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/legislative-business/hansard-debates/
FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1069, LAE: Experiential Learning Opportunities - Congrats.,
Vote - Affirmative
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 96, Human Rights Act,
No. 97, Employment Support and Income Assistance Act,
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Public Safety Dispatchers: Com. Safety - Thanks,
Cram, Paul: Death of - Tribute,
Tracadie Volunteer Fire Dept.: 50th Anniv. - Commend,
Barron, Brian - Third Day Grace Ministries: Undercurrent Youth Ctr
Charitable Irish Soc. (Hfx.): 232nd St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Shelburne Assoc. Supporting Inclusion: SASI Works Ctr. - Congrats.,
Burke & Burke: Designers, Hfx. Explosion Commem. Stamp - Congrats.,
MacKay, Peter and Nazanin: Expecting a Son - Congrats.,
Hannigan, Barbara: Recipient, Grammy Award - Congrats.,
Dart.: Host, 2022 World Canoe Championships - Congrats.,
J.L. Ilsley HS Students: HIV Awareness - Congrats.,
Johnson, Earl/Baillie, Jim: Members, IOOF - Appreciation,
Sir John A. MacDonald HS Boys' Soccer: Bronze Medal, Prov
Maroun, Albert - Roman Catholic Priest: Donation, Cardiac Care
Shaw, Elizabeth: Birthday - Best Wishes,
Sampson, Paula - Rec. Dir., Richmond Villa: Wellness - Recognize,
2b theatre: Old Stock, Playing Off Broadway - Congrats.,
New Germany and Area Lions: Best Club in District - Congrats.,
Girl Guides (Amherst) - Demonstrating Leadership,
Square Roots: Reducing Food Insecurity - Thanks,
Liverpool Fire Fighters Assoc. Ladies Aux.: 50th Anniv. - Congrats.,
Wolfville, Town of: 125th Anniv. - Congrats.,
Campbell, Kevin: Hockey Athlete - Recognize,
Beer and Cider Industry - Thriving,
Lions Speak-Out: Young Women, Public Speaking - Congrats.,
Village on Main (Dart. E.): Dedication - Recogize,
Goose Landing Vineyards: Grape Harvest - Best Wishes,
Breakfast Progs. Volunteers - Acknowledge,
14 Wing Greenwood: CAF Ntl. Women's Hockey Champs - Congrats.,
HRSB: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
98.9 XFM: 75th Yr. in Bus. - Congrats.,
Foote, George Bradley (Woodville): Death of - Tribute,
Burke-Cole, Kim - Minister, United Church: Com. Serv. - Recognize,
Eastern Lodge Buffalo Club: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
Knit and Sew Co.: Com. Serv. - Recognize,
Burden, Arnold - Physician: 1958 Springhill Bump: Honour,
Paynter, Martha: Leadership - Congrats.,
Digby Co. ATV Club: Trail Cleanup - Thanks,
House Fire (Guysborough): Bravery - Commend,
MacConnell, Phyllis: Caring for Seniors - Thanks,
Gaudet, Anna: Hfx. W. HS Co-op Student - Congrats.,
Rob McCall Skating Competition: Success - Congrats.,
ACICC: Dedication, Econ. Justice - Congrats.,
Jakeman, Nancy: HRSB Member - Thanks,
New Ross Hist. Soc.: 30th Anniv. - Congrats.,
Stan's Dad and Lad Shop: Small Bus. Award - Congrats.,
Kidd, Pat: Engl. Learning Prog. Volunteer - Recognition,
Coleman, Michelle: Photographer - Congrats.,
Gary L. Wentzell Hockey Tournament: Success - Congrats.,
Barnhill, Owen: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
Festival Antigonish: Relaxed Performances - Important Initiative,
MacKenzie, Scott - Pastor, Baptist Church: Youth Ministry
Elmsdale Landscaping: Bus. Integrity - Pride,
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 507, Prem. - Sexual Harassment/Assault: Prevention - Stable
No. 508, Prem. - C.B. Reg. Hosp.: ER Beds - Lack,
No. 509, Prem.: N.S. Lobbyist Registry - Rules Compliance,
No. 510, LAE - CBU Pres.: Compensation Deals - Unfair,
No. 511, CCH - Public Libraries: Core Funding Review - Commit,
No. 512, EECD - Pre-Primary: Licensed Child Care - Requirements,
No. 513, Bus. - Victoria Co.: Cellphone Serv. - Funding,
No. 514, Immig. - Atl. Immig. Pilot Project: Quota Target - Lagging,
No. 515, TIR: Sidewalks & Trails - Budget Allotment,
No. 516, EECD - Wickwire Academy: Custodial Reduction - Explain,
No. 517, H&W - Health Care Crisis: Other Providers - Consider,
No. 518, Com. Serv.: ESIA Clawback - Explain,
No. 519, H&W - ChÃ©ticamp Eye Clinic: Nursing Reduction - Explain,
No. 520, Fin. & Treasury Bd. - Video Lottery Terminals: Pop-Up
No. 521, TIR - Cumb. Reg. Health Care Ctr.: Sidewalks - Safety,
Ms. E. Smith McCrossin
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CW ON SUPPLY AT 10:50 A.M
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:07 P.M
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Mar. 26th at 4:00 p.m
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1068, St. Margaret's Bay Slam Team - U14 Div. Champs,
HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018
Sixty-third General Assembly
Hon. Kevin Murphy
Mr. Chuck Porter, Ms. Suzanne Lohnes-Croft
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION
RESOLUTION NO. 1069
HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas today's young people are tomorrow's entrepreneurs, leaders, and skilled workers, and we want more young people living and working in our province; and
Whereas Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Week is a time to recognize the importance of providing post-secondary students with hands-on experience in their chosen professions; and
Whereas hundreds of employers have come together to offer thousands of Nova Scotians experiential learning opportunities through the co-operative learning incentive, Student Summer Skills Incentive, apprenticeship, START, and other programs;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the many employers and students who have participated in these programs and are helping Nova Scotians build a life and career here at home.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 96 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 214 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Human Rights Act. (Ms. Claudia Chender)
Bill No. 97 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 27 of the Acts of 2000. The Employment Support and Income Assistance Act. (Ms. Lenore Zann)
NOTICES OF MOTION
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
PUBLIC SAFETY DISPATCHERS: COM. SAFETY - THANKS
MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Public safety dispatchers are essential in an organized, safe, and prosperous society - especially in our harsh winter conditions and weather. With their expertise and rapid critical-thinking skills, dispatchers are able to direct emergency crews and first responders efficiently to the scene of a call, as well as provide critical information to them to aid in a successful outcome.
Not only do dispatchers gather information rapidly, they are often the first to speak to somebody who is involved in a crisis or a hazardous situation. These dispatchers also provide advice and comfort to callers until further help arrives. I want to thank our public safety dispatchers, on behalf of all Nova Scotians, for the central role they play in ensuring public safety and saving lives. Thank you.
CRAM, PAUL: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, the arts community in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Canada is mourning the loss of the great Paul Cram, who died on the morning of March 20th. Paul was a bandleader, a composer, a saxophonist, a clarinetist, an artistic director, and a scorer of many film, television, and theatre productions.
Born and educated in B.C., he was the founder of the New Orchestra Workshop, the Paul Cram Orchestra, and here in Nova Scotia the cutting edge Upstream Music Association which, since 1992, has created pan-genre orchestral nu jazz, and has featured many prominent Nova Scotia musicians.
Throughout his career, he toured extensively and worked with many notable jazz and new-music musicians, and he was nominated for many, many awards: National Jazz Awards, Juno Awards, and Robert Merritt Awards. He was a friend and mentor and collaborator to many artists in Nova Scotia. Musician Lukas Pearse wrote of Paul that he loved his community of artists and friends and was both courageous and sentimental, and his co-operative attitude helped build the new-music scene of our entire country. He was a beloved husband and proud father.
On behalf of all of this House, I want to extend our sympathy and love to his wife, Mary Vingoe, and his daughters, Katharine and Laura Vingoe-Cram.
TRACADIE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPT.: 50th ANNIV. - COMMEND
HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, the Tracadie Volunteer Fire Department has recently commemorated their 50th Anniversary of service to their communities on March 3, 2018. They are planning a celebration the first weekend in August that will include many spirited events and a collage of historical exhibits to mark the occasion.
The many events, raffles, and fundraising efforts by the ladies' auxiliary that have contributed to the area greatly, and the lifesaving services put forth by the fire department spanning their many dedicated years, cannot be understated.
Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Tracadie Volunteer Fire Department for their 50 years of firefighting service and for their dedication to educating citizens on fire safety throughout the years.
BARRON, BRIAN - THIRD DAY GRACE MINISTRIES:
UNDERCURRENT YOUTH CTR. - THANKS
MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : I rise today to salute Brian Barron of Third Day Grace Ministries. They are attempting to open a youth centre, Undercurrent, in a former school they purchased. The plan is to reach 350 youth a week and offer an indoor scooter and skateboard park, floor hockey, rock wall, tagging, graffiti, life skills, music programs, and ministries. The goal is to have the 20 rooms used seven days a week by the entire community.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Brian Barron for his Herculean efforts to get this centre up and running to help many teens from going down the wrong road, and make the community a better place for all.
CHARITABLE IRISH SOC. (HFX.):
HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today and congratulate the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax, an organization founded in 1786, patron of Irish culture and heritage, for organizing its 232nd annual Saint Patrick's Day Dinner on March 17th, commemorating the Festival of Saint Patrick.
I was so honoured to have been given the privilege to represent the province and to hear the guest speaker, Dr. Mary McAleese, who came from Ireland. Dr. McAleese was elected the first woman from Northern Ireland to become president in 1997, serving two terms. She was the world's first to succeed another woman as head of a country. The event brought back so many fond memories of my youth days attending Saint Patrick's High School.
I wish to congratulate the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax.
SHELBURNE ASSOC. SUPPORTING INCLUSION:
SASI WORKS CTR. - CONGRATS.
