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Foreign Policy Analysis
House of Assembly Proceedings – April 28, 2017

House of Assembly Proceedings – April 28, 2017


SPEAKER » : Order, please. We’ll now begin the daily routine. PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Lunenburg West. HON. MARK FUREY « » : I beg leave to table a
petition on behalf of the residents of Lunenburg County. The operative clause is: “Therefore we, the undersigned concerned citizens,
demand that the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal change the dust
control policy to ensure that there will be dust control every time the roads are graded
– Summer, Spring, and Fall!!!! – not just for the summer grading.” Consistent with the Rules of the House, I
have affixed my name to that petition. MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled. PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES [Page 2644] TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of
Communities, Culture and Heritage. HON. TONY INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave
to table a document entitled Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan: Creativity and Community,
in both French and English versions. As well, the plan’s executive summary is in
English, French, Mi’kmaq, Gaelic, Arabic, and Mandarin. MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled. STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of
Labour and Advanced Education. HON. KELLY REGAN « » : I would like to point
out that today marks a very important day for a number of us in this House. It happens to be the 10th Anniversary of the
member for Annapolis taking on the leadership of this Party. I want to thank him for his service over the
last 10 years. Some of us have walked that walk with him. Some of us came along later. We always knew that it was a privilege to
serve with this man as Leader. We’ve laughed together. Sometimes we’ve cried together, some of us
crying more than others. But what always shone through was how much
this member cared for the less fortunate, how much he thought about that. There were so many times when I thought I
had a handle on a file, and then he would say, but what about this? He would give me a new way of looking at things,
and it always brought more clarity to the situation. I want to thank him for that. As caucus members, we always knew that we
could reach out to him, that he was at the other end of the line if we needed to talk
to him. He has never forgotten where he comes from. I don’t know what we’re supposed to get someone
for a 10th Anniversary – I can’t remember if it’s wood or paper or whatever (Interruption). Apparently, it’s Scotch. I do want to thank the honourable member for
Annapolis for his service over the last 10 years and for the privilege of serving alongside
him. (Applause) GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier. HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Before I do my resolution,
can I do an introduction? [Page 2645] MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I’d like
to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery, where we have with us some very
special Nova Scotians who have been a tremendous example for all of us. I’d like them to stand as I introduce their
names: Daniel Martin, he’s a snowshoer; Robert Fougere in figure skating; Kailey Stewart
in figure skating; and Brianna Harris in snowshoeing. And Mary Ann Crowley is there, who is a coach
of an extraordinary time – she doesn’t want me to say how long she has been coaching but
she has given a tremendous amount of her adult life to coaching Special Olympics. We are so grateful for you, and the athletes
are so much better for it. I also want to acknowledge two people who
couldn’t be here, Aimee Gordon and another coach, Cyril MacDonald, who couldn’t join
us today. I want the House to give these special Nova
Scotians a warm welcome. (Standing Ovation) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier. RESOLUTION NO. 1199 THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby
give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: Whereas today we celebrate Nova Scotia’s Special
Olympic athletes and their success at the 2017 World Games in Austria; and Whereas through the hard work and dedication
of Aimee, Daniel, Robert, Kailey, Brianna, and their coaches, Mary Ann and Cyril, they
brought home 11 medals to Nova Scotia; and Whereas these athletes have accomplished extraordinary
personal goals, setting a great example for all Nova Scotians by demonstrating the Special
Olympic motto – “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”; Therefore be it resolved that members of the
House of Assembly and all Nova Scotians join me in congratulating the athletes, their coaches,
and their families for an outstanding effort for their achievement and for the love of
sport and, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, for being great role models for all Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and
passage without debate. MR. SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for
waiver. [Page 2646] 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 Labour and Advanced
Education. RESOLUTION NO. 1200 HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby
give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: Whereas Nova Scotians recognize the National
Day of Mourning every year on April 28th, a day to pause and pay respect to those who
lost their lives or were seriously injured on the job; and Whereas we honour the 20 Nova Scotians who
lost their lives as a result of workplace injury or illness last year, leaving heartbroken
families and loved ones behind; and Whereas today is a day to remember those individuals
and reaffirm our shared commitment to spare other families from this heartache; Therefore be it resolved that all members
of this House stand united at today’s Day of Mourning ceremony and that we continue
to raise awareness of the importance of workplace safety and commend the tremendous efforts
of so many to better protect workers across the province. Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and
passage without debate. MR. SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for
waiver. Is it agreed? It is agreed. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture
and Heritage. [Page 2647] RESOLUTION NO. 1201 HON. TONY INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby give
notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: Whereas culture is the heart and soul of our
communities and seeps into every aspect of our lives; and Whereas the province recently released Nova
Scotia’s first comprehensive strategy to celebrate and share our culture, our creative sector,
and our diverse communities; and Whereas Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan
takes an inclusive approach towards culture, an approach that promotes creativity and innovation,
advances cultural diversity, and grows our creative economy so we can keep our communities
strong and vibrant; Therefore be it resolved that every member
in this House and Nova Scotians across the province take the time to read Nova Scotia’s
Culture Action Plan: Creativity and Community, to better understand the important role culture
plays in the lives of Nova Scotians and our creative economy. Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and
passage without debate. MR. SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for
waiver. Is it agreed? It is agreed. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. [9:15 a.m.] The honourable Minister of Immigration. RESOLUTION NO.1202 HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby give
notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution. I will read it in both English and French: Whereas we have a big opportunity to welcome
more French-speaking immigrants to Nova Scotia; and [Page 2648] Whereas the Office of Immigration and the
Office of Acadian Affairs are currently working on a new joint strategy on francophone attraction;
and Whereas I recently had the opportunity to
share some of our plans at a historic first conference of federal, provincial and territorial
ministers responsible for the Ministries of Immigration and the Canadian Francophonie
in Moncton, New Brunswick; Therefore be it resolved that all members
of this Legislature join me in thanking the Government of New Brunswick for hosting this
historic summit, and thank my colleagues from across the country for helping shape our strategy. Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and
passage without debate. Je donne avis par la présente que dans un
futur jour, je proposerai l’adoption de la résolution suivante: Attendu que nous avons une grande opportunité
d’accueillir plus d’immigrants francophones en Nouvelle-Écosse; et Attendu que l’Office de l’immigration et l’Office
des affaires acadiennes et de la francophonie travaillent actuellement à une nouvelle stratégie
commune sur l’attraction des francophones; et Attendu que j’ai récemment eu l’occasion
de partager certains de nos projets lors d’une première réunion historique des ministres
fédéraux, provinciaux et territoriaux responsables de l’immigration et de la francophonie à
Moncton, en Nouveau-Brunswick; Par conséquent il est résolu que tous les
membres de cette Assemblée Législative me joignent pour remercier le Gouvernement du
Nouveau-Brunswick d’avoir accueilli ce sommet historique et remercier mes collègues de
tout le pays d’avoir contribué à façonner notre stratégie. Monsieur le Président, je demande la renonciation
à l’avis et à son adoption sans débat. MR. SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for
waiver. Is it agreed? It is agreed. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. [Page 2649] The motion is carried. The honourable Minister of Justice. RESOLUTION NO. 1203 HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby
give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: Whereas Nova Scotia has made a sincere and
heartfelt commitment to implement and honour the Truth and Reconciliation calls for action
and the Donald Marshall Jr. Inquiry Report recommendations; and Whereas it is a priority of this government
to make the Nova Scotia justice system more responsive to the needs of First Nations communities
and their people; and Whereas the Department of Justice this past
week in Wagmatcook First Nation was proud to announce Nova Scotia’s very first Gladue
Court, which will also have a wellness court and regular provincial court services for
the residents of Victoria County; Therefore be it resolved that we all join
together to thank and commend all of our community and justice partners, especially Chief Norman
Bernard of Wagmatcook and Chief Rod Googoo of Waycobah, for their leadership and advocacy
in helping bring these unique, culturally-sensitive court services to Wagmatcook and the surrounding
communities. Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and
passage without debate. MR. SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for
waiver. Is it agreed? It is agreed. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. The honourable Minister of Immigration. HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave
to make an introduction before reading my statement. MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. [Page 2650] HON. LENA DIAB « » : I’d like to draw your attention
to the east gallery, where we have with us today Xinpei Sun, the founder of UbiElife,
a Halifax-based web company. Xinpei came to Nova Scotia to attend university,
earning an undergraduate and a master’s degree in economics from Dalhousie University. Since graduating, she has started her own
business. I ask Xinpei to stand and remain standing. She’s also joined in the gallery by her partner,
Chen, her lawyer, Liz Wozniak, and business consultant Foxx Liu. As well there is some staff from the Office
of Immigration who played key roles in designing and implementing the International Graduate
Entrepreneur Stream. I want to welcome Natalie Silver, Business
Stream Officer; Colin Brothers, Senior Business Officer; Rachel Henderson, Director of Strategic
Policy and External Relations; and my Executive Secretary, Sandra Bennett. Mr. Speaker, I ask all my colleagues in the
House to please give them a very warm welcome to the House. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of
Immigration. RESOLUTION NO. 1204 HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby give
notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: Whereas we are fortunate to have thousands
of international students coming to Nova Scotia each year to attend our post-secondary institutions;
and Whereas I am so proud of the work of our government
and the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration in creating a number of immigration pathways
and in particular a new immigration stream in 2016 for international students with entrepreneurial
spirit to stay in Nova Scotia after graduation and start businesses here; and Whereas this week we nominated Xinpei Sun,
a graduate of Dalhousie University, the founder of UbiElife, a Halifax-based web company that
is already that is already employing four people, and the first nominee through our
International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream for permanent residency; Therefore be it resolved that all members
of this Legislature join me in thanking Xinpei Sun for choosing to live, work, and contribute
to our Nova Scotia economy and congratulate her for being the first person nominated for
permanent residency through our International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream. Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and
passage without debate. [Page 2651] MR. SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for
waiver. Is it agreed? It is agreed. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced
Education. HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave
to make an introduction before I introduce my bill. MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. MS. REGAN « » : I would like to direct the members’
attention to the east gallery today where we are joined by Janet Hazelton who many in
this House would know very well as the President of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union, and with
her today is Tim Tokarz who is a nurse from Ontario. He was here in Nova Scotia this week speaking
to the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union Annual General Meeting in Truro where he was speaking about
PTSD. I want to welcome them, ask them to rise,
and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause) INTRODUCTION OF BILLS Bill No. 90 – Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter
10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers’ Compensation Act (Hon. Kelly Regan) MR. SPEAKER « » : Ordered that this bill be
read a second time on a future day. The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury
Board on an introduction. HON. RANDY DELOREY » : Mr. Speaker, I would just
like to direct the members’ attention to the east gallery. Joining some of the representatives from the
Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union that were previously introduced is Dr. Paul Curry, a former resident
from Antigonish, who I’d like to recognize he does research service and a lot of work
with Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union so if people could rise and receive the warm welcome of
the House. (Applause) NOTICES OF MOTION [Page 2652] STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. NAT. DAY OF MOURNING: VICTIMS – REMEMBER MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, today
is a solemn occasion – it’s the Day of Mourning. Every year, we set aside this day to pay tribute
to those who have died or have been injured at work. It only takes a fraction of a second to change
a life or a family forever. It is those lives and those families who are
in our thoughts today. There are many employers, unions, and businesses
who work very hard to reduce the number of workplace accidents in our province, and we
salute them, just as we salute hard-working, resilient Nova Scotians. When they leave their homes in the morning,
they expect to return at the end of the day. We, as legislators, must do all we can to
make sure that they return to their families safely. We have to minimize the number of times that
a fraction of a second changes the course of someone’s life. Today Nova Scotians who were injured or who
lost their lives on the job, and their families, are in our thoughts and our prayers. We must do everything we can to ensure that
their lives were not lost in vain. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Queens-Shelburne. PHYSICIAN PROVISION – PROMISES HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : In 2013, the Liberal
Government promised a doctor for every Nova Scotian, but there was something missing at
the end of the sentence that is key to that promise, and that is when. They could have said “in five to 10 years,”
as the member for Clare-Digby has suggested, but they did not. Even if they had suggested that timeline,
I’m not sure they could have met it. By failing to recruit doctors and withholding
billing numbers, the province has been headed in the wrong direction and taking the Liberal
promise with it. Now here we are on the eve of election, with
more Liberal promises to recruit doctors. They’ve been there, Mr. Speaker, but they
haven’t done that. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Fairview-Clayton Park. WAY, RAYLENE – POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR
AWARD (HFX.) [Page 2653] MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : I would like to recognize
Raylene Way for her outstanding service to our community. Raylene recently received the Police Officer
of the Year award from the Halifax Regional Police force for her amazing work with various
community groups in the Fairview/Clayton Park area. Her service is truly an inspiration to all
aspiring police officers, and her work ethic and willingness to go above and beyond the
call of duty should be an inspiration to us all. Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you and the
members of this House join me in thanking Officer Way for her amazing service and in
wishing her only the best for her future endeavours. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou East. MILLEN, CATHERINE: SM. BUS. – BEST WISHES MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : A young woman from Foxbrook
Road has launched a lipstick line named after the road where she grew up. Catherine Millen knows that big things can
come from small places. She believes women feel better about themselves
when they look their best. Since lipstick is the quickest way to add
a little colour, she designed lipstick colours tailored to individual women. Plush Esthetics Studio reached out to Catherine
to carry Foxbrook Lipstick after only her third week in business. Now she is looking to expand her business
into other parts of Nova Scotia. I’m thrilled that another small business in
Pictou East is off to a successful beginning, and I wish Catherine all the best moving forward. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Halifax Needham. PREM. – LBR. RELATIONS MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : The Atlantic Journalism
Awards will be handed out next Saturday in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Six of the nominations are for journalists
from Local Xpress, who have been on strike from The Chronicle Herald for 15 months. Journalism, like our job in this House, is
essential for democracy, and for that matter, collective bargaining and respect for unions
is core to democracy as well. We have felt a void these past 15 months with
the absence of a quality daily provincial newspaper. That absence will be felt more keenly in the
election campaign that I assume is about to kick off, but what can we expect when this
Premier has led by such poor example in the area of labour relations? Is it any wonder that we’ve seen no resolution
in the Chronicle Herald strike if employers follow this Premier’s lead? [Page 2654] I congratulate the members of the Halifax
Typographical Union and thank them for their work. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou West on an introduction. MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, in the
west gallery I have a constituent of mine, and I would like for her to rise. Heather Morrissey, who is here today, is an
advocate for bees and is a bee lover. As well, I’d like to say that last week, media
deemed her road in rural Nova Scotia “the road to hell.” It is a road that we can’t even get trucks
to go down anymore. A warm welcome to Heather. Thank you for coming. (Applause) [9:30 a.m.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Lunenburg West. WENTZELL HOCKEY TOURNAMENT – ORGANIZERS THANK HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the Gary L.
