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/
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2019
TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
WCB N.S., Rpt. to the Community (Q2, 2019),
MPHEC Ann. Rpt., Year in Review: 2018-2019,
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION
Res. 1393, Cdn. Assoc of Midwives: Contrib. to Reproductive Health - Recog.,
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1394, Creative Indus. Fund: Exposure to Global Markets - Recog.,
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1395, Influenza Vaccine: Imp. and Widely Available - Recog.,
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1396, Smith, Craig Marshall - Sgt.: Book, HerStory - Thanks,
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 1397, Village historique acadien: Worldwide Appeal - Congrats.,
Vote - Affirmative
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Bernard, Cassidy: Death of - Tribute,
Stiles, Austin - Town Crier: Retirement - Congrats.,
Ryan's Case for Smiles: Gifts of Comfort - Commend,
Cochrane, Marlene: Assisting Those in Need - Thanks,
Woodford, Tim: 2019 ILCA Laser Master Worlds - Congrats.,
Smith, Bev: Lions, 45-Year Chevron - Congrats.,
Pike, Dwayne - Police Chief: Promotion - Congrats.,
Barry, Christian: Shortlisted, Siminovitch Prize - Congrats.,
Cullinan, Janet - Dentist: 30 Yrs. of Serv. - Congrats.,
ECEs in N.S.: Guiding Our Children - Thanks,
Melanson, Margaret: 23 Yrs. of Serv. - Thanks,
Ross, Gordie: Death of - Tribute,
Pierrynowski, Mike: Death of - Tribute,
Lyme Disease: Supporting Research - Recog.,
Smith, Haley: Illinois State Redbirds, Great Season - Congrats.,
EV Fast Chargers: Installation in Stewiacke - Congrats.,
Freewheeling Adventures: Cycling Tours - Congrats.,
O'Donnell, Darlene: Outstanding Serv. to School - Thanks,
Hamilton, Sylvia: Exhibition, Here We Are Here - Congrats.,
Stan's Dad and Lad Shop: Switch to Paper Bags - Recog.,
Marson, Mary: TOPS President's Award - Congrats.,
Pho Hoang Minh: Vermicelli Noodles #15 - Recommended,
Hennessey, Lori/Conrad, Matt: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
Hawley, Val: Death of - Tribute,
Junus, Nadia: Entrepreneurial Success - Recog.,
Halls Hbr. Com. Dev. Assoc.: Inner Hbr. Boardwalk - Thanks,
Davidson, Conrad: Gaspereau Historian - Recog.,
Smith, Bill: Retirement - Congrats.,
Eden's DÃ©cor: Diversity and Inclusion Award - Congrats.,
Gottschalk, Lisa: 100 Women Who Care - Thanks,
Burris, Donna: Com. Serv. - Thanks,
Betts, Wyman "Bun": 100th Birthday - Best Wishes,
Penny, Dave: Coaching Dedication - Thanks,
Ribfest, Pictou Co.: Inaugural Event - Congrats.,
Tare Shop: Zero-waste Shopping - Recog.,
Gallant, Guy - Medallist: Firefit Hybrid Relay - Congrats.,
DeVanney, Chris: Film, Bald Eagle Lady: Tribute,
Medallists: Summer Special Olympics - Congrats.,
Fauteux, Cole: Dart. E. Com. Outreach - Welcome,
E. Antigonish Educ. Ctr./Acad. Mustangs: JAGAS Award - Congrats.,
Raftus, Leanne: Gardens of Grace - Thanks,
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 902, Prem. - Pub. Serv. Contracts: Arbitration Clause - Number,
No. 903, Prem. - Legislation Not Negotiation,
No. 904, Prem.: Contracts - Ripple Effect,
No. 905, Prem.: Col. Bargaining Process - Failed to Respect,
No. 906, Prem.: Mandate Letter - Honour,
No. 907, EECD: School Violence - Policies to Deter,
No. 908, E&M: Bear Head LNG Land - Benefit to N.S.,
No. 909, Mun. Affs. & Housing - Housing Costs: Elderly - Afford,
No. 910, Mun. Affs. & Housing - Tufts Cove: Improvemt. Proj. - Update,
No. 911, Prem. - Crown Attorneys: Col. Bargaining Process - Respect,
No. 912, H&W - Adult Protection: Com. Supports - Commit.,
No. 913, Seniors - Access. Transport.: Assist. Prog. - Need,
No. 914, Seniors: Loneliness - Combat,
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:55 P.M
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:00 P.M
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 213, Sustainable Development Goals Act
Vote - Affirmative
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Oct. 25th at 9:00 a.m
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1398, White, Pam/Lewis, Rob: Porters Lake Com. Serv. Assoc. -
HALIFAX, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2019
Sixty-third General Assembly
Hon. Kevin Murphy
Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Brendan Maguire
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS
The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION
RANDY DELOREY « » : Joining us in the East Gallery today are several distinguished guests who are attending the Canadian Association of Midwives Conference in Halifax this week. I'd ask that they please rise and receive the warm welcome of my colleagues as I recognize them.
With us are Kelly Chisholm, President of the Nova Scotia Midwives Association; C.J. Blennerhassett, a midwife here in Halifax; Rae Ann Haley, a midwife in Antigonish - I could go on at length about my relationship with Rae Ann and her family, but I will not because that would embarrass her - and Tonia Occhionero, Executive Director for the national Canadian Association of Midwives.
I'd ask my colleagues to please give them a warm welcome. (Applause)
RESOLUTION NO. 1393
Whereas registered midwives are health professionals who support women and children through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum phases, providing expert primary care; and
Whereas the Canadian Association of Midwives is currently hosting its national conference in Halifax from October 23rd to October 25th, with over 200 health professionals in attendance, focused on growing a sustainable future; and
Whereas the government of Nova Scotia recognizes the crucial role of midwives in providing care to citizens throughout the province and proudly supports the expansion of midwifery in Nova Scotia, doubling the number of midwife positions in the past couple of years;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the important and valuable contribution of midwives to reproductive health care in Nova Scotia, their central role in our health care system, and wish them the very best for a successful national conference here in Halifax.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
LEO GLAVINE « » : I'd like to draw the members' attention to the East Gallery where we have some very special guests from the creative sector in celebration of Small Business Week. I'd ask that they rise when I call their names: Tabitha Osler, owner of fashion design business Faire Child Makewear; Leanne Hoffman, first signing to Venue Records; and Susan Jeffries, Community Development Officer with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
I would ask that they remain standing while I do the resolution and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)
RESOLUTION NO. 1394
Whereas Nova Scotia's creative industries have proven themselves on the world stage and have potential for even more growth; and
Whereas our government is proud to administer the Creative Industries Fund that provides grants to businesses to assist with growth and export opportunities for our province's artists, designers, musicians, playwrights, authors, and publishers - some of our province's richest resources; and
Whereas so far this year, $1.8 million has been awarded to 76 businesses, including Nova Scotia start-up Faire Child Makewear to assist with exporting children's outerwear made from 100 per cent-recycled materials to Europe, the United States, and Asia, and also to Venue Records to help with growing their national and international exposure;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly join me in recognizing the importance of the Creative Industries Fund in helping small businesses in the creative sector bring their products to global markets.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.
RESOLUTION NO. 1395
Whereas every year, countless people suffer from health complications caused by the flu; and
Whereas Nova Scotians can help protect themselves and others, especially those at high risk, such as adults over 65, children six months to five years old, pregnant women, Indigenous peoples, and people with chronic illness, by getting the flu shot; and
Whereas the seasonal flu vaccine is safe, free of charge, and available from most family doctors, family practice nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and walk-in clinics, and if anyone is unsure where to get the flu vaccine, they can contact their local Public Health office;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the importance of the flu shot, encourage all Nova Scotians to get the vaccine, and roll up their sleeves with me tomorrow morning here at the House to receive their annual flu vaccination.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
The honourable Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.
TONY INCE « » : Joining us today in the gallery are members of the RCMP and Sheriff Services. I would like them to rise as I call their names and receive the warm welcome of the House: Sergeant Craig Marshall Smith, Constable Tamu Bracken, Constable Natasha Dantiste, Corporal Christine Hobin, Deputy Chief Sheriff Leanne Sample, and Deputy Sheriff Monique Drummond.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the police services, welcome. (Applause)
RESOLUTION NO. 1396
Whereas on October 18, 2019, RCMP Sergeant Craig Marshall Smith launched his fifth book, entitled HerStory - Black Women Leading the Way in Canadian Law Enforcement, which is further exploration of policing from the perspective of African Canadians; and
Whereas the book contains powerful stories and experiences of over 50 extraordinary women serving in law enforcement; and
Whereas we must acknowledge and thank the individuals who sacrifice their well-being to keep us safe, secure, and free every day, especially those who have paved the way for greater diversity while serving their country;
Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Sergeant Craig Marshall Smith on his fifth book and in applauding his efforts in shining a light on these powerful voices of African Nova Scotian women in our services and law enforcement.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried. (Standing Ovation)
The honourable Minister of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie.
RESOLUTION NO. 1397
Attendu que le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Ãcosse, Ã Pubnico-Ouest-le-Bas, se trouve en tÃªte du classement Ã©tabli par les utilisateurs du site internet TripAdvisor dans la catÃ©gorie des musÃ©es de la province; et
Attendu que le Village historique acadien attire environ 25,000 visiteurs de la Nouvelle-Ãcosse, du Canada, des Ãtats-Unis, d'Europe, d'Australie et d'ailleurs par an; et
Attendu que le Village, par l'intermÃ©diaire d'interprÃ¨tes bilingues et de diverses activitÃ©s, permet Ã ses visiteurs de dÃ©couvrir l'histoire et la culture acadienne du dÃ©but des annÃ©es 1900 dans la rÃ©gion des Pubnicos;
Par consÃ©quent, il est rÃ©solu que les membres de l'AssemblÃ©e lÃ©gislative se joignent Ã moi pour fÃ©liciter toute l'Ã©quipe du Village historique acadienne de la Nouvelle Ãcosse pour son dÃ©vouement envers l'histoire et la culture acadienne de sa rÃ©gion et pour lui souhaiter encore de nombreuses annÃ©es de succÃ¨s.
Monsieur le PrÃ©sident, je demande l'adoption de cette rÃ©solution sans prÃ©avis et sans dÃ©bat.
Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas the Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Ãcosse, Lower West Pubnico is at the top of the ranking established by users of the TripAdvisor website in the category of museums in the province; and
Whereas the Village historique acadien attracts approximately 25,000 visitors from Nova Scotia, Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere each year; and
Whereas the Village, through bilingual re-enactments and various activities, allows its visitors to discover the history and Acadian culture of the early 1900s in the Pubnico region;
Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating the whole team at the Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Ãcosse for their dedication to the Acadian history and culture of their region and in wishing them many more years of success.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
NOTICES OF MOTION
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
BERNARD, CASSIDY: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
Later this afternoon, a vigil will take place in her memory and for all missing and murdered Indigenous people. The vigil will last 4,365 seconds: one second for each of the estimated 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and one second for the 365 days Cassidy's family and her twin daughters Paisly Jean and Mya Mae have been without her.
The Bernard family and the community of We'koqma'q is strong. They have taken care of each other during this time of great sorrow. Their story has touched the hearts of people around the country who also grieve for Cassidy.
May we in this Legislature show our support for Cassidy's family by standing with them today from afar. I would ask members to rise and share applause in support of the family. (Standing Ovation)
HON. MARK FUREY « » : I draw my colleagues' attention to the East Gallery where we're joined today by a very fine gentleman, Ozzie Stiles. Ozzie is a retired town crier from the town of Bridgewater and has been an unbelievable ambassador for our community and our province. I ask my colleagues to bring him the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)
STILES, AUSTIN - TOWN CRIER: RETIREMENT - CONGRATS.
HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, Austin "Ozzie" Stiles, Bridgewater's town crier, officially announced his retirement last May at the age of 83, after serving as an ambassador to our community and our province for 40 years.
He was selected as Bridgewater's Provincial Volunteer in 2002, was Nova Scotia's number one town crier at the championships held in Lunenburg in 2003, was awarded the Best Nova Scotia Ambassador Medal in 2005 at the Annapolis Royal Championships, and served as president of the Nova Scotia Guild of Town Criers.
Ozzie competed and gave cries internationally. Career highlights include travels to Bermuda, Belgium, Germany, the Isle of Wight, and, of course, his hometown - the town of Bridgewater, but also the town of Bridgewater in England.
Ozzie added a special touch to Lunenburg County events that included parades, volunteer receptions, weddings, and sporting events. He wrote almost every cry he made, putting his heart and soul into each and every one of them; he saved every precious scroll.
Ozzie cherishes the badges he receives from royalty to politicians, and proudly displays them on his cape. His cry, his charm, and recognizable uniform of bell and staff will be remembered fondly.
Thank you to Ozzie Stiles for bringing honour, pageantry, and his sense of humour to his role in our community. (Applause)
RYAN'S CASE FOR SMILES: GIFTS OF COMFORT - COMMEND
KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I stand today to acknowledge the marvellous work done by the volunteers at the annual Ryan's Case for Smiles pillowcase making workshop, organized under the direction of co-director Kay Desborough.
This year's workshop was held in Pictou, with over 50 volunteers coming together to make colorful pillowcases for hospitalized children.
I admire these volunteers for the work they choose to do in their free time. The pillowcases made in June will help comfort children in pediatric units at six hospitals.
This act of kindness and compassion brings together members of the community to help those in need, and I commend the volunteers of this organization for their hard work. Many sick children will have smiles on their faces thanks to these individuals with big hearts.
MARGARET MILLER « » : I would like draw my colleagues' attention to the East Gallery where we are joined by two lovely ladies. I am doing a member's statement on Marlene Cochrane - I would ask her to please stand. Her sister is also joining us - Dorothy Nichols, who is a resident of Windsor and a constituent of my colleague to my left. I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)
COCHRANE, MARLENE: ASSISTING THOSE IN NEED - THANKS
HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, Marlene Cochrane proves that there are angels among us. Marlene is a resident of Kennetcook, Nova Scotia, and she provides low-income residents with short-term illnesses with the medical devices they need.