MS. KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge and congratulate the Shelburne Association Supporting Inclusion, also known as SASI. This organization was formed back in the 1980s, responding to the need for people with disabilities to improve their quality of life.
On February 22nd, SASI held the grand opening of their new SASI work centre. Their new Social Enterprise Centre boasts 10,000 square feet and provides a safe and meaningful workplace which is modern, accessible, and fully inclusive.
Mr. Speaker, this association goes from strength to strength and provides opportunities and a place for people to not only belong, but also to flourish and maximize their abilities.
We congratulate the association, their partners, volunteers, and program participants on this tremendous achievement.
BURKE & BURKE:
DESIGNERS, HFX. EXPLOSION COMMEM. STAMP - CONGRATS.
HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : I'd like to congratulate the Halifax marketing firm Burke & Burke who were commissioned by Canada Post to create a commemorative stamp for the 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
The new stamp captures the moment in time of 100 years ago just before Halifax's history forever changed. The tiny image incorporates the newspaper coverage of the disaster, with an image of the two ships immediately before they collided. The design team at Burke & Burke worked with archivists, historians, and experts on the explosion to try to portray what a huge disaster it was for the city, and all the human suffering.
I would like the members of the House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Burke & Burke on the launch of the stamp, which will help people across Canada and collectors around the world learn more about this event.
MACKAY, PETER AND NAZANIN: EXPECTING A SON - CONGRATS.
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate former Central Nova MP Peter MacKay and his wife, Nazanin, for the recent announcement that they are expecting a baby boy. Peter and Nazanin are thrilled and could not be happier to welcome their new son, a future playmate for Kian and Valentia. MacKay regards the news as a blessing - no greater feeling on earth.
MacKay left politics in 2015, saying at the time that he wanted more time with his family. He presently works for a law firm in Toronto, and he continues to be a regular visitor to his home in New Glasgow.
HANNIGAN, BARBARA: RECIPIENT, GRAMMY AWARD - CONGRATS.
Barbara, a native of Waverley, Nova Scotia, and a classmate of my daughter Tracey, won a Grammy for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, Crazy Girl Crazy. Ms. Hannigan played many roles on this album - vocalist, co-arranger, and conductor. The combination of singing and conducting at the same time is unique. She was very happy to share this Grammy with Amsterdam's LUDWIG Orchestra.
Please join me in congratulating Barbara on her first Grammy and wishing her the best in the future.
DART.: HOST, 2022 WORLD CANOE CHAMPIONSHIPS - CONGRATS.
MR. TIM HALMAN « » : Canoe and kayak are a part of the heart and soul of Dartmouth, the City of Lakes. I am happy to report to this House that Dartmouth will host the world canoe championships in 2022. This is now the third time that Dartmouth and Halifax will host the great competition, having also hosted in 1997 and 2009.
I ask all members of this House to congratulate the International Canoe Federation on hosting the world championships in Dartmouth in 2022 and to wish all our athletes all the best in their training as they prepare for competition.
J.L. ILSLEY HS STUDENTS: HIV AWARENESS - CONGRATS.
At J.L. Ilsley, Red Week consists of a number of lunch-hour activities, awareness posters and announcements, and participation in the Acts for AIDS talent competition. The lunch-hour activities were fun and exciting, but they also bring students together to focus on a series of messages.
From February 12th to February 16th, J.L. Ilsley students participated in games, but they also learned how the Stephen Louis Foundation supports grassroots organizations in the 15 African nations affected by the global AIDS epidemic.
J.L. Ilsley was very well represented in the Acts for AIDS talent competition. Max Bellefontaine and his electric guitar brought the house down. Also, the band that won the competition, called The Illustrious, had an Ilsley student as a member, drummer Ryley Couse.
Claire Robertson, head of the Ilsley external affairs committee, is to be commended for efforts to bring the students together to support this worthy cause.
JOHNSON, EARL/BAILLIE, JIM: MEMBERS, IOOF - APPRECIATION
As members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Helping Hand Lodge #34 in River John, they have both provided the community with many years of community service by making positive change through volunteering. Both are long-time members of the IOOF - Earl Johnson for 55 years and Jim Baillie for a remarkable 75 years.
Earl and Jim are outstanding examples of caring and thoughtful individuals who have dedicated so much time to continuing to make life better in Pictou West. Earl and Jim's lifelong dedication and volunteering are prime examples for the younger generation of volunteers to look up to. We truly appreciate all that they do.
SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS BOYS' SOCCER:
BRONZE MEDAL, PROV. CHAMPIONSHIPS - CONGRATS.
MR. HUGH MACKAY « » : I want to congratulate the coaches and players of the boys soccer team at Sir John A. Macdonald High School of Tantallon, who recently won a bronze medal at the provincial championships.
The team worked hard for the entire soccer season, placing third in the Capital Region during the regular season. To move on to the provincials, they defeated teams from Parkview, the Cobequid Education Centre, and Prince Andrew High in the City of Lakes. At provincials, they lost the first round to the eventual first-place winners from Halifax West. They then defeated King's-Edgehill 6-1 for the bronze medal.
I invite the members of the House of Assembly to join me in congratulating the coaches and players of the boys soccer team at Sir John A. Macdonald High School and wish them well in their future endeavours.
MAROUN, ALBERT - ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST:
DONATION, CARDIAC CARE - THANKS
MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : I rise today to publicly thank Father Frank Albert Maroun, who recently made a $50,000 donation to the Northside/Harbourview Hospital Foundation to help purchase five new cardiac care monitors that will cost $200,000. With more than 1,000 patients visiting the Northside General each year with heart-related emergencies, these monitors will save lives.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Father Maroun for jump-starting this campaign with his generous donation. We know community spirit is alive and well on the Northside.
SHAW, ELIZABETH: BIRTHDAY - BEST WISHES
MR. BEN JESSOME « » : Mr. Speaker, in 2010, I attended La Maison FranÃ§aise at the University of Victoria where I met Elizabeth Shaw. Since then we have become quite a great deal more than friends. A couple of years ago, I decided to do my part in populating this province by inviting her to move here to Nova Scotia.
Mr. Speaker, I would invite all members of the House of Assembly to please help me in wishing my partner Elizabeth a very happy 30th birthday.
SAMPSON, PAULA - REC. DIR., RICHMOND VILLA:
WELLNESS - RECOGNIZE
MS. ALANA PAON « » : Residents of the Richmond Villa in St. Peter's are fortunate to have Paula Sampson as their recreational director. Paula is kind, caring, motivated, and devoted. She loves her work and is well-respected by the residents, their families, and the community for her commitment to a positive and friendly climate in the Villa.
In 2016, Paula Sampson was given the Nova Scotia Recreation Professionals in Health Spirit Award as an individual who has gone above and beyond to enhance the quality of life of residents, clients, and their families as well as the quality of the work environment for staff and volunteers.
I rise today to provide ongoing recognition to Paula Sampson for her focus on physical, social, and emotional well-being of the residents of the Richmond Villa.
2B THEATRE: OLD STOCK, PLAYING OFF BROADWAY - CONGRATS.
MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : I want to share my delight this week to read the glowing reviews of Old Stock, an immigrant love story by 2b theatre which is currently having a highly successful run off Broadway. In The New York Times, the reviewer wrote that Old Stock "mixes bitter herbs with apples and honey," to tell a story that is an allegory for today's refugee crisis.
Old Stock, which is set in Halifax, features Ben Caplan and is directed by Christian Barry, both constituents in Halifax Needham.
Please join me in congratulating 2b theatre and pledging to support the vibrant arts scene in Nova Scotia which does need our support and partnership.
NEW GERMANY AND AREA LIONS: BEST CLUB IN DISTRICT - CONGRATS.
There is a lot of hard work and community projects that a Lions Club must partake in to earn points toward this award. Points are earned through fundraising efforts and projects within the community such as community breakfasts, doing treat bags for seniors at Christmas, lending medical aids, as well as other activities. The club must also promote lionism through their publicity in local papers and they must have a bulletin for their own membership. Clubs must also support their local community through donations to organizations like the food bank and to individuals in need of financial support.
New Germany and Area Lions Club do all of these activities and are a helpful resource for many people in the community.
Mr. Speaker, I would like you and all members of this House of Assembly to please join me in congratulating the New Germany and Area Lions Club for winning the Best Club in the District Award and thank them for all their positive contributions to their community.
GIRL GUIDES (AMHERST) - DEMONSTRATING LEADERSHIP
They thought about how they can create positive change in our world. These girls have started something that will follow them their whole lives. We need more young people to think about what their impact can have on their community and this world.
Girl Guides is a wonderful organization that empowers girls to lead the way, seek new challenges, find their voices, and discover how they can make a difference in the world. The Girl Guides in Amherst are a wonderful embodiment of the Girl Guide spirit.
SQUARE ROOTS: REDUCING FOOD INSECURITY - THANKS
Square Roots is a local food vendor that sells 10-pound bundles of mixed produce for $5 or $10. They have been operating in the Fairview area since August, but expanded to Clayton Park this month.
Square Roots benefits the community in several ways. Customers receive healthy produce at an affordable price, farms get paid for their product that would otherwise go to waste, and local community organizations receive donated bundles through their membership program.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the team at Square Roots for their hard work to reduce food insecurity in Clayton Park. They always have a great selection of fresh, local, and affordable produce.
LIVERPOOL FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOC. LADIES AUX.:
This tremendous group of ladies has worked tirelessly over the years, raising funds for the fire department to buy necessary equipment and to help the community in times of disaster. They host suppers, cater events, hold flea markets, and a very successful annual Christmas craft market to name but a few things.
With many long-serving members, this dedicated group of ladies volunteer their time for the good of the community, and deserve our recognition and thanks for all of their hard work. I look forward to celebrating this milestone with them at their anniversary banquet on April 7th.
WOLFVILLE, TOWN OF: 125th ANNIV. - CONGRATS.
MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, this Sunday the citizens of Wolfville will gather at the farmers' market to kick off celebrations for the Town's 125th Anniversary. Wolfville, or Mud Creek as it was originally known, was incorporated in 1893. It was already a busy place then. Acadia University had been graduating students for over 50 years when Wolfville became a town.
Mr. Speaker, when I think about those original citizens of Wolfville, who took the steps necessary to incorporate their town, I think they would be extremely proud to see what Wolfville has become 125 years later - a community that demonstrates that towns can thrive, diversify, and provide an enviable quality of life for its citizens.
Mr. Speaker, I invite all members of the House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Mayor Jeff Cantwell and all the citizens of Wolfville on the 125th Anniversary of the town of Wolfville.
CAMPBELL, KEVIN: HOCKEY ATHLETE - RECOGNIZE
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, Pictou County has its share of hockey players who have played in the National Hockey League. There should have been another player joining the professional ranks, but an injury that was misdiagnosed ended his career.
Kevin Campbell, according to hockey pundits, possessed all the necessary qualities to make the pros. He was just one step from making the Toronto Maple Leafs roster in 1977, when he injured his ankle. For a whole year, it was ruled as a bad sprain; however, it was finally determined that the ankle had been fractured all along. This ended a successful career before it really began.
He was a defence partner with Börje Salming during the training camp. The Leafs management decided to sign a Swede, Trevor Johansen. Campbell was assigned to Dallas and his injury brought his promising career to a halt.
BEER AND CIDER INDUSTRY - THRIVING
MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the thriving local beer and cider industry in Nova Scotia, and to praise this innovative industry for choosing Dartmouth as its new epicentre.
When North Brewing opened a couple of years ago in partnership with Battery Park, the uptake was immediate. Now Lake City Cider, Brightwood Brewery, and New Scotland Brewing Co., all slated to open in the next year, are all right in the core of downtown Dartmouth.
Downtown Dartmouth is on the rise, Mr. Speaker, and these local businesses, owned and operated by local residents, are all rewriting the story of our downtown and making it a true destination. Owning a small business is hard. These and so many small businesses in downtown Dartmouth are community-owned, supported, operated, and in this case, even the supply chain of hops and apples are local.
I couldn't be more proud to represent them, and I hope this model can be emulated across the province.
LIONS SPEAK-OUT: YOUNG WOMEN, PUBLIC SPEAKING - CONGRATS.
HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to congratulate the organizers of, and participants in, the annual Lions Speak Out, held in February in Bedford. Five young women competed and the judges indicated the scoring was tight - literally any one of those competitors could have won. Just a few points separated all five.
I had the opportunity to serve as a questioner that night, and these young women were all impressive. Congratulations go out to Elif Ciftci, who took first place, followed closely by Kianna Benson and Tamar Gazit.
The topics were diverse, issues ranging from social culture shock to sexual assault. This contest allows students to think about important issues, organize their thoughts, and present them publicly. Winners of this local contest will go to the regional zone contest, then on to districts, and then on to the Atlantic Canada contest.
I wish all of the contestants much success - everyone in the entire room was deeply impressed by all of them that night.
VILLAGE ON MAIN (DART. E.): DEDICATION - RECOGNIZE
MR. TIM HALMAN « » : I rise this morning to recognize The Village on Main Business Association. Their slogan is "Change is Good. Transformation is Better." They are proving that with their continued revitalization of Dartmouth's Main Street. From monthly networking to community cleanups and business skills training, this is a group truly dedicated to ensuring that Main Street reaches its full potential.
The Village on Main has been community-driven from the very beginning. They have been writing bylaws and rezoning this area through community consultations since the early 2000s. Word on the street is they have done three times the amount of community consultations than any area in HRM.
Mr. Speaker, in a world driven by developers, The Village on Main has ensured this one-kilometre radius in the heart of Dartmouth East remains community driven.
GOOSE LANDING VINEYARDS: GRAPE HARVEST - BEST WISHES
HON. KAREN CASEY « » : On Saturday, October 8th, more than 40 people gathered in North River, Colchester North, to harvest grapes at the Goose Landing Vineyard. Al BÃ©gin, vineyards manager, explains that they always try to make the harvest a community event. The volunteers harvest the grapes and then they all celebrate with a little bit of bubbly. It is not done for profit but for a community gathering, entertainment, and a chance for those who want to know about vineyards and the wine world.
The grapes will then go to Benjamin Bridge wine house to make a new batch of their renowned Nova 7 wine. With over 40 people on hand, the harvest took less than three hours and the group harvested an estimated 5,000 pounds. Once bottled, Goose Landing's vineyard harvest would contribute to 1,700 bottles of wine.
BÃ©gin enjoys spending time in the vineyard and considers it a mind-clearing experience, a hobby farm rather than a business. Please join me in wishing him continued enjoyment and success, and more Nova 7.
BREAKFAST PROGS. VOLUNTEERS - ACKNOWLEDGE
MS. ALANA PAON « » : Mr. Speaker, it is widely known that a start to a productive day begins with a healthy breakfast. Parents sometimes struggle to get children to eat before they leave for school, while others may not have the financial means to be able to have something healthy to eat before boarding the bus.
Mr. Speaker, our students are provided with a nutritious start to their day with the help of government donations, fundraisers, and individuals and community groups and businesses.
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to ask all members of this House to acknowledge all of our volunteer school staff, as well as the community volunteers who provide students with a healthy start, to aid them in becoming the best they can be.
14 WING GREENWOOD:
CAF NTL. WOMEN'S HOCKEY CHAMPS - CONGRATS.
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the 14 Wing Greenwood Women's Hockey Team on winning the Canadian Armed Forces National Women's Hockey Championships in Edmonton earlier this month.
On their pathway to the finals, Greenwood secured victories over teams from the west, QuÃ©bec and Ontario. The championship game was hard-fought with Greenwood securing a 2-1 win in double overtime.
Greenwood goalie Private Sabrina Rancourt was named as the most valuable player for her performance in the finals.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, I would like to congratulate the 14 Wing Greenwood Women's Hockey Team on their national championship victory, and wish them all the best for continued success in seasons to come.
HRSB: COM. SERV. - THANKS
MR. BRAD JOHNS « » : Mr. Speaker, this past Tuesday was an emotional day at the Halifax Regional School Board as they held their final meeting. The Halifax Regional School Board of course, was not only the largest school board in Nova Scotia, but was the largest school board in Atlantic Canada.
Over my past 17 years, I've had the opportunity numerous times to work side-by-side with members of the Halifax Regional School Board on various initiatives to help schools within the Halifax areas, and those students who attend those schools.
Not only do I want to thank each and every member of the elected school board for their commitment but I'd especially like to recognize my school board representative, Dave Wright, who was always willing to meet with me, he was always accessible to residents and was a really great person.
Mr. Speaker, I would ask today that all members of this House join me in not only thanking the members of the Halifax Regional School Board for their investment and commitments, but to all the school boards in Nova Scotia.
98.9 XFM: 75th YR. IN BUS. - CONGRATS.
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, 989 XFM in Antigonish is celebrating an important milestone this year, its 75th Birthday. On March 25, 1943, CJFX was heard on the AM airwaves for the very first time. In the beginning, the station was dedicated to programming for adult education and study groups for farmers, fishermen, and women. They also devoted time to local talent and culture, a focus which has not been lost today, with programs like Cape Breton Fiddlers and Sounds Atlantic. In 2005, the independent broadcaster expanded its coverage area, and its programs can now be heard from Antigonish to Inverness and Guysborough to Pictou.
The general manager, Kenny Farrell, has been with the station for 36 years. He is also the host of Sunday evening programming Inside Sports, which has been on the air for 31 years. Many people start their mornings on the weekends with the voice of Joe Chesal, who has been an announcer with the station for almost 50 years.
Mr. Speaker, XFM is a proud supporter of community events and organizations in Antigonish and the Strait area, so I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the community to thank XFM for all of its generosity and to say congratulations on 75 years.
FOOTE, GEORGE BRADLEY (WOODVILLE): DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
George was a lifelong farmer, beekeeper, community advocate, and volunteer. He dedicated his life to his family and community. He served as a Page in this House and in the RCAF. He was known for his apple farming and beekeeping. He sold beekeeping supplies and offered advice to many, including myself, and I personally valued his advice and friendship. George served many years on the Cornwallis Square Village Commission, having only retired last year.
I wish to ask all members of this House to join me acknowledging George Foote, and offering our sympathies to his extensive family.
- MINISTER, UNITED CHURCH: COM. SERV. - RECOGNIZE
HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Rev. Kim Burke-Cole, minister of the Lawrencetown/Lake Echo Pastoral Care Charge of the United Church of Canada, for providing spiritual and pastoral support to those constituents.
She is active in providing care and support to individuals and families in the community in their time of need. She visits with individuals and families at their homes in time of tragedy to offer their support and help them navigate these trying times. She is also actively pursuing additional academic qualifications at the Atlantic School of Theology.
I applaud and recognize Rev. Kim Burke-Cole for her tremendous contribution to the communities of Lake Echo and Lawrencetown.
EASTERN LODGE BUFFALO CLUB: COM. SERV. - THANKS
The Eastern Lodge #8686 Order first opened its doors in 1954. To date, there are 1,200 members and counting - that means a lot of helping hands. The Buffalo Club of Eastern Passage and Cow Bay is always looking for ways to give back to the community.
Help can come in many forms, such as helping a community member with a medical device, property maintenance, or utility help, all the way to providing a great venue for fundraising events like the upcoming Country Rocks Cancer with Canadian country singer Aaron Pritchett.
The Eastern Passage Lodge relies mostly on fundraisers to keep their generosity going. Their most recent fundraiser casino night raised approximately $3,000, and it was a great success.
Most recently I had a call from a constituent who urgently needed a new oil tank. I found out at six o'clock; at seven o'clock I met with the Buffalo Club; and at eight o'clock he had the order for a new oil tank. That's action.
