The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD13-08

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Kevin Murphy

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/



First Session

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
487
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Justice: Law Fdn. (N.S.) - Anl. Rept. (2012-2013),
488
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 208, Mandela, Nelson: Death of - Tribute,
488
Vote - Affirmative
490
Res. 209, Violence Against Women: Gov't./Commun. Groups - End,
491
Vote - Affirmative
491
Res. 210, Christmas Festival of Trees and Crafts (Mid. Musquodoboit)
- Support, Hon. Z. Churchill »
491
Vote - Affirmative
492
Res. 211, Wiley, Cathy/PSC - Salvation Army Donations,
492
Vote - Affirmative
493
Res. 212, Hfx. Explosion - Victims Remember,
493
Vote - Affirmative
494
Res. 213, TIR: Unimpaired Driving - Encourage,
494
Vote - Affirmative
494
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 19, Trade Union Act,
495
No. 20, House of Assembly Act,
495
No. 21, Trade Union Act,
495
No. 22, Pension Benefits Act,
495
No. 23, Labour Standards Code,
495
No. 24, Pension Benefits Act,
495
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 214, Steeves, Cst. Brandy/Foote, Cst. Susan - Women in Law Awards,
495
Vote - Affirmative
496
Res. 215, Hfx. Explosion - Victims Remember,
496
Vote - Affirmative
497
Res. 216, Hfx. Explosion - Victims Remember,
497
Vote - Affirmative
497
Res. 217, l'École Polytechnique: Victims - Remember,
498
Vote - Affirmative
498
Res. 218, l'École Polytechnique : Massacre - Remember,
498
Vote - Affirmative
499
Res. 219, Woodbine Fam. Assoc.: Dedication - Recognize,
499
Vote - Affirmative
500
Res. 220, Maloney, Reg: Death of - Tribute,
500
Vote - Affirmative
501
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 14, Justices of the Peace Act and Provincial Court Act
501
502
503
Vote - Affirmative
503
No. 15, February Holiday Act
503
504
505
506
509
Vote - Affirmative
509
No. 17, Executive Council Act and Public Service Act
509
510
510
Vote - Affirmative
510
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY TO THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE:
511
518
523
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Dec. 9th at 4:00 p.m
526
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 221, MacLeod, Glen/Christmas Theme Park (Westville)
- Congrats., Mr. T. Houston »
527
Res. 222, O'Neill, Sally/Cape to Cape Trail Ladies Only Building
Weekend - Congrats., Mr. T. Houston « »
527
Res. 223, Lamb, Jimmie & Margie/Meadowbrook Meat Market
- Anna. Valley C of C Award, Mr. J. Lohr »
528
Res. 224, Wilson's Pharmasave - Anna. Valley C of C Award,
528
Res. 225, Munroe, MacKenzie - Yar. Co. Athlete of Yr. (2013),
529

[Page 487]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013

Sixty-second General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please. We'll now proceed with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

HON. LENA DIAB « » : 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. 7 - Public Service 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.

[Page 488]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the 2012-13 Annual Report of the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 208

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

Whereas there are few people who will leave a mark as indelible on this earth as Nelson Mandela; and

Whereas people around the globe were inspired by his dignity and his unwavering commitment to freedom; and

Whereas Nelson Mandela's message of peace, forgiveness, and acceptance is one we all should aspire to in whatever way we can in tribute to his memory;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly extend their condolences to the Nelson Mandela family and the many he impacted around the world, and that Nova Scotians take a moment to pause and reflect on the life of this great man and all he has given to the global community.

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

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm very honoured that we have agreed, all of us, to just take a moment, each Party, to speak to the resolution before we pass it, which I'm sure we will unanimously in a moment. It is one of those times where we'll have one resolution and all Parties will express their views and then deal with the resolution.

[Page 489]

Mr. Speaker, it's rare in the world that the loss of one human being is marked pretty well unanimously by the rest of the six billion or seven billion of us, but today is one of those days. I can't think of an individual in my own lifetime where just about everyone on the planet feels some connection to another; in this case, Mr. Mandela of South Africa.

I was struck this morning by the tributes that are pouring in to Nelson Mandela's family from around the world, including everyday people in the millions, right up to the President of the United States - and the Prime Minister of Canada, of course - but Mr. Obama, the President, said that his first political action was to attend an anti-apartheid rally.

Mr. Speaker, in no way am I comparing myself to the President of the United States, but the first political event I ever attended in my life as a young student at Dalhousie University was a Free Mandela concert at the Dalhousie Student Union Building in protest of the apartheid regime of South Africa, of the oppression of one people by another, and to demand that Mr. Mandela, who had stood up at great cost to his personal freedom, to say it was wrong, and to pledge himself, indeed his life, to fixing it was a big moment for a young Dalhousie student.

I know I speak for not only all of the Progressive Conservatives but all the people of Nova Scotia, as I'm sure the other Parties will, in recognizing that we have lost a man who not only put his life at risk but lost 27 years of his personal freedom in prison for his political beliefs, who then emerged from that famous jail cell to find a country divided and he sought to unite it; a country of racism, bigotry and oppression, and sought to end it; a country of great hardship and poverty and death and destruction, and healed it.

At the moment of his greatest power, when he could have turned on his own oppressors who literally had murdered his fellow citizens, he saw truth and reconciliation.

There is no greater symbol of hope for the world than what Nelson Mandela did for the hope for mankind.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to recognize that eternal truth, that one person, in this case Nelson Mandela, truly can make the world a better place. God rest his soul.

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to lend our Party's voice to the many tributes, worldwide, to this great human being. In today's world the word hero is thrown around oh so quickly over some very minor matters but there is nobody I would think that would personify the definition of that word more than the late Nelson Mandela.

We think of our own struggles within this House and in a very minute way, they are great for us, we feel the burden. I'm sure the government feels the burden of governing and we feel the burden of representation, as we all do in this House. When you think of the burden we share, the burden we put on our shoulders is so miniscule compared to the burden that was handed to Nelson Mandela and he gladly accepted it. He accepted it with such calm and dignity. I can never recall, whether it was an interview in the electronic media or whether it was in newspaper or whether it was a book about his life, that he ever complained.

[Page 490]

Here we are today, a man of 95 years, who led a full life. Mr. Mandela not just led a full life, he led a great life. He led a life that lit the world. We will be ever grateful for that because now he is a man who belongs to the ages. He is a man who has transcended, I think, politics for the last half century. There is absolutely nobody who can put them in the category of a person who stood for their rights and stayed there and did it in such a perspective of the common man.

When he talked about sports and how they brought everything together, they brought both the sorrows and the joys, but they were the model of how we should do it. There have been stories about Mr. Mandela, who while in prison would organize football or soccer games, the greatness of the man when he brought rugby back to South Africa and he wore a Springbok jersey, these are the things that he had talked about; he would not just talk about what he had done.

I am going to take my place because in reality, anything I could say would be just pure hyperbole. He was a great man; he has transcended us all for years to come and I can only think he is, in my religious belief, somewhere looking down and smiling today saying, my work here is done, I will now rest. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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.

Would you all please rise as we observe a moment of silence in honour of Nelson Mandela.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 209

[Page 491]

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

Whereas December 6th marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, commemorating the anniversary of the murder of 14 engineering students at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal, who died just because they were women; and

Whereas this day is also a time to bring to mind all the Nova Scotia women affected by violence; and

Whereas the province acknowledges, appreciates, and supports the front-line service providers in their tireless, steadfast efforts to help women whose lives have been affected by violence;

Therefore be it resolved that government and community groups will continue to work collaboratively to improve the lives of women who have experienced violence - together we have, together we can, together we will, end violence against women.

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 Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 210

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

Whereas the 24th Annual Christmas Festival of Trees and Crafts takes place this weekend in co-operation with the National Resources Education Centre on Highway 224 in Middle Musquodoboit; and

Whereas we invite all Nova Scotians to enjoy the entertainment, see the creations of more than 80 talented crafters, and experience the beauty of 30 decorated balsam fir trees donated by the province and the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association; and

[Page 492]

Whereas the festival starts with an opening ceremony on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and runs throughout the weekend to spread good cheer and help promote real, natural, Nova Scotia Christmas trees;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly show their support for the annual Christmas Festival of Trees and Crafts.

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 the Public Service Commission.