Wentzell hockey tournament has become one of the largest rural hockey tournaments in
Atlantic Canada, with more than 50 teams participating in the five-day tournament, 94 games were
played at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre, the Lunenburg War Memorial Arena, and Queens
Place Emera Centre, a great example of regional co-operation. Three host teams were able to earn championship
banners in the Atom A, Pee Wee A, and Pee Wee B divisions. Mr. Speaker, it takes many volunteer hours
and coordination to be able to put a tournament of this size together. More than 60 hockey moms and dads, community
members, and others did everything from sell 50/50 tickets, look after score sheets and
clock-keeping, answering questions, and giving directions. I think it’s safe to say the tournament was
a success. This would not have been possible without
the leadership of Devan Naugler and his team. Many thanks to the volunteers, the rink staff,
officials, players, and parents who helped make this a tournament that is very successful. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings North. MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave
to make two introductions. MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. [Page 2655] MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery
you’ll find Tom Cosman of Cosman and Whidden Beekeeping in Kings County. I’m pleased to say he lives on a very good
road, on Highway No. 1. Tom is one of the leading beekeepers in the
province and you’ll find his honey, Cosman and Whidden brand, throughout the province. Seated next to Tom is Perry Brandt of Wolfville. Perry is a beekeeper too. He has over 100 hives and he is a bee inspector
and, on occasion, has advised me on my four bee hives. I am pleased to ask the House to give them
the warm welcome of the House. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings North. AGRIC. – ONT. BEEHIVES: IMPORTATION – DENY MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, the beekeeping
industry in Nova Scotia is too important for our provincial government to risk importing
a pest. With more than adequate hive numbers in the
province, there is no need to import bees from small-hive, beetle-infested southern
Ontario. Mr. Speaker, I call on the Minister of Agriculture
to do the right thing and say no to importation of hives for blueberry pollination this year. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Chester-St. Margaret’s. AGRIC.: ONT. BEEHIVES – IMPORTATION REJECT HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker,
beekeepers in Nova Scotia are alarmed by an application currently sitting with the Minister
of Agriculture to import bee hives from Ontario, where a small-hive bee infestation has been
on a path of destruction. They are concerned that if this import permit
is approved, this infestation could spread to Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, this beetle lives in the cluster
and even through an inspection process it is very difficult to ensure that all these
beetles are found. Bees are important pollinators, particularly
for our blueberry industry. I call on the minister to reject this application
to import hives from Ontario as it is just not worth it, Mr. Speaker. MR. SPEAKER « » : Before we go on to the next
member’s statement, I’ll take the opportunity to make a brief introduction. Up in my gallery, the Speaker’s Gallery, we
have with us here today – many of the members know my legislative assistant who works downstairs
and keeps me on the straight and narrow – Mr. Scott Burke is with us here today. (Applause) [Page 2656] Joining Scott is my part-time CA from the
beautiful Eastern Shore, Ms. Hollie Quick. Thank you for coming in today. (Applause) The honourable member for Hants West. WEIR, DAVE: NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSISTANCE – THANK MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : I rise today to recognize
Mr. Dave Weir from Newport Station. On Thursday, April 20th, Dave was visiting
his good friend John Geddes in Ellershouse. John had been burning some debris out back
in his yard and realized that the fire had gotten away from him. Dave immediately jumped into action, knowing
what to do, and beating the fire out. As John describes himself, although he has
lived in Ellershouse for some years now, he describes himself as a city boy who didn’t
quite know what to do in the circumstance where you had a grass fire now out of control. Dave jumped on it, immediately beating the
fire out and probably saved it from going into the woods and maybe nearby houses. I wanted to stand today and take a moment
to recognize Dave and thank him for that great effort in helping John and his local neighbours
out. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou West. ARSENAULT, ALISON – PICTOU VOL. OF YR. (2017) MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I am
pleased to rise today to congratulate Pictou resident Alison Arsenault for being chosen
as the 2017 Pictou Volunteer of the Year. Alison has a long history of volunteering
with Boxing Nova Scotia. She judged bouts from 1975 until 2011, held
the position of vice-president of administration for 24 years, was a member of the Women in
Boxing Commission, and holds lifetime memberships to Boxing Nova Scotia and Boxing Canada. Alison has volunteered with the New Horizons
Club in Pictou, serving as director and is a rental chairperson. She has assisted with the club’s newsletter,
organized cribbage games, and helped with potlucks and pancake breakfasts. Alison also helps fundraise for the Christmas
Daddies and the IWK. She is involved with the Pictou United Church’s
grab and go school lunch program. Mr. Speaker, I thank Alison for volunteering
and congratulate her on being Pictou’s volunteer of the year. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. [Page 2657] COBEQUID DANCE ACAD. – ANNIV. (20th) MS. LENORE ZANN « » : “Dance is the hidden language
of the soul of the body.” – so said the trailblazing modern dancer Martha
Graham. This week is National Dance Week, and I want
to acknowledge those in all of our communities who celebrate that hidden language. In September of this year, the Cobequid Dance
Academy in Truro will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary of introducing the world of dance
to so many young people in Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. Started by Margo Beijing of the Truro Dance
Academy, many of its students have gone on to pursue careers in performing arts. It has hosted master teachers from across
the country, and its annual Nutcracker performance is a holiday season favourite. During this week, I want to thank all of the
teachers and the dancers at the CDA for expressing that hidden language of the soul of the body
in our community. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Lunenburg. BURG CLASSIC HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: ORGANIZER/VOLS. – RECOGNIZE MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : It is an amazing
accomplishment when members of a community lend their time and resources, bonding together
to raise money for a great cause. I would like to recognize the organizers and
volunteers of the annual Burg Classic charity hockey tournament in Lunenburg. This year was the fifth year of its operation,
growing into 16 teams from four in its initial year. The tournament took place at the Lunenburg
County Lifestyle Centre and was a weekend-long event accompanied by a silent auction and
a dance. This year, the charity hockey tournament event
raised over $24,500, a new record high for the event. All of the proceeds raised will help 10 local
recipients in need. Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask that you
and members of this House of Assembly please join me in recognizing the organizers and
volunteers of the Burg Classic charity hockey tournament and wishing them continued success
in the years to come. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Northside-Westmount. N. SYDNEY VOL. FD – EQUIPMENT ADDITIONS [Page 2658] MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : I rise today to congratulate
the North Sydney Volunteer Fire Department on their new additions. Two new vehicles – a pumper and a three-ton
vehicle to help fight grass fires – will soon be arriving along with a relatively new second-
hand aerial truck. Fundraising will allow the department to upgrade
its jaws of life, purchase a new generator, and in the near future obtain a new support
truck. It’s a pleasure to live in and represent a
community that supports its volunteer firefighters and gives them the tools they need to protect
lives and property. A big salute goes out to Chief McIntosh and
his department. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Queens-Shelburne. LIBERALS – ELECTION SPENDING SPREE HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : It has often been
said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. While I risk showing my age here in this House,
I can remember when rum and nylons were the norm around election times. Sure, times have changed, but old habits die
hard. The spending spree of this government on the
eve of election is as transparent as a pair of nylons and as hard to swallow as a shot
of rum. The Liberals certainly know how to grease
wheels. Unfortunately, you can’t do it without getting
your hands dirty along the way. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Glace Bay. RING 73: BOXERS – WELL WISHES HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : The Ring 73 boxing
club out of Glace Bay has a storied history of developing quality boxers and quality people
for decades. Dozens of fighters, including my best friend
John John McCarthy, have experienced national and international success under the Ring 73
banner. Perhaps more importantly, the club’s coaching
staff allows young athletes to channel their emotions toward something positive and build
on an incredible skill. That tradition continues this week in Quebec
City when Jonathan Sinclair, Josh Prince, and Matt MacDonald compete at the Canadian
boxing championships. We wish the boys the very best of luck, and
we know they will represent us proudly like the generations of boxers who paved their
way. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou Centre. [Page 2659] FILM IND. – FUNDING HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, in 2014, when
this government killed the refundable credit for the film industry, thereby damaging the
industry, the Premier said that $24 million was too rich, the film industry was greedy. In 2014, the cost of that credit was $24 million. We lost experienced producers and crew, small
and independent filmmakers. The next generation of young people whom we
desperately need to stay and raise families here have left or are being left behind. The damage control has been under way. The government committed more than $24 million
this year. It is obvious that the government made a huge
mistake. The industry is smaller, but hopefully resilient
enough to survive this government. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Halifax Needham. QUEENS-SHELBURNE MLA/CLAYTON PARK WEST MLA – BEST WISHES MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : I would like to share
a Sterling Belliveau-ism with the members of the House who don’t have the benefit of
receiving his advice in our caucus meetings. There is no “I” in team. I am grateful that my time with the Nova Scotia
NDP has overlapped with the member for Queens-Shelburne. In the House and in our caucus meetings, he
is a grounded voice of good sense and the big picture. Likewise, I am grateful to have been here
with the member for Clayton Park West in her role as Minister of Justice. The best work of the House that I have witnessed
has been under her guidance. I wish both members the very best and I thank
them for their welcome to the House and for their example. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : I would like to remind the
honourable member for Halifax Needham not to refer to other members by their proper
name. He’s still a member for a little while yet. A Sterling Belliveau-ism (Interruptions). I understand. The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable
Island. NDP GOV’T.: BUDGET/CUTS – DETAILS [Page 2660] HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, this is
an interesting place. Some people call it theatre. Yesterday, we got to witness a comedy act. Yesterday, the member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon
River got up and claimed the NDP balanced the budget. I’ve never heard anything so comedic in my
life. I would like to say, they did table a balanced
budget, but Nova Scotians soon came to find out it was $500 million in the hole. When they posed this budget to Nova Scotians,
which was the farthest thing from balanced, I want to point out one thing: a $30 million
cut to income assistance. I will table that. The NDP Government cut $30 million, 10 per
cent, from the most vulnerable people in Nova Scotia. They cut out a whole month of income assistance
payments. Shame on you. (Interruption) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would like to remind the honourable member
not to refer to the members opposite directly with the word “you.” The honourable member for Argyle-Barrington. NICKERSON, ERIC: LIFESAVING EFFORT – THANK HON. CHRISTOPHER D’ENTREMONT « » : A 69-year-old
sailor is lucky to be alive after he was rescued from his disabled sailboat in a 50-knot wind
and 30-foot seas last November. Eric Nickerson is a crew member on board the
Coast Guard cutter Spray. He was instrumental in the rescue, putting
his life on the line. Although he doesn’t consider himself a hero,
he definitely went above and beyond to save this man’s life. Please join me in thanking Eric Nickerson
for answering the call of duty and risking his own life to save another. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Chester-St. Margaret’s. LIBERALS: CREATIVE INDUSTRIES – TREATMENT HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : It seems to
me that this government believes that the people of this province have short memories. The Liberals spent yesterday setting off fireworks
to celebrate their dedication to the creative industries. They were tripping over themselves to praise
the working people they’ve disrespected time and time again – the same industries they’ve
starved over the last three and a half years. The people of this province haven’t forgotten
how the Liberals went to the jugular and eliminated the Film Tax Credit, rather than supporting
an industry that was thriving and punching above its weight. Nova Scotia’s creative economy is now on life
support. If the Premier thinks that our memories can
be erased by vague promises of cultural funding, he should think again. [Page 2661] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Victoria-The Lakes. MURRAY, DANIEL – CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING ACCOMPLISHMENTS MS. PAM EYKING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today
to congratulate Dingwall resident Daniel Murray, who recently returned from Sweden after completing
the world’s longest, oldest, and biggest cross-country ski race. Mr. Murray, who has been on skis since childhood
and trains at home year-round, placed 881st out of 15,800 participants. I wish to congratulate Daniel on his tremendous
accomplishments. I wish him continued success and the best
of luck in the future. [9:45 a.m.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings North. MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave
to make an introduction. MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct
the attention of the House to the west gallery, where we have Amanda Brulé from Nova Solar
Capital in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Nova Solar Capital is offering an RRSP-eligible
CDIF that homeowners can use to put solar panels on their own homes. Please give Amanda the warm welcome of the
House. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings North. BATEMAN, LILY – LORAN SCHOLARSHIP MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today
to honour a young woman from Canning. Lily Bateman is a Grade 12 student at Northeast
Kings Education Centre who was chosen to receive the Loran Scholarship. She will receive $100,000 over four years
for undergraduate studies, as well as mentorship and summer experiences. The Financial Post recently named the Loran
Scholarship Foundation as a top 25 Canadian charity. It’s number one in education, based on evidence
of good governance, financial transparency and clear evidence of impact. Ms. Bateman is involved in the Jane Goodall
Roots & Shoots program, Lights for Learning, and serves as a junior board member with the
Community Association of People for REAL Enterprise – CAPRE. Mr. Speaker, I congratulate Lily Bateman for
receiving this scholarship and I look forward to following her career, because she is a
truly remarkable young woman. [Page 2662] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Sackville-Beaver Bank. APRIL THE GIRAFFE: BIRTH – CONGRATS. MR. STEPHEN GOUGH « » : I would like to take
a moment to talk about April the giraffe. The proud mother was live-streamed for weeks
while the world watched with anticipation of the arrival of her calf. Located in Upstate New York, the Animal Adventure
Park welcomed the baby boy on Saturday, April 15th. The calf weighed 129 pounds and stood five
feet, nine inches tall at birth. It is estimated that more than 1.2 million
viewers tuned in to watch the birth. That is the second most live-viewed channel
in YouTube’s history – the first being League of Legends Esports, which has been around
since 2012. Since February, April’s livestream has had
more than 232 million views and 7.6 billion minutes of live watch time, according to YouTube. Fifteen-year-old April had the baby with first-time
father Oliver, a five-year old giraffe. While this is April’s fourth calf, male giraffes
