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October 22, 2019

  HANSARD19-60

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/



Second Session

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE
 

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Comm.,
4447
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Govt. Advertising Rpt. 2018-19,
4448
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1357, N.S. Sheriffs Services: Pink Patch Prog. - Recog.,
4449
Vote - Affirmative
4449
Res. 1358, Crawford, Jennifer - Winner: MasterChef Can. - Congrats.,
4450
Vote - Affirmative
4450
Res. 1359, Small Bus. Wk.: Supporting Bus. - Recog.,
4450
Vote - Affirmative
4451
Res. 1360, Dyslexia Awareness Mo.: Removing Barriers to Success - Recog.,
4451
Vote - Affirmative
4452
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 210, Health Protection Act,
4452
No. 211, Education Act and Education (CSAP) Act,
4452
No. 212, Privacy and Access to Information, An Act to Enhance,
4452
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
House of Commons Attack: Deaths - Tribute,
4452
Williams, Lily Kate: Highland Dance Multi-medallist - Commend,
4453
Wilkinson, Mark: Go Towing & Recovery - Thanks,
4453
Thomas, Len: United Way Volun. Award - Congrats.,
4454
Budapest Bisztro: Hungarian Restaurant, Opened - Congrats.,
4454
Springhill Pit Pond Trail: Realizing a Dream - Congrats.,
4455
Street Checks: Permanently Banned - Recog.,
4456
Dyslexia Awareness Mo.: Early Assessment, Importance - Recog.,
4457
Cove, Matt - Novelist: Arcterra - Congrats.,
4457
Burton, Ken - Sgt.: Police Exemplary Serv. Medal - Congrats.,
4457
Mersey Seafoods: New Facility - Congrats.,
4458
Raven Espresso Boutique: Delicious - Recog.,
4458
Ellsmere, Leslee: Strides for Obesity - Commend,
4459
AtlanTick: Cdn. Women Entrepreneur Award - Congrats.,
4459
S. Woodside Com. Assoc.: Com. Serv. - Recog.,
4460
Dunbrack U13 AA Soccer: Gold-winning Girls - Congrats.,
4460
Reginato, Lawrence: Mira Ferry Fair - Thanks,
4461
Street Checks: Ban on Practice - Just,
4461
Fireworks FX: 35 Yrs. of Pyrotechnics - Congrats.,
4462
Square Roots: Redirecting Good Food - Thanks,
4463
Pentz Elem. Kindness Grp.: Fostering Goodwill - Commend,
4463
Walk for Autism: $70K Fundraiser - Congrats.,
4463
Cameron, Barry: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
4464
Innes, Lachlan: Popular Autism Presentation - Congrats.,
4464
Craig, Pamela/Dalberg, Shannon: Bus. Dev. Awards - Congrats.,
4465
Food Box Pilot: Eating Fresh - Recog.,
4465
Port Williams: Lieutenant Governor's Com. Spirit Award - Congrats.,
4466
Simmonds, Ross - Chair: Black Bus. Summit - Congrats.,
4466
Nocturne: Dartmouth's Electric Avenue - Congrats.,
4467
Fraser, Sean/Kelloway, Mike: Fed. Election - Congrats.,
4467
Trevors, Jessica/Cox, Glen: Athls. of the Yr. - Congrats.,
4468
Brookfield Bakery: Elmsdale Location - Congrats.,
4468
Loveridge, Peter - Physician: 45 Yrs. of Com. Serv. - Congrats.,
4469
Federal Candidates: Stepping Forward - Thanks,
4469
Simons, Justin: Valley Road Haunted House - Congrats.,
4469
Fix-it Fair: Celebrating Self-sufficiency - Recog.,
4470
Naugler, Bronwyn: Trixie Hardy Ballet Scholar - Congrats.,
4470
Small Businesses: Fdns. of Community - Congrats.,
4471
Jessome, Ben - Birthday Wishes,
4471
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 871, Prem.: Alakai - Environ. Assessment,
4472
No. 872, Prem.: Serv. for Persons with Disabilities - Commit.,
4473
No. 873, Prem.: Doctor Wait-list Longer - Comment,
4475
No. 874, L&F - St. Mary's River Watershed: Drilling - Protection,
4476
No. 875, H&W - VG Hosp.: Security - Safety Ensure,
4477
No. 876, H&W - Prov. Hosp.: Security Guards - Training,
4478
No. 877, H&W - NSHA: Violence in the Workplace Assess. - Conduct,
4480
No. 878, H&W: Dr. Gabrielle Horne - NSHA Apology,
4481
No. 879, Bus. - Devco Miners: Extended Benefits - Provide,
4482
No. 880, H&W: Physician Assistants - Status,
4483
No. 881, H&W: Newcomer Health Clinic - Patient Numbers,
4484
No. 882, H&W - NSHA: SuccessFactors - Difficulty,
4486
No. 883, H&W: AEDs - Numbers,
4487
No. 884, Prem.: Pugwash Health Care Facility - Reassure,
4488
No. 885, TIR: Exit 32, Argyle - Collisions: Update,
4489
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 204, Workers' Compensation Act
4490
4492
4492
4493
4494
Vote - Affirmative
4496
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 175, Marine Renewable-energy Act
4496
4496
4497
4498
Vote - Affirmative
4499
No. 177, Public Utilities Act
4499
4500
4500
4501
Vote - Affirmative
4501
No. 169, Expropriation Act
4502
4504
4506
4508
Vote - Affirmative
4508
No. 187, House of Assembly Act
4508
4509
4509
4510
Vote - Affirmative
4510
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Oct. 23rd at 1:00 p.m
4511
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1361, Ogilvie, Adam: Highland Games, Masters' Div. - Congrats.,
4512
Res. 1362, Creamery Sq. Heritage Soc.: 10th Anniv. - Congrats.,
4512
Res. 1363, Craig, Pamela/Dalberg, Shannon: Bus. Dev. Awards - Congrats.,
4513
Res. 1364, McLaughlin, Garnet: Summit Award - Congrats.,
4513
Res. 1365, Spencer, Haley: Jonathan McIntyre Scholar - Congrats.,
4514
Res. 1366, Dyck, Hattie: Writer and Orator - Thanks,
4514
Res. 1367, McLaughlin, Madeline: Wilson Family Scholar - Congrats.,
4515
Res. 1368, Sutherland, Maggie: Pursuit of Modelling - Best Wishes,
4515
Res. 1369, MacBurnie, Mason - Winner: Bunker Royale Tourn. - Congrats.,
4516
Res. 1370, MacNeil, Megan: Thriving with Clinical Depression - Inspiring,
4516
Res. 1371, Pelkey-Field, Dara/Field, Mike: Iron Couple - Congrats.,
4517
Res. 1372, Bentley, Morley: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
4517
Res. 1373, Mueller, Claire/Dieter: 40th Oktoberfest - Congrats.,
4518
Res. 1374, Jennings, Riley: X-Ceptional Award - Congrats.,
4519
Res. 1375, Morris, Saffron: Skills Canada, Photography - Congrats.,
4519
Res. 1376, Sugar Moon Farm: Food Network Feature - Congrats.,
4520
Res. 1377, Train Stn. Inn: 30th Anniv. - Congrats.,
4520

 

 

[Page 4447]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2019

Sixty-third General Assembly

Second Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Brendan Maguire

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 189 - House of Assembly Act.

Bill No. 192 - Municipal Elections Act.

Bill No. 193 - Massage Therapist Titles Protection Act.

Bill No. 197 - Companies Act, Co-operative Associations Act and Corporations Registration Act.

Bill No. 201 - Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

[Page 4448]

Bill No. 203 - Crown Attorneys' Labour Relations Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services.

HON. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a report entitled Government Advertising for 2018-19.

THE SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction before reading my resolution.

THE SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MARK FUREY « » : I ask my colleagues to draw their attention to the East Gallery where we're joined today by staff from Sheriff Services. As I call your name, I'd ask that you rise and remain standing. With us today is Deputy Chief Lindsay Hernden; Andrew Lantz, the Manager of Policy and Projects; Ryan Croft, Inspector with the Dartmouth Provincial Court; Deputy Sheriff Jean-Michel Lunda; and Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Swinemar.

I ask all members of the House to provide them a warm welcome. (Applause)

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1357

[Page 4449]

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's deputy sheriffs are dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of our courts, court staff, and members of the public; and

Whereas their service to Nova Scotians extends beyond the scope of their roles to include numerous community-driven projects like their recently launched, first in Canada, Pink Patch Project in support of breast cancer research and awareness; and

Whereas this initiative, led by Deputy Sheriff Kevin Hurst, has our deputy sheriffs wearing pink sheriff crests throughout the month of October and undertaking efforts to raise monies to support this cause that is dear to so many of us;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the tremendous generosity and commitment to community of the Nova Scotia Sheriff Services.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : I beg leave to make an introduction.

THE SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

LEO GLAVINE « » : I would like to draw the attention of the House to the East Gallery, where we have Jennifer Crawford, their partner, and their mother with us today. Jennifer is a former student of mine at West Kings District High School. When I read my resolution, you'll hear of her accomplishment; it's one which our community and I are extremely proud of.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1358

[Page 4450]

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

Whereas Nova Scotia boasts a multitude of culinary arts opportunities which combine and promote the areas of recreation, the arts, and cultural expression; and

Whereas from a young age, Jennifer Crawford began cooking recipes from her favourite cookbook belonging to her mother, which has served as one of her biggest inspirations and has led her to compete on the national MasterChef Canada stage; and

Whereas Jennifer worked hard and persevered, showing us that from those small towns, we can accomplish big things, and winning Season 10 of MasterChef Canada, all while demonstrating that it is okay and important to be ourselves and to be proud of who we are;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate Jennifer Crawford for winning Season 10 of MasterChef Canada and making Nova Scotia proud. (Applause)

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Business.

RESOLUTION NO. 1359

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

Whereas the week of October 15th to October 21st is BDC Small Business Week here in Canada, a celebration of Canadian entrepreneurs and their contribution to Canada's economy; and

Whereas small businesses in Nova Scotia continue to grow our economy every day, employing workers, investing in communities, and serving as important social and financial cornerstones of our province; and

[Page 4451]

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia is supporting small businesses by celebrating their success, reducing red tape, and helping them hire, innovate, and save money;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature recognize and congratulate small-business owners, small-business employees, their families, and the communities they serve.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1360

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

Whereas October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness of this hereditary lifelong condition; and

Whereas 15 per cent to 20 per cent of Canadians live with dyslexia, which makes it difficult to read, write, and spell; and

Whereas students and others in Nova Scotia who have dyslexia need support to be successful in school and in life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize October as Dyslexia Awareness Month and also recognize the importance of removing barriers to success for those who live with dyslexia.

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

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

[Page 4452]

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. 210 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 2004. The Health Protection Act. (Tim Houston)

Bill No. 211 - Entitled an Act to Amend Schedule A of Chapter 1 of the Acts of 2018. The Education Act, and Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96. The Education (CSAP) Act, Respecting School Capital Construction. (Claudia Chender)

Bill No. 212 - Entitled an Act to Enhance Privacy and Access to Information. (Lisa Roberts)

[1:15 p.m.]

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

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

HOUSE OF COMMONS ATTACK: DEATHS - TRIBUTE

TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, five years ago today Canadians from coast to coast were shocked and frightened as an act of terrorism unfolded at the House of Commons.

During the assault on our national capital, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed while standing sentry at the National War Memorial. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down two days before the Parliament Hill shootings and died from his injuries.

Today Canadians pause to acknowledge the lives and sacrifice of Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent and to thank all members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Mr. Speaker, today I also reflect on the strength and resiliency of our democracy and this great country.

[Page 4453]

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

CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction?

THE SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : I'd like to draw the members' attention to the gallery opposite where we are joined today by Lily Kate Williams, and her parents Selena and Matt. Lily Kate is an amazing highland dancer and all-around accomplished young lady from Dartmouth South, and her mom Selena is a proud daughter of Pictou County. Please join me in welcoming them to the House. (Applause)

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

WILLIAMS, LILY KATE:

HIGHLAND DANCE MULTI-MEDALLIST - COMMEND

CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Lily Kate Williams, an accomplished highland dancer, hockey player, and all-around awesome girl.

At the age of just 10 years old, Lily has already earned over 250 medals and 27 trophies for her dancing. She is the current Nova Scotia champion for her age group and competes across Canada as a proud member of Team Nova Scotia. This year she competed at the Canadian championships in Moncton and placed 5th and 6th in her dances. She was so proud to be a member of Team Nova Scotia and represent her province at Canadians. Lily's goal for this year is to work hard with her dance teacher Jennifer Worthen and prepare for the next provincial selection meet.

Despite her dancing success and athletic prowess, when she grows up Lily plans to be a Supreme Court Justice. With her obvious work ethic, I am certain she can achieve all of her dreams. Congratulations on your amazing performances, Lily Kate, and good luck in your future competitions. (Standing Ovation.)

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

WILKINSON, MARK: GO TOWING & RECOVERY - THANKS

HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, on Small Business Week it is my pleasure to recognize Mark Wilkinson of Timberlea. Mark is the proud owner of Go Towing, a locally owned and operated business servicing the Halifax area. The company has an impressive fleet of vehicles able to meet challenging towing and recovery needs in the area.

While Mark's vehicles are usually providing roadside assistance, recovering damaged cars, or transporting specialized equipment, Mark put his shiny, new flatbed truck to a new and valued purpose for our community. At the recent food truck rally organized by my constituency office, Mark parked a flatbed truck so it could be used as a stage for the musicians entertaining at the event. The flatbed truck was the perfect stage for our venue and provided the opportunity to incorporate entertainment into the event.

[Page 4454]

I ask the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in thanking Mark for his contribution to the community, which helped to make this event so successful.

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

THOMAS, LEN: UNITED WAY VOLUN. AWARD - CONGRATS.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend Len Thomas of Lyons Brook. Len was recently awarded the Jack Pink United Way Volunteer Award by the president of the Pictou County United Way at their annual general meeting. This award is presented to a member of our community for their exceptional leadership, commitment to our community, and volunteer efforts.

Len has been involved in various volunteer programs including those at the Aberdeen Hospital, the New Horizons Seniors Club, and the United Church of Lyons Brook. Len has given years of dedicated service to the citizens of Pictou West out of the kindness of his heart, and I admire him greatly for his willingness to help our community grow.

I congratulate Mr. Thomas on this wonderful achievement and look forward to seeing what he continues to do to remain so involved in our community.

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

BUDAPEST BISZTRO:

HUNGARIAN RESTAURANT, OPENED - CONGRATS.

HON. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Mr. Speaker, in celebration of Small Business Week, I want to share with members and exciting new restaurant that opened recently in my riding. Located at 650 Washmill Lake Drive, Budapest Bisztro markets itself as a taste of Hungary with extraordinary food and a casual dining atmosphere.

Among the many traditional menu items, is a Transylvanian goulash; a pork stew with homemade Hungarian spicy sausages; and several types of schnitzel, including Budapest, Parisienne, and Viennese style. There are even vegetarian options including roasted veggie-stuffed peppers, gnocchi with roasted heirloom tomatoes, and a spinach and mushroom moussaka. Palačinky are traditional flour crepes - which I am sure I've mispronounced - made with local eggs and filled with house-made seasonal jam, and they are one of several mouth-watering dessert items on the menu. And now I'm very hungry - no pun intended.

[Page 4455]

I am excited to have another great restaurant in my community. I encourage all members to come and enjoy some traditional Hungarian food and hospitality and to join me in congratulating the Budapest Bisztro on a successful opening.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cumberland South.