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to give a warm welcome to four of the many dedicated employees we have in the Public Service Commission today, up in the east gallery: Cathy Wiley, Rima Thomeh, Nancy Gaudet, and Janet White. If we could have a round of applause from the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 211

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

Whereas on Thursday, December 5th, the employees at the Public Service Commission donated more than 100 gifts to the Salvation Army's Angel Giving Tree program; and

Whereas all of the gifts will be distributed to families in need of joy this holiday season; and

Whereas the Public Service Commission and employees have contributed hundreds of gifts to families in need since 2004;

[Page 493]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate organizer Cathy Wiley and the employees of the Public Service Commission for their generosity and gift giving.

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.

Just a reminder to all members, if you are looking for permission to do an introduction, you must request permission first from the Speaker.

The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 212

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

Whereas December 6th is an opportunity for Nova Scotians and Canadians to look back at the Halifax Explosion of 1917 as the defining moment in the history of the province; and

Whereas in commemoration of the tragic event, the Nova Scotia Archives will be live-tweeting the events of the Halifax Explosion throughout the day, much the same way as the messages were sent out over the wire almost a century ago; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Archives is reaching out to Nova Scotians to collect stories about the impact the explosion had on their lives;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly take a moment to remember the 2,000 people who died from the explosion and its aftermath, and wish the Nova Scotia Archives success as they continue to capture the moment that has deeply affected people of Nova Scotia for almost a century.

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

[Page 494]

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 Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 213

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

Whereas 78 people have been killed this year on Nova Scotia highways; and

Whereas the main causes of these deaths are speeding, distracted driving, driving without a seatbelt, and impaired driving; and

Whereas during the first week of December Canadians are recognizing Safe Driving Week with a special focus on the dangers of driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or fatigue;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage Nova Scotia drivers at all times of the year, but especially as we enter the holiday season, to travel unimpaired and alert, and always remember crosswalk safety is a shared responsibility.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 495]

Bill No. 19 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 475 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Trade Union Act. (Hon. Kelly Regan)

Bill No. 20 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 (1992 Supplement) of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The House of Assembly Act. (Hon. Lena Diab)

Bill No. 21 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 475 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Trade Union Act, Respecting First Contract Arbitration. (Ms. Karla MacFarlane)

Bill No. 22 - Entitled an Act to Provide Greater Flexibility for Nova Scotians' Retirement Savings in Locked-in Accounts. (Mr. Allan MacMaster)

Bill No. 23 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code. (Mr. Allan MacMaster)

Bill No. 24 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 340 of the Revised Statutes of 1989 and Chapter 41 of the Acts of 2011. The Pension Benefits Act. (Mr. Allan MacMaster)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 214

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

Whereas Constable Brandy Steeves of the Bridgewater detachment of the RCMP and Constable Susan Foote of the Chester detachment of the RCMP have received awards from the 2013 Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement Conference; and

Whereas Brandy and Susan were recognized with the Atlantic Women Law Enforcement Team Endeavour Award for having helped to create the Lunenburg County RCMP Youth Advisory Committee and Name the Shame initiative; and

Whereas Brandy and Susan are working to bring Lunenburg County youth and law enforcement together on bullying and other youth issues, and offering resources and information to the community;

[Page 496]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Brandy and Susan for their achievements, and wish them continued success in the future.

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 Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 215

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

Whereas today marks the 96th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, when the SS Mont-Blanc, loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo; and

Whereas the resulting explosion was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, and caused the death of 2,000 people and injury to 9,000 others; and

Whereas within hours stoic survivors formed the Halifax Relief Committee to organize medical relief, and to supply food and shelter to victims of the explosion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House remember the victims of the Halifax Explosion with sadness today, as well as the resilience and bravery of the survivors who rallied to help one another in the wake of the devastating blast.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 497]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 216

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Leader of the New Democratic Party, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas each year on December 6th Nova Scotians remember the Halifax Explosion of 1917 as a significant moment in the history of our province; and

Whereas in recognizing the importance of the day, Nova Scotians pay tribute to the 2,000 people who lost their lives and the legacy they left behind; and

Whereas once again this year a crowd will gather at the Memorial Bell Tower at Fort Needham Park to pause for a moment to remember an event that has lasted many lifetimes;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House take a moment today to remember the 2,000 people who died from the Halifax Explosion in 1917.

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.

I request that all members please rise and observe a moment of silence for the victims of the Halifax Explosion.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

[Page 498]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 217

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

Whereas 24 years ago today 14 women fell victim to a hate crime against feminism at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal, and the events of that day became known as the Montreal Massacre; and

Whereas in honour of these women, today has been named the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women; and

Whereas this day serves as an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society and consider concrete actions to eliminate gender-based violence in our communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the significance of today and remember the women and girls in our country who have lost their lives to violence, and in particular those 14 women in Montreal.

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.

Would all members please rise and observe a moment of silence for the victims of l'École Polytechnique.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

RESOLUTION NO. 218

[Page 499]

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

Whereas on this date in 1989 an armed gunman took the lives of 14 female students at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal; and

Whereas December 6th has become a day to remember the lives lost and changed forever in this tragedy, as well as women who are currently living as victims of abuse; and

Whereas in an effort to pay tribute to all women who have faced battles against violence, we must remain vigilant and stand together against what we all know is quite simply wrong;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature and all Nova Scotians remember the massacre at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989, and remain steadfast in our resolve to end violence against women and girls in all their forms.

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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 219

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

Whereas in 2007 a group of Sackville residents formed the Woodbine Family Association to provide hot meals to anyone over 50 who could not afford to make hot meals for themselves; and

Whereas over the years, in addition to providing meals, this group has raised money for many community projects such as planting trees and the purchase of playground equipment; and

[Page 500]

Whereas this group of dedicated individuals - Bonnie Ryan, Tanya Hanson, Kathy Fougere, Raymond Grove, Joan Grove, and Barb Burke, as well as many volunteers - continue to provide meals free of charge to those in need - anyone who can afford to pay is asked for a $5 donation to keep the cupboards stocked and they need not live in Woodbine Trailer Park, all are welcome;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize the Woodbine Family Association for their selfless dedication to providing for their neighbours.

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 Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

RESOLUTION NO. 220

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

Whereas former Indian Brook Chief Reginald "Reg" Maloney passed away on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at the age of 72, with family and friends by his side; and

Whereas Reg Maloney served as chief of the Shubenacadie Band as well as band councillor, acted as grand keptin on the grand council, and served as district chief; and

Whereas Reg Maloney will be fondly remembered for his passion for family, friends, nature and politics, and as an influential advocate for the Mi'kmaq First Nation and their laws and rights;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Reg Maloney, and may his exemplary passion for Aboriginal rights and laws be carried on.

[Page 501]

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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 14.

Bill No. 14 - Justices of the Peace Act and Provincial Court Act.

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

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 14, amendments to the Justices of the Peace Act and Provincial Court Act, be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to speak on a brief overview of this bill. The amendments being proposed result from a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision delivered in February of this year. The court ruled that an independent process was needed to provide compensation for presiding Justices of the Peace in Nova Scotia.

The Department of Justice was given 12 months to make these changes. Mr. Speaker, we were of the impression that we were already providing fair and adequate compensation to our presiding Justices. However, the court disagreed. We all know that in a democratic society like ours, everyone has the right to make their case and the court has the ability to make an independent decision. In this case, the court ruled that a new compensation process is needed, and we accept that decision. By introducing these legislative changes, we are acting on that decision.

[Page 502]

There is no doubt that Justices of the Peace perform important tasks, like issuing warrants and emergency protection orders to free up judges' time. The court determined that a remuneration scheme must be introduced for presiding Justices of the Peace that meets constitutional requirements to protect independence.

This new legislation provides exactly that. It creates a new, independent process to set compensation for presiding Justices of the Peace. It is an objective, efficient, and fair process that creates a tribunal structure for determining compensation. To be more efficient, the chair of the judges compensation tribunal will also act as a one-person tribunal for the presiding Justices of the Peace.

We are recommending this tribunal model for a few reasons, Mr. Speaker. First, it is important to create a structure that is cost-effective and efficient. Second, there's a small number of presiding Justices of the Peace - there are only 13 part-time Justices of the Peace in the Province of Nova Scotia, and a one-person tribunal, the chair of the judges tribunal, who has already heard all of the common economic evidence; this is the most cost-efficient model reviewed. Finally, this model is also used in the Province of Saskatchewan.

We are also introducing amendments to align the timing of salaries and benefits - tribunal reports for judges and presiding Justices of the Peace coinciding with government's budget preparation process. These amendments proposed that after an adjustment period, the reports will start at the beginning of the fiscal year following the year the report is submitted.