– according to Animal Adventure Park – only rarely care about two things. The first is fighting, and I will leave the
other to your imagination. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. CREWE, LESLEY: BOOK LAUNCH – CONGRATS. HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise
today to congratulate author Lesley Crewe of Homeville on the launch of her newest book,
Mary, Mary. Lesley Crewe is also the author of several
novels, including Relative Happiness, which has been adapted into a feature film. I wish to congratulate Lesley Crewe and offer
her all the best. I am sure we will continue to hear more of
her stories and see many more novels from her. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. LAFITTE, SHIRLEY: CED AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
– NOMINATION MS. JOYCE TREEN « » : I rise today to tell you
about Shirley Lafitte. Shirley Lafitte has been nominated for the
CEO Award of Excellence with Ocean View Continuing Care Centre. Shirley was nominated by her coworkers for
consistently going above and beyond to ensure the comfort and contentment of residents. Shirley cares for the residents as though
they were her own family. She is always deeply and sincerely concerned
about their well-being. She is well-known for her positivity, honesty
and team spirit. Shirley never misses a chance to make each
resident feel special. [Page 2663] Mr. Speaker, I ask that all members of this
House of Assembly congratulate Shirley Lafitte on a job well done. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Inverness. MACISAAC, PAUL: NOBLE HALL OF HONOUR – INDUCTION MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, congratulations
to Paul MacIsaac of Port Hood, who was inducted into the Doctor Hugh A. Noble Hall of Honour
by the Nova Scotia Teachers Association for Physical and Health Education. Paul had a teaching career that lasted 34
years, primarily in Port Hood. In demonstrating the spirit of the Dr. Hugh
A. Noble Award, Paul made tremendous efforts on behalf of his colleagues and students. Dr. Noble is considered by many to be the
father of physical education in our province. He was elegant, articulate and a charismatic
leader for physical education in sport. He was a role model for many, and so Paul
has been during his career. Let us congratulate Paul. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Sydney-Whitney Pier. ST. JOSEPH’S LEBANESE & SYRIAN BENEVOLENT SOC.: CULTURE – PROTECTION CONGRATS. MR. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, I
rise in my place to recognize the St. Joseph’s Lebanese and Syrian Benevolent Society in
Sydney, which for over 100 years has supported, celebrated, and protected the Lebanese and
Syrian cultures in the CBRM and across the Island. They have done tremendous work in the community
supporting Syrian refugees in their Cedars Club, located in Sydney, which has been a
community centre for many years to support organizations throughout the community. It has been a challenge for the society since
the Thanksgiving Day flood, but this week, through the perseverance of their board and
their president, they received very good news that will allow them to continue to celebrate
the traditions of the Lebanese and Syrian families in Cape Breton for 100 years more. So I rise today as their MLA to congratulate
the St. Joseph’s Lebanese and Syrian Benevolent Society on their hard work and their commitment
to protecting and celebrating the Lebanese and Syrian culture in Cape Breton. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Clare-Digby. JANSON, OLIVER ET AL – VOL. EFFORTS – HONOUR [Page 2664] MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Every year, our municipalities
honour some of the many volunteers, and choose one to represent the group at a provincial
ceremony. The following are the three from my riding,
and a short description of some of the things these people do for their communities. Oliver Janson of the Town of Digby, who has
had a tremendous impact on the sporting community, coaching soccer, track and field and cross-country,
as well as being one of the founders of the Digby Scallop Fun Run. Over the years, he has been part of a number
of organizations and boards. Shirley Dugas of the municipality has volunteered
much time for the Admiral Digby Museum and Historical Society’s genealogy, as well as
for the Girl Guides and the Bear River United Baptist Church. Marie Saulnier of the Municipality of Clare
has been an avid volunteer at the Sacré-Coeurs Church in Saulnierville, serving on several
of the committees and organizing fundraisers such as a parish picnic. She also volunteers at the food bank. The ceremony by the province permits us to
show our appreciation, and highlight the importance of volunteering. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Inverness. MACISAAC, GABRIEL – PHOTOGRAPH/RAIL ART COLLECTION MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Let us acknowledge
Gabriel MacIsaac, from Troy, for combining his passion for photography and rail art to
produce a one-of-a-kind collection. Years ago, working as a railcar inspector
at Port Hawkesbury Paper, he began to appreciate the spray-painted art on the railcars. Most of us would have dismissed the creations
as graffiti, but Gabriel saw something more and started taking photos of the cars. That led him to New York to study graffiti
art in the 1970s. Over the years, he has taken more than 500
photographs and his collection is currently on display in the People’s Place Library in
Antigonish. We look forward to seeing more of Gabriel’s
work. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. CHIASSON, LYNETTE: VOLLEYBALL – DEDICATION HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise
today to acknowledge Lynnette Chiasson of Albert Bridge, who was the lone Cape Breton
athlete on the Nova Scotia women’s volleyball team that competed in the 1987 Jeux Canada
Games held in Sydney. [Page 2665] Thirty-seven years ago, the Canada Games was
one of the largest sporting events ever held on the Island. Close to 2,000 athletes from across Canada
competed in 17 different sports. Today, Lynnette coaches girls volleyball,
both at the Sydney Academy and with Volleyball Cape Breton. The Nova Scotia volleyball team didn’t get
a medal at the event, but Lynnette’s fondest memories are of the times she spent with her
teammates at the athlete’s village at Breton Education Centre. �I’m pleased to congratulate and thank Lynnette
Chiasson for her dedication then and now to volleyball in our area. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings-South. BEDINGFIELD, DR. WENDY: WOMENACTIVE N.S. – RECOGNITION MR. KEITH IRVING « » : I rise to recognize Gaspereau
resident Dr. Wendy Bedingfield, a leader in physical education, sport, and recreation
opportunities for women. Beginning her teaching career at Acadia University
in 1970, Dr. Bedingfield left to earn her Ph.D. in biomechanics and anatomy. In 1981, she helped establish the Canadian
Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport. Returning to Acadia in 1986, she was a professor
and administrator until she retired in 2012. Her interest in sport, leadership, and gender
equity was reflected in her teaching and in her work with provincial, national, and international
sport organizations. On April 1st, she was recognized by WomenActive
Nova Scotia, an organization she helped found, at its second annual Trailblazer Trendsetter
Awards. On behalf of the Legislative Assembly of Nova
Scotia, I would like to congratulate Dr. Bedingfield on this most recent honour, and for years
of motivating and inspiring sport and recreation professionals to be leaders and agents for
change. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Northside-Westmount. MACKENZIE, BLAIR/C.B. HORSEMAN’S ASSOC. – WEEKLY HARNESS RACING MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : I rise today thank Blair
Mackenzie and the Cape Breton Horseman’s Association’s 200 members for the weekly harness racing
at the Northside Downs. It’s a monumental task to keep the track and
surrounding facilities up and running. Close to 50 people are employed at the track
during the season. There is no admission to the track, and the
owners and trainers welcome people into the barns to meet their horses. It’s an event for young families to spend
an afternoon at the Downs. I’m very proud to highlight the track today
in this House. [Page 2666] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Halifax Armdale. CAMPBELL, DR. LINDA: BILL 59 ALLIANCE – APPLAUD HON. LENA DIAB « » : I rise today to speak about
a passionate advocate for improving accessibility in our province, Dr. Linda Campbell, a professor
and senior research fellow in environmental science at Saint Mary’s University, who is
a deaf Nova Scotian and a resident of Halifax Armdale. I wish to thank Dr. Campbell for reaching
out to me in January and involving me in meetings being held by the Bill 59 Alliance, a group
that worked extremely hard over the last several months to put forward meaningful recommendations
and strengthen Bill No. 59. I wish to thank Dr. Campbell and other members
of the Alliance whom I was able to hear from personally about the reality and challenges
of living with disability in Nova Scotia. I ask all members of the House of Assembly
to join me in applauding Dr. Campbell and all those who contributed to the Bill 59 Alliance’s
work, which greatly improved the final piece of legislation. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Argyle-Barrington. GARLAND, DILLON – FILM/VIDEO WORK CONGRATS. HON. CHRISTOPHER D’ENTREMONT « » : Dillon Garland
is an award-winning filmmaker originally from Barrington who has directed more than 30 music
videos, numerous short films, and worked on several Canadian television series. Dillon has been awarded two East Coast Music
awards, two Hollywood music and media awards, an IMEA music award, a Los Angeles music award,
a Music Nova Scotia award, and one best short film award at the 2013 CAT film festival. A review of his feature film called, Afraid
to Speak – the Story of a Young Man Dealing with Depression, called Dillon a natural-born
filmmaker and a major new player on Atlantic Canada’s ever-changing cinema scene, after
it was featured at the 2016 Parrsboro Film Festival. I congratulate Dillon Garland for his outstanding
work in film and video and for bringing the difficult subject of depression to a wider
audience. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of
Education and Early Childhood Development on an introduction. HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : I would like to draw
everyone’s attention to the gallery opposite. As we know, there has been a committee of
teachers who have been working very hard to put together actions for us to implement. One of those teachers is here today. We have received the report of the Council
to Improve Classroom Conditions. Michael Cosgrove is here. He has joined us in the gallery. He has been speaking to media. He’s getting all kinds of practice. Michael is a teacher at Dartmouth High, teaches
English and philosophy, and has indicated to me that the council has worked six days,
55 hours. I think they are to be commended. Thank you very much. (Applause) [Page 2667] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of
Health and Wellness. HON. LEO GLAVINE » : I would like to make a quick
introduction. In the east gallery, we have Reverend Gerry
Leet with us, who comes by to acknowledge all MLAs and the work that they do. Perhaps in the next couple of weeks, he’ll
include us all in his prayers. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. SAM’S PIZZA (TRURO): TRURO’S HOMELESS OUTREACH SOC. – PIZZA DONATIONS MS. LENORE ZANN « » : I would like to commend
the generous and compassionate spirit demonstrated by Truro’s Sam’s Pizza. On Wednesday evenings, the staff at Sam’s
takes their wood-fire-cooked pizzas down to Truro’s Homeless Outreach Society to share
with our community members experiencing homelessness, taking pressure off volunteers and giving
the Outreach Society a bit of a break from having to plan a menu for that night. They’ve been doing this for the past three
years. This is exemplary community spirit in Truro. It’s a sample of why I’m so proud to represent
this district. I would like the House to join me in recognizing
the work of the entire team at both Sam’s Pizza and the Truro Homeless Outreach Society. [10:00 a.m.] ORDERS OF THE DAY ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the
Official Opposition. PREM. – COUN. TO IMPROVE CLASSROOM CONDITIONS REPT. HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question
is for the Premier. Today, the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions
issued their report. I think we should all give them a big round
of applause and a big thanks for the work they have done. (Applause) That council got more work done
in a few weeks than this government did for education in three and a half years. It’s true. You know what, Mr. Speaker? After the way this government treated the
teachers of Nova Scotia, the work they got done is particularly impressive. For three years, teachers have been asking
for caps on our classrooms and the Premier said no. He told them we couldn’t afford it. He said it would cost $41 million. I will table that estimate, which the Premier
and his government made. Now, on the eve of an election, suddenly it
only costs $5.9 million. [Page 2668] MR. SPEAKER « » : Does the member have a question? MR. BAILLIE « » : I’ll ask the Premier, was
he overestimating the cost of class caps for three years or is he underestimating it now? THE PREMIER « » : Again, I want to thank
those teachers who came from across the province to work with the department to lay out improvements
that we could continue to make in the classroom. I want to remind the Leader of the Progressive
Conservative Party that through successive budgets in this province, we continue to put
class caps. We started from Primary to Grade 3, and went
from Grade 3 to Grade 6. I’m very proud of the work that the classroom
teachers have done over the last couple of weeks. I also want to remind the honourable member
that he is the one who said he would disband that council. We’re going to continue to invest in classrooms
and we’re going to continue to invest in teachers, because our kids deserve it. MR. BAILLIE « » : Yes, Mr. Speaker, we would
have had class caps a long time ago if we had a Premier and a government that listened
to teachers in the first place. But it took an election to get them to pay
attention. That’s a shame, because the students and teachers
of Nova Scotia deserve a government with vision, not just in the last week of their mandate,
but through all four years. The Premier even went out of his way to tell
teachers he couldn’t afford class caps. That it was $41 million. Now today, magically, it’s $5.9 million. How can teachers and parents trust any number
this Premier ever presents on education when he makes the numbers up to suit his own political
needs? THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable
member, and I want to thank those teachers who came in here, again. I want to tell each and every one of them
that I value and respect what they have been doing in classrooms, and that I value the
work they have done with this committee. I respect and believe in the things they brought
forward to our government. We will continue to work with them. We will continue to make investments in classrooms
no matter how negative the honourable member is. It’s one thing to be negative towards us in
this House, but to criticize those teachers who came in here 15 different times? He should stand up and congratulate them. MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, we’ve seen how
much this government respects teachers. We’ve seen how much they respect students. They locked students out of our classrooms
last December. They told teachers they were greedy. They told teachers they were asking for too
much. They told teachers they were wrong about classrooms. [Page 2669] Teachers know exactly how much the Premier
respects them. If he means what he says, then he should stand
in his place now and apologize to the teachers of Nova Scotia for calling them greedy when
there was no election, and then suddenly giving them the legitimate things they were asking
for, on the eve of a vote. THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the honourable
member may have missed that in every budget we’ve introduced, we’ve invested in classrooms
across the province. We continue to do so. This is the first question that we’ve had
about education from the honourable member, while teachers have continued to work to improve
classrooms. I want to thank those teachers who continue
to work here. I want to thank all those Nova Scotians who
have worked with our government over the last four years to put us in good fiscal health. Each and every time along that journey, we
invested in classrooms. We told all public servants that we would
provide a wage increase that we believed was fair, and at the time, we invested in classrooms,
health care and other services that Nova Scotians have come to expect and deserve. It is a balanced approach. It’s a different approach than the honourable
member would bring forward. We’re very proud of our record, and we’re
grateful to those teachers who have worked with us. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader in the
House of the New Democratic Party. PREM. – HALLWAY MEDICINE: BUDGET – EFFECTS HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : My question is
to the Premier. The stories emerging from the health care
workers and patients about the state of emergency rooms in this province is beyond troubling. I ask all MLAs in this House to picture themselves
or a loved one shivering on a gurney in a hallway for hours on end with no privacy. Hallway medicine is not a solution to overcrowding