KNIT AND SEW CO.: COM. SERV. - RECOGNIZE
HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize Candi Hauser, of Enfield, for her dedication to providing her community with one-of-a-kind crafts, and turning a passion into a business that provides employment and generously pays it forward.
Three years ago, Candi Hauser started a company with a mission to create and gather handcrafted items from the talented crafters in the area and to use these to support the work of local volunteer organizations. Candi and her team are the Knit and Sew Company, and they produce unique crafts.
The majority of the profits go for material purchases to create more items to give away to charitable and non-profit events such as silent auctions, raffles, giveaways, and animal rescues. The groups sell the items to support many causes. They also volunteer their time and expertise for the East Hants Family Resource Centre. They teach local Girl Guides and Youth Links basic sewing skills, and host free events at the Elmsdale Library.
The efforts of Candi and her team have put over $20,000 back in the community. Mr. Speaker, Candi's efforts are truly worthy of our gratitude and recognition for her dedication.
BURDEN, ARNOLD - PHYSICIAN: 1958 SPRINGHILL BUMP: HONOUR
MS. ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise to bring honour to a man named Dr. Arnold Burden. He's 98 years old. He was a war veteran, and he was a hero to me and many families in Springhill, Nova Scotia.
Dr. Burden saved my grandfather's life after the Springhill Bump in 1958, when my grandfather was found on day four, buried to his neck in coal, with a leg up over his shoulder. The rescuing team wanted to cut that leg off to be able to rescue my grandfather, and Dr. Burden said no, that might be Leon's leg tourniqued on itself and, in fact, it was.
On that day, Dr. Burden saved my grandfather's life, and many other men down in the mines in the Springhill Bump and for that reason, today I'd like to bring honour to Dr. Arnold Burden here in this Legislature.
PAYNTER, MARTHA: LEADERSHIP - CONGRATS.
MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to rise today to congratulate a constituent who is really just a powerhouse for good. Martha Paynter, a Ph.D. student in nursing has been recognized with the Dalhousie Board of Governors' Award for exceptional student leadership. She works as a nurse in the Family and Newborn Unit at the IWK Health Centre, where I can only imagine the difference that she makes as she interacts with new moms.
As a volunteer, she is a founder of Women's Wellness Within, which supports criminalized women who are pregnant and new moms, both with doula services and with transition back into community. She's also a member and former chair of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, Halifax Branch, which has advocated for greater access to medical abortions in Nova Scotia. Martha lends a powerful voice and a feminist perspective to many public policy issues and I am deeply grateful for her energy and her intellect. Please join me in congratulating her on this significant award. Thank you.
DIGBY CO. ATV CLUB: TRAIL CLEANUP - THANKS
MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to thank the members of the Digby County ATV Club and the volunteers who spent part of their weekend picking up garbage on the railbed between Marshalltown and Bloomfield last December. This is one of the groups who have worked to promote and take care of the trails in the area both for visitors and our residents. They have also made an effort to maintain the trails over the years, and have become discouraged by the amount of garbage left near the trails by individuals.
The ATV Club and friends decided to deal with the garbage issue and organized a cleanup for one section on December 3rd. On that day, the volunteers filled a 30 yard dumpster provided by the local company, and many garbage bags with all sorts of garbage.
This is yet another example of people getting together to make the area better for everyone. Hopefully, it will help others realize how inappropriate it is to use public spaces as their personal dumps. Thank you.
HOUSE FIRE ( GUYSBOROUGH): BRAVERY - COMMEND
HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last July, Ashley and Thomas Grover, a young couple from Guysborough, lost their home to fire. Thanks to the barking of their dog, Banjo, the loss was not measured in life, but in material possessions only. Banjo alerted Ashley, who was six months pregnant and home alone that night, to the fire before the smoke alarm went off. She was then able to escape and alert the tenant, Simon Snyder, before the house was completely engulfed.
Ashley ran barefoot to the surrounding houses, banging on doors to alert her neighbours while calling 911. I want to commend Guysborough's emergency response teams for their courage, intelligence, and steadfast efforts in the face of this life-threatening event, especially to the volunteer firefighters whose brave actions will soon not be forgotten, and a profound thank you must be given to Ashley for her clever, lion-hearted response to the terrifying chaos, helping save the lives of her neighbours.
I would like to extend my warm congratulations to Thomas, Ashley, and Banjo on the arrival recently of their new beautiful baby and wish them all the best. Thank you.
HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to bring everybody's attention to the west gallery where we have two wonderful visitors, my wonderful wife, Anne, who has been by my side for 30 years - 30 years she has put up with me - and my 15-year-old son, Alec, who told us last night, "Hey, you know what? I've never seen you at work." Go figure. So, I just wanted them to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)
MACCONNELL, PHYLLIS: CARING FOR SENIORS - THANKS
HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, last month I was delighted to join the 2018 Service Awards ceremony at Melville Lodge, where dedicated staff provide exceptional nursing care and assistance to residents. Together we celebrated the 11 dietary and recreation workers and nursing staff who were marking five, 10, 20, and even 30 years of service.
One of those recipients was Phyllis MacConnell of Halifax Armdale, recognized for her 10 years of service as a nurse at Melville Lodge. She also told me with pride that she had previously served for 11 years at the former Glades Lodge. Phyllis and staff ensure that our seniors stay happy, safe, comfortable, and active, day in and day out. That is vital to my community, and I know that residents appreciate their attentive care.
Please join me in thanking Ms. MacConnell, all the staff, and GEM Health Care Group for their service and for creating a warm, comfortable atmosphere for all the residents.
GAUDET, ANNA: HFX. W. HS CO-OP STUDENT - CONGRATS.
HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Anna Gaudet of Whites Lake. Anna is a Grade 12 student enrolled in the co-operative education program at Halifax West High School, and she is presently working in a placement in the Timberlea-Prospect constituency office.
Anna has a taste for politics and is interested in international affairs. Anna will be heading to the University of Ottawa this Fall, where she is enrolled in the Political Science program.
Anna already has a lengthy resume filled with valuable volunteer experience. She has been an active participant in the Halifax West Model Parliament, is experienced on several youth councils, and is a volunteer member of the Nova Scotia Secondary School Students' Association.
Anna is fluent in both official languages. She is personable and enthusiastic and she has a very bright future in front of her.
I'd like the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Anna on all of her accomplishments to date and wishing her well in the future.
ROB MCCALL SKATING COMPETITION: SUCCESS - CONGRATS.
MR. BILL HORNE « » : I am very proud of all the organizers and skaters in our Fall River community who participated in the Rob McCall Memorial skating competition. There were 320 skaters and 84 volunteers who helped make this competition happen.
This tournament showcased first-time competitors up to high-end skaters vying for spots to make the Skate Atlantica in April, one of the last opportunities for skaters to get competition experience before the selection of the Canada Games team next year.
I ask that members of the House of Assembly join me in thanking the skaters for their hard work and congratulating them on their successful competition.
ACICC: DEDICATION, ECON. JUSTICE - CONGRATS.
MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the great work of the African Community Investment Cooperative of Canada, the ACICC. The ACICC is located on Herring Cove Road in Spryfield. They are a social enterprise that seeks economic justice through skill development, business incubation, and community-building by and for people with established economic barriers.
The ACICC organizes a monthly international market in the community. They also provide space for new entrepreneurs to display and sell their products and services. The ACICC also provides skill-training workshops to their members. Many new Canadians belong to the co-op and are learning the skills needed to operate a business in their home.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to congratulate ACICC on their commitment to assisting people who face economic barriers and working toward their goals of establishing viable businesses in Nova Scotia.
JAKEMAN, NANCY: HRSB MEMBER - THANKS
MS. BARBARA ADAMS « » : Today I would like to rise to acknowledge our school board representative, Nancy Jakeman. Nancy has worked very hard in our constituency on behalf of all the parents, teachers, and students. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all her hard work.
But she isn't finished yet, Mr. Speaker. She is a member of the Island View enhancement committee, which is our new high school. Also serving on that committee is former MLA Joyce Treen, as is Kevin Deveaux, who is also a former MLA, and as am I. I'd like to hold that up as an opportunity to show that we can all collaborate, regardless of Party.
Nancy Jakeman was also a former candidate in the previous election, and despite all our differences, we work really well out in my constituency. I want to thank her for all her hard work.
NEW ROSS HIST. SOC.: 30th ANNIV. - CONGRATS.
MR. HUGH MACKAY « » : I rise to congratulate New Ross Historical Society on their 30th Anniversary this past March 14th. The society was formed by dedicated volunteers to collect, document, preserve, interpret, and make known the historical and genealogical facts of the New Ross district.
The society established the Barkhouse Research Centre, housed in the Learning Centre at Ross Farm Museum. They have collected and collated thousands of documents related to the area in partnership with many New Ross community organizations. The Society has also established and preserved several monuments, including the Charing Cross monument on Route 12, the Robert Norwood memorial at the New Ross Consolidated School, and the New Ross Centennial monument located at the New Ross Royal Canadian Legion.
Their most recent project was the production of a series of historical community signs created in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of New Ross, and which are now maintained by the society.
I invite the members of the House to join me in congratulating the New Ross Historical Society.
STAN'S DAD AND LAD SHOP: SMALL BUS. AWARD - CONGRATS.
MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, on March 5th, the annual Lunenburg Queens Business Excellence Awards was held at the Best Western Plus Bridgewater Hotel and Convention Centre in Cookville.
Stan's Dad and Lad Shop, a men's apparel and footwear store located on Lincoln Street in Lunenburg, took home the Small Business Award. This small family business is run by Jim Myra, his son Jamie, and only employee Valerie Whynacht.
Valerie is exemplary with customer service and is one of the many reasons why customers return to Stan's Dad and Lad Shop time and time again. This small family business started in 1955, 63 years ago, and the Myras plan to serve their customers for many more years to come.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and all members of this Legislature join me in congratulating Stan's Dad and Lad Shop on their Small Business award and wish them nothing but success in the future.
