The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD17-14

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

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Justice: N.S. Hum. Rts. Comm'n. - Anl. Rpt. (2015-16),
940
N.S. Health Res. Fdn. - Anl. Rpt. (2016-17),
940
Justice: Law Found. of N.S. - Anl. Rpt. (2016-17),
940
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 337, H&W: World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10th) - Acknowledge,
941
Vote - Affirmative
941
Res. 338, Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse: Anniv. (80th) - Congrats.,
941
Vote - Affirmative
943
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 33, Gas Distribution Act,
943
No. 34, Buy Local Wild Blueberries Act,
943
No. 35, Public-Private Partnership Prohibition Act,
943
No. 36, Lunenburg Common Lands (2017) Act,
943
No. 37, Voluntary Blood Donations Act,
943
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
World Mental Health Day: Mental Health in the Workplace
- Promote, Hon. P. Dunn »
943
Halifax Needham Sandwich Club: Youth Organizers - Salute,
944
Soiu, Stefan: NSCC Apprenticeship - Best Wishes,
944
World Mental Health Day: Dart. Commun. Health Team
- Thank, Mr. T. Halman »
944
Borden, Janice: Dart. North Contributions - Thank,
945
JL Ilsley HS: Oceans Science/Art Proj. - Congrats.,
945
Sack. Rivers Assoc.: Sack. Fish Friends Prog. - Thank,
946
Peggy's Cove Area Festival of the Arts - Congrats.,
946
Vial, Ava - Team N.S.: Can. Games 2017 - Congrats.,
946
Hunt, Brett: Umpire of the Year - Congrats.,
947
Mira Ferry Comm. Fair: Vols. - Congrats.,
947
Guevera, Che: Death of (50th Anniv.) - Legacy,
948
Chen, Kevin: Tako Sushi and Ramen - Acknowledge,
948
Stevens, Colby - ADEM: Fight for Services - Support,
949
Robie Street Develop.: Photo Exhibit - Awareness,
949
World Mental Health Day: Gov't. Action - Praise,
950
Celtic Colours Fest.: 21st Year - Recognize,
950
World Mental Health Day: Importance - Recognize,
951
Carrolls Corner Comm. Ctr.: Mastodon Trl. - Congrats.,
951
Crossfit 902: New Location - Congrats.,
952
Founders' Days Fest.: Organizers/Vols. - Congrats.,
952
Ménard, Micheline: Volunteerism - Acknowledge,
952
Yang, Dr. Lawrence: CAE Induct. - Congrats.,
953
Thompson, Downey: Woodland Career - Recognize,
954
Durty Nelly's Soccer Team: Nat. Champion. Win - Congrats.,
954
Doucette, Stacey/Theriault, Hal: Nouvelle-France - Recognize,
955
World Mental Health Day: SchoolsPlus Funding - Recognize,
955
Women's History Month: MLAs - Support,
956
Engage NS: Share Thanksgiving Initiative - Thank,
956
Terence Bay School: Annual Thanksgiving Dinner - Thank,
957
The Anchor: Staff/Owner - Recognize,
957
Fougere, Kathy: Volunteer Award Nom. - Congrats.,
958
Hubbards Sailing Club: 50th Anniv. - Congrats.,
958
MacIntosh, Marlee: Paddling Success - Recognize,
959
LCLC: Autism Swim Prog. - Acknowledge,
959
MacLean, Pamela: Bedford Vol. Serv. - Thank,
959
Sanford, Wyatt: Boxing Accomplishments - Congrats.,
960
Doherty, Dan: Spryfield Water 'N' Wine - Success Congrats.,
960
HOUSE RECESSED AT 1:56 P.M
961
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:00 P.M
961
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 152, Prem.: Cobequid Pass Tolls - Removal
961
No. 153, Prem.: P3 Partnerships - Evidence Against,
963
No. 154, TIR: Cumberland Co. Tolls - Unfair,
964
No. 155, Prem. - NSHA: ER Wait Times - Improve,
965
No. 156, Justice: Fed. Marijuana Legislation: Online Survey
Results - Accuracy, Ms. K. MacFarlane « »
966
No. 157, Environ. - Carters Beach (Queens Co.): Preservation
- Status, Ms. K. Masland « »
967
No. 158, TIR - Road Maintenance - RIM Budget - Restore,
968
No. 159, H&W: New Waterford Comm. Health Ctr. - Site Approval,
969
No. 160, H&W - Foyer Pere Fiset Nursing Home: Expansion -
970
No. 161, Energy: Energy East Pipeline Cancel. - Action,
971
No. 162, Service N.S. - 211 Call Centre: Outside Staffing - Reason,
972
No. 163, H&W: Dartmouth Lack of Doctors - Alarm,
973
No. 164, EECD: Inclusion Model - Changes Needed,
974
No. 165, EECD: Pre-Primary Students - EDI Usage,
975
No. 166, Com. Serv. - Housing N.S.: Disability Clients -
Service Gap, Mr. L. Harrison « »
976
No. 167, H&W - Gender Confirm. Surgery: Gender-Confirming
Garments - Formulary Include, Ms. S. Leblanc « »
976
No. 168, Bus. - Brightstar Rept.: Pictou Co. Needs - Address,
977
No. 169, LAE - Student Assist.: Online Courses - Include,
978
No. 170, TIR - Cape Island Causeway: Disrepair - Remediation,
979
No. 171, PSC - Survey: Gov't. Emp. - Value,
980
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
981
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CW ON SUPPLY AT 3:05 P.M.
985
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:15 P.M
985
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 15, Environment Act
986
990
994
996
1003
1007
1008
Vote - Affirmative
1010
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Oct. 11th at 1:00 p.m
1010
NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS:
No. 1, Bus. - Cooke Aqua.: N.S. Loan - Remainder,
1011
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Tabled 10/6/17:
Res. 330, Marks, Clint - Trunk 7 Mus. Fest.: Firefighter Challenge
- Congrats., The Speaker » :
1012
Res. 331, Justason, Jamie - Trunk 7 Music Fest.: Firefighter Challenge
- Congrats., The Speaker « » :
1012
Res. 332, Butcher, Cole: Kulwicki Driver Dev. Prog
- Congrats., The Speaker « » :
1013
Res. 333, Arnold, Raymond: Commun. Contrib. - Congrats.,
1013
Res. 334, Miller, Lois: Commun. Leadership - Thank,
1014
Res. 335, Colford, Jim: Retirement - Congrats.,
1014
Res. 336, MacLellan, Daniel: Lead by Example - Thanks,
1015
Tabled 10/10/17:
Res. 339, Paul, Hannson: MSIT No'kmaq Sail Training
- Congrats., Mr. B. Jessome « »
1016
Res. 340, Burton, Cathy - N.S. Women's Soccer: Can
Summer Games - Congrats., Mr. B. Jessome « »
1016
Res. 341, Card, Ashley: Can. Summer Games - Congrats.,
1017
Res. 342, White, Arthur: RCAF Athlete of the Yr. - Congrats.,
1017
Res. 343, McBean, Cpt. Paul: RCAF Official of the Yr
- Congrats., Hon. L. Glavine « »
1018
Res. 344, Travis, Maj. Eric: RCAF Ind. Team Sport of the Yr
- Congrats., Hon. L. Glavine « »
1018
Res. 345, Brown, Edward L.N.: Birthday (95th) - Congrats.,
1019

[Page 939]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

Sixty-third General Assembly

First Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Chuck Porter, Ms. Suzanne Lohnes-Croft

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We'll begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, if I may beg permission to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, in the gallery with us today we have Christine Hanson, CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, along with her team members, Jane Mills, Kesa Munroe-Anderson, and Pam Osborne. I'd ask them to rise to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 940]

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

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as the Attorney General of Nova Scotia I hereby beg leave to table the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Annual Report for 2015-16.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. DELOREY « » : Thank you. Joining us in the east gallery this afternoon it's my pleasure to introduce two guests from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, if they would please stand: Chief Executive Officer Krista Connell, who works collaboratively with the NSHRF Board of Directors and its many stakeholders to support research in Nova Scotia. She helps facilitate the use of health research results in the health system decision making and is the foundation's key spokesperson. Also joining us today is the Board of Director's Vice-Chairman, Steve Smith. He is dedicated to the health research community in his capacity as Dean of Science and Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary's University.

I'm very happy that they've joined us today, Mr. Speaker, and I'd ask that the House give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : In my capacity as Minister of Health and Wellness, I beg leave to table the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation Annual Report for 2016-17.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as the Attorney General of Nova Scotia I hereby beg leave to table the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia Annual Report for the year ending March 31, 2017.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

[Page 941]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 337

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

Whereas mental health is an issue that's important to all of us and touches the lives of many Nova Scotians; and

Whereas community support and early intervention can help make a difference with people living with mental illness, so they can live their lives to the fullest; and

Whereas World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge October 10, 2017, as World Mental Health Day and encourage all Nova Scotians to join the conversation and support good mental health.

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 Acadian Affairs and Francophonie.

RESOLUTION NO. 338

HON. LENA DIAB « » : M. le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la motion suivante.

Attendu que Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse célèbre cette année son 80e anniversaire;

[Page 942]

Attendu que le journal est le seul journal de langue française en Nouvelle-Écosse;

Attendu que Le Courrier a joué pendant 80 années un rôle important dans l'information, le rassemblement et l'unité de nos collectivités acadiennes et francophones en Nouvelle-Écosse, rôle qu'il continue de jouer encore aujourd'hui;

Il est résolu que les députés de l'Assemblée législative se joignent à moi pour féliciter Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse à l'occasion de son 80e anniversaire et pour souligner son rôle dans la création d'un lien solide entre les collectivités acadiennes et francophones, et dans la préservation de la langue française et de la culture acadienne dans notre province.

M. le Président, je demande l'adoption de cette motion, sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas Le Courier de la Nouvelle-Écosse is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year; and

Whereas this publication is the only French-language newspaper in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Le Courrier has served as an important means of informing, connecting and uniting our Acadian and francophone communities in Nova Scotia for eight decades, a role they continue today;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse on its 80th Anniversary and commend them for their role in helping to forge a strong link between the Acadian and francophone communities and preserving the French language and the Acadian culture in our province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 943]

[1:15 p.m.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 33 – Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1997. The Gas Distribution Act. (Hon. Geoff MacLellan)

Bill. No. 34 – Entitled an Act to Require the Government of Nova Scotia to Purchase Local Wild Blueberries. (Hon. Jamie Baillie)

Bill. No. 35 – Entitled an Act to Prohibit Certain Public-Private Partnerships. (Ms. Susan Leblanc)

Bill No. 36 – Entitled an Act Relating to Common Lands in the Town of Lunenburg. (Ms. Suzanne Lohnes-Croft)

Bill No. 37 – Entitled an Act to Maintain and Preserve Voluntary Blood Donations in Nova Scotia. (Ms. Tammy Martin)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

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

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY:

MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE - PROMOTE

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, today is World Mental Health Day. This year's theme is Mental Health in the Workplace. Today is a time to reflect on how we can raise awareness about mental health issues and how we can mobilize our efforts to support better mental health. We know that one in five of us will experience a mental health issue sometime in our lives and we know that our experiences in the workplace is a factor in determining our overall well-being. Today, let's raise the call to all employers to promote mental health and support employees who have mental health disorders. It is the right thing to do today to mark World Mental Health Day, but we should commit ourselves to this objective every day. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HALIFAX NEEDHAM SANDWICH CLUB: YOUTH ORGANIZERS - SALUTE

[Page 944]

MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize an initiative that engages young people while assisting people experiencing homelessness. The Sandwich Club can be summarized neatly: make friends, make sandwiches, make a difference. Youth in Grade 4 and up come together once a month in the hall of St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Church in Halifax Needham. Supervised by older volunteers, they divide into teams to make hundreds of sandwiches that are packed into bags with notes of greeting and well wishes. Shelter Nova Scotia then offers these packed lunches to people experiencing homelessness. I've been fortunate to be in the hall during Sandwich Club. The youth are busy learning skills and thinking of others. It's a wonderful atmosphere. I salute the organizers and volunteers with the Friends of St. Margaret's who hope that other youth-serving organizations may be inspired to start their own sandwich clubs. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

SOIU, STEFAN: NSCC APPRENTICESHIP - BEST WISHES

MR. BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to share the good news of Stefan Soiu, an apprentice electrician who works for Henderson Electrical Installations in Waverly. Stefan is one of 22,000 Nova Scotians enrolled in an apprenticeship each year. Stefan needs to complete four blocks of training at the NSCC, each lasting between seven and ten weeks. Because of our government's decision to waive tuition in apprenticeship training, Stefan will save $3,000 over the course of his training. I would like to wish Stefan all the best as he continues his training and works towards his electrical certification.

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

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY:

DART. COMMUN. HEALTH TEAM - THANK

MR. TIM HALMAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today on World Mental Health Day to commend and bring attention to the outstanding work being done by the Dartmouth Community Health Team. This group revolutionized the health care navigating model, unlike any other similar model, nationally or internationally. Starting in Dartmouth East, they've grown to more locations allowing them to offer even more programs. From dietitians to parenting to mental health to social services, the work being done by the community health team is second to none and is imperative to the success of all members of the community. I would like to thank the Dartmouth East Community Health Team for all that they have done and continue to do. We are a better community because of them.

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

BORDEN, JANICE: DART. NORTH CONTRIBUTIONS - THANK

[Page 945]

MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, this past Thanksgiving weekend, I was honoured to be a part of and witness to an amazing community Thanksgiving dinner at the Dartmouth North Community Centre. Headed up by Janice Borden, who is someone well known to anyone who frequents the centre, the dinner fed around 200 Dartmouth North residents a beautiful turkey and ham dinner complete with potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, and peas and green salad and pumpkin pie.

For the last several years, Janice has planned and executed this Thanksgiving gathering, and to watch her in action was truly special. Coordinating a trusty team of volunteers, she cooked up a storm and brought people together in a wonderful way. When things got stressful, as they inevitably do when one is responsible for feeding a crowd, Janice corralled everyone and reminded us that we needed to work as a team.

Mr. Speaker, in an area of the province where people often feel isolated, fearful, and hungry, a time to come together to share a meal with neighbours is very special. I want to recognize Janice Borden's contributions to the community of Dartmouth North and ask this Assembly to join me in thanking her for her energy, generosity, and delicious food.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

JL ILSLEY HS: OCEANS SCIENCE/ART PROJ. - CONGRATS.

MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : The Grade 11 students at J.L. Ilsley High School enrolled in Mr. VanBlarcom's Oceans 11 class participated in an arts project under the direction of Arts Express Coordinator Sabine Fels. Oceans 11 is a science course that studies the significance of oceans, how they are created, and their influence on earth. The students applied what they learned about the underwater terrain of the mid-Atlantic ridge to their art project. They recreated the land that lies underneath the water by carving soft porcelain clay tiles and building up raised figures to create a map. Variations of the sea floor were depicted through the use of custom colours, and the resulting map was custom framed by a local carpenter.

Mr. Speaker, the collaboration between science and art provided the students with a unique learning experience, with a tangible result. The art piece that was created will be proudly displayed at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. I ask the members of the House of Assembly to join me in congratulating the students and teachers who worked hard on this project.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

SACK. RIVERS ASSOC.: SACK. FISH FRIENDS PROG. - THANK

[Page 946]

MR. BRAD JOHNS « » : Since 1988, the Sackville Rivers Association has been protecting and restoring the Sackville River watershed. I would like to rise today to congratulate the association specifically on their Sackville Fish Friends program, for having another successful school year teaching students at Sackville Heights Elementary School as well as eight other area schools about the importance of the waterways. Volunteers Anne and Steven Angelidis visit the students and help them hatch fish that are eventually released into the Sackville River. I would like to thank the association for helping to ensure the sustainability of the fish stocks in the Sackville River for future generations.

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

PEGGY'S COVE AREA FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS - CONGRATS.

MR. HUGH MACKAY « » : I rise to congratulate the Peggy's Cove Area Festival of the Arts for a successful event earlier this summer. This coastal festival is a celebration of artistic talent in the beautiful St. Margaret's Bay area. The festival, while featuring Peggy's Cove, includes coastal locations all around St. Margaret's Bay, from Prospect to Hubbards to the Aspotogan Peninsula. The festival is a celebration of the talent drawn to this area, where artists derive rich inspiration.

Two events were the highlights of Festival 2017. The first was a three-day plein air painting event in Peggy's Cove; 35 artists set up easels throughout the village and created amazing works of art featuring the harbour and the iconic lighthouse. The second event was the studio tour, where over 60 studio artists and galleries welcomed visitors through their doors. This was an opportunity to meet and interact with painters, potters, sculptors, and jewellers.

I ask the members of the Legislature to join me in congratulating the Peggy's Cove Area Festival of the Arts, and I encourage everyone to visit the next festival in July 2018.

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

VIAL, AVA - TEAM N.S.: CAN. GAMES 2017 - CONGRATS.

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : I wish to congratulate 15-year-old Ava Vial of Port Williams, who qualified as a member of Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Games in Winnipeg in August. Ava has been swimming for nine years with the Wolfville Tritons, four of those competitively. She is one of four swimmers from the club who qualified to attend. Her main focus of competition was the breast stroke as well as the individual medley. Ava's dedication sees her in the pool six days a week. I am proud to have such a dedicated young athlete in the constituency of Kings North and wish her well in all her future endeavours.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Preston-Dartmouth with an introduction.

[Page 947]

HON. KEITH COLWELL » : I would like to identify in the east gallery Kyla Pierik, the business development officer with Perennia. With her today is Francisco Diez in the Legislature. Francisco has a rich history as an agricultural engineer, experienced in wine-making, viticulture, vineyard management, and oenology - if I've got that right. He has studied and worked in France, Australia, Spain, Chile, and most recently in north Napa Valley, California, and now in Nova Scotia. We're very pleased to have him with us at Perennia.

Also with him today is his fiancée Neslihan Ivit - I hope I pronounced that properly. She is also a viticulturalist, among many other experiences she has in the wine industry.