in our ERs. It has to stop. It has to stop today. I would like to ask the Premier, how will
this budget end hallway medicine in our hospitals today? THE PREMIER « » : The Minister of Health
and Wellness has continued to work with health care providers and the Health Authority continues
to improve infrastructure across the province. We continue to work on a human resources plan
to ensure that we have doctors, nurse practitioners, family practice nurses, and all health care
providers practising in communities. We know there’s more work to do. The honourable minister has increased emergency
room capacity in Dartmouth General. Here on the Halifax side of the harbour, we’re
going to continue to make those investments and work with communities. As the honourable member says, Nova Scotians
deserve top-quality health care. [Page 2670] MR. BELLIVEAU « » : The Premier on a continuous
theme, it continues to get worse. The Premier continues to talk about strategic
investments. While I know we have to make long-term investments,
this Premier cannot ignore the short-term needs that are putting the health and safety
of workers and patients at risk. He cannot ignore the patients lying in hallways
and family rooms. He cannot strip away their dignity in this
way while at the same time standing here in this House patting himself on the back. I would like to ask the Premier, how can he
stand here today and celebrate this budget while our hospitals are resorting to hallway
medicine to deal with the overcrowding in our ERs? THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable
member for the question. I want to remind him the budget of the Health
Department has increased by, I believe, $75 million. In the last NDP budget, it was a $50 million
increase. We continue to invest in health care. We continue to make sure that the infrastructure
is in place. We’re going to continue to go out and work
with those health care providers. One of the things that has become very clear
is that the health care infrastructure was ignored for a very long time. Particularly it was ignored under the NDP
Government. They made no investment in improving that. We’re to continue to make that investment. MR. BELLIVEAU « » : The third time, I hope the
Premier gets a chance to at least try to address this question. I doubt those lying in hospital hallways or
family rooms are celebrating this budget. In fact, I bet they are certainly disappointed,
perhaps even angered by the standing ovations that this Liberal Government gave themselves
yesterday. The Code Census report is available to the
Premier. The stories emerging from the overcrowded
ERs are in the media. The Premier should read these. How can this government ever fix the problems
when they won’t even admit there’s a problem in the first place? I ask the Premier, will he admit today that
there is a crisis – I underline the word “crisis” – in our health care system, created by this
government with their lack of attention to the front-line health caregivers? THE PREMIER « » : The challenge in health
care is the fact that Nova Scotians gave the NDP a chance to govern, and they completely
ignored the health care infrastructure. MR. SPEAKER « » :
The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. PREM. – HEALTH CARE FACILITY: HRM LANDS – CONSIDER HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Yesterday, Halifax Mayor
Mike Savage said he was surprised by the $7.5 million purchase of the Whopper Lands in Bayers
Lake. In fact, the mayor said, it was a surprise
to all of us, and I will table that for the benefit of the House. We know this land was bought without a proper
tender at 12 times its assessed value. It seems odd that the government didn’t even
talk to HRM about that purchase, since they are a significant landholder in the area,
and they might have been able to swap some land cost-free. [Page 2671] I’d like to ask the Premier, why didn’t his
government look to the landholdings of the Halifax Regional Municipality, which are already
owned by the taxpayers, when it decided to buy the Whopper lands? THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to
thank the honourable member for the question. As I’ve said to him a number of times in this
House, when we looked at the people who were using the facility, 60 per cent of them were
outside of HRM. They would be funnelled downtown to the peninsula. It didn’t make sense to continue that. This was an opportunity – we are a generation
that can shape the health care delivery model. When we looked at the 40 per cent of those
in HRM who are using the facility, many of them live out in that catchment area. There are 15 pieces of property that we looked
at. We narrowed it down to negotiate. Mr. Speaker, the mayor is the mayor of HRM. I am the Premier of Nova Scotia. This is a health care facility for all Nova
Scotians. (Interruptions) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition
has the floor. MR. BAILLIE « » : It’s hard to ask questions
when the Liberal and the NDP members are being so negative. (Laughter) That’s for those guys. Mr. Speaker, the Premier seems to know better
than the chief city planner for HRM about where this facility should be located. Chief Planner Bob Bjerke says, “It will be
nearly impossible to provide adequate transit service out there,” and added that that area
is already congested. But the government went ahead anyway and bought
the Whopper Drop lands, without tender, for 12 times their assessed value. That $7.5 million is coming out of the health
care budget. It could be used for doctors. It could be used for facilities. But instead, it’s being used to buy land in
an area without proper services that’s already congested. The only way this will ever be cleared up
is if the government releases all the documents that were involved in this decision. Will the Premier agree, before the end of
today, to release all the documents related to the Whopper Drop land purchase? THE PREMIER « » : Again, I want to thank
the honourable member for the question. Staff at Transportation and Infrastructure
Renewal did an outstanding job of looking at traffic patterns and people. They came through. We are using that facility. They looked at 15 different sites and narrowed
it down to a few. They went into negotiations with this site. This site will be ready for construction when
it’s taken over by the province – water, sewer, roads will be brought in. Blasting will have taken place. This is an investment that is in the best
interests of all Nova Scotians to continue to deliver health care. [Page 2672] I look forward to the members in that community
going out knocking on doors and hearing from the residents who live in that area who are
grateful that a government is finally listening to them and putting in infrastructure where
people live. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Sackville-Cobequid. PREM. – BUDGET: NEW NURSING HOME BEDS – DETAILS HON. DAVID WILSON « » : What the government delivered
to Nova Scotians yesterday was a budget of zeroes. While that side of the House was patting itself
on the back, the rest of the province was scratching their heads and wondering why the
budget didn’t include any of the investments that the province desperately needs. Wait times for nursing homes in some areas
of the province are over 1,000 days. I’d like to ask the Premier, how many nursing
home beds will be created under this new budget? THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to
thank the honourable member for the question. I also want to thank the Minister of Health
and Wellness for the continued work he’s been doing in reducing the wait-lists for long-term
care facilities. I also want to thank the Nova Scotia Government
Employees Union and the Nurses’ Union, who worked with government to eliminate home care
wait-lists across the province. We’re continuing to make sure that seniors
get to stay home as long as possible. It’s through that level of collaboration and
co-operation that we’re continuing to provide people with those services. MR. DAVID WILSON « » : Zero, Mr. Speaker. There are so many vulnerable Nova Scotians
today, as we stand here debating and asking questions, who are in hospitals throughout
the province and need long-term care placements. They’re waiting months. Something else missing in the budget is Collaborative
Emergency Centres – or the mention of collaborative centres. This year, emergency room closures are up,
and they’ve been up ever since this government took office. Emergency rooms in Halifax and industrial
Cape Breton are bursting at the seams, forcing patients into hallways and makeshift rooms. I would like to ask if the Premier will tell
me, how many new Collaborative Emergency Centres are included in this budget? [10:15 a.m.] [Page 2673] THE PREMIER « » : I’ll ask the Minister
of Health and Wellness to respond. HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : I’d like to tell the member
opposite, and the House and all Nova Scotians, that I remember the day when there were 350
patients waiting in hospitals for placement. Today, we run between 150-175 right across
the province, many in transitional care. When I delivered my first address to the House
in 2014, we had 2,563 on the waiting list for nursing homes; today, we’re at 1,100 across
Nova Scotia. (Interruptions) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness
has the floor. MR. GLAVINE « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The story gets absolutely better, because
we offered those on the list proper care at home. Today, across Nova Scotia, again, when I first
reported we had over 14,000 unserviced hours; today we’re down to a couple of hundred, just-in-time
home care service in our province. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the
Official Opposition. PREM.: ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES – USAGE EXPLAIN HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, in 2012,
the now-Premier was very critical and negative about the way that the NDP rigged the electoral
boundary process and the boundaries that were drawn as a result of that process. He said at the time that this whole process
has undermined the confidence in many ways of the voter. And I’ll table that quote for the benefit
of the House. I’d like to ask the Premier today, if he knew
that the process used by the NDP was wrong in 2012, why is he insisting on using those
same boundaries today? �THE PREMIER « » : We agreed with the
court when they said the former NDP Attorney General interfered with the process from an
independent commission. We’ve reached out to the complainant, who
took the complaint to the court and asked them to give us the definition of effective
representation – what they believe is effective representation. We told them at that point – and we’re reaching
out to the African Nova Scotia community for that very answer. We will reconstitute a commission, we’ll put
the vote into those communities, and we’ll make sure when the new boundaries commission
goes out and sets the boundaries, it will be a reflection of what the minority communities
felt was missing in the last one. And when that commission is struck and those
boundaries are set, whatever election comes after that will follow those boundaries. �MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, earlier the Premier
bragged about being the Premier of Nova Scotia. His number-one job is to protect the constitutionally
enshrined rights and freedoms of Nova Scotians. You don’t need someone else to tell you what
effective representation is, it’s in the Constitution of Canada. There have been court cases that have provided
that definition. (Interruptions) [Page 2674] Mr. Speaker, the member for Yarmouth is being
very negative today. It’s hard to ask questions. (Laughter) I have to ask the Premier, doesn’t he want
to know whether the boundaries are constitutional or not before he calls an election? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to actually find
out first? He was against the boundaries in the last
election; now he’s ready to turn a blind eye to whether the current boundaries are unconstitutional. In fact, he said at the time that he would
never compromise on minority rights. MR. SPEAKER « » : Does the member have a question? MR. BAILLIE « » : My question, Mr. Speaker,
is pretty direct. Why is the Premier compromising the minority
rights of Nova Scotians now, when he was against it before the last election? THE PREMIER « » : The court did not say
the boundaries were unconstitutional. What the court said was that the Attorney
General, under the NDP, believed he had the same answers that the Leader of the Progressive
Conservative Party just stood up and said. He said he interfered and it was inappropriate. What he said was, and what we have said is,
we’re reaching out to the Acadian community, the African Nova Scotia community, and let’s
have a conversation. Does the Acadian community believe that they
are fairly represented by the three protected ridings that existed before? I’ve heard from people in Cheticamp, Mr. Speaker,
who say they didn’t feel represented by those three communities. The largest Acadian community is in HRM. What we’re asking is, what does the Acadian
community believe is effective representation, the same question we’re asking to the African
Nova Scotian communities all across Nova Scotia, from one end to the other. We want them to be engaged in this process
so when we reconstitute a new boundaries commission, Mr. Speaker, we can give them the instructions
that reflect the values of minorities in this province and that when the boundaries commission
is struck and is laid out, they will feel like they’ve been heard and represented. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings North. AGRIC.: BEEHIVE IMPORTATION – REASONS [Page 2675] MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question
is for the Minister of Agriculture. Nova Scotia has invested more than $900,000
to increase beehive numbers and that has been successful. There are now more than enough beehives in
the province to supply the pollination needs. In fact there is the Perennia Beeline, and
I will table that, which shows more than 800 hives available. If you look at that, most of the major beekeepers
are not listed on that. In fact you could easily double that number
of hives available for pollination. Mr. Speaker, the reason for increasing our
own beehive numbers was important. It was to keep pests like the small hive beetle
out of Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister
is, given the more than adequate numbers of beehives within Nova Scotia, why would the
minister risk importing small hive beetle by permitting 500 hives to come into the province
from small hive beetle-infested southern Ontario? HON. KEITH COLWELL » : The
member raises a very good question. Indeed, according to the information put out
by the bee industry, we have 24,000 pollinators in the province. That’s not accurate, we have 20,000, this
year. We had a 15 per cent death of beehives and
we’re down to between 17,000 and 18,000 and that’s the actual numbers provided by beekeepers
themselves in the census that is done every year. We also implemented the most rigid inspection
for the small hive beetle in the world. (Interruption) That is true. Also, some of the beekeepers are importing
bees from Australia, queen bees in clusters, where the small hive beetle is from and also
from California. This is a very major issue that we intend
to address. MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my suspicion is
that the minister himself wouldn’t know a small hive beetle if he saw it and is quoting
numbers. I would challenge him to table that information. He stated things in the Yarmouth County Vanguard
that he has no support for. I would suggest to him that the producers
in the industry know the business and the minister does not know the business. I would suggest to him that he table where
there are small hive beetles in other provinces, other than southern Ontario which he stated
in the Yarmouth County Vanguard, which I will table. The minister also stated in the Yarmouth County
Vanguard, and I quote, when asked why hives wouldn’t be imported from a province that
doesn’t have the pest, he replied that it was not up to the department to decide, “It’s
up to the individuals who have been doing the importation.” MR. SPEAKER « » : Does the member have a question? [Page 2676] MR. LOHR « » : I would suggest that the minister
has an obligation to protect the industry; that’s his obligation. Will the minister defend the local beekeepers
and the bee industry here and do his job? MR. COLWELL « » : As a result of the concerns
brought forward by the bee industry and the research we’ve done on this – and we have
all the facts and figures which we will table later today, or on Monday (Interruptions)
We are going to do a complete review of the program. When I came to the department, the goal was
to double the number of hives in the province to get to where you don’t have to import bees. We’re not convinced we are at that point yet. However, we’re going to put on hold everything
we’re doing. We’re going to do a complete inventory of
all bees in the Province of Nova Scotia to see if the numbers are accurate. Then we are going to look at the program. (Interruptions) I will answer the question, Mr. Speaker, when
the people are prepared to listen. I’m in no rush. MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Agriculture with
a couple of seconds left. MR. COLWELL « » : When I first came to the department
the total bee pollination expansion program was $125,000. I increased it to $0.25 million a year. That’s a substantial investment in Nova Scotia’s
bee industry (Interruption). MR. SPEAKER « » : The
honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret’s. PREM. – BUDGET: SENIORS CARE – LACK EXPLAIN HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker,
the Premier abandoned negotiations with the federal government to have a health transfer
