchester North has the floor.

MS. CASEY « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The intent here is for a piece of legislation that does two things: it addresses the problem in the short term and it addresses the problem in the long term. We would recommend, and we have recommended through our Law Amendments Committee, that changes be made to the existing legislation which is on the floor of the House, which is Bill No. 30, and that the changes be made there to strengthen Bill No. 30 so that some of the things that are in Bill No. 27, some of the things that we talked about, some of the things we heard, and some of the recommendations in this report can actually be included in legislation, which will show that we do mean business and that we will take action and it will happen now.

We do not need any more months to determine that something has gone wrong in our society and that one of the places to stop that is in our schools, but we have to have the tools. The principals, the teachers, the school board, the minister - they have to have the tools that they need to stop it and they need to be able to identify it. The definition is here. They need to be able to look at consequences, and they need to be supported when they enforce the consequences. If you want to change behaviour, there has to be some consequence; if there's no consequence, we are not going to change that behaviour. I do not see anything in Bill No. 30 that will change that behaviour. Thank you very much.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to rise here this afternoon to speak to Bill No. 27, an Act to Promote Cyberbullying Intervention and Parental Responsibilities.

I'd like to start with just one statement that was made by the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage earlier, that bringing forth this bill would require significant changes to the Criminal Code to be able to bring this bill to fruition. I want to ask that member, does she not think our children are worth it? We have children out there being bullied and we have children out there doing things to themselves that we don't think of as even thinkable, and they're complaining because significant legislation would have to be brought forward to enact this bill.

We see children organizing themselves. We saw a young gentleman here not long ago with his pink shirt on, promoting our cyberbullying bills. He was here because he's concerned with what is going on in our society. Our bill is brought forward, Mr. Speaker, to allow some teeth into the cyberbullying aspect.

[Page 1915]

I took part recently, in early January, in an anti-bullying day in an elementary school in my riding. One of the young students there - I think she was in Grade 5; I could be wrong on that matter - went to her principal and was concerned about what was going on in the school system. She went to her principal and asked him if he would put on and promote an anti-bullying day.

This young student actually put forth the names of the people she'd like to have come and speak to the students. Every classroom came through a 20-minute session, and I was one of the fortunate ones to be able to sit there and talk to those children. All the children, all the teachers, all the teachers' aides, and some of the volunteers in the school came with these children, class to class. They listened to published authors, they listened to teachers, they listened to counsellors. When you have this happening, you know the children are concerned - they're concerned about their future, they're concerned about what's going on in their schools, and they're trying to do something to prevent it. Of course, the prevention to bullying is the key, but as we've seen, this is not always the case.

Mr. Speaker, I've had the privilege of listening to members on this issue and reading Hansard. Let me focus on some of the good things that have been said by my colleagues and provide some information which I hope they will find useful in the light of these concerns that were raised. Just recently we heard that no government has the monopoly on good ideas, yet when it comes to the time to debate ideas advanced by Opposition members, we have a four-hour day every week. By the time government members have read their resolutions, the ministers have made their statements, the time for that day is about one hour - we're lucky if we get an hour to debate two bills. Those of course, are shared by the two Parties. There is no ability for us, as an Opposition Party, to extend the hours - as the government can do.

He also said he had concerns respecting making parents liable. I want to assure him that such a provision was well considered before the insertion of this bill. You might recall that the Leader of my Party, in speaking to this bill, spoke of the tragic tale in the death of a young constituent, Ms. Courtney Brown, as a result of cyberbullying at her school. Her parents were here that day in support of our bills and I can just imagine what they felt when they had to come and face this matter again.

One of the problems faced by our community, Mr. Speaker, is that everyone knew who had done the bullying, but the bully's parents were indifferent. It often happens in cases where young people commit wrong that the parents weren't setting appropriate boundaries even if they were warned their child is doing something wrong, so I want to talk about how parental responsibility can be a useful tool in combating this cyberbullying.