I would like to welcome them to Nova Scotia and wish them well in their work as we work together to develop Nova Scotia's wine industry. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville.

HUNT, BRETT: UMPIRE OF THE YEAR - CONGRATS.

MR. BEN JESSOME « » : I'd like to congratulate Brett Hunt of Hammonds Plains-Lucasville on being chosen as Baseball Nova Scotia Umpire of the Year. Brett is an exceptional ballplayer, and chose to become an umpire to help instill the love for the game in younger players.

Brett finds officiating games rewarding and finds it gives him a different perspective now when playing himself. Having to make judgment calls and decisions that aren't always popular gives him an opportunity to grow both as a young man and as a player.

Brett will receive the award in recognition of his accomplishments as an umpire at the Baseball Nova Scotia awards banquet on October 21st.

I ask all members of this House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Brett Hunt on his award as Junior Umpire of the Year.

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

MIRA FERRY COMM. FAIR: VOLS. - CONGRATS.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : I rise today to acknowledge the Mira Ferry Community Fair. On September 23rd they celebrated their 85th Anniversary.

The Mira Ferry Community Fair is the oldest country fair in Cape Breton. Dozens of people were at MacLeod's campground on Saturday to celebrate this milestone. Event chairperson Jane Lewis said that the best part of the fair was community involvement, and that she hopes the new generation will take up the torch to continue the 85-year event for many years to come.

[Page 948]

I stand here today to congratulate and thank all the volunteers who have spent so many years making the Mira Ferry Community Fair the great success that it is.

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

GUEVARA, CHE: DEATH OF (50th ANNIV.) - LEGACY

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Fifty years after the death of Ernesto "Che" Guevara on October 9, 1967, in the village of La Higuera, Bolivia, countries across Latin America, social democracies in Europe, and even Bernie Sanders supporters in the U.S. have been experiencing an awakening rooted in the ideals that Che represented: social, economic, and global justice; equality for all; and the liberation of the oppressed.

A committed internationalist, Che was born to a middle-class family in Argentina. Studying to become a doctor, he travelled the Americas, which opened his eyes to the plight of peasants, the working class, and the poor.

Celebrations in Che's honour are currently taking place around the world, including in Ireland, with the release of a new stamp in honour of his legacy - a legacy that has continued to grow since his CIA-backed murder at the hands of Bolivian dictator René Barrientos out of fear that a trial would garner sympathy for Che's cause.

History has proven that what was attempted by his execution was impossible. Guevara's ideas live on and his legacy grows as an inspiration for millions who believe in economic, social, and global justice. Viva la Victoria siempre.

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

CHEN, KEVIN: TAKO SUSHI AND RAMEN - ACKNOWLEDGE

MS. RAFAH DICOSTANZO « » : I rise today to recognize Kevin Chen, the owner of Tako Sushi and Ramen in Clayton Park West.

Tako Sushi and Ramen has been an extraordinary place to eat for the better part of a decade. This restaurant is enjoyed by many in the community and has become one of the most popular Japanese cuisine outlets in the city.

The Coast recently did a feature on the sushi restaurant, in which Kevin and his staff received endless praise for both their food and hospitality. Not only is the food amazing but the atmosphere and friendly customer service make this restaurant a staple in our community. Kevin and his staff also cater many local events.

[Page 949]

Kevin has allowed us to learn about and enjoy Japanese culture, and for that we are forever grateful. I ask that the members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Kevin Chen and all the hard work he and his staff do.

[1:30 p.m.]

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

STEVENS, COLBY - ADEM: FIGHT FOR SERVICES - SUPPORT

MS. ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : I stand today in honour of Colby Stevens, a strong young man from Pugwash.

Colby is progressing through ADEM - acute disseminated encephalomyelitis - a condition that affects the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Colby shows his strength each day with the help of his family and health care professionals, assisting him with physiotherapy and exercises designed to help him regain functions of his limbs.

Colby enjoys spending time with his family and friends, especially his brother, who has always been a role model to him. His parents, Susan and Glen, are fighting for Colby to receive health care services. Colby is a fighter and he and his family are the meaning of hope, love and determination. I am proud of them all and honoured to be able to support them in this journey.

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

ROBIE STREET DEVELOP.: PHOTO EXHIBIT - AWARENESS

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : The Chairman of Friends of the Halifax Common, Peggy Cameron, has mounted an exhibition of photographs of buildings along Robie Street that are at risk of demolition because of development proposals going before Halifax Regional Municipal Council.

It's impossible not to be aware that the population of HRM has been increasing and that a major consequence is demand for more residential accommodation. At the same time, it's fundamental to good land use planning that there be compatibility of existing neighbourhoods with any new development. Especially on the Halifax Peninsula, we see many examples of the new development proposals that are not compatible with existing neighbourhoods. As a matter of pure economic impact, overbuilding will have a negative result for the real estate investments of homeowners. This is not a desirable result.

[Page 950]

The example of Robie Street illustrates just what may be lost unless effective oversight and controls are put in place.

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

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY: GOV'T. ACTION - PRAISE

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize World Mental Health Day and to share with my colleagues some initiatives that will help manage youth mental health in our province.

Mr. Speaker, the government today announced that $300,000 has been allocated to the Kids Help Phone to continue services online and by phone. Kids Help Phone in Canada is a 24-hour bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling, and referral service for children and youth.

Meanwhile, $463,000 is dedicated to expanding CaperBase, a youth outreach program in Cape Breton. This is an excellent program that works with youth, families, schools and other community partners to create solutions, opportunities and supports that provide youth with the building blocks to live healthy, fulfilling and productive lives. Early intervention is important in treating and managing mental illness which is why investing in youth is a priority for this government.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of this government's accomplishments and I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve our mental health system and supports.

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

CELTIC COLOURS FEST.: 21st YEAR - RECOGNIZE

MS. ALANA PAON « » : Mr. Speaker, The Celtic Colours International Music Festival is now in its 21st year, with the next three years of festival dates already planned. Celtic Colours is unique to other music festivals in that it encompasses all of Cape Breton Island and brings it together as one island community.

This year's festival began in Sydney this past Friday and will end in the constituency of Cape Breton-Richmond, with its closing ceremony set for Saturday, October 14th, in Port Hawkesbury.

Mr. Speaker, at Celtic Colours you'll find some of the world's finest musicians sharing the stage with Cape Breton's best singers, dancers, musicians and storytellers, in venues that range from community halls, churches, schools, and theatres. This effort takes hundreds of volunteers, coordinated by a strong committee of organizers and a dedicated board of directors.

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Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia and this House of Assembly should take great pride in calling the Celtic Colours International Music Festival its own, and recognize it as the beacon that it is of music, culture, artistry, and tourism.

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

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY: IMPORTANCE - RECOGNIZE

HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : I rise today to recognize World Mental Health Day and to tell my colleagues about a fantastic program that was recently announced.

Today the Minister of Health and Wellness announced more details of this year's $8.6 million additional budget investments in mental health. One of these initiatives included hiring more specialists for the IWK programs to serve underserviced communities. We know the need is there and we are working hard to improve access to mental health services by providing more funding and adding 70 more mental health care providers across the province.

In the budget $373,000 will be allocated to hire new mental health clinicians to support children and youth in targeted communities. In addition, $700,000 will increase access to services delivered by the IWK in rural and underserved areas.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that members of this House join me in recognizing the importance of mental health.

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

CARROLLS CORNER COMM. CTR: MASTODON TRL. - CONGRATS.

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, connecting communities is one thing that we need in Nova Scotia. The trail systems and community centres are valuable assets to make this connection happen.

In August, I had the privilege of cutting the red ribbon for the opening of the Mastodon Trail at the Carrolls Corner Community Centre. This centre and the Mastodon Trail not only help to keep the community connected and active, but also connects Carrolls Corner with the Great Trail that runs across Canada.

I wish to commend the efforts, dedication, and spirit of the volunteers with the Carrolls Corner Community Centre's Trail Committee and the community on the impressive accomplishments that they have been able to bring together over the past couple of years.

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

CROSSFIT 902: NEW LOCATION - CONGRATS.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the new CrossFit 902 this past summer. Owner Joel Holland started his CrossFit gym several years ago in Bridgewater. He quickly discovered that he had grown out of his location and looked to expand. The result is an amazing facility with a membership that continues to grow - I heard, just last evening, in the area of 350 members. Joel and his team offer individual programming, group classes, and everything in between, making this facility one that everyone can find success in.

I ask that the members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Joel Holland and his CrossFit 902 team and wishing them continued success as they grow the business and promote a healthy, active, and fit lifestyle.

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

FOUNDERS' DAYS FEST.: ORGANIZERS/VOLS. - CONGRATS.

MS. KIM MASLAND « » : The 31st Annual Founders' Days Festival was held this past July. The four-day festival took place on Shelburne's historic Dock Street and featured fireworks, yacht races, live entertainment, dancing, and much more.

The festival is a celebration of history and community, and this year it had the largest-ever 18th Century Loyalist encampment with the Shelburne Re-enactors Association joined by re-enactors from across Nova Scotia. In addition, the Native Council of Nova Scotia, Zone 13, staged the Aboriginal village in celebration of Indigenous cultures.

I would like to congratulate and applaud the organizers and many volunteers responsible for making this year's Founders' Days such a success.

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

MÉNARD, MICHELINE: VOLUNTEERISM - ACKNOWLEDGE

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Recently, I have been sharing the stories of some of our super volunteers in Bedford. Micheline Ménard is one of those folks.

She has been involved with Meals on Wheels for the last seven years, helping the organization assist people who want to stay independent and remain in their own homes. Micheline has volunteered for 13 years with the Walk for MS, she also donates her time to IWK Children's Hospital where she works at the reception desk, and during the holiday season she is a gift-wrapper at a local mall, with proceeds going to the IWK.

[Page 953]

Micheline also wraps gifts for the Be a Santa to a Senior project, and takes her dog Cyrus to the Berkeley Seniors Home to visit with residents. She has also been involved with the Cancer Society, as well as the Last House on the Block Society. At the Carrefour du Grand-Havre, she was involved with the Sugar Shack, and in 2011 she was part of the Festivale des Cultures Francophones at the waterfront - she even cared for children while their parents worked out at the gym.

Mr. Speaker, Micheline Ménard makes a huge contribution to life in Bedford and Halifax, and I would ask members of this House of Assembly to join me in thanking her for all her volunteer efforts.

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

YANG, DR. LAWRENCE: CAE INDUCT. - CONGRATS.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : The Canadian Academy of Engineering is the national institution through which Canada's most distinguished and experienced engineers provide strategic advice on matters of importance to Canada. Members of the CAE are nominated and elected by their peers to honorary fellowships in view of their distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession.

On June 26, 2017, Dr. Laurence T. Yang was one of 52 new fellows inducted into the academy. Dr. Yang is a leader in the area of parallel and distributed cloud computing, embedded and ubiquitous systems, and big data. His pioneering research on cyber-physical-social system design and data analytic has opened up a new research direction and has inspired the work of many researchers and made significant impact on society.

Dr. Yang, a professor of computer science at St. F.X. University since 1999, has also dedicated countless volunteer hours to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers through his work on various technical committees, societies, and conferences. He stands out as a mentor for his students, and I can speak from experience, and also his colleagues around the world.

I would ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Dr. Laurence T. Yang on being named a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

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

THOMPSON, DOWNEY: WOODLAND CAREER - RECOGNIZE

[Page 954]

HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to tell the House today about a special and rare individual in my constituency. Downey Thompson grew up on his family's mixed farm and woodlot in Nine Mile River. At the age of 10 he began helping his father in the woods. In 1947, at the age of 15, he left school to go work for Elmsdale Lumber.

Downey started off cutting logs in the woods and shortly after that he became a log and trucking contractor for Elmsdale Lumber. In 1970, he became the woodlands manager and started developing a timber base. In 2004, he became the woodland consultant. I hope you are adding this up, Mr. Speaker.

Now let's talk about true passion and dedication. Over the 70 years that Mr. Thompson has worked for Elmsdale Lumber, he has not taken one day off. He hasn't taken a vacation since 1995 and his previous vacations were spent scoping out other Canadian sawmills. Furthermore, he has no time to retire any time soon.

I would ask this House to please join me in thanking Mr. Downey Thompson for dedicating 70 years of his life to a local Nova Scotia business.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

DURTY NELLY'S SOCCER TEAM: NAT. CHAMPION. WIN - CONGRATS.

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, a special congratulations - yesterday western Halifax's Durty Nelly's won the National Championship in Senior Mens Soccer. It is only the second time a men's team at any age level in this province has won.

I'd like to give a special thank you to Alan Jazic, congratulations to him. They did it the hard way, Mr. Speaker. They started off with a three-one win over Newfoundland, two-zero win over defending champions Alberta, two-one win over hometown favourite British Columbia. They required a tie to make it through to the gold medal game. They were down one-nothing and Jhonattan Cordoba scored in the 87th minute to tie that game, and that put Nova Scotia in the final against Manitoba. Against Manitoba in the second minute, Calum MacRae scored and Christian Oxner stood above his head and recorded the shutout, clearing two balls off the line, one in the 89th minute to maintain that shutout.

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate all the players on an excellent season.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clare-Digby.

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DOUCETTE, STACEY/THERIAULT, HAL:

NOUVELLE-FRANCE - RECOGNIZE

MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the efforts of Stacey Doucette and Hal Theriault and their group to preserve the site and the stories of la Nouvelle-France.

Nouvelle-France was established in back of Weymouth at the end of the 19th Century when the Stehelin family moved here from France. The family built a fully-operational mill town, complete with electricity, a train track to Weymouth and even a wine cellar. It was nicknamed the Electric City by the locals, as it had electricity for some 30 years before any of the surrounding communities.

Unfortunately, the businesses and the community were abandoned when the demand for wood fell after World War I. In the last few years, interest in preserving the site has grown. The group, with the support of the Stehelin family, has collected artifacts of the site, as well as stories from the descendants of the workers.

The long-term goal of this group is to construct an interpretive centre for visitors, to improve the trails to la Nouvelle-France and maybe in time, to reconstruct some of the buildings.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie.

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY:

SCHOOLSPLUS FUNDING - RECOGNIZE

HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize World Mental Health Day. This government committed to hiring more school psychologists and guidance counsellors and expanding SchoolsPlus, great initiatives that will provide more mental health support in our schools.

Mr. Speaker, $1.8 million has been dedicated to expanding SchoolsPlus into 68 more schools across Nova Scotia. SchoolsPlus is a collaborative inter-agency approach, supporting the whole child and their family, with the school as the centre of service delivery. In addition, $1.4 million has been allocated to hire more school psychologists and speech language pathologists, while $192,000 will be used to hire two guidance counsellors and a social worker in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. These investments will make it easier for young people and their families to get the services they need, especially at school.

Mr. Speaker, youth and their mental health are important to this government. I am looking forward to seeing how these additional supports will improve our kids' mental health in schools.

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

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: MLAs - SUPPORT

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize October as Women's History Month. Women have made great strides and have come so far in closing the gap in gender equality. The fact is clear with the election of 17 women to the House of Assembly. However, there is still a lot of work to be accomplished in areas of wages and non-traditional occupations.

Whoever said women cannot be firefighters, long-haul truck drivers, miners, electricians or politicians? I stand here and encourage all women to live their dreams.

Mr. Speaker, in honour of Women's History Month, I would ask members to attend functions in their constituencies that show support for equality.

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Armdale.

ENGAGE NS: SHARE THANKGIVING INITIATIVE - THANK

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of participating in Engage Nova Scotia's Share Thanksgiving Initiative.

Each year, Engage Nova Scotia puts out a call for hosts: Nova Scotians who are willing to open their homes to others, break bread, and share the warmth and traditions of the Canadian Thanksgiving. Host families are paired with international students and newcomers and they gather together over the long weekend to eat, talk, and share.

This year, I partnered with Halifax Member of Parliament Andy Filmore and we shared a true Thanksgiving feast. We welcomed two newcomer families: the Sabahs from Iraq, and the Balhous from Syria. With delicious turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and plenty of veggies, it was a truly wonderful meal with inspiring conversation.

I want to thank Andy and his team, my staff, the Engage Nova Scotia project lead Elizabeth Randall, and all of our guests for making it a truly unforgettable evening.

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

TERENCE BAY SCHOOL:

[Page 957]

ANNUAL THANKSGIVING DINNER - THANK

HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : I would like to congratulate the Terence Bay School Community on their long-held and much-loved tradition of hosting an annual Thanksgiving dinner. Each year, as the leaves turn colour, the halls of Terence Bay Elementary are full of the delicious smells of roasting turkey and apple crisp.

Students, staff, and volunteers create a warm and welcoming environment as they invite local seniors and public figures to join them in giving thanks and sharing a beautiful meal together.

Many hands make light work, and I would like to recognize all of the volunteers that make this a special day.

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

THE ANCHOR: STAFF/OWNER - RECOGNIZE

HON. PATRICIA ARAB « » : I rise today to recognize the staff and ownership of The Anchor, a newly opened restaurant in Fairview that has already become a popular spot for food and music in our community.

In a short period of time, The Anchor has been nominated in The Coast Best of Halifax Awards, for Best Caesar, Best Trivia Night, Best Clayton Park Restaurant, and Best Restaurant. In addition to being nominated for these awards, Chef Richard Julien has also been nominated for Best Chef in Halifax, leading The Anchor's total number of nominations to an impressive five.

In addition to amazing food, The Anchor also serves as a music and culture hub in Fairview by hosting weekly Trivia Nights, Karaoke Nights, and various artists who perform live music, all under the watchful eye of co-owner, and talented musician, Troy Arsenault.

It's restaurants like The Anchor that contribute to the cultural vibrancy of our community, and give residents a place to fine dine in their own backyard. I ask the members of this House of Assembly to join me in congratulating the staff and ownership at The Anchor on their accomplishments, and wishing them nothing but success in the future.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

FOUGERE, KATHY: VOLUNTEER AWARD NOM. - CONGRATS.