As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, the amendments brought forth today are the result of a Supreme Court of Nova Scotia decision to create an independent process to set compensation for presiding Justices of the Peace in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, Justices of the Peace are owed the same honour and consideration as our provincial judges, and as such, it is fitting that we afford them the same model for compensation. We rely on them to perform any duties, including issuing warrants, arraignment trials, issuing subpoenas, oaths of office, and performing civil weddings, to name a few. Without the hard work of these people, our justice system would not function as it does today. They provide professional consultation and are responsible for essential services.

[Page 503]

In February, when the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ruled that they be granted the same compensation model as provincial judges, it became apparent that this change needed to be made. Allowing compensation to be set by an independent board will ensure a transparent and fair process is put in place for these valuable civil servants.

Mr. Speaker, we, the Progressive Conservative caucus, will be supporting this legislation. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 14.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 14. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 15.

Bill No. 15 - February Holiday Act.

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

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 15, an Act to Establish a Holiday in February, be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, for nearly a decade, my colleague, the honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and the member for Clayton Park West, has lobbied for a holiday for Nova Scotians to enjoy in February. (Applause) The February Holiday Act delivers on our commitment to hard-working Nova Scotians, while giving businesses the time they need to plan for a new holiday. Nova Scotians have told us repeatedly that a mid-winter break is something they want; now we are able to make that happen. Nova Scotians deserve a break between New Year's Day and Easter.

I'm continuously inspired by the hard work, determination and optimism of the people of this province. Nova Scotians know how to work hard and at the same time they value family and community. The new statutory holiday will be marked on the third Monday beginning in February 2015. It will support that important work/life balance and it will give people time to spend with their families and friends, just as a majority of Canadians already do.

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Now, you will notice the new holiday doesn't have a name yet. As promised, we'll reach out to young Nova Scotians to help decide what the February holiday should be called and we'll share more information on that process in the next couple of months. Six other provinces enjoy statutory holidays in February. Adding a February holiday will give Nova Scotia workers and families a total of six statutory holidays per year. Research shows that three-day weekends pay off with more productivity and less absenteeism.

Some businesses have already been giving their staff a break during the long winter months, businesses like MacLeod Lorway Financial Group, a local, family-run insurance brokerage. They have been a little ahead of the curve and they've been giving their 75 employees a day off in February for the past three years. They, like us, recognize a little time away can make for a much more productive time at work.

I'm pleased to move this legislation for second reading today.

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

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words about Bill No. 15, the February Holiday Act. As appealing as it sounds and as lovely as it sounds, I just don't think it's the most important priority that Nova Scotians have to deal with right now.

Nova Scotia's economy is sick. There aren't enough jobs; too many people are struggling to make ends meet. The priority of the Progressive Conservative Party is to fix the economy by getting the fundamentals right, by creating the conditions that will jump-start the economy and create much-needed jobs. I recognize that February can be a long and dark month but at this time a February holiday is just not a priority for the PC caucus and I don't believe it's a priority for the rest of Nova Scotians, especially those ones who are not working.

MLAs, like so many other Nova Scotians, struggle to get the work/life balance right. Many of us understand the guilt that comes with feeling your family suffers because of the demands of your job. A single day off in February will not alleviate that guilt or put our lives back into a balance. I'm also concerned about what a statutory holiday will do to the dozens of small Nova Scotia businesses that are already struggling, and we have to remember that small businesses make up 52 per cent of businesses here in Nova Scotia and they're definitely not in favour of this holiday with the highest taxes that we pay, the highest power rates, and expensive government red tape that we have.

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business also has concerns about the cost of a February holiday to small businesses in our province. The CFIB estimates that this holiday will cost the Nova Scotia economy $139 million, and this morning the Halifax Chamber of Commerce spoke out against this holiday, saying it's not the right time - and that's simply what we believe as well. I think the whole idea of it is great; I just don't think that we are in favour of having it right now - maybe in a couple of years when the economy gets a little bit better it will be a consideration. Businesses simply can't afford it. The Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association says the holiday will cost Nova Scotia restaurants about $2 million, so add that $2 million with the $140 million - it's going to cost us.

Mr. Speaker, we need to ask ourselves if our province is in a position to take that kind of hit. I think we can all say no to that; we've been hit hard enough. Are we really ready to make this a priority with our economy being as fragile as it already is? We have a debt of $14 billion, we have among the highest taxes in the country, and our growth lags behind the national average. Taking $140 million out of our economy will only worsen the problems that too many Nova Scotians face.

One of the other things that I heard this morning from one of my colleagues after speaking to a number of teachers last night, which I found really interesting, is that they said this holiday means nothing to them, it doesn't make any sense because what's going to happen is they're going to take the holiday but they have to tag that day on at the end of the year when the weather is actually really nice and people want to be outside enjoying a day - so to them it makes no sense, which I really appreciate that. I think we really have to consider this - it's not that we're totally against this bill, but we are against it right now when you consider what the cost will be.

Mr. Speaker, for these reasons the Progressive Conservative caucus will not support this Bill No. 15.

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, while I agree with some of what the previous speaker said, I think their "Mike Harris" is showing. I'm worried about how far it has been consulted, and this time of year I think in the restaurant industry it's a very tough time for them. Talking to many owners, it is a time where they're really juggling whether to pay for the last food order or their wages and so on, so there is difficulty.

Before I get too far down there, Nova Scotians work hard and I don't know - and I just heard a chirp there "if they work," well, Mr. Speaker, again I'm not going to criticize the government of the day because (Applause)

Let me finish. Let me finish, just stop it there, stop the tape. I'm not going to criticize the government of the day for bringing in forward-thinking legislation for workers' rights . . .

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AN HON. MEMBER: Just wait.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Brace yourself.

MR. CORBETT « » : No, you don't have to brace yourselves, folks. I see this as a progressive piece of legislation. I'm worried about some of the unintended consequences and I'm going to politely ask the government to make sure that they are considered. I'm not going to get into "the sky is falling" because Nova Scotians get a day off of work. (Applause) (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre has the floor.

MR. CORBETT « » : Why thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is reasonable, but again all I want to do is caution the government. I know the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has been - to say she was passionate about this would be putting it on the down side of it, and that's fine, but I would hope that the government really does genuinely spend the time between now and February 2015 to get it right, that small businesses in particular are protected by it. You know it's a statutory holiday; the idea that what this is going to impose on them is a burden.

I don't know what people will really do with this holiday. It's obviously in the middle of winter. I guess one good thing about it being in the middle of winter, people are not going to go far afield because of the weather, so it may mean on the upside - inasmuch as if they go somewhere - they'll spend money locally. That may be a good, unintended consequence.

Mr. Speaker, our Party supports the working men and women of this province and, more importantly, the families, that they get to spend some time together. I would ask the government to be careful in crafting the regulations around this bill and to make sure that there's the least interruption done to the employers of this province around this bill.

I welcome this bill, I support this bill and to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, a job well done. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I've been asked to be rather short in my remarks this morning and you can appreciate that that's difficult. (Interruption) I certainly want to thank the member opposite for his comments, I appreciate that very much and the acknowledgement that I have been working on this for a number of years.

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Mr. Speaker, when I was first elected 10 years ago to this House I had young children. I understand what it's like to have a busy life and juggle a lot of different things. I listened to my constituents; in fact, one of my constituents brought this idea to me in 2003. She said she had lived in Alberta where they have had it for over 20 years and what a wonderful thing it was.

Initially I thought this might be a lightweight sort of issue. I no longer think that because we have the fewest holidays of any jurisdiction in this country. Mr. Speaker, not the fewest by one or two but the fewest by a lot. We have five holidays and the average in the country is eight or more. Six provinces now have the February holiday. When I introduced the bill first, only one had it.

Other provinces see the benefit for a winter country to have a day off in the winter. Mr. Speaker, it's not only long and dreary, it's a time when we can get out and have fun with our families and get together and recharge our batteries.

I know that the member for Pictou West will be hearing from some of her constituents who will enjoy this, who will look forward to it. The public is in favour of it and more so as the years have gone by and they've realized that we have the fewest holidays in the country. That's just not a place we should be if we want to attract young people, keep our young people here in the province, be a competitive place to live. How long can we say what a great quality of life we have if we have no statutory holidays?