TORY RUSHTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction.

THE SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

TORY RUSHTON « » : I'd like to draw the attention of the House to the West Gallery, opposite us, where we have Cumberland County Councillor Maryanne Jackson, if she'd like to stand. More importantly her husband Kenny John Jackson is someone the Opposition might know as the candidate of record up in Cumberland South for the Liberal Party.

Joke's on Kenny. He thought he was coming here to do business for the municipality, but I'll re-enter, Mr. Speaker, if I can make a statement.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cumberland South.

SPRINGHILL PIT POND TRAIL: REALIZING A DREAM - CONGRATS.

TORY RUSHTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the grand opening of the Springhill Pit Pond Trail in July of 2019. The Springhill Pit Pond Trail was the vision of 98-year-old June Henwood of Springhill.

Twenty years ago, June drew up a map of the features she would like to see around the pit pond and how she would like to see it developed. The trail around the pit pond links to the downtown of Springhill, McGee Street, and includes bridges, a fountain, lookouts that extend into the water, a bandstand, a park, and a trail that I myself took part in a five kilometre run on a couple of weeks ago.

June's dream has now become a reality thanks to the hard work of the community and the volunteer hours of many, but especially Kenny John Jackson who put his heart and soul into it for the last 12 months of this project.

I ask that you acknowledge June's dreams and the hard work and dedication of many, especially the Springhill Communities in Bloom and the hard work and guidance of Kenny John Jackson.

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

[Page 4456]

STREET CHECKS: PERMANENTLY BANNED - RECOG.

LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to welcome the decision announced on Friday by the Minister of Justice that the practice of street checks will be banned permanently across Nova Scotia.

Because there is no legal basis for the practice, this decision comes after not months, not years, but decades of work by many different individuals, groups, and organizations.

I want to highlight the important contribution of Kirk Johnson. In 2003, a human rights inquiry found that Halifax Regional Police had discriminated against Mr. Johnson on the basis of his race. The inquiry ordered Halifax Regional Police to begin collecting race-based data on interactions with police.

That data was not analyzed for many years, but thanks to some reporting by CBC journalists and then advocacy and activism from many African Nova Scotians and their allies, the Human Rights Commission engaged Dr. Scott Wortley to analyze that data further, resulting in more clear evidence of the disproportionate policing of African Nova Scotians, and eventually in Friday's announcement.

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

BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction.

THE SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

BILL HORNE « » : I would ask everyone to look at the East Gallery, where we have members of the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada learning centres. If you wouldn't mind standing: Thelma Gregan, Executive Director of Scottish Rite learning centre, Halifax; Matt Todd, National Executive Director of the Scottish Rite learning centres; and others who may be there - Bill Bent, Dyslexia Tutor, Scottish Rite Halifax.

Representing Everyone Reads Nova Scotia, a parent-led advocacy group is: Beth Hartling, Kevin O'Halloran, Angela MacKenzie, Peggy Alexiadis Brown, Kellie Stevens Perry, Clare Robinson, and Kermit deGooyer. Possible others include: Jamie Metsala, Chair in Learning Disabilities at Mount Saint Vincent University. (Applause)

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

DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MO.:

[Page 4457]

EARLY ASSESSMENT, IMPORTANCE - RECOG.

BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. To mark this occasion, Province House will be lit up in red, the colour of dyslexia awareness. Two to three children in every classroom are impacted by dyslexia.

This important campaign, including the proclamation and the lighting up of the House of Assembly, is an important step in ensuring that every student in Nova Scotia experiences early diagnostic assessment and reading pedagogies that result in grade-appropriate reading fluency.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to join all members of the House in celebration of the exceptional contributions of dyslexic Nova Scotians this October.

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

COVE, MATT - NOVELIST: ARCTERRA - CONGRATS.

ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise to congratulate Matt Cove of Amherst. Matt had his first novel, Arcterra, published back in February.

Matt, who is very interested in animation, had originally planned for his work to be a television series. He has since turned it into a series of novels. With the help of his fiancée and mother, Matt had his novel edited and published, and plans to publish the second book in late 2020.

I wish Matt the best in his new journey as an author and would like to thank him today for adding to the culture of Cumberland County and wish him success as he continues to tell his story.

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

BURTON, KEN - SGT.: POLICE EXEMPLARY SERV. MEDAL - CONGRATS.

BEN JESSOME « » : Mr. Speaker, today I'll recognize Sergeant Ken Burton, a 32-year member of the HRP who was recently recognized with a Police Exemplary Service Medal, which is given to police officers who have served in an exemplary manner characterized by good conduct, industry, and efficiency, and who have served at least 20 years of full-time service. Service bars are awarded for each subsequent 10 years of service.

Sergeant Burton has worked in many divisions including the drug section, general investigation services, and community response, and is now the lead instructor and director of the latest recruit class. Ken and his wife and three daughters have lived in Hammonds Plains for over 25 years, where Ken has also been involved as a soccer coach with Halifax County United and Soccer Nova Scotia, leading teams to nationals on several occasions.

[Page 4458]

I would ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating Sergeant Ken Burton for having this honour bestowed upon him and thank him for his dedicated service to the people of Nova Scotia.

[1:30 p.m.]

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

MERSEY SEAFOODS: NEW FACILITY - CONGRATS.

KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, this past August 9th the impressive new office and processing plant for Mersey Seafoods Limited were officially opened in Liverpool. This venture was very community minded and many local people were consulted and involved in the project, making the new building a very special place.

To name a few, Brian Fralic worked on the interior design; Henry Liot refurbished many nautical artifacts; Jack Chandler showcased vintage photographs; and, Ivan Nickerson created exquisite furniture, using the original linden trees from the property.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate and thank the Murphy family, the entire staff of Mersey Seafoods and everyone who played a part in making this beautiful new facility a reality. The special, personal touches make it especially meaningful to the community on many different levels.

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

RAVEN ESPRESSO BOUTIQUE: DELICIOUS - RECOG.

BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, on this Small Business Week I'd like to recognize Chantelle Buote, owner of The Raven Espresso Boutique, located at 14 St. Michaels Avenue in Spryfield.

The Raven Espresso Boutique serves up fresh coffee, mochas, teas, and treats out of the cutest little camper you will ever see. While the camper may be small, the heart and hard work of Chantelle is massive.

Thank you, Chantelle, for choosing our community to invest in and for bringing your flair and delicious drinks and foods to our community. Here's to many more years of success.

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

ELLSMERE, LESLEE: STRIDES FOR OBESITY - COMMEND

[Page 4459]

TIM HALMAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the outstanding work of Dartmouth East resident Leslee Ellsmere. I have met with Leslee on a few occasions and appreciate her advocacy for preventive health care. For the past four years Leslee has served as the event director for Strides for Obesity.

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, October 19th, I had the opportunity to attend the Strides for Obesity walk in Halifax. This annual walk is organized by Leslee and many other volunteers who wish to break down the stigma surrounding obesity. The purpose of the walk is to offer support and to eliminate the bias associated with the disease.

Those who were in attendance are calling on the government to make that sure obesity is treated as a disease by allowing for increased access to safe and effective medical treatment.

Mr. Speaker, in the past three years this annual walk has raised $30,000 for the QEII's Halifax Obesity Network clinic. I ask all members of the House to acknowledge and commend Leslee Ellsmere and the volunteers and participants with Strides for Obesity for their amazing work in raising money and awareness.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg.

ATLANTICK: CDN. WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR AWARD - CONGRATS.

SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Lisa Ali Learning of AtlanTick Repellent Products, who was recently named recipient of the 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award, One to Watch. This national award recognizes female entrepreneurs who demonstrate incredible potential through their innovative ideas, keen business sense and solid plans for future profitable growth.

AtlanTick Repellant Products, in partnership with Acadia University, created a safe, effective, natural-based formula to prevent tick bites. As we are becoming more aware of the debilitating effect of Lyme disease and the ticks that play host to this disease, there was a need for a natural-based product that helped to prevent tick bites. Lisa saw this need and created AtlanTick, offering an evidence-based approach to tick bite safety.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Lisa on receiving this well-deserved national award.

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

S. WOODSIDE COM. ASSOC.: COM. SERV. - RECOG.

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BARBARA ADAMS; Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring recognition to the South Woodside Community Association. The association executive are: President Anne Colbert; Vice President Ken Evans; Secretary Bernadette Cranford; and Treasurer Janet Mossman; and other stakeholders who attend.

Together the association runs the South Woodside Community Centre, offering community members an opportunity to stay fit and involved. They are always proudly presenting a post-secondary bursary each year to Dartmouth High School.

The association also holds an annual Pumpkin Party. This is a time each Fall where families are brought together to pick and carve pumpkins, have a light snack and play some games. The entire event costs are covered by the association and will be held on October 26th this year.

I ask all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature to join me in thanking the South Woodside Community Association for their hard work and for so graciously giving back to our community.

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

DUNBRACK U13 AA SOCCER: GOLD-WINNING GIRLS - CONGRATS.

RAFAH DICOSTANZO « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Dunbrack U13 AA Girls soccer team on their very successful season. After winning the Nova Scotia U13 AA Girls Soccer League, they qualified to represent Nova Scotia at the Atlantic Club Championships in Moncton last month.

Throughout the tournament, the girls fought hard and maintained a positive attitude. After four tough days and going undefeated Dunbrack was able to win gold. I am so proud of these girls, not only for their athletic ability but their incredible level of sportsmanship. These girls embody a wonderful sense of team spirit that allows them to be such positive role models to the younger players in their club.

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the girls, the coaching staff, and the parents who helped the team in all their successes this season. I look forward to watching these girls continue in their success and their soccer careers in the seasons to come.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

REGINATO, LAWRENCE: MIRA FERRY FAIR - THANKS

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BRIAN COMER « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend Lawrence Reginato on his volunteer efforts in the most recent Mira Ferry Fair.

This event is the longest-running community fair in Nova Scotia, which is held in Albert Bridge, Cape Breton. This fair relies on its volunteers each year to come out to assist in areas such as explaining exhibits, judging events, and helping visitors any way possible - and this year was no different.

Although there are many volunteers who make this fair a success, I would like to applaud Lawrence Reginato on his efforts, which included helping to organize the fair as well as tending to animals and ensuring they were cared for and had a place to rest. Members of the community, Lawrence, and his family are well known for their love of horses and farm animals. This year, three generations of Reginatos participated in several events and played important roles in a fair that brings so many people of all ages together within and around the community.

I stand here once again, Mr. Speaker, to praise Lawrence Reginato for his volunteer efforts with the Mira Ferry Fair and his continued support of his community.

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

STREET CHECKS: BAN ON PRACTICE - JUST

SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge the immense work and commitment by members of the African Nova Scotian community to get to the announcement we heard on Friday that the illegal and racist practice of street checks will now be banned in Nova Scotia. As we heard when the Wortley report was released, the discussions over street checks have been taking place since the days of Kwacha House and probably long before that.

Members of the African Nova Scotian community have been calling for this practice to end for decades - people like Lynn Jones, Robert Wright, Shauna Hoyte, Lana MacLean, El Jones, Kate MacDonald, Trayvone Clayton, Vanessa Fells, and many, many others have been vocal leaders calling for justice for African Nova Scotians who are stopped up to six times more than white people by the police.

Mr. Speaker, this ban which followed the legal opinion of Justice Michael MacDonald and Jennifer Taylor that street checks are an illegal practice is a step in the direction of real justice for African Nova Scotian people. It took too long to get here, but now may we look forward and listen to the community's call for justice and an end to anti-Black racist practices in our province.

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

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KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, before I do my member's statement, may I make an introduction, please?

THE SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

KEITH IRVING « » : Thank you. I'd like to ask all members of the House to draw your attention to the East Gallery, where today we're joined by my CA. All members of this House know how important these public servants are in their work serving the public and serving the MLAs.

I'm very, very fortunate to have a young gentleman who works very hard, brings lots of talents to the job, and his service to the constituents of Kings South. I'd like to ask Carman Barteaux to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

FIREWORKS FX: 35 YRS. OF PYROTECHNICS - CONGRATS.

KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, in honour of Small Business Week, I would like to take this opportunity to profile a very successful export business in Nova Scotia - a one-of-a-kind business located in Grand Pre, Fireworks FX, owned by Fred Wade.

When we enjoy a fireworks display, we may not always think of the pyrotechnic expertise and professionalism behind these spectacular shows, but for over 35 years that's exactly what Fireworks FX has exported throughout the world. Fred has been responsible for fireworks at the Quebec Winter Carnival and the Festival of Lights in Halifax and Sydney. Throughout the world he has coordinated the International Symposium on Fireworks - the world's premier international gathering of the pyrotechnic industry.

Fireworks FX has also supplied their pyrotechnic services to the motion picture, television, and theatrical industries, simulating explosions and burning buildings or boats. Next month, Fireworks FX will take their pyrotechnic expertise to Havana, Cuba, to celebrate the city's 500th anniversary.

I invite all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Fred Wade for building this world-class international business in pyrotechnics.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

SQUARE ROOTS: REDIRECTING GOOD FOOD - THANKS

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STEVE CRAIG « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Enactus Saint Mary's Square Roots. Square Roots began their Fall pilot project on September 28, 2019, and will continue monthly. The next two dates are planned for October 26th and November 23rd.

Operating out of the recently renovated Fenerty Room at the Sackville Public Library, their goal is to have perfectly good food from local restaurants and farms, which would have been thrown out, redirected into the hands of those in need in our community.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature to join me in thanking those involved in Square Roots and wish them luck with their Fall project as they make efforts to find ways to reduce the amount of food that is thrown out daily by having it benefit the needy in our community.

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

PENTZ ELEM. KINDNESS GRP.: FOSTERING GOODWILL - COMMEND

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the Pentz Elementary School Kindness Group of students from Grades 3 to 6 spread goodwill and kindness throughout their school and community. They brainstorm who they would like to do a good deed for, then do some research, fundraise, and make it happen. The group has made cookies and cards for school staff and muffins for firefighters. They have learned valuable lessons, as well. They did an activity on gossiping and on the harm it causes. They have learned about paying it forward, as well as the importance of volunteering from their local firefighters.

Nicole Roach, the pre-Primary teacher and program lead, says the children have a kind nature and want to give a part of themselves to the community. It's important to foster that desire now and make it fun so it will continue to be a value they have as they get older. She also says that they throw in some physical activity during the meetings too, which is important.

Next year, they're excited to work with groups and organizations such as Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, hospitals, and the food bank, to name a few. I would like the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in thanking the Kindness Group for showing concerns for others and making the world around them a better place.

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

WALK FOR AUTISM: $70K FUNDRAISER - CONGRATS.

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, Autism Pictou County hosted another very successful fundraiser in June of 2019. A boisterous crowd of over 300 participants joined the walk for autism. A sea of red shirts walked through the Town of Stellarton to promote autism awareness.

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The event raised over $70,000 and will ensure their programs and supports will continue for another year. The Autism Resource Centre will expand and improve numerous programs and services. The Autism Swim Program was very successful, with 56 children enrolled this year. The art, skating, and music therapy programs have raised the bar for support, and the children have made great strides.

Pictou County's overwhelming support has made a positive impact on the lives of families living and dealing with autism.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford.

CAMERON, BARRY: COM. SERV. - THANKS

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Joyful. That's the way many people at Bedford United Church describe Barry Cameron.

Barry has a deep commitment to caring for people, so it's no surprise he has been a dedicated volunteer at Bedford United for over seven years. Barry has been the chair of worship and a choir member for those seven years. He has also volunteered as music leader during the Summers, and he's an active member of the church council. Barry is known as an extremely personable and friendly figure at Bedford United.