[Page 958]

MR. BILL HORNE « » : I rise to congratulate Kathy Fougere, who was nominated by the Woodbine and Area Seniors' Group at the Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Kathy has been a director of Meals for Seniors at the Woodbine Community Hall for the past 15 years, and the director of the Social Cards group for Seniors for ten years. From September to May, Kathy feeds 60 to 120 people weekly on a pay-what-you-can basis, ensuring that no one goes hungry, and giving a sense of dignity to many who would be unable eat out at all. She provides a healthy meal in a clean and welcoming setting and provides a safe social outlet to area seniors. Kathy has also been active raising funds for Dakota, a service dog, for the past eight months.

I ask that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Kathy Fougere.

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

HUBBARDS SAILING CLUB: 50th ANNIV. - CONGRATS.

MR. HUGH MACKAY « » : I rise today to congratulate the Hubbards Sailing Club, which recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

Located in Hubbards Cove, on beautiful St. Margaret's Bay, the Hubbards Sailing Club was founded as the Hubbards Yacht Club in 1967 by a group of permanent and part-time residents of Hubbards.

The goal of the club has always been to provide affordable and accessible youth recreational sailing programs and youth leadership development programs. Offering CANSail Programs from Grades 1 to 6, the club averages 135 junior sailors in its summer program, supported by a staff of six sailing coaches. The club also offers its members access to a variety of social events and activities throughout the summer season.

On September 17th, I joined hundreds of other supporters of the club for a 50th Anniversary celebration at the Shore Club in Hubbards. It was a memorable night of lobsters and dancing to Rasta Gumbo. Special recognition goes to Hubbards Sailing Club alumni and Paralympic sailing gold medalist Paul Tingley for his heartfelt words that touched everyone in the room.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the members of the Legislature to join me in congratulating the Hubbards Sailing Club on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary.

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

MACINTOSH, MARLEE: PADDLING SUCCESS - RECOGNIZE

[Page 959]

MS. RAFAH DICOSTANZO « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Marlee MacIntosh, a student at Halifax West High School, who recently placed second in the 500-metre, 2000-age category, at the International Hopes Regatta in the Czech Republic.

Marlee is a prized paddler at the local Maskwa Aquatic Club, which placed first at nationals for the second year in a row. On top of winning gold, Maskwa can also be accredited for various medals this past year.

Many athletes represented Canada from the Maskwa Aquatic Club at the most recent international competition. Other athletes who were successful in their divisions were Andrew Billard, Nicholas Billard, and Dawson Peachey. I ask that the members of this House of Assembly join me today in recognizing these young athletes, including Marlee MacIntosh, and their recent successes in the Cech Republic.

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

LCLC: AUTISM SWIM PROG. - ACKNOWLEDGE

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, a swim program at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre designed for children with autism has been a huge success. In a partnership with the LCLC, the Red Cross, and Autism Nova Scotia, this program has created an opportunity for children with autism to succeed in the pool. The program coordinators and instructors have created an atmosphere conducive to the special learning strategies that would be found in a classroom setting.

I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the staff and program coordinators of the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre for their dedication to ensuring all children have the opportunity to feel the success of swimming.

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

MACLEAN, PAMELA: BEDFORD VOL. SERV. - THANK

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, Pamela MacLean has been volunteering with the Bedford Horticultural Society for 10 years. She has served on the society's executive and as membership chair. For seven years, she's been District 4 representative on the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs and she's also chaired the Cenotaph garden committee for three years, designed the club banner, and compiled a pamphlet for new members.

Pamela has employed her gardening talents by designing and maintaining the gardens at her place of worship, the Stoneridge Fellowship Church. She also serves as assistant chairperson of the Nova Scotia Mustang Club, which presented her with a special mention award in 2016. The Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs has given her a service award as well.

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Pamela is always willing to assist in any way. She's very organized and attentive to detail, and she does it all with a smile. So, Mr. Speaker, I'd ask members of this House of Assembly to join me in thanking Pamela MacLean for making Bedford a more beautiful place.

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

SANFORD, WYATT: BOXING ACCOMPLISHMENTS - CONGRATS.

HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, one day, I think we'll all be able to say we knew Wyatt when. Wyatt Sanford started boxing in 2010 with the Citadel Amateur Boxing Club under the coaching of former Olympian Wayne Gordon. Since then, he has had three national titles, been the Nova Scotia Male Boxer of the year four years running, and has also been awarded the 2014 East Hants Male Athlete of the Year award.

In 2011, his first time competing internationally, Wyatt won the title belt at the Ringside World Championships. This past summer, he won that title once again fighting in the 64-kilogram, 17-to-18-year-old division. This win came just over a month after he won the largest boxing tournament in Europe, the Haringey Cup. While he has boxed internationally for several years, these tournaments are the highest ranking and led to his move to Montreal in August 2017 to train on the Canadian national boxing team in preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Wyatt is a citizen of Kennetcook, Nova Scotia, and will continue to remain Hants County proud, representing his community and his province, along with Canada, in every fight he has. I ask all members of the House to please congratulate him.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Armdale.

DOHERTY, DAN: SPRYFIELD WATER 'N' WINE - SUCCESS CONGRATS.

HON. LENA DIAB « » : I rise today to congratulate local businessman Dan Doherty. Dan is the owner of Spryfield Water 'N' Wine, and recently won two awards in WineMaker's Magazine's 2017 International Amateur Wine Competition.

I would like to congratulate him for winning a bronze medal in the Other Red Vinifera Blends category and a silver medal in the same category. These awards speak to his dedication, experience, and quality of products. Dan has grown his business while demonstrating his devotion to exemplary customer service. He ensures that customers always receive the best of help and that they walk away happy with their home brewing kits.

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I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating Dan on the success of his wine business and accomplishments in the International Amateur Wine Competition, and ask colleagues to perhaps try their own hand at wine-making. After all, it is a thriving industry here in our beautiful province.

MR. SPEAKER « » : In the absence of any more member statements, the House will now recess for a few minutes until the commencement of Question Period.

[1:56 p.m. The House recessed.]

[2:00 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

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

PREM.: COBEQUID PASS TOLLS - REMOVAL

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. For over 20 years, motorists have been paying for and using the Cobequid Pass, believing that once the road debts were paid off that the tolls would be gone. During that time, road usage has been higher than expected, enabling the debts to be paid off as early as 2019; that would be seven years early. That is good news for motorists, if the government keeps its end of the deal.

I'd like to ask the Premier if he can confirm that the tolls on the Cobequid Pass will be removed when the debt is paid off in 2019.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL » : Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that when the debt is paid off, all tolls for Nova Scotians will be removed.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, that is very interesting because the deal is that the tolls are removed for everyone - for truck traffic, for trade, for transit, for Nova Scotians, for tourists. That's what was in the debt deal that was made in 1996 by a previous Liberal Government.

I heard the Premier say that all tolls will be removed when the debt is paid off. Will he confirm two things: (1) that that is expected to happen in 2019; and (2) that it will be for all motorists who use the Cobequid Pass.

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THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't know the exact date - it is somewhere in 2019, I believe. The honourable member is right, it has been paid down ahead of schedule. What I can confirm to him is that no Nova Scotian motorist will pay a toll. There's a further discussion about whether tourists will and some level of truck traffic. That is still an ongoing conversation.

I want to assure him and his constituents, Mr. Speaker, that that toll will be removed as soon as that bond is paid down, and I think it is somewhere around 2019.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the Premier for that answer because that is, indeed, good news for the Nova Scotians who are residents in Cumberland County and for all Nova Scotians who travel that busy highway. I think they'll be happy to know that they'll be toll-free as early as 2019. That's good news, but that wasn't the whole deal; nowhere else in the province are people who engage in trucking or tourism expected to be charged a toll when they visit any other region of Nova Scotia.

I'd like to ask the Premier, if he is considering leaving the toll on for others - whether they are engaged in transport of our goods or in tourism - why does he want to continue to treat Cumberland County residents differently than the rest of the province?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, again I agree with the honourable member, residents of Cumberland County will not - as I said a few minutes ago, that will not apply to all Nova Scotians, unlike, quite frankly, the bridge that people move back and forth across the harbour. All Nova Scotians pay that on a daily basis as they go back and forth.

We're going to continue to work towards if there is a way to look at the piece of infrastructure that's in place. It has been a huge success - quite frankly, it saved lives. We've been able to reduce the loss of life in that area.

What we're looking at, Mr. Speaker, is if from a tourist point of view and from a truck point of view, if that toll remains there it would be to ensure that any revenue made from that would be to continue to improve the 100-Series Highways in other places, like when we see on Highway No. 104 further down towards Antigonish or in other aspects of Highway No 103 or in some parts of Highway No. 101.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

PREM.: P3 PARTNERSHIPS - EVIDENCE AGAINST

[Page 963]

MR. GARY BURRILL « » : The Premier speaks often about policy decisions being made in a way that is based on evidence. There is all kinds of evidence against even considering the P3 option for the QEII redevelopment project: Exhibit A, the 2015 study Purchase for Profit, which concluded that P3s in Canada's health care system have failed and disappointed; Exhibit B, the 2015 report from the Centre for Policy Alternatives outlined the shortcomings of P3s; and Exhibit C, our own Auditor General's Report on the Liberal P3 school fiasco.

I'd like to ask the Premier, how much evidence will it take to convince him that the QEII should absolutely not be redeveloped on a P3 basis?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, there's all kinds of evidence that if you believe there's only one way to do something, you are failing taxpayers of this province. We will look at all options.

MR. BURRILL « » : In 2014, at the request of the Premier's Office, the Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness prepared a report on P3s which contained an extensive list of the risks associated with this type of project. When our Party received a copy of this report by freedom of information channels, we found that the whole list of P3 risks had been entirely blacked out.

I want to ask the Premier if he'll commit to tabling this full report in this House so that everybody in Nova Scotia can see the evidence against P3 projects.

THE PREMIER « » : There are lots of reports and evidence about P3 projects. There's also lots of reports of things that have been done in the public sector, from the costs of overruns. There are a number of things. What I think is important for the honourable member to know, and he can communicate that to his constituents and all Nova Scotians, is that this government has not made a decision on how we will build that infrastructure. It is important for him to recognize, though, that we will build that piece of infrastructure that Nova Scotians need to have in place in this province. We'll do it in a way which is the best cost-effective way for the taxpayers of this province.

MR. BURRILL « » : Along with the people of Nova Scotia, we in our Party have great respect for the objective analysis that is provided by the Auditor General and his staff. Unfortunately, sometimes we receive these analyses long after decisions have been made. This was the case with this province's costly experiment with P3 schools. I would like to ask the Premier if he will commit to having our Auditor General review any P3 option for the redevelopment of the QEII before proceeding with such a project?

THE PREMIER « » : What I want to assure the honourable member is that we will continue to look at all options of how we continue to build the new health care facility across this province, an issue that was ignored by that member when they were in government. We will not be paralyzed by the opportunity given to us by Nova Scotians. We will proceed to build the kind of infrastructure they deserve.

[Page 964]

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

TIR: CUMBERLAND CO. TOLLS - UNFAIR

MS. ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : My question is to the Minister of Business. It is not right for the businesses of Cumberland County to be subsidizing the 100-Series Highways for the rest of the province. Last year, the Minister of Business, who was formerly with TIR, did a public consultation. The feedback says, now it's definitive "Nova Scotians are not interested in toll highways, but they want us to build twinned highways as quick as we can to the capacity that we can." Why is it okay to leave the tolls on the highway in Cumberland County and expect the businesses of Cumberland County to pay through trucking, to subsidize the highways throughout the rest of the province?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : I thank the member for the question. We have been very clear on this particular discussion. When the bond is paid off - the bonds, the interest, and the capital required to keep that highway whole, we will do that. We will remove the tolls for Nova Scotians, which include the members of that MLA's constituency. At that point, we will do an assessment. Through the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, our team, and government, we will do an assessment and look at what the options are. There will still be an expensive capital and maintenance outlay for that series of highway, just like our entire network in Nova Scotia. We made a definitive decision that as soon as those bills were paid, we would remove the tolls for Nova Scotians, and that is exactly what we'll do.

MS. SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Last week, the Minister of TIR informed me very clearly that he has no intentions of removing the tolls on the Cobequid Pass even once the debt is paid, which is in contraindication to the Act, and I will table that. It says: "Tolls shall cease to be imposed or collected in respect of the Western Alignment . . ." once they have been paid or otherwise discharged. To the Minister of Business, you understand that if you're trying to grow the economy, you not only grow revenues . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would just like to remind the honourable member for Cumberland North not to refer to other members of this Chamber directly.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MS. SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : We understand that if we're going to grow our economy, we not only need to grow revenues, we also have to lower the cost of doing business. It is not fair for the lobster fishermen or for the forestry industries in Cumberland County to have to pay this extra tariff and tax to ship their goods to market. To the Minister of Business, will you please treat the people of Cumberland County fairly, like the rest of the province, and remove the tolls for the business owners as well as the residents of Cumberland County?

[Page 965]

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Again, with respect to this question, we're very proud, as I have said on many occasions here in the House, of our government's record for small business with tax reduction, with red tape reduction, with the work we have done on the business environment and on our trade and export market and our trade and export work. We have done, certainly, what we could to help small and medium enterprises in that member's constituency and across the province. Furthermore, this question about tolls and what we're going to do moving forward, is very important. When the bills are paid, we're going to remove the toll for Nova Scotians. After that, just like we have done on all of these issues, we're going to have a very public, very open conversation about what the options are. It would be very helpful if the Opposition, the Conservative Party, didn't start to pre-judge what is going to happen here and start to create this fear. Let's have the conversation for all Nova Scotians, and we'll decide as a province.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

PREM. - NSHA: ER WAIT TIMES - IMPROVE

MR. GARY BURRILL « » : According to the CBC, offload times at the Halifax Infirmary and the Dartmouth General are falling well short of the standard established by our Health and Wellness Department, and overcrowding in emergency rooms is creating backlogs for paramedics, some waiting hours in the receiving bay before they can transfer their patient into the care of the hospital.

I would like to ask the Premier, do we not have the organizational capacity in the Nova Scotia Health Authority to do better than this in the emergency rooms in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, those wait times are unacceptable, they're too long, just as they were under that government, and the Minister of Health and Wellness will work with our partners to ensure that it is more acceptable, that the high-quality paramedics that we have in this province are not tied up in emergency rooms while waiting to access people into our primary care system. We know it's an issue. Those wait times you referred to are unacceptable and the Minister of Health and Wellness will be charged to determine, with our colleagues, to make sure we deal with that issue.

MR. BURRILL « » : Less than a month ago I was reliably informed that the hospitals in Halifax are no longer calling Code Census over the intercom because administrators don't want patients and visitors hearing that the hospital's capacity is under pressure.

Today the Canadian Press is reporting that the Halifax Infirmary has rewritten some wait time rules in response to the tragedy of the death of Jack Webb in an emergency room hallway earlier this year.

[Page 966]

Mr. Speaker, the blueprint for addressing this problem was set out expertly and clearly in the John Ross report of seven years ago - can the Premier please tell us why the recommendations of that report are being so inadequately followed that the emergency rooms of the province are in such a mess?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, seven years ago he would have been in government. The question I want to ask his colleagues next to him is why they didn't act.

Mr. Speaker, I will say this to you, it's a very serious issue. We are going to continue to work with our partners to make sure that the wait times we believe are too high in this province, that people have access to the primary care facilities across the province, at the same time that the highly-qualified paramedics, and the equipment that they operate, are out in our communities responding to the needs that are happening each and every day in our communities.

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

JUSTICE: FED. MARIJUANA LEGISLATION:

ONLINE SURVEY RESULTS - ACCURACY

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Justice. Friday, we saw the Liberal Government launch an online survey regarding the legislation of marijuana. However, this $65,000 communications exercise is really not a true consultation - actually, you are able to take the survey multiple times from the same IP address, from the same device. So obviously just those two things alone will not provide accurate results. It's too easy to manipulate - I know a bunch of teenagers who did it this weekend.

Did the minister know all this before endorsing this online survey to be launched - yes or no?

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague. We believe, through the research, that the online survey is the most efficient, accessible way to source information and input from Nova Scotians. That's the process that we've undertaken, that's the process that has worked in the past, and that's the process that we've applied here.

MS. MACFARLANE « » : Actually, it's not the process that we always took in the past. We have face-to-face consultations regarding taxes, regarding twinning highways, and Nova Scotians deserve those face-to-face consultations on this economic, social, justice, and moral issue. They don't deserve seven multiple questions.

[Page 967]

Will the minister agree to either hold real-time, face-to-face consultations like Nova Scotians want and deserve or, at the very least, go back to square one by scrapping the current online survey that my son could have put together in 10 minutes, and develop that secure and unbiased survey?

MR. FUREY « » : Nova Scotians are speaking loud and clear on this survey - as of today over 22,000 (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Justice has the floor.

MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to remind my colleague that if my memory serves me correctly, the member was fully supportive of the online survey when it came to the maintenance enforcement program. I don't see any difference. We're asking for the feedback and input from Nova Scotians. We will continue along that line.

[2:15 p.m.]

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

ENVIRON. - CARTERS BEACH (QUEENS CO.):

PRESERVATION - STATUS

MS. KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment. On October 5th, I asked the minister to tell me the current preservation status of Carters Beach and what the department plans to do before next summer. The response received was the department has yet to compile the information it received from the community meeting which, I might add, residents were very vocal with their frustrations and concerns. Can the minister please tell me when he expects the plan to be in place that will address the concerns of residents and protect the ecosystem of the area at risk?

HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : I thank the member opposite for the question. As I said last time, the province is going to engage in a conversation with the community members. To that end, there is the CLC, the liaison committee that has been set up. We are prepared to work with the municipality. There is a meeting scheduled for November and, subsequent to that, we have already committed to installing waste receptacles at the area, for human waste, which was an issue there. It is protected today under the Nova Scotia Beaches Act, but there's more work to do.

MS. MASLAND « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, this past summer there were many dangerous spots, with 350 people visiting Carters Beach because of its natural beauty. While the Region of Queens Municipality has responded to the many concerns of residents who are cleaning up the mess left behind by absorbing the cost of providing and pumping two privies three times a week, a washroom facility sat in inventory at the local DNR office in Milton. Can the minister reassure the people who have spent many hours and resources trying to keep the beach clean, that the proper infrastructure will finally be put in place for next year's season?