First, by definition, cyberbullying requires a computer or a telephone. The bully has to acquire that device, and parents will often be involved in buying those devices used in cyberbullying. Most parents will carefully consider what the device will be used for - most of the time it's so we can communicate with our children, so our children can communicate with us if they need help, if they need a drive, they need something. Some will not consider what it's for, nor will they impose rules that most parents would - nor will they give a toss if a principal or police officer, or another parent, calls up and says, did you know your child is sending inappropriate messages?

[Page 1916]

Those parents, Mr. Speaker, can be part of the problem and they bear more responsibility for the behaviour of their children, those parents who let it happen in spite of a warning or who choose to turn a blind eye to the signs, because frankly they don't care or they don't think it's wrong that their children harm somebody, and because they likely bought the computer or the phone, they should have some authority to take it away or restrict its use. That's one form of punishment.

This is not about making parents pay just because their kid does something wrong or doesn't do something; this is about establishing an appropriate threshold. If the parent is warned about the bullying, but does nothing, are they not facilitating the bullying? If the parent chooses to turn a blind eye when their suspicions are piqued, are they not morally responsible? But if a parent does not know and has no reason to suspect, there will be no responsibility, nor would there be responsibility if the parent is unable to take the appropriate action. Finally, what we are hearing from people is that they are frustrated that parents are not being made responsible.

The honourable member for Hammond Plains-Upper Sackville who has worked with children, our young people, eloquently acknowledged the problem and the need for concrete solutions. He did refer his concern with one-off or reactive legislation and the need to change the culture that allows this problem to fester. We couldn't agree more. This is exactly what we read, the report and introduced a number of measures and three bills and why we see the need for multiple tools to help do exactly what the honourable member himself wishes. We see great value in promoting awareness of cyberbullying so kids can know they are not alone and they can get help. We see great value in giving our educators more options to deal with cyberbullying and bullying which often arises in the school context.

We also see great value in restorative justice. I expect the member does too. If not, I hope he has an open mind. I believe the honourable member would support restorative justice initiatives. I know he cannot possibly think the bill is simply reactive in nature nor would I think he would make the reproach that it is fundamentally punitive. I just ask you to recognize that restorative justice frameworks work.

Fundamentally, getting kids to the point where they can get programs and help that helps them turn away from cyberbullying and bullying is important, as does restoring the victims and the communities that are affected. That requires gaining jurisdiction over the person and the way to do that is to sandwich the restorative provisions intended to help the majority of kids caught bullying and their victims between the charge and a conviction and a penalty. Get the jurisdiction and sidetrack the bullies to do something that helps.

[Page 1917]

If that doesn't work, take further steps by trying to bring the point home. There's no reason why this bill cannot be part of a comprehensive plan. Let us get it done. Let us pass a bill that helps and recognize that is the part of a comprehensive approach.

In talking out bills, they said something that struck me curious. Obviously interested in having a comprehensive bill and not piecemeal, but as we've seen, the government's approach has been relatively minor in tinkering two bills and a promise of regulation, or a law made by an NDP Cabinet without exposure to the Legislature.

Some of the things that we're missing in the government's approach that could help make it comprehensive are found in this current bill. A measured degree or responsibility for parents who know their kid is bullying, the ability to take a device away from a bully and an ability to place a kid going down the wrong tracks in the restorative justice program. While our colleagues will follow the lead and talk this bill out, I ask them to consider whether such provisions should be part of a comprehensive package and invite them to join in.

On a final note, if I may, we invited the minister to discuss how good ideas of all Parties could be integrated in a comprehensive package that could help kids and help them now. I'm disappointed that the two invitations we extended, which were sincere attempts to do the right thing, were not taken up by the minister. I couldn't agree more with the member on the other side that working together is what we need to do. I still express hope that we can do much more. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I want to thank all members today for the participation in the debate.

The honourable Progressive Conservative House Leader.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes Opposition business for today. I'll let the Government House Leader call the hours, and work, for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. The order of business on the morrow will be Public Bills for Second Reading, Bill Nos. 84, 86, 87 and 88, and we will also do Committee of the Whole House on Bills. I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn.