Mr. Speaker, this has been supported a lot by the public but not only by the public but by progressive companies. More and more as other provinces have adopted a February holiday, companies that are working nationally have begun to give their people the day off here. Last February on that day I was interviewed by Global, which is part of the Shaw Communications Group, they were off across the country, they gave all their employees that day with only the skeleton staff at work that day, to keep the TV cameras rolling, but everybody would get a day off in lieu.

It's the trend, these companies are seeing it in their other offices across the country. I mentioned that in the U.S. it's a day where they are shut down across the country, it is Presidents Day; because of that, the stock markets are closed. When Ontario began to celebrate this day, the Ontario stock market closed. That means there is no business taking place in financial services across the country.

We've had support as well from companies like Beacon Securities, who said that for them it's just a day to catch up on paperwork. Many of their investment advisers and so on do not come to work that day because there's no trading, it's not happening. Again, more and more companies that are in business that want to call their suppliers in Ontario, Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, P.E.I. for heaven's sake - they all have that day off so business isn't happening if you're going to be talking to those provinces.

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More and more, even regular, everyday Nova Scotians, are realizing that their families and friends who are living in Ontario or in Alberta, and the other provinces I named - six provinces in Canada that have that holiday - they're realizing they have the day off, they're having a long weekend or they're coming to visit here in Nova Scotia, but we don't have it.

We are connected to the rest of the country and I think we need to be alert to where we stand in terms of holidays. This single additional holiday will not even put us into the average for Canadian holidays let alone anywhere near the top. Alberta has 10 holidays; I believe there are 11 in Saskatchewan, paid statutory holidays, and in Saskatchewan, when they introduced their Family Day, which they call it, they had just as much outcry from CFIB as we will hear here in Nova Scotia. It is the mandate of CFIB and other business organizations to speak for their members and to point out the costs. We have to understand that and respect that. They are doing what they need to do.

Mr. Speaker, it was once said to me that we should leave all the holidays to the business community. In fact, somebody from the chamber of commerce said, you know, government shouldn't do that. Well, for heaven's sakes, would we have any statutory holidays if we left it to the business community? Would we have children working in mines if we had left it to the business community? We are responsible for health and wellness. We are responsible for the labour standards of this province and that's what this relates to. We have to set a balance and we're very conscious of the impact on business.

I think what has been missed a little bit, although the member for Cape Breton - I'm not sure of his new riding - (Interruption) Cape Breton Centre, the member for Cape Breton Centre did point out there are benefits to this holiday. One reason why the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education has chosen to wait a full year to introduce it is so that business can capitalize on the benefits and that's very important.

Mr. Speaker, in the provinces that have this holiday, it has become a winter festival. They have tourism events. They have reasons to celebrate in their communities, and definitely, people are going out for food and beverage, to speak to the Food and Beverage Association. When people get together and they come to town to skate at the Oval, or to attend a play in whatever community, whatever place they're going to, they usually go out for hot chocolate with their children, or for dinner with their family. So there is going to be a benefit in what is actually the slowest month of the entire year for food and beverage sales. February is, bar none, the worst one.

So, Mr. Speaker, I know I'm going to get another opportunity to rise on this. I'm being urged to move this along so we can go to the Law Amendments Committee. The real reason is we want to hear from the people of Nova Scotia. My last comment, just to go to the business community because we are concerned about them, is that the CFIB themselves do frequent surveying of their members and several years ago they asked them about the February holiday and nearly 40 per cent of the respondents said they were in favour. So even in that strong business group, several years ago 40 per cent were in favour and I would bet you it's higher today.

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

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of my colleagues in the House for their considered thoughts on this bill, no matter which side they come down on. I do value your input. I would like to also congratulate my colleague, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, who today showed us what persistence looks like.

I can say that I'm looking forward to the February holiday in 2015. I can tell you that when we would get a snow day, when my kids were little, there was nothing better than staying in our jammies, popping some popcorn and watching a movie. So I'm looking forward to that. I now close debate on Bill No. 15 and move this bill for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 15. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 17.

Bill No. 17 - Executive Council Act and Public Service Act.

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Premier, I move that Bill No. 17 - an Act to Amend Chapter 155 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Executive Council Act, and Chapter 376 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Public Service Act - be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to introduce these housekeeping amendments that will formalize the new structure of government departments. In November we announced that Executive Council had approved the establishment of Treasury and Policy Board, Issues Committee, and Legislation Committee.

The amendments to the Executive Council Act and Public Service Act will create the new Treasury and Policy Board and update language in the Act to reflect this change and recent changes to department names and mandates. Specifically, these amendments will update the Executive Council Act and Public Service Act to be consistent with the change of name and mandates for the Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development and Finance, and Treasury Board, and the Office of Planning and Priorities; remove the chair of Treasury Board from the Executive Council Act as the Treasury Board Committee and Treasury Board Office no longer exists; and repeal provisions relating to Treasury Board, Policy and Priorities Committee, and Economic Investment Committee; and establish the Treasury and Policy Board and set out its objectives and mandate.

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Other housekeeping amendments will update the Executive Council Act to correct the reference to the Lieutenant Governor and amend the provision relating to acting ministers, to allow for retroactive appointments to be consistent with the provision for acting ministers in the Public Service Act. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Northside-Westmount.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, we realize this is a housekeeping bill that reflects changes in the structure of the government, names of departments, and errors in the existing bill. We, the Progressive Conservative caucus, will support these changes and look forward to the passage through Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the Government House Leader it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the comments from the member for Northside-Westmount - is that right? Keep all these riding name changes intact.

Mr. Speaker, certainly as indicated it is a housekeeping measure, but one that does require legislation to reflect the changes that have been made within the structure of government, so I appreciate the support from all sides of the House.

With that, I would move to close debate on Bill No. 17.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 17. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

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The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.

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

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable J.J. Grant, for delivering the Throne Speech.

I will begin today by congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, for the remarkable achievements in your life and for the honour that you have bestowed on this House in serving as Speaker. I share the view of our Premier that your balanced, conciliatory, and collegial nature will ensure our Assembly is governed with civility and respect. (Applause)

I also want to offer my congratulations to my MLA colleague, the member for Hants East on her appointment to Deputy Speaker. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, we have serving as Speaker and Deputy Speaker two individuals who are an inspiration to Nova Scotians.

It is a privilege to be here today representing the citizens of Kings South. During the course of the election campaign I visited over 6,300 citizens in my riding, from the Annapolis Valley First Nation in Cambridge, in the west end, through Coldbrook, New Minas, Wolfville, the Gaspereau Mountain, White Rock, to Grande-Pré, Avonport, and the Glooscap First Nation near Hants border on the eastern end of the riding.

I have come to this Legislature equipped with their hopes and dreams for this province, their concerns and advice on improving government services, and their faith that collectively we will make decisions in the best interest of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, in southwestern Nova Scotia, in a graveyard outside of Hebron, lies my great-great-grandfather, Whitman Butler. Not many details are known to me of Whitman Butler's life but however I do know that in 1865, at age 28, he achieved his Master Mariner papers. I know this because I have these papers with me today enclosed in a metal storage container that went with my great-great-grandfather on board the barque, the Mary Killam, built in Salmon River. He sailed this wooden sailing ship out of Yarmouth to South America 150 years ago.

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He achieved his Master Mariner credentials when Sir Charles Tupper, one of our Fathers of Confederation, who was schooled at Horton Academy in my riding, was our Premier - the Premier who would lead Nova Scotia into Confederation. Knowing that my great-great-grandfather was involved in the early trade economy of this province while Sir Charles Tupper walked the halls of this building, Province House, contemplating decisions around Confederation, has given me a great sense of history and continuity to the task of province-building that lies ahead for us.

These mariner papers serve as my reminder that each generation has a responsibility to lead where we have not yet been, to make decisions that will improve upon the circumstances of today's citizens, and lay a sound foundation for the next generations. I want to assure the people of Kings South that each and every day I will diligently undertake this responsibility on their behalf.

Mr. Speaker, following my graduation from the School of Architecture at the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1982, I embarked on a journey that would take me to Switzerland to work as an architect in training, to West Africa as a volunteer, and then to Canada's Arctic as a practising architect. My experience in volunteering with Canadian Crossroads International, at a small school in the bush of Cameroon for four months, changed my life. It opened my eyes to the importance and rewards of volunteerism and community service. Volunteer board work became a significant part of my life which then led me to serve my community through elected service at the municipal level. I've slayed a few dragons along the way in these roles which I hope will come in handy in the days ahead.