[Page 968]

MR. RANKIN « » : As I said, we have committed to installing permanent outhouse systems, if that's what the liaison committee lands on, but there will be responsibility for the municipality to operate those systems. Nova Scotia Environment does not operate those. It is not yet a protected area; it is pending in the process to be deemed a nature reserve, but if that's what the committee wants, they have to know the full implications of what that means and the limited human activity that would follow. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

TIR - ROAD MAINTENANCE: RIM BUDGET - RESTORE

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : My question is to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Tourism is at an all-time high in our province. More people are visiting our province over the last number of years than ever before. The roads and clean highways are an essential part of bringing people back to our province, but over the last two years the RIM budget for the maintenance of these roads and the sides of the roads have been cut in half. Will the minister commit to restoring the RIM budget so our valuable transportation employees can maintain this essential asset?

HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Thank you to the member opposite for the question. The road improvement money is dedicated operational funding that is available to all non-100- Series Highways in Nova Scotia. That money is allotted on a formula. It takes into consideration the amount in kilometres of highway that exists in each area manager's district. So, the method of distribution, is very fair. It seems to me that brush cutting, discretionary activities where these people who can apply operational funding outside of the capital allotment, is very appropriate for our province. Thank you.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I gained a lot of territory in the last re-alignment, but I didn't think that the roads grew that much in Cape Breton. With the lack of resources, both manpower and RIM budget, essential maintenance such as ditching, brush cutting, pot holes, et cetera, are not getting done. This has become a safety issue. Students and seasonal employees used to help. Staff have to be very creative in completing their tasks. We know there have been surpluses in the budget the last year, so we are saying, why can't we use some of that money?

I ask the minister, will the minister commit to seeing that there is enough staff and resources so that our staff can complete the necessary maintenance to our highways, roadways, and neighbourhoods?

MR. HINES « » : I would like to correct the member opposite in terms of what the money has been allocated for, for RIM. The RIM budget is $20 million - it was $20 million, but the Third Party reduced it. (Interruptions)

[Page 969]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has the floor.

MR. HINES « » : In 2010, that budget was reduced by 25 per cent. In 2014, this government increased it by $1 million, on top of the $10 million that we have allocated for gravel, and are considering increasing that in the next budget. Thank you.

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

H&W: NEW WATERFORD COMM. HEALTH CTR. - SITE APPROVAL

MS. TAMMY MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, during Budget Estimates at Province House, I asked the Minister of Health and Wellness about whether a site for a new community health centre in New Waterford had been confirmed. The minister said no formal decisions as to the final location and so on have been completed, and to my knowledge, those processes have not gone through and have been received and vetted and finalized. He also clearly stated that final decisions haven't been made.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Minister of Health and Wellness, is this still the case?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, as I indicated during Budget Estimates, there's a commitment to work to establish a collaborative care practice in her community in New Waterford, but at that time, as is the case today, final approvals have not been made as to a specific site location.

MS. MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, October 1st, I held a town hall meeting at the New Waterford Army and Navy to talk about the future of the New Waterford Hospital. Over 100 residents attended and spoke out against the government's reduction of health services in Cape Breton. At this meeting, I was told by a representative from the community health board that the province would break ground on a new community health centre as early as Spring 2018.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Health and Wellness provide an update on the source of this seeming confusion between the community health board and the Department of Health and Wellness?

MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, at this point - the member was at the meeting in question - if the member wants to provide detailed information as to who specifically she received that information from, I'd be happy to track it down and try to clarify where the misunderstanding is between the two. Without that additional information to work together, I'm certainly happy to work with her to try to track down where the miscommunication is.

[Page 970]

Again, I'll reiterate, as I said in the first question, no formal, finalized decisions have been made as to the location for that facility, other than to say that it will be in the New Waterford area.

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

H&W - FOYER PERE FISET NURSING HOME:

EXPANSION - UPDATE

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Last year, I tabled a petition calling on the provincial government to support a proposal for an expansion at the nursing home in Cheticamp at Foyer Pere Fiset.

Mr. Speaker, we know that some residents are sharing rooms with other residents, and in some cases sharing washrooms with up to three other residents. Privacy is an issue, and space is an issue for the staff who are caring for the residents, because the design is older and not up to the newer standards that we have now.

Can the minister provide an update on this proposal and on whether or not the government has an ability to support it?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. There are indeed a number of long-term care facilities across the province that were built, and the standards in place in some cases are not the same as a brand-new facility that gets built today. That would include a new build with many more private rooms and washroom facilities than the standard in days gone by, which is really more the norm than not across the province, so that would be the case that I think the member is describing.

As far as specific timelines, I don't have them for the member today, but I'm certainly happy to touch base with him afterwards and we can dig in and find out details.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, as the minister has referenced, the type of accommodations varies across the province - quite greatly in some instances. I know that it has been a while since new nursing home beds have been announced. I think the last nursing home that was announced in this province for new beds was back in 2009, so it's quite some time ago.

I think people, especially in the Cheticamp region, the Acadian region, are looking for some indication of timeline. If people don't see anything is coming, they start to lose hope, and they have family members living in the facility and they're concerned about them.

[Page 971]

I would ask the minister, could he provide some indication of a timeline - if it's not weeks or months, perhaps even in terms of years, as to when this proposal may be supported?

MR. DELOREY « » : As the member would know, there is an initiative ongoing within the department around our Continuing Care Strategy. I think that process that's well under way to really look at all of our long-term care, home care services across the province to ensure that we have the appropriate configuration, the appropriate beds allocated, and those resources that are available to our seniors, to the people in Nova Scotia, who rely on these services. So that work is ongoing and again, as I said, I'll touch base once I dig in on that specific one for Cheticamp. Merci.

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

ENERGY: ENERGY EAST PIPELINE CANCEL. - ACTION

MS. ALANA PAON « » : Last week, the Premier expressed disappointment that the Energy East Pipeline was cancelled and that the pipeline would not be extended into the Strait of Canso area, in the constituency of Cape Breton-Richmond. What he didn't say is that the cancellation of the project will shackle Nova Scotians to overseas oil and overseas prices indefinitely. It's easy to be disappointed after the fact.

As much as I would like to direct this question to the Premier, my question is directed instead to the Minister of Energy. What did the minister and the minister's department do to ensure that the Energy East Pipeline, and the jobs that inevitably would have come with it, made its way to Nova Scotia?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : This was a disappointing decision for the government. Obviously, it's a private-sector investment decision that has national implications. We are always supporters of this project, we worked with our sister provinces, with the national government, to try to keep this on the agenda. Phase one would have brought the oil to Saint John. At a later phase, we were hopeful it would have come to Nova Scotia, which would have provided access to the world markets through our beautiful province.

That's a decision that's outside of our control, but we've been doing tremendous work on our offshore oil and gas, on the idea of taking natural gas through to Nova Scotia and moving it on to international markets. So while we're disappointed, we're going to keep building on the energy file and make sure that we get all kinds of benefits from Canada's natural resources.

MS. PAON « » : Nova Scotians never heard this government stand up for them when it came to Energy East - and Nova Scotians are not seeing this government take a public stance against the federal tax changes that are coming down the only pipe we'll ever see.

[Page 972]

I would like to know, why is this government so afraid of standing up, in doing what's right, when it comes to opposing their federal cousins?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to assure her that we can defend the interests of Nova Scotians; we've done so most recently when I was in Ottawa to talk about the issue of tax changes.

We continue to work with our sister provinces, continue to talk about how we develop resources, not only Energy East but how do we ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro comes through our province, that we harness the Bay of Fundy, that we have access to our neighbours to the south when it comes to removing renewable energies industry sector?

But I want to ensure the honourable member, just because we don't find every microphone to yell at, doesn't mean we're not out doing our jobs. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

SERVICE N.S. - 211 CALL CENTRE: OUTSIDE STAFFING - REASON

MR. BRAD JOHNS « » : Over the last few weeks, I've been contacted by two different constituents about their experience when calling the provincial 211 call centre system. Each was very concerned that the responses that they were getting on the other end of the line were actually from people from out of this province.

Can the minister please explain to me why our 211 system is being handled by call agents outside of this province, on nights and weekends, when we have very capable Nova Scotians who are looking for work and are very familiar with our province and our issues? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order please. The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : That's clearly an important question. That is one that is very relevant to our province and to Service Nova Scotia. I'd just like to get a few further details from the member. I'd be happy to check that out. Maybe we can have a conversation after and get some of the specifics. I would be happy to work with him on that.

MR. BRAD JOHNS « » : Mr. Speaker, I apologize to you as well as to the minister.

As a result of these concerns, I actually called the 211 line myself this weekend and had just one question for the person, which was, where are you located. The person did tell me they were in Ontario, so I certainly look forward to meeting with the minister to address this.

[Page 973]

[2:30 p.m.]

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

H&W: DARTMOUTH LACK OF DOCTORS - ALARM

MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : My question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Many people in Dartmouth are worried about the future of health care in their community. Before the new year, four local family practitioners are scheduled to retire in the Dartmouth area. Their absence will leave approximately 10,000 residents of my constituency and of others in this House without a primary care provider.

Many residents of Dartmouth are senior citizens with complex health care needs. They cannot use a walk-in clinic, and they cannot wait years for a new doctor to be recruited. Dartmouth also has a substantial proportion of low-income residents, another population with high medical needs.

Would the Minister of Health and Wellness agree that this situation is cause for alarm?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : I thank the member for the question. As the member notes, her community having concerns with access to primary care, that would be the case, as I have said before, with people from across the province and communities across the province, whether it's in Cape Breton, in Dartmouth, in the HRM area, or down on the South Shore and points in between.

That's why we have committed to increasing the resources, the investments, to recruitment of primary care professionals to support our communities and provide those care services to the people of Nova Scotia to ensure they have the primary health care that they need and deserve.

MS. CHENDER « » : I'll start by saying that it has been acknowledged by Doctors Nova Scotia and others that Dartmouth may be in the most critical situation around family physicians at this moment. I would ask the minister just to focus on Dartmouth specifically if we could for a moment.

The 10,000 people I referred to are only the latest to join the ranks of those waiting for a family doctor. Already facing a doctor shortage, a wave of retirements is hitting the Dartmouth community: 33 of our 71 primary care physicians will retire within five years, leaving almost half of over 100,000 people in the catchment area of the Dartmouth General Hospital without a family physician.

[Page 974]

I would like to ask the Minister of Health and Wellness, when will people in Dartmouth see new doctors?

MR. DELOREY « » : As the member would know, part of the recruitment process does focus on working with physicians for those physicians to have the flexibility to choose where they practise when they come to Nova Scotia. So we're not in a position to explicitly state when the individuals will choose. We can't provide that direction. That process was attempted by the NSHA, to provide direction and require physicians to practise in a particular location. That has been deemed not the appropriate process.

We continue to have recruiters through the NSHA on the ground working to attract physicians to sign contracts, to provide services to Nova Scotians in Dartmouth, in Digby, in Cape Breton, and all points in between, all across the province. They continue to work with physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals.

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

EECD: INCLUSION MODEL - CHANGES NEEDED

MR. TIM HALMAN « » : My question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Residents in Dartmouth East are concerned about the lack of emphasis on the inclusion model of education. With the hasty rollout of pre-Primary, this government has focused on the early years of education. Unfortunately, students with diverse needs don't stop requiring support once they leave elementary school.

In fact, often the problems they face become larger and more entrenched. Parents of older students with diverse needs sometimes turn to home schooling due to a lack of supports in schools. Often their voices aren't heard as their energy is spent tackling the challenges of every day, instead of publicly advocating for change.

My question is this, how will this government commit to providing and improving supports for students with diverse needs from the P-12 level?

HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Of course, we start by addressing what has been the elephant in the room for a number of years in Nova Scotia, the model of inclusion that has been implemented here. We are giving that a full review. We have some notable experts coming in to assist us with that. I expect there to be recommendations that will help us develop a blueprint to fix that system for a long time. We've also increased supports every year for students with special needs, and those needing mental health supports in our system as well.

MR. HALMAN « » : The inclusion model in our province is in disrepair. By not focusing on improving inclusion now, we are doing a disservice to our students, parents, our teachers, and our program assistants. Nova Scotians have cried out for help and for change.

[Page 975]

When will this government and this minister show the leadership required to make the identified changes to the inclusion model that Nova Scotians have been screaming for?

MR. CHURCHILL « » : The irony that the member suggests we rush on pre-Primary but won't allow us to undergo the process for the Inclusion Commission to provide us with its recommendations before we move on them, I find quite compelling of the problem with that member's argument.

The fact is, we have a lot of work to do in the education system. We're tackling the administrative model, we're tackling the system of inclusion, we're looking at classroom conditions, and we're bringing forward the first new universal pre-Primary program. We've got a lot of work to do, and we're not going to waste a day.

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

EECD: PRE-PRIMARY STUDENTS - EDI USAGE

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. The early development instrument, or EDI, measures children's ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations at school entry. The EDI can predict how children will do in elementary school.

My question to the minister is, has the minister arranged for school personnel to complete the EDI questionnaire to be given to the pre-Primary students?

HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : In fact, the EDI numbers are, in part, used for identification for phase one of locations, after this, where we know the need exists in our communities. That was a key factor in terms of making that decision.

MR. DUNN « » : The EDI measures five core areas of development that are known to be predictors of later health, education, and social outcomes. The EDI helps identify geographical groups of children who are vulnerable and who, without additional supports, may experience future challenges in school and in society.

Will the minister commit today to having the pre-Primary children complete the early development instrument, thereby allowing our children to get the best start in life?

MR. CHURCHILL « » : Finally, a member of the Progressive Conservative caucus recognizes that pre-Primary is going to help our children get a better start in life. This has been a long time coming. I want to thank that member. Perhaps next time he stands up for someone else, they can actually clarify the position of that caucus.

[Page 976]

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

COM. SERV. - HOUSING N.S.: DISABILITY CLIENTS - SERVICE GAP

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : My question is for the Minister of Community Services. Housing Nova Scotia has several programs in place to help people with disabilities adapt their homes to accommodate independent living with their disability. Housing Nova Scotia also offers programs for low-income persons and families to secure accessible, affordable housing.

There appears to be a gap in services covering those individuals and families with disabilities who do not own their own home but also do not fall within the low-income threshold. What programs, services, or incentives are in place that will allow this group of individuals to find accessible housing?

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I will be happy to go back to Housing Nova Scotia and have a chat with them to make sure that we don't have a gap there between the two.

MR. HARRISON « » : Just a little bit more information, Mr. Speaker. I'm currently working with some constituents who fall within this gap of programming. We have called a lot of landlords in the Truro area - as many as we could think of - and those who offer some accessible apartments didn't currently have any availability.

My constituents are currently facing exorbitant costs associated with long-term rental while they search for appropriate housing. Can the department help in this situation?

MS. REGAN « » : I'd be most pleased to sit down with the honourable member. We'll take a look at his clients' particular issue, and we will do our absolute best to help them out. Thank you.

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

H&W - GENDER CONFIRM. SURGERY:

GENDER-CONFIRMING GARMENTS - FORMULARY INCLUDE

MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, my constituent, Sherri Dawn Barrett, is a woman who is currently awaiting gender confirmation surgery. One of the conditions of her treatment is that she lives, prior to the surgery, in a way that she hopes to live after it, which includes dressing in appropriate clothing. Ms. Barrett is also an ESIA recipient. When she brought a request to an ESIA caseworker with a note from a doctor, she was told that the things she needed were not medical necessities, leaving Ms. Barrett's treatment in jeopardy. My question for the Minister of Health and Wellness is, if gender-confirming garments are prescribed by a physician as a prerequisite treatment for gender confirmation surgery, why are they not included in the provincial formulary.

[Page 977]

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for bringing the question forward. Certainly, I think the role and the position of this government when it comes to supporting individuals with transgender needs, it is demonstrated with some legislation we brought forward in the previous session. With respect to the resources that may be identified or prescribed by a physician, unfortunately, not all services or all required materials, be they prescriptions, are covered by the formulary that are all possible items.

MS. LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, as I'm sure the Minister of Community Services is aware, many transgender individuals face employment discrimination on the basis of their gender identity. Those who transition later in life, often find themselves suddenly economically vulnerable when employers or families are not supportive and they might need to rely on employment supports and income assistance. In cases like my constituent's, gender-confirming garments are not only necessarily for mental health and well-being, but can be an important tool for getting back on one's feet. Will the Minister of Community Services ensure that gender-confirming garments are covered under the special needs allowance?

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the questions and I must say this is the first time this has come to my attention and I would be happy to sit down and take a look at that particular issue. It has never come to my attention as something that could be added to the formulary. Thank you.

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

BUS. - BRIGHTSTAR REPT.: PICTOU CO. NEEDS - ADDRESS

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Business. Last Spring, I think, the government engaged Brightstar to do a study of rural Internet services and try to identify where some gaps might be. I understand from Estimates last week that Pictou County was in the top two greatest needs. So, I would like to ask the minister, when can the people of Pictou County expect to see a plan to address some of these issues?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Brightstar has conducted significant work for the Province of Nova Scotia with respect to the middle mile. So, that key piece of infrastructure linking major centres to some of the rural areas, are certainly a target for us in our broadband initiatives now that we're in that last mile piece as well. So, we re-engaged Brightstar to do an additional component of this study so that once we knew how we would get the FibreOP or the satellite technology into rural areas, how we would actually connect them to the home.

[Page 978]

So the member is right, there certainly is a focal point around Pictou and a few specific areas in the province and we're going to count on Brightstar to give us that information. Again, as we said in Estimates and Question Period last week, Nova Scotia is really punching above its weight in terms of commitment to the broadband issue and making sure that we're connecting Nova Scotians with $14.5 million coming this year, lots of money leverage from the feds, and many more dollars to come.