[Page 1918]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We are now adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:00 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 1919]

RESOLUTION NO. 954

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas A Seafaring Maiden Bed and Breakfast, located in the quaint Village of Granville Ferry overlooking the historic Town of Annapolis Royal, was named among the top 25 bed and breakfasts in Canada for 2012 by TripAdvisor.com while also receiving provincial recognition last November from the Tourism Industry of Nova Scotia with the Pineapple Award; and

Whereas innkeepers Ann Marie and Bill Monk's keen attention to detail, providing top-notch service while keeping an impeccably maintained property, all contributed to earning this couple these prestigious awards; and

Whereas this historic property, dating back to 1881, was once home to Captain Joseph Hall, sea captain, shipbuilder, and merchant, along with his daughter Elizabeth Pritchard-Hall, whose illustrious past as a seafaring maiden earned the inn its unique name;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Bill and Ann Marie Monk on their well-deserved recognition and invite all members to treat themselves to a visit to this traveller's haven in the near future.

RESOLUTION NO. 955

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas Raymond Burns of South Farmington has been named one of the Nova Scotia Division Youth Volunteers of 2012 by the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Cancer Society; and

Whereas Raymond is one of three Nova Scotians who will be receiving this award at a celebration dinner held later this year; and

Whereas Raymond's commitment to the Canadian Cancer Society started in 2008 when he was a Grade 11 student at Middleton Regional High School and has resulted in him raising over $10,000 for the society through his volunteer efforts directed toward the annual Relay for Life held every June in Middleton;

[Page 1920]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Raymond on his award and encourage him to keep up the great work for this excellent cause.

RESOLUTION NO. 956

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas on Sunday, April 15, 2012, Basketball Nova Scotia held the Midget Boys Division 1 2012 Provincial Championship in Halifax; and

Whereas under the guidance of the Community YMCA coaches Jeff Paris and Paul Dorrington, with manager Rebekah Skeete, the team won the silver medal; and

Whereas team players Jelani Wright, Liam Thompson, Nathaniel Grant, Isaiah Skeete, Makhail Oliver, Jalen Dorrington, Denisho Goree, Tyler Martin, Emmanuel George, Malik States, Ommyo Paris, and William Fiander together contributed to this accomplishment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the coaches, the manager, and each dedicated athlete of the Community YMCA Midget Boys Division 1 basketball team on their achievements and wish them every success in future sporting endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 957

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas Georgia Marshall, a Grade 5 student at Annapolis East Elementary School in Middleton, placed first in the Royal Canadian Legion annual poster contest in the junior black and white category; and

Whereas Georgia's entry was awarded first place from over 1,000 entries province-wide, earning her the right to compete at the national level of the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa; and

Whereas in recognition of this achievement, Georgia received a certificate of accomplishment and a cheque for $50;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Georgia on her achievement and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 958

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas Jim Bent of Phinney's Cove is well known as a man of many talents, particularly his musical and artistic ability; and

Whereas Jim in his unique and always witty way has used his talents to enrich the lives of residents at Mountain Lea Lodge for over 18 years as a human services worker, providing them with weekly sing-alongs, arts and crafts, and a one-of-a-kind school program; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Recreational Professionals in Health recently presented Jim with the first annual Spirit Award for Outstanding Work in Human Services in acknowledgement of his exceptional efforts in providing top-notch educational and recreational opportunities to residents of The Lodge;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Jim on receiving this well-deserved recognition and thank him for engaging his many talents to enhance the lives of others in his community.

RESOLUTION NO. 959

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Liberal Party)

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

Whereas Middleton resident Catherine Tolbart is one of the few to have been awarded the prestigious Dr. W.P. Oliver Award; and

Whereas Catherine was nominated by the selection committee of the Black Cultural Society, in recognition of her exceptional volunteer efforts to the Nova Scotia Black community and to her country and also as an outstanding leader; and

Whereas she joins the ranks with other famed award recipients such as Portia White and naval war hero, William Hall, when she was presented with the award at a ceremony held on February 11, 2012, at the Black Cultural Centre;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Catherine on this outstanding achievement and thank her for her many years of selfless service to her community and country.