KIDD, PAT: ENGL. LEARNING PROG. VOLUNTEER - RECOGNITION
For the past five years, Pat has been teaching English to newcomers in the community. Pat has such success that even one of her students has become a volunteer at the library. Pat is also a weekly volunteer with a new women conversation group.
Pat is a committed teacher, attending various sessions to help enhance her skills, ensuring she provides the best experience for her students. Pat is highly regarded by all of her learners. Not only does Pat teach them English language, but also assists them in finding employment.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that the members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Pat Kidd on her contribution to various programs at the library.
COLEMAN, MICHELLE: PHOTOGRAPHER - CONGRATS.
Michelle has a passion for capturing the beautiful natural landscapes of our province in all seasons and weather conditions.
In 2016, she published her first book of photos, entitled Portraits of Nova Scotia. The original version featured photographs from the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore, and a more recent addition added scenes from Cape Breton and the Kejimkujik area.
Michelle spearheaded an initiative called Friends for Syria where she uses her photographs to raise funds to purchase dictionaries for Syrian refugees, and she has recently been helping to digitize photographs at the Haliburton House Museum to preserve the integrity of that collection.
I invite all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Michelle Coleman on her successful photography career thus far.
GARY L. WENTZELL HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: SUCCESS - CONGRATS.
HON. MARK FUREY « » : March Break on the South Shore would not be complete without the annual Gary L. Wentzell March Break Hockey Tournament. Taking place this year from March 14th to March 18th, 56 teams from Atom through to Midget played 101 games in total.
Two South Shore teams managed to survive all competition and won banners in the Atom A and Midget A divisions, and there were some very strong showings by our home teams in other divisions.
This annual event, now in its ninth year, began with just four teams and a couple of weeks to organize. It has grown into a huge undertaking, with planning beginning in early September and it has a huge economic impact on our local community.
I'd like to congratulate tournament chair Devan Naugler, the South Shore Minor Hockey Association, and all the volunteers on another successful tournament.
BARNHILL, OWEN: COM. SERV. - THANKS
Owen Barnhill has been volunteering with Scouts Canada for five years, where he has been the group treasurer, Beaver Scouts leader, and group commissioner.
The Scouting movement has benefited from Owen's management and leadership skills. He manages 30 adult volunteers, who deliver programming to 90 young people, and last year he was honoured at the Bedford Volunteer Awards for his work with the 1st Bedford Scouts.
Owen is also involved with Bedford Minor Hockey, which is no surprise, since he is the father of three. Owen is also treasurer and an executive member of the board at the Discovery Centre, a member of the Business Advisory Committee for the IWK, and chairman of the Professional Development Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia. In 2011, he received the Ross L. Towler Award for Chartered Accountant of the Year.
These are just a few of the organizations that have benefited from Owen Barnhill's skills and, Mr. Speaker, all of us are grateful for his service.
RELAXED PERFORMANCES - IMPORTANT INITIATIVE
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, as we get into Spring, it's hard not to start thinking about the summer. We start making plans and look forward to the array of events and festivals that are held in our communities every year.
A summer tradition for me and my family, Mr. Speaker, is Festival Antigonish. Festival Antigonish has been drawing in some of the best writers, actors, and directors in Nova Scotia to its stage at the Bauer Theatre for over 30 years. Every year it offers a variety of shows through the Main Stage Series, and Family Series.
Mr. Speaker, this year, in addition to the five plays that run in repertory offering entertainment to audiences throughout July and August, Festival Antigonish has decided to continue with the Relaxed Performances Initiative. Launched last year, a relaxed performance is a show that has been adapted for people living with autism, sensory and communication disorders - there's reduced sound and lighting, the house lights are turned up, and the audience members can move around the theatre.
Mr. Speaker, the return of the Relaxed Performances Initiative this summer is important, as Antigonish is hosting the 2018 Special Olympics National Summer Games.
Mr. Speaker, Festival Antigonish has become an arts and culture anchor in Nova Scotia, and continues to make significant contributions to the local economy. I look forward to taking in some more shows this summer.
MACKENZIE, SCOTT - PASTOR, BAPTIST CHURCH:
YOUTH MINISTRY - RECOGNIZE
HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Pastor Scott MacKenzie, of the Lake Echo Fellowship Baptist Church, for his tireless efforts in ministry to youth in our community for the last nine years.
He has directed many children's programs such as Vacation Bible School for 100 children, and the Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed program that has reached families throughout the area. He worked on community spring cleanups, and encourages others to do the same. He worked alongside the Restorative Justice Program, and welcomes every opportunity to work with young people.
I applaud and recognize Pastor Scott MacKenzie for his tremendous contribution to the many young people of our communities.
ELMSDALE LANDSCAPING: BUS. INTEGRITY - PRIDE
HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure many members of the House are familiar with the green fleet tucks of Elmsdale Landscaping. They are a trusted landscape group for government, city parks, grounds, and contractors.
What you may not know is that this company has been in business for over six decades and is still owned by the family of Dennis Couper, who began producing nursery sod in Elmsdale in 1954. They have grown since those days of stacking sod by hand, on second-hand Department of Defence trucks - which were never painted, leading to the trademark green fleet.
Now employing 140 trained staff, with four Red Seal horticulturalists, they maintain over 1,500 acres in production, and are able to harvest over 1,000,000 square yards of sod annually.
We're proud of this company in East Hants, and we recognize and honour the successful growth through following their founder's business formula of integrity and trust, and for their many generous contributions to the beautification at home, and around the province.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS
PREM. - SEXUAL HARASSMENT/ASSAULT:
PREVENTION - STABLE FUNDING
The likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment in Nova Scotia is higher than that of Atlantic Canada overall - 26 per cent of residents overall and 41 per cent of women. Yet the budget did not specify funding to tackle this all-too-common problem, even with a budget surplus. Why isn't combatting sexual harassment a priority for this Premier and his government?
THE PREMIER » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. It is completely unacceptable, the report and the numbers we are hearing coming out of our province. It's why we've continued to invest as a government in a sexual assault strategy, working with our partners across the province.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, the Human Rights Commission has a program of support and why workplaces across this province need to continue to make sure they have in place a sexual assault strategy. We need to make sure that every Nova Scotian feels safe in their workplace. We're going to continue to work with our partners to ensure that women across this province can go to work and feel safe in their workplace.
At the same time we need to ensure that women and young girls feel safe in their own homes. Quite frankly, it's unacceptable, the level of domestic abuse that takes place in this province. We'll continue when we all work together to ensure that we continue to work to eliminate it.
MS. MACFARLANE « » : There is no new funding is the point, though. Community groups that support survivors of sexual violence in Nova Scotia say they will likely have to turn away people without an extension of funding for the sexual violence strategy. The funding was $2 million per year. One advocate argued that this is unethical for the province not to offer long-term solutions, especially because more victims are now coming forward. I will table that.
Despite all of this, the $2 million earmarked in the budget will be spread between domestic violence and sexual assault. No matter how you look at it, that means less money for sexual violence services.
Does the Premier agree with advocates on the front line that denying them predictable, long-term funding is unethical?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue the honourable member brings to the floor. Ratcheting up the conversation is unhelpful for those women across this province who require those supports.
We will continue to make sure in our budget that we continue to make those investments, working with our partners, to continue to ensure that young women across this province, that women who are living in domestic violence get the support they require to ensure that those who suffer from sexual assaults get the support in and around working with the Human Rights Commission.
We're working with shelters across the province to continue to make sure we make those investments, to ensure that people feel safe. It is incumbent on all of us, Mr. Speaker, to make sure that we conduct ourselves in our workplace in an appropriate way so that women feel safe to go to work in this province.
I would encourage all of us to be mindful of what we say and how we conduct ourselves in this place and in other places when it comes to ensuring that all of us feel safe at the workplace.
When staff provided the Standing Committee on Community Services an update on the sexual violence strategy in December, they indicated they had done public polling to better understand the public awareness attitudes and perceptions regarding sexual violence in our province. The polling found there were no statistically significant differences between the two survey points, just one year apart. The explanation given was that it takes time to make societal change. I'll table that.
Why has the government split the funding for sexual violence services, much-needed societal change, before it has been accomplished?
THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to draw her attention to $755,000 in the annual investment in the Department of Community Services; $385,000 of historic discretionary grants that go to Avalon Sexual Assault Centre and the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre.
I want to draw her attention, to the $90,000 from federal funding that is part of this, this $1.3 million, over $1.3 million that our government invests in the same program to ensure that programs are across the province. There's $832,000 to provide for four organizations: Avalon, Antigonish, Colchester, and New Start. Furthermore, there is an additional $2 million to ensure that we continue to eradicate domestic violence in this province.
PREM. - C.B. REG. HOSP.: ER BEDS - LACK
MR. GARY BURRILL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to table an interview this week with Dr. Margaret Fraser in Sydney, who said that emergency room patients are not getting proper care because no beds at all are available when they come in.
When they were asked to comment, the Health Authority blamed the shortage of beds on an influx of patients at certain times of the year. Dr. Fraser, however, says that the problem is not the time of year but that there aren't any beds available in any of the four hospitals in the CBRM, so the regional emergency department itself is having to function as a ward, something which, in her words, "they are ill-equipped to do."
I want to ask the Premier if Dr. Fraser's view of this doesn't make basic common sense to him.
THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank all the citizens across the province who continue to work day in and day out to ensure that Nova Scotians have access to primary health care and emergency health care.
As I have said to the honourable member in each Question Period, when he raises this issue, we continue to reduce the wait-list. We announced that it has been reduced by 53 per cent since we came into government. We'll continue, and we have invested home care in every one of our budgets to ensure that seniors who tell us that they want to have that care at home, we're providing that care at home.
We're going to continue to work with our partners to make those investments. As we go through this process, if it's deemed that we need to build more long-term care beds, we will do so.