that takes into account Nova Scotia’s aging population. Instead, he has tried to sell Nova Scotians
on a side deal that provides less money overall with a pocket of funding for home care. Well, looking at this budget, it’s hard to
know what the government plans to do with that money because there are no increases
in the budget for home care nursing services or support services. Will the Premier tell us why this money isn’t
included in the budget lines for the direct care for seniors? THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to
thank the honourable member for the question. She would know we negotiated a health accord
with the national government at a 3 per cent increase across the entire amount that would
be delivered to the province from the federal government. We also had dedicated funding, $360 million
roughly, for home care; again about another $170 million for adolescent mental health. That funding is a 10-year agreement that will
come in. [Page 2677] I also want to remind the honourable member
of the great work that the Minister of Health and Wellness has been doing along with our
partners, with the NSGEU and the NSNU, when it comes to home care to eliminating lists
across the province. We’ve invested in every budget in home care,
and we’re going to continue to do so. MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, I’d like
to thank the Premier for his answer but the Premier does not have the facts from his minister. The fact is that home care supports have a
long waiting list. I personally know that. Home care seems to be the Premier’s answer
to everything, but I don’t think he tells Nova Scotians the whole truth. We still have seniors waiting for home support
services. Like this government’s approach to doctors
and collaborative care, there’s just no plan. What is the Premier’s plan for supporting
seniors who urgently need home support services? It’s the home support services, and maybe
the minister can explain what that is to the Premier. THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to
thank the honourable member for the question, and I want to thank the Minister of Health
and Wellness. This is a very serious issue. We know, and people have told us, they want
to stay home as long as possible. That’s why we continue to make those investments
in home-care supports. I would encourage the honourable member to
continue to work with the home care delivery agency in her community if the Minister of
Health and Wellness could connect her with the right people. I do want to thank our sister organizations
that have worked with us to ensure that we are providing those supports at home. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Dartmouth East. FIN. & TREASURY BD.: HEALTH CARE FED./PROV. AGREEMENT – STATUS MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, on December
23rd, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and the Premier put out a press release
that stated the government had reached an agreement with the federal government on health
care and that it was a 10-year agreement, and it went on to provide details of that
funding. Now, does the minister still stand behind
that release that an agreement was reached and was being implemented with the federal
government? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : As released in December,
as people know, there was a finance ministers’ meeting. We met with federal, provincial, and territorial
ministers of finance. We had health ministers actually join us at
that meeting to have discussions about the health-transfer amounts from the federal government
going towards health care. [Page 2678] Earlier in that week, we failed to come to
an agreement but throughout that week back in December, we continued our discussions
with the federal government working to get the best deal that we could get for Nova Scotia
and for Nova Scotians to invest in health care. The budget that got tabled yesterday demonstrates
that indeed the transfers from the federal government for health care have increased. MR. YOUNGER « » : I see, Mr. Speaker, the minister
avoided answering the question whether he stands by the release which I guess is the
answer. In a scrum following the more recent Public
Accounts Committee meeting, the minister’s deputy was quoted as saying there was no agreement,
and in the meeting itself, he said, “There usually isn’t an agreement, per se, but there’s
an understanding . . .” and in the same testimony, he said talk of an agreement ended earlier
in December, before the release came out. [10:30 a.m.] Why did the minister put out a press release
announcing an agreement when his deputy says talk about an agreement had already stopped,
and how can we have faith in any of the minister’s statements, including his budget, since he
has claimed there was an agreement that did not exist? MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I’d just like
to highlight that an agreement coming to a common understanding is a relatively accepted
definition there. In terms of the agreement that was reached,
the agreement that was reached between the federal government with almost all provinces
and territories, you can go and look at the press releases from each and every one of
them that came to agreements of the same sort of nature and the press releases, in each
and every case, follow similar wording and description. We have the same deal with the federal government
for those transfers. We’ve seen increases from the federal government,
particularly targeted investments in home care and mental health. These are the shared priorities that the provincial
government has with our federal partners. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou Centre. EECD – NEW SCHOOLS: VETTING PROCESS – QUEUE-JUMPING HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question
is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Recent FOIPOP documents shed light on the
way this Liberal Government decides which communities get new schools – and I’ll table
that, Mr. Speaker. There’s a vetting process which ranks schools
by need, however Cabinet makes the final decision and it appears that political need is a major
component to that decision-making process. [Page 2679] My question, Mr. Speaker, can the minister
explain why five of the schools that jumped the queue were located in Liberal constituencies? HON. KAREN CASEY » : Thank you to the member for
the question, a question that has been answered many times. There are a number of factors considered when
new school constructions are planned. The first priority is the program for students,
the next priority is for boards to submit to the department their list of capital requests
and that is asked for, considered. We also look at the capacity within the capital
budget of the province. We also look at the regional fairness, all
those factors come together. It is not political, I can tell you. When we were elected in 2013 we accepted all
the announcements that had been made by the previous government and we moved forward with
those. Some of those were not in Liberal-held ridings. We did not consider that; we considered the
communities that had been promised those schools and we followed through on them. MR. DUNN « » : When asked to explain how schools
in her own riding and in the Premier’s riding got approved over others that were ranked
higher, the minister said that geography plays a role in that decision making. My question to the minister, can the minister
explain how a school in Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg that is ranked number 12 was passed over and
a school in Dartmouth North that ranked number 41 was chosen? MS. CASEY « » : I think it’s more important
to talk about the situation in Springhill. The Town of Springhill has requested A&A for
our new school for two elementaries. All governments, PC, NDP and Liberal, have
said no, we will not build a new school, we will do a renovation. Mr. Speaker, not once has the member from
that area ever written to me, ever talked to me, ever asked me – ever spoke to me on
behalf of the good people of Springhill about the needs in his community. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Kings North. JUSTICE: MENTAL HEALTH COURT – UPDATE [Page 2680] MR. JOHN LOHR « » : My question is for the Minister
of Justice. Last year I tabled a bill to have mental health
court available throughout the province. At the time the minister stated that a bill
was not required; she could do this within existing legislation. Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister
is this, if that is the case, why has this not happened yet, given the great need for
mental health court throughout the province? HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : I appreciate the question
from the member opposite. He and I had a chance to tour the central
correctional facility not very long ago, and we’ve had discussions about mental health
in Nova Scotia. We have an extension of various courts in
our province – wellness courts are what I’m thinking of. They encompass mental health and addictions,
and they really are led by our judiciary. Each time one is undertaken, it’s because
we have a provincial court judge sitting in some corner of the province who has agreed
that it’s a priority and has worked to change the opportunity for a different sort of court
in their area. The most recent is an announcement that Wagmatcook
First Nation will have a Gladue, which is a cultural court, as well as a wellness court. It is the result of the judge sitting in Port
Hawkesbury spearheading that. MR. LOHR « » : In Kentville, the Health Authority
and courts work together to realign existing services and staff to provide a mental health
court for very little extra cost. Could this model not be used throughout the
province? That’s my question for the minister. Has she looked into the Kentville model, and
can it not be spread throughout the province? MS. WHALEN « » : I agree that where the communities
have come together with the co-operation or leadership from the judiciary, it has been
possible. The Mental Health Court in Dartmouth, which
is our one that is actually named a mental health court, has been fairly expensive to
do with the way it’s structured. It’s having tremendously positive results,
and I know it’s a real advantage to so many people who have mental health issues and who
should not really be seen in a regular court system. It requires more sensitivity. I appreciate the suggestion from the member
that more of these courts could be done with the communities coming together and putting
their resources on the table. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Halifax Needham. COM. SERV.: INCOME ASSISTANCE RATES – INCREASE MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : Thousands of Nova Scotians
don’t make enough money to meet their basic needs. They go without food or medication or heat
because their pockets are empty. In yesterday’s Budget Address, the Minister
of Finance and Treasury Board said putting money into the pockets of Nova Scotians who
need it was his government’s top priority. Since the Minister of Finance and Treasury
Board has said repeatedly that giving people more money to spend is good economic policy,
I would like to ask the Minister of Community Services why there is no increase to income
assistance rates in this budget. [Page 2681] HON. JOANNE BERNARD » : I have stood in this House
for three and a half years and talked about transformation. I have not talked about $2 or $4 incremental
increases. I have not talked about tinkering. What I have talked about is innovative social
policy change that will make a difference in the lives of people who need it the most. Yesterday’s budget introduced a standardized
household rate – innovative, bold, a leader in this country – so that people on income
assistance will have a substantial increase, and they will be able to keep more of their
income when they work. That makes a difference in social policy,
Mr. Speaker. That makes a difference. MS. ROBERTS « » : Many income assistance recipients
have been working as long as the minister with members of her department for years already
on that transformation process. I would like to know, when are they going
to see the change in their cheques so that they can actually have a dignified life in
this province? MS. BERNARD « » : We have been working with
over 1,800 stakeholders over the last three and a half years, while that government, who
are the supposed beacons of social policy in Nova Scotia, gave people $2 and $4 increments
without changing the system that keeps people in poverty. We have made a difference, and we will continue
to make a difference in the province. I was on this system in the 1990s, and it
was the same system that we came into. That government blew up waiting lists on affordable
housing. We can thank our lucky stars that that Party
is not responsible for social policy in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Interruption) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please, Order, please. The honourable member for Inverness. HEALTH & WELLNESS – CHILDREN’S DENTAL PLAN: UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE – PROTECT MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, a question
for the Minister of Health and Wellness. In 2013, here in Halifax, the Canadian Paediatric
Society met and they made a recommendation to governments across the country. They asked that governments ensure that children
are afforded equal access to basic treatment and preventive oral care regardless of where
they live or their socioeconomic status. In 2015, the Oral Health Advisory Group, however,
recommended to the minister that this government eliminate the universal plan and replace it
with a needs-based plan. So, my question is to the minister, will the
minister confirm that he will protect our universally-accessible children’s dental plan? HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what I can
say to the member opposite is absolutely we will protect the children’s plan. In fact, we need a more robust plan. The previous government went in the wrong
direction as the Nova Scotia Dental Association gave us very specific directions. Spreading it over 14, 15, 16 years was not
the way to go but to do the most work in the early years, and that plan is getting very
close to its final delivery. [Page 2682] MR. MACMASTER « » : I’d like to thank the minister
for that, Mr. Speaker, and I think that is one of the points. It’s not just universal care but it’s actually
getting children into the dentist’s chair. We can see that out of about 150,000 children
who are eligible in this province only 50,000 are finding their way into the dentist’s chair,
and it’s not because of money as it’s universal care. We need care that is proactive. We could be preventing more diabetes; we could
be preventing chronic disease versus having children in emergency rooms, getting dental
care versus having to be put under anaesthetic because emergencies have arisen because this
preventive care wasn’t done. The minister has provided a fairly positive
response there. My final question is, will the minister acknowledge,
and I think he has, and perhaps he can tell us about how we can get more children into
the dentist chairs. MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, the member for
Inverness raises an extremely valid, well-researched perspective here in the Legislature this morning. When we came to office, we had to work at
that end of the spectrum where we needed to increase surgical work at the IWK and had
to hire additional paediatric dental special surgeons because of the lack of work in the
early years. We’re retrenching; we’re going to direct more
towards those early years and prevent the serious and significant surgeries that have
been required in adolescent years. We hope to have that plan in front of Nova
Scotians. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou West. HEALTH & WELLNESS: PICTOU WEST PHYSICIAN – TIME
FRAME MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, this
could be perhaps the last opportunity that I have to stand in this place and have the
privilege to ask a question to the Minister of Health and Wellness. My question is about a young couple in their
30s, both teachers, who lost their home in Fort McMurray. They decided to move back to Nova Scotia,
and, they are considering moving back out West this fall. They were able to find teaching jobs which
is great but were not able to find a doctor. They need a doctor as do many hundreds of
people in Pictou West, alone. Can the minister please tell us if we will
have a doctor in Pictou West before September? HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, first of
all, I was pleased to be part of the announcement at the Westville Medical Clinic just a week
ago where we added an outstanding nurse to the team to the collaborative practice in
Westville and what we’ll be able to do there is add anywhere from 500 to 800 who are actually
on the list that is now compiled. The doctors there very specifically said,
that’s the list that they will go to to pick off those people of Pictou County, Westville
area first, but Pictou County generally, so that more can get primary care. [Page 2683] [10:45 a.m.] MS. MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I spoke to
that collaborative care the other day. They’re not taking anyone. Let’s be clear on that – they’ve told everyone
that they’re not taking any more. The other part of this story is rather sad. A young couple was in the process of adopting
in Alberta and they needed a doctor. I was able to get the adoption agency to waive
the part on the application so that they didn’t have to have a full-time doctor; however,
each of them needs a physical before the adoption process can go through. Will the minister please leave a legacy and
help me get physicals for this young couple so they can live their dream, grow their family,