Mr. Speaker, we heard in the Speech from the Throne last week some sobering facts about the performance of Nova Scotia's economy in the last decade and the resulting out-migration of our citizens. Sadly, the Annapolis Valley has not been exempt from these trends. At hundreds of doors during the election campaign I heard from people who want this government to make decisions that will provide opportunities for their children and grandchildren to stay in this province, and even perhaps their great-great-grandchildren.

In the months leading up to the election, I took the opportunity to attend a presentation by Ray Ivany on the interim report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ivany and the commission are undertaking one of the most important assignments of our generation: developing a road map for Nova Scotia's next economy.

We are fortunate that early in the life of our new government we will receive the commission's report and decide where and how to act on its recommendations. The work of the commission to date has a core message, which is this: we must be ready to do things differently. If we approach the development of our economy as we have in the past, we should not be surprised that we get the same result. The commission will be presenting a challenge to the people of Nova Scotia on what it will take to build a new economy, and I will be accepting that challenge on behalf of the citizens of Kings South.

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I'm already seeing encouraging investments and innovation in small and medium-size businesses in Kings South. Two weeks ago I attended the grand opening of the Centre for Innovation and Incubation Services at Acadia University, which is helping small entrepreneurs with innovation and their information technology needs. This is the type of collaboration we must promote to build the next economy, and by that I mean harnessing the research capacity within our universities with the knowledge potential of our students to foster innovation in small- and medium-size businesses in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I also attended an event at Alderney Landing last month with my colleague, the member for Preston-Dartmouth, the Minister of Agriculture, for the celebration of the 19 agri-businesses invested in by FarmWorks Investment Co-operative. Linda Best, one of the founding members of FarmWorks and a constituent of mine, has said to me numerous times that if we could just harness a small percentage of the millions of dollars Nova Scotians invest outside this province and put that money into our own food production and distribution businesses in this province, we could create rural jobs and increase access to rural food supply. FarmWorks enables these types of investments.

In the last few years we've witnessed a remarkable shift in agriculture in Kings South toward higher-value crops like high-bush blueberries, high-value apples, and grapes, and this is transforming our agricultural land and our economy. It was encouraging to read in last week's paper that farming in Nova Scotia is becoming a more lucrative business. Statistics Canada released data that showed that the net income of Nova Scotia farmers doubled to $52 million in 2012, up from $26 million a year previous. While some caution that this growth is from a particularly bad year, we are the only province to show an increase in the number of farms between 2006 and 2012.

We know that our farmers face tight margins, but I have to say that the growth reported by Statistics Canada in Nova Scotia agri-business is something that I am seeing every day in Kings South - in our farmers' markets, in the number of restaurants now promoting locally-sourced food, in our festivals such as the Devour Food and Film Festival that just concluded, and in the visitors who are packing our winery bus every summer and Fall.

I believe there's considerable potential in building our next economy around the innovation in agriculture, cultural and tourism industries, particularly in rural areas of Nova Scotia like my own riding of Kings South. Embracing this vision means advancing the discussion on protecting our farmlands, and this does not have to involve new study.

In 2010 the Nova Scotia Land Review Committee, chaired by Rick Williams, released their report on how to preserve our farmlands. The Williams report was informed by consultations with farmers, developers and recreational land users. I believe that our shift in focus to small and medium-size businesses in Nova Scotia must reflect long-term thinking around protecting Nova Scotia's land capable of producing food and encouraging the growth of compact, sustainable communities instead of rural sprawl that is costing our municipalities much more than can be afforded.

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I commend the work of the No Farms No Food organization in my riding that has been instrumental in ensuring our province has a farmland trust. I have tackled the issue of land use from two angles: as an architect, and through chairing two municipal planning advisory committees. Conflicts in land use for the siting of landfills, new development, agricultural uses, recreational uses, gravel pits, and wind farms - these conflicts abound in this province.

I was surprised to see in the province's Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act that land use is not mentioned. Perhaps it is time for Nova Scotia to reflect on the link between land use and sustainability, and consider a land-use framework for the province.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to turn to a subject close to my heart, and that is the future of towns in Nova Scotia. I've had the privilege of serving on two municipal councils in two jurisdictions: Iqaluit, Canada's newest capital city, just after the creation of the territory in 1999; and here in this province, in Wolfville, the fastest-growing community in Nova Scotia. I know that a number of my colleagues here have arrived at Province House with valuable experience in municipal politics behind them. It is my hope that in the 62nd General Assembly we can make the most of this collective municipal experience by working collaboratively with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities on actions that will improve the fiscal sustainability of our communities, and in particular our rural communities.

We began to tackle the issue of fiscal health in Wolfville by creating a Fiscal Sustainability Task Force, which I had the pleasure of chairing. We examined the long-term trends of tax revenue, including the tax inequities created by the property assessment cap, and we looked at the declining state of our infrastructure, particularly our roads. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has effectively laid out the extent of the infrastructure deficit in Canada. It is a national issue played out in the crumbling roads and sidewalks of our Nova Scotia towns and cities.

As provincial legislators, we can use our voice to advocate for a robust and sustained federal infrastructure program. We can also play a key role in supporting and encouraging community-driven initiatives to examine more cost-effective municipal governance structures. It is clear to me Nova Scotians know it is time to seriously examine municipal governance and regional co-operation.

I know more regional co-operation between municipalities can be part of the solution because I saw it first-hand as chairperson of the Valley Waste Resource Management Board. Valley Waste manages solid waste on behalf of eight municipalities in the Annapolis Valley; it's a cost-effective and efficient model for regional service delivery.

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Mr. Speaker, as I meet with business owners in Coldbrook and New Minas and throughout the riding, I hear a common complaint about governments thwarting their growth and success because of a burden of regulatory requirements and fees. They view the many rules, costly applications, and filings from different levels of government as time consuming and an expensive barrier to their business's success. As our government shifts focus to small and medium-size businesses, I believe we must include in this strategy a fresh look at what can be done to streamline the regulatory requirements for small business.

It's not just the business community that feels the burden of administrative processes. In my riding two exceptional citizens, Kathy Menko and Janet Roberts, are quietly assisting individuals and families who use the Wolfville Food Bank in accessing low-income programs that require social assistance numbers and birth certificates - documentation that most people simply don't have. These two remarkable volunteers not only make low-income families aware of programs they are entitled to but assist them in making applications for services and support for which they are entitled. I refer to this as the "food bank plus program" and this is an idea worth replicating throughout this province.

Mr. Speaker, after meeting with thousands of families in Kings South in the weeks leading up to October 8th, I can assure you that investing in improvements in quality education is at the top of the list of many parents' priorities for this government. I am sure all my colleagues can share stories from families of children with special needs who are simply not getting the services needed, including mental health services.

Inadequate special needs programming impacts directly on students who need additional supports, on their parents, on the student's classmates, and on teachers. Our commitment to reinvesting in education must include front-line investments in special education services.

Mr. Speaker, in my role as a parent, along with my years as a town councillor in Wolfville, I have sharpened my thinking about the role that schools serve in our communities. Our strategy for rural economies, or rural health delivery, or rural roads is inextricably bound to our strategy for investing in schools. We must do everything within the means of this government to be forward thinking about our investment in schools.

Mr. Speaker, it would be remiss of me not to offer my utmost support for the work going on in our government right now on evaluating and updating our Continuing Care Strategy for seniors. I had many conversations with seniors during the campaign, and 99 per cent of the time they were more than gracious in offering their opinion about how our government can improve services for seniors. We have many seniors living on their own, without family support, so I heard reasoned and modest suggestions for services that could improve their ability to access existing health services.

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The review of our Continuing Care Strategy is an indication to our seniors that we will not forget them. Our government's plan to streamline health administration so Nova Scotians can access treatment faster will directly impact the many seniors I have talked to in Kings South who are on lengthy waiting lists for treatment.

Mr. Speaker, each and every day that I walk into this historic building of Province House I am reminded that I am here because of the remarkable people who have played a role in my life, beginning with my parents who introduced me at a young age to what it meant to be part of community building - in their instance, through the arts world.

My father Ron Irving's career was dedicated to his community of Prince Edward Island, telling the important stories of rural life and rural values. He is a man of great integrity and honesty and he has been recognized with the Order of Canada, for which I am very proud. My mother, Daphne Irving is also dedicated to her community through her church work and her art. She has been honoured by the Royal Canadian Academy and her paintings hang in many corners of this country. (Applause)

The support my parents provided to myself and my sisters, Martha Irving and Anne Mack, have allowed us all to achieve so much. I also must credit my dad for the single most important sports decision of my life - introducing me, as a young boy, to Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox. There were actually two wonderful Red victories for me this October.