Whether it's a hospital bed, crutches, wheelchairs, or walkers, Marlene goes above and beyond to source and collect items, ensuring that they are in good working order, and then lends them out to anyone who needs them, at no cost. She will also drive residents to appointments without a second thought.
Marlene does everything at her own expense and has never asked for a monetary donation to support this venture. When you ask her why she does it, she says, I help because I can. What an amazing attitude. Marlene represents what is the best of us doing all she can for those in need.
I would ask all members of the House to join me in thanking Marlene for her incredible, selfless contribution to our community.
2019 ILCA LASER MASTER WORLDS - CONGRATS.
Tim was voted the 2018 Sailor of the Year in Nova Scotia. In September of this year, he traveled with his small but mighty support team to represent Canada in Port ZÃ©lande in the Netherlands to compete at the 2019 ILCA Laser Masters World Championships. From September 5th through the 14th, he sailed in 11 races and placed a very impressive third out of 55 competitors in the Grand Masters Radial Division.
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to recognize Dr. Woodford's success at the international level in sailing, and it is my hope that he feels the same pride for his accomplishments that his family, friends, and community do.
SMITH, BEV: LIONS, 45-YEAR CHEVRON - CONGRATS.
HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of Bev Smith, member of the Sheet Harbour Lions Club and former Sheet Harbour Lioness, for her commitment to the community and Lions Club and for earning her 45-year chevron.
Bev has worked tirelessly for the club and her community, putting on suppers, funeral receptions, the annual Terry Fox Run, and other functions. She is also critical in helping the Lions Club host visiting clubs, doing weekly bingos and banquets, and contributing to bursaries for Duncan MacMillan High School.
Her work with the Lions Club also provides support for Lily's Hill, sports meets, local sports teams, the annual Seaside Festival, and many other community activities.
Bev received her award this past Spring from District Governor Perry Oliver during their potluck supper, with many invited guests, at the Sheet Harbour Lions Community Centre.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to congratulate Bev for earning her 45-year chevron and recognize her commitment to her community and the Lions Club. She is an invaluable member of the Sheet Harbour Lions Club and the community of Sheet Harbour. Thank you, Bev.
PIKE, DWAYNE - POLICE CHIEF: PROMOTION - CONGRATS.
Dwayne Pike is a 23-year member of the Amherst Police Department. He has been acting chief for the previous nine months and has been in the Amherst Police Department since 1996.
In January 2008 Dwayne became a detective and joined the major crime unit. In January 2010, he was promoted to sergeant. I am certain Dwayne will bring all his experience, strength, and energy to this new position of chief.
Today I would like to congratulate Dwayne Pike on his promotion and thank him for his commitment to help keeping Amherst's streets safe. He is a real leader.
BARRY, CHRISTIAN: SHORTLISTED, SIMINOVITCH PRIZE - CONGRATS.
The Siminovitch Prize is Canada's richest prize in theatre, at $100,000, and Christian is nominated for his work as a director. His productions have played at renowned festivals and theatres around the world, including the Bristol Old Vic, Edinburgh Fringe, Sydney Festival, Magnetic North, PuSh, Aarhus Festival, Luminato, and many, many more.
His production of Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story - which he also co-wrote with Hannah Moscovitch and Ben Caplan - has been nominated for and won numerous awards, and it will be playing again in Halifax, opening next week at Neptune Theatre.
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the theatre community in Nova Scotia, I have watched Christian make theatre here for almost 20 years. His skills in telling simple stories in truly beautiful ways, using light and sound to great and special effect, and in working with the best actors and writers in the country, all make him truly deserving of this place on the Siminovitch short list.
I ask all members of this House to join me in congratulating Christian on this wonderful honour and wish him best on October 28th when the prize is announced.
CULLINAN, JANET - DENTIST: 30 YRS. OF SERV. - CONGRATS.
HON. LENA METLEGE DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, on this Small Business Week I rise to recognize the accomplishments of Dr. Janet Cullinan of Armdale. Janet, a mother of two and former instructor at Dalhousie dentistry, is a small-business owner and dentist who alongside her staff offers friendly, caring, family service to our community. She completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery at Dalhousie in 1990 and has been practising dentistry for almost 30 years.
Janet has also served her profession through sitting on the Dental Board Disciplinary Committee and as past president of the Halifax County Dental Society. She is also an avid soccer fan and coach and past president of City Soccer. In fact, you may have caught her on Eastlink TV where she provided colourful commentary for high school girls soccer.
Mr. Speaker, Janet has been a friend since our days in junior high at St. Agnes when I didn't know many people in Halifax. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Janet Cullinan on her upcoming 30th year anniversary and wish her good health and great success.
ECEs IN N.S.: GUIDING OUR CHILDREN - THANKS
TORY RUSHTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I stand here today to give recognition to all the great ECEs in our province. In many cases ECEs are the first exposure to structured learning that our children have, and I want to say thank you on this day, ECE Appreciation Day. It may not be a national day of recognition for ECEs, but it gives great opportunity for this House to say thank you.
Mr. Speaker, there are many ECEs in our great province helping to mould and guide our awesome three-, four-, and five-year-olds. As we show appreciation for each and every ECE today, I want to give a special shout-out to a special ECE, one of my constituents, who works very hard at a west end elementary school and at home with her three awesome children. I would like to say thank you to a wonderful woman in my life: my wife, Tracy.
MELANSON, MARGARET: 23 YRS. OF SERV. - THANKS
HON. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize Margaret Melanson of Timberlea. Well-known in the Timberlea community, Marg, as she's affectionately known, marked her 23rd anniversary in September of this year working as a medical receptionist at the Timberlea Medical Clinic.
Always extending herself far beyond what is expected of the job, Marg has been compassionately assisting patients at this clinic. She takes pride in helping people when they need it the most and always communicates with kindness, empathy, and understanding. She goes out of her way to make personal connections with all the patients at this clinic and plays a significant role in ensuring good quality medical care for patients in the community.
I ask the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in thanking Marg for her dedicated work serving the people of Timberlea.
ROSS, GORDIE: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
Gordie was an active member of his community for many years. He was a member of the Woods Harbour Fire Department for 40 years, and for the past 20 years he served his community as fire chief. Gordie took great pride in training new recruits and in vehicle-extrication competitions.
I would like to express my sincere condolences to Gordie's family, friends, and firefighting family as his life is celebrated and he is laid to rest today. Rest in peace, Chief Gordie.
PIERRYNOWSKI, MIKE: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place to honour a great community leader who we lost this past summer, Mike Pierrynowski. Mike Pierrynowsky was born in Whitney Pier and had a very distinguished career as a teacher, as a principal, and eventually as assistant superintendent for the then-Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.
Mike played a number of leadership roles within the community. Whether it was through parish councils or through lectures that he gave, Mike was always involved and supported those who needed it the most. Mike had a passion for food. He had a passion for world travel with his wife of 50 years, Anita.
I rise in my place to recognize and honour a great man who was very proud of his Polish heritage and did a tremendous amount of work in our community. To his wife, Anita, and to all their family, I pass along my many thanks for my friendship with Mike and support for their family.
LYME DISEASE: SUPPORTING RESEARCH - RECOG.
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, conventional medicine continues to struggle when treating a disease that we cannot see or distinguish. Nevertheless, we know that people's lives change once they are diagnosed with Lyme disease. Numerous Nova Scotians are suffering and become frustrated when they feel that their concerns are being overlooked or ignored.
Some people diagnosed with Lyme appear to be okay following a prescribed course of antibiotics. They seem to be able to avoid any long-term problems. Other people affected by this disease continue to have problems for months and even years following treatment. Health officials are dealing with a disease that mimics other conditions that may cause fatigue, numbness, dizziness, aches, and continuous, sometimes debilitating pain.
We have to support research to obtain answers for Lyme and to shed some light on what works best for our residents who become infected with it.
ILLINOIS STATE REDBIRDS, GREAT SEASON - CONGRATS.
BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, I stand today to congratulate Fall River's Haley Smith on her spectacular season playing end goal for the Illinois State University Redbirds. Haley has set an Illinois State record for career shutouts. Haley played nets in 15 out of 16 games, allowing only 14 goals against. Her latest game tallied her shutouts to 24, setting a new all-time shutout record for the Redbirds.
Mr. Speaker, I ask all members of the Legislature to please join me in congratulating Haley and wishing her continued success in her soccer career.
EV FAST CHARGERS: INSTALLATION IN STEWIACKE - CONGRATS.
LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, the Petro-Canada in Stewiacke recently installed two EV fast chargers, the first and most eastern chargers owned by Suncor Energy, which plans to have 92 such chargers installed across Canada. Since the average range of a charged vehicle is 200 kilometres, thought has to be given to strategic planning for coast-to-coast service.
The installation will achieve two favourable results in the area: it will help to increase sustainability; and the 30-minute charge will give those passing through an opportunity to explore the area. For now, the service is free but a cost is expected to be applied sometime this Fall, based on charging time.
So, congratulations to Petro-Canada and the Town of Stewiacke for taking this important approach to conserving our environmental resources.
FREEWHEELING ADVENTURES: CYCLING TOURS - CONGRATS.
HUGH MACKAY « » : Mr. Speaker, during this Small Business Week I want to congratulate Catherine and Philip Guest for the 30-plus years they have operated Freewheeling Adventures, their successful bicycle tour company.
This cycle adventure company runs local, rural, and international tours out of their offices in the Lodge on the Aspotogan Peninsula. Freewheeling Adventures, with a full-time contingent of six employees, has become so well known that it was featured in National Geographic magazine this past April.
Recently, Catherine wrote a book called My Freewheeling Life: Personal Reflections on Running an Adventure Tour Company in Rural Nova Scotia, published by the small business WindyWood Publishing of Hubbards. Catherine's collection of stories and poems outlines her adventures, trials, and tribulations at the company.
I invite the members of the House to join me in congratulating Catherine and Philip on their successful small business, as well as on the publication of Catherine's new book.
O'DONNELL, DARLENE: OUTSTANDING SERV. TO SCHOOL - THANKS
TIM HALMAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Darlene O'Donnell, the wonderful administrative assistant at Prince Andrew High School. No warmer or more welcoming smile could greet students, parents, and teachers at a school.
Ms. O'Donnell makes every single person who walks into the office feel valued, whether it be a quick interaction with students or in discussions with staff members. Ms. O'Donnell has a kindness, compassion, and patience that radiates to all she interacts with.
I had the pleasure of working with Ms. O'Donnell for 13 years. She is the model of professionalism and calm. Over the years she has helped thousands of students in our community.
I want to thank Ms. O'Donnell for outstanding service, and I ask all members of the House to acknowledge the great support administrative assistants offer every day to our schools in Nova Scotia.
EXHIBITION, HERE WE ARE HERE - CONGRATS.
LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate artist, filmmaker, and poet Sylvia Hamilton and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on the exhibition Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art, which opened on June 1st and closes on Sunday. Ms. Hamilton is the only Nova Scotian featured in the exhibition, which was developed by the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
I was glad to tour Here We Are Here with a group of constituents in July and had very interesting conversations afterwards.
I encourage all members to cross the street this evening or tomorrow and spend even just 45 minutes viewing the exhibition, and as the AGNS's effective ads and Halifax Transit buses say, Let art change you.
THE SPEAKER « » : Just before we move on to the next member's statement, I want to draw the members' attention to my Speaker's Gallery where there are a couple of guests there. I am very pleased to see my old junior high school and high school principal, Mr. John Withrow - if he could please stand. (Applause)
Mr. Withrow - John - is a former neighbour of mine in Mineville and was the principal at Gaetz Brook Junior High School in 1985 when I had my hockey accident. He and his leadership at our school provided my family and myself great support and I very much appreciate that.
Whether I followed him or he followed me, we both went on to Eastern Shore District High School together. I am pleased to see him here in the House today. He is joined by Ms. Shauna Williams. Please give her the warm welcome of the House as well. (Applause)
The honourable member for Lunenburg.
STAN'S DAD AND LAD SHOP: SWITCH TO PAPER BAGS - RECOG.
SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a family-owned business in my community. Stan's Dad and Lad shop, located on Lincoln Street, has recently switched over to paper bags in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.
Owner Jamie Myra put considerable effort into researching the cheapest and most suitable options for the store. Despite being more expensive than the plastic alternative, Jamie made the change and expects the price of paper bags to drop as demand increases.
Jamie says switching to paper bags felt good and it was time to do the right thing. He hopes that by making the switch it will inspire other business owners to do the same.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Stan's Dad and Lad Shop and all the other shops within our constituencies that have made the switch from plastic to paper bags in an effort to make a positive change for the environment.
MARSON, MARY: TOPS PRESIDENT'S AWARD - CONGRATS.
STEVE CRAIG « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Ms. Mary Marson of Lower Sackville. Mary was recently nominated with a Take Off Pounds Sensibly, TOPS, President's Award for her outstanding work as area captain with TOPS. Mary was the only Canadian recipient to receive this award and placed fourth out of ten internationally.
Mary was able to travel to Portland, Oregon, to receive her President's Award at the International Recognition Day ceremony. Mary was also recognized in the TOPS news magazine for her accomplishment.
Mr. Speaker, I would ask all members of the House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Mary Marson on being bestowed with the President's Award for TOPS and wish her continued success in the future.
PHO HOANG MINH: VERMICELLI NOODLES #15 - RECOMMENDED
SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, on the day that I moved to Dartmouth North - surrounded by boxes piled to the ceiling and with an eight-month-old baby in a car seat on the floor of our new home - my partner and I, along with the friends who helped us move, ordered our supper from a restaurant near our house that we had passed while we were moving, Pho Hoang Minh. I remember clearly we each ordered Number 15, Vermicelli Noodles with Spring Roll and Grilled Pork Shish Kabob. This is now our family's standard order as my two kids love the Number 15 as much as their parents do.
In this Small Business Week, I want to bring attention to Pho Hoang Minh and congratulate them for the success of their small and mighty family business. The storefront in the Dartmouth Shopping Centre is always busy, and there is a steady stream of folks picking up orders as well. The Chinese and Vietnamese food is healthy and delicious, and the staff are always welcoming with a warm smile.