and hang their hats in Nova Scotia? Please. This may be his last opportunity to help – my
last opportunity, maybe your last opportunity. Please let’s work together and get them a
physical. Promise me that. Please. MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, as the member
opposite and many here in the House know, I not only work to look after the global picture
of Nova Scotia, but I also help with many individual cases that have come my way – and
I will certainly do my best in the particular case that has been raised here this morning. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. PREM.: FILM INDUSTRY – APOLOGIZE MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question
today is for the Premier. Yesterday, he talked about working with the
film industry as if he’s a regular patron of the arts or something. This is the same Premier who thought that
the film industry was getting a free ride. A Premier who didn’t understand the financial
return to the province for investing in the industry, who thought they weren’t paying
taxes. I’d like to ask the Premier, as he tops up
the Nova Scotian Film and Television Production Incentive Fund on the eve of an election,
can he please at least apologize today to the many film industry workers who had to
pack up and move away, some taking their families with them, because of his government’s callous,
short-sighted, and mean-spirited actions? [Page 2684] THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to
thank all those in the film industry who continued to work with our government over the last
year to continue to provide employment to many Nova Scotians. I’m very proud of the fact that the film funds
she’s talking about have a subsidy of 25 per cent, but it has spread beyond just labour. She would know that prior to that it was 50-65
per cent. We said that was too high. We went down and said we could provide a subsidy
that was real for Nova Scotia. We continue to make that investment and will
continue to make that investment and work with them. What’s interesting is that the honourable
member continues to stand in this House and complain and complain and complain, but the
industry came to work with us, and that’s why they’re working in Nova Scotia. MS. ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, the film industry
came and tried to work with this government because their hands were tied behind their
backs and they knew that if they didn’t come and work with them they had nothing – nothing. Some extra money for the incentive fund will
help some offshore service producers become viable again. However, companies wanting to grow our local,
independent film industry have been seriously crippled by a lack of equity investment by
this government and by the cutting of the Film and Television Development Fund, which
have both helped create a local industry. My question for the Premier is, why is his
government opposed to equity investment in the film industry that would help local producers
tell our local stories right here in Nova Scotia, instead of having to go somewhere
else where they can get it? THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, if the honourable
member would stop complaining so much, she would realize that there are many people working
in Nova Scotia. We’ve continued to invest in the film industry
and the investment we’re making has spread beyond just labour in the film industry. It’s spread across many sectors. We’re seeing it based in the economy, we’re
seeing it grow the economy, and I want to thank Screen Nova Scotia for continuing to
work with us to continue to try to provide an opportunity for many young Nova Scotians
to be here. I’m grateful that they didn’t accept the negativity
of the honourable member, and that they actually came to work with our government to provide
opportunity. MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The time allotted for Oral Questions Put by
Members to Ministers has expired. HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, on a point
of order. With great reluctance, I need to correct a
statement made by the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development during Question
Period. As member for Cumberland South I am very proud
that I have raised the Springhill school both in this House . . . [Page 2685] MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. Is it a point of order or a disagreement of
facts? MR. BAILLIE « » : A point of order, Mr. Speaker. You’ll get this very quickly. I don’t want to take up a lot of time. Both in this House in Question Period and
in the examination of the estimates, the minister raises the issue of letters in this House. One would think that the annual letter that
she gets from the Chignecto-Central School Board – which constantly presents their top
priority for the construction of a new school for Springhill – would be enough, but given
her answer today, it has been very clear that politics play a role in new school construction,
instead of the priorities of the school board. MR. SPEAKER « » : That’s not a point of order,
that’s a disagreement of facts. The honourable Deputy Government House Leader. MR. TERRY FARRELL » : Mr. Speaker, I move that
we recess so that all members can attend the Day of Mourning, which is being held downstairs
at 11:00 a.m. I suggest that we return after the ceremony,
or at 12:15 p.m., whichever is later. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is to recess. Is it agreed? It is agreed. The House will now stand recessed until the
conclusion of the Day of Mourning ceremony, or 12:15 p.m., whichever comes last. [10:51 a.m. The House recessed.] [12:15 p.m. The House reconvened.] MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable New Democratic Party House
Leader. HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, on a point
of order. On Tuesday, we were asked by the Government
House Leader to consent to move Bill No. 59 on to the order paper and have it debated
because it was an important bill. On this National Day of Mourning, I ask for
similar consent for a bill that the government introduced today, Bill No. 90, which would
do what we think Nova Scotians would want us to do: improve workplace safety. I would ask for consent of the House to move
that Bill No. 90 be placed on the order paper today and called for second reading debate. [Page 2686] MR. SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed? I hear several Noes. GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Government
House Leader. MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, would you
please call the order of business, Government Motions. GOVERNMENT MOTIONS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Government
House Leader. MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, would you
please call Resolution No. 915. Res. No. 915, Estimates: CW on Supply – Referred
– notice given April 27/17 (Hon. R. Delorey) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Pictou East with three minutes. MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : I just wanted to conclude
with my final words on this budget with a few comments on what happens to ordinary Nova
Scotians when government doesn’t dot its i’s and cross its t’s. I think a number of the issues that have been
heavily discussed in this House have to do with the fact that the government really hasn’t
done its homework, that the government hasn’t followed process. If you think of the land deal, we wouldn’t
be talking about this land deal if it had been tendered, if government had followed
process. Instead, here we have people raising questions
about the developer and about the price. All these issues are only coming up because
the government didn’t follow proper process. It’s a shame when government makes decisions
that drag ordinary Nova Scotians into issues in this Legislature. We’ve seen it time and time again with this
government. Think about the issue with the school boards
and the new schools. There was a process to be followed. The government makes the fine school board
members deliver bad news, close schools. That’s the old thing. When there are photos to be taken and smiles
to be had, they open schools. There has been a lot of discussion about whether
these schools that have been announced should be built or not. What a shame for those communities to have
that questioned. But nobody questions whether those communities
need a school or not. They’re only questioning the actions of this
government. When government doesn’t do its homework, it
can make good, upstanding people look bad. That’s what we’ve seen there. [Page 2687] Now we have the same thing happening for the
Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance, the $5 million payment. The government didn’t do its homework to support
it, so instead, people ask questions about it. Government takes actions that cause people
to question why the government has taken those actions. It’s a complete shame. I would like to finish off with the bees. The bees are a serious, serious issue. I’m sure the company that’s importing one
truckload of bees doesn’t want to put the entire industry at risk, but it’s the path
that this government has set us on by not doing its homework. I would close on this by urging the next government
that sits in this House and successive governments to treat process with respect, to do their
homework beforehand. We had a number of bills over the last four
years pulled back. Government bills were pulled back because
the homework wasn’t done. Please, you owe it to Nova Scotians as a government
to do your homework, dot your i’s, and cross your t’s beforehand. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Queens-Shelburne. HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : It’s an honour
to have the opportunity to reply to this year’s budget. Here we are again on the eve of an election
with this government telling us about all the wonderful things that they are doing. You may ask, how did we get here? Yesterday, the Opposition member for Pictou
East and for just a few minutes today, in my observation, did a fair job. I’m going to be a bit generous. I actually made this comment yesterday but
I’m going to give the member for Pictou East, especially on his last comments here, I’m
going to give him a B+ for his budget address. Mr. Speaker, in 2013 the campaigning Liberal
Leader promised to put Nova Scotians first. Instead, the Premier has spent three and a
half years of trying to cut his way to prosperity while, at the same time, helping his Liberal
friends. The Premier set out the tone right after coming
into office by handing an $85,000 job to a failed Liberal candidate – pure patronage. Then came the amalgamation of the health authorities. It was going to transform the system. However, as we have seen, the creation of
this super board has resulted in no savings, none whatsoever. In fact, my observation is a cost of $15 million
to them. Furthermore, while this government has been
busy rearranging bureaucrats, the health care system in this province has been rapidly declining
– 106,000 people without a family doctor, Mr. Speaker, ER closures at an all-time high,
hospitals resorting to hallway medicine. That’s not good enough. [Page 2688] Mr. Speaker, then came the cuts. They axed the Film Tax Credit, devastated
an industry that has been built up over decades, with one swoop of the pen. We watched as film workers circled this House
in protest. Under this government’s watch we witnessed
as the police presence grew and more tinted SUVs, wagons, circled and sat in the parking
lot, and petty cuts to community groups that provided minimum savings to the government
but had a major negative impact on those community groups. All the while the Premier found money to help
his Liberal friends. He allowed his top civil servants to set up
a company to avoid paying taxes. How is that putting Nova Scotians first? But the government was saving money in other
ways, by making cuts to long-term care, impacting patients and staff in nursing homes, not a
single new long-term care bed under this Liberal watch. The number is easy to remember – zero. Meals, food costs for long-term care residents
reduced to less than $5 per day. It saved money by underspending the hospital
infrastructure, underspending in a tone of $82 million. Meanwhile it has not opened a single CEC – zero,
Mr. Speaker. That number is going to be frequent here in
this speech – zero. It has also not opened a single long-term
bed – again, zero. While these cuts and underspending were taking
a toll on our patients and health care workers across the province, the Liberal insiders
were still laughing all the way to the bank. In January 2015 the Premier appointed – and
I repeat “appointed” – a former Liberal Cabinet Minister to head the Nova Scotia Business
Inc., a position that pays $210,000 a year. Oh, to be a Liberal insider, Mr. Speaker. Maybe that’s what is called “sunny ways.” Meanwhile, the Premier promised – and I remember
that very clearly – a doctor for every Nova Scotian who is not well and not doing well. I hope the government was not surprised by
the fact that this decision to withhold billing numbers and their failure to recruit doctors
actually resulted in more people without a family doctor than when this Liberal Government
came to office. Mr. Speaker, the Premier was also on rocky
grounds with the public sector workers – workers he promised to treat fairly. In fact, he wrote an open letter to workers
promising to respect the collective bargaining process. In a few minutes, I will certainly add a pile
of broken promises, Mr. Speaker, but I distinctly recall that open letter in the election of
2013. Now, while there was no money for public sectors,
there was money for a few more staff in the Premier’s Office. One even got to write her own job description. Oh, to be a Liberal insider. Again, is that what the Liberals called “sunny
ways”? And so we are here today. We’re here today, and just to remind you again
of the letters’ promise of 2013, the Nova Scotia Liberal caucus believed in – the letter
stated at that time – the collective bargaining process; the right to strike; and protecting
workers’ rights, the letter went on to say, both unionized and non-unionized. Then along came Bill Nos. 148 and 75. [Page 2689] I believe I have made a very good case for
a broken promise. The list goes on. Let’s review the past three and a half years
under this Liberal reign. More than 10,000 full-time jobs lost; 5,000
fewer people under 24 in the workplace; the second-worst economy in Canada, 2017; emergency
room closures that have increased by more than 30 per cent; the longest wait times for
hip- and knee-replacement surgeries in Canada; wait times for mental health care services
that have increased by more than 25 per cent. Nova Scotia has a doctor shortage – and I’ll
repeat the number for those who are jotting down notes. People in Nova Scotia who do not have a family
doctor – that’s now risen to 106,000 people across this province; the second-highest tuition
cost in Canada – some schools have increased by over 30 per cent; the first public school
teachers’ strike in – get this – 122 years. We all remember Bill No. 75 just a few weeks
ago, when there was the largest crowd of my 11 years here. The crowd circled this building. We all remember that. Out-of-province nurses had to be flown in
because of a shortage of nurses. Is any of this being noted, Mr. Speaker? I’m sure the public is making notes, as we
are on the eve of an election. This government cut funding to nursing homes
– $8 million; long-term care, not one new bed in three and a half years – they placed
a moratorium on long-term care beds; the budget for seniors’ long-term care equals less than
$6 per day per meal, for the most vulnerable people in our society – and yet Danny Graham
is paid over $13,000 per month at Engage Nova Scotia. That, to me, is Liberals looking after Liberals
again. Is that “sunny ways”? To me, that would probably fit the bill. That’s sunny ways. Now, I know that the members opposite are
listening closely and taking notes. Just to refresh their minds, they eliminated
the Film Tax Credit. And remember the Pharmacare fiasco? We all remember that? They talked about doubling the fees to $2,400? I remember that. The Premier has been absent 30 per cent of
the time in Cabinet meetings in 2016. We heard on this floor that it was recommended
that cardboard cut-outs might replace in Ottawa – and might possibly be a good scenario to
have here. We could probably get more answers from a
cardboard cut-out. (Interruptions) I’m just getting into it and
I know I have the attention of the government here, so I know they’re taken notes intently. Here’s an interesting statistic, Mr. Speaker,
and I’ll say this slowly so that I know the members opposite are carefully writing this
down. The Minister of Health and Wellness had 41
months in government and promised a doctor for every Nova Scotian. Now he wants us to believe that he will have
a doctor in the next 36 months. Just a little play on numbers there, Mr. Speaker. I didn’t bring up that the member from Clare-Digby
suggested a 10 year term, until they meet that goal (Interruptions). [Page 2690] MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne
has the floor. MR. BELLIVEAU « » : I really appreciate your
attention to the day’s activities, and your wisdom, Mr. Speaker. The Liberals were going to lower power rates,
remember that promise? And break the monopoly – I remember that in
the literature, the campaign – I wonder how that is doing? Well, how it’s doing is that the monopoly
is stronger than ever – another broken promise. They were going to fix education. In respect to collective bargaining, the bargaining
works. Just an update on both the bills: it is my
observation that Bill No. 75 during this session, both Opposition (Interruptions) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne
has the floor. MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much, Mr.