MR. HOUSTON « » : I thank the minister for the answer. So, we're waiting for a second phase, I think, a second-phase report for the last mile, and I wonder when that report might be expected. Also, when the people of Pictou County and all of rural Nova Scotia, can expect to see actual work on filling the need that's there.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I believe the final phase of the Brighstar report is going to be somewhere around mid-Fall. However, really, that's going to be important information and detail, there's no doubt about it. But, at the end of the day, I think, from a departmental perspective, certainly from a government perspective, we understand that there's a lot of work to do. So, the money that we have allocated for broadband, $14.5 million, the hundreds of millions that's going to be allocated through the federal program, that will certainly do a lot to leverage the municipal projects that we have across the province, which municipalities are certainly taking on their specific needs. All of those things are happening now. So, we don't have to wait for that report to have final details on what the plan is going to be.

We're going to put together a structure here and spend that money as soon as we can but, at the end of the day, those plans are ongoing. We've got to get that money on the ground as soon as possible so that we connect more and more Nova Scotians with every dollar that we invest. Thanks.

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

LAE - STUDENT ASSIST.: ONLINE COURSES - INCLUDE

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. My constituent, Emily, was told last year she did not qualify for a student loan. The only reason given from the student loan centre was that it was an online course, they didn't offer loans for strictly online courses. If Emily had one class in an actual building, they could have offered the loan but since every class was online, she had no options for a student loan. My question for the minister is, is this correct? No student loans for strictly online courses?

[2:45 p.m.]

[Page 979]

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, yes, that is correct. Our student loan program is for courses in institutions in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, this was for an early childhood education course at NSCC. My constituent called in May of this year before she applied because she wanted to know if online courses were considered full time or part time. That's when she was told online studies didn't qualify for student loans and there was no point in applying. My question for the minister is, when will this be fixed, given that in this day and age online courses have become more significant in our lives. This government recognizes online courses for teachers who upgrade to a master's. When will this be fixed?

MR. KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't know if this is something that needs to be fixed but I'm certainly more than willing to look at it and if the member would like to share with me the details of the case, I'll look at it into the department. It might be something that with budgeting pressures, in the future, if they allow for us to take a look at it and allow funding for online courses. Thank you.

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

TIR - CAPE ISLAND CAUSEWAY: DISREPAIR - REMEDIATION

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, on May 1, 1949, over 100 automobiles were the first cars to cross the Cape Island Causeway. With a $600,000 causeway built 68 years ago, we have seen lots of changes in our world. Currently what's happening to the Cape Island Causeway, there seems to be a bit of subsidence happening, there are a couple of bumps in the road and the constituents of Cape Island are concerned that the causeway might be falling in disrepair. My first question to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is, is he aware of the issue and what might be the remediation for the Cape Island Causeway?

HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing that to my attention. I have to say it has not been surfaced to me. However, I can tell you that we have a great commitment to our highway system in our rural areas and recognizing the nature of our province connected by ferries, connected by causeways, we are committed to making sure that these accesses and avenues are kept in good repair.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I can tell you I'm sure the people of Cape Island wouldn't want to be going back to a ferry. Right now the question is - actually I do know some of the answers to it. The department right now is looking at ways to sort of map what's going on in the causeway without having to dig holes or move things out of the way. Maybe if I may impart upon the minister that they do that as quickly as they can and, basically, pave and fix what already has a bump in it, to at least alleviate and communicate with the residents of Cape Sable Island.

[Page 980]

MR. HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite. I'd be more than happy to investigate this more fully and get back to you on what our solution might be. Thank you.

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

PSC - SURVEY: GOV'T. EMP. - VALUE

MS. TAMMY MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, this Spring the Public Service Commission conducted a survey of all government employees. These hard-working people develop and implement the programs and services Nova Scotians depend on, yet only 46 per cent of these employees said they feel valued by the Government of Nova Scotia. My question is for the Minister of the Public Service Commission. Does this minister agree that the actions of this government have left government employees feeling undervalued?

HON. TONY INCE » : Mr. Speaker, the answer is no, and we as a government have been working very hard to support and make sure all our public servants are respected, feel comfortable and seen to work in an environment that they enjoy.

MS. MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, in the same survey one area of concern across all departments was senior leadership. Only 36 per cent of employees think senior leadership makes timely decisions.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The time allotted for Oral Questions Put by Members to Ministers has expired.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into a Committee of the Whole on Supply.

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

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to say a few words about this budget, to speak going into Supply. I would like to start by saying that, of course, as a farmer all my life, it was always my goal to have a surplus at the end of the year. I'm delighted to see a $131 million surplus. When I look at last year, I see that it was budgeted that we would have a $127 million surplus in the province, and we had a $149 million surplus, so approximately a $22 million surplus.

[Page 981]

My concern about the budget is, where did that surplus come from? When I look at the numbers in the budget, there's one line that jumps right out at me, and that is Hospital Infrastructure, in other words, capital spending in hospitals. I'm very concerned that the amount of the surplus is, in fact, approximately the same number as the underspending in the Department of Health and Wellness on capital infrastructure.

We spent the month of May in an election, which was ultimately fought on health care and doctors. A doctor for every Nova Scotian, that was the defining election issue, in my opinion, and in the opinions of others. I heard the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, when she presented the budget, say that they heard the message. In the election, they heard the message of what Nova Scotians want.

I'm very disturbed to see that once again the infrastructure budget was underspent by approximately 50 per cent. Maybe that would be okay if it was one year, and it was the election year. Maybe we could be forgiven for that, but this has been a trend. Every single year that this government has been in power, the hospital infrastructure budget has been underspent by approximately 50 per cent. I have a report from June 8, 2016. It said that in the last three years, since 2013, underspending on hospital infrastructure was $72 million. We have underspent our hospital infrastructure budget by approximately half each year that this government has been in power.

I'm very concerned about that because this is not simply about bricks and mortar. Capital spending in hospitals is also about equipment. It's providing good working environments for our staff. It comes down to things like dialysis. When I look at this year's estimate of where that capital funding is going to be spent, I say to myself, approximately half of that is not going to be spent at all - which half is it? How does the government decide which half they don't do? I'm very concerned about that.

We look back, and it's kind of curious, Mr. Speaker. Some things show up year after year. For myself, in this budget, which I am very grateful for, I had dialysis for Annapolis Valley Health, the Valley Regional Hospital. I can tell you, the Valley Regional Hospital needs dialysis (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Kings North has the floor.

MR. LOHR « » : I can tell you that if you need dialysis, it's a life-altering diagnosis. I actually had a constituent who went on dialysis two years ago - a good friend, really. His name is Peter. Somebody in the system said to him, Peter, move to Halifax - that's your only choice. In other words, the best option for Peter would have been to uproot from all his friends and family and he and his wife move into Halifax because of the travel. Dialysis is three days a week, four hours a stint, and he can't drive himself back. He could drive down, but he can't drive himself back, so someone else has to go. Four hours is a minimum - it can be as much as six hours. It is a life-altering diagnosis for him, and to have to go to Halifax is extremely discouraging. I know that members opposite are very aware of this. Fortunately for Peter, there is a dialysis unit in Berwick, and he was able to get on that.

[Page 982]

When I look at dialysis being announced in this budget for the Valley Regional Hospital, I am very pleased with that. However, when I look back at the capital plan for 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18, actually that line is in there each of those years. It's there. We had dialysis for Valley Regional Hospital every single year. That was one of the half of the things in the budget that just didn't get done. There are many other things. Approximately half of those capital items were never done in any of those years, and some of them appear year after year in the same category.

In fact, my question when I look at those four years in a row is, how come they didn't alphabetize it in 2015-16? It would have been easier for me to pick it out. For some reason, the staff of the Minister of Health and Wellness neglected to alphabetize the list in one year.

But other than that, a lot of these same items carry right through. The Aberdeen Hospital was slated in 2014-15 for a new ER expansion and a pharmacy redevelopment. That one carries right straight through year after year. In fact, I asked one of my colleagues from Pictou where that project is at. Apparently, the ER is slated to be open soon, so four years on the list, and it got done. The pharmacy still isn't done.

I recall a couple of years ago asking the then-Minister of Health and Wellness about this. I would be paraphrasing the answer, but what I heard in the answer - and I stand to be corrected - was basically that it was a lot of work to spend the money, and they didn't get it done. My reaction to that would be, do your work. I know that when budgets are prepared and when you plan a year ahead, it isn't actually all that much work to spend that money. I can tell you, the money gets spent easily. In my experience on the farm, the money gets spent easily and quicker than you anticipated. Putting these things in place is just a matter of planning and organizing that.

I look at this budget, and I think, well, yes, it's great that we have a little bit of a surplus. I know a lot of Nova Scotians are happy about that. But if we got it on the back of capital spending in health, then did we do the right thing?

The other problem with that is this is not a one-off item. This is year after year that we are underspending capital infrastructure in health by 50 per cent. My guess is that even at that, that number could probably easily be larger. There are probably other things that could have been on that list but aren't on that list, other capital items and other things that are needed, other equipment that is needed but isn't there. Probably that list, even as presented, was sort of a bare bones list. That's just my guess. I don't know that for sure.

[Page 983]

The other thing that concerns me about that list is that likely the things that are being spent on it - again, I go back to my farming days. Often the urgent takes priority over the important. What's urgent is getting the boiler replaced so you've got heat this winter. Maybe what's important is getting dialysis in there. The tyranny of the urgent is what it's called. I can fully appreciate that in this budget for hospital infrastructure there's a lot of super urgent items.

I recall my colleague, the member for Northside-Westmount asking questions for a couple of years in a row about when the steps will get fixed on Northside General. That would be a hospital infrastructure and maintenance item, to replace those front steps (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Kings North has the floor.

MR. LOHR « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is an example of something that would be urgent. I would say that there are a lot of important items that are getting neglected in here.

The effect is not simply lines on a piece of paper. The effect is very real in the lives of ordinary Nova Scotians when the hospital infrastructure and maintenance budget is not spent, when it's underspent, and when things that are in there that are promised to communities are not done. There have been collaborative care centres promised, and it hasn't been done. It gets in there as a line item.

My father-in-law, who has passed away, had a line from Germany. He said paper is very patient. In other words, you can put anything you want down on paper, but it's really what you do that matters. My opinion about what is written on that paper is that it's actually a commitment on the part of government to fulfill, not simply something where you can just put anything you want down on the paper - that looks good, let's put that there - but we know we're going to only spend half of that.

I have a problem with that. I think this government has been "penny wise and pound foolish" might be the expression, because some of this stuff, the savings are not real savings. Some of these things, actually, in the end, cost more if you don't deal with it.

[3:00 p.m.]

[Page 984]

Again, experience from my own life, I know that this is the case. Sometimes you just have to do that. The sad thing is that the money was there in the budget, we have a surplus. We could have had the exact surplus predicted and spent the hospital infrastructure money this year. We could have had the exact surplus predicted but, in fact, we got about exactly that much more in the last fiscal year.

When I think about that my question is, is there a plan? Do you particularly plan to spend only half of it every year, because that's exactly what happens? Do you know which half you're not going to do right now? Like maybe you already have that all figured out and you know which half you're not really going to do. I would say that's a cruel joke on the communities that believe these things are going to happen.

I know that governments have a history of announcing the same things over and over again, hoping they'll get credit for the announcement - but four years in a row some of these items have been in here and have been neglected.

The needs in the community are real. I guess I find that all very strange. I will table this - I want to talk about the fact that in March of this year, two months before the election, there were $65 million worth of commitments made of spending in various communities around this province, pre-election spending. Probably most of the things on that list are worthwhile endeavours in reality.

There were a variety of community centres, they were mostly in what were at that time anyway, Liberal constituencies, honestly. I've got the list here and it's largely that. One was a yacht club - a yacht club got funding, I guess I have to scratch my head at that. Maybe there's political value in that, maybe that's worth winning an election for. But you didn't spend your money in hospital infrastructure, wouldn't there be political value in that, spending the money in the hospital infrastructure budget? Wouldn't there be political value in fixing the crisis in our health care system? That crisis is not simply doctors, it is hospital infrastructure; there is a crisis in hospital infrastructure.

My point about seeing all this is I can't fathom this thinking - and it doesn't stop. It seems to go on year after year and maybe that has become the new normal and we just accept that. But why put it in the budget then if you are really not going to do it - why not just give us a budget that really reflects what you really are going to do?

It's not like this just happened. I mean this has been four years in a row of the same process, the same thinking. I just can't fathom it. It's not that difficult to spend money; you simply have to do your work. It takes planning; it's not easy to spend money well. Sometimes you've got to make tough decisions, but that's what being a government is about - making those decisions. If you are not planning to spend the money, why put it in the budget then?

Here we have the last four years, approximately $70 million and, adding on this year, I'd say we're up to about $86 million, $87 million of hospital infrastructure budget that has not been spent.

[Page 985]

I would love to hear an explanation about that. I know we're going to go around in Supply and I'll hear from one of the members across the floor. I would love to hear exactly what the logic is, if somebody can answer that. I say that it is a factor in our crisis in our health care system, that having a good facility to work is the responsibility of the employer. We're the employer for the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The doctors and nurses and staff of this province are looking to us to provide them with a safe, good working environment. The citizens of this province are looking to us to provide them with the health care options they need - and dialysis is just one of them.

As I said, every year some of the same things show up on the list and continue to be there and it's simply a matter of doing what's right for this province, making the right decisions. I question the logic of this government on that fact; I question the logic of the minister, and in fact if that line item was slightly overspent I could probably go, yes, that makes sense because stuff goes up, and if you thought you were going to spend $34 million and you spent $35 million, I can appreciate that some things are rising in price. But to be underspent, consistently, year after year, to the tune of $80-some million in this province, with a variety of health care issues that face us as a province, I question the logic of this budget.

I think this is faulty logic. I challenge the Minister of Health and Wellness, the new Minister of Health and Wellness, to deal with this situation, and present to us, a budget next year, that shows that hospital infrastructure was spent, and not to have it on the basis . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The time allotted for the member's comments has expired. If there are no more participants in the Supply debate.

The House will now recess for a few minutes while it resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply.

[3:05 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CW on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Chuck Porter in the Chair.]

[7:15 p.m. CW on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Chuck Porter in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole on Supply reports:

THE CLERK » : That the Committee of the Whole on Supply has met and made some considerable progress and begs leave to sit again.

[Page 986]

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

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : 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. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 15.

Bill No. 15 - Environment Act.

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

HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 15, an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1994-95, the Environment Act, be now read a second time.

First, I want to recognize the hard work of the Nova Scotia Environment staff for putting together a good piece of legislation over the last couple of years and for all the work they've been able to do collaborating with stakeholders and Nova Scotians in achieving a balanced approach forward with the cap and trade system.

The new cap and trade program that the Government of Nova Scotia intends to deliver with the implementation of Bill No. 15 will help Nova Scotia remain a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Not only does this bill enable us to achieve even greater reductions in emissions than we were already going to achieve but the program we are developing by way of it recognizes the investments Nova Scotians have already made to combat the impacts of climate change on our environment.

Nova Scotia has already achieved the federal government's 2030 emission reduction target and our current emissions trending shows the province's greenhouse gas emissions will continue to climb. The province has also met its legislative target of generating 25 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2015 and we are on track to generate 40 per cent by the end of this decade.

I can assure members of the House that while we are pleased with this success, we do not intend to sit idle. We continue to build on the province's record. As the members would know, we have legislation before the House also to help us progress with our tidal industry. The cap and trade program that we are developing in this legislation will enable us to further our work on behalf of Nova Scotians. Whether it's rising sea levels, loss of sea ice or longer, more intense weather events, hurricanes, forest fires, and even in the last year here in Nova Scotia where we see droughts in the South Shore and flooding virtually exactly a year ago in Cape Breton, I think members of this House need to recognize that climate change costs all of us.

[Page 987]

There's the cost that results from significant storm damage, higher food bills, crops damaged by drought and there's an overwhelming personal toll, the members will notice in their own communities. These are the social costs that economists refer to as negative externalities. The evidence speaks for itself. We have more ice melting in the Arctic than ever before. Right next to us, the Atlantic Ocean experienced its warmest temperature on record last year.

Nova Scotians want and need to be part of a solution for a low carbon world. Last December the province signed on to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Part of that framework is to implement a price on carbon and we will do so with full knowledge of the investments already made by Nova Scotians. Our government continues to address the effects of climate change but we are doing so in a practical, thoughtful, and balanced manner.

We chose to develop a cap and trade program that protects both our environment and consumers. Our program, which covers the province's largest emitters, will be transparent, credible, accountable, and cost effective. That is the very mechanics of an emissions trading program, enabling the market forces to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal government recognized our aggressive and early action on climate change and gave us the flexibility we needed to make a carbon pricing mechanism work for Nova Scotians. If we had not acted early the required reductions would have been much deeper and would not account for the investments already made by Nova Scotians. The "do nothing" approach advanced by members opposite would result in an imposed carbon levy, that is the federal backstop.

The cap and trade program that we are moving forward with is designed to drive cleaner innovations. I want to be clear, the purpose is not to raise revenue. Rather than introducing a carbon tax, which would go into general revenue, there will be an absolute cap in the province, and allowances will be traded in the market. It is the best, most effective program for both reducing greenhouse emissions and minimizing costs to Nova Scotians.

With cap and trade, we harness the competitive market mechanisms that businesses already understand to drive innovation and incrementally bring emissions down. By encouraging cleaner innovation through market forces, Nova Scotia companies will be part of the green shift occurring around the country and around the world. Companies worldwide are becoming cleaner and more sustainable, and our businesses require similar market conditions to help them reduce their emissions here at home.

[Page 988]

If we do not continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our province, then we are abdicating our responsibility to Nova Scotians - not only our population but future generations.

Jurisdictions worldwide are taking action. Why is collective action on climate change important? Because climate change does not respect geographic boundaries.

I'm confident that the members here can all agree, as most of the world's scientists have concluded, that climate change is real and has been caused primarily by human activity. The question left for Nova Scotia is, what carbon-pricing program is the most balanced and the most cost-effective and accurately recognizes the substantive contributions Nova Scotians are already incurring in the electricity prices we pay today?