MR. BURRILL « » : I want to return to Dr. Fraser's analysis. She also noted that the conditions in the emergency room at Cape Breton Regional, besides being uncomfortable for patients, they are dangerous for staff. In fact, in Dr. Fraser's estimate, treating people in hospital corridors is untenable; it's not a practice that allows doctors to properly perform exams on patients, and it shouldn't be continued.
I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, will he concede that Dr. Fraser has a reasonable and a considered point?
THE PREMIER « » : Of course, we will agree that Dr. Fraser - if there are issues in the hospital that she's bringing forward, we will continue to investigate those, to work with her to ensure that not only she, but all health care providers have the appropriate environment to be providing the care Nova Scotians expect.
MR. BURRILL « » : We heard from a doctor this week who, like many physicians in this discussion, wishes to remain anonymous, who said that they would gladly give up their last five years of raises as a general practitioner if they could get their patients timely access to psychiatry and other specialists, decent home care that meets their needs and - the doctor said - timely access to long-term care. The physician's view was that family doctors won't stay here if there aren't adequate resources to support their work.
I want to ask the Premier, why won't he acknowledge the reasonable truth that's being spoken here, that not opening up new nursing homes doesn't help us at all when it comes to retaining doctors?
I want to speak directly about home care - we have invested in every budget and we have eliminated the wait-list in many cases. He talks about long-term care beds, Mr. Speaker - we have reduced that wait-list by 53 per cent. He's talking about the length of time they stay in hospital - we have reduced that by almost 50 per cent. We're continuing to work with patients across our province to ensure that they get the care that they want in hospitals across the province.
As I said to him, we're listening to people across this province. We will work with our health care providers. The clinicians he spoke to, the Minister of Health and Wellness is working with them to ensure that we have the appropriate number at the right salaries across our province. We will continue to invest in the health of Nova Scotians.
PREM.: N.S. LOBBYIST REGISTRY - RULES COMPLIANCE
Wednesday, the Premier met with former Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Mr. Chretien is actually working with the Sydney Harbour Investment Partners to help establish a container terminal. Mr. Chretien stated that he would be seeking provincial investment in this project, a clear act of obvious lobbying under the Lobbyist Registration Act. I will table that document - there's a nice picture too.
Did the Premier know that Mr. Chretien was not a registered lobbyist when he agreed to meet him?
I do want to say on behalf of our government, and I believe indeed all Nova Scotians, how grateful I am not only for Prime Minister Jean Chretien but Prime Minister Mulroney and others who have responded to my call when I've asked them to work on behalf of this province, when I require support - whether it's in Washington, or whether it's in the New England States, or whether I'm looking for meetings with top business people. Those Prime Ministers have responded to my call each and every time, and I want to assure all members of this House, the same as I've told the media outside of this House, if a former Prime Minister calls my office, I will take the call. If a former Premier calls my office, I will take their call, and I will meet with them because I'm going to tell you, each and every time they respond to the needs of Nova Scotians when I ask them.
MS. MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I sincerely and honestly don't want to be unreasonable here. I understand the situation the Premier is in, and if a former Prime Minister reaches out, courtesy demands that he should take the offer and meet him, but Mr. Chretien had clearly signalled the intent of this meeting at an event in Sydney earlier this week. The Premier had to know what Mr. Chretien wanted to talk about.
Rules are rules, and if the Premier is going to meet with a lobbyist, that lobbyist should be on the registry. It took someone with that type of profile of a former Prime Minister to shine light on this. Can the Premier detail the actual process used by his office to ensure that lobbyists he meets with are in compliance with the Act and regulations?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on Mr. Chretien, or anyone else who wants to meet with the Premier, if they deem themselves a lobbyist, to register. It is not up to me. I do want to respond to the fact - she's absolutely right, Mr. Chretien was very clear in the paper. He supported that project in Sydney - not all members of your caucus do, I appreciate that - but Mr. Chretien was very clear, and got out there and said he supported it, but he did not ask me for a single nickel, he just said it would be a good project for the province. He did not ask the provincial government to be part of it, there has been no money.
I also talked about, quite frankly - if she wants to know the entire meeting - I also talked about what it's like to be the 12th of 17, he's 18 of 19. We talked about what it's like to come from big families and the support you receive from them, and particularly, when you run for public office, it's very difficult. I look forward to continuing my friendship with Mr. Chretien in the years to come.
LAE - CBU PRES.: COMPENSATION DEALS - UNFAIR
Details came out this week of David Dingwall's contract to be President of Cape Breton University, and he'll be getting up to $310,000 in annual payments and thousands more in one-time payments. I'll table that. That is the equivalency of approximately nine years of annual income for many Nova Scotians. Apparently, the memorandum of understanding that the minister negotiates with universities is what allows for these huge compensation deals.
My question is, I'd be curious to know, does the minister believe that in these days of growing inequality, sky-high tuition, and young graduates loaded with debt, that this amount of compensation is really justified?
HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member for the question. The member brought up two issues. One was debt on our students. I would like to point out to the member, and all members of the House, what this government has done, which is allow loan forgiveness for every student who gets a Nova Scotia Student Loan in the province. That's $6, 800 over five years, fully forgiven upon graduation.
Mr. Speaker, I'd also like to point out to the member that any decisions that come to compensation at a university are board decisions, so if she has an issue with any part of that compensation package, she can send her question to the board.
MS. ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, that was an interesting answer. First of all, I had a meeting with several of the student federations, and they're not satisfied with that package he's talking about. They need money up front, because a lot of them are eating out of food banks.
Mr. Speaker, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars going from students' pockets to David Dingwall's pockets, students will also have to pay Mr. Dingwall's full salary for an entire year after he's stopped working for them, and that's something that the current Minister of Community Services called unacceptable a year and a half ago, when she was Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, and vowed to put an end to the practice. I will table that.
My question to the minister is, what reason does he possibly have for continuing with this practice, when so many students are struggling?
MR. KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, students were struggling under the NDP Government because they couldn't find a job in this province. What we've seen in the last two years is that we are retaining more youth in the province upon graduation than are leaving.
I'll remind the member that while they were cutting 10 per cent from university budgets - a full 10 per cent - we've been adding every single year.
The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.
MR. KOUSOULIS « » : I will also remind the member that under this government we have full loan forgiveness of Nova Scotia student loans to any university student. Under this government, university students have gotten (Interruptions)
The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.
As I've said many times (Interruption)
The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.
MR. KOUSOULIS « » : Decisions of compensation at universities, in my opinion, are board decisions. If the government was going to get in and start running the universities, we'd have to take them all over. That's not going to happen.
CCH - PUBLIC LIBRARIES: CORE FUNDING REVIEW - COMMIT
HON. PAT DUNN « » : My question is for the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. During my former career I quickly learned the importance that libraries play in the development of our children. They offer that quiet place for students to study and complete their assignments. They have also adapted with the times and have proven to be an essential piece of infrastructure in communities, regardless of where you live in Nova Scotia.
Many of these facilities across this province are experiencing service problems due to budget constraints. The Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library is one example. It continues to make difficult decisions with their staff hours, daily operational hours, and services they can provide. All of this comes at the expense of those who need and require these services being offered.
My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to reviewing the core funding model for public libraries during this current year?
Thank you so much for the question. It's a really important question. Libraries in our province are going through a real renaissance, offering a tremendous array of services to their communities.
The member is exactly right. We need to review the core funding model. We have a team of librarians from across the province working with the department. In fact, during this Spring, we'll have a proposal coming from that committee for a future funding model.
It's a shame that it has been approximately eight years since the public libraries across the province have received any significant funding. Libraries offer a place where people can go to access the Internet, print off job resumes, and email family and friends. I commend the staff at the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library for providing my constituents the ability to access these services, as well as offering a wider range of services, such as toddler programs, technology training, and guest lectures.
What I just described is not unique to just my area but across our province. It is unfortunate that we can't meet the demand, based on the current government funding.
My question to the minister, will the minister commit to Nova Scotians that during this fiscal year there will be an increase in funding for Nova Scotia public libraries?
MR. GLAVINE « » : I thank the member for raising this important issue. Libraries have become welcoming hubs, community centres, playing a pivotal role especially with new immigrants and seniors in our communities, to help them navigate the digital world in particular.
We have a high regard for their work. To that end, before the end of fiscal 2017-18, we gave libraries across the province - all nine regional libraries - $52,000 each to make sure they are providing an adequate array of services for their citizens.
EECD - PRE-PRIMARY: LICENSED CHILD CARE - REQUIREMENTS
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. On March 9, 2018, the minister announced 130 additional pre-Primary classrooms. The minister said the government's intention was to always deliver pre-Primary in schools, but when space was an issue, partnering with the community makes sense and will serve families well. He said that it would sometimes make sense to deliver the program through a licensed child care provider to improve access. The department will be seeking a partnership with a licensed child care provider to deliver pre-Primary as a pilot project in Kings County.
Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is, can the minister explain the requirements that a licensed child care provider will need to deliver pre-Primary in Kings County.
HON. ZACH CHURCHILL » : Mr. Speaker, I'm thrilled that the Progressive Conservative Party who voted against a pre-Primary program is now interested in this program. I think they've seen the light and importance and impact that this program can have on our children.
We do have as a priority for this program to be in schools because we know that helps with the transition in the academic learning environment, and when it is not possible because of space issues we are looking at partnerships with the regulated child care sector. In those cases, the child care sector will have to follow the provincial curriculum and plan to ensure that we have a safe, healthy, pre-Primary program that's going to deliver good-quality, play-based education to our kids.
MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. The people of Kentville and area want to know they are going to be treated the same as other areas. Licensed child care providers need to understand the requirements so they can determine if they're eligible to partner with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; licensed child care providers also need to know the level of qualifications required of the needed employees to provide the services required.
My question is, when will licensed child care providers in Kings County area know what is required, so they can determine if they're interested in providing this new service or can even find qualified staff?