RESOLUTION NO. 960

By: Mr. Clarrie MacKinnon « » (Pictou East)

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

Whereas May 9th is a date that will forever be remembered by all Nova Scotians because it marks the day of the tragic Westray Coal Mine explosion in Pictou County, which took the lives of 26 men; and

Whereas Nova Scotians remember with sadness today the names of the very brave and hard-working husbands, fathers, brothers and sons who died in that tragic explosion: Larry Arthur Bell, Ferris Todd Dewan, Robert Steven Doyle, Charles Robert Fraser, Myles Gillis, Trevor Jahn, Eugene William Johnson, Harry Alliston McCallum, Eric Earl McIsaac, Romeo Andrew Short, Adonis Joseph Dollimont, Remi Joseph Drolet, Laurence Elwyn James, George James Munroe, Peter Francis Vickers, John Thomas Bates, Wayne Michael Conway, Roy Edward Feltmate, John Philip Halloran, Randolph Brian House, Stephen Paul Lilley, Michael Frederick MacKay, Angus Joseph MacNeil, Glenn David Martin, Danny James Poplar II, Bennie Joseph Benoit; and

Whereas the courageous efforts of the draegermen to search the tunnels and the shaft for survivors was called off due to hazardous conditions below the surface but their efforts did successfully return 15 bodies to the surface;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly take a moment to remember the lives that were lost on this day, 20 years ago, at the Westray Mine.

RESOLUTION NO. 961

By: Hon. Darrell Dexter « » (The Premier)

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

Whereas it is important for girls and young women to have strong role models to look up to and opportunities to talk about the issues and challenges they face in their lives every day; and

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Whereas four years ago community volunteers Lena MacLure, Lydia Burke, Danielle Purcell, Sui Keddy, Annette Gaudet and Nicole Webb formed a Girls' Group at Caldwell Road Elementary School in Dartmouth to facilitate discussions with female students on important topics like self esteem, positive relationships and how to build an environment where girls are comfortable with themselves; and

Whereas right now more than 20 Grade 6 girls at the school take part in monthly meetings that include female guest speakers, all of whom have helped show the girls that women can be strong and are capable of doing anything they want;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly commend Lena MacLure, Lydia Burke, Danielle Purcell, Sui Keddy, Annette Gaudet and Nicole Webb for taking the initiative to form this Girls' Group that is providing much needed support and guidance for our girls and young women in their most formative years.

RESOLUTION NO. 962

By: Hon. Darrell Dexter « » (The Premier)

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

Whereas the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships is an annual tournament for elite Bantam and Midget age Aboriginal hockey players, attracting participation from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada; and

Whereas the long-term vision for the tournament is to establish a competitive structure that will serve as the impetus for grassroots and regional Aboriginal hockey development, help foster cultural unity and pride, and celebrate the athletic abilities of Aboriginal athletes from all regions of the country; and

Whereas this year 18-year old Ryan Francis, a student at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour, was selected to play in the championships from May 6th to 11th in Saskatoon;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate Ryan Francis on being chosen to compete amongst the country's top young Aboriginal hockey players and wish him the best of luck in the tournament this week.

RESOLUTION NO. 963

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By: Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Northeast Kings hockey Titans captured the championship at the Provincial Tournament with a 4-1 win over the Yarmouth Vikings at the Eastern Shore Arena on Sunday, March 25, 2012, making them provincial champions for a second straight year, and for a fourth time in the school's history; and

Whereas players Dylan Troop, Isaac Turner, Brett Holland, Connor Dobrota, Dylan Dauphinee, Eric Rand, Logan Bishop, Tanner Ward, Jordin Martin, Dylan deGraaf, Stu Mosher, Josh Pettet, Bret Connell, Brady Atwater, Cody Hiltz, Coleman Ueffing and Craig Keizer, and coaching staff Luke Clark, Brad Hughes, Christine Dauphinee, Laurie Dauphinee, John Curry and Colin Duncan, have worked very hard, and take great pride in how they play and how they represent their school; and

Whereas the Titans opened with a 4-0 win over Yarmouth, blanked Barrington 8 to 0, and defeated the host Eastern Shore team 6-2, to advance directly to the finals as the only undefeated team in the competition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Northeast Kings Titans as provincial hockey champions for their achievements at the Provincial Tournament, and wish each member of the team continued success in sports and in life.