He has a busy day job, but he somehow finds time and an astonishing amount of energy to commit to the church. He's a stalwart member of the congregation and always goes out of his way to make certain he helps in the best and most meaningful ways possible. He does it all with joy.

Barry Cameron is an asset to BUC and was recognized for his contributions to the church at the Bedford Volunteer Awards in May. I would like to add my voice to those thanking him for his time and his commitment to his fellow residents. Well done.

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

INNES, LACHLAN: POPULAR AUTISM PRESENTATION - CONGRATS.

LARRY HARRISON « » : During Autism Awareness Month, Lachlan Innes, a Dutch Settlement Elementary School student with autism and ADHD, not only researched and created a class presentation, but he presented his project to every class in the school. As he said during an interview: I had a lot of facts about autism, and I presented it to every single class.

The presentation was, in fact, so well received that he was also invited to present at the Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre.

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I wish to praise Lachlan on his bravery and his consideration in sharing his experiences and expertise on the subject of autism. In his own words: people with autism should get more chances, same with other people, and they should live in harmony.

[1:45 p.m.]

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

CRAIG, PAMELA/DALBERG, SHANNON:

BUS. DEV. AWARDS - CONGRATS.

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, during Small Business Week I am pleased to introduce this House to two enterprising women from Colchester North. The North Shore Business Development Association established an inaugural award, a prize and a mentorship opportunity from business owners in the community. From the many applications, two were accepted - one by Shannon Dalberg and one by Pamela Craig. The board was so impressed with the calibre of their presentations that it decided to give each of them an award.

Pamela Craig has worked for a number of local small businesses. Having grown her own herbs, fruits and vegetables, she decided she could work for herself. Her business is called Dry Humour Dehydrated Goodness. She uses her dehydrated produce to make such delicious items as fruit roll-ups and apple chips.

Shannon Dalberg's business is known as Mountain Meadworks. At an early age, she was working with her father making beer and began experimenting with mead during her college years. Mead consists of honey, water and yeast and is similar to cider. A variety of flavours can be added, and Shannon uses most local ingredients.

Both of the winners live in Earltown, Colchester North, and both sold their products at the Earltown Farmer's Market. Congratulations to these two enterprising women, who have successfully used their entrepreneurial skills to develop a small, local business.

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

FOOD BOX PILOT: EATING FRESH - RECOG.

HON. GORDON WILSON « » : As we are aware, eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily is an important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, there are many people who find it difficult to eat healthy because of the cost or the lack of access nearby. Seniors living alone don't need to buy a large quantity of food, so their purchases often lack a variety of needs in their diets. Also distance - as it is almost two hours to go from Brier Island to grocery stores in Digby - this is another factor.

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This past summer, representatives of the Nova Scotia Health Authority and from local groups and businesses worked together to make it possible for people to buy a variety of produce through the Fresh Food Box program. For the past 21 weeks, this pilot program delivered affordable boxes of produce from local farms and the Digby Superstore to sites in Digby and the Municipality of Digby. This program was a great way to encourage people to eat healthy and, hopefully, its success this summer will ensure its return next summer.

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

PORT WILLIAMS:

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S COM. SPIRIT AWARD - CONGRATS.

JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Port Williams community and the Port Williams Village Chairperson and Commissioner Lewis Benedict; the Vice Chairperson and Commissioner Kim Cogswell; Commissioners Ernie Hovell, Doug Gates, and Scott Leier; and the people of the Village of Port Williams for receiving the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor's Community Spirit Award.

This honour is awarded to communities for their exemplary civic and community spirit that celebrates the power, strength, and diversity of community and profiles their achievements through a formal recognition program.

Together with 15 other community organizations, the Port Williams history committee prepared the village's submission. This was possible, as many citizens belong to more than one group, which results in a cross-pollination of ideas, support for each other's projects, and willingness to work together on village-wide events.

I would like to thank the citizens and community organizations for their continued dedication to creating successful community projects and events. As a resident of Port Williams I am very proud the community has been recognized with this award. Thank you to all who contribute to making Port Williams such a great place to live.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Preston-Dartmouth.

SIMMONDS, ROSS - CHAIR: BLACK BUS. SUMMIT - CONGRATS.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Mr. Ross Simmonds of East Preston, founder of Foundation Marketing, who is this year's Chair of the Black Business Summit at the Halifax Convention Centre. He was tasked to provide oversight to ensure that the content delivered at the Summit was related to technology and business. His background is in technology, and he is well-suited to delivering the Black Business Initiative's summit on creating business without barriers.

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I want to recognize and congratulate Ross Simmonds for his entrepreneurial drive and technology expertise in business.

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

NOCTURNE: DARTMOUTH'S ELECTRIC AVENUE - CONGRATS.

SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, on Saturday night the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth were transformed by the incredible art that was part of Nocturne's public art festival. I spent my evening on the Dartmouth side of the harbour and was treated to some amazing exhibits all along Portland Street, which adopted the theme of Electric Avenue for the night.

Highlights for my family and me were the Cabane à Sucre by Louis-Charles Dionne; the Maturity Playground by Nathalie Quagliotto; the gorgeous Botanic Variations by Tracey Richard, Angie Richard and Hyacinthe Raimbault; and Keeping Occupied, an installation of giant, handmade octopuses by Rita Van Tassel. We rounded out the evening by taking in the Council of Absurd Urbanization by Thèâtre de DesAssimilés, where we were able to contribute our ideas to a reimagined HRM.

The presence of works of art in our midst is a vital and exciting part of life. After looking at an exhibit for a while, my daughter asked me what makes something art, and the discussion that we had after that was the best part of my night.

Congratulations to all the artists, curators, and organizers of Nocturne. I ask all members of this House to join me in thanking them for their contributions to our society.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Antigonish.

FRASER, SEAN/KELLOWAY, MIKE: FED. ELECTION - CONGRATS.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, there are many great things about my community of Antigonish. One of those features is that we are served by two members of Parliament.

I would like to take a moment to congratulate Sean Fraser on his re-election in Central Nova, and I would also like to offer my congratulations to my MP, rookie Mike Kelloway, on his election in Cape Breton-Canso.

I wish them all the luck and best of success on behalf of the people of their respective ridings, but in particular the people of Antigonish, when they go to Ottawa.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Yarmouth on an introduction.

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HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to bring the attention of the House to the East Gallery where we are joined by two distinguished guests, Councillor Maryanne Jackson is here with us today and of course her famous, or infamous, husband, former Liberal candidate, RCMP officer Kenny John Jackson. Thank you for joining us today and welcome to the Chamber. (Applause)

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

TREVORS, JESSICA/COX, GLEN: ATHLS. OF THE YR. - CONGRATS.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend the young athletes of Northumberland Regional High School in Alma. I particularly want to recognize 2019 graduates Jessica Trevors and Glenn Cox on being awarded Female and Male Athlete of the Year, respectively.

Both teens have been involved in various sports throughout their high school career. Jessica has played sports including rugby and volleyball, and Glenn has been involved in basketball and ultimate frisbee. These young athletes have put in years of hard work and remain dedicated to their sports. The recognition from the teachers and coaches from NRHS during their graduating year is well deserved and an incredible achievement.

I salute these young adults for their years of hard work, and I am glad that these members of our community can act as role models to younger students in Pictou West.

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

BROOKFIELD BAKERY: ELMSDALE LOCATION - CONGRATS.

HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that Brookfield Bakery is now in Elmsdale. A long-time landmark in Brookfield, this bakery has been part of the Brookfield community since 1953, and I am happy to say that they have expanded to the popular Elmsdale location. They are now serving breakfast, lunch, and snacks to our appreciative community. Their coffee and tea menu is extensive and the atmosphere is a magnet to their clientele.

On behalf of the people of Hants East, I'd like to thank owners Joanne and Heidi Cook for their vision, the manager Shannon McLellan, and Josh Archibald for their friendly smiles and scrumptious cinnamon rolls.

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

LOVERIDGE, PETER - PHYSICIAN: 45 YRS. OF COM. SERV. - CONGRATS.

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COLTON LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Dr. Peter Loveridge of Lower Argyle, Yarmouth County. This year marks 50 years since Dr. Loveridge graduated with distinction from medical college at the Royal London Hospital, and it is his 45th year working as a physician in Yarmouth County.

Dr. Loveridge was honoured in 2010 by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada with the Fellowship of Rural and Remote Medicine. Now in his seventies, Dr. Loveridge still sees patients part-time at his clinic and is the primary physician at Nakile Home for Special Care. Instead of retiring, Dr. Loveridge has recently signed a contract with the Province to continue providing part-time service in this community.

Dr. Loveridge, with his wife Heather, is soon preparing to set sail on the Queen Mary II from New York to England where he will attend his 50th graduation reunion.

I ask all members of this House to join me in thanking Dr. Peter Loveridge for his 45 years of dedication to his patients in southwestern Nova Scotia.

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

FEDERAL CANDIDATES: STEPPING FORWARD - THANKS

HON. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, it gives me great pleasure to rise in this the people's House where we represent democracy.

Each and every one of us who has ever gone through a campaign knows what that's like, the fight that that can be, and the fun that that can be out there with your other candidates and colleagues. I rise today to thank all those who ran in the recent federal election right across this province. Regardless of their party affiliation, it's important to get out there and put your name on the ballot.

I want to congratulate our young man Kody Blois, who won in Kings-Hants. Scott Brison, as you know, represented that seat for 20 years. Nice to see folks out there. I want to congratulate all those who won here in Nova Scotia last night.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cumberland South.

SIMONS, JUSTIN: VALLEY ROAD HAUNTED HOUSE - CONGRATS.

TORY RUSHTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate and acknowledge Justin Simons and his family on their outstanding community spirit.

For the past 20 years, Justin and his family have staged a haunted house for the Halloween season on Valley Road near Springhill. It first began on their property on Church Street in Springhill, and they carried on the tradition when they moved to Valley Road, being able to add more and more every year because of the extra space - this year in the form of a zombie field.

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Justin claims they have many people who helped out with the construction of the haunted house and trail. Many have sponsored with time and help and equipment over the past 20 years, which allows them to charge only a small fee for entry. All proceeds go to home and school programs.

Please join me in congratulating Justin and his family on these 20 years of providing excitement and community spirit around this time of year.

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

FIX-IT FAIR: CELEBRATING SELF-SUFFICIENCY - RECOG.

LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the Clean Foundation for hosting a Fix-It Fair at the Brewery Market on Sunday. I attended with my children. While my daughter made a craft with recycled fabric and shredded newspaper, my son and I watched the Clean Foundation's professional tinkerers fix our broken toaster and put a new switch on my reading lamp. I'm hoping that my son Ben may take on tinkering duties in our home with new ambition thanks to their example.

I also got to test-drive an electric car through EV Assist, and it was a really fun Sunday afternoon for us all. I think that is so important. Sometimes when we talk about changing our lifestyles to be more in alignment with the planet, that is cast as a deprivation, but in fact it can come with rewards that include more community connection, creativity, and opportunities to learn.

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

NAUGLER, BRONWYN:

TRIXIE HARDY BALLET SCHOLAR - CONGRATS.

HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of Bronwyn Naugler of Sheet Harbour for her skill and grace in ballet. Bronwyn is only 15 years old and is already wowing people with her dancing skills. Bronwyn has been taking ballet lessons since the age of six and is supported by her parents Chris and Krista. She also performs many other styles of dance with her competitive dance troupe, Harmony.

Bronwyn has been invited to Toronto to participate in the Trixie Hardy Dance Scholarship twice. She was one of 90 ballet students across Canada chosen by the ballet examiner. Keen to give back, Bronwyn performed at the Sheet Harbour Lions Centre fundraiser in support of the Eastern Shore Lifestyle Centre Society, working on their new community centre.

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Mr. Speaker, I'd like to commend Bronwyn on her performance in support of the Eastern Shore Lifestyle Centre. By all accounts it was lovely. I'm sure we'll see much more of Bronwyn as her dancing talent continues to grow and gain recognition.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville on an introduction.

BEN JESSOME « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like all members to direct their attention to the East Gallery. We're joined by my friend and neighbour - I guess former neighbour - Clark Swim. He was a big help on my first campaign, and he's been helping my folks keep me out of trouble for many years at this point. All members, please welcome him to the House today. (Applause)

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

SMALL BUSINESSES: FDNS. OF COMMUNITY - CONGRATS.

ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize Small Business Week. In Cumberland North we have hundreds of businesses in many sectors, including mining, forestry, manufacturing, energy, agriculture, and retail. Entrepreneurs and their employees are truly the foundation of our economy in Cumberland North and throughout the province of Nova Scotia.

I'd like to mention that tonight the Amherst & Area Chamber of Commerce are holding a gala awards banquet to honour the businesses of Cumberland County. Though my colleague, the member for Cumberland South, and I are unable to attend due to our commitments here in the House, we would like to thank the Amherst & Area Chamber of Commerce for honouring the businesses during Small Business Week.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney-Whitney Pier.

JESSOME, BEN - BIRTHDAY WISHES

HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Very quickly, Mr. Speaker, it's the birthday of the member for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville. I think he started when he was 18 years old, but he's 33 today. Happy birthday. (Applause)

[2:00 p.m.]

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THE SPEAKER « » : The time allotted for Statements by Members has expired.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

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

PREM.: ALAKAI – ENVIRON. ASSESSMENT

TIM HOUSTON « » : Last week the Premier confirmed that the vessel that is currently docked in Yarmouth will be operating on the route next year, if it gets going. I'll table the Premier's comments on that, for his benefit.

The vessel Alakai [now known as HST-2] - assuming it gets operational - would operate through some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. It would also operate through an area that is home to dozens of humpback whales and many other whale species. It's not uncommon for an environmental impact study for a vessel to be done. We can't find an environmental impact study on the website of the Department of Environment for this particular vessel, Alakai.

My question for the Premier is: Was an environmental impact study ever conducted on Alakai to his knowledge?

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. As he would know, the arrangements between Bay Ferries and the U.S. Navy, when it comes to the vessel, that vessel like all vessels would be put through the same criteria and rigour when it comes to navigation.

TIM HOUSTON « » : In its former life, Alakai ran a ferry service in Hawaii. While in Hawaii the vessel was initially exempt from environmental impact requirements, after legislation was specifically passed to exempt that vessel. That law was later struck down by the state Supreme Court and, when it was, it forced Alakai out of operation in Hawaii. I can table that for the benefit of the Premier.

It was taken out of service there, Mr. Speaker, until it could find a home here, I guess. It appears that no work was done on an environmental impact study on the vessel here in this province. Now that the Premier has indicated the lease will be renewed, I'd like to ask the Premier » : Was the Premier aware of the environmental concerns surrounding Alakai before agreeing to have it renewed to operate here?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question. The reality of it is that it is a contractual obligation between Bay Ferries and the U.S. Navy. What happened with that vessel in Hawaii I'm not sure, but I can tell you that it would have to follow all of the navigational requirements in order to travel here on the east coast of North America and in the Bay of Fundy.

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TIM HOUSTON « » : The reality is that the taxpayers of this province paid $20 million for a vessel just this year that is not operating. The taxpayers of this province are paying for a vessel that is not allowed to operate in Hawaii, for environmental concerns. Those are the realities.

The specific concerns in Hawaii were around the potential for whale impacts with that vessel. Humpback whale impacts are a concern for us here in our region, as well. Again, Alakai, if it ever gets operational, will travel through very rich fishing grounds that are home to many humpback whales.