Speaker. Again, I enjoy your intervention and wisdom
on this, because I want these individuals across to take thorough notes. On Bill No. 75 they were talking about – in
their election campaign in 2013 – about protecting workers’ rights and bargaining for workers. In this session, I observed that both Opposition
Parties tabled bills to repeal Bill No. 75. I know that the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union
has committed to taking that to the Supreme Court of Canada. Just a side note, during Bill No. 75, there
was a discussion here and I believe that I raised the point that a similar bill to Bill
No. 75 was introduced in B.C. It took 14 years to go through the court system. It spent 20 minutes in the Supreme Court – 20
minutes. I cannot drink a cup of coffee in 20 minutes. In the Supreme Court decision on the B.C.
decision – all it did was simply read the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And guess what, Mr. Speaker? Bill No. 75 will not only be repealed if it
is unsuccessful – it’s not going to get too far when it gets to the courts. We’ve had a government that has promised to
fix the roads. The
very first day, three and a half years ago, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
sold the paving equipment. What we see now after three and a half years
is paving less and costing more. Now they have the courage to talk about a
“program” to improve our road system by investing $390 million. But, here’s the catch: you’re going to have
to spread that over the next seven years. Well I did the math, and there could possibly
be two or three more elections over the next seven years. So I’m going to follow that one with great
interest, and we’ll see how many roads are completed with this particular program. This particular government boasts about stopping
corporate handouts, but $22 million to the Royal Bank, and offshore banks? I think that’s a broken promise. I’m just working my way slowly through this
list, and I ask the members over there to take careful notes because there is going
to be some homework for this weekend. If you take notice, in my last several speeches,
I’ve always had some homework for the sitting government and the backbenchers, so there’s
going to be a test at the end of this speech. [Page 2691] Long-term care – as I mentioned earlier, there
was a moratorium that was put on building nursing homes. It’s ironic that this Liberal Government boasted
in 2013 of keeping the previous government’s commitment on long-term care. One of those long-term care facilities in
Middlefield just outside of Liverpool is still waiting, and I think they’re going to be waiting
for a while until there’s a government change to get that home built. Not one long-term care bed under this particular
government. Interestingly enough, the previous four years
in which I had the fortune of spending some time in government, there were over 1,000
beds created. I suggest to you here today and those who
are listening intently, those 1,000 beds that were created in that four-year time frame,
they freed up hospital beds and they relieved the pressure on these institutions that we
are seeing that are overcrowded as I speak. I will get to that a little later on in this
speech. The Premier said that, again, a doctor for
everybody in 2013. The Minister of Health and Wellness – if I
can back up a year – came to the Town of Shelburne and promised to keep our ERs open. That was somewhere around two years ago, a
year-and-a-half ago; but, I know that the members on this side can clearly recall myself
standing in this seat, identifying each closure at Roseway Hospital, every one, in one session. That was after the Minister of Health and
Wellness came to Shelburne and said we have a plan, we are going to address the closures
in ERs not only in Roseway Hospital but right across our beautiful province. Do you know how this story ended? It got worse. It got worse – the highest record in Canada. Then, just to add to that story, in the previous
sitting, we had the member for Clare-Digby stand in his seat, address this congregation
here, the delegation of MLAs, and suggested, well, maybe we’re not going to meet that goal,
we’re probably going to kick that goalpost down the road a bit. Ten years down the road, Mr. Speaker. That’s not a promise that I think is going
to address the issue, and I can assure you that I truly believe that health care is the
major issue across our Atlantic Provinces. Then a few weeks ago, we had the Minister
of Health and Wellness suggest that, well, it’s not ten years – it’s going to be three
years that we can provide those services. So, Mr. Speaker, we’re left with a challenge. We’re left with a challenge, and this is it:
You pick a number. Is it ten years? Is it three years? Is there one doctor for everyone this year? It’s going to be interesting to see what the
Liberal platform is regarding health care as they enter this election. I have designed three words to describe the
situation that they’re in because they can’t pick a number, and the three words to describe
their health care platform is: Don’t get sick. Now I think that’s going to have a lot more
trust from the population than if you back up three-and-half years ago and they suggested
that we’ll have a doctor for everyone. [Page 2692] Now, Mr. Speaker, overcrowding in our hospitals
– this is something that’s certainly of interest to me and I think that we have seen this system
deteriorate over the last few years. Early in the last few days we have seen the
overcrowding certainly mentioned in Question Period, and the beginning of a new term in
our medical care vocabulary – and it’s certainly a new phrase for myself in this particular
sitting – it’s called “hallway medicine.” What we’ve heard is that there are 118 doctor
vacancies and, like I repeated earlier, 106,000 people without a family doctor. We have overcrowding or closed emergency rooms
and the wait times of two or three years for surgery. Interesting enough, Mr. Speaker, I’ve heard
several times during Question Period, this Premier stand in his place and say very clearly
that there is no crisis – and I repeat, no crisis. I know we have different political approaches
and I accept that, but I actually googled the word “crisis” because I wanted to understand
the meaning of that thoroughly because we were using it, certainly I have used it to
describe the situation we are entering into. The Google Dictionary gives us this terminology
– “it is a time of intense difficulty, it is trouble or danger.” But if you read on, probably the best meaning
is “it’s a time when a difficult, important decision must be made.” Now, Mr. Speaker, I know there’s a difference
of opinion – the Premier says there’s no crisis, but what I hope to conclude in my closing
remarks here in the next few minutes is that there is a crisis in our health care system
– and I hope the members opposite are taking thorough notes because there will be a test. To me this is certainly the main thrust of
my speech, Mr. Speaker, and the address certainly to this budget and to all the witnesses certainly,
or the MLAs in this Chamber. This Premier stated there is no crisis, but
we have a hospital infrastructure underspent in the last three years by $82 million. We have hospital floors closing for months,
to be fixed – leaky roofs. If I can make an example in Lunenburg or in
Yarmouth of hospital floors being closed because of a leaky roof and people losing MRI services,
this is something that has a ripple effect that goes the whole way through the system. The MRI appointments are something that I
know is important to those individuals, yet we see the infrastructure money being severed
and not spent over the last three years, and yet we can show clear examples where the roof
is leaking and there has to be infrastructure, and we’ve had appointments cancelled and it
just escalates the problem. Mr. Speaker, I mentioned that we have 106,000
Nova Scotians without a family doctor; ERs are closing at a record high; and the wait
times are the highest in Canada. What is interesting, in this Chamber a few
days ago, in Nova Scotia there was testimony here that Nova Scotia needs to recruit 100
doctors a year for the next decade, says Doctors Nova Scotia. That is certainly an interesting comment because
to me there is a warning sign that the iceberg of our aging population is certainly coming
at us and we are not properly prepared when Doctors Nova Scotia gives you that warning,
I would think that I would lean towards the seriousness that we are in a crisis. [Page 2693] Just a few days ago in this Chamber, Nancy
MacCready-Williams, CEO of Doctors Nova Scotia, told this very Legislature in the Public Accounts
Committee that there were 118 doctor vacancies throughout this province. He also said that 1,300 of the 2,400 physicians
currently practising are over the age of 50, and that 630 are over 60, suggesting that
this shortage will become more acute as doctors wrap up their careers. [12:45 p.m.] I’ll quote Ms. MacCready-Williams: “The last
two years, it’s been more pronounced than we’ve seen in previous years,” she said after
speaking to the committee. I would take that as a warning sign. After the information that we’ve heard from
the Opposition, including myself and the Premier, on one side we have a crisis or we don’t have
a crisis. This is what this Chamber is for, to put the
information forward, and hopefully decide on an outcome. But I think I’m winning this argument as I
speak. It sounds like a crisis to me. Today in my hometown – this is an interesting
story and I hope that the members opposite will pay attention – when a new doctor starts,
he or she usually starts with half the workload of the former doctor. The former doctor may have 3,000 to 4,000
patients. I appreciate that the new doctors are coming,
and I understand that they have to work their way up to the workload of the former doctors. I’m not disagreeing with it. But what I am disagreeing with is that if
the new doctor wants to add new patients, there is a phone lottery for the first 50
or 100 patients who call in. Is this what our universal health care has
come to – a phone lottery? I think it’s in crisis. That little story is evidence of how the evolution
of our universal health care has come to rural Nova Scotia. If you are not successful and you do not have
the doctor on speed-dial, you are out of luck. With that story, I suggest that our health
care is in a crisis. You should not have to win a lottery. To me, it sounds like a crisis. I want to talk about “hallway medicine,” which
is a new term from this sitting. On March 27, 2017, there was a CBC News article
titled, “Patients at Nova Scotia’s largest hospital ‘not safe,’ says union.” It read, “Overcrowding has become routine
at the Halifax Infirmary emergency department, says the Nova Scotia General Employees Union
president. The union that represents nurses and other
health care workers at the province’s largest hospital complex has concluded patients are
receiving care that is ‘not safe’.” It says “not safe” from the largest union
representing nurses. That sounds like a crisis to me. [Page 2694] I know that the members of the government
are taking thorough notes, and I want them to compare the notes over the weekend, first
to what the Premier says – that there’s no crisis here – and then to what the Opposition
is saying, including myself. The conclusion comes following a review of
statistics obtained from the Nova Scotia Health Authority, which shows how often emergency
room physicians or charge nurses at the Halifax Infirmary declared a Code Census. A Code Census happens when the emergency department
is overcrowded, because it seems to be unsafe. The staff and other departments have 30 minutes
to prepare to accept more patients in order to free up beds in emergency. Last year, there were 146 Code Censuses out
of the Halifax Infirmary emergency department, up from 110 in 2015 and 42 in 2014. There have been 39 already in January and
February of this year. That sounds like a crisis to me, and it’s
growing. It’s interesting that we’ve observed this
province spending $7.5 million on land outside of Bayers Lake to build a health centre. The question that I ask is, has that gone
through a thorough tendering process? The answer is no. Is this Liberal Government simply looking
after Liberal friends? It probably would fit into that category. We know that the developer donated $3,000
to the Nova Scotia Liberal Party in 2013. Is this sunny ways? Is this simply Liberals looking after Liberals? The developer sold only 15 acres to the Liberals
out of the 177-acre parcel of land that he owned. He got most of his money back, and still has
roughly 162 acres left. That’s good fiscal management. I wonder if we could get the developer in
here in Province House, it would probably help out the Premier. To me, it certainly sounds like Liberals looking
after Liberals on the eve of election. Getting back to the hallway medicine – I
have learned that term here in the last few months. I noticed some media outlets have entertained
a story about a patient on a gurney participating in hallway medicine. I really sympathize with those individuals
who have to endure situations like that. I truly believe that the word “crisis” is
the right word to describe a situation like that. I want to paint this scenario. I know that when our family members go through
near-death experiences, and we all go through this, a hallway is not the place to have privacy
for family, those surroundings, when people are in those dire situations. I truly believe that that’s inexcusable. We have a universal health system. The government has failed by creating this
shortage of doctors. Not having access to long-term care facilities
is backing up more people – and these ER emergencies. We have 106,000 people without a family doctor. We have communities that do not have access
to a kidney dialysis machine – unless you are a Liberal. That doesn’t fall into what I believe is universal
health care. Then you have hallway patients. In the next session, are we going to see more
of these scenarios? I simply believe that that’s unacceptable
when people are entering the last stages of life and could possibly be in a setting like
that – not only for that individual who is at the end of their life but also for their
family members. [Page 2695] There’s an interesting story that was just
divulged to me. I know one of my family members will be entering
the hospital scenario in the next few months. An interesting side note is that the doctors
are telling this individual now that you need a loved one to accompany you during the first
couple of days after surgery. I want to separate the two, the end-of-life
scenario and some serious surgery. If you are one of those patients who have
surgery, and your doctor has instructed for your loved ones to accompany you the first
two or three days, and you are a hallway patient, where is that loved one going to stay? Are you going to take your little cot and
stay next to your loved one during the surgery, in the hallway? I don’t think that’s appropriate, Mr. Speaker,
and that’s the point I’m making. We are allowing this government to shy away
from the responsibility of addressing health care in the province. We are seeing the escalation of a deteriorating
health system, and it is inexcusable. These are just a few examples, and you’re
going to see more of them as we enter into the 40 hours of debate on our budget as we
move forward. I pointed out that one of the things that
really troubles me is the kidney dialysis machine. I do respect the member for Argyle-Barrington,
who has brought this up here repeatedly. It also affects the western part of Shelburne
County, which I represent. There is no kidney dialysis machine in that
immediate area. When you see people who have to travel long