I also want to publicly acknowledge and thank my wife Katherine Trumper, whom I met while living in Canada's Arctic. Katherine is a brilliant and talented woman who has supported me through five campaigns, and in the most recent election took on the role of my campaign manager. Her talents in managing and motivating people helped build a tremendous team of volunteers. She has sacrificed so much to allow me to pursue a career in public service, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart. My son, Simon, who was born in Nunavut and is now attending his second year at Dalhousie University, has given up his time with Dad on many a night so that I can pursue my passion for public service, and I want to thank Simon for his support.

I must complete the family thank yous by acknowledging our family dog, Fenway. Our Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, the official dog of Nova Scotia, campaigned beside me in several parades, and I am absolutely certain that she secured a few votes for me.

I want to conclude my remarks today by paying tribute and offering my sincerest thanks to my remarkable campaign team of over 60 citizens in Kings South, and I would like to table a document with the list. In particular, I would like to recognize the dedication of my official agent John Mroz, and a core team that included Pat and Vera Burke, Christine Pynch, David Daniels, Eric Smith, Kim Monette, Evan Fairn, Gerri Robertson, Frances Jacobsen, Jodi DeLong, Bob Trenholm, Bob Prange, Burnell Lyons, and Ellwood Dillman, and also the incoming generation of supporters, students from Acadia and NSCC, Conor McNeil, Jake Schofield, Christianne Robichaud, Rachel Lutz, Christopher Ioannou, Laura Dunn, and David Houston Goudge. There are many others, and I am so very grateful for their individual and collective contribution.

[Page 517]

I also want to acknowledge the help and mentoring of my colleague from Kings County the honourable member for Kings West for his unwavering help and guidance these past few months. One other veteran of Nova Scotia politics who has been immensely helpful to me, including canvassing with me on numerous occasions, is the Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, Scott Brison. Mr. Brison showed me how to sprint from door to door during the campaign. I'm indebted to both these fine people for tutoring me in the many roles of a politician.

Mr. Speaker, in the coming weeks, through a series of resolutions, I will be acknowledging the contributions of many remarkable citizens of Kings South, past and present, who have made extraordinary contributions to the vibrancy of the communities throughout the riding. Every day I am inspired by the initiative shown by citizens in community building, like the individuals leading the effort to rebuild the Black River Community Hall that burned down two years ago. The resolve of deeply-committed citizens to do what is necessary to strengthen their communities provides me with guidance and motivation where I can play a role in strengthening the community-building process.

In closing, I want to assure the citizens of Kings South that on each and every day of the life of this government I will represent their individual and collective concerns to our government. I have seen from my colleague the honourable Minister of Health and Wellness, the MLA for Kings West, and my MP Scott Brison, what is meant by being a good constituency MLA or MP, and I will apply these lessons to my work with the citizens in Kings South.

Mr. Speaker, earlier in my remarks I commented on the extraordinary sense of history I feel entering this House. Some of that sense of history is influenced by the small but important glimpse into my own family history that I carry with me today in the form of my great-great-grandfather's mariner papers. Each and every day our early citizens took enormous risks and overcame challenges that we now see as incremental steps in the process of province-building.

It is our time now and I look forward to working with all MLAs in the complex and demanding issues that lie ahead for this Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's on an introduction.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE » : Mr. Speaker, it is with delight today that I would like to introduce to the House of Assembly students from the Aspotogan Consolidated Elementary School (Applause) - yes, you can clap for yourself. It is a fabulous school in Mill Cove and we have 27 students here from Grades 4 and 5. I would like to also recognize their chaperones today: David Kokocki, Pat Wardell and Suzanne Campbell. I'd like to say that their Principal, Ms. Paula Baker, has been a great initiator in teaching the children of Aspotogan Consolidated Elementary School - ACES we call it - to learn more about politics. They were all involved in the student vote.

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I had the privilege, not so very long ago, to be invited to the school to talk about what it is like to be an MLA and you would not believe the very insightful questions they asked. So it is with great pleasure for me, as their representative, to introduce them today and have them receive a warm welcome from this House. Thank you very much,

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

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : First of all, Mr. Speaker, it is a true honour for me to rise in this House of Assembly as a representative of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. A little over a year ago I decided to retire after 41 years of ministry in the United Church of Canada. In that retirement plan I was going to pick up my curling again, pick up my golf again, go south for a bit and spend time with my grandkids.

Well, one day there was a knock on my door and a few folks walked in. They wanted to talk to me. When they asked if I would run for the Progressive Conservative Party, my mouth fell open. The thought never, ever crossed my mind that I would be here. My brother Bev has been in the PC Government in New Brunswick for many, many years - 23 in fact, as an MLA and as Speaker for two terms. I told that group of people that I would just think it over for a bit and I would get back to them.

Eventually my family and I decided that stepping away from serving a congregation in Nova Scotia such as Brookfield and Middle Stewiacke, and being a representative in this House, was not a big stretch. They have placed their trust in me and I'm going to work hard to honour that trust.

I know it's not going to be an easy road and I found that out very quickly because when I announced to my congregation that I was going to run for the PC Party in this election, some cheered, some clapped, some looked at me as if I was going on the road to sing, and you know I cannot sing, and some just sat there and didn't do a thing. I knew I wouldn't get their vote, so I knew upfront that it was going to be a tough time. From that day on, it indeed was a whirlwind.

Our campaign team came together very, very quickly. It was made up of people I have known for a good many years, such as Andy and Vera Fay, Geoff and Linda and Tammy - in fact I baptized all three of Tammy's children, and then, of course, my wife Susanne, my daughter Stacey, my son Brent, who did a lot of work on the campaign as well.

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There were a lot of people that I just met: Randy, Morris, Patsy, Lloyd, Steve, Roseanne; Penny was the official agent and she kept a very tight rein on what was going to happen. There were so many people who worked on the campaign and donated money to my campaign because they believed in the democratic process and wanted to see things move. They believed in me and because they did, it was almost an overwhelming feeling.

Politics is a new world for me. All of the energy and experience that the volunteers brought to the campaign was certainly invaluable. When anyone asked me how things were going in my campaign, I always said that I had met a lot of very nice people, very committed people, and I truly appreciate every bit of work that was done on my behalf. I wish I could thank every single person who worked on the campaign and donated money but there are a lot of people and I signed thank you notes to the point I thought it would never end, but it's done; I feel good about it and I think they feel good.

I also want to thank everyone who volunteered to work for Gary Burrill and Tom Martin as well. They did a fantastic job, it was a clean campaign and I enjoyed my time with them. The returning officer was also from my area, Sharon O'Leary, and she handled the returning office and did a fantastic job in making the election go fairly smoothly in our area.

Of course, I have to give a thank you to someone who has turned out to be a friend and also my Member of Parliament and that is Scott Armstrong. Scott was invaluable in helping me through the campaign process and was with me on many occasions. I'm especially excited to work with Scott and we're going to strive to make things better in this province. We both have the feeling that people have to come first and I am certainly looking forward to working with him and working with the municipality because one thing we have found out is that when the three levels of government work together, good things will happen - municipal, provincial as well as federal.

During my campaign I started to hear how people really feel about politicians. (Interruption) I'm not sure I'm going to tell you everything but it was my close friends and congregants who were really honest with me. In the last 35 years they had known me to be honest, that they could come to me at any time, to be compassionate when they did come, and they had a question mark in their minds: is being a politician going to change who I am? For some reason many people think that this House of Assembly is just the opposite of being honest, caring and compassionate. So many don't see that we are here to serve because they believe they have little say in what we do and how it affects them.

They only hear the side of politics that the media like to portray - the few who are in it for themselves rather than to serve the people, but there are only a few. I think of the many good politicians who served our area for many years: Bob Stanfield, Ike Smith, Colin Stewart, Ken Streatch, Brooke Taylor, Gary Burrill. These are all MLAs who served the people of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley with honour - and I plan to follow in their footsteps. (Applause)

[Page 520]

Near the end of my campaign I was - and when those kids walked in I was thinking

about them and how they see things - this story was told to me from a resident, and some of the folks know it here. A grandmother came up to me one day and said that she picked up her 12-year-old grandson from school - they were discussing politics that day, going over what was happening in the election and so on. The grandmother said that she picked the child up, they got in the car. Dead silence. Eventually the little fellow said, Gram, is Mr. Harrison a minister, and she said yes. Is he going to be a politician? She said yes. Dead silence. Isn't that a sin? (Laughter)

AN HON. MEMBER: How did you answer?