I'd like to ask the Premier « » : Is the Premier concerned that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia are paying to lease a vessel that is not even allowed to operate in Hawaii, and would he commit to getting an environmental impact study done for here?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, often in this House the honourable member stretches his interpretation of all kinds of things. The reality of it is that this is a contract between Bay Ferries and the U.S. Navy. He would also know those are federal waters, they would have to meet all those requirements.

He would also know that the last federal government, which was re-elected last night, Mr. Speaker, made the requirements in and around whales and whale traffic in those particular areas for all vessels, including not only the ferry but also the Navy.

The honourable member is clearly opposed to this service, Mr. Speaker, and I respect that he is opposed to it. We're not. Unfortunately, he just won't say that in communities. On one hand he says something here and then when he goes down to the communities it's - oops, I mean something different.

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

PREM.: SERV. FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES - COMMIT.

GARY BURRILL « » : I would like to ask the Premier about the Roadmap for Transforming the Nova Scotia Services to Persons with Disabilities Program. When this important report was presented to government in 2013 it included a five-year implementation program which covered a range of subjects, but most notably, the need for persons with disabilities to have access to the same range of affordable, accessible housing and community that everybody else has.

The report then was received by the government and then its implementation expanded over a 10-year period, to 2023. That means that now we are in year six, the second half of that period.

[Page 4474]

I'd like to ask the Premier « » : Is his government still committed to the objectives of housing for disabled persons in Nova Scotia as set out in the roadmap plan?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. We are committed to ensuring that all Nova Scotians can live independently in our province. The honourable member would know and raises a very important point, those Nova Scotians who require extra support to live in independently.

Certainly the mandate of the roadmap and the mandate of our government is to strive to make sure that independence not be the goal but be the reality for those Nova Scotians who want that.

GARY BURRILL « » : When the roadmap was accepted by the government in 2013, there were 1,035 people on the Disability Support Program wait-list. Today, there are 1,560 people on that list. That means that the wait-list for community-based supportive housing has grown more than 50 per cent over the first 6 years of the 10-year period for implantation of the project.

I want to ask the Premier if he can explain how he plans to meet the commitment his government has made to the more than 1,500 people who are on that wait-list now?

THE PREMIER « » : The honourable member raises an extremely important question when it comes to ensuring that we have many options when it comes to independent living. Some of those require physical builds to provide that. The other part of that is working with families with adult children who are looking to live independently - how do we support them to ensure that that happens?

I was surprised to learn that if a family wanted to build a separate unit attached to their property that was completely independent next to the parents, we would not allow at one point for their adult child to live there - we had to have complete separation from that family. We know that those initiatives are important steps to help people have independence, and we'll continue to make sure that we provide a myriad of options for those families and for all citizens because ultimately what we want is to have independence.

GARY BURRILL « » : As I'm sure the Premier is aware, a human rights board of inquiry has found that the unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is in fact a violation of their human rights. The board ruled that the Province had violated the human rights of Beth MacLean, Joey Delaney, and the late Sheila Livingstone by failing to provide those housing options.

Is the Premier confident that his government's approach to the roadmap is not in violation of the human rights of all the people with disabilities in Nova Scotia who continue to lack access to affordable and accessible housing in the community?

[Page 4475]

THE PREMIER « » : Again, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. He is right - there was a tribunal, he specified three cases. We are working with those families, as we are with all of our families, to move towards independence. The reality of it is that there are not only those who are actually in the care of the Province today or in an institution in the province, but there are those who are still living at home.

We see a growing number of those families, as well, who are looking for independence for their children. They're young adults. We have put together small options homes which is allowing that transition to provide that support for independence.

Families very clearly say to us: leaving from home and going directly to independent living is a challenge sometimes, and we need to be able to move into those small options homes. But that is, in many ways, a stopgap to move them completely to independent living.

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

PREM.: DOCTOR WAIT-LIST LONGER - COMMENT

TIM HOUSTON « » : On January 1, 2018, the wait-list for those looking for a family doctor was 41,877; I'll table that and maybe the Premier can take a look at that. As of October 1st, the wait list is 51,014, and I'll table that for the benefit of the Premier.

The wait-list is longer today than it was just less than two years ago. We're seeing surgeries cancelled in Sydney because of doctor shortages. We're seeing the oncology units in Pictou and Yarmouth cancelled because of specialist shortages. I'd like to ask the Premier « » : After six years into his mandate, in light of the fact that the wait-list continues to grow, does the Premier stand by his promise of a doctor for every Nova Scotian?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, a year ago that wait-list was at 59,000. That number continues to come down. We're continuing to work with families across the province and work with communities to continue to provide those supports.

The honourable member would know - he has stood in this place many times and said that 100,000 Nova Scotians didn't have a physician two years ago. So even by his own numbers, more Nova Scotians are accessing primary care.

TIM HOUSTON « » : I'm not sure if the Premier was here, Mr. Speaker, but I just tabled a document that said it was 42,000 less than two years ago. It's 51,000 today. Those are numbers from the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The Premier can make up his own, but the fact is, 51,000 Nova Scotians don't have access to a family doctor.

[Page 4476]

Health officials who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee indicated that only half of the people who actually need a family doctor are actively seeking. They said at that time that there were probably 100,000 Nova Scotians looking for a family doctor. That would still be true - 51,000 on the data that I showed the Premier, and if only half look, it's still 100,000.

People are worried about their ability to access health care. I'll ask the Premier one more time: Does he stand by his promise of a doctor for every Nova Scotian or not?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, again, I appreciate the honourable member's question. It's good to hear him finally say something positive about the Health Authority and the hard work of the people who have been out providing support in the transformation of delivering primary care.

He takes every opportunity to stand in this House and criticize those who are working on behalf of all of us (Interruption)

THE SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER « » : . . . including from a document that he says was 41,000. That's the Health Authority's number. I would ask the honourable member then, why does he stand in this House and continue to use the number of 100,000? Did he know that wasn't factual at that time?

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

L&F - ST. MARY'S RIVER WATERSHED: DRILLING - PROTECTION

LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Lands and Forestry about the situation in our forests. One particular situation I have in mind is a patch of old-growth forest in the St. Mary's River watershed. An FOI request returned to our caucus showed a series of applications to the department made last year by the gold company St. Barbara, formerly Atlantic Gold, to drill in over 100 locations in the St. Mary's River watershed. Around a dozen were directly inside an old-growth area; all of them taking place on Crown land. The compromise from the department was to allow drilling not inside but directly abutting the old-growth area.

Can the minister please confirm that this decision is consistent with the need to strengthen protection of old-growth forests and the need to protect the St. Mary's River watershed, both priorities signalled by this government?

HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. We continue to make a lot of progress in protecting more areas in the province, the St. Mary's River being one of them. That's a large piece that has an important wildlife corridor. We've committed to that, along with 7,000 other hectares of protected areas recently.

[Page 4477]

We also continue to look at old-growth layers across the province, and we'll be adding more to those protected areas. It's a priority recommendation in the Lahey report. We have a project team that's working very diligently with external experts, and they're doing a great job identifying and looking at areas across the province for further protection because it is important to protect those old-growth forests.

LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, there is a rich history of community-led science and conservation efforts in the St. Mary's River watershed, where biologists and fisheries scientists have determined that the salmon's return across the province is dependent on populations in the St. Mary's River. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has invested in protecting the area, and it's home to a burgeoning tourism industry. All of this stands to be threatened by the proposal for an open-pit gold mine.

Given the urgent need to shift to ecological forestry and the significant threat posed by an open-pit gold mine, how has the community been allowed to participate in decisions to allow drilling in the St. Mary's River watershed?

IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, we continue to evolve our natural resource-based industries in the province. We have strong regulations. We continue to look at improving those. We actually have setbacks, and for forestry activity or other types of industrial activity in sensitive areas or any areas that are protected, we have buffer zones. We have lots of areas where we make sure that we put ecology first.

As I said, we're making great progress making our milestones that we've committed to. We responded to the Lahey report, implementing ecological forestry. I continue to engage our external experts and all those Nova Scotians who are interested. I want to thank those groups like Nova Scotia Nature Trust that are working very hard alongside the Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited and all the other groups that we work with hand in hand to protect the highest biodiversity values in the province.

[2:15 p.m.]

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

H&W - VG HOSP.: SECURITY - SAFETY ENSURE

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. While we await the replacement of the VG Hospital in Halifax, the hospital reported a number of suspicious incidents over the first half of the year. One report found that an unauthorized individual wearing a lab coat and a surgical mask was in a patient's room, passing himself off as a physician. I'll table that.

[Page 4478]

Another individual was found sleeping in a waiting room late at night with a woodworking blade. I can table as well.

The details of these incidents are generally not clear and we're wondering how many are related and whether they are ongoing and continuing. We can't find that out, so it raises multiple questions about the safety of patients, families, and hospital staff.

I'd like to ask the minister: How can unauthorized persons gain after-hours access to patients and patient floors at the VG Hospital?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Certainly patient safety, and staff as well - the safety of all individuals in our hospital facilities throughout the province is important. That's why whenever there's a safety incident the Nova Scotia Health Authority takes steps to, first and foremost, address and bring the situation under control, to re-establish the safety of the environment and then take corrective action to ensure that any controls that need to be put in place are modified, are conducted going forward.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : I thank the minister for his answer. However, when an individual is charged in these cases, it is made known to the public and they become fearful. In one case of multiple trespasses at the VG Hospital, the threat was clearly neutralized but this is not always the case. It has been pointed out that several of the threats could not be confirmed, nor could the individuals allegedly involved be identified.

As this is an ongoing concern for the VG Hospital, I'd like to ask the minister: Exactly what has been done recently to make the VG Hospital more secure?

RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the safety of the patients, staff, visitors and, really, all people who enter our facilities is important. The Nova Scotia Health Authority, which operates and manages our hospital facilities, is responsible to ensure that safety, as they are with the health care delivery within those institutions. They provide security services as part of those facilities. Having security guards onsite is one of the important safeguards to help protect and respond to incidents in those facilities.

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

H&W - PROV. HOSP.: SECURITY GUARDS - TRAINING

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Talk to almost any health care professional and they'll have a story of having to deal with someone in a crisis. Hospitals and other health care facilities daily see people in crisis, and in these facilities, security staff are usually the front line of trying to diffuse a crisis. This could be someone in a mental health crisis or someone threatening to harm themselves or others. It could be individuals who are simply disrupting the functioning of these facilities and making patients or their families uncomfortable.

[Page 4479]

I'd like to ask the minister: What kind of specific training do security guards receive before working at the province's hospitals where they often come in contact with individuals facing mental health distress?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : As previously mentioned, the safety of staff, as well as patients and all people in our hospital facilities, is an important part of the operation and the delivery of care in these facilities.

Mr. Speaker, the specific training that security guards take meets the criteria defined for the positions they fill, but there are also many health care providers who would also be trained in working with individuals.

The member is specifically inquiring about mental health situations and crisis intervention; obviously, there is training for those services as well.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm raising these questions because in May it was reported that a security guard at the QEII Health Sciences Centre quit her job after experiencing trauma and being insufficiently trained. She wasn't trained for her responsibilities, and I'll table that story.

These responsibilities included shifts where the security guard was required to watch over individuals who attempted suicide or perhaps to restrain a patient on her own, and usually that takes three people in most incidents. While this might just be incidents of guards being put into difficult situations, it raises serious questions about how severe mental health distress is addressed in our facilities.

I would like to ask the minister: Are all mental health patients being left in the care of unprepared security guards because the ERs are simply too backlogged to deal with them?

RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the member knows, as I believe all members of this Legislature know, the importance of the conversations that we've had here on this floor, and the commitment of government, as I've previously mentioned, and the members of this Legislature, to improving the mental health care and services provided to Nova Scotians to ensure that the care they need is there for them.

It is a priority, one that we all share. As a government, we continue to work with our partners at the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK to strengthen and target our investments throughout the province to ensure that we have the care and the services that Nova Scotians need when they are in need of support for their mental wellness.

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

[Page 4480]

H&W - NSHA: VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE ASSESS. - CONDUCT

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : We are also talking about having securities there for the actual security guards and helping them.

My question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Over the Summer the NSHA was ordered by the Nova Scotia Labour Board to conduct an urgent violence in the workplace assessment at the East Coast Forensic Hospital, and I can table that.

In February 2018, a nurse at that hospital was concerned about her safety and requested a safety assessment. Then, in April 2018, another nurse was punched and kicked by a patient; this nurse was 33 weeks pregnant.

I would like to ask the Minister of Health and Wellness directly: How was a nurse left in such a vulnerable position in her workplace?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Obviously, that's a situation that nobody wants to see occur. The fact is, through the review of that situation, there were some deficiencies identified to take place and address, and work has been under way to address those issues that were identified to improve the safety and the security, again, of patients and staff and visitors of these facilities.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Following this incident, a co-worker of the assaulted nurse who was punched, filed a formal complaint over the incident with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. This came months after the NSHA vowed to handle the matter internally.

Ultimately though, the Labour Board agreed with the union of the employee: not enough was being done to ensure the safety of employees at the East Coast Forensic Hospital.

I would like to ask the Minister: Why did it take an order from the Labour Board to address this issue, and why didn't the NSHA communicate directly with the front-line worker, like they should have?

RANDY DELOREY « » : As this particular incident came to the attention of the department and to myself, when the request to respond to recommendations came forward, we certainly supported the Nova Scotia Health Authority to ensure that work was done, to provide the resources to make sure it was done, because we recognize the importance of responding and supporting a safe environment.

We've worked with unions in other facilities throughout the province, particularly in some of our rural communities, to improve the security in our community emergency departments based upon collaborative work with the unions representing front-line employees.

[Page 4481]

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

H&W: DR. GABRIELLE HORNE - NSHA APOLOGY

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : My question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. In 2016, Halifax cardiologist Dr. Gabrielle Horne received the highest financial award for loss of reputation in Canadian legal history. The NSHA was ordered to award hundreds of thousands of dollars to Dr. Horne after a years-long ordeal that began when the cardiologist refused to add the names of colleagues to her research. Capital Health, which was the NSHA's predecessor in HRM, was found to have acted in administrative bad faith in limiting Dr. Horne's hospital privileges. Yet the NSHA has never issued a formal apology to Dr. Horne. I will table that.

Can the minister please provide any insight into why the NSHA has never apologized to Dr. Horne for acting in bad faith in a professional setting?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : I believe the particulars of the case that the member has brought to the floor, as she noted, predate my time in this role. What I can assure the member, though, is that the incident in the case has been broadly publicized, including the rulings that have played out. I assure the member the NSHA's responsibility to fulfill those rulings that have come through that process is steps that they are responsible for exercising.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Perhaps the minister wants to take the opportunity today to apologize. It's never too late to apologize.

Nova Scotians deserve to feel safe and respected in their workplaces. That expectation is the same for doctors as it is for everyone else. While the NSHA tooted its own respectful workplace policy, Dr. Horne highlighted that actions speak louder than words. Don't we know that in this Chamber. Dr. Horne said, and I will table this: The Health Authority has yet to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever, even after the Court of Appeal decision. Nobody's been held accountable.

I would like to ask the minister: Does the minister feel that the NSHA has an accountability problem?

RANDY DELOREY « » : There have been significant changes, as the member herself has noted, taking place within the organizational structure of what was formerly Capital Health and what is now the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The fact of the matter is, there have been significant organizational, structural, and administrative changes within the organizations. Capital Health was disbanded, as were other health authorities throughout the province. The Nova Scotia Health Authority is a new entity with new leadership running that organization.