Pho Hoang Minh is owned by Andy and his mother Mei, and they are supported by their servers Sylvia and Kim. I want to take this time to thank them and to invite everyone here to make the trek across the Macdonald Bridge and sit in or order out a Number 15, you will not regret it.
HENNESSEY, LORI/CONRAD, MATT: COM. SERV. - THANKS
BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize two wonderful volunteers in our community, Lori Hennessey and Matt Conrad. Working together we organized J.L. Ilsley's reunion this Summer, raising $5,000 for the school. We also brought the annual Herring Cove Days and Governor's Brook Days to the community.
Mr. Speaker, because of the hard work of people like Lori and Matt, our community is a better place. Thank you both for all you do for our community.
HAWLEY, VAL: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
Val Hawley has been a Lions Club member for over a decade and a friend of mine as well. She had generously given her time to the club, serving as the treasurer and in many other capacities but none was more dear to her than her work for the Lions Foundation of Canada Guide Dogs.
She and her team of volunteers have held monthly dances at our club on the first Thursday of every month to raise money for dog guides. She has also hosted the Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides each year and baked for the Lions Club and many other charities, like the Fisherman's Cove Golf Tournament.
I ask all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature to join me in acknowledging, in Val's honour, all she has done for her community and for me, personally. Val will be sadly missed by her loved ones and so many community members.
JUNUS, NADIA: ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS - RECOG.
RAFAH DICOSTANZO « » : Mr. Speaker, in honour of Small Business Week I would like to recognize a young woman who is carrying on a legacy in Clayton Park West. Nadia Junus was born and raised in Nova Scotia after her parents emigrated from India. She graduated from Dalhousie University just two years ago with a degree in international business.
Nadia has work experience in many fields, ranging from physiotherapy assistant, bookstore clerk, waitress, and luxury fashion merchander. She also helped run her family's business Dhaba Sweets and Spice Shoppe. Her work experience helped her understand how important customer service is to the success of a business.
Nadia took over as an owner of Fredie's Fantastic Fishhouse just under a year ago. The restaurant has been a staple in the Bayers Lake area for 14 years, supporting only local fishermen. Nadia also donates to and supports many local charities and foundations and those affected by local tragedies.
Mr. Speaker, would this House of Assembly please applaud Nadia on her entrepreneurial success.
HALLS HBR. COM. DEV. ASSOC.: INNER HBR. BOARDWALK - THANKS
JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, the Hall's Harbour Community Development Association is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1997. The objects of the association are to stimulate and sustain community development through the support of projects which are beneficial to the community.
Most recently, the association was successful in receiving funding from the federal and provincial governments and local municipality to help create the inner harbour boardwalk. This project will certainly be beneficial for the economic growth of this small community.
I would like to thank association directors Darryl Houghton, Mike Shreve, Wendy Wolodka, Dave Davies, Hope Shanks, and Bill Wolodka for their commitment and dedication to their community, ensuring it remains a popular tourist destination in our area. A special thanks to association director Ed Litle, who passed away before this work could be completed but was instrumental in the original boardwalk project and very committed to seeing it rebuilt.
DAVIDSON, CONRAD: GASPEREAU HISTORIAN - RECOG.
KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, our communities are enriched when citizens take it upon themselves to research and illuminate our local history. This necessitates a curiosity and a deep affection for the people who have come before us.
In the Annapolis Valley, Conrad Davison of Gaspereau has contributed to dozens of stories written and published by the Gaspereau Valley Gazette each month since 2008. This is quite an achievement considering that Conrad is limited by vision loss, and he frankly admits that he didn't enjoy history in his younger days.
Conrad's contributions include researching background on the history of local buildings such as the Wolfville Food Company building and local organizations such as the Lions Club. Anybody who hears Conrad put a voice to his research instantly feels the passion and interest he has for the history of our area.
Mr. Speaker, I ask all members of the House of Assembly to join me in recognizing the valued contribution of Conrad Davison to our knowledge of the many interesting stories of the Gaspereau Valley and area.
SMITH, BILL: RETIREMENT - CONGRATS.
Bill Smith has been teaching both kids and adults how to play piano for over 41 years. His musical journey has taken him from Shelburne to university at Mount Allison to teaching in Newfoundland and Labrador, and to our community's delight, back to his Shelburne home.
In addition to piano lessons, Bill has also conducted the Shelburne County Festival Choir, directed music at Trinity United Church, led musicians in numerous plays at the Osprey Arts Centre and beyond. Some of his students are professional musicians while some have other careers, but all have a deep appreciation of music.
In his retirement, he continues to delight all with his performances and musical arrangements in the community.
EDEN'S DÃCOR: DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION AWARD - CONGRATS.
HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, the Lieutenant Governor's Diversity and Inclusion Award was established to acknowledge and honour employers who have instituted and promoted best practices toward the employment, independence, and service to persons with disabilities.
In 2019, the overall provincial winner was Eden's DÃ©cor Store in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The store employs five staff, who each have identified disabilities. Eden's DÃ©cor, owned by Jean Vallillee, sells overstock, refurbished items, and customer returns that she purchases from large retailers such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Wayfair.
I ask this House to join me in congratulating Yarmouth's Jean Vallillee on winning this prestigious award and in thanking her for understanding her employees' needs and for empowering them with workplace experience and knowledge. Our community is very fortunate to have her leadership.
GOTTSCHALK, LISA: 100 WOMEN WHO CARE - THANKS
ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize Lisa Gottschalk and the organizing committee of 100 Women Who Care Cumberland. I'm always encouraged by our community, the heart, the passion, and the love expressed in service and through financial contributions.
100 Women Who Care Cumberland meets quarterly and is a large group of women who care deeply about our communities. They have donated over $120,000 through various community charities in Cumberland.
Thank you to Lisa and all the women, the organizing committee, and all women who participate in 100 Women Who Care Cumberland.
BURRIS, DONNA: COM. SERV. - THANKS
Donna Burris has served as secretary of the Bedford Horticultural Society, and every year she takes on more responsibility. She's been key to the success of their annual plant sale at Scott Manor House, and I can tell you, get there early because everything is gone in 10 minutes. Donna helped plant the remembrance garden and large planters at the cenotaph at Fish Hatchery Park, and she tends those plants all Summer long. She was instrumental in organizing the Halifax district meeting, a major day-long event.
She has been honoured by the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs, which presented her with the Outstanding Member Award in 2017 and by the Bedford Volunteer Awards earlier this year. Donna has also volunteered with other organizations, including the Bedford Baptist Church and Scott Manor House.
Donna Burris is a hard-working asset to our Bedford community, and I want to thank her for the beauty she brings to the lives of so many.
BETTS, WYMAN "BUN": 100th BIRTHDAY - BEST WISHES
TORY RUSHTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge Wyman "Bun" Betts from Wentworth on his 100th birthday. Bun turned 100 on August 15th and celebrated with a massive birthday party at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.
Bun is believed to be the oldest active motorcyclist on the continent, and he continues on the wide-open road on a regular basis. I must say that on August 15th if it had not been raining he would have shown up at the party on his motorcycle.
He has left a legacy in the Wentworth area which has a huge impact on the community, including the lumber industry that he ran with his family and that employed many in that area.
Please join me in wishing Mr. Betts a happy 100th birthday, and I hope he continues his success on the wide-open road on two wheels.
PENNY, DAVE: COACHING DEDICATION - THANKS
HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, David Penny of Conquerall Bank is passionate about coaching, and he has been doing it for almost 40 years. His wife, Heather, says he lives it, and Dave says, "It makes my day and makes me feel alive." He especially loves working with kids and seeing their attitude change or hearing that they are doing better in school.
Dave also takes an avid interest in developing coaches and currently mentors seven coaches, six of whom are female, at his club Dave's Multisports. He says, "It makes our club stronger."
Dave began his career as a karate instructor and has taught other sports but is probably best known for bringing amateur boxing to the South Shore. He loves the tactics, as well as the mental and physical challenge the sport provides. Dave's boxing students have competed at the provincial, national, and international levels. His club offers boxing, fitness classes, and recreational kick-boxing. Susan Aliphat, a member, said, "Dave has infinite patience, a tremendous sense of humour, and looks out for the underdog."
I ask all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature to join me in recognizing David Penny for his dedication to coaching.
RIBFEST, PICTOU CO.: INAUGURAL EVENT - CONGRATS.
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, the first Ribfest in Pictou County brought more than 10,000 people to the Glasgow Square, New Glasgow, on the last weekend in August. Organizers said the Ribfest was an overwhelming success, and plans are already under way to have a second event next summer.
Ribfest appears to have something for everyone with lots of food, family-friendly activities, and entertainment provided by local musicians. The money raised at this event went to two non-profit organizations. The weekend turned into a great family atmosphere - nothing like great food and great music to draw a crowd.
Participants are eagerly waiting for next year to enjoy the second of what will, hopefully, become an annual event for our area.
TARE SHOP: ZERO-WASTE SHOPPING - RECOG.
LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate and appreciate the leadership of Kate Pepler, the owner of the Tare Shop, a zero-waste grocery store and cafÃ© in Halifax Needham. It has just celebrated one year in business at Cornwallis Street in Halifax Needham.
As this Legislature considers eliminating plastic bags across the province, the Tare Shop shows how the future of shopping may look. Ms. Pepler has sourced many different goods in bulk, including beans and flours, but also oils and vinegars, spices, shampoo and personal care products, and cleaning supplies. Shoppers weigh their reusable containers before filling them up and then pay for just the product by weight.
It is also a cafÃ© but one that doesn't offer disposable cups. I have witnessed Ms. Pepler offer a real ceramic cup to a customer looking to leave with a coffee. My family particularly enjoys the peanut butter grinder.
On this Small Business Week, I salute Ms. Pepler for taking an entrepreneurial risk and showing such leadership.
GALLANT, GUY - MEDALLIST: FIREFIT HYBRID RELAY - CONGRATS.
HON. KAREN CASEY « » : After qualifying at the regional FireFit held in August in Truro, Guy Gallant, Deputy Chief of the North River Fire Brigade, participated in FireFit Canadian and World Championships in Oshawa, Ontario. Approximately 400 firefighters from across Canada, the U.S.A., Kuwait, England, and Germany took part.
While Guy was in Oshawa, he was very pleased to achieve his personal best time. At the competition he formed an over-50 hybrid relay team with three other firefighters from Atlantic Canada. In their first knockout race, they beat the Canadian All-Star Team and advanced to the gold-medal race against Team Germany. They beat the Germans by 17 one-hundredths of a second to become the gold medalists of the over-50 hybrid relay division.
Another highlight for Gallant this year was racing with his son, Kent Gallant, in a tandem relay race in August. Kent is a native of North River but now lives in King City, Ontario, where he is also a firefighter.
Our congratulations to Guy Gallant for such an impressive showing and for serving as such an excellent example to his fellow firefighters.
DEVANNEY, CHRIS: FILM, BALD EAGLE LADY: TRIBUTE
LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, film director Chris DeVanney of Lawrencetown has made an important film about lead ammunition and its danger to wildlife, at the same time paying tribute to Hilden wildlife veterinarian Dr. Helene Van Doninck, who passed away from ovarian cancer last year.
The 16-minute film, Bald Eagle Lady, a selection of the Atlantic International Film Festival, tells of the work of the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, which was established by the veterinarian and her husband, Murdo Messer. The film, in Van Doninck's own voice, is a fitting way to honour her memory and legacy.
Meanwhile, her work carries on, as the centre is currently housing six bald eagle nestlings and soliciting the public for donations of freshly caught or frozen fish for their nourishment.
MEDALLISTS: SUMMER SPECIAL OLYMPICS - CONGRATS.
HON. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Elise Thibodeau, Natalie Barron, Nicolette Deveau, Keith Powers, and Michelle Dugas, all athletes from my area who medalled in this past Summer's Nova Scotia Special Olympics competitions.
The first three swept medals in the javelin event, with two medalling in other events. Natalie won a gold medal in the standing broad jump and a silver in the shotput, while Nicolette also won two golds in the 25-metre and 30-metre wheelchair races. Keith Powers and Michelle Dugas also came home with medals: Keith with two golds in the 25-metre and the shotput, and Michelle with a silver in the standing broad jump and a bronze in the shotput.
I want to thank the many volunteers and recognize the role that the athletes' families and other volunteers play in preparing such Special Olympians for competition. This opportunity has such a big impact on the athletes.
Most importantly, the Special Olympics movement continues to break down barriers and change our attitudes on the role people with disabilities can and should have in our society.
FAUTEUX, COLE: DART. E. COM. OUTREACH - WELCOME
I've had the pleasure of knowing Cole since his days as a high school student, and I know first-hand his dedication and diligent work ethic. As we welcome Cole into the Dartmouth East office, he is also beginning his post-secondary studies at Saint Mary's.
Cole has brought his hard-working attitude into the Dartmouth East office and is working with our CA to improve the lives of Dartmouth constituents. I wish Cole the best as he continues his post-secondary studies, and I know the rest of Dartmouth East will join me in giving him a warm welcome into our constituency office.
E. ANTIGONISH EDUC. CTR./ACAD. MUSTANGS:
JAGUS AWARD - CONGRATS.
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, and Fisheries and Aquaculture, is a big fan of mustangs, so I have some information here from Antigonish, from my community, that should give him reason to be proud.
The East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy Mustangs boys soccer team came home with the JAGAS soccer championship this year. While I don't have the list of all the participants, I can acknowledge that I have permission from the father of at least one of those soccer players - my son, William, was one of the players on that team.
I want to congratulate him and all of the other players with the East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy Mustangs on taking home the 2019-20 JAGAS boys soccer banner this year.
RAFTUS, LEANNE: GARDENS OF GRACE - THANKS
BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Leeanne Raftus for her volunteer work hosting a bake sale in the community to donate funds to the Gardens of Grace. Gardens of Grace is a peer-led community support group for pregnancy, infant, and child loss. Leeanne started the annual bake sale fundraiser last year and was very proud to donate over $1,000 this year. I congratulate her.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS
The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.