RESOLUTION NO. 964

By: Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas Marla Davis, a teacher at Aldershot Elementary School, has received a 2012 Education Week Award; and

Whereas Ms. Davis has spent 30 years concentrating on child development, and recognizing the importance of overall development in helping students reach their potential; and

Whereas Ms. Davis teaches life skills to students from many different backgrounds, including at-risk students, while also organizing social groups and promoting anti-bullying initiatives;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Marla Davis as an Education Week Award recipient and for making a difference in the lives of students at Aldershot Elementary School.

RESOLUTION NO. 965

By: Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas Charles Forney, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, of Port Williams, spent time in Kenya with Canadian Baptist Ministries teaching the people of Kenya how to achieve sustainable food production; and

Whereas Mr. Forney helped educate the Kenyan people in food production, considering the conditions of their climate, and the importance of food security; and

Whereas Mr. Forney spent time helping small farms and communities with food production, teaching the Kenyans new ways of preserving and adding value to their food;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly celebrate the efforts and life changing experiences of Charles Forney during his time in Kenya in February 2012, and thank him for his contribution to the international community.

RESOLUTION NO. 966

By: Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas Annapolis Valley Health has recently received full accreditation from Accreditation Canada, with seven Accreditation Canada Leading Practices; and

Whereas accreditation surveyors confirm that these seven leading practices at Annapolis Valley Health are "noteworthy examples of high quality leadership and service delivery," which are "commendable for what they contribute to health care as a whole"; and

Whereas Annapolis Valley Health has shown leadership and innovation in developing such practices as the Seniors Rapid Assessment Service and the Addiction Services Primary Care Pilot Project;

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize Annapolis Valley Health as a leading organization in health care in Nova Scotia and congratulate them on receiving full accreditation from Accreditation Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 967

By: Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas Emma Connell, Vanessa Robertson, Aimee Cormier, Hannah Brison, Gillianne Gates, Jessica Shaffelburg, Emily Nickerson, Kinsella Noseworthy-Smith, Jessica Monette, Kristy Stewart, Regan Troop, Sarah Scott and Dominique Foote of the Valley U-18 girls soccer team, and manager Marianne Gates, head coach John Dekoe, and assistant coach Andrew McRae captured two gold and one silver medal during the Nova Scotia Soccer League Winter 2011-12 season; and

Whereas Valley U-18 girls enjoyed a near perfect Saturday, topping Suburban FC 5 - 1 in the Nova Scotia Soccer League final tournament played in Kentville, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Valley U-18 girls completed a 10-4-2 first place record during the regular season;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly celebrate the Valley U-18 girls' soccer team's victory in the Nova Scotia Soccer League Winter 2011-12 season and wish each member of the team continued success in sports and in life.

RESOLUTION NO. 968

By: Mr. Jim Morton « » (Kings North)

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

Whereas Waterbury Newton is the recipient of the inaugural Canadian Bar Association - Nova Scotia (CBA-NS) Equity and Diversity Award; and

Whereas Waterbury Newton has provided an environment that fosters professional growth for all lawyers and administrative staff regardless of gender, colour, origin, sexual orientation or physical abilities; and

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Whereas Waterbury Newton considers community involvement as a valuable way to develop an understanding of the needs of diverse individuals and to provide quality service and access to justice for its clients;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Waterbury Newton for respecting diversity and for receiving the Canadian Bar Association - Nova Scotia (CBA-NS) Equity and Diversity Award and wish them continued success in business and future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 969

By: Mr. Jim Morton « » (Kings North)

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

Whereas Philip Brown of Kentville, Nova Scotia, has successfully competed at the national level for the seventh time during his 20-year career with the Special Olympics; and

Whereas Mr. Brown has earned two gold and two bronze medals in speed skating at the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in St. Albert, Alberta; and

Whereas Mr. Brown has won a total of 91 medals in his career with the Special Olympics;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Nova Scotian House of Assembly celebrate the achievements of Philip Brown in the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games and throughout his long athletic career.