Here in Nova Scotia, the electricity sector is the largest source of greenhouse gases. There is a regulatory framework for the electricity sector that includes hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and I will commend past governments for that action taken. What our government was able to achieve through negotiations with the federal government is the recognition of the investments we have already made in the electricity sector. Cap and trade is an effective method that uses market forces to achieve results. By setting a predictable timeline, the private sector has the time to adapt. The business entities that will be directly involved in the system will be limited to our electricity utility, fuel suppliers, natural gas distributors, and large industrial emitters.

We have identified approximately 20 entities participating in the initial cap and trade program. Emissions trading systems - operating economies that generate close to half of the world's GDP and covers more than 15 per cent of global emissions. Europe's emissions trading scheme alone encompasses 31 countries. China, the largest emitter in the world, had seven different regional cap and trade systems, and will soon have a national system. These are the heads of state that met recently in Montreal with our federal government, in broad agreement of this type of action to address pollution costs.

The northeastern states, nine of them, have an emissions trading system in place for their electricity sector. Ontario, Quebec, and California operate a linked cap and trade system that covers the same emitters that Nova Scotia proposes.

This is collective action - action that is based on science. Nova Scotia, in my view, must be part of that science-based collective action, broadly supported by approximately 170 countries that are part of the Paris Agreement. By amending the Environment Act, we can develop a program that addresses sources of greenhouse gas emissions beyond the electricity sector and make it flexible to accommodate future changes.

Specifically, this legislation enables Nova Scotia to develop a program that caps greenhouse gas emissions, establishes a province-wide emissions target for 2030, permits training and distribution of greenhouse gas allowances, establishes a green fund, and implements reporting obligations and penalties for non-compliance.

[Page 989]

These amendments to the Environment Act will ensure that Nova Scotia's cap and trade program is both transparent and accountable. The regulations will establish the rules for emission trading, and regulated emitters will have to monitor and report their respective greenhouse gas emission information.

Also, government will be required to report on progress in achieving the targets. A greenhouse gas registry for program participants will be created. The registry will serve as the record for emissions and allowances. Greenhouse gas emission caps will also be established, and most emission allowances will be distributed to regulated emitters under the cap at no cost.

A small number of emission allowances under the cap will be held back in a strategic reserve at a set price to help promote market stability. If requested by emitters, these allowances could be sold to help stabilize costs. These allowances will only be released if emitters can demonstrate that there are no lower-cost options available on the market. Penalties for non-compliance and a green fund will also be established, and any money collected through the sale of reserve allowances or fines will be placed in this fund for climate change initiatives. The government will also be required to report on how monies in the green fund are used.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation will enable Nova Scotia to put in place an internal system that benefits Nova Scotians, and the government will regularly assess all options on the table to keep the best interests of Nova Scotians and our businesses at the forefront. This legislation allows for alignments with other jurisdictions and programs, should future participation and other initiatives make economic and environmental sense for Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year we consulted with Nova Scotians on the proposed design options for the program. We posted a discussion paper online and received feedback through email, mail, and face-to-face meetings. We had more than 50 one-to-one meetings with stakeholders and hosted group sessions. We heard from businesses, industry, academia, non-government organizations, municipalities, and individuals. What we heard was summarized and posted on the department's website, and I have met personally with several of these same groups.

There also will be more opportunities for stakeholders and the public to provide feedback. This Fall, stakeholders will be consulted on the reporting regulations. In the Spring, we will be consulting with stakeholders and the public on cap and trade regulations. Unlike a carbon tax, cap and trade has an absolute limit on greenhouse gas emissions.

To reiterate, our program is designed to allow for an appropriate transition for our businesses to carbon pricing. Similar to other jurisdictions, allowances will be distributed at no cost to emitters, to mitigate impacts and ensure they remain competitive. The intention is to pass this legislation, work with the federal government, industry, and other organizations to continue developing the details and have a program officially in place in late 2018.

[Page 990]

The federal government has set guidelines on how the cap will correspond with the price per ton each year. Nova Scotia will comply with these guidelines. The certainty around the program will ensure that businesses are aware of the requirements. They can invest in greener innovation or trade with companies that will achieve green innovation, if that is more cost effective. The system will galvanize private sector investment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Nova Scotia. The predictability is good for our businesses and better for reducing the impacts of climate change.

Mr. Speaker, climate change is a defining issue of our time and, I believe, an existential threat. Thanks to the work of Nova Scotians across this province, we are a national leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the success, we need and want to do more to address the damaging effects of climate change on our province and its broader implications for our country and our world. This bill and the resulting regulations enable us to take further action, based on science.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues here in the House who acknowledge the impacts of climate change and that they are devastating, who value the landmark achievement that is the Paris Agreement, who want to keep reducing the province's greenhouse gas emissions in a way that minimizes costs for Nova Scotians, I ask, please support this bill and engage in the dialogue as the regulations are developed. With this legislation, we can put in place a made-in-Nova Scotia program that builds on our success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, set a new, ambitious target for 2030, reward innovative companies, and ensure that households and businesses thrive as we transition to a low carbon economy.

I ask my colleagues for their support and I look forward to comments as this important legislation moves through the House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MS. KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak to Bill No. 15, the Environment Act. On October 3, 2016, the former Nova Scotia Environment Minister walked out of the national carbon pricing meeting after Trudeau delivered his ultimatum. The minister's statement on that day was, we're struggling to understand where the Prime Minister's message came from today and what's going to happen moving forward.

Well we have moved forward, Mr. Speaker. A stakeholder time period of March 8th to March 31st was short, leaving little time for Nova Scotians to, first of all, begin to understand the implications of the choices being proposed and provide input. This province has introduced a cap and trade system, but is vague in providing the cost to industries and, most importantly, what the impact will have on emission levels. Mr. Speaker, the minister is making his sales pitch as a made-in-Nova-Scotia approach, one which will protect the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians and will have limited impact on consumers.

[Page 991]

[7:30 p.m.]

When questioned in a media scrum, the Minister of Environment could not put a dollar on the cost, stating it was pure speculation, but higher cost would not go to customers. Well, this worries me. It worries me because this government is introducing legislation and the minister has no idea what the impact will be on Nova Scotians and, while the minister cannot speculate or offer an economic analysis of something so important, well, I think I'm safe to speculate. You're looking at costs that will equate to $10 per ton in 2018 and $50 per ton in 2022. The Conference Board of Canada is suggesting $80 per ton in 2025. At $80 per ton, it will cost the average household another $2,000 a year. Those are the numbers and costs that this government is not talking about when questioned at the introduction of this bill.

The reality is, this will have a huge impact on the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians. Approximately 20 large companies will be required to participate; some we know: Nova Scotia Power Inc., Irving Oil Ltd., gas importers, Lafarge cement plant, and others to be determined. My colleague, the member for Inverness, asked the question to the Minister of Energy last week in Question Period, who will benefit from the trading of emission allowances and, by extension, who will lose? If somebody wins, somebody loses. We all know that. How the government can put forward something as significant as a cap and trade system when there's no economic analysis and no claims it won't hurt anyone, but also claims people will have a reason to reduce their consumption. Will the end user be penalized because they will be forced to reduce their consumption of home heating fuel, gasoline, electricity, because they simply will not be able to afford to purchase it?

While the hope is that companies will want to avoid the additional costs and cut emissions, my concern under this system is, credits will be purchased and the cost will be passed down to the consumer and, most importantly, it will have minimal impact on our environment. Nova Scotia manufacturers are saying this will definitely negatively impact competitiveness in an already fragile economy. Cap and trade will stunt our economic growth and it will be difficult to attract new businesses to Nova Scotia, especially those that have large emissions and export their product.

Besides stunting our economic growth, this legislation does little to address GHG emissions, neutral path, one that shifts from wasteful use of imported fossil fuels to the efficient use of renewable energy, that is and can be produced right here in our own province.

[Page 992]

The Conference Board of Canada has stated that investing in green energy is the way of the future and I truly believe this needs to be our continued direction. If you look at it, carbon pricing is already embedded into our electricity bills. Nova Scotians have been paying an indirect carbon tax with electricity rising 62 per cent since 2005. We as a province have been successful in reducing emissions in our electricity sector because Nova Scotians have been doing the heavy lifting for the past 10 years, with some of the highest power rates in the country. We've paid through the nose to achieve greenhouse gas reductions through transition to renewable electricity generation and efficiency, LED lights and street lights, heat pumps, solar panels, and shopping locally for locally-made goods.

Right now, over 100,000 Nova Scotians have renewable heat in their homes. Our commitment for the last 10 years has grown our renewable portfolio from 7 per cent to 30 per cent, exceeding our reduction targets. Actually, our greenhouse gas emissions have been declining since 2005 and we are currently the provincial leader.

The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act became law in the Spring of 2007 introduced by the Honourable Mark Parent, a minister of the Progressive Conservative Government. So when my colleague says the members on this side have a do nothing approach, I can't agree with that.

This very successful piece of legislation outlined:

"The long-term environmental and economic objective of the Province is to achieve sustainable prosperity and to this end to

(a) establish clear goals that foster an integrated approach to environmental sustainability and economic well-being; and

(b) work towards continuous improvement in measures of social, environmental and economic indicators of prosperity."

The 25 goals and the two overarching objectives have resulted, as of March 31, 2017, in 13 goals achieved and 12 goals still in progress, with nine of the goals having associated targets that extend it to 2020. That is not a do-nothing approach.

The EGSPA 2015-17 report highlights the achievements and commitment to identifying new ways to focus on supporting a green economy. Under EGSPA, we are more than a decade ahead in reducing our GHG emissions. We have reduced 30 per cent below 2005 and are on track to reach 46 per cent by 2030. We are known all over the world for being leaders in recycling and composting. We have cleaner energy through energy efficiency. We have saved $110 million in power costs and reduced 590,000 tons of GHG emissions. We did all of this while creating jobs in Nova Scotia. EGSPA has provided a strong framework for our province in integrating environmentally sustainable economic prosperity with great success.

[Page 993]

Mr. Speaker, 79 per cent of CFIB members support environmental initiatives and believe it is possible to grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. EGSPA has done this and continues to do this. We can continue to do this without imposing a tax on Nova Scotians.

Under cap and trade, sadly consumers will be taking one under the chin once again. Costs will be downloaded to the consumer. Let's face it, in rural Nova Scotia, we all need to drive to work. We need to truck lumber supplies to areas which are isolated. I know I myself pay more for fuel where I live because I'm further away from Halifax.

I have serious concerns with respect to costs of home heating fuel. Time and time again in my previous job, I discovered seniors bundled up, with towels under their doors and blankets over their windows, trying to stay warm. Time and time again, I have met low-income families choosing to pay the oil bill over quality food. They cannot afford any more. This government needs to look at social equity. We need to protect the well-being of low- and medium-income Nova Scotians as well as vulnerable households.

Although we have been told the agriculture industry will be exempt from this program, I still remain concerned for our farm-to-fork industry. Fuel is needed to transport and export.

Nova Scotia is unique. We have done much research in tidal power and wind power, and we are blessed with the Bay of Fundy, the highest tides in the world. Nova Scotia has more wind power in our mix than eight other provinces.

The administration of this cap and trade system will be complex, and it will be costly in what is a very tiny market of emitters. Nova Scotia does not have a heavy industry. Although I believe we all have our role to play, Nova Scotia has a minimal impact on the world stage of emitters. Coal-burning generation stations pump out the lion's share at 44 per cent; the transportation industry, 27 per cent; commercial and residential heat, 13 per cent; oil and gas 5 per cent; and the remainder from waste from agriculture and other industry.

This government needs to measure and communicate the real cost to Nova Scotians. For something as important as doing business in Nova Scotia, this needs clarity. Nova Scotians are paying 15.5 cents excise tax on gasoline, 10 cents federal excise tax on gasoline and 15 per cent HST on top of that. Under this cap and trade system let's add another 7 cents a litre more on a litre of gasoline at the pumps, 9 cents more on a litre of home heating fuel, and 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour on electricity bills. These are increased costs that Nova Scotians cannot afford.

Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, we can always do better, but this legislation creates serious concerns on additional costs to Nova Scotians without addressing the issue of emission reductions. I have provided some figures today that companies have provided - now it's time for this government to provide us with some figures. Thank you.

[Page 994]

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

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I have to say I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill No. 15, an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Environment Act. This bill introduces the cap and trade system to Nova Scotia, and I have to say that of all the choices that could be made to address climate change I've always felt that cap and trade is actually the weakest choice. The Premier and Minister of Environment have both stated that this is the most cost-effective way of dealing with climate change.

Climate change, as we've all said here, is the biggest challenge of our times. For years Nova Scotia has been a national leader when it came to leadership and innovation on environmental issues. In March 2007, this Legislature unanimously passed the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act. That piece of legislation set emission reduction targets for greenhouse gases, sulphur dioxide, mercury, and nitrogen oxides. It also set hard targets for renewable energy generation at 18.5 per cent by the year 2013. These hard targets provided legislative goals that could direct future policy-makers in their choices.

Our former NDP Government picked up the torch when we came to power in 2009 and passed the Green Economy Act. This set new emission reduction targets for sulphur dioxide, mercury, and nitrogen oxides. Most importantly, the Green Economy Act set further hard targets for renewable electricity generation, upping the ante to 25 per cent by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. These hard targets for renewable energy generation were essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Department of Environment, in 2015 the electricity sector accounted for 41 per cent of all GHG emissions - 41 per cent, Mr. Speaker.

Taking action to fight climate change meant taking action on pursuing renewable energy generation and that's what we did. We introduced the COMFIT program as part of the 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan. We invested in efficiency programming, and all these efforts combined made us a national leader on combatting climate change, and for that we were very, very appreciative and very proud. We are now seeing the results of these initiatives, Mr. Speaker. We achieved our 2015 target and we're now on our way to achieving our 2020 target - and this is something that I think all Nova Scotians can be proud of.

I think it's also important to note that the NDP Government of Nova Scotia accomplished this, all of this, without a carbon tax and without a cap and trade program. Why? Because we set hard targets and we worked to achieve them together.

[Page 995]

So now we come to the current government. While in Opposition, I have to say I remember full well how the Premier and his Liberal caucus were highly critical of renewable energy initiatives and efficiency programs. It's extremely interesting to watch the Premier talk about all the great work that the province has done. How times have changed.

[7:45 p.m.]

Now, we hear this government talk about the virtues of adding more renewables like solar and tidal to our mix. Now we see this government investing public money in efficiency programs, yet when they were in Opposition, they called these same programs nothing more than a burdensome tax. Right?

Well, Mr. Speaker, that is partisan politics at its worst. I am concerned that this Liberal Government really has no plan for setting hard targets for renewable energy generation beyond 2020 as part of their cap and trade program. As I mentioned, it is the electricity sector that makes up the bulk of our emissions, and shifting to renewables will not only help our environment, it will help stabilize rates in the long run as we move away from being tied to fluctuations of the international price of coal.

In terms of the bill before us, there is still a lot we don't know about what this program will look like. We don't know who exactly will participate, nor do we know what the emission caps will be. These are important details that are yet to come. But what we do know, Mr. Speaker, is that it seems like this government is satisfied to just coast along on the work of past governments - that's right, past governments.

It seems the main goal of this bill is to minimize the impact on our biggest polluters - in fact, the opposite of polluter-pay. The initial allowances are free, but if the participants go over their cap, well, voila! The government will maintain a reserve that they can draw from. Well, this leaves me to seriously question the impact that this program will actually have on reducing emissions at all. In fact, I would submit it won't.

Furthermore, private companies may even be able to make a profit by selling off any extra allowances they may have. It's funny, but when the Liberals first took office, the current Minister of Health and Wellness was the Minister of Environment. At the time, he said, "Nova Scotia is missing out on opportunities to offset waste management costs and increase diversion." He also talked about adopting regulations around extended producer responsibility - EPR, or polluter-pay as I mentioned earlier.

However, he then moved on to Finance and Treasury Board, and the polluter-pay idea disappeared. Now we see this Liberal Government implementing a program that basically subsidizes big polluters. Yes, times have definitely changed, but in my opinion, they have not changed enough. We've walked five steps forward, only to walk seven steps backwards.

[Page 996]

I know there are many individuals and organizations who will want to appear before the Law Amendments Committee to provide their feedback on this bill. Luckily, I sit on that committee, and I enjoy hearing what Nova Scotians have to say about the legislation before us. I am looking very much forward to the Law Amendments Committee. I will take that feedback into consideration and report back to this House on third reading.

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : This is a very important bill that is before this Legislature. I think it exposes the different views of the three Parties in living colour. One thing I'm sure we all agree on: climate change is real, climate change needs to be dealt with, and Nova Scotians absolutely want to do their part.

When we turn on the news and we see the flooding that's going on and the hurricanes that are happening with increasing frequency in the United States and coming up the Atlantic Coast, we know this is an environmental challenge of our time. Nova Scotians want to know that their government is up to that challenge and they want to know that we have a plan to actually do our bit to make things better.

It is not lost on the average Nova Scotian that this is a province, it's a peninsula, it is stuck out into the Atlantic Ocean. We all live at sea level or near sea level and we have to do our bit. In fact, for all those who care about the kind of climate and the kind of Nova Scotia that we pass on to our children and grandchildren, we have to get this right. This is a beautiful province, it has pristine bays and harbours, has clean air, it has so much going for it - wonderful natural resources and natural environment. We want our kids to experience that the way that we experienced that, the way our own parents experienced that.

I don't actually believe there's an MLA in this House who disagrees with a single thing that I just said. But, Mr. Speaker, here's the difference. We all agree this is a big problem. We all know it has to be dealt with. We all agree that the government has a duty to act, but that action has to mean something. It has to be real, it has to have a real effect on the environment, and this bill does not do any of those things. It is a fake bill, it is a phony bill, it does nothing for the environment. It is a joke, it is a disgrace that a government would bring a bill before this House that is called the Environment Act and does nothing for the environment.