PREM. - PUB. SERV. CONTRACTS: ARBITRATION CLAUSE - NUMBER
TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Premier said, if you're a public servant in this province, we are going to treat you all the same. I think that is precisely the fear of every public servant in this province at the moment - that the Premier will treat them all the same.
That means if you have an agreement with this government, sleep with one eye open because the Premier treats agreements as matters of convenience only; he will not hesitate to rip up any contract at any time.
HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL (The Premier): No, Mr. Speaker, I'll get that information for him.
TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, the reason the Premier doesn't know is probably because he doesn't care. Nova Scotia is the province now where it doesn't matter if you have an agreement with the province, because they are not a government that is willing to honour their word.
Perhaps the Premier didn't fully understand what the word "arbitration" meant when he agreed to it, when he signed it. Maybe he just didn't understand. Which is to say that the Premier is not one who wants to lead a government that will honour the contracts that it signs; we've seen that today.
THE PREMIER « » : With respect, as the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party often does in this House, he stretches anything close to reality. The fact of the matter is that we had an arbitration group with Crown attorneys, and they came in with 17 per cent, quite frankly.
If you want to ask a question, feel free; if you don't mind letting me finish, let me finish the (Interruption)
THE PREMIER « » : We went to the bargaining table with the Crown attorneys, we offered them seven per cent; the wage pattern was pretty clear. They walked in with 17 per cent, and on day two they made it clear that they wanted arbitration.
We went back again, we reduced steps to ensure that there would immediately be a 4 per cent increase for almost every Crown attorney in this province, on top of the 7 per cent that is there.
They made it clear that they were going to use arbitration, no matter what happened. The reality of it is, whether the honourable member likes it or not, this province cannot afford a 17 per cent increase.
The honourable member may want to stand in his place and say he is prepared to pay 17 per cent for Crown attorneys, but what is he going to pay for every other public servant?
TIM HOUSTON « » : I'll tell you what the honourable member will tell you is that when he signs his name to a contract, he will understand it. When he signs his name to a contract, he'll understand what he is signing before he signs it, not after.
This is a Premier who doesn't mind relating a narrative that could be as far removed from the truth as is possible, it doesn't matter. The Premier promised every Nova Scotian a doctor; it's just something he said to get what he wanted. He promised to let the Crown attorneys have an arbitration clause if in good faith they couldn't reach an agreement; that is just something he said to get what he wanted. Even that agreement doesn't mind today.
THE PREMIER « » : Again, the honourable member didn't answer the question. He had a gallery that he played to for a couple of days; lots of people here listened to the 17 per cent he promised a few days ago. Now he is wavering, because the reality of it is, he knows that you can't pay 17 per cent across the board. We have at the table a fair collective agreement (Interruption)
There is one thing the people across this province know - I've been consistent, unlike the leader across from me who on one day supports them until they are not in the room anymore, and then he's standing with someone else.
PREM. - LEGISLATION NOT NEGOTIATION
The context was that the Progressive Conservative Government had just brought forward legislation revoking the right to strike for health care workers and community services workers, and the Premier said, "They will not always agree, let's be honest, there will be tough times sitting at the negotiating table. Mr. Speaker, people died for the right to strike."
Mr. Speaker, what ever turned the Premier into someone for whom tough times at the table means legislation instead of negotiation?
The reality of it is - I want to go back to the reality - we went to the bargaining table and we offered 7 per cent; Crowns came in with 17 per cent. Day two they were looking for arbitration. We went back, and we collapsed steps of the pay order. The starting Crown today is $65,000, which has been accurate; on the signing of this agreement, they would go to $81,000, and those changes would be through the entire pay order for Crowns, who, by the way, are the highest paid in Atlantic Canada.
What we are unwilling to do - they came to the bargaining table with one mission, and that was to send 17 per cent to an arbitrator - this province can't afford a 17 per cent increase by an arbitrator.
GARY BURRILL « » : Surely Mr. Speaker, the truth is still worthy, here in this context, of some regard. Now I will table and read too this statement of the Premier's. This is from 2013, and this is a statement I also agree with:
"The real foundation of any collective bargaining is the fact that the employer and employee have to be at the table feeling equal, feeling that they are both feeling respected, feeling that they are both having their voices heard, and negotiating and working out what is an agreement that will potentially last for years down the road. In order for that agreement to have any kind of substance, both the employer and the employee have to feel valued at the end of the day when that agreement is finished."
THE PREMIER « » : As I just laid out to the honourable member, the Crowns came to the table with 17 per cent and wanted to go immediately to arbitration; that's not free and open collective bargaining. He's very right, they were not looking for a deal, they were looking for an arbitrator setting 17 per cent. Unlike the honourable member, this province cannot afford a 17 per cent increase. (Interruption)
THE PREMIER « » : We were treating Crowns fairly. There's a 4 per cent increase across the top, through the entire steps, plus 7 per cent - I want to remind the honourable members - they are the highest paid Crowns in Atlantic Canada. We are talking about being fair to all public servants. That's what this piece of legislation is about.
GARY BURRILL « » : Teachers, health care workers, civil servants, lawyers, every time this government enters into negotiation, we're ending up with a huge swathe of people who have been disregarded, disrespected, and under the heavy hammer of legislation.
All of this stands in such profound contrast to the commitment that this Premier made to the people of the province in the open letter that I tabled here yesterday, in which he pledged himself to be an upholder of collective bargaining and a protector of the rights of workers.
Let me ask the Premier « » : Does he agree with me, that the word of the government of Nova Scotia is something that is very important, and the word of the Premier of Nova Scotia is something that is very important, and that both of these are things that ought to be able to be trusted in by the people of our province?
THE PREMIER « » : As I said a few minutes ago to the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, I've been consistent from day one in this job when it comes to ensuring that we treat our workers fairly in this province, by the collective agreements this province can afford.
I hear the member for Cape Breton again, interrupting. Let me be clear about this, when they had an opportunity to govern, they increased 7.5 per cent pay wages across the teachers, and they took $65 million out of the classrooms, on the backs of our children, to get an agreement.
These negotiations are tough. When you go to the bargaining table, both sides have to be willing to look for an agreement.
I want to repeat again, the Crowns came to the table with a 17 per cent increase and wanted to go to arbitration; we brought in a 7 per cent pay raise. We went through the steps after that to try to get a deal, to collapse them - increases almost every Crown across this province would have seen on day one of signing this agreement, plus the 7 per cent.
That is a government looking for a deal, not one looking for a third party wanting to give us 17 per cent.
PREM.: CONTRACTS - RIPPLE EFFECT
TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier can try to rewrite the history of the negotiations as many times as he wants - and he's happy to do it because he knows the Crowns will respect the nature of the negotiations, which was in good faith and without prejudice. He can try to pick something out and make it history, but we all know that the history of this Premier's actions speak much louder than what he is trying to write here.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to a column that appeared in today's edition of the Chronicle Herald - I can table that for the benefit of the members opposite. Mr. Speaker, I can't quote from this column because the author is allowed to use terms that are highly appropriate in the situation, but I just wouldn't be allowed to use them on the floor of the House. Nevertheless, they are terms that directly and correctly indict this government for their shameful handling of this Crowns' arbitration agreement.
My question for the Premier is: Does he acknowledge that his quick willingness to rip up any contract he has sends a message that has a very serious ripple effect on the province?
THE PREMIER « » : We've been consistent from day one, Mr. Speaker. When we were given the privilege to govern this province, we were going to sign fair collective agreements - not only for those employees who work for us but for taxpayers across this province, 70 per cent of whom have no benefits in this province.
I have a responsibility to ensure that we create an economic environment wherein we see the kind of benefits that we've seen where the population is at an all-time high. More young people are choosing to live and work in the province. Pre-Primary is here for every four-year-old, regardless of the socio-economic circumstances they are born into. Those are realities, Mr. Speaker.
At the same time we've offered what is a fair wage and we went to the bargaining table looking for an agreement. On day two: 17 per cent, we want to go to arbitration. Mr. Speaker, that's not fair and open collective bargaining.
TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I would submit that something is consistent in the Premier's actions and that is that he won't negotiate with anyone because he doesn't know how to negotiate with anyone.
I happen to suspect that the story is the reverse of the way the Premier tells it, that the Crowns were the ones who were actually trying to negotiate a deal, and the Premier is the one who instructed his team that it doesn't matter what happens - tell them I will legislate because that is exactly what we've planned.
The column from the Chronicle Herald goes on, and I'll modify a quote slightly, to bring it in line with the decorum of this House, Mr. Speaker: the government's signature on that agreement was - worthless is the word I'll use - last week faced with a situation in which after negotiations the Premier's gang simply decided to change the rules.
We know that's what happened, Mr. Speaker. It's a matter of public record now. Does the Premier understand that he has damaged the reputation of the Province in the eyes of everyone that has a contract with him because they know the way he acts when contracts are involved?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, in the eyes of everyone looking at this province more young people see a future for themselves in this place. We see a social program enlarged in my lifetime with a pre-Primary program that has been what every four-year-old - regardless of the social and economic circumstances they are born into - is going to get an opportunity to start school correctly.
The reality of it is, we've provided a fair offer on the table, Mr. Speaker. The honourable member can stand in his place over and over again and use words and try to incite what is happening on the floor. Andrew Scheer tried it in the federal election; it didn't work. Jason Kenney tried it at home; today Albertans are going to find out where that got them. I want to tell the honourable member we're still going to continue to build this province and create opportunities because, unlike him, lots of people see a future for themselves here.
PREM.: COL. BARGAINING PROCESS - FAILED TO RESPECT
TAMMY MARTIN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week leading labour and member of the Order of Canada Paul Cavalluzzo was incensed, as I am, about the government's disdain for collective bargaining rights.
Mr. Cavalluzzo drew attention to the fact that in 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada found that unions and workers' associations must have a lever in collective bargaining in order to help rectify the fundamental power imbalance between employers and their workers in employment relationships. The government has taken this lever away from many groups of workers through essential service legislation and legislated contracts.
Mr. Speaker, will the Premier admit that his government has failed to respect the collective bargaining process that workers have a right to. Be clear on this, that whether governments before him or before this government - this government has been in place for six years. Take responsibility.
THE PREMIER « » : Again, I want to acknowledge the statement made by the member who was at Law Amendments committee. The reality is, that's what we're doing; we're providing them the right to strike with essential service legislation. (Interruption)
I want to remind the honourable member she can laugh about this if she likes. The reality of it is, when they were in power, the health care workers across this province had the right to strike. (Interruption)
THE SPEAKER « » : Order please. Order please. This will be the last time we have to call order for heckling and outbursts. The next time I have to call order, the person will be asked to excuse themselves.
The honourable Premier.
THE PREMIER « » : Again, I want to remind the honourable member when they were in power, health care workers had the right to strike without any essential service. They could bring the system to a halt if they disagreed with the employer.
What's happening here is the Crowns wanted a 17 per cent increase going to arbitration without any movement. The reality of it is Nova Scotia taxpayers cannot afford that. We've provided them with a way to express themselves through the right to strike.
As the Premier has said on numerous occasions, Nova Scotians died for their labour rights. I'm sure the Premier knows that William Davis was shot and killed by company police on June 11th. Earlier that year, when the miners' contract expired, BESCO had cut off negotiations and refused to deal with the union. In an attempt to starve out the workers and undermine their bargaining power, the steel corporation cut off credit for mining companies and company stores.
This government has been practising the modern equivalent of this tactic by unilaterally legislating the terms of bargaining on every Nova Scotia public sector worker. This Premier, commemorating Davis Day this year, implied that William Davis died on the job when, in fact, he died striking for a fair collective agreement. I'd like to ask the Premier « » : What is his thought on William Davis and how he actually died fighting for collective agreement rights?
THE PREMIER « » : First of all, I want to tell the honourable member I was here when health care workers had the right to strike. I want her to tell those Nova Scotians who had surgeries cancelled because people didn't believe it was an essential service. The reality of it is that's what was happening. We brought in essential service legislation by allowing health care workers the right to strike.
I want to remind the honourable member what we've done here in this place. Crown attorneys wanted a 17 per cent pay raise, and we're not moving. They continued to go directly to arbitration. We provided an option. We are not letting an arbitrator distinguish between 17 and 7, which is a fair wage.
The reality of it is, if she goes back to 1925 when William Davis was (Interruption.)
The honourable Premier.
THE PREMIER « » : Let me go back to 1925 when William Davis was fighting for a safe working environment. People were dying in those mines. The reality of it is we have the highest paid Crowns in Atlantic Canada. We offered them a 4 per cent bump right off the top, through the wage pattern, and a 7 per cent increase, which would have kept them at the top in Atlantic Canada. There's a far cry from what the honourable member's trying to stretch in this House today, Mr. Speaker.
PREM.: MANDATE LETTER - HONOUR
TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, an interesting thing just happened. The Premier said he wouldn't let an arbitrator decide between 17 and 7. That's a negotiation. That's when you go between. He's stuck on 17, but he just acknowledged that an arbitrator could decide anywhere in between. That's the reality of it.
In the Premier's mandate letter to the Minister of Justice in 2017, reducing delays to the justice system was one of the stated priorities, and I can table that mandate letter for the benefit of the Premier. As a result of this government's actions, that's not happening. Thirty years of labour stability, thirty years of court system stability was what was staring this Premier in the face and he decided to walk away from that.
I want to thank those Crowns who were in courthouses across the province yesterday to ensure that those Nova Scotians who have been involved, whether it be in murder cases - I was alarmed when I saw some of the cases that are being dismissed here.
I want to thank those Crowns who were working, and I hope the honourable member will help us pass this bill so Crowns can get back to work.
The Premier is responsible, and the Minister of Justice is responsible, for the constant movement of the justice system. They are responsible for that. Yes, Crown attorneys are part of it, but the Premier and the Justice Minister are responsible for it.
Again, in the 2017 mandate letter to the Minister of Justice, the Premier stressed supports for gender-based violence. He said that being responsive to those who struggle the most supports the safety and security of all Nova Scotians. I think all Nova Scotians would have some serious questions about whether this Premier has lived up to that pledge of support.