[Page 4482]

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

BUS. - DEVCO MINERS: EXTENDED BENEFITS - PROVIDE

TAMMY MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Business. Six months ago, I asked the Minister of Business about the case of the injured Devco miners of Cape Breton. The minister said at the time that he supported the miners and wanted to help them but, at the same time, refused to consider making a special amendment to the Workers' Compensation Act to allow Devco miners to receive extended benefits paid for by the federal government.

If the minister isn't willing to entertain the change the miners are requesting, what has he done in the past six months to resolve this injustice?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Obviously, this is an issue that has been discussed on the floor of this Legislature. This is something that's certainly a federal responsibility and we have always offered, if there's way, to take that money and be the broker for those funds. We would be happy to do that. I actually met with the group yesterday. There are some new things that they want to discuss with the federal representatives down home, and I'll be happy to be part of those meetings, just like I always am.

TAMMY MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, according to the miners, the minister has not been in touch with them for six months, but I guess that's no longer true. This government has the power to make an amendment to the Act, allowing the extraordinary exemption for former Devco miners only. The minister implied that the government cannot amend the Act to protect only one group of workers, but changes to protect only one group of workers have been made in the past, such as the automatic assumption that loss of lung function in coal miners with 20 or more years' experience is a work-related injury.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain how he can deny the Devco miners an extraordinary exemption when amendments to protect a single group of workers have been made in the past?

GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : As the member very well knows, those amendments that were made are not the same as what the Devco miners are looking for. Although she continues to repeat that and say that publicly, that's not the case. (Interruption.)

THE SPEAKER « » : Order please. The honourable Minister of Business has the floor.

[2:30 p.m.]

[Page 4483]

GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : It has been a very emotional conversation for me. Davis Day was a tough day where some of those miners, including the member for Cape Breton Centre, turned their back on me while I was speaking about the importance of miners - my heritage, my history - with my (Interruption)

THE SPEAKER « » : Order please. The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre will have respect for the Chair, please.

The honourable Minister of Business.

GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I have nothing to be ashamed of around my work with the miners, my commitment to them. I've been meeting with them for a number of years to understand this issue. It's something that the federal government can change and, if they want to have that conversation, we will have that.

I'm very happy about the work we've done in trying to help the miners and, at the end of the day, I don't have to hang my head on this one, for sure.

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

H&W: PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS - STATUS

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : My question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. In the last year, the NSHA has begun seriously looking at physician assistants, known as PAs, as a potential solution to the serious problems with primary health care delivery in this province.

PAs can't work independent of clinicians, but they can make basic assessments that would otherwise fall to a doctor or a nurse practitioner. The interim vice-president of medicine with NSHA has stated that - and I will table this quote - "it's one of the ideas that will help us move the health-care system along."

A pilot project to hire three PAs was announced in the Spring. I'd like to ask the minister: Have any PAs begun working at hospitals in Nova Scotia?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : I thank the member for the question. The fact is, we know that to respond to the challenges facing our health care system we need to continue to work with, and rely on, a wide variety of health care professionals, ensuring that they have the opportunity to work to their scope of practice. That's why we've supported expansions for nurse practitioners, continuing innovative recruitment initiatives for physicians and yes, that includes expanding opportunities for new practitioners in the province, like physician assistants.

I'd have to check back with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to verify the status of the starts for those physician assistants who'll be working as part of the orthopedic program.

[Page 4484]

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : I believe on the website today they're looking for one at this point. I thank the minister, though, for his answer.

As we know, the health care system today still remains in crisis. Nova Scotians need local health care today. While I'm pleased to hear of any new initiatives, like PAs, that might be able to make a positive impact, Nova Scotians want to know when they'll see those initiatives in their own communities.

For many rural Nova Scotians, asking them to wait another two or three years - or four years - for something resembling a solution is not going to bring much comfort to them.

When will the minister be in a position to report on the results of the physician assistants pilot project so Nova Scotians will know they are benefiting from this initiative?

RANDY DELOREY « » : Again, I think this is an opportunity where the members on both sides of this Legislature share our objective to meet the health care needs of Nova Scotians, recognizing the importance of supporting a wide variety of health care professionals to provide the care that Nova Scotians need.

Specifically, the member wanted to know when Nova Scotians can see results. They're already seeing results. The 811 Need a Family Practice service peaked in November of last year with 59,000 people waiting for a physician. That number's down to 51,000 as of this month - that's a 13.5 per cent reduction in the number of Nova Scotians waiting for access to primary care.

The steps that we've been taking and the investments we've been making in Nova Scotians - expanding collaborative practice, hiring nurse practitioners, physician recruitment - have been working. We have more work to do and we're committed to continuing that work.

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

H&W: NEWCOMER HEALTH CLINIC - PATIENT NUMBERS

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : The problem is that there are still too many Nova Scotians in this province remaining without a doctor, including myself.

Earlier this year, we heard that a clinic established to help transition refugees to stable primary care was experiencing a growing wait-list. The Newcomer Health Clinic intended to link sponsored refugees to a family practice within two years, but in 2018, only 46 of the clinics - approximately 1,800 patients - were matched with a doctor.

[Page 4485]

Unsurprisingly, a lack of family doctors was cited as one of the causes, but we're not really surprised, are we, Mr. Speaker?

Can the minister indicate how many patients are currently registered with the Newcomer Health Clinic, and how many of those patients were matched with a family doctor so far this year?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, again, the work of government and our partners in the Health Authority continues, as a previous question, in terms of partnering to expand access to health care professionals, to support the physicians on the front line providing care.

We had committed to establishing about 70 collaborative health centres working with our partners at the Nova Scotia Health Authority; we have over 80 collaborative health centres under way in the province of Nova Scotia. Our recruitment initiatives expand into training programs. We committed to adding 16 new seats at Dalhousie Medical School; four opened up in September. We added 25 additional residency training seats.

These initiatives are occurring in Nova Scotia only because we recognize that the future of health care and access to physicians require more training. We're investing in those training opportunities. That's only one of the many things we're doing to support health care for Nova Scotians.

KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, under a PC government, Nova Scotia was the first province in this country to institute patient navigators in hospitals. I'll table that. That was nearly 20 years ago, and our demographics have definitely changed.

Much as translation services are in more demand at our hospitals, there is also a need to help new Canadians navigate our health care system. It can be intimidating enough to settle in a new and unfamiliar home without the added stress of negotiating a new health care bureaucracy.

Again, the promise wasn't kept in 2013 by this Premier. Navigators are available for new Canadians, but I'd like the minister to tell us here in the Chamber today: What hospitals are these navigators actually at?

RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, there's a lot of information in the member's preamble and question. The fact is, the Health Authority has established programs, as she mentioned, for translation services, which of course are important, particularly for newcomers for whom English isn't their first language; they've partnered with an organization, all of our regional hospitals and a number of our community-based hospitals.

In addition to the language services - and this isn't just for newcomers - the Nova Scotia Health Authority also has patient representatives throughout the province. The contact information is available on the website. I don't have it with me to table here today but certainly will endeavour to share that information out to all three caucuses to ensure that our assistants and our offices can help get Nova Scotians in contact with these patient representatives within the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

[Page 4486]

I make use of them in my constituency office to help people in my riding. I believe it's a valuable resource for all MLAs.

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

H&W - NSHA: SUCCESSFACTORS - DIFFICULTY

BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, when the Nova Scotia Health Authority amalgamated nine district health authorities into one, one of the goals was to expedite the hiring process. The 2017 Accreditation Canada report - not our report, their report - on the Nova Scotia Health Authority suggested that this did not happen. Managers reported - and I'll table that - that a new hiring system, ironically called SuccessFactors, created a very lengthy process for hiring and made the staffing process challenging. A case in point: it took 20 months to hire one clinical nurse practitioner for Eastern Passage.

My question to the Minister of Health and Wellness: Did he or the Nova Scotia Health Authority meet with those managers who said that the SuccessFactors hiring process had made their work more difficult?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Indeed, I believe the SuccessFactors modular program is the same program that's used by the government of Nova Scotia for recruitment programs. That's a system for attaching prospective recruits with the recruitment team and allows the information to flow through.

Mr. Speaker, I find it unfortunate that the member would use an example that I believe she would know very well, the time of filling the position that she referenced really had nothing to do with that particular program, Mr. Speaker, but rather people applying for the position that was posted.

BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, I am going to respectfully disagree because the hiring process for that position came exactly through the Nova Scotia Health Authority. I know for a fact that when several people who wanted to apply for that position applied to the Nova Scotia Health Authority through human resources, I had to bring it up in the House that human resources in the Nova Scotia Health Authority didn't even bother to respond to the people.

In fact, it is the very same system I'm talking about that failed my community. Mr. Speaker, potential physicians complain that there are too many hoops to jump through to become a qualified physician to work in this province. Doctors, in fact, are only credentialed to work in one zone at a time, which is a deterrent, especially for those looking to do locums. The factors feed into the crisis in hiring physicians in long-term care facilities like Ocean View Manor.

[Page 4487]

My question to the minister is: Is it true what I heard today, that the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Department of Health and Wellness have still not been able to find physicians to take over in Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Eastern Passage?

RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to advise you - and indeed all members of the Legislature - on the concern raised by the member opposite with respect to the licensing process. In fact, much effort has been made working with our partners, with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, on concerns that we've heard from front-line physicians about some of those regulatory licensing processes, working with them to establish new licensing processes for positions that Nova Scotia has not historically had.

We do rely on that college, the independent regulatory body, to take a leadership role, but we have to bring our concerns to them. I've been very pleased with the response to our efforts to work with them to expand licensing opportunities.

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

H&W: AEDs - NUMBERS

COLTON LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, as I've said in this House before, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. In recent years, the Province has taken steps toward increasing AED accessibility when Nova Scotians need them. For each minute that an AED is not used, the survival rate decreases by nearly 10 per cent. These are life-saving devices, Mr. Speaker. They need to be readily accessible and quickly located when an individual is in cardiac arrest.

My question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness: Can he update the House on the number of AEDs currently registered in the province?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : I appreciate the member raising this particular topic. As the member rightly noted in his preamble, AEDs are life-saving devices. That's why I'm pleased that under our term we work with our partners at EMCI and EHS to establish a list to track AEDs within the province of Nova Scotia, helping to be able to communicate through our emergency health system to direct people, bystanders, to these devices while waiting for an ambulance. I don't have the most current numbers, Mr. Speaker, but I'll endeavour to get them and report back to the House.

COLTON LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, we can agree that it's as important that AEDs be made available and accessible here in the city as it is to have them in our rural communities. An emergency doesn't matter if you're here in the city or in a rural area. Nova Scotians need the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can get these devices when they need them.

[Page 4488]

My question to the minister is: What initiatives does the minister believe would improve AED accessibility in all of Nova Scotia?

RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, we've seen, really - again, living in rural Nova Scotia, but indeed being out and about here in the city, as well - I think we've seen just ourselves, as I'm sure all the other members have, the growth of AEDs in public spaces. One of the missing links in ensuring that people responding to an emergency - first responders, before our EHS paramedics arrive on scene - is knowing that there's an AED nearby, to take the time to retrieve it. That's why we partnered with our EHS system to ensure that we have the list documented, so we can help direct bystanders and first responders to these devices that may be in the vicinity of an emergency.

[2:45 p.m.]

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

PREM.: PUGWASH HEALTH CARE FACILITY - REASSURE

ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : In April 2017, the Premier visited a great community in Cumberland North, Pugwash, and made a very important announcement of a new health care facility. In the Summer, there was an article - and I'll table this document - by Jim Vibert that referenced the announcement in Middleton of a new facility and the speed at which that new facility was going to be built.

I'm wondering if the Premier would be willing today to reassure the people of Pugwash about the plans for that facility that was promised in April 2017?

THE PREMIER « » : I would encourage her to read the article by Mr. Vibert; it is actually not accurate. Those are two very different buildings. The one in my riding is a collaborative care centre, which actually became a training model. He doesn't always look to the factual parts of those things, so I would encourage her to look at that.

I want to assure the honourable member that her community, that community, is not forgotten. As a matter of fact, we had teams in there as recently as this month, working with clinicians to ensure that not only did we have the appropriate infrastructure but that what happens inside that infrastructure reflects the reality of that community today.

ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Thank you to the Premier for the response. The most recent update that I was able to get from the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal department is that the details and the plans have been completed and it is now with the Department of Health and Wellness. The community is happy to see that it's part of the capital plan.

[Page 4489]

I'm wondering if the Minister of Health and Wellness would be able to give us a timeline today so that the community of Pugwash and the northern area of Gulf Shore - the northern area of Nova Scotia - can have a bit of an idea of when we'll have shovels in the ground.

THE PREMIER « » : Again, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. There are ongoing conversations with the community to ensure that the beds that would be in that facility reflect what is required in the community. I believe that conversation has been ongoing.

As well, as part of her riding, the regional hospital is there - looking at how we deal with the issues around the emergency room in that particular facility. We're looking at that footprint as well to figure out how best to respond to those needs, as we are in Yarmouth, when it comes to the regional facility there.

It is not a simple look in isolation at one facility in one part of your constituency and not at the other. Both of those facilities will play a role in delivering primary care and, quite frankly, the regional hospital will play a role that it has continued to play. We believe it can have an enhanced role of continuing to provide emergency care in that community in the broader sense. We look forward to working with them and making those investments.

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

TIR: EXIT 32, ARGYLE - COLLISIONS: UPDATE

COLTON LEBLANC « » : Unfortunately, vehicle collisions are all too frequent along Highway No. 103 at Exit 32 in Argyle. In 2016, the then-Minister of TIR said that the highway was on his radar screen, and he spoke about short-term and medium-term solutions, which I'll table.

Three years later, nothing has changed. In early 2019, the minister was asked again about issues at Exit 32 and said that they are looking closely at a significant connector down there. Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that people in Argyle-Barrington have been looking closely at Exit 32 for years and they see nothing has changed.

My question to the minister is: Can he tell us if he is still looking closely at Exit 32, and what does he see?

HON. LLOYD HINES « » : I thank the member opposite for the question. I would be happy to invite the member to the department and we can sit down and take a look at the current status there. I would suggest that he work with his newly-elected member in the area to make sure that we get good federal participation when we go to correct that situation.

[Page 4490]

COLTON LEBLANC « » : My predecessor asked this question many times. The minister said in 2016 that it was on his radar and in consideration for work in the not-too-distant future. He said they are looking at short-term and medium-term solutions. Again, no obvious action has been taken, so solve the problem once and for all - that's what I'm asking from the minister. When can we expect work to begin?

LLOYD HINES « » : I thank the member opposite for the question. In 2016, my radar was with the Department of Natural Resources, but I can go back and check the screen and see just where we were.

THE SPEAKER « » : Order, please. Time allotted for Oral Questions Put by Members to Ministers has expired.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 204.

Bill No. 204 - Workers' Compensation Act.

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

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 204 be read for the second time.

I'd like to take some time today to share proposed changes to the Workers' Compensation Act, changes that will ensure that all volunteer firefighters have access to workers' compensation insurance.

Firefighters put their lives at risk every day to make sure we are all safe. Government is committed to ensuring that they are protected while they are on the job and while they are training. There are more than 6,000 volunteer firefighters in the Province of Nova Scotia and half of them have no insurance. This is not acceptable. These proposed amendments will ensure all firefighters in our provinces, no matter where they live, are adequately protected.

[Page 4491]

Throughout the development of these amendments, government has been in discussion with volunteer firefighters; the Fire Service Association of Nova Scotia; the Association of Municipal Administrators Nova Scotia; and the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities; and the president of the Union of National Defence Employees, Local 80412, which represents civilian firefighters at CFB Halifax. Their concerns have been heard and it is time we take action. The amendments address many of their worries and will ensure greater protection.