I hope that Minister of Environment knows that he is being watched to see if he means what he says and he is going to take real action and he is failing that test, Mr. Speaker. The Premier, the Leader of the government, says Nova Scotians don't have to pay more and the environment will get cleaned up at the same time. That is the "you can have your cake and eat it too" argument. It is phony. There is no way that could be true and the proof is in the bill itself, because one would think that a bill that comes to this House to clean up the environment would actually have environmental targets in it. How much will greenhouse gases go down? They don't know. How much will sulphur dioxide go down? They don't know. How much will nitrous oxide go down? They don't know.

[Page 997]

Mr. Speaker, this is not an environment bill. An environment bill would say those things, and this doesn't. It doesn't say any of those things - or mercury, or renewable energy, or all the targets that have been so meaningful to the way Nova Scotia has gone, cleaning up its environment for the last 10 years. Nothing on any of those things.

Mr. Speaker, the one thing this bill does say for certain is that carbon will be priced at $10 a ton in 2018 and go up to $50 a ton in 2022. That is the only target we know. At the minute that you put a bill in this House that talks only about adding a price to carbon, it is no longer an environment bill - it is a taxing bill. That's all that this is. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, Saint Mary's University - at the behest of the CBC - has taken those carbon pricing targets and they have broken them down into more cents a litre in gasoline, more cents a litre in home heating fuel, and they have come up with the real numbers that this government refuses to tell the people of Nova Scotia. When they hit their targets on taxes of $10 a ton, going to $20, going to $30, they are going to add 7 cents a litre to the price of gasoline and 9 cents a litre to the price of home heating fuel. That is a fact. It has been studied and proven by Saint Mary's University, which is just as good as Dalhousie University in many ways, and some of the others as well.

Mr. Speaker, we've tabled those facts before this House, we'll table them again. The minister is yelling at the Environment Critic, "Table it, table it". You would think he would know the effect of his own bill but he's asking the Opposition to table the information. Well that just shows you how empty this bill is when all they know is how much more in tax they want to charge but they don't know whether it will help the environment or not.

Mr. Speaker, there is a common sense test that has been failed here. What is it about home heating fuel and gasoline that is so obvious to everybody else but the government? They are essential. Nova Scotians use them every day to heat their homes, to drive to work, to live their lives. They can jack up the price of those essentials all they want. Nova Scotians can't drive 80 per cent of the way to work; they have to drive the whole way. We should not be asking them to heat only 80 per cent of their home; they should be able to heat their entire home.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, it's a straight-out tax grab because it's taxing the essentials of life. Nova Scotians cannot cut back on home heating; they cannot cut back on driving to work. They are going to have to do those things and eat the cost. In other words, this idea that we can have our cake and eat it too has been exposed for the fallacy that it is because Nova Scotians will pay more and the environment will not get better. That is the problem with this bill, and it's shameful to come here and tell us that this is an environment bill when it's not an environment bill. It is a taxing bill and, you know, it's not like they didn't have an example. It's not like the government did not have an example to deal with.

[Page 998]

My colleague here in the Progressive Conservative caucus, my colleague in the New Democratic Party - they pointed out that Nova Scotia actually has been a shining light in cleaning up the environment through the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act of 2007. Yes, it was a Progressive Conservative bill but, you know what? All three Parties voted for that bill at the time; all three Parties came together and endorsed a bill that had no new taxes in it. It did not say this is how much more people will have to pay because that is not the approach that bill took, but what it did have was real targets for reductions of emissions into the atmosphere.

It cut back on greenhouse gas emissions with real targets and real penalties, when they weren't met, with the force of law, something this bill lacks, and real targets for reductions of poisonous gases like nitrous oxide, like sulphur dioxide, with real penalties if they were not met, and the same with mercury and the same with renewable energy with real penalties if those targets weren't met, and you know what happened? The ingenuity of private business, the ability of innovators to deliver electricity, to deliver their products, to deliver their goods and services within those limits came into force and Nova Scotia business responded with the certainty that they had to live within those targets and there were penalties if they didn't - and they were up to the task.

That is how you use the private market to solve environmental problems - that's how you count on the ingenuity of the everyday Nova Scotian to solve environmental problems without raising their taxes. That's what was done in 2007 and that's why Nova Scotia leads the country today in cutting back on those important environmental concerns.

That is what we should be doing today. We should have a bill before this House that says we did a great job from 2007 to present or, more specifically, Nova Scotians did a great job. Now, let's double down and clean up the environment and set new goals with new targets and new penalties and see how much further we can go. But that's not what's happening, and for the minister to say what we need now is a price on carbon ignores the fact there is already a gigantic price on carbon in this province already.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, and everyone, next time you're getting gas take a moment and look at that little pie chart that's plastered on every pump in the province that shows you where your dollar goes to when you buy it on gasoline - 15.5 cents excise tax per litre of gasoline, that is a carbon tax; 10 cent federal excise tax on gasoline, that is a carbon tax; and 15 per cent HST on top of those excise taxes, the infamous tax on tax on gasoline, something this government campaigned against and then flip-flopped on when they got in, that is also a carbon tax. So, 15.5 cents, plus 10 cents, 25.5 cents, plus 15 per cent - Nova Scotians, on $1, are paying 45 cents a litre in carbon taxes already.

[Page 999]

[8:00 p.m.]

But that's not enough for this government - they want to add another 7 cents by putting a price on a ton of GHG emissions. And that's just to drive your car - then there's heating your home, something that's an even more essential part of everyday life, particularly in our northern climate.

This government says this is a made-in-Nova Scotia solution. I say this government ignored the reality of Nova Scotians when they came up with this so-called solution, and I'll tell you why. More Nova Scotians heat their home with oil than anywhere else in Canada. We have a higher reliance on home heating fuel than anywhere else. Knowing that, why would the government decide that the right thing to do is add 9 cents a litre to the cost of home heating fuel? Why would that be the case?

That's not a made-in-Nova Scotia solution, that's an ignore-the-reality-of-Nova Scotia solution. Hit them where it hurts. Make it harder to get through the essential everyday expenses of life, like heating their home. We don't have a lot of hydro like Quebec or the West. We don't have a lot of natural gas to heat our homes, like out West. We rely in large part on home heating fuel, and that has been specifically listed in the legislation as an area where the cap and trade cost will apply. That is a shame.

I heard the minister say, well the Opposition has a do-nothing approach. It's the opposite. The government has a do-nothing approach. Bring forward a meaningless bill that does nothing for the environment, that drives up the cost. We'll all feel good that we passed something called the Environment Act and nothing will get better. That is a meaningless approach.

On this side, in this very session, the Opposition Critic for the Environment has brought forward important new environmental legislation that actually would do good for the environment and not just make a government feel good about itself. Like the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act of 2017, which is on the order paper right now, and we could pass in this very session and actually do something positive for the environment.

That great first bill is 10 years old. We have come a long way since then and the science has come a long way since then and we know there is more that we can now do. The threat of climate change has become even more obvious in the last 10 years. Why not take that bill that worked and update it to 2017?

The Government of Canada signed the Paris Accord. This country's signature is on an international climate change agreement that sets real targets on renewables and greenhouse gas emissions and all the other things we've listed. I for one, we for one, would like that signature to be real and to mean something. Too often countries have signed these climate agreements with no intention of actually honouring them.

[Page 1000]

I don't agree with that. I think if your country puts its signature on an agreement, it should mean something. I want Canada's signature to mean something. I want my country to walk the talk and mean what it says and do what it signs. The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act of 2017, basically says let's take that Paris Accord, let's break it down by province, let's define Nova Scotia's share, and let's put it into law and make it happen here. What could be more honourable and more real and more true to our children than to make that signature mean something? That is the alternative.

But this bill does not do that. It does not do that. The do-nothing approach is the Liberal Environment Act that is before this House now, because I think even the government would admit they have no idea whether it will help the environment or not. They have no idea if it will cut back on any emissions or not. But what they do know is it will cost Nova Scotians $10 to $50 a ton when they have to pay. What a shame.

I suppose we shouldn't be totally shocked, because we have a federal Liberal Government that is making some pretty drastic changes with the taxation of small businesses in this country, and we've seen the explosion that has caused. Now all the talk is about unintended consequences of those changes because they didn't think it through first. Those unintended consequences include making it more expensive for the family farm to transfer to the younger generation than if they sell it to a large multinational corporation. I believe and I hope and I pray that is going to get fixed because it seems that finally someone in Ottawa says, well maybe that was an unintended consequence.

Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Environment should ask himself whether there are any unintended consequences from the Environment Act that he is bringing before this House tonight. For example, if you are really interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, you might want to ask yourself, what if a Nova Scotia homeowner currently heating their house with home heating oil or even electricity wants to convert to natural gas? Well that would be a good thing for the environment because natural gas emits two-thirds less greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than home heating fuel and it emits less than the mix of fuels that we use to generate electricity today. They would actually be doing a good thing for the environment by converting from home heating fuel or electricity to natural gas.

But what is one of the 20 things this government proposes to tax under this bill? The distribution of natural gas. That's an absurdity, Mr. Speaker. You will now be penalized if you want to convert your home to natural gas. That's ridiculous. You are doing better for the environment but you have to pay a tax. Why would the government bring forward a bill that actually causes that absurdity? Could it be that yet again they didn't think through the consequences of what they were doing?

[Page 1001]

Could it be that we have another Liberal Government that just wants to look like they are doing something, that just wants to pat themselves on the back for having an environmental Act, that just wants to feel good about doing something for the environment but they actually don't do anything for the environment or, God forbid, they actually do something that makes the environment worse, like penalizing people who convert to natural gas?

That is one of the unintended consequences of this bill. I don't think the government thought of that, Mr. Speaker, or worse, they did but they don't care because they just want to say they have an environmental Act and something to pat themselves on the back for. That's not good enough. This is an important issue. This is one of the biggest challenges of our time. We do want to clean up the environment, but we want it to be real and meaningful and not just pretend.

Let me give you another example, Mr. Speaker. Metro Transit right here in the City of Halifax, all those buses run on diesel fuel. They have done a study to see if they should convert to natural gas - in their case to compressed natural gas - because they want to do their bit for the environment, they want to do their bit for emissions. They wonder if they can't operate more efficient and environmentally friendly bus services by converting those buses to natural gas.

What happens when they find out that this government wants to put a price on natural gas, even if they are leaving a more carbon-intense fuel to get there? That is an absurdity, that is an insult to the environment. That is actually worse than doing nothing - that is an action that will actually create a disincentive to do the right thing for our environment, Mr. Speaker. That's what this bill is all about.

Now I want to touch on the importance of making sure that when we do our bit for the environment that we actually protect the economy too. It is not lost on the people who care about this stuff that the original bill was called the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act for a reason - that is that they have to go together. You have to have both. There is no sense in being the cleanest on the planet if no one can work here, if no one can afford to live here, if there are no jobs here, Mr. Speaker. That makes a martyr but it makes us broke, and I don't think the government thought of that.

We have a lot of industries that are export sensitive. In other words, they make their products here and they sell them around the world, including to the United States, including to China - which the government champions - including to places around the world that, quite frankly, are not doing their bit for the environment. Does the government want to close all those businesses? Do they want to put them under because they want to feel good about the environment?

Let me give you a real example, Oxford Frozen Foods in my constituency. It's actually a great example - the world's largest processor of wild blueberries. They sell them around the world, and they're the best in the world at it. A few years ago, Oxford Frozen Foods converted their plant to natural gas because it was more efficient, because the price was lower, because it would help with their bit to clean up the environment. They thought they were doing a good thing, and they were doing a good thing. Under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, they would be rewarded for that. Under this bill, they would be penalized for that. Under this bill, they would be penalized for that. Mr. Speaker, how crazy is that?

[Page 1002]

More importantly, Oxford Frozen Foods, in order to succeed, in order to employ hundreds of Nova Scotians, needs to be able to compete. They already have the highest power rates in the country. They already have the most regulation, the highest Workers' Compensation rates, and the highest taxes in the country. Now they're being told, you know that natural gas? We have to tax that too. Oh, and you know what, Mr. Speaker? They're right there where the toll highway is, so every time they send a truck out to send their blueberries to market, they have to pay a toll - the only place in Nova Scotia where that's true. There is a blueberry plant in Maine that does everything that Oxford Frozen Foods does, except they don't have these punitive regulations on top of everything else that they have to pay in order to be in the market. God forbid that Oxford Frozen Foods becomes one of those unintended consequences of this government's actions.

The irony, Mr. Speaker, is that on this very day, the government brought forward a bill on natural gas distribution which looks like a good bill because it will lower the cost of natural gas. On this very day when they're doing a good thing for natural gas on one hand, they're taking it all away and more on the other hand. Is it too much to ask that in government the left hand and the right hand actually know what each other is doing, that when the Minister of Energy brings in a natural gas distribution Act to lower the cost of natural gas, we actually know and he knows and the government knows that the Minister of Environment is bringing forward a bill on the very same day to raise the cost of natural gas? Is that too much to ask? But that has been a pattern, and Nova Scotians deserve better.

The final insult to Nova Scotians is the fact that so little of the future is actually written into the bill itself, that so much of this bill is now, we're told, to come in the future in the form of regulation. It wasn't that long ago that, when a government brought a bill to this House, they would have the regulations that were going to come into force with the bill already done. They would show that to the public of Nova Scotia, and they would show that to the Opposition Parties so we would know what the rules of the game were going to be. But those days seem to have ended with this government.

Now we're told, just trust us - all of the rest will be dealt with in regulation at some future date. I'm sure the film industry was told, just trust us - we'll figure it out. The doctors of Nova Scotia are being told, just trust us - we'll figure it out later. This is so crazy. When the government banned onshore gas development, we were told, just trust us - we'll put a definition around high-volume fracking. That was four years ago. We're still waiting.

[Page 1003]

[8:15 p.m.]

When the government said they were going to have a definition of "clear-cutting" - that was five years ago, the previous government. This government's already gone through a full term. We're still waiting for that definition. The time for "just trust us" has long passed.

We're dealing with real jobs here. We're dealing with real taxes here. We're dealing with the costs of living of everyday Nova Scotians here - the basic essentials of life, like driving to work or heating your home. "Just trust us" is not going to cut it. We need to see those regulations.

I challenge the minister to bring forward regulations that we can see before this bill gets to third reading. In fairness to all Nova Scotians, who are going to be asked to do more, that's the least he can do for them. In fact, the great irony of all this is that the minister himself said, we're bringing this bill forward to give Nova Scotians certainty about where the future is going on cap and trade.

Well, you know what, Mr. Speaker? There is less certainty than there was before. There is more uncertainty than there was before. The minister brings forward a bill that has no actual caps on emissions. The only certainty is how much our taxes are going to go up. That is the greatest irony of all.

Nova Scotians - past, present, and particularly future Nova Scotians, who truly care about the environment, who really want to see environmental change - they deserve way better than this government has brought to this House tonight. That's why we will be vigorously opposing this bill throughout the process.

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

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : What is the secret of Soylent Green?

That is a question I will answer at the end of this speech. What is the secret of Soylent Green? I'll explain later.

Now that I have your attention, I'll continue with my speech.

The government is not in an enviable position here. Our Prime Minister has said that the carbon tax is coming or else. The Clerk is shaking his head at me.

The government is not in an enviable position here. The federal government has said that something is going to be done or else. I think that in this province - and I asked a question in Question Period the other day. I think about our tourism industry and I think about Inverness. I think about tourism and how important it is to our area. I think about all the people who are flying here to play golf at the new golf courses, people who are renting cars and driving - they are all polluting. Tourism is probably one of the worst-polluting industries in the world, yet at the same time we're trying to encourage it, because it employs people. It puts bread on the table. That's a reality, and quite frankly, I think it's a reality nobody in this Chamber really wants to change. We want to grow tourism.

[Page 1004]

I question the logic of this legislation, but even more so, where it's come from, which is really the Prime Minister.

I think about the fishery, all the fishermen and fisherwomen who are off the coast of Inverness, steaming toward their fishing grounds - whether it's lobster, which is close in-shore, or perhaps crab, which can be further offshore. How are they going to get out there? Has anyone invented fishing boats with solar panels that get the fishermen and fisherwomen out to the grounds?

AN HON. MEMBER: Rowboats.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Somebody said "rowboats," and yes, rowboats used to work, but of course the economics of rowboats don't work any more than the economics of this legislation. I think we all know that. (Applause)

Those are just two industries in the province that are going to feel it if there is a penalty. If the purpose of this legislation is to reduce consumption, those are two industries that should feel it, and consumers should correspondingly reduce their consumption, all for the purpose of helping our environment.

Mr. Speaker, if that is the concept, at least we understand what it is. But I'm not so sure this is going to work, because on one hand we're hearing there will be penalties and on the other hand we're hearing that nobody's going to be hurt by it. Where is going to be the motivation to reduce consumption?

You can use carrots or you can use sticks. I think about carrots in the form of rebates for people who want to get a heat pump. We have seen our power rates go up significantly in the last 10 years, it's no secret. It's due to renewable energy, but we are doing our part to reduce our emissions by way of that. But some of the carrots were things like, get a rebate to put in a heat pump, rebates on LED light bulbs. Those were things that helped people offset the costs of those increases in their power rates and those were good things. But this, whether it's a carbon tax or a cap and trade system as proposed here, it's not a carrot, it's a stick.

I don't know how in this province we can expect people to get to work if they have to drive and use gasoline to get there. We are a rural province; we live in a climate that requires significant amounts of home heating in the winter. There's very little room for Nova Scotians to reduce their use. Those are two of the largest sources of energy consumption in our province.

[Page 1005]

Yes, climate change is occurring, but is this legislation going to help to slow it down? We hear that temperature is the highest on record. That's just a very short blip in the history of the planet and there's always been climate change occurring, but especially we've seen changes in the past that have nothing to do with humans. I'm not here to dispute climate change. I have no problem with that, that it's a reality for us and we should be doing something about it, but is this bill going to help? I don't think so.

When I think about what are the best plans that work? Plans that are simple. If a simple question is asked, who is going to be hurt by this legislation? The answer is no one. That tells us a lot, because if no one is going to be hurt by it, what's the purpose of the legislation? Is it going to achieve anything?