MR. CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, in fact this form of partnership was a strong theme in the consultation that we had with the regulated child care sector. The sector told us that they want to partner in this regard and I will inform the member that as recently as last week, or the week before, our staff from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development were actually in the area discussing this very issue with members of that sector, and I look forward to a prosperous partnership there and perhaps in other parts of the province as well where space is an issue for pre-Primary delivery.
BUS. - VICTORIA CO.: CELLPHONE SERV. - FUNDING
In today's world, cellphones and cellphone service are commonplace, but not all residents have the opportunity to have service in their community. In areas like North River and North Shore, in Victoria County, there is very limited service or no service at all. During some construction work last summer, the residents were without land-line service more than they had it and, in some cases, they had to travel up to 20 kilometres to get cellphone service.
So, my question to the minister is, will his department provide funding to establish reliable cell service in these areas and others throughout Victoria County?
HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Knowing the business environment in his county and his constituency, certainly with the impact of tourism that creates all kinds of economic opportunities for those who live there, among other businesses, traditional industries, and the private sector with respect to natural resources and all the things that happen, I understand the importance of that connectivity.
Obviously, the broadband conversation which is happening simultaneously is part of how we support business, safety first, but of course business as well in terms of connectivity to the rest of the world in which they operate. But with respect to cell service, we're always looking at those opportunities. The hardware of towers and heavy infrastructure, the physical infrastructure required to increase that connectivity is clearly important, so if there are specifics I'd be happy to talk to the member about it, but of course the department is always looking at ways to expand connectivity for Nova Scotians.
MR. BAIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that response. In the areas that I've mentioned as examples, there are people on lifeline service who cannot access it when they have no land-line service. If an individual has to contact emergency services such as ambulance, police, and fire service, many would be unable to do so by cellphone in the areas. Many service providers will not install cell towers in rural areas because they'd see no return on their investment.
So, again, I ask the minister, what could be done to ensure that one of these providers installs cell towers in these areas to improve the safety of the community?
MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, again, with the cell service and the connectivity, it is similar to the broadband, the sort of the dressed-up word around it is "market failure", but the easy explanation is that the investment that would be required to service the amount of people who would be in a particular area just doesn't add up for the investment versus the cost. That becomes the challenge. When a private sector market and a private sector enterprise isn't available to do that, then it becomes incumbent on government to fill those gaps.
So that's exactly again - the broadband conversation is similar to the cell service and the connectivity. This becomes about the strategic location of towers, what we can do from a public purse perspective by way of investment to help those communities that need it the most. Safety and emergency services, and emergency management is at the key of this - TIR by way of their radio system, but we can help on the business side of course, with respect to drumming up support and certainly providing investment for the cell service. We'll continue to look at that for sure.
IMMIG. - ATL. IMMIG. PILOT PROJECT: QUOTA TARGET - LAGGING
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project was launched a year ago, to attract about 2,000 immigrants to the four Atlantic Provinces. In 2017, Prince Edward Island filled its quota and New Brunswick reached about three quarters of its target, but Nova Scotia found only about 25 per cent of the workers needed to fill specific jobs, and I'll table that.
Nova Scotia's share of the pilot was 792 slots last year, and the province attracted only 201 immigrants. Mr. Speaker, at a time when we all know how important immigration is to our economic future, can the minister explain why Nova Scotia is lagging behind P.E.I and New Brunswick when it comes to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program?
HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for bringing the question to the floor. Indeed, immigration is an excellent opportunity for Nova Scotia, as it is for all Atlantic Canada, not only to increase our population, which we desperately need, we read every day in the newspapers that we need our population to increase but, it's also a way to really increase our economic growth, and it's a way to increase awareness of our social surroundings.
I'm very pleased with our numbers. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a wonderful opportunity, one that we are working extremely hard in this province, and I'm very pleased with our numbers that we have received in this province through the pilot. We've actually done extremely well, and those numbers are not exactly accurate.
MS. ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I think we have to take a serious look at why we weren't able to fill all the slots available, and I would suggest that one possible reason is that the list of designated employers under this program is not made public. When asked why, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration said it doesn't want employers to be inundated with applications.
Mr. Speaker, highly skilled, international graduates who want to stay in Nova Scotia can't find out who is eligible to hire them. Will the minister agree to make the list of designated employers for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project available to the public?
MS. DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, this also gives me an opportunity to speak to you a little bit about the immigration pilot. I've been going across the province speaking to many settlement partners, many community partners, many municipal partners, and so on.
Our uptake in that, for just this year alone – it has not even been three months - has been almost 200 people that have been designated. Add that to last year alone, in 2017, we had 1,652 permanent residents that have filled those spots. In two years alone in this province, we had 9,998 permanent residents that gained citizenship in this province alone. That is more than the number of the Town of Amherst alone.
I'm very pleased with our numbers, and Nova Scotia has been used as an excellent example in immigration when we're talking, not just in Canada, but all over the world.
TIR: SIDEWALKS & TRAILS - BUDGET ALLOTMENT
MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. This is a subject that I've been speaking about for - well, over four years in this House.
The Town of New Glasgow is an age-friendly designated community. They are keenly invested in providing opportunities to promote healthy and active aging and living. Part of their strategy is to build and maintain a network of sidewalks and trails to get people out of their cars whenever possible, and we all know that boundaries between municipal and provincial jurisdictions are a discussion that matter to us in this House.
My question for the minister is, how much funding is actually available in this new budget for sidewalk construction and maintenance?
HON. LLOYD HINES « » : I appreciate the matter being brought forward because in the department, our relationship with the municipalities across Nova Scotia at all levels is extremely important, and one that I think represents opportunity for both the municipalities and the department and the people of Nova Scotia to improve that relationship, and to provide better services for our people.
The member is absolutely right, there is a significant responsibility difference between particularly the town municipalities in Nova Scotia, and the department. Most succinctly I could say that civic matters such as sewer, water, and sidewalks are the responsibility of the local municipality.
However, in saying that, in areas where the provincial government has responsibility inside these towns, and inside these municipalities, we're always approachable to work with these municipalities to improve things for our citizens.
MS. MACFARLANE « » : So, Mr. Speaker, basically when I started the discussion about four years ago it was that the sidewalk was part of the municipal responsibility. They did their part, we didn't do our part.
Along the Westville Road, the Town of New Glasgow has completed a sidewalk project up to the provincial boundary. At the boundary the sidewalk ends, creating a dangerous situation. Westville Road actually leads to the Pictou County Wellness Centre, a destination for active seniors, children, and many travelling youth, sports, and teams. So New Glasgow and Pictou West are hoping that the department will complete the sidewalk network to get people safely to the Wellness Centre.
I'd like to know if the minister is going to help me, after four years, to finalize the sidewalk construction along the Westville Road, which is a provincial jurisdiction.
MR. HINES « » : I really appreciate that matter being brought forward here at this time. Of course, we will work with this member, and any other member, who has matters around highways. When it comes to sidewalks of course that involves safety.
This matter has not come to my attention before. I don't know if the local jurisdiction has contacted the department to put this on the table. I haven't seen it yet, but I'd undertake to investigate that and we'll certainly take a look at it.
EECD - WICKWIRE ACADEMY: CUSTODIAL REDUCTION - EXPLAIN
MS. KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Many of my constituents who have children at the Wickwire Academy, which is the elementary school in Liverpool, are very concerned with classroom conditions. Standard custodial coverage at Wickwire consists of two eight-hour positions, and one five-hour position. Recently, coverage was reduced to one eight-hour, one five-hour, and one two-hour position. This is a reduction of six custodial hours overall.
No matter how hard custodial staff work, it is impossible for them to keep the classroom environment clean in this amount of time. My question to the minister is, does the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development know why custodial hours were reduced at Wickwire Academy?
HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, that is a local operational decision that is made at the management (Interruptions) It's not even made at the board level, it's made at the management level, so the question is (Interruptions) Those decisions, to be clear, are not voted on by the elected boards, as the members opposite would suggest. These decisions are actually made operationally by those who are in charge of the operation of the education system, just to be clear.
That is something that if there is an issue there, we can look into. I do want the member to know that we do have full belief and trust in those managers and those leaders in our system to make the right decisions on behalf of our kids.
MS. MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, this six-hour reduction in custodial time may sound inconsequential to the minister but in fact, we know it is having very detrimental effects on classroom conditions and student health. With desks being wiped down only once a week, contagious illnesses have significantly increased among students - reports of pink eye, impetigo, strep throat, scarlet fever are up at Wickwire. In fact, in one Primary class, 50 per cent of the class has pink eye.
One of my Liverpool constituents is so fed up with his children being subjected to these conditions, that he is prepared to keep his children at home for the balance of the school year, simply to maintain their health.
My question to the minister is, with his newly invested administrative powers, is the minister prepared to enforce the restoration of custodial hours at Wickwire Academy?
MR. CHURCHILL « » : Of course, health and safety of our students is paramount in every single decision that needs to be made in the system. If there is a health and safety concern in relation to this specific school, I'm very happy to take that information and ensure that we do a proper investigation at the department and regional level.
H&W - HEALTH CARE CRISIS: OTHER PROVIDERS - CONSIDER
MR. TIM HALMAN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. There is no one in this House - on this side of the floor, at least - who will deny that our health care system is in crisis.
With 100,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor, it is time for us to get creative on solutions to provide Nova Scotians with primary care. As per a meeting with local pharmacists in a CBC article that I will table, there are many trained, accredited pharmacists and physiotherapists and other health care providers who could be providing services to Nova Scotians.
My question to the minister is this - why won't the minister and this government use more trained, qualified health care providers to fill gaps in our health care system?
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : I thank the member for raising this question today. It provides an opportunity to advise the member and all members of the House that indeed we are working with all health care professionals. In fact, that's a principal component of our initiatives around collaborative health care teams. That is exactly what we are doing, tapping into the full scope of health care providers, to work with our family physicians to ensure Nova Scotians get the primary care that they need when they need it.