MR. HARRISON « » : We're going to have a chat sometime.

These are very serious times and it's going to require very serious leadership. This is not a time in the history of the province to play the games, and I'm really not here to do that. At one time people would joke about what politicians did and how they reacted to each other, but you know today people just don't laugh anymore, it's a different environment. They are asking for a very common-sense approach to the needs of the province.

Over the last year more than 4,000 people left Nova Scotia to go to work elsewhere. Whole families have just picked up and moved because there's really nothing for them here. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians really don't care who brings the common-sense changes - let's be honest, about 95 per cent of Nova Scotians, when it comes to political Parties it doesn't mean a thing. There are some but not very many. They see us as all the same, the yellow, the red, the blue. We need to be able to show them that they're right, that underneath the blue, underneath the yellow, underneath the red, the orange, that we are all the same because every one of us in this House wants people to get back to work, we want to have better health care, we want to know that our children are going to have good education - and we all want every single one of the roads paved. (Applause)

Anyway I think we all just want better lives for our constituents; that's why we're here. And I think that's why our constituents put us here - to do that.

They want a government that is going to listen to their concerns, and to them the government is just a big faceless monster, but it isn't, is it? It's just you and me. We are the people who can meet with our constituents, we can listen to their concerns and, hopefully, be able to solve a lot of their issues. We want people to be happy, we want farmers to produce, we want businesses to prosper, but we aren't experts so we're going to need to go to these people and find out exactly what they do need to be happy, be productive, and also to be prosperous - and maybe that just means getting out of their way sometimes.

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One of the things that has always bothered me when I talk to people is the regulations when they go to do something - they are taxed, and permitted, and regulated to death.

We all know that a vast majority of our constituents are good people who are honest and hard-working, but for the sake of those few out there who are not co-operative, we throw up roadblocks for everybody. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just cut through all of the red tape and regulations that are holding back those who are careful and able to use their own common sense? We know the rules are in place for a reason, but if someone falls just outside that little circle that we have put there, put in place by governments, they are held off as though they are the ones who are abusing the system. We all know many good and honest people who are hurt because they play by the rules while they watch others find a way to get around the rules.

Mr. Speaker, the red tape and the regulations don't only hurt good, hard-working folks. They also impact on businesses and in our communities. Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is dotted with many small, medium-size, and large businesses. Bill and Lois Spinney are running the Greenfield Golf Course. That became an 18-hole course from a nine-hole course in 1991. I'm very proud to announce that Brookfield has had an 18-hole course for many, many years. In Clifton, the Blois family's Moulding Knives are sold all over the world, and they can be made in 48 hours. Marwood Limited in Brookfield has been a part of our constituency for 90 years, and the Creelman family started their business in Upper Stewiacke. They have plants and offices all across Atlantic Canada, and they have been one fantastic support to me over the years.

The pellet mill in Middle Musquodoboit - my son worked there for many years. It has now been taken over by a Vancouver company. The Streatch family of Elderbank produce 800 acres of nursery sod a year, and they have Granview Farms and Musquodoboit Valley Quality Sod. Brookfield has a sod company as well. More than $480 million come from the airport, come from businesses around the airport, such as Pratt & Whitney and Northrup Grumman Canada. The economic diversity in this constituency is fantastic.

Businesses are more than just bricks and mortar. They are the taxes that keep our province running. They are the jobs that keep our residents working, and they are the stability that keep our communities very strong. We have more than a dozen volunteer fire departments in our constituency that work very hard to keep us safe. These volunteer firefighters rely on us to keep our province prosperous so that they are employed close to home and have the time and ability to rush to the scene of an accident when needed.

Now, whether it's economic development or education or health care, we need to ensure that we will do our best for the people of Nova Scotia. In Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley we have two main hospitals, the Memorial Hospital in Musquodoboit and the Colchester Regional Hospital. Both facilities have exceptional front-line workers who put patients first. I volunteered for years with the palliative care team in the Colchester Regional Hospital, and I got to see first-hand what is done. I understand the Minister of Health and Wellness - and I know he is - will be visiting these hospitals. I'm going to say right now that if I can be of any help in going with him to these hospitals, I would be more than willing to do so because we really do need to work together to strengthen the services that we provide.

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I have had a goal through this, by the way, and I have shared that goal with my family, with my friends. My vision is to have the welfare of the province come first. People are really ready to put party politics behind them; they are ready. We need to set the tone here, amongst us in this room. It will carry over into every single area that we are able to influence.

I heard the honourable Premier allude to this, as did the honourable Leader of the Opposition, and this is my goal as well. I can assure you that this Assembly will work hard to meet the needs of Nova Scotians. Do you know what? I want to work really hard with them. I will stand up for the people of my constituency. I will let them know about the issues that are affecting them, roads that need to be paved, culverts that need to be replaced - I'm sorry about this, to the minister, but we're going to have a chat later.

For some reason it has been a practice just to do patchwork and there is a lot of patchwork in our area that needs to be redone because of even flooding. Flooding has been a major problem in our area for a long time.

Mr. Speaker, I think we can all agree that changes need to be made in the province. That is why each and every one of us agreed to put our names on the ballot back in October. We want to make Nova Scotia better for this generation and for the generations to come, that's our goal. Folks, whether it's Liberal, NDP, Progressive Conservative, I want to work with you for the betterment of this province. That is my dream, that is my goal. I want to work with my constituents to help make Nova Scotia better for them.

Just as an aside, I want to close with this. Our constituency office is now open. It is at Mastodon Ridge on your way through to Truro. When I'm sitting in the Legislature or at a meeting, I know that my constituency assistant Paula Henderson is very, very hard at work. She has carried things for the last number of weeks and I want to thank her for that. She shares my goal, she shares our goal - a strong, prosperous, vibrant Nova Scotia where everyone can live to their greatest potential.

Thank you very much for listening folks. It's a pleasure to be here and I look forward to working with you over the next four years. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Just a couple of quick housekeeping notes here, folks, before we proceed. As I am reading the rule book while listening to the tremendous remarks of the honourable members, I am reminded that it is unparliamentary to not face the House while other honourable members are speaking. I am also reminded that when members are doing introductions, it is unparliamentary to speak directly to the guests in the gallery, as well as unparliamentary to encourage our guests in the gallery to express any form of approval or disapproval of the business that is going on on the floor of the Chamber.

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I just want to pass on those couple of housekeeping notes. I'm doing my homework.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. JOACHIM STROINK « » : Mr. Speaker, first let me start by saying wow, what an honour it is to be standing in the House as an elected official for the riding of Halifax Chebucto. What a great privilege it is to have the opportunity to say a few words in response to the Speech from the Throne.

I would first like to acknowledge everyone who is in this Chamber. As someone who does not come from a political background, I have great respect and admiration for hard work that we all have signed up for to represent the people in our constituencies. Your dedication to this province is inspiring.

I would like to start my speech by taking a moment to acknowledge two people who dedicated their lives to the riding of Halifax Chebucto. First, Alexa McDonough, who became the first woman to lead a major recognized political Party in Canada, when she was elected the Nova Scotia New Democrat Party Leader in 1980. She served as a member of the Nova Scotia Legislature from 1981 to 1994, representing Halifax Chebucto and Halifax Fairview electoral districts. She stepped down as the Nova Scotia NDP's Leader and as a member of the Legislature in 1994. She subsequently ran for, and was elected, as Leader of the federal New Democrat Party in 1995. McDonough was elected as a Member of Parliament for the federal electoral district of Halifax in 1997. She stepped down as the Party Leader in 2003. I remember her growing up, and admire her dedication and powerful representation of a Nova Scotia legislator on the national stage.

Secondly, I would like to acknowledge Howard Epstein. First elected to Halifax City Council in 1994, he was re-elected in 1996 with the formation of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Epstein sat as a councillor for District 14, Connaught and Quinpool, representing the city's West End. On March 24th, 1998 Epstein was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for the New Democrat Party, representing the provincial riding of Halifax Chebucto. He was elected in 1999 and served until the 2013 general election.

So, I have big shoes to fill, representing Halifax Chebucto in this Chamber. Am I ready? You bet I am. I grew up in this riding. I'm a first generation Canadian who comes from a hardworking Dutch family. My father retired from Dalhousie University as the Dean of Physics and Biomedical Engineering and my mother retired from the IWK as a Child Life Specialist on the oncology unit. The two of them raised me with strong values of the importance of community and family and I now live in the Halifax Chebucto riding with my wife and two young daughters.