To me, there should be some economic analysis here. The government should be happy to table economic analysis if they are proud of this legislation, if they feel it's actually going to do something. From what I've seen so far, I would say the purpose of this legislation is to placate the Prime Minister in Ottawa. We on this side of the House don't really care to placate the Prime Minister, because we're not riding on his coat tails. I'm not suggesting all the members on the other side are either, because some of them did well in the last election. But we have no interest in propping up the Prime Minister.

I think if we come to this Chamber and come here in all honesty, we should say how we feel. I tell you, I feel that the Prime Minister has brought this to bear on the country and this legislation is merely a way to placate him and to let him go around the world and say, look what I've done. But has he really done anything? Will this legislation do anything?

I also hear the private sector will have time to adapt and the question that raises in my mind is, does that mean they get a free pass for a while? I don't know what it means and I shouldn't speculate because I don't know, but that is a question that needs to be answered. Are they going to get a free ride for 10, 15 or 20 years until some of these agreements - I know the federal government has made allowances because we still burn a significant amount of coal in the province to generate electricity?

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.

MR. MACMASTER « » : The member is pleased with that because it is creating economic activity in his constituency.

If that's the case, why doesn't the government say that? Why don't they explain how this is not going to affect industry? I think of China. China has been spoken about tonight. It's the world's greatest polluter. Where do we export our jobs? China. Why? Because it's cheap to make things in China. Is this bill going to make things cheaper in China? It's going to make things more expensive in Nova Scotia.

[Page 1006]

I think of the paper mill in Point Tupper. Many of my constituents are employed there. They use an enormous amount of power, upwards of 10 per cent of the total power in the province. If this legislation is going to increase the cost of paper making, should I be jumping up and down and saying this is wonderful news, that I want to support this legislation because it's going to put all of those people out of work? Certainly not. That is an important question. I should be able to pick up the phone and call the paper mill and ask them, has the government contacted you? Are you okay with this? Are they protecting you? Does this mean anything to you? Paper is a significant export for our province and certainly a creator of jobs in the region I represent.

We look at a country like China, and we see some of the goods. In every one of our households, we have goods made in China. We live in a disposable society right now. Most of our goods don't last. I know you can probably all think of an example of something in your home that you have thrown out recently that was pure garbage. It wasn't made to last. It was made to be consumed and disposed of. Think about what that is doing to our environment. I think about some of the goods in my house that were made in Canada. Some of them were made in the 1970s. They're still working fine because they were made with quality, and they were made here. That helps the environment.

Are we going to help Canadian companies and Nova Scotian companies by putting them at a disadvantage against goods that are being made in China? Not at all. It's hard for me to stand up here and be supportive of this legislation because I don't think it's going to help anybody. The obvious solution, I would think, for the world is, why aren't we pouring our energy - pardon the pun, Mr. Speaker - into creating something that's useful for everyone around the planet?

Now, I know there's a bill before the Legislature to give opportunities to people who are developing tidal energy, and what a wealth that could bring to our province. That is something that's worth throwing a few dollars at, in case there's a big payoff in the future. We have something that the rest of the world doesn't have in ample supply, and that is the potential of tidal energy. If we were to help the world by creating some kind of technology like that here, export it to China, make money off it, and help the people of China reduce their pollution, that would be making a real difference in the world.

So what is the secret of Soylent Green? That was a movie that I saw on the weekend, and it reminds me of this situation. I'm not going to spoil the movie in case anybody decides to watch it, but it was an old science fiction movie from the 1970s. Mr. Speaker, the secret in that case is, people didn't really know what was going on, and what was going on was not benefiting them.

[Page 1007]

I think the same is true of this bill. It may be a bit of an abstract way to open and close this speech, but I think it's true. Most people out there in the street in Nova Scotia don't really know what's going on with this bill. I don't think, in fairness, we do here either. Until the government members table some financial analysis, I don't think that they understand its implications either. Thank you.

[8:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

MR. BRAD JOHNS « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. "Unintended consequences," that's what I heard here tonight from our member for Cumberland South, he said "unintended consequences." I think he alluded to what the consequences and the impact that this was going to have with Halifax Transit, and he talked about Halifax Transit having to convert or look at converting from diesel to natural gas and the impact.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a second not just to talk to members of this House but I want to reach out and talk to anybody who is listening from municipal units across this municipality because I think that this legislation is going to have an impact not only on taxpayers, whom I'd remind members there's one taxpayer across this province with one pocket and we're all reaching into it, and what we do through this legislation is going to have a direct impact and unintended consequences, I think, to municipalities across this province where they have to pay for fire and police and heating fire stations and putting gas in police cars and garbage trucks across this province - and where are those costs going to go? They are going to trickle down. The effects of this will be passed on to the municipalities indirectly as an unintended consequence. It will trickle down and that will go to the taxpayers across this province, too.

I'd like the members to be aware that this is not just the things that our members - the member for Queens-Shelburne was pointing out in regard to the impact on industry across this province. I want members and municipal units across this province to take a good hard look at this legislation, Mr. Speaker. They have an opportunity through Law Amendments Committee to come and have a discussion. I think that any municipality, any warden, mayor, or councillor, across this province who wasn't piqued at what this legislation is going to do to those municipalities, I think they would be remiss and I want to make sure they have an opportunity to come forward and talk against this or bring up their concerns at Law Amendments Committee. That's all I wanted to say, thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Environment.

HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the members opposite for the constructive criticism on Bill No. 15. (Interruptions) I guess we're getting a bit of a mishmash of members opposite thinking that we're going too far - that's what we hear specifically from the Progressive Conservative caucus - and the NDP not thinking that we're going far enough, so I think that we're striking the right balance that Nova Scotians expect of us. I won't take too much time, because we have more time to debate this bill and I do want to hear from Nova Scotians.

[Page 1008]

I want to point out a couple of erroneous statements made by some of the members opposite. The inference that there won't be any reduction in emissions is absolutely false. By definition, the cap is where it is. The cap is the cap and it will move down, based on the price per ton set in the pan-Canadian framework.

The numbers that have been spouted out tonight about different costs of litres of gas and different fuels is pure speculation at least, but at worst they are actually quoting other jurisdictions where they have the carbon tax in place and I've seen what was tabled in the House before that is modelled off B.C. which we know has a carbon tax.

The members opposite keep on trying to obfuscate what our program is, which is actually the most cost-effective program. We found a system that works for us. It is a carbon price. I fully admit that it is a carbon price, but we were able to find one that worked for Nova Scotians. This is why countries around the world have chosen the cap and trade system, because it does achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions simultaneous with economic growth. It is an important thing.

The market system in itself will find the most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so when the members talk about natural gas, if consumers shift over to natural gas which has a lower carbon footprint, that's what the system incentivises, so there will be a lower cost for those who switch from a higher fossil fuel output from their greenhouse gas emissions to a lower one. That's how the system works. That's why the whole European Union is into this way where you trade emissions because it incentivises which industries, which sectors can achieve those reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

They've been doing this for over a decade, Mr. Speaker. California is doing this because Washington won't act. Obama tried to bring forth a cap and trade system, and he got it through the House but it wasn't able to make it through the Senate because members from the Tea Party and other ultra-right-wing groups said we will not support a cap and trade system.

Mr. Speaker, we are learning from the best practices in places like California, the progressive state in the United States. We are learning from other of our sister provinces like Quebec and Ontario, and all these other countries that are looking at cap and trade, because it's a much lower cost. Over 50 per cent of the world's GDP is under carbon pricing system and 90 per cent of those systems are cap and trade. That's for a reason.

[Page 1009]

Leading economists around the world have recognized that cap and trade is the most cost-effective system, that absolutely does achieve greenhouse gas emissions. That's the comparison. Carbon tax has a price on carbon, but does not guarantee the reductions that we realize in cap and trade.

I know that there has been a lot of work that has been accomplished in Nova Scotia, in terms of ratepayers and what they've paid. Under the NDP Government, it was an increase of about 30 per cent in their power rates. With the PC Government before that, it was about 40 per cent, so they had paid their fair share. What we want is a system that delivers balance across more sectors than just the electricity sector, one that recognizes the investments that have already been made. And yes, I believe we do have a legal obligation to bring forth a bill that actually does put a hard cap in place, and allows companies - if they can't find the emissions within themselves, they'll be able to purchase credits from another company that has been able to find emissions in a cost-effective manner.

I believe we have an obligation from a scientific perspective. We know that human activity causes impacts to our climate. Maybe some in the Progressive Conservative caucus don't agree with that, but it's real. I believe we have a moral obligation to our future populations to act.

I believe that there is a clear distinction in this House. The Progressive Conservative Party doesn't want to do anything more in terms of ensuring that there are reductions, or they want to go with the command and control. So their option would legally actually end up with a carbon tax, which is the most ironic part of it all because there will be a carbon tax in 2018 if you didn't come to an agreement with the federal government.

So this is the most cost-effective way forward. The NDP want to go further than we're going? We want to see that we can actually achieve greenhouse gas reductions in the private sector by allowing the trading of emissions.

I know there has been some admittance across the aisle that they don't understand how the system works. Well, we can point to how the issue of acid rain was solved in North America and it was exactly from cap and trade, with sulphur dioxide. They had a cap but they were able to actually reduce the cap in a cost-effective manner, because power plants and generation facilities were able to trade emissions and bring the costs down, at one-fifth of the cost that would have been done. The other option is is the command-and-control regulatory process that the PCs are now promoting, which was the Harper Government way of looking at regulating everything - you want to add regulation while this government is endeavouring to reduce regulation and red tape on business.

I stand by this system. I think it is the best, most balanced way forward. I look forward to what Nova Scotians have to say at Law Amendments Committee, and as we develop the regulations. I move to close debate on Bill No. 15.

[Page 1010]

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. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government business for today. We will meet again tomorrow, Wednesday, October 11th, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period, we will conduct Opposition Business. After late debate, we will transition to the Committee of the Whole on Supply.

I will now ask the NDP House Leader to identify tomorrow's business.


MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.

HON. DAVID WILSON » : On Opposition Day tomorrow, we'll call Bill No. 21, the Environment Act, and Bill No. 37, an Act to Maintain and Preserve Voluntary Blood Donations in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow between the hours of 1:00 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 8:39 p.m.]

NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

[Page 1011]

Given on October 6, 2017

(Pursuant to Rule 30)

QUESTION NO. 1

By: Mr. John Lohr « » (Kings North)

To: Hon. Geoff MacLellan « » (Business)

Has Cooke Aquaculture paid on the $18 million loan it received from the Province of Nova Scotia? How much is remaining on the loan?

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 1012]

Tabled Oct. 6, 2017

RESOLUTION NO. 330

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas during the Trunk 7 Music Festival held this past July, the second annual Firefighter Challenge took place; and

Whereas the competition pitted teams from local stations from across the Eastern Shore against one another in a 50-yard course, featuring five fire drills; and

Whereas Clint Marks from Station 24 in Musquodoboit Harbour was part of the victorious team, posting the best overall time in completing the course;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Clint Marks for his impressive showing in winning the competition, as well as thank him for his continued service to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 331

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy « » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas during the Trunk 7 Music Festival held this past July, the second annual Firefighter Challenge took place; and

Whereas the competition pitted teams from local stations from across the Eastern Shore against one another in a 50-yard course, featuring five fire drills; and

Whereas Jamie Justason from Station 24 in Musquodoboit Harbour was part of the victorious team, posting the best overall time in completing the course;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Jamie Justason for his impressive showing in winning the competition, as well as thank him for his continued service to the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 332

[Page 1013]

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy « » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Cole Butcher is a lifelong resident of Porter's Lake, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in 2016 Cole became the youngest driver ever to capture the Maritime Pro Stock Tour Season Championship; and

Whereas Cole was recently selected as the first ever Canadian Driver to participate in the prestigious Kulwicki Driver Development Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Cole Butcher on all his success to date and wish him all the best for a long and safe racing career.

RESOLUTION NO. 333

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy « » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Raymond Arnold is a lifelong resident of Musquodoboit Harbour; and

Whereas Raymond was the owner and operator of Woodlawn Medical Services in Dartmouth for many years, providing rehabilitation products and outstanding service to thousands of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Raymond is a charter member of the Musquodoboit Harbour and District Lions Club, serving our community with countless hours of volunteer service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in thanking Raymond Arnold for giving of his time and talents for the people of the Eastern Shore and all of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 334

[Page 1014]

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy « » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Lois Miller, originally from Ontario, and is a long-time resident of Fall River, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Lois has recently retired from her role as the Executive Director of the Independent Living Resource Centre of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Lois provided tremendous leadership on many initiatives in our province, which have led to the improvement in the quality of life for persons with disabilities over the course of her career;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in thanking Lois Miller for her leadership and community engagement and for making Nova Scotia a better place for all.

RESOLUTION NO. 335

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy « » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Jim Colford is a dedicated son, husband, father, and grandfather, and a lifelong resident of the Eastern Shore who proudly calls East Chezzetcook home; and

Whereas Jim had a very distinguished career with Maritime Tel & Tel, Century 21 Real Estate, and the Nova Scotia House of Assembly; and

Whereas Jim is now enjoying retirement with his family and his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Jim Colford on his retirement and wish him and the Toronto Maple Leafs all the best.

RESOLUTION NO. 336

[Page 1015]

By: Hon. Kevin Murphy « » (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Daniel MacLellan, originally from Ontario, raised in Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, and a long-time resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Dan was a long-time employee of the Province of Nova Scotia and a tireless champion for persons with disabilities and their families throughout his lifetime; and

Whereas Dan had a hand in many groundbreaking initiatives for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia, including self-managed attendant care, wheelchair-accessible taxi services, independent living programs, recreational programs with persons with disabilities, and is an accomplished world traveller;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in thanking Dan MacLellan for showing us all the merits of living life to the fullest and the importance of leading by example.

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 1016]

Tabled Oct. 10, 2017

RESOLUTION NO. 339

By: Mr. Ben Jessome « » (Hammonds Plains-Lucasville)

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

Whereas the Misit No'Kmaq Sail Training and Youth Leadership Program took part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta sailing from Halifax to Le Havre, France, in August, 2017; and

Whereas Hannson Paul and twelve other indigenous youth from Nova Scotia were members of the program who sailed on the Dutch Tall Ship, Gulden Leeuw, and finished second in the Regatta; and

Whereas the Misit No'Kmaq program not only taught the youth to sail but offered them the opportunity to connect with other indigenous youth from across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Hannson Paul and the other youth members of the Misit No'kmaq Sail Training and Youth Leadership Program on their participation and second place finish in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.

RESOLUTION NO. 340

By: Mr. Ben Jessome « » (Hammonds Plains-Lucasville)

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

Whereas the Canada Summer Games were held in Winnipeg from July 28 to August 13; and

Whereas Cathy Burton was an experienced, committed, and hardworking member of the coaching staff of the Nova Scotia Women's Soccer Team; and

Whereas Team Nova Scotia's Women's Soccer Team won the bronze medal at the games;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Cathy Burton and the Nova Scotia Women's Soccer Team on their achievement of securing the bronze medal at the Canada Summer Games 2017.

[Page 1017]

RESOLUTION NO. 341

By: Mr. Ben Jessome « » (Hammonds Plains-Lucasville)

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

Whereas the Canada Summer Games were held in Winnipeg from July 28 to August 13; and

Whereas Ashley Card represented Nova Scotia at these games in CanoeKayak; and

Whereas Ashley won one gold medal, three silver medals, and one bronze medal and was the top medal winner for Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ashley Card on her success at the Canada Summer Games with the winning of five medals.

RESOLUTION NO. 342

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Communities, Culture, and Heritage)

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

Whereas every year the Royal Canadian Air Force recognizes service members across the country who distinguish themselves through athletic endeavours as competitors, coaches, and officials; and

Whereas on May 29 the recipients of the 2016 Royal Canadian Air Force Sports Achievement Awards were announced; and

Whereas aviator, Arthur White, a multisport competitive athlete and service member of 14 Wing Greenwood, was named the 2016 Royal Canadian Air Force Male Athlete of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate aviator, Arthur White, of 14 Wing Greenwood on being named the Royal Canadian Airforce Athlete of the Year and wish him all the best for continued excellence.

RESOLUTION NO. 343

[Page 1018]

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Communities, Culture, and Heritage)

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

Whereas every year the Royal Canadian Air Force recognizes service members across the country who distinguish themselves through athletic endeavours as competitors, coaches, and officials; and

Whereas on May 29 the recipients of the 2016 Royal Canadian Air Force Sports Achievement Awards were announced; and

Whereas Captain Paul McBean of 413 Squadron, 14 Wing Greenwood, was named the 2016 Royal Canadian Air Force Official of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Captain Paul McBean of 14 Wing Greenwood on being named the Royal Canadian Airforce Official of the Year and wish him all the best for continued excellence.

RESOLUTION NO. 344

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Communities, Culture, and Heritage)

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

Whereas every year the Royal Canadian Air Force recognizes service members across the country who distinguish themselves through athletic endeavours as competitors, coaches, and officials; and

Whereas on May 29 the recipients of the 2016 Royal Canadian Air Force Sports Achievement Awards were announced; and

Whereas the Canadian Armed Forces CISM Triathlon Team including Major Eric Travis of 404 Squadron, 14 Wing Greenwood, was named the Individual Team Sport Member of the Year for 2016;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Major Eric Travis of 14 Wing Greenwood on being named the Royal Canadian Airforce Individual Team Sport Member of the Year for 2016 and wish him and his team all the best for continued excellence.

RESOLUTION NO. 345

[Page 1019]

By: Hon. Iain Rankin « » (Environment)

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

Whereas Edward L.N. Brown of Hatchet Lake was born on October 1, 1922, and celebrated his 95th birthday this year with family and friends; and

Whereas Ed started working at the age of 14 digging ditches in Halifax for 10 cents an hour, and he drove a truck most of his life and worked for a steel company; and

Whereas Ed helped organize and start the Hatchet Lake Fire Department in 1968 after a family tragedy and became fire chief for the next eight years, and Edward is a kind and generous man who helps many people in the community whenever he can;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Ed on his long and successful life and wish him all the best for the future.