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. He had plenty of opportunity to stand in his place to say whether he believes a 17 per cent pay raise the Crowns are looking for, and want to go directly to arbitration, is fair. (Interruption)
THE PREMIER « » : And maybe when the honourable member gets an opportunity to stand up in his place again he can tell those family-child workers who are called into homes across this province to deal with very difficult circumstances, what people do to their children, that they are not worth the 17 per cent they say Crowns are worth because he's going to treat employees differently in this province.
The reality of it is we are trying to be fair across the entire public sector. We went to the bargaining table looking for a negotiated settlement, Mr. Speaker, and it was very clear: 17 per cent is where it was and we're going to arbitration.
EECD: SCHOOL VIOLENCE - POLICIES TO DETER
We know that the online world has become increasingly vicious and often very difficult to navigate. Members of this House have experienced online vitriol, and some know first-hand how difficult that is to cope with. But imagine the trauma of experiencing physical and verbal abuse by peers at school.
I know we all agree that school should be the safest place for our youth. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Just today the CBC News reported on its month-long investigation that discovered "a lack of national data on the amount of violence that happens in Canadian schools." I'll table that, Mr. Speaker.
My question to the minister: What data does the department have on incidences of online bullying and harassment and incidences of physical and verbal abuse?
HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : The data that is collected in the department is based on reporting of those incidences. One thing that was issued in the media story was that, according to their survey, many students weren't reporting. I think the first message we want to deliver to those students who are experiencing any sort of incidences of bullying or assault or discrimination is that there are safe avenues for you to confidentially report what is happening, without fear of reprisal from those who are bothering you.
This happens through our SchoolsPlus program, which we have fully implemented in Nova Scotia; our incredible guidance counsellors, who we have hired more of; our behavioural teaching experts; and our child and youth care practitioners. We are trying to build a system that wraps our arms around our students so that not only can they achieve well academically but their well-being is well preserved as well.
TIM HALMAN « » : I want to thank the minister for that. That is a very important message to communicate to our students, to know that they are supported. I know that everyone appreciates the attempt to collect data and develop policies to better deter abusive behaviour. This investigation by the CBC clearly shows that we still have a long way to go with this issue in our schools. Let's not forget that when we look past statistics, some of our students are suffering and, in some cases, lives are at risk.
Mr. Speaker, it seems that at times we are not getting to the root of the problem. Many respondents to the CBC investigation stated the problem is that no action has been taken at times by schools in response to the complaint.
Mr. Speaker, this is my question: What policies are in development to deter this type of behaviour in our schools, and what steps is the department taking to make students feel safe?
ZACH CHURCHILL « » : I very much appreciate this important question. We do have a new and, for the first time in our province, inclusive education policy, which I will table for the member. In that policy, we identify the appropriate process that must be taken every time a student reports an incident involving bullying, assault, discrimination, or anything that has impacted them negatively.
The process that our teachers and staff do require, according to this policy, is to validate and affirm the issue and take appropriate action. One of the things that has been raised through this report from CBC is that students did believe there was a lack of action being taken, based on reported incidents. This policy, I believe, with the appropriate training for teachers and our staff, will help deal with that situation.
E&M: BEAR HEAD LNG LAND - BENEFIT TO N.S.
Last Friday, I raised the question of the Bear Head LNG terminal near Port Hawkesbury. This is a prime piece of property in a strategic location, with millions already invested in that terminal. The Houston-based company decided to shut down Nova Scotia operations.
The land was once owned by the Province, and in the agreement to sell it to the original developers there was a requirement that it actually be developed, bringing jobs and a boost to the local economy. Now we see a pull back from the company in Houston; they could sit on this asset for years. Now, the government has options. The terms of the agreement for the property allow us to get it back if progress is not being made.
Will the minister enforce these terms to ensure Nova Scotians benefit from the land that they once owned?
HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : I thank the member for the question. At this point right now, we don't have any new information on the project. Again, as I've said in the last round of questioning, the company is still moving forward and any decisions that they make are going to be based on them, really, and what private sector decisions are made.
I can say that we are monitoring the project. It is one that we support, and we see that there are potentially billions of dollars of investment in our province. The URB plays a part in enforcing the regulations and we will let them do that.
ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, the reason I asked the question is because I think there is an interest for the Province to protect the interests of the area. We also know that the construction permit obtained to build the terminal required the company to have a Nova Scotia-based office. This would ensure some benefit to the province while the project developed, and I think we could also count on having some local people employed who are pushing for the project as well.
It is certainly on our radar, but the World Series is on and perhaps all they're interested in doing in Houston these days is watching the Astros. I've pointed out two very strong points of leverage held by the Province to advance this project.
I would like to ask the minister: Is the minister aware of other permits or measures that require LNG Limited to maintain a Nova Scotia presence or take other actions that would benefit our province?
HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN » : I do thank the member for the question, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, I know that one person in particular he references is Paul MacLean, who has been a champion for that project and for what the future holds.
Not unlike the other project in that region, I relate to LNG. The world markets and how the reality of shale gas, and the U.S. being a net producer and an exporter of this energy, has really impacted the future for this plan.
As far as the land goes, it's incredibly valuable. Some of the assets there we want to protect and ensure that, whether it be job creation or some other kind of development that could take place there. If it wasn't this group in particular, we would explore all those options.
I'd be happy to keep the member informed on that; it's NSBI's role there. But at the end of the day, we still haven't received official word that there is going to be that exodus and we certainly will maintain all obligations, including that reality that a presence has to be here in Nova Scotia.
MUN. AFFS. & HOUSING - HOUSING COSTS: ELDERLY - AFFORD
The July 18, 2019 report of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Unaccommodating: Rental Housing Wage in Canada - states that in order to afford rent at 30 per cent of income for an average two-bedroom apartment in Sackville, you would need to make $21.12 an hour. In the north end of Dartmouth, around Albro Lake, that number is $21.04 an hour. For both, it would mean that if you were working at minimum wage, you would have to work 73 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Our elderly are really suffering and will continue to suffer.
My question for the minister is: As the cost of housing continues to increase, how, specifically, is the minister ensuring elderly Nova Scotians can afford shelter?
HON. CHUCK PORTER » : I appreciate the question from the honourable member. He touches on a very important issue right across this province, not only here in the HRM but right across this province, where there are housing needs that we all, as MLAs, deal with on a regular basis.
I can tell you that we're fortunate to have just signed a National Housing Strategy. It is an important agreement that we have for the next decade. We've signed our first three-year agreement by way of an action plan. There's a lot going on. We'll continue to work with our community partners. We'll continue to recognize that we have concerns and issues around housing, not only for seniors but also for low-income Nova Scotians right across the board. We'll work every day to ensure that we can do the very best on behalf of all those in need.
STEVE CRAIG « » : I'm really looking forward to implementing that housing strategy that you talk about because I'm looking for specifics. I'm looking for action. We've had a goal of keeping Nova Scotians living at home longer. That's an admirable goal, and I certainly support that. The HRM has asked for more decision-making power when it comes to housing.
Municipalities are leading a lot of the charge, creating rules around affordable housing with new developments but, outside of that, their hands are tied in terms of actual steps they can take. My question is, with housing now being the responsibility of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing, will the government be working more closely with municipalities to ensure all Nova Scotians are able to afford living at home longer?
CHUCK PORTER « » : I appreciate the question from the honourable member, raising a very important concern and issue across this province around seniors wanting to live at home longer. We certainly support that. Obviously, there have been a number of programs in the past that have been developed around that: the rehabilitation programs, home adaption programs, and much more.
I know the honourable member has talked about how he is looking forward to seeing more detail in that. It's very much a balanced approach as we go forward. Some of those programs have been ongoing. This agreement allows us to continue a lot of those investments, as well as develop new plans. Those plans are under way. We'll be sharing more of that with the honourable member, all members of this House, and all Nova Scotians in the coming weeks and months as we proceed.
The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.
MUN. AFFS. & HOUSING - TUFTS COVE: IMPROVEMT. PROJ. - UPDATE
STEVE CRAIG « » : In April 2017, the government announced an investment of $250,000 to help residents of the Tufts Cove community in Dartmouth spruce up their properties, and I'll table that. In the 2017-18 Housing Nova Scotia Accountability Report, it stated: "The Tufts Cove Neighbourhood Improvement Project received a Minister's IDEAL award for staff dedication." This was a welcome investment to that often-forgotten area of Dartmouth, an area in which I have roots.
With many low-income residents in the area, this investment was believed to be one of the only ways that they would have a means to fix up their landscaping, fencing, or siding. My question for the minister is: After more than two years, can the House receive an update as to what lessons were learned from this project, and what neighbourhood improvement initiatives are currently being undertaken?
HON. CHUCK PORTER « » : We will continue to work in a variety of neighbourhoods right across this province. We believe those are investments that are certainly good investments. There's much work to be done. We will continue to have a very good relationship - I would say we have a very good relationship - with our municipalities, not only here in the HRM but right across the province. We'll continue to work every day with those folks and advance the priorities of this government and in fact all Nova Scotians.
STEVE CRAIG « » : Tufts Cove was the fifth community in five years to benefit from Housing Nova Scotia's Neighbourhood Improvement Initiative. The program was originally brought in by the former NDP Government but has seen zero investment since the Tufts Cove project was announced in 2017. Different community beautification programs exist, but none are quite the same as the one used in the Tufts Cove project. Makes you wonder whether we're moving forward.
My question is: Where the Neighbourhood Improvement Initiative is considered a successful project, will there be more funding for future projects?
CHUCK PORTER « » : We are always looking at opportunities through programs and funding initiatives, working with our municipalities right across the province. The beautification program was one that has great uptake. That's just an example.
We have others that are planned - we'll talk more about those, as well, in the coming months - that we're trying to get developed and get out the door, and municipalities will have every opportunity to work with us. There's no shortage of applications and asks coming in the door, as we all know, by way of community projects, and they're all great projects.
As a government, we have to have a very balanced approach as to how we move forward. We'll continue to do that, and we will invest right across this province in a fiscally responsible manner.
PREM. - CROWN ATTORNEYS:
COL. BARGAINING PROCESS - RESPECT
CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. First yesterday, and again today, the Premier spent a great deal of time criticizing our caucus for decisions made over a decade ago, but the topic is a Crown attorneys' strike which is happening right now.
Can the Premier tell this House who was in government in 2016 when the 30-year framework agreement was signed which gave Crown prosecutors the right to binding arbitration in the event that negotiations break down?
THE PREMIER « » : I wish I could wave a magic wand to eliminate the ramifications of the decisions the New Democratic Party made when they were in government. The fact of the reality is we still have to pay that bill. The honourable member, the 7.5 per cent pay raise, which was $700 million in the advance on the way out the door, embedded into an economy that was growing by 500. The math doesn't add up.
That why it's important (Interruption)
The honourable Premier has the floor.
THE PREMIER « » : That's why it's important to be able to ensure that we have an agreement that's fair to our workers and fair to all taxpayers, so we can grow an economy; we can create an environment where young people want to live, where our population will grow, where we see opportunity, and where the federation is looking at this province in a positive way.
Unfortunately, I have to do it in the framework that I was handed. I want to go back to the conversation - she's very right. When Crowns came to the table with a 17 per cent ask in day two looking for arbitration, that's not fair to collective bargaining; that is using the process to get to an arbitrator.
CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : I know that this is Question Period and not answer period, but I will answer my own question: it was the Premier himself who gave the Crowns binding arbitration. (Applause) This government imposed a wage package on thousands of social workers, nurses, and other front-line service providers and legislated a contract on teachers.
Bill Nos. 148 and 75 are both currently being challenged in court. When the B.C. Teachers Federation challenged the constitutionality of legislation which stripped their teachers of the right to bargain class size and composition, the Supreme Court ruled in their favour. It was estimated that this ruling would result in an additional $250 million to $300 million in costs for that province.
Mr. Speaker, will the Premier concede that his failure to respect the collective bargaining process doesn't save money, it just kicks the costs down the road, leaving the bill for the next premier?
THE PREMIER « » : No, not at all. If I did that, I'd be a New Democrat. The capped classes she's referring to in British Columbia, we actually instituted that in this province. At the same time, we replaced the $65 million they took off the backs of children to sign a collective agreement with teachers. At the same time, we've provided a fair collective agreement for teachers.
You need a balance. You need to be able to ensure that not only are you treating the workers of this province who work for the government fairly, but you're treating all taxpayers fairly. Unlike the Opposition, I have a responsibility for every taxpayer.
H&W - ADULT PROTECTION: COM. SUPPORTS - COMMIT.
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Our community is presently attempting to deal with the very sad reality of two of our constituents who are navigating their way through each day in a confused and sometimes angry state. They are alone, and one is basically homeless but for his wheelchair.
Both men continually decline help, making it almost impossible to help without the intervention of some authority. They are no longer able to make sound decisions for themselves because they do not have the benefit of a family doctor. They have not officially been deemed incapacitated, so they are able to sign themselves out of protection.
My question for the minister is: Is the minister aware of the danger that exists for our mostly senior Nova Scotians when they reach this point in their lives, with no one to provide the necessary care?
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for taking the opportunity to raise this very important question in the Legislature. I believe we are aware of circumstances from time to time - the member has raised two specific ones in his constituency. I can note that I am not aware of specific circumstances there, but obviously we can connect outside of this Chamber to discuss further, and we can look into it.
What I want to assure the member, and all members of the Legislature, is that there are processes. We have Adult Protection as one avenue. We can get the details. Our Adult Protection team can look into the circumstance or the situation for those two individuals. I think it's important for all members to know that there are avenues to reach out and try to help. So if you are aware of situations, please contact our office in the Department of Health and Wellness, Adult Protection.
PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. We have communicated with local police, who have responded almost daily to calls of concern with respect to these gentlemen. They do what they can, but quickly they are signed out of hospital, and in most cases, back on the streets. It is almost November. These men are in true danger of becoming victim to the elements if something is not done soon.
My question to the minister would be: Would the minister commit to setting up community supports from Adult Protection, continuing care in the medical community to put in place solid plans to protect these people?
RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising this important topic. The answer is that those organizations that have been referenced are Adult Protection within the Department of Health and Wellness, our partners with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and others. That is exactly what the programs and services we have there are designed to do, to help our most vulnerable citizens.
Within that space, though, there are sometimes balances where individuals' capacity to accept the help that we reach out to offer becomes a challenge. We do have legislation that we have collectively passed here in the Legislature around alternate decision makers, if that is a course or avenue that needs to be pursued.
As I said, we can connect outside the Chamber. We'll get the specific details and get the right people to reach out and see what can be done.
SENIORS - ACCESS. TRANSPORT.: ASSIST. PROG. - NEED
BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to either the Minister of Seniors or the Minister of Energy and Mines. One of the biggest hindrances for seniors in our province taking part in their communities is accessible services for sustainable transportation. The proposed hike to seniors' fares in HRM did raise concerns that the government doesn't truly realize how important accessible transportation is. I'll table that, but I'll table them all at the end.
The 2019-20 Accessible Transportation Assistance Program gave grants to 13 groups around the province for the purchase of vans. The HRM Centre Plan did nothing for my community to improve accessible transportation, so I'm asking the Minister of Energy and Mines: Can the minister tell me how many groups applied for that Accessible Transportation Assistance Program grant compared to how many actually got the grant?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Thank you very much for the question, it's a very good one. When I look at the past year, we put $2.5 million into accessible transportation. It was spread from one end of the province to the other.
What I can tell the member opposite is that, in fact, just this week I have signed off on a number of grants that have gone out to more of the transportation network, both here in the city and in rural Nova Scotia.
The fact is, there were 13 groups that got grants for the vans, a total of $724,786. My question actually was how many groups applied for grants, because that would give us an indication of what the need was, but I'll move on.
Constituency offices receive many calls from seniors who are looking for ways to get to appointments but can't afford it. Community initiatives help to fill that gap. The Low Carbon Communities Program, the Connect2, is one of those ways that has been allotted. There were 11 grant recipients last year who got $702,000.
I'm wondering if the minister can tell me how many groups applied for that grant and didn't get it last year?
HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, I can provide some additional information to the member. There is a process that community organizations will go through that is vetted to ensure that we are doing our best to distribute funds for these projects all across the province. We've seen some great projects in communities that have helped connect communities and give people more options to travel in various ways, and we're going to continue to support that.
Mr. Speaker, I'm very happy to have a conversation with the member to give her some more information about Connect2.
SENIORS: LONELINESS - COMBAT
I'll go back to the Minister of Seniors. We all know that Nova Scotia has the oldest population in the country, and so it presents us with unique challenges. An issue that isn't talked about as much is mental health, especially in the elderly, specifically the issue of loneliness. The Nova Scotia Health Authority By the Numbers for last year and the previous years show that the number of Nova Scotians seen in outpatient mental health services dropped by 1,300, so we've not expanded that service.
The goal of keeping Nova Scotians at home as long as possible needs to address this issue. Can the Minister of Seniors tell us what his government is doing to combat loneliness in our elderly population?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Thank you very much for the question. It is a significant issue in our province. We have now reached 200,000 Nova Scotians who are past the age of 65, but in particular, we have a very advanced cohort as well.
I think the main pillar of the SHIFT document is focused on connecting seniors with their community, with their organizations. In the past year, we have provided $2.5 million for community transportation networks. I went to the AGM of the Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network, as well as rural transportation, and they are seeing the benefits of this investment. There are many senior daycare programs in this province, and they are connected with the shuttles and with the transportation.
By the way, we also provided 10,000 passes for low-income and seniors in the province.
BARBARA ADAMS « » : The United Kingdom recently became leaders in combatting loneliness when they appointed a Minister for Loneliness and undertook a loneliness strategy. I'll table this as well. This was an important step that showed how serious the issue truly was and how seriously they were taking it.
The Chief Officer of Age in the United Kingdom says that loneliness can be worse for seniors' health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Placing someone responsible for this specific problem shows that this is a priority.
Has the Minister of Seniors considered taking a similar step in Nova Scotia?
LEO GLAVINE « » : Thanks to the member for the question. When it comes to dealing with the isolation of seniors, the grants that we provide to a myriad of community organizations - called the Age-Friendly Community grants - are proving to be an exceptional way of being right on the front line, supporting organizations that are checking on seniors.
One of the programs in Mahone Bay, for example, provided a group of seniors with a network that enabled them to check in on seniors who are living alone, to make sure how they were doing. We have this now being replicated in other communities across the province.
What I would encourage the member to do in her community is to have senior organizations apply for an Age-Friendly Community grant, because it is working extremely well.
[2:55 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Suzanne Lohnes-Croft in the Chair.]
[8:00 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. The Speaker, Hon. Kevin Murphy, resumed the Chair.]
Bill No. 203 - Crown Attorneys' Labour Relations Act.
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.
and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.
The honourable Government House Leader.
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING
Bill No. 213 - Sustainable Development Goals Act.
Yesterday I was pleased to introduce new legislation that will help Nova Scotians continue to lead the fight against climate change and ensure the long-term well-being of our environment, our economy, and our people. The Sustainable Development Goals Act renews our commitment to sustainable prosperity in Nova Scotia. It builds on the important work achieved through our collaborative efforts under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, or EGSPA as we call it, and it recognizes that climate change is a global emergency.
Mr. Speaker, here at home and around the world people are taking to the streets and calling on governments to take urgent action. In Nova Scotia we've been taking action for some time. We've already dramatically reduced our greenhouse gas emissions through EGSPA; this action has led to new jobs directly tied to our growing green economy and has made us a national leader in the fight against climate change.
We can all be proud in that work, but it's not time to stop and we still have more to do. That's why this new legislation places such a great emphasis on climate change. It sets new greenhouse gas reduction goals that are among the most ambitious in North America. These goals are to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and to achieve net zero emissions in Nova Scotia by 2050.
These goals, Mr. Speaker, are based on science. We choose them because they are in line with recommendations made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They ensure that Nova Scotia continues to do its fair share to fight climate change. The legislation also directs us to plan for how we will achieve these important goals. By the end of next year, we will produce a new climate change strategy to set out exactly how we will do that.
Mr. Speaker, there is a role for everyone to play fighting climate change and we see some inspiring leadership in communities around the province. The town of Bridgewater is just one example. They are championing energy security and energy efficiency projects for their citizens. In fact, they won $5 million in the national Smart Cities Challenge to advance these efforts.
We want more communities across the province to take this kind of leadership and action. That's why this legislation also directs us to create a sustainable communities challenge fund. It will support innovative community projects that fight climate change and grow our economy.
Mr. Speaker, I want to underline our belief that we can protect the environment and grow a strong, green economy in Nova Scotia. It's not one or the other. That belief was embedded in EGSPA's overarching objective of sustainable prosperity. It will continue to be our objective with the Sustainable Development Goals Act. We can only achieve that objective only through a healthy environment, a healthy population, and a healthy economy. These are the three pillars of sustainable prosperity. They are all important, and they are all interconnected. For example, if you don't have clean water, you won't have a healthy population to drive a prosperous economy.
Nova Scotians told us through our consultation that sustainable prosperity and other key concepts should continue to serve as the foundation of this new Act. We're also keeping the requirement for annual progress reports and a review every five years by the Round Table on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity, and we're keeping our ambitious goals for urgent action on climate change in the legislation.
As important as climate action is, this legislation is broader than that. It allows us to develop regulations where we will set other goals for a healthy environment, a healthy economy, and healthy, resilient people. The round table helped us identify key areas to focus on for developing goals. Through our consultation, Nova Scotians confirmed that those are their priorities.
These areas are: leadership in sustainable prosperity; transition to cleaner energy; more sustainable sources for electricity generation; improved energy efficiency and cleaner transportation; climate change mitigation and adaptation; creating conditions to support a circular economy; creating conditions to support an inclusive economy; and conservation and sustainable use of natural assets that support biodiversity.
Structuring the legislation this way will allow us to adapt to new conditions and opportunities as they arise. Once the legislation is in place, we will consult with Nova Scotians again to develop the regulations. I greatly appreciate Nova Scotians taking the time to share their ideas on our first round of consultation. I look forward to their contributions in the next and encourage everyone to have their say.
Mr. Speaker, the new legislation commits the Premier and ministers whose portfolios are important to this legislation to meet with the round table annually. We greatly appreciate the round table's dedication to sustainable prosperity in the province. After they conducted the legislative review of EPSPA in 2017, they gave us recommendations that we have integrated into this new legislation. They have been instrumental in helping us get to where we are today. The Premier and I look forward to their continued involvement.
There's no single department or government or industry or individual that can ensure sustainable prosperity in Nova Scotia. It takes many partners working together and innovating together, and this legislation is the guide to doing that.
TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, in 2007, this Province passed an ambitious and unique piece of environmental legislation that made Nova Scotia a leader across Canada. It was an approach to the environment based on improving government performance in promoting sustainable prosperity through a process of setting legislative goals and enhancing accountability. It was purely based on goals that were embedded in legislation, and it was purely based on enhancing accountability. Those were the aspects of the 2007 legislation that made Nova Scotia a leader in Canada.
At the time it was considered a pioneering piece of legislation in North America. It was considered a real leader on sustainable development. The objective of the legislation was to provide clear goals and then have those goals foster an integrated approach to environmental sustainability and economic well-being, finding the balance to work toward continuous improvement in measures of social, environmental, and economic indicators of prosperity. That was what this province passed in 2007, and it required that it be reviewed every five years. That was the requirement, and I notice that the minister has maintained that five-year review requirement.
It is interesting to think about what has transpired between 2007 and 2019. We know that the first five-year review did not happen, and the second five-year review is maybe happening now after seven years. There was a round table created in November of 2016 that was given direction to review EGSPA and look at how it can evolve to support the transition to a greener economy.
That was the 2016 round table. That round table met again in August, formally, to discuss their pending recommendations and report. The report was submitted in September 2017, but nothing happened until May 2018 when the round table was convened again, only to receive an update - well, it was meant to be an update from the department. The response on the report and recommendations had been submitted, but the government didn't forward any legislation at the time. It was believed by lots of members of the round table that this legislation would come a full year ago, but it didn't come forward because the government said it needed to do broader consultations.
In April 2019, not that long ago, the round table members wrote to the minister criticizing this government's lack of use of the group and stating that they continue in essence to be in suspension without meetings or engagement, and they convened a meeting to consider and address where they go.
What all that tells us is that behind the scenes, this government really wasn't doing very much. They weren't expressing much interest in this, which brings us forward to today. I know this government will say that they started this session of the Legislature with a climate change emergency debate and that they are joining in the chorus of climate emergency. However, where is the urgency in this government's actions? Their plans and targets seem to be moving at a glacial pace.
This government should be setting ambitious targets and they should be doing it now. They should be setting those targets just like it was done in 2007. How is it that this government, despite their talking points in the headline that they feel the emergency - how is it they haven't sorted out the details? How is it that they haven't laid it out for us today? That's important to give industry and Nova Scotians incentive to work hard to achieve the goals. How is it that that piece of legislation comes forth today without any of that stuff?
Now today we hear that by the end of next year - another full year - they will have a plan. They are going to set out a plan a year from now. The same government that declared an emergency debate last week needs a year to come out with a plan, and that year is already two years too late.
I agree with the sentiments of the bill of empowering communities. Answers will come from communities, that's for sure - it is also for sure they won't come from this government very quickly. If I look at the detail of the EGSPA legislation from 2007, there was a large number of targets set across the whole slate of needs, really. It was pretty visionary of the legislators at that time to see where this focus needed to be. We don't see that today. In fact, there are things in the initial legislation that are just gone now. They don't even seem to be a priority.
If I look at the 2007 legislation, one of the goals was that municipal public drinking water supplies meet the province's 2012 treatment standards by 2020. That was the goal: by 2020, municipal drinking water supplies meet the 2012 standards. That was the goal; obviously a recognition that there are lots of issues in this province around drinking water supplies.
Guess what? That's no longer even a goal of this government; it's not even in this legislation. I don't know how that disappears. It certainly hasn't been achieved. The people in Inverness would remind us that that hasn't been achieved in many ways.
One of the other goals from the original 2007 legislation was that waste-water treatment facility discharges undergo at least primary treatment by 2020. That was the goal that was set in 2007, that waste-water treatment facility discharges undergo at least primary treatment by 2020. That is not a goal that has been met. How can this government introduce a piece of legislation today that doesn't recognize the need to meet that goal?
These are the types of things about which I think it is time for this government to show their vision, to show their sense of urgency, to tell Nova Scotians that what they believe is possible, and what Nova Scotians should strive to achieve is possible. But this government puts forward a piece of legislation that says if you give us another year we might come up with a plan, and that doesn't spell urgency to me.
One of the other things that was recognized way back in 2007, by the members who occupied these chairs at that time, was the need for more local food production and more local food consumption. That was a recognized need, and they set a goal back then that the number of registered farms will have increased to 2,736 by 2020. The statistics that I have show that over that time, the number that have registered local farms is 2,599, so that hasn't been met. I guess there is still another month until 2020; maybe that will be met in the next month, but it doesn't seem likely.
I would urge the government to think a little longer range, with more of a sense of urgency. We were excited when we came into the House and it seemed like this was going to be a big priority with emergency debates and legislation coming. Then to wait through almost the entirety of the session and see the minister table something like this that says in a year we'll have a better idea, is not good enough.
Nova Scotians have the right to expect a lot better and a lot more than a government that continually hides behind: we're putting it in the regulations so nobody can see it, so nobody can talk about it, but we'll do it some day. If they had the courage, if they had the concern, they'd put in this bill and they'd put it on the floor of the Legislature so every Nova Scotian could see it, talk about it, vote on it, and weigh in on it. They won't do it because they don't understand the urgency and they don't have the vision to achieve it.
GARY BURRILL « » : It certainly is an important moment, the updating of EGSPA: Bill No. 213, the Sustainable Development Goals Act. Well, one might fairly say "finally," for it is a piece of legislation that an awful lot of people have been anticipating with a lot of eagerness for a long time. I share with those people a satisfaction that this very significant legislation is being renewed at this point. I also share with those many others a number of concerns about the bill, and I would divide these concerns into concern about its structure and then a concern about its substance.