The proposed changes to the Act will require municipalities to provide WCB workplace injury insurance to all volunteer firefighters. I am pleased to say this will also include cancer and PTSD presumptions. This means possibly 3,000 or more volunteers will have access to workers' compensation coverage should a workplace injury occur. Currently, some fire departments have private insurance and, although coverage varies across departments, some departments actually have none.

These amendments will also change the definition of a firefighter to include federal firefighters. This will enable the Department of National Defence firefighters to access the cancer-related presumptions, as well, which, unfortunately, is not the case at the present.

These amendments will also create authority to limit or expand presumption in certain cases through regulation. There are currently six types of cancers that are eligible for the firefighters' cancer presumption. For cancers that are added to the presumption in the future, it will be possible for firefighters to file a claim based on diagnosis up to one year before the cancer was added to the eligibility list.

The list of cancer presumptions has not been updated since 2003. Going forward throughout the Fall and Winter, we will consult with paid and volunteer firefighters as they have requested, their employers, and the WCB about expanding the list of cancers that will also be covered.

The proposed amendments are a step in the right direction. Firefighters risk a lot for us, and we are thankful for the challenging work they do for us every day. Whether paid or volunteer, they all deserve to be protected.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

BRIAN COMER « » : I'd like to thank the minister for his comments. First of all, I'd just like to say thank you to all the firefighters throughout the province, both volunteer and paid. I have 13 fire departments in my own constituency. Many of these firefighters work full-time themselves and have their own families, and basically put their lives at risk to perform this job.

[Page 4492]

I am looking forward to hearing the comments from firefighters during Law Amendments. Hopefully we can continue to expand on the list of presumed cancers because we do lag behind a little bit as compared to other provinces.

I think the consultation will be beneficial. Otherwise I don't have much else to say. I look forward to Law Amendments Committee. We support this bill.

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

TAMMY MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, we are happy to hear that the government has brought forward these changes to protect all firefighters in Nova Scotia and that updates to the cancer presumption list will be forthcoming.

We in the NDP know that it is crucial that this list be updated as soon as possible. Firefighters are there for all of us when we need them and when we tuck our kids into bed at night, knowing that if the unthinkable happens, there are people that come to help us. We thank all of the volunteers and career firefighters in the province.

Firefighters' work is giving them cancer at rates much higher than the general population. In comparison to all causes of fatality in the general population, cause of death in firefighters is two to three times more likely to be due to cancer, even though firefighters tend to lead healthier lifestyles as a requirement of their work.

Back in 2003, Nova Scotia was a leader on the national stage when it first came to presumptive coverage. We introduced some of the first legislation to guarantee that firefighters wouldn't have to fight to prove that their illnesses had developed as a result of exposure to the carcinogens that are a part of the job.

Since then, though, we've fallen behind. Every other province has updated their list of eligible cancers but we're at the back of the pack, only covering the six originally outlined. Over the course of the last 15 years, a number of major cohort studies have been undertaken. They have compared cohorts of thousands of firefighters to the general population, found that firefighting puts people at significant risk of developing ureter, penile, testicular, esophageal, breast, prostate, skin, digestive tract, multiple myeloma, pancreatic, ovarian, and cervical cancer. That's in addition to brain, bladder, kidney and colon cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and leukemia, which were covered in 2003.

We need to ensure that these cancers are recognized as workplace illnesses so that the firefighters can get the support they need. We owe it to our firefighters to extend these benefits to them. Too many people have already died without presumptive coverage. They can't afford to wait any longer.

[Page 4493]

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cumberland South.

TORY RUSHTON « » : It gives me great pleasure as a firefighter - a past fire chief, trainer, lecturer - to stand and speak on this bill.

Previous to politics, I actually sat on the Fire Service Association of Nova Scotia as an executive member. I would like to say kudos to the minister for taking the time and consulting with the association a few weeks ago. Albeit, they do have a few other questions - I'm sure we're going to hear at Law Amendments committee - but I just wanted to add my two cents' worth in this conversation and look forward to maybe some reply or maybe a meeting afterwards with the minister and get some clarity on a few things.

First and foremost, fire doesn't know the boundaries of a career or volunteer. Fire doesn't know the boundaries of a rookie or a senior firefighter. Fire is approached the same dynamic way from a volunteer to a career; the training standards are equivalent nowadays. It's not like the days of a volunteer department gathering up as many men and women as they could and showing up with a bucket brigade.

The training the volunteers put in is top notch nowadays, equivalent to what goes on in a career department. I could speak about the relevance of what an insurance coverage looks like in a small rural department that isn't covered by Workers' Compensation but does have a private insurance coverage.

When I left as chief last year to follow my political adventures, my firefighters at the time had full coverage under private insurance coverage from the time they left their house to do any duty - not just firefighting, not just training - but PR issues. I'm sure we've all gone out on Good Friday and seen our local fire departments out doing a Muscular Dystrophy drive to raise funds. They were covered at that aspect if they were injured.

There's not just fire calls and training that's required to maintain and keep an emergency service operating. There's equipment checks, there's meetings, there's public relations through what we just saw a few weeks ago during Fire Prevention Week at the schools. Are our volunteer firefighters still going to be covered if something were to happen during one of those PR adventures?

A few other questions have come up around travelling to and from training. As is stated in the department's release, they would be covered from the time they arrived at the training site to the time the training was done. Under private insurance right now, they're covered from the time they leave their house to the time they return to their house or business or recreation, as it would go. Is that coverage still going to look the same or are these small rural departments going to have to take out a second insurance coverage to ensure that their firefighters are still covered and protected throughout those times?

[Page 4494]

[3:00 p.m.]

There is another question for which I didn't see a full explanation: Are our firefighters going to be covered under this Act when they are actually doing the work for Department of Lands and Forestry at forest fires?

The question asked by many, many municipalities over the weekend: Who pays? I do know that the minister covered a little bit of this during a bit of media coverage, but it is still not very clear to the departments, the association, or the municipalities what that whole concept is going to look like. I can respect, from being at the administration level of a fire service, the minister of the WCB really isn't going to cover that aspect of it. These are questions that are being asked.

One of the other little questions being asked is: Who will administer this for those rural fire departments that may not have an administrative staff who actually takes care of it - is it going to be the municipality that manages the files for the department, or is there going to be a department within your WCB department that would manage it just for the volunteer sector?

There may be a few little loopholes there. I'm sure there are answers out there and it's worthwhile for the conversation.

The other thing I'm really partial to - I spoke during last session about it - was the list of cancers. I welcome the conversation you brought up in your prelude.

I do look forward to seeing the fire service show up at the Law Amendments committee and remarks back from the minister.

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

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Great to have the conversations with my colleagues. I think we're all on the same page - we want to help our firefighters. I'll answer a few of the questions because I do have the information. A lot of the nuances of the coverage will be put through regulations over the next year because we have to give one year's notice to our municipalities.

In terms of what the WCB has reported back to us, the mandatory coverage is for our volunteer firefighters. They can also still keep their other insurance. The cost the WCB has come back with is $48 per year, which for the service they do, especially on a volunteer basis, is really nothing.

[Page 4495]

In my meetings with the Federation of Municipalities, as we discussed it they felt as I did, that our volunteer firefighters are worth every penny of it. However, we did recognize that there could be some smaller municipalities that might have difficulty covering the fees because - even $48, and if they have a handful of volunteer firefighters - their budgets are so small or so tight that they might have difficulty with it.

What I committed to the Federation of Municipalities is we are more than happy to work with them, and we will do that. Our goal is to make sure that our firefighters are covered. Anything the Province can do to assist, and I'll give an example - a few years ago when we provided the licence plates free of charge, the cost of that was more than the cost of this. The cost of this on a global perspective for our volunteer firefighters is not that high, and they deserve every cent of it. We'll make sure that one way or another they get the coverage. I was pleased that our municipalities are in favour of it.

One thing I will add about the cancer coverage for my colleagues: I was more than happy to bring it in and, based on data across the country, cover all the cancers that are shown to have a higher prevalence in our firefighters. It is actually the firefighters who want to sit down and discuss these. I respect that and I'm going to give them that opportunity. On Royal Assent, the cancer coverages we'd come out with in the very short future will be covered from that day going forward, so they don't have to wait the one-year period; we have the backdating clause.

I also want to add that we were leaders in this once, and I fully anticipate that we will be at the top of the country in terms of cancer coverages when we start passing the regulations.

I think the original intent was great and we all agreed with it. I'm sure that back in 2003 it was passed unanimously. What I really like about this bill is as data shows that cancers have a higher rate in our first responders and our firefighters, we can add them in regulation. I think that gives a lot more flexibility. In the past decade it would have been done, and we wouldn't be lagging the rest of the country if the previous bill had provided that flexibility. This bill has it so not only will we catch up with the rest of the country in terms of coverages of cancers, as new data comes forward and shows that with certain new cancers there's a higher rate amongst our firefighters, we'll be able to get them that coverage in a speedy amount of time.

With those few words, I move to close debate on Bill No. 204.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 204. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 4496]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 175.

Bill No. 175 - Marine Renewable-energy Act.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Energy and Mines.

HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 175, the Marine Renewable-energy Act, be read a third time and do pass.

This bill is in support of our tidal industry. We have seen millions of dollars invested over the years to support the potential of the Bay of Fundy - not only investment from a private sector level but, as well, from our federal partners. This has great opportunity for us here in the province. Essentially, as I've said in my second reading remarks, what this allows us to do is to continue down that path to give the companies that are in the Bay of Fundy that line of sight past the expiration of their current agreements.

I look forward to the comments from my colleagues on third reading.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.

ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I have spoken about this on second reading. I don't believe I have anything much further to add today. We're supportive of this, and we sincerely hope that tidal power will become a force in the world, and that it will start here in this province.

The investment is being made, really, by ratepayers in this case, people who are paying for their power, and also by taxpayers. We know there's a lot of tax dollars invested - close to $30 million by the federal government invested in these companies that are doing this research work with the hope of commercializing this technology. My hope is that the payoff on tidal energy comes back to Nova Scotians (1) as a help to the environment, and (2) in either lower power rates or perhaps some kind of royalty that comes back to Nova Scotians. Let's not forget this is a positive thing, but Nova Scotians are paying a premium for it. For that investment, I believe they should get something back in return.

[Page 4497]

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

SUSAN LEBLANC « » : I'm happy to stand and speak for a few minutes on this bill. There is no doubt that tidal energy is an exciting industry that has incredible potential to provide large amounts of energy to our power grid, as well as significant economic and employment opportunities. I don't need to remind this House of the impending climate crisis and the pressing need to bring our greenhouse gas emission targets to a level that's consistent with 1.5 degrees of warming or of the pressing need to invest in a green jobs plan.

This province needs massive investment in wind, solar, and tidal power. While there is no doubt that we will need to make significant and rapid investments in renewable energy, we also need to do this in a way that does not have unintended consequences for the environment and does not present a cash grab of public money for private companies.

We also need to make sure that we understand the impact of tidal energy projects on the marine environment, including the fishing industry. If these amendments permit projects that are significantly larger in scale, number, and potential impact on marine life and on the environment than the original intent of the environmental assessment that covers the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy, then it will need an updated environmental assessment that takes into account the project's impacts - not to mention thorough and adequate consultation with all stakeholders involved, including fishers, coastal communities, fisheries experts, and the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association, which I was alarmed to learn, was not consulted on the original Marine Renewable-energy Act or these amendments.

The fact of the need for a careful assessment of environmental impacts was underscored after a confirmed sighting of a North American right whale just recently in the offshore. I don't need to remind this House of the Cape Sharp Tidal Demonstration Project that illustrates the risk and uncertainty associated with the marine renewable energy sector.

While we need to make the sector viable for the people who are testing technology and doing research in it, we need to do so safely and in a way that protects the environment and does not leave the public on the hook for the bill.

Though investment in the sector is certainly needed, funding tidal energy projects cannot be an open opportunity to raise Nova Scotia's power rates. It also cannot be a shell out of public money for private companies like Emera. We have spoken a lot in this House of this government's concerning coziness with the private sector, prioritizing corporations over the regard for ordinary people in the province.

Any amendments to the Marine Renewable-energy Act should be careful to use the Utility and Review Board as it is intended, and that is to provide effective oversight and ratepayer protection and to ensure fairness in the way that our utilities operate. This was the spirit of the amendment that our caucus submitted during the Committee of the Whole House, that asked to update Section 49B to have electricity procured at a price determined by the Utility and Review Board after consultation with the minister, rather than through the minister alone.

[Page 4498]

I also question another section of the bill that states that the Utility and the Review Board shall allow a public utility to recover the costs in connection with any power purchase agreement the public utility is deemed to have entered into under subsection (1) through the public utility's rates. If this presents an opportunity for ratepayers to be stuck with the cost of these projects, then it is highly objectionable.

Again, I am forced to wonder whether these amendments represent an undermining of the original intent of the environmental assessment that governed the site, which was intended to be used for small-scale demonstration projects, all the while giving the minister powers in the Act that seem to me would fit better with the Utility and Review Board, for reasons of transparency and accountability.

I'd also like to remind the House that the Utility and Review Board has already approved rate increases for existing feed-in tariffs related to marine renewable energy.

I would like to close by reiterating the urgent need to invest significantly in the development of renewable energy sectors as well as significant investments in energy efficiency measures and public transit. This is the only path available to averting the worst of the climate crisis. This needs to be done carefully with keen attention to any unintended impacts on the environment and consciousness of the fact that people in Nova Scotia already have some of the highest electricity rates in the country. That's all I'm going to say.

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

The honourable Minister of Energy and Mines.

HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : I appreciate the comments from my colleagues. Just very quickly, tidal has been something that every Party has been involved with when they were in government; this has been a bit of a long game for us. Everyone can take some pride and some responsibility in what we've been trying to do to harness the tides in the Bay of Fundy.

We are seeing significant investment down there. As the PC caucus member said, we've seen $30 million investment from the federal government. We're seeing millions of dollars of investment on the private sector side. We now have companies that are interested in actually doing their manufacturing production here. These are things that I'm working on with the department on a daily basis.

[Page 4499]

In regard to the comments from my colleague with the NDP, tidal is part of the mix for us when it comes to what the potential is for clean energy. We are a national leader in reducing climate change. We are investing almost $120 million in efficiency programs and services for Nova Scotians in the next four years, and we are going to continue to do it.

I am very excited about what I'm seeing in the tidal industry and what this legislation allows us to do. Again, it's to give those companies that line of sight past their current agreements, to ensure that not only can they continue to operate down there in the Bay of Fundy to test their equipment, but also to give them that confidence when they go out to investors to look for money.

With those words Mr. Speaker, I'll close debate on third reading of Bill No. 175.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 175. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 177.

Bill No. 177 - Public Utilities Act.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Energy and Mines.

HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 177, the Public Utilities Act, an Act to Amend, be read for a third time and do pass.

Mr. Speaker, to provide some brief comments, I spoke a bit about this during second reading. Essentially, what we are doing here is cutting red tape for some of our largest utilities here in the province. This would include organizations with over $100 million in revenue; that's Nova Scotia Power, Maritime Link, and Halifax Water.

Again, briefly, currently the utilities need to seek approval from the Utility and Review Board for spending above $250,000 when that spending is outside of their annual capital plan. This legislation raises that ceiling to $1 million. Essentially that eliminates approximately 40 approvals that would go through the Utility and Review Board. In general, these processes cost about $50,000 per application.