Pharmacists and physiotherapists are trained experts capable of doing important work in our health care system. One local pharmacist told me that legislation is already in place, and that it's a matter of flicking a switch to enable them to do more to fill primary care gaps. We need more outside-the-box thinking and innovation from our health care leadership to actually make progress in fixing the crisis.
Why isn't this government utilizing the resources we already have to turn around the health care crisis?
MR. DELOREY « » : In short, I would like to advise the member to his specific question, the fact is we are making use of the resources we have to provide care to Nova Scotians. Specifically, as the member references, physiotherapists and pharmacists, as health care partners, are providing care and having a scope of practice that can support that.
I'm pleased to advise the member and others in the Legislature that in fact, I have had conversations and meetings with representatives. I believe my next meeting is scheduled for April 6th with the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. We'll continue those discussions to find out where the opportunities are for us to do even more, making use of their skills.
But I want to thank pharmacists and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia for their help with programs like the Bloom Program, providing supports around mental health in communities. They have stepped up the plate to roll out naloxone kits to our communities to help address the opioid crisis, saving lives in this province. We recognize and we are working with those pharmacists in Nova Scotia, as well as all health care professionals.
COM. SERV.: ESIA CLAWBACK - EXPLAIN
MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. ESIA Policy 8.1.3 states, "Where a recipient receives less ESIA than they are eligible to receive, through no fault of their own, the underpayment will be calculated for the most recent six (6) months for which the lesser amount was paid."
The department's clawing back of child support payments has resulted in many families receiving less ESIA than they should have been eligible to receive through no fault of their own. Mr. Speaker, will the minister agree to make the change to end the child support clawback, retroactive in keeping with the department's policy on underpayments?
I would note that if that Party thought it was the wrong thing to do, they had four and a half years to make that change, and they didn't do it.
MS. LEBLANC « » : I was frustrated earlier this week to hear the minister insist that ESIA recipients would have to wait until August before the department would stop clawing back their child support payments.
The minister said it would take time to work through the process and train people. Mr. Speaker, this should be a simple change. The department repeatedly charges people on income assistance thousands of dollars for overpayments.
Will the minister explain why it is apparently easy for the department to take money away but so extremely difficult for them to figure out how to give it back?
MS. REGAN « » : I want to thank the honourable member and I want to assure her that we are looking forward to seeing this change come into effect in August. We think that it will have a significant effect on families. The average maintenance enforcement payment in the province is $275 per month, and we are delighted that we will be able to offer that to the families who receive ESIA.
H&W - CHÃ?TICAMP EYE CLINIC: NURSING REDUCTION - EXPLAIN
MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : A question for the Minister of Health and Wellness. In December, Antigonish-based ophthalmologist Dr. Hamilton was informed that nursing support for his clinic in ChÃ©ticamp would be reduced, limiting the number of people he could see on each visit.
It's a long way from here to ChÃ©ticamp. It's a long way from Antigonish to ChÃ©ticamp. This eye clinic had provided service for 30 years and, as a bonus, Dr. Hamilton speaks French for the benefit of the local population. Good luck finding a replacement for Dr. Hamilton, given the shortages of specialists across our health care system.
Why was a decision made to put a service at risk that has worked so well for over 30 years?
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Monsieur le PrÃ©sident, je suis heureux de vous informer que je me suis rÃ©sonner sur le statut de cette clinque au dÃ©but de la nouvelle l'annÃ©e, et que la RÃ©gie de la santÃ© de la Nouvelle-Ã?cosse m'a assurÃ© que le dÃ©tachant en personnel pour soutenir cette clinique Ã©tait maintenue. Je tiens Ã remercier le docteur Hamilton pour son dÃ©vouement envers ses patients de la rÃ©gion. Je veux vous remercier.
MR. MACMASTER « » : The minister is testing my comprehension of French. (Laughter) It's actually not bad. If I was fluent in Gaelic, I would gladly do it, and that's something the government needs to help us out with in Nova Scotia, so people can stand up here and speak fluently in Gaelic.
To me, this decision was an example of government making a decision to make it unattractive for doctors to practise in the province. The minister has said, and I think he's talked about in the New Year, that there were some efforts made to correct this issue - I was trying to listen intently, there.
Will the minister go back and ensure that Dr. Hamilton has all he needs to continue these clinics with the same efficiency he has done with in the past, and will he send a message to the leadership of the health care system to make decisions that help those who are providing health care? Putting eye clinics in rural areas at risk shows bad judgment.
MR. DELOREY « » : Thank you, and yes, as I attempted to articulate there in French - recognizing, of course, the linguistic and cultural circumstances of the community in question, as well as was mentioned, Dr. Hamilton's ability to speak French in the community.
I did reach out to the Health Authority when this issue came to my attention. When I did so in the New Year, they did inform me that they had reviewed the situation. Despite some consideration of such changes, they did commit to making sure that the staffing complement needed to support Dr. Hamilton and his clinic for the eye patients in that region would be maintained.
FIN. & TREASURY BD. - VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINALS:
POP-UP FEATURE - ISSUE
It's estimated that video lottery terminals put six to eight per cent of players at risk for moderate gambling problems, and 1.5 per cent of players at risk to develop a severe problem, which could devastate them financially.
To help address this problem in 2001, the Atlantic Lottery introduced a number of responsible gambling features to all video terminals that included a permanent, on-screen clock that pops up reminding players of the length of play.
Mr. Speaker, our office has received a call from a person who works at a local establishment who believes that the pop-up reminder feature, which is supposed to remind players at 60, 90, and 120 intervals of the length of time, seems to be somewhat inconsistent.
Is the minister aware of any other problems with this gambling feature?
HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Thank you to the member opposite. I do want to refer all of us to the Nova Scotia Gaming Strategy - that strategy is a guide for all governments. It was introduced by the Progressive Conservatives when they were in power, it was updated by the New Democratic Party when they were in power.
We continue to follow that gaming strategy. It's designed to make sure that we have our players in a safe, responsible environment. We want to make sure that there is no undue risk for those who are playing on those games.
If there's a specific question, I would be glad to seek the answer to that, but I do want all people to know that we are continuing to follow that strategy. We believe it provides a safe environment.
MR. JOHNS « » : Mr. Speaker, I do recognize that there have been two responsible gaming strategies in our province's history. Both of them, as acknowledged, were bought in from members of this side of the House.
In fact, I think my colleague for Pictou East actually pointed out during our last session that the issue is that the most recent gaming strategy actually expired in 2016. I don't think there has been a newer strategy that's been presented yet. It's clear that a responsible gaming plan is vital to a sustainable gaming industry, so my question would be, would the minister direct Atlantic Lottery to conduct an audit on the responsible gaming features on all video lottery terminals in Nova Scotia to ensure that they're operating properly?
MS. CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, to the member's suggestion that there is no gaming strategy, I think I made it clear that we continue to follow the guide, which was the gaming strategy that was introduced, as I went through the history of that. In 2011, there was reference to 2011 to 2016. That was in five years in the terms of reference - that did not change the strategy. We have not abandoned that strategy. We continue to follow that strategy. So I want everybody to know that we are operating within a gaming strategy.
TIR - CUMB. REG. HEALTH CARE CTR.: SIDEWALKS - SAFETY
MS. ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, back in 2003, we had a new hospital built, the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. But it was built just outside of the town limits, and during that time, the community was told that a sidewalk would be built between the town and the other side of highway, where the new hospital was built.
To this day, nothing has ever been built. We have people walking every day in unsafe conditions, because there is no sidewalk, and we also have the elderly driving their electric wheelchairs on the highway. We've been calling for this to be built for about 15 years now.
I'm wondering if the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal would be willing to work with myself and the local officials in the Town of Amherst and County of Cumberland to come up with a solution.
HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. As I mentioned earlier, the department always welcomes the opportunity to work with our municipal partners, but to be clear, the responsibility for sidewalks in Nova Scotia is a municipal responsibility. Therefore, the County of Cumberland would be responsible for that. If there's any way that we can assist, we would be more than happy to work with them, as we would in the Municipality of the County of Pictou. Thank you.
MS. SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister. I realize that he has not been in that position as long as since the hospital has been built, but the county and the town have in fact tried working with that department for several years and have been shut down, because the Trans Canada Highway is right in the middle.
They've been working on solutions, both the town and the county, and have been shut down continuously by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. I'm thinking maybe we could take some of the profits from the Cobequid Pass and help us build a safe walking trail from the Town of Amherst to our regional hospital.
I'd be more than happy to reopen that file and have a look and see what's going on, but at the end of the day, the primary consideration and the funding would have to come from the subject municipalities.
[10:50 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CW on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Chuck Porter in the Chair.]
[3:07 p.m. CW on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Chuck Porter in the Chair.]
MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Monday, March 26th, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Following the daily routine, we will move to Committee of the Whole on Supply to continue with the review of the main estimates and, with time permitting, we may move on to second reading of Bill No. 87.
Additionally, I can inform the House, and the public, that the Law Amendments Committee will meet on Monday, March 26th, at 1:00 p.m., where we will consider Bill No. 85, the Municipal Government Act; Bill No. 76, the Mineral Resources Act; Bill No. 79, the Property Valuation Services Corporation Act; Bill No. 82, the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter; and Bill No. 84, the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion carried.
We stand adjourned.
[The House rose at 3:09 p.m.]
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)
Tabled March 22, 2018
RESOLUTION NO. 1068
I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas the U 14 Division St. Margaret's Bay Slam team, coached by Matthew Cox and Daniel Cox, made it to the finals for this division; and
Whereas Jacob Ashleigh, Sam Ellsworth, Blake Myers, Damien MacLean, Dylan Cox, Matthew Isshac, Samuel Mutch, Lachlan Menzies, Joseph Vigneault, Sean Cole, Ryan McCarthy, and Sean Neatt played with incredible spirit and strength of character; and
Whereas they won each game, including the final 41 to 31 over the first seed team, the Halifax Hurricanes;
Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating the St. Margaret's Bay Slam team, their players, the coaches, and their fans on winning the championship and wish them continued success in the future.