First, the concern about the structure. It is a serious concern to us in the NDP that what has to a great extent been the heart and soul of EGSPA, the environmental targets of the legislation, has been moved out of the body of the bill and into the regulations. After all, it is the Sustainable Development Goals Act, and what is the point of a piece of legislation of this name, other than goals? Why then would the goals themselves, by and large, be - I don't think it's too strong a word to say - erased from the actual legislation.
There's a great universe of these environmental goals which we have worked with as a province through the EGSPA world, targets for land protection, targets for local food production, targets for solid waste, renewable energy targets, and others. But out of this whole world of important environmental targets, in the current legislation there are only three environmental goals set out within the bill itself. It is also true that of the three environmental goals that are set out in the legislation itself, one of them is quite a minor goal, and it has actually been met already. So it probably doesn't have a very strong claim to the space that it has within the bill.
I think, in this respect, the bill that's before us doesn't adequately embody the spirit of the EGSPA legislation. Whenever people speak about EGSPA and all that has come through it, through the years you can almost be guaranteed that part of that discussion will be that people will say, that was an all-Party initiative. That's an all-Party thing. The word "all-Party" and the word "EGSPA" in Nova Scotia discourse go together, almost.
Much of the strength and the regard for EGSPA that it has enjoyed has come, I think, from this fact. This difficulty with moving the goals from the bill itself and into the regulations is that it won't be possible for these goals to emerge as a result of an all-Party joint work, as this happened originally in 2007. It won't be possible, as this bill is constructed now, for the environmental goals, other than the three that I've mentioned, to emerge as part of an all-Party transparent debate in process in the same way that they had in 2007.
To this extent, I think it is fair to say that the EGSPA enterprise by this decision has not been strengthened. That's not to mention the fact that goals and targets which don't exist in legislation - they exist rather only in regulation - are vulnerable goals and targets. That is to say that by their nature, they are potentially more easily weakened by a future government that may for whatever unhelpful reason wish to modify them.
I'm aware we could reasonably expect the response to this concern to be that the government does plan to consult in a wide way on these new targets, but people could be forgiven if this didn't give them tremendous confidence. After all, we are talking about a government which has approached this work in a way which has it two years behind in bringing this legislation forward. We're also talking about a general context in which consultation and EGSPA to this point has meant three questions in an online survey that was only opened up for 30 days.
None of this provides a picture or an image of a government, which in bringing forward this important legislation, has an adequate sense, especially in a world which is now over a year beyond the publication of that IPCC report - 1.5 degrees within 11 years. None of all of this is providing the sense that we need to see, as this important legislation is brought forward, of a government that in the type of legislation it brings forward - the shape of it, the approach it gives to it - takes in and understands it is reflecting the urgency of the climate moment.
This brings me to the more substantive concern that we have with the bill about the greenhouse gas emissions target which is in the bill itself. When we talk about emissions reduction targets, I think it's true that there's really only, ultimately, one question that is to be posed when we evaluate any such goals. That is: Is this goal - is this target - or is it not, consistent with the IPCC's limit of containing global warming within 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels over the next 11 years?
The target here, 53 per cent under 2005 levels by 2030, for our part here in Nova Scotia, does not equitably meet that test. Now the argument may be anticipated that the emissions targets are of a piece with what the IPCC has called for, but this is not, in fact, really the case. The IPCC report sets out very clearly that governments that have more ability to make steeper reductions than those which can be mechanically extrapolated from the global reductions called for, have a responsibility to do so. That would include us here in Nova Scotia.
In fact, not only do we have the ability to do this, we also can approach this as the unparalleled opportunity it is for the greatest job creation moment which our province has witnessed since wartime. This is the reasoning behind the fact that we in the NDP have called, in a repeated way, for an emissions reduction target of 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 or, to use the calculus that is used in this legislation, a target of 58 per cent below 2005 levels by the same year.
At this moment of climate emergency - is arguably this point - this is arguably the core of this present legislation. We need, in Nova Scotia, a Sustainable Development Goals Act which is stronger than this one is at its core.
ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Today I rise to speak to an Act to Achieve Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity. This bill is replacing the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, Chapter 7 of the Acts of 2007.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill today because I believe there's an important, glaring gap in this new bill. There is no mention of food and agriculture in this new bill.
The original EGSPA included a focus on local food production and local food consumption. I'll table this document. On Page 5 in the EGSPA, it says: "local food consumption is supported and encouraged, with the goal of 20 per cent of the money spent on food by Nova Scotians being spent on locally produced food by 2020." Later, Mr. Speaker, I'll refer to another document that shows we've actually gone backwards in that goal.
Also, in the EGSPA, one of the goals was: "local food production is supported and encouraged, with the goal of increasing the number of local farms by 5 per cent by 2020." The new bill makes no mention of local food production or local food consumption.
To give you an idea of just how important this is, I'd like to refer to the United Nations' work on sustainable goals and climate change. Their very first key point is that food and agriculture are key to achieving the entire set of sustainable development goals. I'll read and then table this document from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals website where it states:
"Agriculture has a major role to play in combating climate change. Food and agriculture are key to achieving the entire set of sustainable development goals. A focus on rural development and investment in agriculture - crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture - are powerful tools to end poverty and hunger, and bring about sustainable development."
Food and agriculture in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Goals focus on ending poverty and hunger, to responding to climate change and sustaining our natural resources.
To further make my point, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to refer to the Paris Agreement. On Page 21 in the Paris Agreement it states: The parties to this agreement recognize "the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change." I'll table that document.
I don't know how we as a province can present a bill on climate change and the environment and have no mention of food and agriculture. Here in Nova Scotia, we have not seen a lot of progress in improving our local food strategies in relation to the bill that this one is replacing, and maybe that's why it's not included, I'm not sure. I would like to refer to one of the topics that is often talked about with regard to food security - and that's the topic of food miles. The definition of food miles is the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is ultimately purchased or consumed by the end user. The more food miles that attach to a given food, the less sustainable and the less environmentally desirable that food is - and I will table that document as well.
The Ecology Action Centre and the Federation of Agriculture have been involved in a food miles project. If you remember earlier on, I referenced the EGSPA goals. This food miles project opens by stating: "Are we eating too many foods imported from all over the world? Preliminary estimates show that only about 8.4% of our diet is produced on NS farms. Fifteen years ago it was closer to 15%."
Let me just read that again because I want to make sure everyone heard it - "Preliminary estimates show that only about 8.4% of our diet is produced on NS farms. Fifteen years ago it was closer to 15%." So we're going in the wrong direction.
This document also states: "We suspect that up to 90% of the food Nova Scotians consume may be brought into the province primarily by road transport" Again, this food miles project is a collaboration of the Ecology Action Centre and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture - and I'll table that document.
Food and agriculture must be included in a bill on environmental sustainability. I believe to not include it is irresponsible. We can talk about food miles; we can talk about food insecurity. Just tonight when we went for our little meal, right here was an article - I'll table this - on a local group from Saint Mary's University on food insecurity. This group of students started an organization called Square Roots - some of you may have heard of it. This article, that was printed two days ago, states: Square Roots started in 2016 by student entrepreneurs at Saint Mary's University to address the issue of food insecurity among students and in Nova Scotia in general, the most food-insecure province in Canada. Ironically, the province also wastes the most food.
The article goes on to state that staying true to their mandate, Square Roots diverts food waste from landfill-bound produce - 100,000 lbs. to date, which creates methane far more detrimental than carbon dioxide. That also is an important thing when we're talking about food and agriculture - looking at food waste and how that impacts climate change.
Let's look at the recent Hurricane Dorian and the fact that 80 per cent of Nova Scotians lost electrical power. Some homeowners in my constituency of Cumberland North had no power for up to eight days. Many people in rural Cumberland North lost their fridges full of food and the freezers full of food that were there for the winter. Grocery shelves were empty - in fact, some grocery stores also lost all their food. The Co-Op in Pugwash lost all of their perishable food to waste.
Our Federation of Agriculture here in this province, and our farmers, have been trying to ring the alarm bell on this issue for years. I know my colleague for Kings North has spoken about this important issue in this Legislature numerous times.
The fact is, Nova Scotia is relying too much on other countries to feed us, and as climate change becomes more and more prevalent, it's becoming more and more of an issue. If transportation systems fail, we can feed ourselves in this province only for five days. When I decided to serve in elected office, one of the driving forces of my decision was to help establish a sustainable local food supply for the people of this province. Some of you may remember my story in my maiden speech that talked about that.
I talked also about when I went back to school to study my EMBA at Saint Mary's University. The president, Dr. Colin Dodds, was teaching a class on international capital markets. He stopped in the middle of talking about financial markets in Greece and Italy going back to the Great Depression, and said: The most important thing you can learn from my class is that you should all go home and learn how to grow your own food. The reason he said that is that we are at such risk - the financial markets globally have not been strong, and if we can't feed ourselves as a society we are in big trouble.
The risk is increasing due to climate change - the risk that climate change brings to our transportation systems. This government must include food and agriculture in a sustainable environment bill. How can we not when the Paris Agreement includes it, when the United Nations includes it in their sustainable development goals, when our previous EGSPA included it? Local food production and consumption is going in the wrong direction in this province. We need to make it a priority, and we need to start now.
On behalf of my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus, we ask that the minister reconsider what is in this bill and hear the concerns that we have shared today.
BRAD JOHNS « » : Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to stand and talk about this today. When I first heard that this was finally coming forward, I initially thought it would be updates and revisions to the existing EGSPA. I was quite excited to hear that it was coming forward. We heard the government. We had an emergency debate on climate change here in this House. Everybody's been saying how important climate change is, and I was just absolutely thrilled to hear that this was coming.
Then the legislation came forward, and I was sitting in the bill briefing reading it, and I thought, wow, this is not exactly what I thought this was going to be. This is a little bit of something it should be.
One of the things I find very disappointing here - when EGSPA came forward, as our Leader mentioned, it was very creative, very forward-thinking. It is a 12-page Act that is now looking at being repealed, and it is being replaced by this bill, which as members in this House have already talked about, is only a fraction of what is contained in the original EGSPA.
I find it really disappointing, to be honest. Why is the government bringing forward a new Act instead of doing what both climate groups and members of the Opposition in this House - what we wanted were updates to the goals that were already set out in EGSPA. Instead this government is looking to repeal EGSPA and bring forward their own Act.
It makes me wonder, recognizing the importance, the significance and the recognition that EGSPA has gotten in the past - are they doing that because they can't meet the goals that were laid there? Well they certainly haven't tried in some cases. When we look at the 25 goals that are laid out in the existing EGSPA, only 13 of them have actually been met. What are we doing with the other ones? They are not addressed in this new legislation, Mr. Speaker.
Basically - to paraphrase my grandmother - we are throwing out the baby with the bath water here, and instead of actually trying to address some of those issues we're coming back with a brand new piece of legislation. I'm really confused as to why that is. Is it that the government doesn't want to meet those goals? Does the government not feel those goals are legitimate? Or does the government just want to pull out a piece of legislation that is good and try to put their own stamp on it so they can call it theirs? To me that seems what they are doing here.
We have a local community group - the Ecology Action Centre - who actually went out and hired a private consultant, Mr. Speaker, to do their own report by looking at the goals that are laid out in EGSPA and redefining those goals and where we want to go. They spent money to do that. They felt that was a good piece of legislation. This government hasn't even considered that.
So here we are now with this new bill. I will point out that I find it really interesting because every speaker who spoke on this bill so far has called it the Sustainable Development Act. Mr. Speaker, where's environment? They are not saying environment in any of this - it's the Sustainable Development Goals Act. So you have removed environment from this altogether. That was the whole purpose of having this Act, to set goals for environment.
I'm off topic, but I have said to our Leader, if I was the Minister of Environment and I was asked to bring this piece of legislation forward, I would have respectfully said it's not ready to come forward. I would not have been comfortable standing up here and saying this.
Mr. Speaker, when this government says that they care about the environment and that it's a priority, it's a shell game, and I'll tell you why. They've had four different Ministers of Environment over the last two years. They haven't concentrated on the environment, and this is coming forward just so they could say oh, we had a climate emergency and now were bringing this forward.
Also, Mr. Speaker, they've had two years now that they were supposed to be doing consultation - the minister stands up today and says that it's going to be another 12 to 14 months to go out and consult. Why haven't we been consulting all along? I know that the Ecology Action Centre was consulting with me. I know that Sackville Rivers, Annapolis - all those environmental groups have reached out and consulted with me on this, so how come the government hasn't been consulting? I'm confused on that.
Mr. Speaker, I think this is a weak bill. I think that to put the goals that need to be laid out in this - the minister said he is putting them in the regulations so that they can be increased as they need to be. When they are in regulations, they can be decreased too. That's my concern. At least if they're in the legislation, they are in the bill; they are part of the law.
I would note that as part of the law, part of the requirements were to be meeting with the round table on a regular basis. Given what our House Leader spoke about earlier in regard to when the meetings didn't occur with the round table - I mean it's law, so are you breaking the law if you are not doing what is already in the bill that you are supposed to be doing, but you are not doing? So now you are going to change the bill?
I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, I find it frustrating. I do care about the environment. The reason I've been given the role of Environment Critic is because I do care about the environment. I compost, I have a solar heater on my house, I have my own metal straw. (Applause)
In all seriousness, Mr. Speaker and members, in all seriousness, environment is something that is affecting everybody. We did see it with the student-led coalition and student-led protest that happened here; we are seeing that. People recognize that we need to change the way we are doing things. That's why the other bill that the honourable member across the House mentioned, the Plastic Bags Reduction Act, that's why people are accepting those Acts.
People want and are looking for leadership from their government when it comes to the environment, and this bill doesn't do that. There are too many questions, Mr. Speaker. They talk about a green fund but where is the money coming from; nobody has yet talked about where the funding for the green fund is coming from. They haven't spoken about how much money it is, they haven't spoken about where it's coming from, and they haven't spoken to what group it is going to.