[Page 4500]

I'll provide a few examples of what this would mean for Nova Scotia Power: it would remove some of these reviews, which include routine business such as valve replacement on boilers, replacing a transformer at a hydro station, or replacing cooling water intake screens at power plants. This is about reducing red tape for some of our larger utilities. The URB still holds that ultimate oversight when it comes to making the decisions on these capital expenditures.

With those, I look forward to the comments from my colleagues.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.

ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, once again, we will be supporting this legislation. I spoke on this on second reading, as well, and I really do not have much to add here. I think these changes are really common sense. If consumers do have a fear that projects are going to get approved, there is always the ability for the URB to look back at them and to make sure that they provide a good value for ratepayers, whether it's Nova Scotia Power or whether it is other utilities in the province that have projects under $1 million in capital construction. We will be supporting this bill.

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

SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, I am happy to stand to address Bill No. 177. This is a change that both the Utility and Review Board and the utilities have asked for and, as I have said previously, it makes sense to reduce unnecessary administrative burdens on the Utility and Review Board and on the utilities. However, I believe we need to be careful that this does not diminish the oversight and accountability role that is played by the Utility and Review Board.

It is my view that there are many changes needed to the way that Nova Scotia Power is regulated, and this includes a rethinking of the framework that allows Nova Scotia Power to make millions of dollars in profit each year.

There needs to be stricter performance targets and related fines for the utility. It is easy to understand that if Nova Scotia Power faces a $1 million fine for exceeding targets around outages, for example, but upgrades to the grid in order to avoid extended outages costs $10 million, the company could easily decide to overshoot the target and pay the fines.

This is an example of the kind of dynamic presented by the private for-profit monopoly arrangement that we have with Nova Scotia Power. It's not hard to see that households and families are the natural losers in this situation. We know that Nova Scotia Power just last week went before the Utility and Review Board asking for a rate hike over the next three years that would see household power bills increase by 4.5 per cent.

[Page 4501]

We have talked about this a lot in this House before, but energy poverty is a real problem in Nova Scotia. Thirteen per cent of people in our part of Canada are considered to have unsustainable energy burdens.

This is clearly problematic and it is something that this government has failed to make any real progress in addressing. I would urge them to take real measures in tackling the problem of energy affordability in Nova Scotia while they are looking at these types of changes to legislation.

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

The honourable Minister of Energy and Mines.

HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, again, I'd like to thank my colleagues for the comments, and I appreciate the support for this bill. It does cut some red tape for these companies and it reduces some of those approval hearings, but again, as I've said, URB continues to hold that ultimate responsibility over the approvals.

On some of the comments from my colleague from the New Democratic Party, there are provisions in place that Nova Scotia Power has performance standards, and they can be held to account by the URB if it is deemed that something has happened that is not in the best interest of ratepayers.

In regard to energy poverty, that is something we all think about on a daily basis. That's why we've expanded our efficiency programs from just electrically-heated homes to homes of all heating sources. That's why we're going to spend $11 million retrofitting public housing across the province. We're going to continue to invest in these programs.

That's why, first in Canada, we're going to retrofit 2,400 homes in Mi'kmaw communities across Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is going to continue to be a national leader in fighting climate change but also continue to support our most vulnerable Nova Scotians as they live comfortably in their homes.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 177. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4502]

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 169.

Bill No. 169 - Expropriation Act.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, before moving that Bill No. 169 be read a third time and do pass, I'd like to make a few remarks. These changes provide clarity to the legislation while also supporting investments in the major infrastructure projects that Nova Scotians have told us are a priority, such as highways and health care facilities.

While expropriation is always a measure of last resort, there are times when private land is impacted by infrastructure projects and claims for compensation come forward, even when land is not expropriated.

I know expropriation can be a difficult process, and Nova Scotians who experience it want clear and fair rules. Our goal is to ensure that everyone or anyone impacted by expropriation doesn't suffer a financial loss.

The current legislation needs clarity around what compensation a person is entitled to, and these changes provide that clarity. This is a very complex area of law and we need clear, simple language and rules so that everyone is on the same page. The end goal is to make landowners who experience expropriation financially whole. Right now some are gaining more financially because the legislation is not clear and interpretations are being made by all parties involved. We have an obligation to ensure that landowners who are impacted by expropriation are reasonably compensated through clear and fair rules.

We also have an obligation to protect the interests of taxpayers and provide responsible fiscal management. Fair and reasonable compensation means that an impacted landowner will be compensated for what they are entitled to, in terms of their actual financial loss - no more, but no less.

These changes will clarify what can be claimed through legal processes under the Act. With this increased clarity, our hope is that these changes will reduce the need for litigation by landowners. Finally, these changes will bring us in line with jurisdictions across the country.

Mr. Speaker, I did want to speak to one of the inaccuracies about these changes. It was inferred that these changes will prevent landowners from receiving compensation for plans they had on their land. This is not the case. To be clear, the change we are making will require compensation to be quantified in financial terms and that they actually be incurred by the landowner. Claims based on hypothetical scenarios will no longer be permitted.

[Page 4503]

That is the key word: hypothetical. In the past, claims were paid for proposed and hypothetical future uses of land. We are clarifying that a claimant cannot seek compensation for a possible personal or business activity which they might have considered into the future.

Another change I want to take a moment to speak to, Mr. Speaker, is injurious affection claims where no land is taken. Going forward, these claims will be heard by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia instead of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, which currently hears these claims. These disputes are like other types of cases that the Supreme Court hears regularly, and they are best positioned to hear the evidence and hear the cases.

The Halifax Regional Municipality presented to the Law Amendments committee earlier this week. In their presentation they likened expropriation claims to nuisance claims that are currently heard at the Supreme Court. HRM spoke of how a move to the Supreme Court will result in a more consistent treatment of such claims. Courts are used to assessing evidence in these types of cases.

As HRM further addressed in their presentation, the time frames and processes involved in bringing these cases before the Supreme Court are comparable to that of the URB - the Utility and Review Board.

Mr. Speaker, it was mentioned in second reading that people would incur additional legal fees; that's not necessarily the case. Many of those matters - most of those matters - that go before the Utility and Review Board are presented by legal counsel on behalf of clients or property owners.

Having these matters heard at the Supreme Court will also provide opportunity for settlement conferences and the ability for parties to get decisions on questions of law where there is a disagreement.

It has been suggested that there is a need for a provision to address the expropriation of a personal residence. I want to clarify and advise all that provisions already exist within this legislation to address such circumstances. These have not changed, Mr. Speaker. Provisions also already exist to deal with the return of expropriated lands that are no longer needed for a project. In such instances the land would be returned or offered back to the property owner from whom the land was expropriated.

Mr. Speaker, others spoke of compensation for legal fees. The cost tariff for legal fees is the same as is applied to all other court actions before the Supreme Court and will now be proportional to the value of the expropriation - this mirrors the approach taken by British Columbia.

Mr. Speaker, these amendments will help ensure we have clear parameters in place to guarantee that landowners impacted by expropriation receive the fair and reasonable compensation that they are entitled to, while also balancing the interests of taxpayers and ensuring prudent fiscal management.

[Page 4504]

Mr. Speaker, with those remarks I close my thoughts and comments on this particular matter.

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

KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise and speak to Bill No. 169, the Expropriation Act. As I said in second reading of this bill, let's remind ourselves what is at the heart of this Act. This is about the government coming to take the land and property of private citizens, and as private citizens we cannot stop them - all we can do is hope that we are fairly compensated.

In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada in the Dell Holdings decision described the legal status of expropriation power by stating:

"The expropriation of property is one of the ultimate exercises of governmental authority. To take all or part of a person's property constitutes a severe loss and a very significant interference with a citizen's private property rights. It follows that the power of an expropriating authority should be strictly construed in favour of those whose rights have been affected."

Mr. Speaker, government has very deep pockets - actually they are our pockets. I have concerns about the amendments the government has brought forward because it is the government getting to decide the standards of fairness in a process that they are party to. I believe these amendments make it harder and more costly for private citizens to be treated fairly.

The revisions to Sections 5 and 6 of the Expropriation Act remove the involvement of the Utility and Review Board from certain disputes, like compensation. It makes it so that if a landowner wanted to dispute their compensation, the first place they would see is the doors of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to have their case heard.

Mr. Speaker, the URB is independent of government and it has been proven as an effective, unbiased decision-maker that is financially accessible to any citizen who feels aggrieved as a consequence of an expropriation by the Crown. It serves as an administrative tribunal, providing an affordable and efficient mechanism to mediate disputes which individuals are able to approach and attend very informally, in an effort to find a reasonable solution.

Now, Mr. Speaker, under these amendments we are forcing Nova Scotians to the court system, which is very intimidating for most people. The process is very formal, and the Rules of Civil Procedure are complicated and generally require the expertise of a lawyer to figure out the simplest of details, like what to file and when.

[Page 4505]

[3:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I know if my grandmother were to have found herself in a position like this, she would be frightened and forced to hire legal representation. More than likely, on her fixed income, she would not have been able to afford such representation. Mr. Speaker, I am sure she would not be alone if these amendments go forward.

Mr. Speaker, it's about access to justice. We heard last week in this House that the court system is already congested. This amendment will simply continue to clog up the already-maxed system making it more expensive and challenging, and taking much longer to resolve, potentially years in some cases.

I listened to Mr. Rob Pineo, a lawyer who specializes in expropriation compensation cases, at Law Amendments committee. He has extensive background regularly representing landowners in compensation claims, and he is held in high regard for his expertise. Mr. Pineo talked about the specialty and the acquired expertise of the URB in hearing these special cases over the past 50 years in determining expropriation - and I might add, Mr. Speaker, one that is respected by the courts.

Now the government is going to take that specialized ability away. The URB has heard hundreds of expropriation cases and now those will be heard by judges who, while being exceptionally competent, do not have the same experience hearing these cases. If it isn't broken, why fix it, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Pineo stated that he felt this was misguided and urged the government to leave it with the UARB, and we agree. Mr. Speaker, in 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada in the Dell Holdings decision also stated ". . . the Expropriations Act should be read in a broad and purposive manner in order to comply with the aim of the Act to fully compensate a land owner whose property has been taken." In a later decision in 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that, ". . . Parliament, like provincial legislatures, has expanded the traditional limited notion of legal costs to encompass 'appraisal and other' costs."

It is well established that an owner whose land has been taken involuntarily is entitled to reimbursement for the necessary expenses of pursuing his or her statutory rights to compensation, the only limitation being that these expenses must be reasonable and that these costs are part of the expropriation award. It would appear that the Supreme Court of Canada considered that expropriated or injured landowners are entitled to full compensation, including compensation for all their losses, interest on awards and costs.

But with the combination of this Bill No. 169, and the implemented tariff of cost regulations made in an Order in Council this year, it will injure that very object of full compensation to an expropriated landowner and produce an access-to-justice crisis in Nova Scotia.

[Page 4506]

Owners of lands which will be expropriated after June 1, 2019, will be denied the previously accessible access to compensation for their losses due to the removal of the compensatory entitlements and indemnification of legal expert expenses necessary to put their claims forth for compensation.

Mr. Speaker, there have been 17 expropriations of lands in Nova Scotia in 2019, and 17 in 2018. And I've heard that, since June 1st, there are 48 properties sitting in expropriation and will be affected by this bill. There has been no consultation with important stakeholders like the Canadian Bar Association, the federation of small business, Federation of Agriculture, and landowners.

Mr. Speaker, we know expropriation of lands happens for the greater good. We also understand infrastructure investments such as hospitals and safe highways are a priority, such as the one the minister alluded to in Queens County - my constituency - during second reading. But we need to ensure the expropriation process provides fair, reasonable compensation and access to justice.

Access to justice should always be paramount for Nova Scotians. Private citizens need to be treated fairly, and the amendments to this bill do not achieve that. For those reasons, Mr. Speaker, we will not be supporting this bill.

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

CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words about Bill No. 169, the Expropriation Act. As we have been discussing in this Chamber regarding this bill, and as we heard at the Law Amendments committee, expropriation is a very serious step. How matters of expropriation are dealt with can have a very significant impact on individuals and also on governments and expropriation authorities.

The stated purpose of this bill is to allow people whose land has been expropriated to receive reasonable compensation for their loss. In my experience, Mr. Speaker, the stated purpose of every bill put forward lately is slightly different than the actual text of those bills. In this case, the notion of reasonableness, I would submit, needs to apply to both parties, the expropriating authority and the expropriated individual. It also needs to include an understanding of the role that differential access to justice can play in this process, including access to costs.

One of the changes made through these amendments is to shift decision-making from the URB to the Supreme Court where the matter involves injurious affection. We heard two really different perspectives on that change in venue at the Law Amendments committee. Mr. Speaker, I confess that I have continued to hear very differing opinions on this from presenters at the Law Amendments committee, but I haven't heard a really compelling case for why that change of venue needs to occur. If that case exists, I'm confident that the minister will restate it, but at the moment we remain somewhat unconvinced.

[Page 4507]

The board has developed respected expertise in expropriation compensation, including injurious affection, and the courts are not necessarily going to improve upon this in terms of their expertise. In any event, Mr. Speaker, our courts are very busy, and we often hear complaints about inappropriate delay.

As I mentioned previously when were debating this bill, there is a long-held tradition that anyone whose land is expropriated or harmed and is found to have a valid action around that expropriation doesn't go out of pocket even if they contest the offered price. Thus costs are awarded for all reasonable cases on a full recovery basis, based on the court's assessment of what reasonable costs are. It's not an inflated fee that may have somehow occurred. There are checks and balances on it, yet for the broad majority of cases, Mr. Speaker, full costs are in fact recovered.

What we heard at the Law Amendments committee that was troubling, particularly in terms of access to justice, is that we have now seen a shift to the court cost system, where those costs, as opposed to being determined based on the reasonableness of the bill, are now determined based on tariffs and the Civil Procedure Rules. My understanding is that costs awarded under those tariffs are never full costs and are more often 30 per cent to 50 per cent of the actual cost.

I submit that that would create a barrier to someone who wanted to challenge a decision going forward with that. As we know, entering the court system is an expensive proposition. If you meet with an expert or you meet with a lawyer, and you're told that you have a very good case and that maybe in this case the expropriating authority has made a mistake in their assessment, and you feel confident to go on, you can do that. It's obviously still a gamble, but you know that if you are successful you will not be significantly out of pocket.

That is no longer the case. That is worrisome, particularly as this change came in not with this bill but as a result of a change in the regulations, about which I can confidently say that no one in our caucus was - I don't think anyone was aware of before we heard the presentation at the Law Amendments committee.

On the whole, while I confess that there is still some lack of clarity around the operation of this bill, we have heard enough concerns at Law Amendments and throughout the debate of this bill to have serious reservations around the provisions to which I just spoke.

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

[Page 4508]

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my colleagues, although we differ in principal on the intent and accuracy of the bill itself.

With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I rise to close debate on the motion for third reading of Bill No. 169.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 169. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Minister of Energy and Mines on an introduction.

HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, we are joined today in the East Gallery by a successful Cape Breton entrepreneur who has not only been successful in business but has done a tremendous amount of community work and leadership. I would like to welcome George Unsworth to the gallery today. (Applause)

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 187.

Bill No. 187 - House of Assembly Act.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 187.

Mr. Speaker, these changes redraw the province's electoral map, including reinstating the ridings of Argyle, Clare, Richmond, and Preston, and see the introduction of digital boundaries for electoral ridings.

These new boundaries are in response to a direct recommendation of the independent 2018-19 Electoral Boundaries Commission, a recommendation they developed after extensive consultation with Nova Scotians. Electoral Boundaries Commissions have an important job to do and they are charged with doing it independently. They are tasked with balancing effective representation for all Nova Scotians with voter parity.