distances, to Yarmouth, for instance, in the dead of winter – senior people – that is unacceptable. That is simply unacceptable. I applaud the announcements leading up to
election. In just the last few weeks, we’ve seen an
announcement in Digby. We’ve seen announcements across our province. But they’re all in Liberal ridings. I ask a simple question, aren’t the lives
of these other patients who are looking for the services of a kidney dialysis machine
worth having a satellite division in their community? It’s simply unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. What is interesting, and again, this falls
in the category of the baby boomer iceberg moving through our system, is a statistic
that I think is very noticeable. It’s going to create more pressure on one
of the scenarios that I’ve mentioned earlier. Each month, 1,000 Nova Scotians reach the
age of 65. I can attest to the fact that I’m getting
ever closer to that number myself. I’m just doing the math here quickly – I’m
14 or 16 months away from that. We have roughly less than a million people
in this province. We have the aging population with 1,000 people
reaching 65 per month. The interesting fact is that the young people
may not need those services. In my personal life, I just did a routine
physical every year or two, a medical for my work or whatever, and I usually did not
go to the hospital or the doctor on a frequent basis. But now I’m in that group, and I suggest that
that is to do with aging. I think that we need to address the seriousness
of this situation of our health care crisis. [Page 2696] Here in Nova Scotia, who do we believe? After a good night’s rest, the answer came
to me. I was trying to debate back and forth. I’ve heard the Premier say that there is no
crisis. I know that I’ve done my best to kind of disregard
that approach and say there is. I came up with what I thought was an ingenious
way of solving this. This is the homework that I’m asking of the
backbenchers of the Liberal Government and the ministers, if they want to be involved
– to answer one question. [1:00 p.m.] Mr. Speaker, you know how I came upon finding
the real answer to this? After a good night’s rest the answer just
came to me – we have a difference of opinion between Opposition and the Premier, so let’s
ask the 106,000 people who don’t have a doctor if there’s a crisis in the health care system. Let’s ask the people who are affected by no
doctors. Isn’t that a brilliant idea? All the members, the backbenchers in the present
government, can go and justify whether the Premier is on the right track or not, or the
Opposition. Now I’m willing to bet, Mr. Speaker, that
the people affected will vouch and say, yes, there is a crisis and the people waiting for
three or four years for hip replacements, the people, the backbenchers or the Liberal
Government contacting those people on the gurneys in the hallways, I’m willing to bet
that my survey will say, 19 times out of 20, that the member for Queens-Shelburne is on
the right track, there is a crisis. Mr. Speaker, I’m looking forward to coming
next week and I know that members opposite have been taking thorough notes. They’re going to go out to their constituencies
over the weekend and they’re going to do their homework, they’re going to ask those people
who may be in the hallways, on the gurneys, the 106,000 people without a doctor, and they
are going to do a survey and bring that information back, and I look forward to it. I look forward to their presentation and debate
on this particular question because it really is a question of what is happening to our
health care system. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have painted that scenario
so my next question is, could the Premier be wrong? Now in saying that there’s no crisis in health
care, it’s an interesting question. Has the Premier been wrong before? Another interesting question. Well I asked that question and I did some
research last night while I was watching a hockey game, but I was more interested in
getting the answer to this question – has the Premier been wrong before? He was wrong, Mr. Speaker, when it came to
the Seniors’ Pharmacare Program. I remember that one, and I’m sure that if
I jogged the memories of the members opposite that they will remember that, because I think
one of the reasons they will remember it is because the Premier and the government office
had to spend $115,000 to mail out apologies, letters to the seniors regarding the Pharmacare
Program. I remember that. [Page 2697] Now when you send out an apology, to me you
are accepting that you are wrong. So there’s one incident right there, Mr. Speaker,
that we have declared that the Premier makes mistakes . . . MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. Could I ask all members to keep the chatter
down. The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne
has the floor. MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much, Mr.
Speaker. Certainly you are doing a good job controlling
the anticipation of the members opposite. Mr. Speaker, the mandate of the Premier for
three and a half years, his promise to break Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly and it’s still
there. Has that been wrong? I would say there’s another wrong. And he promised to protect workers’ rights. He issued an open letter in 2013 and we have
both Opposition bills, as I mentioned earlier, to repeal Bill No. 75. We have teachers’ unions headed to the courts
and, again, I think he broke a promise and he is wrong here too. Mr. Speaker, the same Premier promised last
election a doctor for every Nova Scotian. As of today, I’ve said a number of times,
106,000 people in Nova Scotia are without. I truly believe that the Premier is wrong
here too. I feel that there is a trend here; perhaps
the Premier may be in denial or refusing to upset his facts. Again I want to ask the backbenchers to do
their homework and make sure they contact the people, who have no doctors, over the
weekend. I look forward to the next 40 hours of debate
on this budget and I look forward to my colleague’s address on the health care. I truly believe that we can put (Interruptions)
Well, I have got some nice comments, and I just need a few minutes to get to them. I’ve got my notes here in case there was some
heckling from the present government – and I used it, I just used some key words. And I can control the heckling, and it’s a
simple technique that I’ve learned in the last 11 years, and I can use certain words
that I can shut these people down within 20 seconds. Let’s try it, Mr. Speaker, here are my words
– all I’ve got to do, when I have heckling from the government Party, is mention one
bill, Bill No. 75. Instantly, like we heard several weeks ago
in February, all the members just simply sit in silence. They didn’t speak, and the Premier left in
a police escort, with a tinted SUV, and they didn’t participate. Notice how that worked – it’s a magic paper,
a magic paper. They did not participate in Bill No. 75, they
became silent, and as soon as I pick that up and talk about that particular bill, the
hush goes over the crowd and I can continue on with my speech, which I’m getting close
to winding down. [Page 2698] I am looking forward to 40 hours of debate
on this budget, and I made note here that health care in my 11 years of presence here,
health care got the majority of time in this Chamber. It’s one of the top issues in the whole budget
process, and it’s certainly an important issue. (Interruptions) I’m trying to proceed, but
I’ll continue talking about Bill No. 75 if the member keeps interrupting. It’s his choice. I look forward to my honoured colleagues addressing
health care; they have more wealth of knowledge than I have. I truly believe – and this is the part here
that’s interesting to all members – I truly believe regardless of what political Party
that you belong to, that we are put on this earth to take care of each other. That is a strong statement. I truly believe in universal health care for
every Canadian, and I truly believe we are entering a health care crisis under this Liberal
Government, and I want to say that I look forward to the next 40 hours of debate because
I want to see the Opposition, their rebuttal to my comments. And I look forward to the honour of the members
here and my caucus because they can do a thorough job. So, Mr. Speaker, I’m getting close to winding
down, and I want to just close on this. I spent 11 years in this Chamber. I had the appreciation of (Standing Ovation) SOME HON. MEMBERS: Four more years. Four more years. MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Just before I close, the
member for Yarmouth has introduced a new thought in my process and I’ll reflect over that,
I’ll reflect over that. I’ll reflect over that as I drive home – four
more years. But it has truly been a privilege to sit here
in this Chamber. I just want to say that I’m a simple fisherman
who had an opportunity that very few people get in this society, to come here, and I really
appreciate meeting all of you, and if I’m not here in my role as I am today, I hope
that you see me as a friend. I wish you all well, as I believe that we
may be on the eve of an election. Good health, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for your time. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : That concludes the response
to the Budget Speech from the recognized Opposition Parties. The estimates are now referred to the Committee
of the Whole on Supply. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, before
we conclude the business for today, as Leader of the Official Opposition and as a fellow
Opposition Leader to the NDP Leader in the House, on behalf of our side – and I invite
a member on the government side to also just recognize the moment – people come and go
from this place. Some are changed by it. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes not good
ways. Others are not and they’re the same person
when they retire as they were when they came in. [Page 2699] I think we can say with certainty that that
is true of the member for Queens-Shelburne. As Leader of my Party and a fellow MLA and
as someone who, I think, I can say does consider him a friend, I just want to thank him for
his years of service, first and foremost to his constituents – some of whom are my in-laws
– and secondly to all Nova Scotians for his time in this place as Leader of the NDP in
the House. I invite all members to join me in thanking
him and wishing him a very happy retirement. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of
Agriculture. HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Thank you very much. I’m not going to speak about the budget today. I also want to pass on my finest wishes to
Sterling Belliveau, and I know I’m not supposed to say his name in here (Interruptions) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. (Interruptions) I believe the Chair has been
challenged, but we’ll move on. The honourable Minister of Agriculture has
the floor. MR. COLWELL « » : I apologize, Mr. Speaker. Indeed, I thought it was appropriate in this
case. Being a former Minister of Fisheries, who
did a great job in that role, Sterling – the honourable member – I’ll get it right this
time – I’ve known for years and years. He did very well at representing the communities
and the fishing industry, and when I was fisheries minister years ago he was in that field, and
he did a great job representing the fishing industry and fishermen in this province. I want to personally thank you for doing that,
and I know the industry does too. It’s very special to have you here in the
Legislature, and it’s sad when you see someone go who has things in their heart, as you have,
to help the industry and help the Province of Nova Scotia. So, I know whatever you do in the future,
that you’ll do it very well. It’s been an honour and a pleasure for me
to know you, and my colleagues say the same thing about you. You conduct yourself very well here as you
always have in your life. Congratulations on retirement. I should have done the same thing, maybe. But I’m still a long way away from that. It’s wonderful to work here and to have people
with your character and determination to do things, to sit in this House. Again, thank you, Sterling – honourable member
– and we’ll be good friends for many years to come. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Chester-St. Margaret’s. HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Thank you very
much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you very much for those kind words from the Minister of
Fisheries and Aquaculture. [Page 2700] My colleague here from Queens-Shelburne deserves
the recognition. I would like to say on behalf of the NDP caucus
– and I know from his constituents – that we want to thank him for all that he has given. I can tell you that my experience with this
gentleman – and he is a gentleman, I can tell you that – has been a great experience for
me to watch him and be a mentor to me. I know that during one of the most stressful
situations in the House, when we were trying to tire out the government by continuing and
continuing and ringing the bells, I had such a grand time being the whip at that time. I could just ring the bells as long as I wanted
to, what power, hey? Sterling wrote me this fabulous note that
I will have forever, and I’m going to get it laminated. It said, “stay focused”.� [1:15 p.m.] I would like to offer that piece of advice
to everyone here, because we do know that we’re on the eve of an election, and I think
that that was the most incredible advice for all of us, to stay focused on the job that
needs to be done. And I know that the words that I have today
are not enough to say the appreciation that we have for this fine gentleman and what he
has offered to Nova Scotia and to us as a caucus. So, I would like to say thank you, Sterling. I will stay focused, and we love you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for
Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : I want to rise with
my other colleagues to wish the member well. I had the opportunity to be Fisheries Critic
with him and a Fisheries Critic to him, and found that he was always an individual that
you could work with, who certainly had the best interests of the industry and the people
of Nova Scotia at heart. I know that we all owe him a great thanks,
and many have said that tonight. I would also like to thank his family, for
allowing him to be a member of the House of Assembly, for giving up many different family
occasions to do the work, not only as an MLA, but also as a Minister of the Crown. As most of us here realize, this is not a
job that you go into if you don’t have the support of your family. As much as I praise Sterling, the member,
for what he has done, I also want to thank his family for what they’ve done for the Province
of Nova Scotia. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Government
House Leader. MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, that completes
the government’s business for today, and I have to say it’s a pretty fine note to complete
it on, to honour one of our long-serving members in that way. I move that the House now rise to meet again
on Monday, May 1st, at 4:00 p.m. We’ll sit between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and
10:00 p.m. and we’ll call Government Business, Committee of the Whole on Supply. With that I move that the House now rise until
Monday, May 1st, at 4:00 p.m. [Page 2701] MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House
rise to meet again on Monday, May 1st, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. We stand adjourned until Monday, May 1st,
between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

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