RESOLUTION NO. 970

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau « » (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas Louise Lumsden was a charter member of the Canso Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, which was established in 1960; and

Whereas Louise Lumsden has held most executive positions on the Ladies Auxiliary at one time or another over the past 50 years; and

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Whereas Louise Lumsden is a lifetime member of the Canso Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary who has participated in numerous auxiliary activities including the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in Canso, the making of Easter baskets for area children, the hosting of children's Christmas parties, numerous wedding and funeral receptions, and providing support during local emergencies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and thank Louise Lumsden for volunteering time to her community and for being such an integral part of all the meaningful work the Canso Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary has done in the community over the past 50 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 971

By: Hon. Ramona Jennex « » (Education)

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

Whereas Symphony Nova Scotia's Adopt-a-Musician program brings professional musicians into local schools to partner with students and develop their musical creativity; and

Whereas the Adopt-a-Musician program is an opportunity for students to learn more about the world of symphonic music as well as an opportunity for musicians to learn more about the vibrant musical talent in our classrooms; and

Whereas in March students, teachers and adopted musicians from Highland Park School, Sackville Heights Elementary, École LeMarchant St. Thomas School, and Sunnyside Elementary concluded the program with an amazing performance, We Are the Stars, at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium as part of the Symphony Youth Outreach Project: Making Music Together;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the students, teachers, musicians and volunteers for working together to forge a vital link between Symphony Nova Scotia and our schools.

RESOLUTION NO. 972

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By: Hon. 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 Nathan Curtis Gildart is originally from Lower Sackville and has lived in Japan since 1997; and

Where Nathan plays rhythm guitar and provides vocals for the band The Complaints Department which he formed in 2009 with two other Canadians and two Japanese nationals; and

Whereas The Complaints Department has released a song for download titled Walking Hand in Hand, with all proceeds in support of charities providing assistance in northeastern Japan following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Lower Sackville native Nathan Curtis Gildart and his band The Complaints Department for their generosity in donating proceeds from the sale of their song Walking Hand in Hand to charities assisting the people of Japan following the March 2011 disaster and wish him and his bandmates success with their fundraising efforts.

RESOLUTION NO. 973

By: Hon. 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 Rotary Clubs have been in existence since 1905 providing "Service above Self" with 1.2 million members worldwide; and

Whereas Sackville welcomes a Rotary Club to the community with 25 charter members, adding to the five clubs already running in the Halifax Regional Municipality; and

Whereas the Sackville Rotary Club meets on Tuesday mornings at 8:00 a.m. at the Sackville Boston Pizza and is already active, currently involved in renovations to the new hospice in Bedford;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly welcome the 25 charter members of the Sackville Rotary Club to the community of Sackville, and wish them success in their endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 974

By: Hon. 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 Sackville will unveil a new mascot at the 2012 Patriot Days Parade; and

Whereas the Sackville Community Development Association decided upon a horse as a mascot to represent Sackville's history in farming and horse racing; and

Whereas Hillside Elementary School student, Zoe Fawcett, was one of the two winners in the Name the Mascot contest, with her submission of Sackfilly, and along with her friend Marissa Fitzpatrick won their school $250;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Hillside Elementary School student Zoe Fawcett, on her submission of the name Sackfilly being chosen as one of two winners in the Name the Mascot contest representing Sackville's new horse mascot to be unveiled at the 2012 Patriot Days Parade, and along with her friend Marissa Fitzpatrick, winning their school $250.