[Page 4509]

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Commission for their extensive work and the many Nova Scotians who provided input through community consultation, written submissions, and most recently at Law Amendments.

With those few comments, Mr. Speaker, I close remarks.

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

KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise and speak briefly to third reading of Bill No. 187. The independent Electoral Boundaries Commission was charged with a very important and difficult job to balance effective representation and voter parity for Nova Scotians.

We know this Commission travelled across our province consulting with Nova Scotians. I was very happy to attend the meetings that were held in Shelburne and Bridgewater, and I must say that both were very well attended. We are also very happy to see the movement to digital boundaries. The access to these interactive digital maps will make it easier for Nova Scotians to view information about their ridings or others.

There was considerable representation at Law Amendments for this bill. I always find it encouraging to see the strong relationships people have with their government. It is the sign of strong democracy that people want their voices heard by their representatives.

Our caucus respects the extensive work completed by the independent Commission and we accept its report of April 2019 in its entirety. We are glad to see that government has brought forth this bill and respecting the work of the Commission. The Progressive Conservative caucus will be supporting this bill.

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

CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and say a few words to Bill No. 187. We also accept this report and the work of the independent Commission, but or and, depending on how you'd like to interpret my remarks which are forthcoming, we wanted to just say a word, which we've done throughout this debate, about the Keefe report. The Keefe report was commissioned in advance of the constitution of the Electoral Boundaries Commission to recommend changes that would help improve representation generally in Nova Scotia, both through electoral process, politics, and through other public processes as well.

[3:45 p.m.]

[Page 4510]

The amendment to this bill moved by our caucus in the Committee of the Whole House would have future commissions generally and earnestly investigate and consult Nova Scotians and experts, not just on where the boundaries lie specifically but on the matter of proportional representation, among other things. We believe this is an important step to realizing better and fairer representation for everyone. It would also go a long way in ensuring that historically marginalized voices in our province are heard and represented politically.

We also submitted an amendment, Mr. Speaker, that would have the government report on its progress towards implementing the findings of the commission that resulted in the Keefe report. This would ensure that we are fully taking advantage of the opportunities presented by that commission and report to improve electoral representation, and that we don't have yet another good report that went out and did excellent consultation and sits on a shelf.

The Keefe report recommended a number of ways, for example, that African Nova Scotian and Acadian communities could be supported to reach fuller levels of participation and representation in Nova Scotia. It is key that the government follow up on these recommendations. These include things like adequate funding and support for African Nova Scotian and Acadian bodies and enabling minority applicants to serve on agencies, board and commissions, among other recommendations.

All these recommendations when taken together present an important opportunity not only to improve representation for marginalized communities in Nova Scotia but to enable fuller participation and more equitable access to society. This, in turn, presents an opportunity to make substantial progress towards justice in this province. If not in this bill, Mr. Speaker, I urge the government to implement them in a serious and fulsome manner. With those few comments I will take my seat.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their comments. With these circumstances I rise to close debate on the motion for third reading of Bill No. 187.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 187. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 4511]

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes Government Business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. As Wednesday is Opposition Day, I will now turn it over to the Opposition House Leader to provide tomorrow's agenda.

THE SPEAKER « » : Just for clarity, you meant 5:30 p.m., correct?

KEITH IRVING « » : Yes, 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

THE SPEAKER « » : Perfect, thank you.

The honourable Official Opposition House Leader.

ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, after the daily routine and Question Period we will be calling Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading - Bill No. 172, the Public Prosecutions Act, an Act to Amend Respecting a Human Trafficking Prosecution Team; Bill No. 173, the Education Act and the Education CSAP Act, an Act to Amend that Act; then Bill No. 174, an Act to Amend the Victims' Rights and Services Act.

We'll also be calling, potentially, Bill No. 210, which was introduced today, which is an Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 2004, the Health Protection Act, so those four bills. We'll be calling three, but we just haven't decided yet, so we're calling the four for debate tomorrow.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for the House to adjourn to rise again tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The House now stands adjourned until tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 3:50 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 4512]

RESOLUTION NO. 1361

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Adam Ogilvie, a resident of Debert, Colchester North, has been competing in the heavy games since 2005 and was chosen by the Margaree Highland Games to be their athletic ambassador at the Highland Games Bressuire, in France this past June; and

Whereas the games are only held every two years involving the whole town, including 250 volunteers, with a crowd made up of 13,000 spectators, and the pipes and the castle created a very special atmosphere; and

Whereas Adam found himself in first place at the end of day one, placing second in open stone but first in light hammer and light weight, but on day two he won the caber toss, making him the winner in the Masters division for those aged 40 and over;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Adam Ogilvie for his first place finish and thank him for being such an excellent representative of our province at this international event.

RESOLUTION NO. 1362

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas in 2007 the Creamery Square Heritage Society was formed in Tatamagouche, Colchester North, and a year later the society opened the Margaret Fawcett Norrie Heritage Centre, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year; and

Whereas many events were planned to celebrate the special occasion - a grand opening with a Mi'kmaq blessing and cake cutting, annual yard sale, a Mi'kmaq and Acadian Day, and the annual fundraising dinner; and

Whereas the centre raised $8,000 this year to replace technology by launching Art CHAIRS Plus, a fundraiser featuring objects, such as chairs, painted to reflect the heritage of the rural area, and when they sold, the artist received a percentage of the sale price, and the rest of the proceeds went to the centre;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Heritage Centre on their 10th anniversary and the Heritage Society for the great work they have done and continue to do for Tatamagouche and surrounding area.

[Page 4513]

RESOLUTION NO. 1363

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Shannon Dalberg and Pamela Craig of Earltown, Colchester North, were the successful recipients of the North Shore Business Development Association's inaugural award, receiving $500 each and mentorship opportunities from business owners in the community; and

Whereas Pamela Craig's business, Dry Humour Dehydrated Goodness, uses her dehydrated produce to make such delicious items as fruit roll-ups or apple chips; and

Whereas Shannon Dalberg's business, Mountain Meadworks, uses mead - which consists of honey, water and yeast - and is similar to cider, and a variety of flavours can be added;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Shannon and Pamela for successfully using their entrepreneurial skills to develop a small local business, selling their products at the Earltown Farmers' Market.

RESOLUTION NO. 1364

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Hike Nova Scotia's highest award, the Summit Award, is presented to an organization or individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the growth and development of hiking in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year it was awarded to Garnet McLaughlin from Economy, Colchester North, who for over 20 years has logged countless hours in the development of trails all over the province, inspiring and teaching people to get outside to enjoy and benefit from nature; and

Whereas Garnet and his wife Alexia run Cobequid Consulting, which focuses on the creation of sustainable trails and natural playgrounds that offer children an awareness of the enjoyment of nature, as well as an opportunity to use their imaginations;

[Page 4514]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Garnet McLaughlin for receiving the Summit Award and wish him all the best.

RESOLUTION NO. 1365

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Wilson Family scholarship program started in 2009 as part of the Wilsons' 10-year celebrations, awarded yearly to those who have achieved success at school or a trade and are involved with their communities through volunteering, sports, or the arts; and

Whereas Haley Spencer, from Great Village, Colchester North, a graduate from the Cobequid Educational Centre and a student at Acadia this year enrolled in kinesiology, is the 2019 recipient of the Jonathan McIntyre scholarship; and

Whereas Haley has been an avid athlete since childhood, excelling at softball and hockey, and she has also coached and been an active community volunteer, especially heavily involved in the rebuilding of the local ball field which has been enjoyed by ball teams from around the province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly wish Haley a successful and rewarding year.

RESOLUTION NO. 1366

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas 87-year-old Hattie Dyck from Colchester North began her writing career in 1959 with the Halifax Chronicle Herald and has authored 11 books since her retirement in 1992; and

Whereas Hattie recently wrote a poem for Korean War Veteran Curtis Faulkner about the significance of yellow ribbons for people who have military relatives serving overseas, and it hangs in the Veterans Unit of the Wynn Park retirement home; and

[Page 4515]

Whereas Hattie is also well known for her oration skills and for making people laugh, as she was guest speaker at the Truro Rotary Club luncheon this past spring;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend their appreciation and thanks to Hattie Dyck for her many contributions to Nova Scotia, ensuring that a good part of our heritage has not been lost.

RESOLUTION NO. 1367

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Wilson Fuel is proud to support its employees and their children and grandchildren as they further their post-secondary education at university or community college by awarding the Wilson Family scholarship yearly to those who have achieved success at school or a trade, and are involved with their communities through volunteering, sports, or the arts; and

Whereas Madeline McLaughlin from Economy, Colchester North, who has been a part-time employee at Wilsons in Great Village and graduated from the Cobequid Educational Centre with honours with distinction, is a student at Acadia University this year, where she is studying environmental geoscience; and

Whereas Madeline's academic ability is evident since she worked two part-time jobs and still maintained a 90-plus average, as well as volunteering with the local recreation centre, her school, and a trail-building society;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly wish Madeline a successful and rewarding year at Acadia, as her academic ability and work ethic will serve her well.

RESOLUTION NO. 1368

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Maggie Sutherland from Central Onslow, Colchester North, has been involved with modelling on a part-time basis and working on a degree in social work at the same time; and

[Page 4516]

Whereas while attending a modelling convention in Toronto, Maggie was awarded first place for cover photo and was named overall division winner, indicating that she had received the highest points in runway, swimsuit, and photography by judges from around the world; and

Whereas receiving numerous callbacks from agents in Paris, New York, and Japan, as well as Montreal and Toronto, Maggie has decided to put her studies on hold to make modelling her main focus for now;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Maggie Sutherland and wish her well in her future modelling career.

RESOLUTION NO. 1369

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Mason MacBurnie, a 14-year-old resident of Bass River, participated in the first Bunker Royale Tournament at the former Diefenbunker in Debert, Colchester North; and

Whereas in Fortnite, Battle Royale players compete online, eliminating opponents in an effort to be the last person standing, competing in matches and gaining points, with the top ten returning to play in the finals; and

Whereas the finals included special lighting effects and provided the opportunity for others to cheer on the competitors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mason MacBurnie for winning the first Bunker Royale Tournament, taking home a prize of $600.

RESOLUTION NO. 1370

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Megan MacNeil from Great Village, Colchester North, delivered a moving speech for the NSCC class of 2019; and

[Page 4517]

Whereas Megan, who had previously earned a university degree in social services, completed a two-year course at NSCC, working 20 to 40 hours a week, giving other students private tutoring, spending time with family, and battling clinical depression while doing this; and

Whereas in her valedictory address, Megan expressed great praise to the faculty for helping with her life-long struggle with clinical depression and left her fellow graduates with a quotation from Dumbo, "Don't just fly, soar";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Megan for being an inspiration to others as she plans to continue her work with Mi'kmaq families and would eventually like to return to NSCC as a faculty member.

RESOLUTION NO. 1371

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas husband and wife Mike Field and Dara Pelkey-Field from Valley, Colchester North, trained for nine months for the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon, and after successfully completing the Half-Ironman at Mount Trembley, Quebec, last year, they decided to enter the Ironman competition; and

Whereas the triathlon began with 2,935 starters in a 3.86-kilometre lake swim, followed by a 180-kilometre bike run, followed by a 42.6-kilometre run; and

Whereas the couple raced side by side the entire time and had set a goal to complete the event in less than 15 hours, finishing in 14:53:31;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mike and Dara for beating their goal and for being named as an Iron Couple.

RESOLUTION NO. 1372

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Morley Bentley, after graduating from high school in 1947, first taught school at Birch Hill, Colchester County, on a permissive licence because of a shortage of teachers and then graduated from Normal College in Truro in 1949; and

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Whereas in 1960, Morley graduated from Pine Hill Divinity Hall, served as a United Church minister for a period spanning about 50 years, and served in many places including Amherst Head, Lawrencetown, Cape North, Cavendish, P.E.I., St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Harmony-Camden, Scotsburn, and New Annan-Wentworth; and

Whereas an open house was held back in June as a well-deserved thank you for Morley's many years of service to the people in the area and beyond, whether organizing and leading a choir, teaching school, teaching piano, or serving as a minister;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Morley Bentley for his many years serving the community and for showing his love of people.

RESOLUTION NO. 1373

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Claire and Dieter Mueller hosted the first Oktoberfest in Tatamagouche, Colchester North, in 1980, upstairs at the North Shore Recreation Centre, with about 85 people in attendance; and

Whereas in 1983, the Muellers and three other people formed the North Shore Bavarian Society, and Oktoberfest has continued to grow as a major yearly event on the North Shore; and

Whereas the North Shore Bavarian Society has donated to projects such as the purchase of a new stage and storage container at the rec centre, $5,000 to the enhancement of Tatamagouche Regional Academy, $4,000 to the Tatamagouche Road Train, and $2,000 in bursaries to high school graduates;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Claire and Dieter Mueller on their 40th anniversary of Oktoberfest, sharing their German heritage and bringing entertainment and pleasure to so many people.

RESOLUTION NO. 1374

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By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Riley Jennings, from Debert, Colchester North, a fourth-year human kinetics student and thrower with the X-men track and field team, received the X-Ceptional Award from St. Francis Xavier University for his many contributions to the university; and

Whereas he participated in the autism learn to skate/swim program, was a St. F.X. Fit 4 Life/Fit 4 Tots volunteer, coached throwing to local high school athletes with the Antigonish Track and Field Club, was a facilitator with the Antigonish Multisport program, and assisted with the design of the inclusive sledge hockey program at St. F.X.; and

Whereas Jennings was an Atlantic University Sport silver medalist in the weight throw in the Spring 2019 season, setting a new St. F.X. record in the event, and as well as placed fifth in the AUS championship in the shot-put;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Riley Jennings for his athletic achievements and for his generosity in giving his time, knowledge, and skills to help others.

RESOLUTION NO. 1375

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Saffron Morris, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Tatamagouche Regional Academy, participated in the photography Skills Canada competition for the last two years, placing first in the provincial skills competition and coming home from nationals in fourth place; and

Whereas the competitors had to complete seven tasks which required a range of skills, such as use of colour and space, creativity, editing, and visual and emotional impact; and

Whereas Saffron was judged on three photos that were related to her theme and was very effective at demonstrating her photographic skills, coming home from the competition with a silver medal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Saffron Morris for her well-deserved win.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1376

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas during the past summer, Food Network Canada joined Tourism Nova Scotia to showcase the province's fast-emerging culinary scene by visiting Sugar Moon Farm, near Earltown, Colchester North; and

Whereas the foods chosen by the TV station to use on their program were the Maple Mac and Cheese, sourdough French toast, and their signature pancakes with local blueberries, made with local red fife flour, and of course, all served with their own maple syrup; and

Whereas Sugar Moon Farm already receives about 30,000 visitors a year, many from outside the province and Canada, and they are hoping the national and international exposure will help to increase that number and make people aware they are open year-round;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Sugar Moon Farm for this recognition and wish them the best of luck in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1377

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas Jimmie LeFresne became the owner of the Tatamagouche Train Station in 1974 and began the daunting task of restoring the train station with his wife, Shelley, in 1988; and

Whereas in 1989, the couple opened a bed and breakfast with three bedrooms in the station master's residence on the upper level, earning them the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1990; and

Whereas in 1995, they added their first caboose and began to convert it; however, the Train Station Inn Cabooses Act had to be introduced so the caboose met the building code standards, and today there are nine cabooses and two boxcars, including the dining car;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the LeFresne family on behalf of all Nova Scotians as they celebrate their 30th anniversary and have been an important asset to tourism for Tatamagouche, the North Shore, and the entire province.

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