When this came before the media and the media kept asking questions in regard to how this is going to affect power rates in this province - and what this is going to do to Nova Scotia Power - I'm sorry but the minister didn't have the answers at the time; staff didn't have the answers at the time. So, to me, why in a million years - it wasn't a rush to consult because they didn't do it, and it wasn't a rush to bring forward amendments to EGSPA because they didn't do it - but now we are going to rush this.
I will note that one year to consult - before they finish consulting - means a year before this new legislation can even be put into place. It will take a year before it gets Royal Assent, Mr. Speaker, so for the next year - nothing.
If it's a climate emergency, if we are meeting here for an emergency, we are going to wait a whole year and do nothing because that's really what this does until the legislation is passed.
I will say - I want to point this out - for those who don't know, I was here today, but I chipped a tooth and I had to leave. I am back. I am back because I feel passionate about this.
I respectfully suggest, with all sincerity, that this bill needs to be shelved, that EGSPA needs to be reviewed, and that amendments to those goals that are in the legislation, which are law, come forward and not goals that have already been met or that we're just on the cusp of meeting so that we can pat ourselves on the backs and say that we did great.
We need goals that are moving us forward. We need goals that are goals to strive towards. We need to be able to hold ourselves accountable and to move forward, and this legislation doesn't do it.
LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I do not have the energy of my colleague from Sackville-Beaver Bank, and I expect that I will want to speak at some length at a later juncture about this legislation. I am very interested to hear what is said at Law Amendments committee.
I guess, as someone who cares very much about the environment, about the people of Nova Scotia, about climate change, and my children, and all children's futures, I want to draw all members' attention to the seriousness of this and remind them of the accomplishment that EGSPA was. While I too am concerned, and we are concerned at some of the changes to the structure of the bill, namely moving many of the goals into the regulations, I actually was here, reading the bill, and I'm struck at what remains. In particular, the definitions in Clause 2 and then under Clause 4.
Some of the things that remain are the following: "(a) the achievement of sustainable prosperity in the province must include all of the following elements: (i) Netukulimk", which is a Mi'kmaw term which refers to "the use of the natural bounty provided by the Creator for the self-support and well-being of the individual and the community by achieving adequate standards of community nutrition and economic well-being without jeopardizing the integrity, diversity or productivity of the environment." That is still a laudable and substantial goal which we all need to work towards.
There is also (ii) sustainable development, which I won't speak to right now.
And there is (iii) a circular economy. That is something that we very rarely hear referenced by this government. How powerful is it that that is actually something that is identified as being key to the sustainable prosperity of this province? What does it mean, a circular economy? I've read about it, I think I've mentioned the words maybe once in this Legislature, but what it means, and it's defined here in this bill, it says it "means an economy in which resources and products are kept in use for as long as possible, with the maximum value being extracted while they are in use and from which, at the end of their service life, other materials and products of value are recovered or regenerated."
How in the whole range of activities of the Province of Nova Scotia, how are we working towards accomplishing a circular economy, an economy which uses the least possible resources to produce the greatest possible value for now and for the future without costing the environment?
Something my colleagues have heard me say a number of times is that sometimes I feel like the Premier is the CEO of Nova Scotia Inc. We have had such emphasis in recent times on exports. Exports are almost by their nature the opposite of a circular economy because we are extracting, be it from the ocean, be it from the woods, and we are sending far away. We are doing it with planes and we're doing it with large container ships. It's virtually impossible to have a circular economy where so much of your economic development energy is deeply committed to that sort of economic model. It's very hard to reconcile. Even just the transportation costs of so much of our economic development activity under this government has been at odds with trying to accomplish a circular economy.
Finally, there is (iv) an inclusive economy. An inclusive economy means "an economy that creates opportunity for all segments of the population and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, for the well-being of all Nova Scotians.
How are we doing on that? How are we doing on that? So, I will have more to say about the parts of this bill that are maybe not quite so preamble-ly and aspirational. Gosh, if any moment in our history has called on us to be aspirational and ambitious and bold and determined and focused, it is this moment.
When this legislation was first brought in in 2007 and then continually through the next government - which was an NDP government - it created a structure to orient the government towards those goals. Regardless of where those goals end up being, I hope this can infuse the government of Nova Scotia - the government that is supposed to be working in the public good, not for the corporate good and not for the good of the few. I hope this legislation, and the chance to debate it again, can reorient the energy and the resources of the government towards trying to accomplish those broad goals and the specific ones on which, literally, our very future relies.
We might be a small jurisdiction, but the point has been made that if every jurisdiction says, oh we're only a small jurisdiction we can't lead this - we have to wait for the bigger jurisdiction to move first. That is a game where we all end up where we don't want to be. Thank you very much.
The honourable Minister of Environment.
HON. GORDON WILSON « » : I certainly want to thank my colleagues for a diverse debate on this. Many varying opinions; I tried to grasp as many of them as I can. I think I found some themes there that I will just touch briefly on.
I do know and respect and understand the importance of what we need to do to engage our communities. I do know what consultation means and I will assure everybody in this House that, as we move forward, it's important to hear not only your voices and what you're saying - and I would challenge each and every one of you to bring the ideas to us that I heard here today - from food security to everything else that's under the trees - as we go through the consultation phase.
Just a few things I do want to point out, though. It's important to know there were some comments here around, why a new Act? I just want to make it clear that one of the foundational things that guided me in the process was the role and the value of the round table. A tremendous group of people, a tremendous resource that needs to be revisited, re-engaged, and brought back to the forefront. They were the ones that suggested that this bill be repealed and replaced. That's why I'm here with this.
They brought 10 fundamental suggestions that were key in guiding me in how we went forward, and I would challenge everybody to find that letter of 2017, to read it and see what's in that. That is important because their voices were very important. I want to thank them again for everything that they've done to get us where we are today. I look forward to working with them, also, down the road as I do all of you.
I do know that, yes, the original bill was passed unanimously and I'm hoping that this one will too, on the pledge that I will have goals in it that reflect what Nova Scotians value - what they feel are priorities that are achievable, and are under those three pillars that we really need to keep in mind. That's the environmental health, our human population health, and the health of our economy. I will assure you that I will work hard to make sure that that is what we represent.
In closing, I don't want anybody else to lose sight on what this is about. We do have a global climate emergency, there's no doubt. Yes, we did start off the Legislature speaking about that. We've had a tremendous month or month and a half, with not only our bill on plastics and the amendments to the Wilderness Areas Protection Act that we've announced. This piece of legislation - I think it's the right time and the right support.
I believe one of my colleagues across the floor, the member for Inverness, made the statement in one of our committees that there's no place for politics when you're talking about the environment. I would echo his comments, and I appreciated those comments that he made. There's no place for politics when we're talking about the environment.
Climate change is a global emergency, and we'll continue to lead the fight. Nova Scotians should never forget the fact that where we are here today is because of what we've done in the past - I think they're ready to do more. These are the most ambitious goals that we have in North America. Don't lose sight of that. Don't water it down or undermine it. Let Nova Scotians live on that. This will help us build a strong, green economy.
I thank you all very much and look forward to hearing what Law Amendments committee has to say on this. With that, I would move to close debate on second reading of Bill No. 213.
The motion is carried.
Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
The honourable Government House Leader.
Mr. Speaker, the last year has certainly been one full of memorable moments. Just last February, we celebrated my father's 100th birthday. In May, I had the proud opportunity to watch as my son graduated from the University of New Brunswick with his law degree. Then, just this past September, the constituents of Northside-Westmount selected me from among six other candidates to be their representative in the Nova Scotia Legislature. (Applause)
I was, and still continue to be, humbled by the confidence they've placed in me. I hope I am able to represent each and every one of Northside-Westmount's constituents competently and effectively as their voice in this room that is so steeped in our province's history.
Today is also of note, Mr. Speaker - and we have just under three hours, so we made it under the bell. Today a new calendar starts for my family: 101 days from today, my father will turn 101. Rick, as he is known at home, God willing, will reach this truly remarkable milestone. Every day we have him is a gift to my family.
No one gets where they do in life without hard work, perseverance, and support. To this end, I would not be standing here in this great building without the love, support, and encouragement of my wife Joanne and my son Andrew. They both have been my rocks - unwavering in support and the strength they provided.
Everything we are, we also owe to our parents. For myself, Mr. Speaker, my dad has been an inspiration, a humble and unassuming man who in his lifetime has seen and experienced a world that has literally transformed in front of him. He is a veteran of World War II, having done convoy duty in the North Atlantic aboard the corvette HMCS Pictou, then practising law in North Sydney for 33 years prior to becoming a county court judge and finally a Supreme Court judge.
My dad, the Honourable Murray J. Ryan, Q.C., has been a role model of integrity, honesty, and principle, whose influence on me will carry on long after he is no longer with us. Indeed, the past couple of days, with the Crown attorneys out circling the building, a couple of them took an opportunity to come up and talk to me. They told me stories about when they had been in front of him when they were practising, what have you. Quite remarkable that the man has been retired for 26 years, and they would think back to some of those instance that occurred so long ago.
My mom, Mabel Ferguson of Mira, was cut from the same cloth as my dad - quiet yet witty, reserved yet welcoming. We lost her just three short years ago but, like my dad, I know she was looking down at her son with great pride in September as I was sworn in as a member of the Legislative Assembly.
I would also be remiss, Mr. Speaker, if I did not also extend thanks to my extended family whose support has been so greatly appreciated. Great thanks must also be extended to an incredible group of volunteers and to Elizabeth Gaudreau. Elizabeth was a tireless volunteer and supporter who kept my campaign headquarters running and was a master coordinator. To all those who volunteered - making phone calls, door knocking, putting up signs - your support and encouragement was the fuel that kept me going.
To my fellow Progressive Conservative MLAs and caucus staff: your taking the time during the hot days of August, to come down and help me with my campaign was and is truly appreciated. Finally, to the Leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives, my thanks and gratitude for your time, support, advice, and encouragement during a hectic campaign that was, shall we say, short on time and long on objectives.
I would also like to take a moment to thank my predecessor, Mr. Eddie Orrell, firstly for resigning, but more importantly for the advice and the insight and the unwavering support he has provided to me over these past several months.
The area of Northside-Westmount, with a population of just under 16,000, is one as rich in history as it is proud. In 1945, the Western Union in North Sydney was the first place in North America to know about the end of World War II. At the time, the transatlantic cable from England came ashore in North Sydney; transatlantic messages would arrive in North Sydney and then be retransmitted elsewhere in North America. For that lone night, the news of the end of the war leaked out and apparently the evening was one of great festivities and celebration in our town.
The town has had a rich history in shipping, mining, fisheries, and commerce. In fact, my grandfather himself was a sealing captain who sailed multiple times around the world from the Arctic to the Antarctica, but always coming back to North Sydney which was his home port. While times have changed, the town is still closely tied to the sea, being Nova Scotia's home port for Marine Atlantic's Newfoundland ferries, fisheries, and a dry dock.
The town has had several notable people from former Cabinet Minister Flora MacDonald to retired Stanley Cup champion Bobby Smith and Senator Michael MacDonald.
When the topic of steel comes to mind, most people think of Sydney Steel or Sysco. However, truth be told, the first steel plant in Cape Breton was located within my constituency in Sydney Mines between Ocean and Atlantic Streets. Fed by the coal by the nearby Princess Colliery, the plant and mine served to employ an excess of 3,000 people in the early 1900s.
In December of 1938, there was a major accident in the Princess Colliery, killing a total of 17 men. My wife's father and grandfather, both coincidentally nicknamed Sticks, were both miners at the Princess Colliery. I've heard this story many times from her as her grandfather just avoided the accident. Princess supplied jobs for many years to Sydney Mines as well as many neighbouring towns such as Florence, North Sydney, and Alder Point. Finally, across the North West Harbour to the North West Arm, we have Point Edward, Edwardsville and Westmount, home of the Canadian Coast Guard College, the Sydport Industrial Park, and Petersfield Provincial Park.
Indeed, from Westmount to North Sydney, from North Sydney to Sydney Mines, onward to Florence, Alder Point, the constituency is comprised of many communities, each as proud as it is diverse.
But as rich as the community's history is, its concerns and issues are equally significant and diverse: outmigration, an aging population, declining population and infrastructure, high unemployment, and a health care system and a hospital system in crisis. These issues are not unique to Northside-Westmount. They are being experienced in many communities throughout this province.
Our residents are proud and our residents are committed for a better tomorrow. I will strive to be an effective voice for these residents, working with them and for them as we move our community forward to deal with these challenges and make for a successful tomorrow for our children and our children's children.
Mr. Speaker, since my swearing-in in September, I have had the great honour of attending daily sessions of the Legislature and learning the ins and outs of the legislative process. From Speaker Orientation on day one to learning procedures in the Legislature from colleagues and fellow MLAs, there are many areas where I am learning and will continue to learn and evolve as an effective member of this Chamber.
While I am adjusting, one thing that is becoming more and more apparent is an area where I need some great improvement. My approach to life to date has been one of brevity: less is more. Unfortunately, as I am discovering, in the Legislature oratory skills cannot be understated. As such, I commit to work on this attribute - but not this evening. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Standing Ovation)
HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes government business for the evening. I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow, Friday, October 25, 2019, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Following the daily routine and QP, business will include third reading on Bill Nos. 189, 192, 193, 197, 201, and 203.
THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for the House to rise to meet again tomorrow, Friday, October 25th, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:59 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 9:00 a.m.
[The House rose at 9:13 p.m.]
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)
RESOLUTION NO. 1398
By: Hon. Kevin Murphy (Eastern Shore)
I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas the Porters Lake Community Services Association supports the community of the Eastern Shore through maintaining the community centre, hosting events, and organizing activities for all community members; and
Whereas one such community event is Lake and Shore Days, which brings people from all over the Eastern Shore to Porters Lake to celebrate our community; and
Whereas Pam White and Rod Lewis spearheaded the organization of the multiday community celebration, which included a pancake breakfast, a Teddy Bear Picnic, a live music concert, fireworks, and a community parade;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in thanking Rod and Pam for their dedication to the people of the Eastern Shore through their involvement with the Porters Lake Community Services Association.