RESOLUTION NO. 975

By: Hon. 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 Sackville will unveil a new mascot at the 2012 Patriot Days Parade; and

Whereas the Sackville Community Development Association decided upon a horse as a mascot to represent Sackville's history in farming and horse racing; and

Whereas Hillside Elementary School student, Marissa Fitzpatrick, was one of the two winners in the Name the Mascot contest, with her submission of Trinity, representing the three areas of Sackville, and along with her friend Zoe Fawcett won their school $250;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Hillside Elementary School student, Marissa Fitzpatrick, on her submission of the name Trinity being chosen as one of two winners in the Name the Mascot contest representing Sackville's new horse mascot to be unveiled at the 2012 Patriot Days Parade, and along with her friend Zoe Fawcett, winning their school $250.

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RESOLUTION NO. 976

By: Hon. 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 Steve Phillips of Lower Sackville is a licensed automotive technician; and

Whereas Steve became involved in amateur racing events in Nova Scotia in 1997 through AutoSlalom and at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie; and

Whereas Steve is a mechanic and pit crew member for The Racers Group in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and just celebrated his sixth appearance at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and aspires to reach the 24 Hours of LeMans held in LeMans, France;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Steve Phillips of Lower Sackville on his determination to work in the endurance racing industry and completing his sixth appearance at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and wish him success in his goal of reaching the 24 Hours of LeMans in LeMans, France.

RESOLUTION NO. 977

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 Sackville held its 33rd Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner on April 25th, to acknowledge the outstanding generosity of Sackville volunteers; and

Whereas 28 volunteers were recognized for their contributions to local organizations with Wade Dooley being awarded the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award; and

Whereas Wade is a member of the Kinsmen Club of Sackville and has volunteered countless hours with the Sackville Community Development Association, the Sackville Business Association and the Weir Rockin' Committee;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Wade Dooley on receiving the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award at Sackville's 33rd Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner and thank him for his contribution to the many organizations that make the community of Sackville a better place to live.

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RESOLUTION NO. 978

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 approximately 650 families in the Sackville and Bedford areas rely on the Beacon House Food Bank; and

Whereas the Sackville Cares Food Drive is run each year by the Sackville Drive Business Association with support from local businesses to replenish the shelves of the Beacon House Food Bank; and

Whereas the Sackville Cares Food Drive surpassed the 660 pounds of food collected in 2011 with 907 pounds of food in this year's February event;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the Sackville Drive Business Association for once again bringing the businesses of Sackville together in support of Beacon House Food Bank and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 979

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 Navy League Cadet program for children aged 9 - 12 was established in 1948 and now has more than 3,500 participants in 106 communities across Canada; and

Whereas the Navy League Cadet program is 100 per cent reliant on fundraising and volunteer support; and

Whereas the Sackville Navy League Branch has started a Navy League Cadet Corps in the community and has received overwhelming response for registration;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly welcome the Navy League Cadet program established by the Sackville Navy League Branch, joining more than 3,500 participants in 106 communities across Canada to the community of Sackville and wish them success in fundraising and volunteer efforts.

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RESOLUTION NO. 980

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 Kevin Porter of Lower Sackville is the lead singer and friend of 30 years to Terry Williams who is the founder, lead guitarist and singer for the band Second Time Around; and

Whereas Terry Williams lost the home where he had lived in Sackville for nine years to a fire on April 1st; and

Whereas Kevin and Bonnie Porter reacted quickly to organize a fundraiser at the Rodeo Lounge on April 14th consisting of nine bands, a BBQ and an auction, raising approximately $8,000 for Terry's cause;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Kevin and Bonnie Porter of Lower Sackville for their compassion and quick response in organizing a fundraiser earning approximately $8,000 in support of their friend and Kevin's band mate and founder of the band Second Time Around, Terry Williams, who lost his home to fire, and wish everyone future success.

RESOLUTION NO. 981

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 SkinFix Inc. is a skin care company owned by Peter Warner and is based in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas SkinFix started with two creams in 2007 and has grown to a product line of seven creams; and

Whereas SkinFix has recently expanded to include clients in Quebec and Ontario establishing the products in more than 10,000 stores across Canada and with customers as far away as Hong Kong;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Peter Warner of Lower Sackville on the success of SkinFix Inc. since its inception in 2007, and on the company's expanding sales into Quebec and Ontario, establishing the now seven products in more than 10,000 stores across Canada as well as with customers around the world, and wish the company continued success.