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In order for me to be standing here, it took a tremendously talented team who believed that together we could govern differently. I would like to thank my campaign managers, Shawn Cleary and Michelle Daignault. Shawn knocked on doors for me for over nine months before the election was called and with his help, we were able to knock on every door before the election was called and we listened to so many people. Michelle Daignault worked behind the scenes for many months prior to the election and also knocked on many doors.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank Dr. John Gillis who put this idea of running into my head. I would like to thank Martin MacKinnon; Colin Pearcey; Daniel Bourque; Liam Daly, who's in the east gallery here; Patricia Donnelly; Mary Hope; Anna Laroue; PJ Cowan; Jane O'Neil; Leo Artalejo; and finally, Joan Fraser - by the way, Joan told me on election night that she could now die peacefully knowing that there was finally a Liberal in the riding of Halifax Chebucto. Most of all, I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped me within this riding. This was 100 per cent a team effort, so thank you.

There are also three people who deserve a big thank you. First, my amazing and patient wife and my soul mate, April. We have known each other for over 20 years and have been married for 13. April has been the biggest driving force to keeping work and family balanced. You see, she happens to be married to someone who is both ADD and dyslexic and so clearly she's a very patient and committed woman. The next two I have to thank are my daughters, Onica who is nine and Sophia who is six. These two knocked on doors with me and pounding signs into the lawns, and most of all gave me a hug when I needed it. So thank you to my lovely daughters.

Mr. Speaker, I need to share a small piece of history about the Halifax Chebucto riding. In 1931 Blue Bell Farms, between Chebucto Road and Bayers Road, was the location of the first airfield in Halifax. Today this airfield is marked by Saunders Park and then in the 1950s the airfields were turned into the Victory Houses and many of the streets are named after famous war heroes. One of these war heroes is the grandson of Abraham and Annie Arab, the first Lebanese immigrants to come to Nova Scotia. He would be the second cousin of the MLA for Fairview-Clayton Park. Lieutenant Edward Francis Arab, who died on October 25, 1944, in the Netherlands, was helping to free my parents' homeland, so I am grateful to the Arab family and to many other Canadians who gave up their lives to free my parents' homeland and my second home, the Netherlands.

Mr. Speaker, now I need to address what really brought me to this Chamber: my love of Nova Scotia. This place has 7,400 kilometres of coastline, and where you can still go into the back country, like the places like the Tobeatic Wilderness reserve, and not see anybody for days. We are very lucky to have such a magical place for the outdoors.

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Nova Scotia is struggling in many ways, and we really need to ask ourselves, especially in this great Chamber, what will it take to make Nova Scotia thrive? In every one of our ridings, we have amazing people who have a great love for this province, and all they want to do is make this place better to live in, so the first thing we need to do is listen to these great people as they have great ideas that will make Nova Scotia thrive. If that past government had taken the time to listen to me and my colleagues, then maybe I would not be here today and they might still be in power. But that was the past, so let's look to the future. Let's listen to the people around us. No matter how crazy their idea is, their idea may be the one that will make Nova Scotia thrive.

I would be remiss if I did not also address small businesses in Nova Scotia. As you know, I own and operate several small businesses in Nova Scotia. At one time my wife and I had over 40 employees, but today we have 25. Small businesses are struggling right now in Nova Scotia. Retail is probably one of the hardest businesses to be in, because of the cost of doing business in Nova Scotia, which is one of the highest in North America. Power rates are going up. Nova Scotia has made it easier and cheaper for big box stores to do business in our province.

Standing here, I do not have the answers to fix these problems - but no, I have the capacity to listen to my colleagues and bring solutions to the forefront, where we can all debate these ideas in these Chambers. Within the next four years I will work tirelessly to make Nova Scotia a great place to own and operate small businesses.

Mr. Speaker, with that in mind I would like to throw out a challenge: in December 2011 a proclamation was read in the House by the Honourable Percy Paris, where all Parties agreed to the concept of 10% Shift. So I ask that when you are out shopping for gifts for your family and friends this year, see if you can buy 10 per cent more of your gifts from local businesses. By leading this and making this kind of an effort, it shows Nova Scotians that we actually care that our money stays in Nova Scotia. If more money stays in Nova Scotia, then we'll be able to have the health care, the roads, and the education for our children that we all want. We will have a more robust economy that will enable us to fix roads in Lunenburg County and keep ERs open or build new schools in Spryfield. This, of course, will help people stay in Nova Scotia, and we need to lead by example. I hope that all my fellow MLAs will take on this challenge, especially today.

I also want to acknowledge all the women in the House. As the father of two young daughters, it is great for them to see all these women as great leaders in our community. We have women as leaders of a Party, women as ministers, and women as MLAs. These women will set the tone for many young girls in this province, including my daughters, so I thank you for your service in showing young women that you can be and do anything.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I ask that all political Parties treat each other as humans, with respect - that we do not turn our back on the Leaders of the Parties while they speak, that we conduct ourselves in a manner that Nova Scotians can be proud of, that our youth can look up to us and say, wow, even though they have different views and opinions, they treat each other with the utmost respect. I want to come and work in a place where everyone is respected and valued, and I look forward to working with all of you to make Nova Scotia a place where people and communities and businesses will thrive. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I certainly want to thank all members of the House for their co-operation as we worked through our business today.

We will meet again on Monday at the hours of 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Business will be Public Bills for Second Reading, Nos. 19 and 20, as well as some bills in Committee of the Whole; and, if time permits, possibly some Public Bills for Third Reading and Address in Reply.

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

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is the House do now rise, to meet again on Monday, December 9th, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 527]

RESOLUTION NO. 221

By: Mr. Tim Houston « » (Pictou East)

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

Whereas Glen MacLeod has turned a dream into a reality, and this year on December 13th the Town of Westville will be home to a Christmas Theme Park that will see Acadia Park transformed with huge pictorial scenes depicting the town's past done by local artist Stephen Robinson; and

Whereas Christmas trees, a nativity scene, and much more will make it a wonderful destination for families during this busy season; and

Whereas this no-charge family event was made possible by many volunteers, local businesses, and a Nova Scotia Culture and Heritage grant;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in welcoming this unique event to Westville and congratulate Mr. MacLeod and his volunteers for their effort on a job well done.

RESOLUTION NO. 222

By: Tim Houston (Pictou East)

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

Whereas nine hard-working women got together in the Fall for the Sixth Annual Cape to Cape Trail Ladies Only Building Weekend where, under the direction of Sally O'Neill, Coordinator, Active Pictou County, they built the access trail from the Six Mile Brook Road to the Six Mile Brook Trail; and

Whereas this is a four-seasons access trail that makes the Six Mile Brook Trail more accessible from New Glasgow and Truro for hikers and snowshoers; and

Whereas Active Pictou County and these volunteers have done their part to help community members get active on this and all other sections of the Pictou County Trail;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly acknowledge and congratulate these women for their contribution toward a healthier Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 223

[Page 528]

By: Mr. John Lohr « » (Kings North)

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

Whereas on November 7th, the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce handed out the 2013 business awards; and

Whereas Meadowbrook Meat Market, of Somerset, was name Outstanding Small Business; and

Whereas Meadowbrook Meat Market owners, Jimmie and Margie Lamb, have spent 25 years adjusting to the changing marketplace and finding a sustainable niche;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Jimmie and Margie Lamb of Meadowbrook Meat Market for being awarded Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Small Business.

RESOLUTION NO. 224

By: Mr. John Lohr « » (Kings North)

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

Whereas on November 7th, the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce handed out the 2013 business awards; and

Whereas Wilson's Pharmasave of Kentville was named Outstanding New Business; and

Whereas Wilson's provides products and services that enable customers to live a healthier life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Wilson's Pharmasave for being awarded Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce Outstanding New Business.

RESOLUTION NO. 225

[Page 529]

By: Hon. Zach Churchill « » (Minister of Natural Resources)

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

Whereas Mackenzie Munroe has been selected as the Yarmouth County Athlete of the Year; and

Whereas Mackenzie's extremely impressive year on the track included three gold medals at the Atlantic University Sport track and field championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, and selection as captain of the Saint Francis Xavier University track team; and

Whereas Mackenzie competed in the 2013 Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and was a member of the 4x400 relay, in which Nova Scotia won a bronze medal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Mackenzie Munroe on his selection as the 2013 Yarmouth County Athlete of the Year, and wish him well in his future endeavors.