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RESOLUTION NO. 982

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 Duke of Edinburgh's Award has been in Canada since 1963 and is offered in 130 countries worldwide to youth between the ages of 14 and 25, with 37,000 participants in Canada each year; and

Whereas participants are challenged in four non-competitive sections, including community service, personal interest, physical activity, and an adventurous journey at Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award levels, whether as part of a group or as individuals; and

Whereas 16-year-old Jacob Dugas of Lower Sackville is a Grade 11 student at Sackville High School and worked independently to fulfill the Duke of Edinburgh's Award requirements by volunteering with seniors, stamp collecting, playing basketball, and hiking in Kejimkujik National Park to complete the Bronze Award on October 16, 2011;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate 16-year-old Jacob Dugas of Lower Sackville on his efforts to independently complete the requirements for the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award and wish him success in future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 983

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 17-year-old Thomas Swinkles is a Grade 12 student at Sackville High School; and

Whereas Thomas participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program three years ago and chose swimming to fulfill the sport requirement; and

Whereas Thomas is a member of the Sackville Waves Aquatic Team, where he won a bronze medal in the Men's SB9 100-metre breaststroke at the November 2011 Para Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and recently achieved his personal best time of 1:17:18 at the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials in Montreal;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate 17-year-old Thomas Swinkles of Sackville on his accomplishments with the Sackville Waves Aquatic Team and on achieving his personal best time in the 100-metre breaststroke and wish him continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 984

By: Ms. Kelly Regan « » (Bedford-Birch Cove)

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

Whereas the Taj Mahal Restaurant has been serving delicious Indian food in Halifax for 15 years; and

Whereas Chef Sam Jaggi and his wife, Meera Jaggi, are hosts with a flair for entertaining their patrons; and

Whereas this evening will see the Jaggis celebrate their 15 years in business with a dinner attended by the Consul General of India to Canada, Mrs. Preeti Saran;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Sam and Meera Jaggi and all their staff on 15 years in business and wish them many more years of spicing up the culinary life of Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 985

By: Ms. Pam Birdsall « » (Lunenburg West)

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

Whereas the Heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries, and archives are valued not only by Nova Scotians but by Canadians; and

Whereas the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives is the largest non-institutional archives in Nova Scotia, with roughly 25,000 photographs, newspapers dating back to 1833, extensive genealogical records, and a research library, not to mention one of the largest costume collections in Nova Scotia and the third-largest ship portrait collection in Canada; and

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Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget has seen dramatic cuts at Library and Archives Canada, which have led to the elimination of the National Archival Development Program, a program which has assisted the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives in arrangement and description of their many collections;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly call on the members of the Progressive Conservative Party to lobby their federal counterparts and Progressive Conservative Party colleagues on the importance of funding to local small museums and archives and the impact that these cuts will have on these institutions' ability to preserve, protect, and showcase important historical and culturally-significant artifacts.

RESOLUTION NO. 986

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau « » (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas the Heritage sector is a very important part of Nova Scotia's creative economy and our museums, art galleries, and archives are valued not only by Nova Scotians but by all Canadians; and

Whereas the Chestico Museum and Historical Society in Port Hood, founded in 1978, is based in the Harbourview School House and is currently planning the construction of Chestico Place, which will house the museum along with the Inverness County Archives; and

Whereas the federal Conservative Government's 2012 budget has seen dramatic cuts at Library and Archives Canada, which has led to the elimination of the National Archival Development Program, a program which has provided assistance to the Chestico Museum and Historical Society in the development of their archives;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly call on the MLA for Inverness to lobby his federal counterparts and Progressive Conservative Party colleagues on the importance of funding to local small museums and archives and the impact that these cuts will have on these institutions' ability to preserve, protect, and showcase Nova Scotia's important rural and agricultural heritage.