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SPEAKER « » : Order, please.We'll begin the daily routine. PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Argyle-Barrington. HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition: Whereas, cellphone usage is necessary to the success of many businesses; Whereas, the community of Wood's Harbour, Shelburne County, continues to be underserved by all mobile networks, including Bell, Rogers and Eastlink . . . Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the Government of Nova Scotia to work with these cellular companies to ensure proper coverage for business and personal usage. Mr. Speaker, there are 375 signatures and I have affixed mine, as per the rules. [Page 1768] MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled. The honourable member for Hants West. MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause reading: We the undersigned are calling upon the House of Assembly to take action by recognizing that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is both a disability and a real illness. Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature as well. MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled. PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic. MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, as the Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill: Bill No. 13 - An Act to Incorporate Harmony Cemetery Company, in the County of Colchester. and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendments. MR. SPEAKER « » : Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills. TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. RESOLUTION NO. 491 [Page 1769] HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: Whereas Ursula Johnson, a multidisciplinary artist of Mi'kmaq ancestry, produces powerful works highlighting the relationships among people, nature, and colonialism; and Whereas on October 25th Mi'kmaq artist Ursula Johnson won the prestigious 2017 Sobey Art Award in Toronto, a tremendous achievement which highlights the continued tradition of excellence in the Mi'kmaq artistic community; and Whereas by winning the Sobey Art Award, Canada's most prestigious honour for young contemporary artists, Ursula Johnson has brought great credit to the Province of Nova Scotia, our cultural communities, and indigenous artists across the country; Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly proudly recognize Ursula Johnson on winning the 2017 Sobey Art Award, and wish her all the best for continued success in her artistic endeavours. 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. INTRODUCTION OF BILLS NOTICES OF MOTION MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader. RESOLUTION NO. 492 HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby request that the following motion be adopted without notice pursuant to Rule 32(5) of the House of Assembly Rules and Forms of Procedure. Be it resolved that all the congratulatory motions deposited with the Clerk pursuant to Rule 32(3) of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly from September 21, 2017, to the end of business today that have not otherwise been considered by the House of Assembly be approved. [Page 1770] MR. SPEAKER « » : Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. DURNFORD, KEEGAN: CLAN SUTHERLAND AWD. - CONGRATS. MS. BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise on this last day of the Legislature to pay tribute to three generations of Sullivans from the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay area. George and Helena Sullivan were instrumental in the building and success of our extremely popular Cow Bay Buffalo Club. Their daughter, Kelley, and her husband, Scott Durnford, have continued this tradition of volunteering in our community, but today I want to pay a special tribute to an extraordinary young man from Cow Bay, Keegan Durnford. Keegan is a 20-year-old student at the Nova Scotia Community College taking graphic design. He is also an amazing bagpiper with the Dartmouth & District Pipe Band. Keegan has performed as far away as Scotland at the World Pipe Bands Championship in 2015 where our band came in fourth. They are going back in 2018 to hopefully come home with the gold medal. Last night, Keegan was awarded the Atlantic Association of Clan Sutherland Leadership Award recognizing achievement and success during the summertime competition and, in particular, for his extraordinary efforts to help young members just starting out. I ask the members of this Legislature to join me in recognizing the gifts and achievements of such an extraordinary young man as well as his parents and grandparents. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Needham. PTSD: WOMENS' RIGHTS - JUSTICE MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm rising to speak to my fellow members who I think on all sides of the House have shown a remarkable level of awareness, sensitivity, and just knowledge about PTSD during this session. As I was listening to the debate yesterday, what kept coming to mind was something that I learned that surprised me about PTSD by hearing an interview with David Morris who wrote a brief history of PTSD and is himself someone who suffers from it. One fact that he shared is that while 15 to 20 per cent of American veterans who have been in combat zones will develop PTSD, about 49 per cent of female rape survivors will develop PTSD. He described rape as being more psychologically toxic than war and reframes PTSD as a women's rights issue. [Page 1771] I think given the amount of awareness and concern about PTSD in this House, we might want to hold that awareness as we look at justice and other issues where we know that the overwhelming number of women in our prisons are, in fact, trauma survivors. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings West. CMWC (GREENWOOD): INVICTUS GAMES PERFORMANCE - RECOGNIZE HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I proudly rise here today to recognize the Greenwood branch of the Canadian Military Wives Choir and congratulate the group on their performance at the Invictus Games in Toronto this Fall. The choir, composed exclusively of partners of active military personnel, was formally established in 2015 and has quickly developed a strong membership. As members of the community, military spouses share unique and sometimes difficult experiences as their loved ones go through extended periods away from home. On behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, I would like to thank the members of the Greenwood chapter of the Canadian Military Wives Choir for supporting each other, offer my congratulations on performing at the Invictus Games, and wish them all the best in the future. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. PRICE, MARY: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWD. - CONGRATS. HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mrs. Mary Price of Little Lorraine who was recently presented with the lifetime achievement award from the Main-à-Dieu Community Development Association. Mary is a lifelong volunteer and a resident of Little Lorraine and it is very fitting that she be recognized for her many years of volunteer service she has provided to communities in the area. I know Mary personally and she has spent her whole life helping every person and organization in the surrounding area. It is a pleasure to thank Mary Price for being such an amazing and caring woman. [1:15 p.m.] [Page 1772] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth North. JOHNSON, URSULA: 2017 SOBEY ART AWARD - CONGRATS. MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : I am so happy to rise today to add my congratulations to Ursula Johnson, who last night was awarded the 2017 Sobey Art Award for her work "Moose Fence". Ursula is a Mi'kmaw artist from the land of the fog, Unama'ki, born and raised in Eskasoni. Now living in Dartmouth North, she is the first person from the Atlantic Region to ever win the prize, which is valued at $50,000. "Moose Fence" is an installation piece which reimagines a highway moose fence into a cage. There are programmed lights which shift the atmosphere from dawn to dusk within minutes. It's currently installed at the University of Toronto, but I hope it makes its way to a space here so we can get a chance to experience it. To date, Ursula's work, which combines performance with installation, examines the collision of traditional indigenous culture and colonial oppression and does so at the highest level of craft, detail, and humour. She has been nominated for and won several accolades for her work, most recently, aside from the Sobey Art Award, the International Council of Fine Arts Deans award for achievement and excellence. I ask the House to join me in thanking Ursula for her excellent and important contribution to modern and contemporary art in Nova Scotia and all through Turtle Island and to congratulate her for this prestigious award. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Preston-Dartmouth. PROVO, IVY: COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS - THANK HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : I would like to recognize an unsung she-ro who hails from the community of North Preston. Ivy Provo, 73 years old, has been volunteering and giving back to her community for most of her life through various organizations such as a seniors' group, her church, St. Thomas Baptist Church, the Annie V. Johnson IODE, the Cancer Society, the Black Cultural Society, Girl Guides, and the IWK, just to name a few. She has donated quilts and knitwear to daycare centres, infants at the IWK, and orphaned children in Africa. Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you and members of this House of Assembly thank Mrs. Provo for her generosity and willingness to give back to her province. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne. UKULELE CEILIDH (7th INTL.): [Page 1773] ORGANIZERS/PERFORMERS - CONGRATS. MS. KIM MASLAND « » : The 7th International Ukulele Ceilidh kicked off October 13th in Liverpool. Every second year since 2007, organizers of this popular event bring together some of the best musicians strumming the wee but mighty ukulele. This unique festival offers workshops, open microphone sessions, and jam sessions. This year's ceilidh wrapped up with a final concert at the Astor Theatre on the 14th. I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating the organizing committee, instructors, entertainers, and performers of the 7th International Ukulele Ceilidh. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre. CUPE LOCAL 1867: PATIENCE & FORTITUDE - COMMEND MS. TAMMY MARTIN « » : I rise today to recognize the highway workers of CUPE Local 1867. Yesterday, talks broke off between the local and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and a conciliator was appointed who declared an impasse between the two parties. The impasse was due in no small part to the black cloud of Bill No. 148 hanging over the negotiations. The local has been without a contract since November, 2014, and now faces arbitration under the standards established by the government's anti-work legislation. Indeed, CUPE has announced that Local 1867 and the 1,400 men and women they represent will now be exploring their right to a Charter challenge of Bill No. 148. Mr. Speaker, let the record show that I stand in solidarity with these workers and commend them for their patience and fortitude throughout this process. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney-Whitney Pier. C.B. CTR. FOR CRAFT & DESIGN: ANNIV. (10th) - CONGRATS. HON. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : I'm honoured to rise to talk about the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. The Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design is a charitable organization that supports over 250 members and organizations across Cape Breton. Their mandate is the promotion, the education, and the economic development of the craft sector in Cape Breton. This year marks their 10th Anniversary in their state-of-the-art facility in downtown Sydney, which has supported artists from across the Island and has also welcomed thousands of visitors from all over the world. [Page 1774] I'm honoured to rise in my place today to congratulate Lori Burke and her staff and the board of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design on their 10th anniversary in their facility and thank them for their promotion and protection of the arts sector and all the artists in Cape Breton. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth East. DART. EAST - 2017 CANADA GAMES: ATHLETES - CONGRATS. MR. TIM HALMAN « » : I rise today to congratulate the Dartmouth East athletes who competed at the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg. Dartmouth East had eight talented young people participate in a variety of sports this summer, winning nine medals, including four gold. Dartmouth East cannot be more proud of our athletes. Of course, the majority of our medals were won in sprint canoe kayak, but that is to be expected of athletes coming from the City of Lakes. I wish to congratulate Andrew Arseneault, Joey Hagen, Mike Naugle, Grace Webby, Olivia Denman, Robert Laureijs, Alyssa Hartlen, and Luke Gallant on their fantastic performances and achievements this summer. Next stop, the Olympics! MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Fairview-Clayton Park. N.S. SPCA: HARD WORK AND DEDICATION - COMMEND HON. PATRICIA ARAB « » : I rise today to recognize the Nova Scotia SPCA who received nearly 40,000 pounds of pet food to help feed pets in need across the province. Through PetSmart's Buy a Bag, Give a Meal Program, the Nova Scotia SPCA collected what is the equivalent of 335,000 meals of donated pet food. This marks the single largest donation the organization has ever received. This food will help many animals across the province and will be distributed amongst their various locations throughout Nova Scotia, as well as to those who have helped by taking in numerous stray cats. This food will of course be free of charge and will help numerous people across the province provide for their recently adopted pets. Mr. Speaker, I ask that the members of this House of Assembly to recognize the hard work and dedication of the Nova Scotia SPCA and commend them for their efforts throughout the province. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou Centre. [Page 1775] ARSENAULT, DANIEL - NORTH NOVA EDUC. CTR.: GRADE 12 - BEST WISHES HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, Daniel Arsenault from Trenton suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle disorder. His parents, Kenny and Lynn, are to be commended for being great role models for all their children, in particular, Daniel who continues to display an amazingly beautiful smile while overcoming obstacles. Their kindness, compassion and honesty has instilled in Daniel the motivation to achieve. The Grade 12 North Nova Education Centre student is an avid hockey fan. He is often seen cheering on the Pictou County Jr. A Crushers at the Wellness Centre. His bedroom is a shrine devoted to this favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The parents' love for Daniel is a reflection of a deep sense of gratitude and respect that he feels towards them. I would like to wish Daniel great success throughout his Grade 12 school year. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth South MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction? MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. MS. CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce my nephew Hugh Garber and his mom Allison Garber, who are sitting up there in the front. My nephew Hugh loves mac and cheese, spaghetti and superheroes. He lives with autism and he raised over $2,000 for Autism Nova Scotia. (Applause) I am sure he appreciates it, but he does not love loud noises. Hugh also helps educate his class with the help of his mom about autism and living with autism. My sister-in-law and friend Allison Garber, who may be known to some members of this House, is a member of the Board of Autism Nova Scotia, a professional public relations woman and a tireless advocate for her son. Please join me in welcoming Allison and Hugh. (Standing Ovation) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank. [Page 1776] CHOUINARD, HILLARY/KEATING, NANCY/SIMM, AL: CANADA GATE - THANK MR. BILL HORNE « » : A chance conversation between two friends led Waverley's Hillary Chouinard and Nancy Keating to support the transportation of The Canada Gate Project to Europe. With no information on the Canada Gate, a one-ton gate made of steel, Hillary suggested that she could put it into a container with a few vehicles, no problem. Hillary and her company VSI Worldwide took on the project and donated all the costs involved for logistics and transportation from Halifax to Europe. The dedication ceremony of the Canada Gate will take place next month in Belgium where it will pay tribute to Canadian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele a century ago. Nancy Keating designed the Canada Gate, which was constructed by Al Simm of Avon Valley Metalworks. She also created, "The Last Steps" on the Halifax Waterfront. Thank you to Hillary, Nancy and Al for ensuring our soldiers' sacrifices will not be forgotten. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness. MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction. I would like to draw the members' attention to the west gallery. I would like Paul D'Eon, Director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, and Ms. Rowan Hart, a lifeguard who served at the Port Hood beach this summer to rise, and I would like members to extend a welcome to them. (Applause) Mr. Speaker, after I read this statement, I'm sure members will want to extend another hand of applause for Ms. Hart. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness. N.S. LIFEGUARD SERV.: LIVES SAVED - THANK MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Each summer, the sandy beaches of Inverness County fill with the excitement of people enjoying the warmest waters north of the Carolinas. The dangers of the ocean may be far from their minds, but we know things can happen without warning. Saturday, July 22nd was one of those days. Let us recognize the bravery and compassion of Rowan Hart and Grace O'Donnell at Port Hood Beach, and Samantha MacEachern and Ava Hart at Inverness Beach, who selflessly answered the call of duty. Their training and determined spirit took charge to help those in need. [Page 1777] May we in this Legislature thank Rowan, Grace, Samantha, Ava, and the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, for the lives they have saved this past summer, and for the lives they've tried to save. (Standing Ovation) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester North on an introduction. HON. KAREN CASEY « » : If I could do my introduction and then read a member statement, I would appreciate that. MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. MS. CASEY « » : I would like to draw the members' attention to the east gallery where we have a constituent of mine, Jim Baillie, from the Tatamagouche area. And, you know, we talk in the House here about rural and urban, and we're all one big family here. But I can tell you, there's something that the rural people have that the metro people don't - and that is the ability to determine how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B. So, Jim was in the city at one o'clock, to be here at one o'clock. He has just arrived. That's metro travel for you, Jim. You go back to Colchester North where we know how long it takes to get from A to B. I do want to welcome you here. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester North. BAILLIE, JIM: ROBERTSON ASSOC. AWD. - CONGRATS. HON. KAREN CASEY « » : The Canadian Seed Growers' Association is a non-profit organization of 3,500 members that monitors and certifies pedigreed seed for all agricultural crops, except potatoes. The association recently presented Jim Baillie, from Tatamagouche, Colchester North, with the Robertson Associate Award, the highest award the association gives its members. He was nominated by the local Maritimes branch of the Seed Growers Association, and selected by a national board for the award. Baillie grew up on a dairy farm near Tatamagouche, and graduated from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. He joined a farm wholesale-retail group in Atlantic Canada and specialized in the crop input service sector. He then managed a major feed mill and farm centre in Charlottetown, and over the next 10 years managed many others throughout Atlantic Canada. In the mid-1990s, he developed a forestry harvesting and silviculture business in partnership with field crop and, later, seed production. With the consolidation of seed, he shifted to limited flax and cereal seed, and also the development and management of wild blueberries - and he knows how to control wildlife when they're in his blueberries. [Page 1778] Baillie is an agricultural innovator, and has been very active in the development of his sector, serving on many committees and boards. The strong support of his wife, Brenda, allows him to be away from his family, away from his home, as he participates in these farm organizations. Congratulations, Jim. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou West. ME TO WE PROG.: FOOD BANK FUNDRAISING - THANK MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : I wish to update the members on the Pictou West Food Bank. I spoke of it the other day, and how much it was in trouble, but I want to thank a social program, named ME to WE, which is run through schools in Pictou County. Students from the community will be going door-to-door on October 31, 2017, to collect donations for the food bank. This certainly could not come at a better time, with winter just around the corner and the recent announcement that food bank supplies were in increased need. The ME to WE program encourages young people to volunteer their time to help others, and become a valuable resource of the community. This Halloween, if you see a student wearing a WE Scare Hunger T-shirt, please donate. [1:30 p.m.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Needham. COLE, DESMOND - BLACK/INDIGENOUS JUSTICE: ANALYSIS - THANK MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation for Desmond Cole, the journalist and activist from Toronto who spoke last night at the University of Kings College, and also generously gave some of his time to the NDP caucus yesterday to speak about carding and police checks. Mr. Cole speaks clearly and convincingly about the psychological impact of being stopped by police which, as of 2015, he had been more than 50 times already. The collection and sharing of personal data by police agencies also has real impact on employment and travel for Black and Indigenous peoples who disproportionately are the subject of this practice. In Halifax, we know that African Nova Scotians were stopped three times more often than white individuals, based on data between 2005 and 2016. I thank Mr. Cole for his clear analysis of the issue and his generous solidarity with racialized people in Nova Scotia. [Page 1779] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville. BARTEAUX, BRUCE - 100KM RUN: FIGHT AGAINST CANCER - THANK MR. BEN JESSOME « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize Bruce Barteaux of Hammonds Plains-Lucasville for his continued support for the fight against cancer. On September 21st Bruce undertook a 100-kilometre run and school tour. An ultra-marathoner and dedicated supporter of cancer causes, it was something Bruce was passionate about doing. In order to meet his goals, he ran and was joined by his wife, Bonnie, who cycled with him, doing the 100 kilometres in one day. Terry Fox's brother, Fred Fox, was in Nova Scotia this week and Bruce was meeting with him along his route to go to Madeline Symonds Middle School, Charles P. Allen, and other local schools. His plan was to thank them and encourage participation by the various students and schools in the important role they have to continue the success of what Terry started. Bruce is a keen mentor to youth and a great role model for future leaders. I ask all members of the House to join me in thanking Bruce Barteaux for his continued support in the fight against cancer, and congratulate him on his 100-kilometre run. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings North. SCHWARTZ, KEN/O'NEILL, CHRIS: ARTS CONTRIBUTIONS - RECOGNIZE MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to acknowledge the incredible work done by Ken Schwartz and Chris O'Neill in the creation of the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. This arts centre, now in its 14th year, has had an incredible impact on the arts community in the Annapolis Valley and the province. The variety of art supported by the centre is vast and includes theatre, camps, visual arts, concerts, performances, workshops, and school outreach programs. Young lives introduced to the arts at their many camps are forever changed. Among their many accomplishments is the Two Planks and a Passion Theatre group which resides at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. Mr. Speaker, I ask that all members of this House join me in recognizing the enormous contribution that Ken Schwartz and Chris O'Neill have made to the arts in Nova Scotia. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg. [Page 1780] MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to make an introduction. MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted. MS. LOHNES-CROFT « » : I'd like to draw people's attention to the east gallery where my constituency assistant is taking in her last Question Period for this sitting, we believe. Anyway, I hope she enjoys the action. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg. CROFT, DANIEL - BIRTHDAY WISHES MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, 31 years ago today the Red Sox lost the World Series in the wee, wee hours of the morning, but later that day, on a beautiful, sunny October afternoon, my son Daniel was born and made me a mother for the first time. Dan has always been a bundle of energy; he lights up a room when he walks in. He started his day today with uphill sprints with a 40-pound weight vest on him. That's the kind of energy he still has at 31 - and I wish him a Happy Birthday. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cumberland North. BRISTOL, DICK: DICK'S JAMBOREE - APPRECIATION MS. ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring recognition today to Mr. Dick Bristol and this last seven and a half years service for Dick's Jamboree. Dick and his jamboree provided music every Wednesday night and it was attended most weeks by over 200 people. Dick and his wife Carol are amazing people, serving our community through music. Every summer they have a special jamboree, inviting the workers of the Bridge Workshop to sing and perform. It was truly beautiful. The joy he brought to our community with Dick's Jamboree was outstanding. The Jam will be missed. However, we want to make sure that Dick knows just how much he is appreciated by me and by the entire community of Amherst. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg. MANN, GRAHAM - LEAN SYSTEMS: [Page 1781] YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWD. - CONGRATS. MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : I would like to congratulate Graham Mann of Second Peninsula, who on October 19th was recognized with the Young Entrepreneur Award from Startup Canada. This award was presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada. Seventeen outstanding entrepreneurs gathered in Ottawa from all across Canada and were presented with awards as part of the 4th Annual National Startup Canada Awards. Graham Mann co-founded Lean Systems, a cloud-based optimization engine built on the most powerful techniques available for solving large-scale optimization problems with multiple constraints. Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you and the members of this House of Assembly please join me in congratulating Graham on his hard work and dedication and wishing him the best of luck with his business, Lean Systems. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. MLAs/STAFF: HARD WORK - ACKNOWLEDGE MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, this being the last day of this session, I wish to acknowledge the work that has been done in this session of the Legislature. (Interruptions) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We'll afford the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley a chance to start over. MR. HARRISON « » : I wish to acknowledge the work that has been done in this session of the Legislature, as tough as that may be sometimes. We do have a number of issues that need our attention, and it's my prayer that all of the members of the Legislature will use their knowledge, their experience, and their compassion as we continue to seek resolutions that will address the difficulties of all Nova Scotians. May God bless all in this Legislature: the members, the Pages, and the staff in all areas. Be healthy, be safe, and be kind. (Standing Ovation) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clayton Park West. BARRON, MORGAN: N.Y. RANGERS DRAFT - CONGRATS. MS. RAFAH DICOSTANZO « » : I rise today to recognize Morgan Barron, a resident of Clayton Park who was recently selected by the New York Rangers in the NHL draft. Morgan and his family were very excited to hear his name called at the draft in Chicago. However, it was no surprise to anyone that he would become a successful hockey player. [Page 1782] Morgan is a role model for many young athletes in the community. After graduating from Halifax West High School in 2017, Morgan began his next journey, attending Cornell University this past Fall. Morgan is accomplished both on and off the ice, being someone who graduated with top marks in his graduating class. Mr. Speaker, I ask that the members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Morgan Barron on his recent commitment to the New York Rangers and wish him the best of luck at Cornell University in his freshman year. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton-Richmond. ISLE MADAME - CHASE THE ACE: COMMUNITY BENEFIT - VOLS. THANK MS. ALANA PAON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the Isle Madame Chase the Ace. Isle Madame Chase the Ace is a fundraising event formed of 10 organizations on Isle Madame, including Acadiaville Community Centre, D'Escousse Civic Improvement Society, Isle Madame New Horizons Seniors Club, Janvrin's Island Community Centre, La Picasse, Little Anse and Samsons Cove Social Action Centre, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall, Rocky Bay Irish Club, Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 150, and St. Joseph's Services. This fundraiser was able to provide each of these organizations with $20,000 while also making two donations of $5,000 each to the Strait Richmond Health Care Foundation and the St. Anne Community and Nursing Care Centre. The benefit to the community was not simply monetary. Working as one brought all these communities on Isle Madame closer together and proved that great success can be achieved by combining resources. Mr. Speaker, I ask the members of this Legislature to join me to thank the many volunteers who gave so generously of their time to make the Isle Madame Chase the Ace a resounding success. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth South. LESLIE, MEGAN - WWF APPT.: PRESIDENT/CEO - CONGRATS. MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Megan Leslie on her new posting as the President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. For seven years Megan proudly served the federal riding of Halifax, was beloved by her constituents and admired by those working for progressive causes across the country, in addition to her colleagues in the House of Commons. [Page 1783] Now, after serving for 10 months as Senior Advisor to the WWF's World Oceans Team, she will be leading the important work of preventing species' decline in Canada. Mr. Speaker, it is an understatement to say that Megan Leslie's extensive background in social justice, community and political work, will serve her well in her new role. On behalf of the NDP caucus I wish her the very best of luck. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings South. SHORLEY, KEN: 2017 VALLEY ARTS AWARD - CONGRATS. MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge an exceptional percussionist, composer and music teacher, Mr. Ken Shorley. Ken was recently honoured with the 2017 Valley Arts Award at the Deep Roots Music Festival for his significant and long-term contributions to the arts in the Annapolis Valley. Mr. Shorley is primarily a hand drummer and has been influenced by a variety of styles from around the world. He has been a featured artist in many musical festivals, has played with some of the finest musicians in the country and his compositions have been performed across the continent. He is also a dedicated and passionate music educator and developed Atlantic Canada's only university credit course in world drumming. Ken Shorley is certainly a very deserving recipient of the 2017 Valley Arts Award and I invite all members of the House of Assembly to join me in congratulating him on receiving that honour. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank. MLAs - THANK MR. BRAD JOHNS « » : Mr. Speaker, this being the last sitting of this Assembly, I wanted to take an opportunity as one of the new MLAs to sincerely thank all the members of this Legislature, from both sides of the House. It has been a very enjoyable experience. I thank everyone for their patience, their guidance and it has been very enjoyable, Mr. Speaker - yourself as well. I do want to recognize and thank all the members of my caucus. I certainly couldn't fit in better and I have a wonderful team here. I just want to thank everybody and wish them all the best, until we meet again, Mr. Speaker. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth North. BUS STOP THEATRE: POSITIVE IMPACT - RECOGNIZE [Page 1784] MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, the Bus Stop Theatre is a small, unassuming performance space on Gottingen Street. From the street it appears to be a storefront like many others, very ordinary, but what happens inside the building is quite extraordinary. Run as a co-operative, governed by a board of directors and run day-to-day by Executive Director, Sébastien Labelle, the Bus Stop Theatre is a hub of independent performance in Halifax. It's a flexible space and is used by many theatre dance companies, spoken word artists and musicians. It is an inclusive space where artists and audiences gather together to share art and, because it's relatively inexpensive to run, it's one of the only places where emerging artists can present work and get an audience to see it. That all sounds really great but it's really not because the Bus Stop, one of Halifax's only accessible venues for performance, is at risk of falling victim to the changing landscape of Gottingen Street. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the venue housed in a building whose value is going up and which is incredibly expensive to keep up. Community members and government officials at all levels recognize the positive impact of this important venue and I hope a solution can be found so that the Bus Stop Theatre can continue to thrive and be a hub of creativity and artistic expression. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Yarmouth. CORNING, SARA: ARMENIAN NAT. COMM. OF TORONTO - HONOUR HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Few Nova Scotians have heard of Red Cross nurse Sara Corning, a native of Chegoggin, Yarmouth County, but Armenian and Greek communities world-wide have known about her humanitarianism for nearly a century. In 1917, she was a first-responder nurse during the Halifax Explosion, assisting the injured and dying at the YMCA makeshift hospital and at Camp Hill Hospital. In the post World War I period, during the Armenian and Greek genocides of the early 20th Century, she volunteered with the Near East Relief Organization, working tirelessly between 1919 and 1930 in present day Armenia and Turkey, where she risked her life many times to rescue and care for thousands of orphaned children who would have otherwise potentially been killed or abducted. She helped to set up orphanages and managed one for 1,300 children at Oropos, Greece. In 1923, in recognition of her humanitarian service, she was awarded Greece's civilian medal of honour by King George II at the Zappeion Palace in Athens, equivalent to a knighthood or the Order of Canada. In 2011 the Armenian community of Toronto established a Sara Corning Centre for genocide education in her honour. At a ceremony to be held on November 26th, the Armenian National Committee of Toronto will posthumously honour Sara Corning with their Outstanding Canadian Award for 2017. [Page 1785] [1:45 p.m.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. SMITH, MIKE/LOMBARD, JASON & DOMINIQUE: VOLUNTEER WORK - ACKNOWLEDGE MS. BARBARA ADAMS « » : Today I would like to recognize constituent Mike Smith for organizing our Seniors Police Academy each Spring. For the month of May and two weeks into June, the Seniors Police Academy meets every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at our local Lions Club. Mike Smith organizes two guest speakers each session, and he has done so for the past six years, with a complimentary lunch between each session. These free sessions are held and host about 40 attendants. This year's was highly successful. I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the Eastern Passage Minor Baseball Association, and president Jason Lombard and vice-president Dominique Lombard. They started their first year with approximately 90 kids registered. Three years later, there were over 200 children registered. The association consists of four levels ranging in age from four to 18. Jason and Dominique spend countless hours 12 months of the year fundraising, purchasing gear, attending meetings, running a winter ball clinic, coordinating tournaments, and hosting our opening-day ceremonies. We want to acknowledge all of these members in our community for their volunteer work. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. PAUL, DANIEL: FIRST NOVEL - HONOUR MS. LENORE ZANN « » : I would like to give honour today to elder Daniel Paul and wish him a great celebration on the publication of his very first novel. He is known as a powerful and passionate advocate for social justice and the eradication of racial discrimination and an outspoken champion for First Nations people and all other disadvantaged members of society, mainly known through his earlier book We Were Not the Savages. His new book, which just had its book launch last week, is called Chief Lightning Bolt. It's fantastic. I have just started reading it. It takes place in Mi'kmaq territory before the European contact and before the destruction brought about by colonization. It's the story of the life of a great man, Lightning Bolt, who becomes a leader to his people and embodies the Mi'kmaq values of humility, courage, honour, service, and sacrifice of personal gain for the sake of others. Mr. Speaker, it is a book that is well worth buying and reading. [Page 1786] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg West. HUNTER, GORDON - HEMFORD FIRE DEPT.: RETIREMENT - THANKS HON. MARK FUREY « » : Gordon Hunter is retiring from his post as Fire Chief of the Hemford and District Fire Department, a position he has held for 38 years. Chief Hunter has been a valuable community leader, contributing his time and energy to enhancing community public safety and well-being. Whether responding to and leading firefighting services or organizing community events through the local fire department, Chief Hunter is recognized and acknowledged as a leader in his community. I ask members of this House of Assembly to join me in thanking Chief Hunter for his years of dedicated service to his community and to extend an equally important thank you to his immediate and extended family for the support they have extended him over the past 38 years. The very best in your retirement. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford. COVERT, MIKE - IN MEMORIAM HON. KELLY REGAN « » : I rise today with a heavy heart to share the sad news of the passing of a lovely, generous man. Members may remember me telling the House back in 2014 about Mike Covert's tremendous generosity to the QEII Foundation. After life-saving surgery there, he made 420 $100 donations in honour of friends, family, and colleagues, for a total of $42,000. He supported students with disabilities with the Mary Jane Covert Bursary, in memory of his sister. He served on many boards, including Bridgeway Academy and Callow Wheelchair Bus. Mostly, I knew Mike as someone who was always on the side of the underdog. That's probably why he supported the Liberal Party during the lean years, and he loved that we were able to secure back-to-back victories. He was a faithful member of the Bedford Liberal Association and the Halifax West Liberal Association, and his elected members often heard from him if there was something he was concerned about. I attended Mike's 80th birthday party in May of last year. I wish the House could have seen him go around the room and remind every single person how they knew each other or where they first met. It was an impressive display. I want to share condolences with his surviving family. Mike was one of a kind, and we will miss him terribly. [Page 1787] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Antigonish. KANE, EMILY - FOLKLORE TATTOO: STORE OPENING - CONGRATS. HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : As we recently celebrated Small Business Week, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Emily Kane on opening her new tattoo studio, Folklore Tattoo in Antigonish. Emily is a local artist who has returned to the area with her husband and son. With almost 10 years of tattoo experience in Halifax and Montreal, she specializes in black work, which is a lot of high contrast and is very illustrative. Mr. Speaker, in an industry heavily dominated by men, Emily knows firsthand how hard it can be to get started. She is very grateful for the mentors who have been supportive of her art. She had an open house at her new studio at 233 Main Street on July 28th, and since then has been giving her clients works of art in a safe, healthy and comforting environment. Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to Emily on the opening of her new studio. It is exciting to see a new business open in Antigonish and I wish her all the best in the future. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island. ELLES, FATHER CHARALAMBOS - IN MEMORIAM HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness we recognize the passing of Father Charalambos Elles on October 24th. Father Elles was born in Cyprus, August 23, 1936. He was ordained May 30, 1979. He served many communities in Canada, including St. George's Greek Orthodox Church here in Halifax. Here in Halifax he headed up the church, the Greek school, the Greek dancing and, as well, he was integral in the founding of the Halifax Greek Fest. My condolences to his four children, his eight grandchildren and his wife Kalliope. May his memory be eternal. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clare-Digby. CARTY, PHIL - ARM WRESTLING: SUCCESSFUL SEASON - CONGRATS. MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Phil Carty, a local scallop fisherman, for his success over the last year in the sport of arm wrestling. Last April, Phil Carty participated in the Atlantic Canadian Championships in both the right and left hand, 198-pound category. He finished first in the right category and second in the left category. This was only a couple of months after competing at the Battle of the Atlantic, a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy. At that competition he finished first in both the right and left categories, a repeat from the 2016 competition for Mr. Carty. [Page 1788] Since the Atlantic Canadian Championships, Phil has competed at the Canadian and Nova Scotia championships. At the provincials, he finished second and third, respectively. At the Canadian championships he finished fourth. This is a series of great results for our local arm-wrestler. Congratulations Phil and good luck in the 2018 season. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie. MOHREZ, GHANDI ET AL: N.S. BUS. OF THE YEAR (2017) - CONGRATS. HON. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Big G's Pizza on receiving the Nova Scotia Business of the Year Award presented by the Community Business Development Corporation. Syrian-born Ghandi Mohrez decided to move to Canada in 2000, in search of peace, freedom and respect. A year later he found all three when he moved to Guysborough and purchased Big G's Pizza. Ghandi worked as a mechanical engineer in Syria for 11 years before deciding to emigrate, so making pizza was not his first choice but it has served him well. Ghandi and his wife Dima have worked hard to build up their family business. They have two children, Noor and Sarah, both born in Guysborough. The hard work of this family has paid off over the years. Their signature dish is chicken souvlaki dinner and was awarded the Seven Wonders of Guysborough plaque in 2012. I highly recommend that you give it a try if you are in the area. Mr. Speaker, through all their struggles the family has overcome so much and could not be more deserving of this recognition. The Mohrez family are just another shining example of the contributions immigrants make to our communities. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Armdale. WOMEN: PUBLIC LIFE - ACHIEVABLE HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, while sorting through boxes of family keepsakes, I stumbled upon an old newspaper clipping, a copy of The Halifax Mail Star from February 28, 1986. Nestled between articles about Sunday shopping and Throne Speech highlights was a picture of a young woman with big hair and a snappy blazer. She was sorting papers under a row of microphones. That woman was me, hard at work as a Page in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, preparing for the first day of the session. Looking back I remember that young woman's dreams of one day also stepping up in public life and taking her seat. It seemed like a lofty dream then, but for today's generation of women it seems entirely doable. [Page 1789] I'm happy to say that I've given that clipping to the Legislative Library to be held in the Province House Library Archives. As Women's History Month concludes, let's celebrate our shift towards greater equality for women in the political sphere. Let's also thank our professional and hard-working pages. I'm sure we can expect big things from them. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Portland Valley. STEIGER, NICOLE: STORE OPENING - CONGRATS. HON. TONY INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, in recognition of Small Business Week, I rise today to welcome a new business in Cole Harbour. The new salon, Studio Ten Eighty-One, is owned and operated by Nicole Steiger. Nicole has worked in the beauty industry for nine years and recently decided that it was time to try entrepreneurship. Dedication to her trade and her strong motivation to be self-employed has led Nicole on this exciting journey. �I ask the members of this House of Assembly to join me in congratulating her, and wishing her and her team much success on this exciting venture and commend her on her small-business ability to bring employment opportunities to her community. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville. CHOW, TREVOR: MID-AMATEUR GOLF TITLE - CONGRATS. MR. BEN JESSOME « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize Trevor Chow of Hammonds Plains who won his third men's mid-amateur golf title in July of this year. Trevor is a Baddeck native now living in Hammonds Plains and is a member of the Ashburn Golf Club in Halifax. The mid-amateur tournament was held at The Links at Penn Hills in Shubenacadie, where Chow posted a score of 11 under, breaking the previous record by six strokes. Trevor previously won the tournament in 2009 and 2013. Trevor's hard work and dedication to this sport resulted in his consistent play over the three days of the tournament and his overall win. Trevor Chow will be joined by Paul Coulson of Truro and Aaron Nickerson of River Hills on the provincial team going to the Nationals in Regina, Saskatchewan, which happened in August. I would ask all members of the House to please join me in congratulating Trevor Chow on winning his third men's amateur golf title and for representing Nova Scotia at the Nationals. [Page 1790] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth North on an introduction. SUSAN LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery. Earlier today, I made a member statement about the Bus Stop Theatre and I mentioned the executive director, Sebastien Labelle. He is with us today. Sebastien is also the artistic director of the Mayworks Halifax Festival which is another incredible artistic venture in this city, where he programs works of art of all disciplines that are based around issues of marginalized communities but also of labour issues - also, he is the father of my children and my very loving partner. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings South. HFX. EXPLOSION - REFLECT MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I thought on the last day of the Legislature here today just to remember that we have an important anniversary coming up on December 6th, six weeks from now. In 1917 on that date, of course, the Halifax Explosion occurred in which the Mont-Blanc collided with the Imo and over 2,000 lives were lost and 9,000 injured. My grandparents lived through that explosion, Keith Butler and Mary Butler, who have long since passed but they survived that explosion along with my grand-uncle, Frederick Butler, former principal of Queen Elizabeth High School. �I ask all members of this House to, on that date, reflect on our families and our history and on that sad day, but we forged ahead and became a strong city thanks to our resilience and many friends from around the Maritimes and Boston. I ask all members to recognize that day with some sadness but with some pride. MR. SPEAKER « » : Thank you very much for those very thoughtful member statements today. [2:00 p.m.] [Page 1791] ORDERS OF THE DAY ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. PREM. - CAP & TRADE: IMPACTS - DETAILS RELEASE HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently wrote to the Premier to share the results of their most recent member survey. It says that 75 per cent of Nova Scotian small businesses want the government to assess and report on the potential costs of its cap-and-trade system before it is implemented. One would hope that that work has already been done. Can the Premier tell this House, did his government calculate the impact of their cap-and-trade plan on small businesses and jobs? If so, will he release those results? HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to thank CFIB for the tremendous work they do advocating on behalf of small businesses across the province and the work that they have done with our government over the last four years. I look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that we deal with the issues that their members are facing. On the question the honourable member brought forward around the cap-and-trade system, as he would know, we're very fortunate here in Nova Scotia to negotiate with the national government to create an in-province cap-and-trade system that recognizes the hard work by Nova Scotians over the last decade to allow us to use those credits that are there, to be able to smooth out the issue across - not only will it protect small businesses, but it will protect the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians. MR. BAILLIE « » : Actually, Nova Scotians don't know if they're fortunate or not because the government has not told them whether they have done a study on jobs and costs to small businesses. That's why 75 per cent of our small businesses want more information. They don't even know if the environment will actually get better, if emissions will go down, because their government won't tell them. I truly hope the government has done this work, Mr. Speaker, because Nova Scotians and small business owners want to do their bit for the environment. I would like to ask the Premier, has his government calculated the anticipated reduction in atmospheric emissions? If so, will he share those results with all Nova Scotians? [Page 1792] THE PREMIER « » : We're continuing to move forward. As the honourable member would know, we're on pace now to be 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. We're at the target now that was set by the national government, but we're not satisfied with that. We're going to continue to move forward with public policy that will ensure not only that we green our electricity system in this province but that we help Nova Scotians when it comes to ensuring their own carbon footprint is reduced through housing grants and other programs in place. We're looking forward to continuing to lead this country in a positive way as we have been doing for the last decade. MR. BAILLIE « » : We were on pace to meet our targets well before the government brought forward its cap-and-trade plan. What Nova Scotians don't know, because the government will not tell them, is whether we're going to get better at emissions or not and whether it's going to cost more or not. Those are pretty basic questions. No wonder that noted Chronicle Herald columnist Jim Vibert recently wrote, "The cap-and-trade bill cannot be fully considered by the House. Critical elements are missing." Critical elements like, will it help the environment? Will it cost us jobs? Mr. Vibert went on to say, "It may be a way to govern. It is not the right way." Will the Premier provide the information Nova Scotians are looking for - the cost to jobs and to small business and the environmental benefits to Nova Scotians - before he enacts the cap-and-trade program that is passing in this House today? THE PREMIER « » : I can tell the honourable member again that we were fortunate to be able to negotiate with the national government to create a cap-and-trade system inside our province that recognizes the hard work that has already been achieved. We will continue to reduce our carbon footprint in this province, at the same time, using those credits to smooth it out to ensure that the sticker shock will not impact the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians. I want to thank small business owners across the province. That's why there's a $14 million tax cut in this particular budget that was voted on a few days ago. It's why we're leading the country in red tape reduction. The CFIB has recognized that, and it's why CFIB recognizes this province as such a positive place for small businesses to operate. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. PREM.: NURSING HOME CUTS - IMPACTS ADMIT MR. GARY BURRILL « » : Media reports today of the physical and emotional abuse of residents of long-term care facilities of course are very disturbing. Every bit as disturbing is the allegation also made today by Gary MacLeod, chair of Advocates for the Care of the Elderly, that understaffing is the thing that has led to a great deal of this neglect. There has been a lot of testimony from nursing home employees and nursing home administrators about how the budget cuts to nursing homes over the last two years have had negative effects on staff. Will the Premier admit that his cuts to nursing homes over the last two years have had negative impacts on the lives of those who live there? [Page 1793] THE PREMIER « » : I share the concerns of the Leader of the New Democratic Party when he talks about the reported situations that are happening in nursing homes. All of us, when our loved ones come into care in any of the institutions in our province, we want to ensure the safety of them. He knows, as they're reported, the 24-hour call, that we have to get back to those families, to make sure that they're investigated and continue to move forward. The honourable member has raised this issue a number of times, about the cuts around long-term care. He would know, some of that money has been replaced back inside of the most recent budget around food allotment and support for recreational services in those long-term care facilities. We're going to continue to work with the hard-working health care providers in our communities, to ensure that our loved ones get the appropriate, safe care that they deserve. MR. BURRILL « » : I would like to respond, about the money that was put back in the current budget. We know that over the past two years, $8 million has been removed from the funds that support nursing home budgets and that in this year's budget, $3.2 million of that has been put back. In my view, an opportunity has been missed here. The reset provided by the government's election was a perfect moment to have restored all 100 per cent of the money that had been taken away over the last two years. I would like to ask the Premier, will he restore, in his next budget, all the nursing home funding that's been taken away since he came to office? THE PREMIER « » : Once this budget goes, and the session ends, whenever that happens, departments are now in the process of preparing to build a budget that will be introduced in the Spring. The question that the honourable member asks, I'm sure will be brought in by the department, and like all issues that are brought in from departments, they'll be given consideration. MR. BURRILL « » : I began this session, asking the Premier if there's a health care crisis. The Premier denied it, as he has multiple times since then. But, over the course of the sitting, we have drawn attention to so many situations. Theresa and Walter Zukauskas and their inability to find a doctor relevant to his Parkinson's; Frieda Young, transported with cardiac symptoms from one hospital to another, in a taxi; Jack Webb; and now today, to abuse in nursing homes, and allegations of its roots and understaffing. [Page 1794] I am not drawn in the direction of rhetoric, or of repetition, but I do think it is fitting to ask the Premier, plainly, once again, will he acknowledge that there is a health care crisis in Nova Scotia, that he has failed to recognize it, and he is failing to address it? THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank those hard-working health care providers across the province, who are providing care, whether it's access to primary care, or whether it's working in nursing homes across the province, providing support to our families, we will continue to work with them. As I've said many times in this House, we know there are pockets in the province where either it's access to primary health care or the supports that are required, we are working with our teams to make sure that they have access. We will continue to work with all of the organizations across this province, so that we can build access to primary health care and ensure that we continue to provide the top-quality, long-term care that this province is known for. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. PREM. - NSHA: BOARD MEETING MINUTES - PUBLICIZE HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Of 101 media releases issued by the Nova Scotia Health Authority during the first half of this year, 60 were to announce emergency room closures, 10 were to announce blood clinic closures, and the remaining 31 offered helpful information on hand hygiene, summer sun safety, and more. But, what people really want to know is, how is it going with doctor recruitment? Are our surgery wait-lists getting longer or shorter? What about the wait times for adolescent mental health services? But those important discussions happen behind closed doors, at the Health Authority board meetings. It's time to put accountability and transparency back into our Health Authority. Will the Premier act today to ensure that minutes of Health Authority board meetings, where these important discussions happen, are made public? THE PREMIER « » : I will take the question the honourable member provided, and give it consideration. MR. BAILLIE « » : That is not the first time I've asked that question. When I asked it two weeks ago, the Premier said, ". . . I will . . . think about the possibility of that happening." Mr. Speaker, this is a $1.6 billion taxpayer-funded organization. Nova Scotians deserve to know what decisions are being made and why, about important things like doctor recruitment and surgery wait times and adolescent mental health. The Premier is continuing to think about whether he will allow for transparency and openness at our $1.6 billion Health Authority. [Page 1795] Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask him, when will Nova Scotians get to see what is going on at the most senior levels of the Health Authority, under his government? THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. Again, as I said a few minutes ago, we'll give consideration to that request on behalf of the member and other Nova Scotians who have requested that. Mr. Speaker, we'll take the appropriate amount of time and make sure that the decision we make is based on fact, based on the fact that it is in the best interests of Nova Scotians, the best interests of the health care system. When that decision is made, we will communicate it to Nova Scotians. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth North. H&W - MOORE, JEANETTE: MRI WAIT - EXPLAIN MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Jeanette Moore lives in my constituency of Dartmouth North. She has a tumour in her chest and has been told she needs an MRI. Originally her doctor said she may have to wait for two weeks. It has now been a month and four days and she still does not have an appointment. Sadly, the wait time for an MRI in Halifax is over a year. Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why Ms. Moore, who is in urgent need of this health procedure, is still waiting? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Unfortunately, as I think the member would know, I am not able to speak directly to individual patients within the health care system, respecting the privacy. Generally speaking, Mr. Speaker, what I can advise the member is that that's one of the advantages of having a provincial health authority, that in fact, MRI services and services provided by facilities across the province, where there is a longer wait time in one area, the opportunity exists for those patients, those Nova Scotians, to go to another location which may have a shorter wait time to get the health care they need when they need it. MS. LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that advice and I will pass that on. Once Ms. Moore is able to get in for an MRI, her results will be sent to her doctor. Unfortunately, her Dartmouth doctor is retiring on Tuesday. She has her health records but nowhere to take them. Thousands of people on this doctor's patient list will find themselves in the same situation next week. Mr. Speaker, the government needs to acknowledge this crisis and act. [Page 1796] Mr. Speaker, will the minister give residents of Dartmouth a clear timeline for when they will have access to primary health care? MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question. Of course, it has been a frequent discussion throughout this Fall session of the Legislature. Where the concerns of Nova Scotians and their access to primary care services has come up, we continue to advise Nova Scotians of our commitment, this budget that we passed and that the Opposition Parties vote against. It's these investments to provide additional residency positions, clerkships and other initiatives to make it more attractive to recruit physicians to Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, the member used a specific example of a retirement taking place in the metro area. I am pleased to let the member know that at the same time, on Monday of this week, there's a new physician starting in the metro area as well, and she'll be taking new names as patients on her roster as well. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. PREM.: BILL NO. 27 - PROCLAMATION HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, last night members on all sides of this House came together to enact new provisions to protect victims from intimate images distribution and cyberbullying. Now, shortly, the victims of these crimes will have legal protections. I do want to say, Mr. Speaker, a special thanks to the Minister of Justice, the member for Pictou West, the member for Dartmouth South and the Premier himself for being willing to come together to make this new law a reality. (Applause) Mr. Speaker, the sooner these new legal protections are on the books, the better, so I'm going to ask the Premier, will he tell the House that that law will be proclaimed into law as soon as possible? THE PREMIER « » : Yes. MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, this is one of the more enjoyable parts of Question Period when we're all moving in the same direction. Mr. Speaker, the underlying regulations, of course, are going to be an important part of creating legal protections for the victims of cyberbullying and for the distribution of intimate images. This is something that we can all leave this place, whenever this session ends, and take some pride in. [Page 1797] [2:15 p.m.] Can the Premier update the House on the status of the preparation of those regulations, and will he set a target date for their publishing and for the proclamation of the bill into law, which we're all hoping will be very soon? THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'll ask the Minister of Justice to respond. HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to assure my colleague that this particular bill and the necessary regulations are a priority for government. We have already started that work around the regulatory elements and components. Without being specific to a date, I want to assure the Leader of the Official Opposition and all colleagues in this House and all Nova Scotians that, because of the importance of this bill, this is a priority. We will move those regulations as quickly as we possibly can. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne. H&W: ROSEWAY HOSP. ER - ACCESSIBILITY MS. KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health and Wellness. Nova Scotians know that our health care system is broken, but a recent episode at the Roseway ER was shocking. On Thanksgiving weekend, Councillor Young from Shelburne took his three-year-old child, who was experiencing a seizure, to the Roseway ER. The emergency room was shutting down because of the lack of a doctor, and I'll table that document. Hospital staff were unable to treat this three-year-old, and called 911. My question to the minister is, when will the minister admit that when hospital staff resort to calling 911, the Roseway ER is in crisis? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Again, I appreciate the member raising her questions on behalf of her constituents and her community. We've had discussions specifically about the Roseway facility. As I've mentioned to the member previously, I had the opportunity to visit that site and talk to staff on site and hear first-hand about the moving forward of some very good initiatives there in that community, including the clinic. But in addition, one of the things that I was made aware of was that for the first time in decades, they have more primary care providers in that community than they've had in many years. [Page 1798] MS. MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the minister is getting tired of me asking the same question over and over, but quite frankly, I'm tired of getting the same empty response for people in Shelburne County. I am worried for the people in Shelburne County. I am worried for children like Nolan's son. It's been almost four months now since Nova Scotians got a new Minister of Health and Wellness, and they expect action. For too long, people have been told that help is on the way. The people of Shelburne County have now arranged a public meeting on November 5th - a chance for them to voice their own concerns. Will the minister commit to attending this meeting and meeting with residents in Shelburne County to make sure that they know those doors are going to be open and that they can access emergency care when they need it? MR. DELOREY « » : As I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, the community - there has been action. There's been action since this government first took office back in 2013. As I've said previously, the recruitment has been very successful to provide physicians - primary care providers - to that community. I've been advised by staff in that area that they have more physician coverage now than they've had in many years. Again, the action is taking place. It's taking place on the ground to provide health care services to that community, just like we're taking action throughout the province (Interruption) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness has the floor. MR. DELOREY « » : . . . just like we're taking action right across this province to improve primary care services, mental health services, and continuing care services for all Nova Scotians. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou West. JUSTICE: WATERVILLE YOUNG OFFENDER - ADULT SENTENCE MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Justice. On September 26th, in this Chamber, a number of questions from members, including myself, asked the minister about the murderer of Daniel Pellerin, and if the murderer should return to the youth facility in Waterville, given the offender's public disclosure of his plans to kill a youth caseworker. I'm certain the minister is aware that this offender has yet again, sadly, assaulted another inmate, just two days ago. Does the minister believe that this time the offender should serve his time in an adult jail? [Page 1799] HON. MARK FUREY « » : I thank my colleague for the question. As my colleague would know, yes, I am familiar with the circumstances that just recently occurred. The police have been involved. I can't speak specifically to the individual but I want to assure my colleague that the courts make those decisions, Mr. Speaker. We know of recent cases, including these circumstances, where the court made a decision. We respect the decision of the court; we're obligated to do so. We believe that the system put in place by the staff at the Waterville facility provides the highest level of safety and security for the residents and the employees who work there and we'll continue with that as our priority. MS. MACFARLANE « » : This is an offender whom the employees are terrified of. I may remind the Chamber that a ruckus in 2016 had many bones broken, concussions. One man had to have his hip bone grafted to help keep his teeth in place. I want to know, because Crown Attorney Jim Fyfe asked Judge Ronda van der Hoek to remand the offender to the provincial jail in Burnside until his next court appearance, arguing that he was charged as an adult and should therefore be in an adult jail, would the minister not agree that this would be correct? MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm well aware of the court process and the system. This is a matter before the court. The courts will make a decision based on the evidence presented. The prosecutor has taken a position. I'm sure that he or she will have supporting rationale as to why they've taken that position and the judge will make a determination based on facts. That's the reality of where we find ourselves. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth South. EECD: INCLUSIVE EDUC. COMMISSION - FUNDING COMMIT. MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Yesterday I asked the minister about shortages of teachers across the province. Well there's also a shortage of guidance counsellors. Given the poor relationship between this government and people working in the education system, few are willing to speak publicly about their concerns but some have taken to social media, like this picture recently posted on Facebook - and I'll table it - of a sign on the door of one guidance counsellor asking students to be patient as they try to care for 655 young people. Although we know the government hired some additional staff to address the crisis in Cape Breton, we need to do better than reacting to tragedy. Mr. Speaker, is the minister satisfied that Citadel High, Millwood High, J.L. Ilsley High, and other schools opened in September with fewer guidance counsellors than they had the previous school year? [Page 1800] HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, a very important question in terms of allocation of resources, making sure that they're going where they need to, to support those children who are in the most need in our system. We have increased the amount of student psychologists, mental health supports in the system. I think that's important to note. That has improved every single year since we've been in. The Commission on Inclusive Education currently is looking at this particular question, as well, and if we should adjust the funding model and the allocation of these resources in the system. We do anxiously await their findings and, in the meantime, we'll work with our boards on any specific cases of concern that do arise. Thank you. MS. CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, despite assurances to the contrary, there continues, based on the information that we have received anecdotally, to be a shortage of other specialists in the classroom. These professionals work with our most vulnerable students, and without them we run the risk of children falling through the cracks. Mr. Speaker, speech-language pathologists are being asked to take on additional schools. Some cover more than six schools, an individual staff person. We know that we need more educational program assistants in the classroom to support learners with diverse needs. This need for additional supports in our classrooms has been raised loud and clear by teachers and parents, many of whom were outside this Legislature in February. It seems that the situation is only getting worse. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development loves to talk about the Commission on Inclusive Education, so I will ask the minister, can he end the uncertainty for parents and teachers and commit today to fund the implementation of the recommendations of that commission? MR. CHURCHILL « » : It is important to note that special support needs have been protected by this government, unlike previous governments who have reduced those supports because of declining enrolment. We provided additional funding to the boards to hold and enhance those services. We have hired more speech pathologists in the system. We have hired more mental health clinicians. By the end of our term every single school in this province will have access to mental health clinicians through the SchoolsPlus program. I wish we took more time in this Legislature to recognize all the great stories of success where these people are having life-changing impacts on our students. There are challenges in this system. They are systemic and that's why we are moving forward to transform this system so it better serves every single student in it. Thank you. [Page 1801] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. H&W - NURSING HOMES: FUNDING - INCREASE MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Going back to the story that was in the paper today concerning long-term care, a CBC report says that the last two years there have been 46 confirmed cases of emotional, physical, sexual abuse in our province's nursing homes. A long-time advocate for elder care says nursing homes are understaffed, which contributes to this terrible situation. So, will the minister restore funding to nursing homes to decrease the amount of abuse on the residents? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising this very important question. It's very important for members of this Legislature to know and it may be important information to share with their constituents as well and, perhaps, even family members - we're one of three provinces across this country that actually has legislation, the Protection for Persons in Care Act, to ensure that we have the appropriate process in place to respond if there are issues wherein people do not follow the rules governing the care of persons in our residences. You know that any time a situation comes when the people who are working, or the environment does not provide the care and the services that we expect that are defined by the licences, action needs to be taken. That's why we perform the investigation, we have this Act in place. MR. HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, I have in my lifetime visited numerous nursing homes in both professions and I've seen staff who have gone way above the call of duty but, sadly, we just don't have enough of those individuals. The information in the CBC story shows that facilities do not always report allegations of abuse. I have met so many seniors who have said they are afraid to say anything because their lifeline is those individuals who look after them day in and day out, and they are afraid to say anything. Seniors advocate Gary MacLeod told CBC the Protection for Persons in Care team is understaffed - will the minister increase resources to the Protection for Persons in Care team to make nursing homes safer? MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to let the member know and just take the opportunity that if the member or anyone knows of an allegation of abuse or mistreatment within our facilities they can call 1-800-225-7225 to report to the staff, who will look into the situation. [Page 1802] With respect to whether or not we have enough staff to fulfill the Protection for Persons in Care Act, all allegations that are reported to the department through this Act which, again, that phone number provides that we look into those situations within 24 hours to get the information that's needed to take the necessary steps moving forward. That may include a more detailed investigation. Actions taken against the facility or individuals reports back to professional bodies and, in the worst of worst situations, reports to criminal charges through the RCMP or the police force. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cumberland North. H&W - FOREIGN PHYSICIANS: ACAD. STUDY SOLUTION - CREATE MS. ELIZABETH SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health and Wellness. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia have changed their requirements for licensing foreign doctors here in Nova Scotia. Those that have come here since 2015 now must have passed certification, which will require them to pass the Canadian exams for their specialty. Without passing these exams, they will not be able to continue to practise medicine here in Nova Scotia. [2:30 p.m.] These physicians are an important part of our health care system. Most of these physicians work full-time hours and do not have close access to an academic setting to support studying for these exams. The question I have to the Minister of Health and Wellness is, would the Department of Health and Wellness work with Dalhousie Medical School and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia to create an academic study solution so that we can help support these physicians to pass these exams so they can stay and practise medicine here in Nova Scotia? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, again I thank the member for raising this question on the floor of the House. Indeed, as the member referenced in the preamble the concern around changes to how the college, the professional body that governs and licenses physicians, has enhanced the requirements which has affected some physicians in the Province of Nova Scotia. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we've committed to working with the college. This question came up at a meeting with Doctors Nova Scotia which the Registrar for Doctors Nova Scotia was at as well. So indeed, I think this is an issue that has been brought forward that is on the radars of many, and we're committed to working together to try to both manage the safety of the environment but also the needs of our physicians. [Page 1803] MS. SMITH-MCCROSSIN « » : Thank you to the minister for your answer. I know that recently this week we unfortunately had a physician in Cumberland who reached out to Dalhousie Medical School to look for supports to help them prepare for the exam, and they were denied. I realize that the College of Physicians and Surgeons is separate from the Department of Health and Wellness but I thought that if the Department of Health and Wellness could work with Dalhousie Medical School to offer solutions, with especially the rural physicians who live two hours away from Dalhousie, that it may indeed help these physicians to pass the exam. I'm wondering, would the minister make that commitment to try to encourage Dal to work with these physicians? MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, it pleases me to stand here to acknowledge the member opposite. Far too often in this Legislature when people on the opposite side, members of the Official Opposition, rise to make a position they come to criticize but not with recommendations and solutions - recommendations move forward and I appreciate the suggestion that the member has brought forward here and, of course as I've already indicated, we are working and that's a suggestion that's brought forward and I'll certainly be bringing it, as part of the work that we're doing, into consideration. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Northside-Westmount. LAE - UNIVERSITY FUNDING: GOV'T. (N.S.) - RESPONSIBILITY MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. Previously we asked this government yet again why they failed to give CBU the same treatment as they gave Acadia. When I asked the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education about this he told us that he gave them more than their ask, and he repeated his claim in the media - and I can table those. We showed yesterday how wrong the minister was by tabling a FOIPOP showing the direct ask for government by CBU was $4.1 million. Now I know the minister is an accountant and I'm not, but I did confirm with the member for Cumberland South, who is a chartered accountant, that $4.1 million is more than $1 million. My question to the minister is, why did the minister tell the members of this House and the public that CBU was given more funding than they asked for when it was clearly not? [Page 1804] HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to get up and clarify the question that came today and the question that came yesterday. It's very simple - the $4.1 million that was asked for by CBU was a one-time ask. What we did is we gave them $1 million a year embedded in their funding, which is continuous on a go-forward basis. CBU identified $4.1 million as a shortfall over the next five years that they required. They asked the department for a one-time ask of $4.1 million. What we did is we looked at it and we said we're going to bump up the funding $1 million a year which, over the next five years will be $5 million, but over the next 10, 20 years, could be $10 million, $20 million (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, as I've said, it's embedded in their funding and it is continuous. Thank you. MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, Acadia was also not asked to pay back a $7 million SOFI loan that everyone else was required to do. The Premier said it was because of a promise made by the previous government, but the CBC showed that Acadia was requesting an extension consistently between 2011 and 2017 and they were denied. Alternatively, the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education said it was because of a report by Deloitte & Touche. Now neither of these stories points to the previous government - this government is fully responsible. So, my question is, who has the right answer - is it the Premier or the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education? MR. KOUSOULIS « » : I'd like to say that myself and the Premier, we're always both right. It's very simple - Acadia went to the previous government and they asked for funding to help them with their operations. What the previous government did is they gave them a SOFI loan, which was intended for infrastructure. Mr. Speaker, there was no infrastructure tied to that loan. The loan was forgiven. That was the original term that was given to Acadia, take this money, you can cover your operation, but infrastructure money was given to them. To clarify my comments to the CBC, what I said was as we looked at making Acadia whole in terms of their funding, why would we sit there and give them money on one hand and take money on the other hand? It made no sense. We levelled the playing field, $3.5 million added to their budget, and the SOFI loan was eliminated as was promised by the previous government. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth North. [Page 1805] COM. SERV. - INCOME ASSIST.: CHILD SUPP. CLAWBACK - TIMELINE MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. I recently asked the minister about the clawback of child support from recipients of income assistance, and I was encouraged by her response. On October 18th, the government announced improvements to the process of the enforcement and collection of child support. Mr. Speaker, will the minister please provide a timeline for ending the clawback of child support payments from single parents receiving income assistance? HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. As she is aware, because we've discussed it quite a bit during Budget Estimates, we're in the process of transformation of the department and as soon as we're able to give you more information on any of the initiatives that we determine we're going to undertake, we will be happy to share them with the House. MS. LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, ending the clawback of child support will put an average of $2,000 annually, per child, back in the pockets of single parents receiving income assistance. We appreciate the steps taken to collect the millions owed to children; we continue to be concerned that these efforts will have no benefit for children whose parents receive income assistance. Mr. Speaker, will the minister agree to end the clawback of child support and make this change retroactive? MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, as I've indicated to the honourable member previously, we are in the process of transformation of our employment supports and income assistance system. We'll be happy to share with her any details when they are in fact ready. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness. H&W - HOSPICE PALLIATIVE CARE: CANADA HEALTH ACT - COVERAGE SUPPORT MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Our definition of what palliative care means has changed. Health care providers have been educated more on this approach and is being chosen more frequently as a method of care. Would the minister be in favour of the federal government making hospice palliative care a medical service covered under the Canada Health Act? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for raising this question. The member may or may not be aware, indeed not just from a professional perspective, I think as a society we're becoming more aware of end-of-life care, the approaches to ensure that Nova Scotians, that individuals that reach that stage of their life have appropriate care and services. That's one of the reasons why in our previous mandate my predecessor, the current Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, worked with the department and other stakeholders to establish a framework that goes toward establishing a hospice facility providing this type of care. [Page 1806] Again, this is an area that we have taken an active work on. Thank you. MR. MACMASTER « » : No answer there on whether the minister would be in favour of that. I can understand the minister's reservation, the province would then be forced to ensure that full palliative care is provided, and it would affect our province more than other provinces because of our aging population. We know the deal this government signed when it broke ranks from the other provinces. They seem to be more in favour of the federal government's interests than our own and our people here in Nova Scotia. I think of one example, oxygen at home for people suffering from breathlessness. In 2014, I asked the former Minister of Health and Wellness this question - and I'll table that - and he indicated a provincial palliative care program will be addressed. Mr. Speaker, why do palliative care societies continue to have to fundraise for this medical service, because while it is free for people in hospital it is not free for everyone at home? MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, as the member mentioned in the preamble of the first question, there have been a lot of advances and changes both in terms of a recognition of the nature and the opportunities and the approaches to end-of-life care. That includes a wide variety, as the member mentioned. There are facilities and there is certain care that's provided in a hospital setting. There are individuals who receive this type of care in a home setting now. They can receive this care, the support of a wide range of clinicians, including paramedics - their scope of practice has expanded. Again, it is an emerging and evolving area of health care. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. H&W - ALZHEIMER SOC.: GRANT EXTENSION - COMMIT. MS. BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. As we're all aware, the number of new Canadians diagnosed with Alzheimer's each year is growing. Last year, over 25,000 loved ones learned that they were going to be personally facing this challenge. [Page 1807] As we've heard in this House, it is the family and the caregivers who take on the selfless task of looking after those who are dealing with this chronic health condition. With the government's increased focus on people aging in place, we all know that this increased attention and programming needs to be funded to allow for the training and support for non-health professionals taking on the task of being unpaid caregivers. The Alzheimer Society's grant of $400,000 over three years comes to an end in March 2018. My question to the minister is, will he commit today to extending that grant for the next three years, or even better, commit to permanent funding for this organization, to allow them to be the leaders in further developing and implementing Nova Scotia's dementia strategy? HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member bringing this question about Alzheimer's and dementia to the floor of the Legislature. This is an area that goes unacknowledged far too often in our society. Earlier this week I had the privilege, in my role as Minister of Health and Wellness, to attend a conference - I believe it's the 28th annual conference of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia - where they praised the work and the collaboration that's been taking place between the society and those advocates and care providers and the Province of Nova Scotia. Again, we've done great work with their support. We continue to support them. I look forward to the following question. MS. ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if I can interpret that as a "yes," but I'm going to put that out to the universe. There is no one sitting here today who does not know somebody with arthritis. In fact, given all of our ages, we might be hard pressed to find somebody sitting here who doesn't already experience the pain and functional challenges that come from the hundreds of varieties of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, as well as other arthritic conditions. Given the impact on one's quality of life and ability to work with these health challenges, one would assume that there is funding for the only non-profit organization in the province solely devoted to helping those with arthritis. However, this is not the case. The Nova Scotia Arthritis Society does not have any funding. Will the minister commit today to providing similar funding to the Arthritis Society as he does to the Alzheimer Society? MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for bringing this question to the floor of the House. It's obviously an area that the member is passionate about. She spoke about these conditions during Budget Estimates as well. [Page 1808] As the member would know, major budget commitments are outlined in our budget document - a budget that's been tabled and debated extensively, and indeed, the Estimates passed earlier this session. The organizations - even if they haven't received direct, dedicated funding identified in the budget - to recognize that there are many program and granting opportunities through the Nova Scotia Health Authority and/or the Department of Health and Wellness, that organizations are able to receive funding that may not be explicitly outlined or identified through the budget process. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. EECD: SPRINGHILL ELEM. - FUNDING APPROVAL HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. The school capital construction project list for the Chignecto-Central School Board continues to show a new elementary school for Springhill as their number-one priority, second overall to an addition in another part of the province. All that's required now is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development to approve the funding so the students of Springhill can get the elementary school that they deserve. I'd like to ask the minister, will he now tell the House if Springhill Elementary will be approved for funding by his department this year so that those kids can get the education they deserve? HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of capital pressures on our system. We have over 50 priorities that have been submitted to the department. We are in the process of reviewing those on a priority basis. Our focus will always be on investing in the capital projects where the highest need is. That process is ongoing now, and we do hope to have our full capital plan released before the New Year. MR. BAILLIE « » : I do want to point out that a new elementary school for Springhill has been at the top of the priority list for Chignecto-Central for five years now. I would like to share with the minister the reasons why. I have the project description done by the engineers of the school board with me. It says, and I quote directly, "Primary reasons for closing the schools is the inability to provide a complete Public School Program at" West End Memorial Elementary, "and there is no grounds space for expansion at" Junction Road Elementary. Would the minister agree that when the schools are no longer able to provide a complete public school program because of their decrepit state, it's time to approve a new elementary school for Springhill? [2:45 p.m.] [Page 1809] MR. CHURCHILL « » : Of course, I do agree with the spirit of those comments. We want our children to have access to the best, most modern facilities possible. We are working our way through that process to ensure that those areas of the highest need, that need these funds, receive them in a timely manner. There's a lot of pressure on the system financially. These are incredibly expensive projects. I look forward to releasing our final list once they have undergone the complete approval process. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Needham. LAE - LOAN FORGIVENESS PROG.: ELIGIBILITY - EXPLAIN MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : My question is for the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. I recently heard from a constituent who self-funded her first degree but struggled to find meaningful work in the province after that. So she returned for a diploma program at Dalhousie University a few years later and took out student loans to pay for her fees. In her letter to me, she said the loans seemed reasonable as she was set to start a career in the then-booming film industry. However, when the industry crashed after the government cancelled the film tax credit, my constituent's prospects disappeared. Now, she is scrambling to make ends meet because her loans for that diploma program are not eligible for the Nova Scotia Loan Forgiveness Program. Can the minister explain why students upgrading their qualifications in order to attach to the labour market are excluded from accessing the same benefits as bachelor degree students? HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : The answer to that is very simple. The forgiveness to the student loan is meant for your first degree, your bachelor's degree. It's not meant for people who are upgrading, getting master's or doctorate degrees. It is for individuals to get their first degree and get their career started. MS. ROBERTS « » : My constituent self-funded her first degree. She's committed to staying in her home province but is finding her debt unmanageable. Had she taken a degree rather than a diploma, she could have saved herself $10,000 through the Loan Forgiveness Program. If this government is so concerned about helping young people attain the skills and qualifications they need to find good jobs here in Nova Scotia, why are those trying to fast-track their education being punished for doing so? Will the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education commit to changing the student assistance program to allow diploma students to qualify for the Loan Forgiveness Program? MR. KOUSOULIS « » : What I will commit to is expanding the program as much as our finances allow us to. This is a great program. It actually amounts to more than $10,000. It amounts to over $30,000 in loan forgiveness. I would like all Nova Scotians to understand this program. Anyone who qualifies for a Nova Scotia student loan - $6,800 a year is the maximum amount - upon graduation, and that's up to five years of university undergraduate, your total loan is wiped out to zero. To go a step further, for any individuals who might have a disability, we have made it 10 years for them to ensure that they can get an undergraduate degree. [Page 1810] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton-Richmond. MS. ALANA PAON « » : I'm doubtful that I'm going to get a response to this question, so I'm going to start with this. In 2013 as a farmer in Antigonish County, a young man came to my doorstep after I had met him at an event. He currently now sits in this House. He was asking for my vote, and he came to my farm and sat with me on my verandah for about an hour. I thought, I think that maybe this young man might actually make a difference. This young man, I don't see him in this House any longer, I'm very sad to say. He has become a regurgitator of talking points, or an actor speaking a script perhaps (Interruption) I am going to say that. He actually put it to me that perhaps I should run for politics, and I did . . . MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The time allotted for Oral Questions Put by Members to Ministers has expired. GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Third Reading. PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 18. Bill No. 18 - Congregation of Notre Dame, Saint Joseph Province Dissolution Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford. HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 18 be now read a third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 18. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. [Page 1811] The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 24. Bill No. 24 - An Act Respecting Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings South. MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, I move Bill No. 24 be now read a third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 24. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 36. Bill No. 36 - Lunenburg Common Lands (2017) Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg. MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 36 be now read for a third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 36. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. [Page 1812] The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 41. Bill No. 41 - Digby Water Commission Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clare-Digby. MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 41 be read for a third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 41. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would now like to deal with an issue that requires unanimous consent of the House. It's regarding Private and Local Bill No. 13, an Act to Incorporate Harmony Cemetery Company, in the County of Colchester. This bill was proceeding through the Private and Local Bills process but because of public advertising requirements it didn't make the initial meeting of the Private and Local Bills Committee this week. It did however meet through the committee and was considered by the committee this morning, and it did pass with no amendments, nothing changed. We now ask for unanimous consent of the House to read this bill for the third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 13. Is it agreed? It is agreed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 13. [Page 1813] Bill No. 13 - An Act to Incorporate Harmony Cemetery Company, in the County of Colchester. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 13 be read a third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 13. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, could I ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes recess while the Minister of Justice finishes with the media? MR. SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed? It is agreed. The House will now recess for a few minutes. [2:55 p.m. The House recessed.] [3:01 p.m. The House reconvened.] MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading. PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 16. [Page 1814] Bill No. 16 - Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice. HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 16, the Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act be now read a third time. Three weeks ago, our government introduced new legislation to promote the rights of adult Nova Scotians who cannot make some important decisions for themselves. The Nova Scotia Supreme Court was critical of the Incompetent Persons Act and, in 2016, it determined that certain sections of the Act were unconstitutional and government agreed. The court said that the all-or-nothing approach to capacity did not allow a court to tailor a guardianship order so that a person subject to that order could make decisions in areas in which they are capable. In essence, the Incompetent Persons Act failed to uphold the rights most Canadians take for granted. The court gave government one year to replace the Act. The new legislation must be in place by December 28, 2017. We have brought forward modernized legislation that addresses the concerns raised by the courts and represents significant progress in promoting the rights of people with diminished capacity. We took the time through consultation, to strengthen the rights of Nova Scotians impacted by this legislation. The Adult Capacity and Decision-making Bill states that an adult has the right to dignity and autonomy and that this must be respected. It confirms that adults have the legal right to make their own decisions. A court will not interfere with the right unless it is necessary to do so. People who make decisions for another adult must do so in the least restrictive and least intrusive way possible. The court, before granting an order, must be satisfied that the applicant has considered and, where appropriate, tried less intrusive and less restrictive options that promote and protect the adult's well-being and financial interest. The representatives must inform the adult of decisions and encourage their participation in those decisions and they must always consider the adult's prior instructions, wishes, values, and beliefs when making those decisions. The representative is responsible for making decisions in the areas and only those areas where the person does not have capacity. We consulted with experts, with guardians, with people with intellectual disabilities, and organizations that represent them. We also heard from them at the Law Amendments Committee and we have continued the important conversations with our Opposition colleagues. Feedback largely came under three general themes: supportive decision making, transitioning guardianship orders to representation orders under the new Act, and state-funded legal representation. We have listened, we have heard, and we have responded. We have added a provision requiring that government review the legislation within three years. This review will include consideration of supported decision making. It will include as well, thorough and exhaustive consultation. The results will come to the Legislature. [Page 1815] We heard concerns about the transition from guardianship to representation. Current guardians become representatives under the new Act and their duties and obligations change to those of representatives. The guardian must return to court if the guardian recognizes that the adult has capacity in some areas of decision making or if the adult's needs or circumstances change - for example, the adult regains capacity. We heard concerns that this wasn't strong enough. We added a provision that reinforces that any person, including an adult under an existing guardianship order under the former Act, can ask the court to review the guardianship order to ensure that it is still appropriate under the new Act. Third, Mr. Speaker, we heard from many parties that state-funded legal advice would be important for people involved in orders under this and the former legislation. We have responded by setting up an agreement with Nova Scotia Legal Aid to provide legal support to adults who are affected by this legislation. Legal Aid has also agreed to facilitate access to legal support for applicants who qualify for legal aid services. Our government continues to consider the needs of the people affected by this legislation. This is a significant shift for those whose professional work or personal lives are affected by the Act. Training for professionals and educational sessions and materials for the public will help to ensure that the change to representation under the new Act happens relatively smoothly. The Public Trustee's Office will play an increased role under this Act in providing this education and information. This work is in addition to their role to receive complaints and, when ordered by the court, to review reports from representatives. Much of the preparation, including the drafting of regulations and new forms, has begun. We believe this bill will achieve its intended objectives. The review will give us the opportunity to ensure we are on the right track. The new Act will bring Nova Scotia a long way forward in this area of the law. With those few comments, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the comments of my colleagues. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou West. MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : I want to thank the minister for his comments. We have finally arrived at third reading. From my end and perspective, sadly with much disappointment, but again I do want to take this opportunity to thank the Premier and thank the Minister of Justice for arranging for myself and the member for Dartmouth South to engage in a meeting pertaining to this bill and, as well, Bill No. 27, with his colleagues at the Department of Justice. I think that was very generous and I appreciate that we had that opportunity. [Page 1816] At the meeting, one of the lawyers who worked on this particular bill looked at my file and joked and said that it was much thicker than theirs. We had a good chuckle about that because, Mr. Speaker, I really left no stone unturned with this bill. I wrote down every comment made, as well as suggestions, ideas, positive or critical, and I met with many stakeholders and, as well, attended Law Amendments Committee. It has been a profound, humbling experience actually for me, as an MLA of only four years and I've learned one really big lesson, and that is if I ever had the honour and opportunity to be a minister, I promise myself this, that I will do my personal best to meet and listen to every single stakeholder. The Nova Scotia Law Reform Commission identified major problems with this legislation in 1995, 22 years ago, and today I don't think the bill is much better. Mr. Speaker, I know the amendments that myself and my colleague from Dartmouth South put forward were very good and I think - not intentionally, but it worked out really well - that strategically there were only a few amendments that really crossed each other. I know that I spent much time trying to understand this bill and, let me be clear, much effort has gone into this bill from many, including the employees at the Department of Justice. I know their efforts came from a sincere place but, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in this bill to elevate those who need to access this bill. Through this bill we have not made it possible for people to have supported decision making on their behalf, as an alternative to their guardians. I feel that the truth is that something really good happened here last night in this Chamber with Bill No. 27 during Committee of the Whole. Then came Bill No. 16 and although I remained hopeful, I sadly went home and for hours wondered what more could I have done? I sat there and I felt that I have failed. I have failed some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I really have and I will take ownership of that because, obviously, I was not able to articulate well enough what my five simple amendments could do to make this bill more powerful and strengthen the bill. Some moments take a lifetime to get over, this will be one of them. I think I will go into the future knowing that there are people being left behind. Again, these are the people who need our help, they need assistance. I know this job has always allowed my passion to meet purpose, and that is helping people, but last night I felt that I had failed them. Now I am just really a perpetual witness to the inequality with this bill. Feeling socially connected, faith, values and self reliance was what people expected with this bill. The other day someone said, you must have to have thick skin to be in this profession and I said to them, no, you need porous skin. You need porous skin because you still need to be able to feel so that you can make the right decision. I'm not wanting to assign any blame to this bill and why it's not meeting the basic rights of those whom we were wanting it to meet. [Page 1817] I am convinced it will not do the following: it will not promote the dignity, autonomy, independence, social inclusion and freedom of decision-making adults. I know last night I mentioned that the bill is not going to meet the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was ratified by Canada in 2010. I know that I used the words "access" and "accommodations" over and over again, and last evening with my five amendments, one of them that I was truly hoping that all consideration would have been given to was the simple one that was located on Page 14, Clause 27(4), Line 1, delete "act" and substitute with "advise or act". [3:15 p.m.] As I close in third reading, I want everyone to think for a moment, to put yourself in this situation. You go out today on your way home and you get in a car accident, and you become a paraplegic. So, you're not able to look after your hygiene, you're not able to get up and go for a walk, or go to a bar, or take a drive anywhere, but you're able to communicate - because, luckily, you still have your mind. But you have to have a guardian to make all of these other decisions for you that you can't make. That guardian now has all authority - because they can't advise, they act on your behalf for everything. So, I end with this - is that, maybe, perhaps, that this bill is a start, and that we can move forward, and if there was one thing, one out of those five amendments, I would hope that perhaps the minister will reconsider and put that word "advise" in, because I think it changes a lot for the betterment of those who plan to use this bill. So, with those words, I thank you for giving me the opportunity, and I look forward to what our other colleagues have to say. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth South. MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : It is with sadness that I rise on the last day of this session to speak for a final time to the Adult Capacity and Decision-making Bill. When I rose earlier this week to make remarks, I closed by stating that I hoped that someone was listening and, for a moment, it seemed as though someone was. The media was quick to note that the government paused, and that they were considering the comments of myself and my colleagues, and those at Law Amendments Committee. Sadly, that pause seems to have been little more than public relations. After analysis by the Department of Justice, the bill came back before this House yesterday virtually unchanged. Undeterred, the Opposition proposed dozens of amendments - some large, and some small, but all meaningful. And all for the purpose of ensuring that people subject to representation orders have the support they need to exercise their most basic rights to life, liberty, and security of their persons. [Page 1818] The government voted down every single amendment. They were not listening - not to other members of this House, not to the dozens of experts who were consulted, who cajoled, who wrote open letters, sent amendments, and have spent hours in this gallery, hoping, just hoping, that their government would do the right thing. We have had one victory this week - and that is that people subject to representation orders will be able to access legal aid, and I thank the minister and his department for that, and it's very important to mark that victory. However, I have serious concerns about how this information will be made available. The minister says that via the Public Trustee, we will have education and outreach around the subject of this Act. I hope that's true, but let's be honest - the track record is not great. When asked why the government took the unusual step of sending this bill back to the department earlier this week, the Premier told the media that they weren't given the Opposition amendments in advance, that they were somehow surprised that in Committee of the Whole, where our job is to offer amendments, that we offered amendments. This is ridiculous. We have a process for feedback and consideration, and that process is the Law Amendments Committee. At Law Amendments Committee, we heard from seven presenters, all of whom spoke against the bill. Every amendment we proposed, every point that has been made, was made there, was made better, was made more strongly, by the people most impacted by this bill - and the government did not listen. So why the pause? I don't know. I hope it was a genuine effort to improve the bill - unfortunately, it failed. It's especially unfortunate for Autism Nova Scotia; the Canadian Association for Community Living; the Canadian Association of Retired People of Nova Scotia; the Canadian Council of the Blind Access and Awareness, Nova Scotia chapter; the Canadian Mental Health Association, Nova Scotia division; the Community Homes Action Group; the Community Living centres; the Disability Rights Coalition; Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia; L'Arche Atlantic; March of Dimes Canada, Nova Scotia; Nova Scotia Association for Community Living; Nova Scotia Residential Agencies Association; People First of Canada; People First Nova Scotia; reachAbility; the James McGregor Stewart Society; and the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities. They all signed the open letter from the People First Canada, Nova Scotia chapter, and supported the amendments that they and I proposed, every single one of which was voted down. Because there is so little difference between this bill and the bill we had before us earlier this week, I will reiterate the points I have already made. Chiefly, they are that in order to succeed, this bill should establish a supportive decision-making system, recognize a different way of defining capacity that takes into account both the spectrum of capacity and the definition so it's not just physical capacity but also takes into account what capacity an individual might have with supports, and most importantly be meaningful to those affected. On those points, Mr. Speaker, this bill does nothing to meaningfully establish a supportive decision-making regime. This is the single core issue around which all stakeholders, the international and national community have come together. [Page 1819] The amendment that was proposed by the government does nothing for this now. It tells us that in three years, they're gonna think about it. That is little comfort. Second, the government has not put at the front of its minds the experience of people who will be subject to this Act. The definition of capacity has not changed. We recognize with words that capacity exists along a spectrum, but we don't define capacity as including what an individual may be able to do with supports, and we grandfather in the representation orders from the Incompetent Persons Act, formerly the guardianship orders, that do not recognize a spectrum of capacity. They are all or nothing. Third, the consultation process for this bill as well as the cyber-security bill was lacking, and this needs to change. In recognizing the principle of always trying to impose the least restrictions on people's liberty, this bill attempted to shift the tone and content of the legislation and its negative impacts in two important ways. First was by updating the definition of capacity. This was one of the reasons that the old bill was struck down, and as I have said, they have done some work in this regard. Second was recognizing that capacity exists on a spectrum. Again, there was some work in this regard, but it's important to recognize that the bar for improvement was low. Several times now in this House, I have called the former Incompetent Persons Act atrocious. I may be being kind. At the very least there were some serious shortcomings. The government has not substantially changed the provisions which grandfather old orders, to which I just referred. As a signatory to the UN Conference on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Canada has recognized the rights to liberty enshrined in Article 12 of that document. But in fact, we recognized those rights in 1982 when the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted. For the benefit of members inclined to pass this bill, here in full is the content of Article 12 of the UN CRPD to which we are all signatories: 1. States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law. 2. States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life. [Page 1820] 3. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity. 4. States Parties shall ensure that all measures that relate to the exercise of legal capacity provide for appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse in accordance with international human rights law. Such safeguards shall ensure that measures relating to the exercise of legal capacity respect the rights, will and preferences of the person, are free of conflict of interest and undue influence, are proportional and tailored to the person's circumstances, apply for the shortest time possible and are subject to regular review by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body. Regular review by a competent, independent, and impartial authority or judicial body - not only do we not have this in the bill before us, Mr. Speaker, but we don't even have a review of the already unconstitutional orders that are being grandfathered in. The safeguards shall be proportional to the degree to which such measures affect the person's rights and interests. 5. Subject to the provisions of this article, States Parties shall take all appropriate and effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and to have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, and shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not arbitrarily deprived of their property. When I stood up, I said that I was standing here with sadness. I retract that. I am standing here in anger and, in that spirit, I will read you, again, Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice." National and international law recognize a person's right to exercise as much judgment as possible over their own affairs. In 1993, the Law Reform Commission pointed out the lack of constitutionality of the old legislation. As I've said before, it took us too long to act. Our own Supreme Court in striking down the former Act said, a law that provides that someone else is entitled to make all decisions for another, clearly infringes liberty and security of the person. Not much has changed here. Would this law survive a constitutional test? Time will tell. Here we are in what I said earlier this week was a moment of opportunity. Government had the time to go back to the drawing board and get this right and, in saying that, it is so important to recognize the stakeholders in this conversation, those who were briefly consulted, and many of whom also took the time to appear at the Law Amendments Committee to universally tell this government that this bill is not right. It was frankly heartbreaking to read the submissions from People First Nova Scotia, urging us all in no uncertain terms to at least have the respect to consider the changes these front-line people and groups are recommending. From professors to community advocates, to parents to First Voices, the suggestions, amendments, and entreaties were remarkably consistent. [Page 1821] At their heart, they all asked for one thing: a truly supported decision-making regime, one that serves many of the most vulnerable in our province, that truly helps them to be a part of the community in which they find themselves and to have fulfilling lives and independence. Sadly, on this day, it seems that they will be denied. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. MS. BARBARA ADAMS « » : Mr. Speaker, I think I need to start out by saying to the member for Pictou West and the member for Dartmouth South that I do not believe that either one of you has failed, because I believe it is our job to be representatives of what our constituents and stakeholders are telling us and what you did is you listened and you brought their voices and you spoke as loudly as you could. It's not your failure that those words weren't listened to or acted upon. So, I want to congratulate both of you . . . MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would just like to remind the honourable member to keep her comments directed through the Chair and not directly to other members. The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor. MS. ADAMS « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The definition of capacity is one I'm well familiar with as a health professional and, at its very basic, it says maximum amount that someone can do or obtain. It is the ability or power to do something. We've spoken at length about the fact that those with intellectual disabilities function on a spectrum and we wanted this legislation to reflect that, but it isn't just the person with the difficulties in decision making that I am concerned about. I am concerned about the capacity of the judges, the capacity of the lawyers who are going to have to interpret this legislation and implement and make decisions on behalf of those who have the challenges. I'm equally concerned about the capacity of the health professionals who are then going to be tasked with doing capacity evaluations and making life-altering decisions on someone else's behalf with their recommendations. I have been in that position as a health professional, when someone has said, "Can my mother still live at home?" [3:30 p.m.] [Page 1822] If you want a difficult position to be in, it's to tell someone that they're going to have to put their wife in a building other than the one they've lived in for 50 years because they no longer have the physical capacity to live there. It's a lot easier to make that determination, though, because we have outcome measures, national guidelines, and policies and procedures that have been tested for at least 50 years that allow me to say to a family member, "If your scores fall into this range, you cannot live alone, and it is in your best interest to be in an assisted-living facility." We do not have those national guidelines for intellectual-capacity decision making. There are articles in other countries where they call upon national intellectual-capacity guidelines. I'll reference one: The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law of March 2017, where it says, in one of their recommendations, ". . . we recommend national guidelines for the evaluation of task-specific decision-making capacities to reduce the variability of outcome and improve quality of evaluations found among medical professionals, forensic evaluators, and legal . . ." representatives. I'll table that document. We don't have a process in place to evaluate intellectual capacities. We do not have the training of the lawyers, the judges, the health care professionals, or the representatives who are going to be taking on these tasks in their new capacities. We're going to have all sorts of uncertainty moving forward, so we have policies before we have regulations, and the procedures that are going to guideline are practical applications. In the CTV News article of October 16th, they were talking about the fact that we don't have benchmarks to guide this. This issue is very similar to inclusion in the classroom. It's one person deciding what another person's capabilities are and what supports they need. But - and I hope all the ministers on the other side are listening - we do have policies for inclusion in the classroom and for assessing who needs that, and we fund those assessments and the supports that are needed. We are not doing that with this legislation as it stands. Issues of who decides for someone else are not new in health care. We've had informed consent for a very long time. We have financial power of attorney, so if you have funding issues, we have someone who can do that for you, but that's all they get to do. You have alternate decision-makers on health care decisions. I can have one son deciding how to spend my money - and he knows who that is - and I can have another one deciding whether to unplug my ventilator if I should have a catastrophic illness or injury. We can have two different people doing that. We don't have that ability with this bill, and we did not listen to the people who suggested that we needed to have the spectrum and the supports in place to make those alternate decisions for a variety of task-specific issues. I am wondering about - because we don't talk about it; I haven't heard it mentioned here in this sitting - assisted death. It took a long time to bring that legislation forward. What happens if I am the representative for somebody who has capacity decision-making difficulties who turns around and says they are ready to die, for whatever reason? Am I going to be allowed, as their representative, to put that forth to a couple of physicians to make that decision? Am I going to allow them to participate in research studies, or to donate their body to science, if that's my preference but not necessarily theirs? [Page 1823] These are issues that we need to talk about, and we didn't get those decisions when people brought forth their recommendations for amendments. Mr. Speaker, in an October 16th article by CBC News by Jean Laroche, a judge found that the old law violated the rights of Landon Webb, a young man whose parents were granted guardianship over him. We haven't talked about the fact that some of the people who want not guardianship, but representation - they may not personally have all the capacity they need to do that. As a mother of four, I can tell you there were days when I'm not sure I had the capacity to deal with four growing boys. How on earth are we going to allow somebody who may not have the capacity to handle all the decisions of someone with intellectual disabilities from managing all of the issues that they might state? Michael Bach, the Managing Director of the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society travelled from Toronto down here to talk about this legislation. Sadly, none of the things they stated were acted upon. The issue he said is that this bill does not specify what the supports will be, so it leaves a wide scope for arbitrary application of the definition of capacity. I can tell you that as time goes on, we are going to have a greater number of seniors, a greater number of accidents, a greater number of people with early psychosis possibly because they're bringing in marijuana legislation for adults under the age of 25. The need for this legislation is going to go up, the challenges to its ability to meet the definition of what it was meant to do are going to be challenged on a greater and greater basis. I'm going to echo the previous members for Pictou West and Dartmouth South, that it is a sad day that not one of the amendments was approved, and I'm going to suggest that since this is going to be reviewed in three years' time, that they not lose heart because that will conveniently and almost coincidentally be exactly when we head back to the polls in the next election. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : Just before we move on to the member for Halifax Needham, I'd like to remind the honourable member for Dartmouth South that the documents you were extensively quoting from - I'd ask you to table those or table copies of those, if you wouldn't mind. The honourable member for Halifax Needham. MS. LISA ROBERTS « » : Mr. Speaker, I will not take a long time. There has been so much work and preparation and thought put into the comments that have been made, not just here at third reading but during yesterday's Committee of the Whole and certainly at Law Amendments Committee, from stakeholders who have an interest in this legislation. [Page 1824] I want to speak just briefly, first of all to thank my colleague, the member for Pictou West, and particularly my new colleague, the member for Dartmouth South. It has been a pleasure and I have been awed, frankly, at the poise with which she spoke to this legislation. Really, it's a pleasure to serve with both of you - sorry, Mr. Speaker - it's a pleasure to serve with both of them. I guess I just want to echo and amplify some of the comments that my colleague, the member for Dartmouth South made yesterday that the reason they spoke so well and with so much thought and with so much preparation was not for the pleasure of hearing their own voice, it was to actually exercise in this Chamber of the People's House, democracy. I have to say it's a bit of a disappointment to have watched across the aisle as members responded initially as the Government House Leader and the Minister of Justice and the Premier appeared to actually listen and recognize that what was being said on this side of the House was compelling, was grounded in really close attention to the importance and the details of this bill and to see the scurrying that happened. I spoke about it earlier this week, because in Halifax Needham I had the annual general meeting of my electoral district association. I was speaking about how wonderful it was to be back in the House, but with some new colleagues, and I felt like I had actually witnessed democracy, I had witnessed the function of this House. I am disappointed but also concerned for the folly that the government is showing in not listening and in not taking those amendments under more serious and more considered advisement. I went back during Committee of the Whole House last night and read the decision of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in the case of Landon Webb, written by Jamie Campbell. It's extremely well written, it's very concise and I paid particular attention to his very long consideration and argument about whether or not to award damages to Landon Webb. There was initially a request for damages, relatively modest, $25,000 and the judge considered that at great length. He decided against damages and this is part of his reasoning why. I apologize, I haven't printed the judgement but I certainly can do so in order to table it. The judge wrote, "While damages can be awarded under the Charter citizens cannot obtain compensation for the effects of unconstitutional legislation upon them unless the government acted in a way that was clearly wrong, in bad faith or an abuse of power." He felt that even though the Law Reform Commission had pointed out the weakness of the incompetent persons legislation back in 1993, he felt there clearly was not evidence of that acting in bad faith or an abuse of power. However, I wonder now if a person who is under one of these old guardianship orders is so resourceful as to connect with a lawyer to challenge the constraints on their liberties that may very well continue under this Act, if the court would make the same decision again. [Page 1825] The judge wrote, ". . . there is no evidence that the government acted in bad faith or abused its power in enacting the Incompetent Persons Act and failing to amend it to make it comply with the Charter." That was part of the rationale when the decision was made not to award damages. But we will have the Hansard record, we will have the record of the Committee on Law Amendments, we will have the record of the reasoning of the work of my colleagues - again I want to give credit to all of the stakeholders and also to Brian Francis on our research staff for drafting the amendments. Clearly there was concern here. Clearly the government had an opportunity to act in good faith, to use its power to make this new bill meet the tests that were spoken to in that court judgement, that are spoken to in our commitments under the United Nations and in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Briefly I want to also speak just to a more general consideration, a more general question of leadership and what that looks like. I'm of the school that is increasingly large but not often in evidence as yet in Canadian politics in general, that vulnerability is a leadership skill, not a weakness. Part of vulnerability is allowing that one does not have everything that it takes to arrive at the best decision, or to arrive at the best course of action, to be willing to accept help. I happen to know because the lawyer for Landon Webb is a constituent of mine, that the government was offered help, that there was active interest on the part of her and of multiple other stakeholders to work with the government. Not just in this past week when this has all come to the House's attention, but over the past year. [3:45 p.m.] In fact, I spoke with Susanne Litke months ago, shortly after we were all assigned critic roles and she wanted to connect with me and she wanted to connect with Claudia, which I believe she eventually did, and speak to her great concern that there wasn't an ongoing dialogue. She knew that this date was approaching, she was the one who had worked with Landon Webb to have the old legislation overturned, so she knew what it would take. She knew the arguments that she made successfully before the court, to show that the Incompetent Persons Act did not meet the test of the Charter, and she was offering that and looking for a place to share her knowledge. I have no idea, because I've never been in government, I can't really picture what it looks like inside a department. I can't picture whether the ministers give freedom to their staff to go out and find expertise and knowledge and contributions outside the doors, but my sense of this government is that there is a desire to control and to limit input because it might imply a commitment to act. [Page 1826] I think we all suffer as a result, because we're a small province and as the government always likes to tell us, resources are limited. But when there are such great resources available in the community, such great sources of expertise, we are not even taking advantage of them when they are freely offered, to do a better job for the people of this province and I find that very unfortunate. With that I take my seat. MR. SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate. The honourable Minister of Justice. HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their comments and I do want to acknowledge my colleague from Pictou West and my colleague from Dartmouth South for their passion and their objectives. They have not failed. In fact they have embedded what we all have a responsibility to do and that is to speak with the best interests of our constituents, both in our constituencies and the province as a whole, so I do want to acknowledge and commend them for that. Mr. Speaker, with those few comments I rise to close debate on Bill No. 16, the Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 16. There has been a call for a recorded vote. We will ring the bills until the Whips are satisfied. [The Division bells were rung.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The Clerks will now proceed with the recorded vote on Bill No. 16, Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act. I will ask all members to remain absolutely silent until the conclusion of the vote. When your name is called please stand tall and state clearly "Yea" or "Nay". The Clerks will now conduct the vote. [The Clerk calls the roll.] [ 3:53 p.m.] [Page 1827] YEAS NAYS Mr. Churchill Mr. MacMaster Mr. Furey Mr. MacLeod Ms. Regan Mr. Dunn Mr. MacLellan Ms. MacFarlane Mr. McNeil Mr. Baillie Ms. Casey Mr. d'Entremont Mr. Glavine Mr. David Wilson Mr. Delorey Mr. Burrill Mr. Colwell Ms. Zann Ms. Miller Ms. Roberts Mr. Kousoulis Ms. Leblanc Mr. Porter Ms. Martin Mr. Gordon Wilson Ms. Chender Mr. Hines Ms. Smith-McCrossin Ms. Diab Ms. Paon Mr. Ince Mr. Houston Mr. Rankin Mr. Orrell Mr. Mombourquette Mr. Lohr Ms. Arab Ms. Adams Mr. Horne Ms. Masland Mr. Maguire Mr. Halman Mr. Jessome Mr. Harrison Ms. Lohnes-Croft Ms. DiCostanzo Mr. Irving THE CLERK » : For, 25. Against, 22. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 27. Bill No. 27 - Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Justice. HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 27 be now read a third time and do pass. [Page 1828] With the passage of this bill Nova Scotia will be the only province in the country with legislation that protects victims of cyberbullying. People will be held responsible if they maliciously intend to cause harm online. Once this law comes into effect, victims or their families can go to court for a protective order or financial compensation. The court will be able to order a cyberbully to stop harmful online activities, that a web page be taken down, and prohibit further contact with a cyberbully on a victim, that a cyberbully pay damages or a referral to dispute resolution with the CyberSCAN unit. This Act will prevent and respond to the harms of sharing intimate images without consent and cyberbullying. At the same time it will uphold and protect our fundamental freedom of expression. By passing this bill we are sending a clear message that cyberbullying and the sharing of intimate images without consent will not be tolerated in Nova Scotia. Cyberbullies will be held accountable. I want to address our decision to pass this bill this session instead of in the Spring. Considering everything and listening to all sides and also knowing that we have gone without legislation since the former Act was struck down, we decided that the public interest is best served with getting this legislation passed now rather than having further time pass without a law in place. I know there are Nova Scotians out there who can be helped by this legislation today. We will continue to consult on this issue as we have regulations to draft to support this bill, and getting those done as quickly as possible is a priority for this government. We're all aware of the pervasiveness of smart phones, social media and online activity. When cyberbullies abuse the use of these online platforms, it is extremely harmful and can result in the deterioration of an individual's mental well-being. The reality today is, this malicious content can be online, in the hands of many in a matter of seconds, where it remains for 24 hours of the day. The victim has no escape. We know that Rehtaeh Parsons, a young vibrant Nova Scotian, felt this very way. It was her loss of life that brought our colleagues together in the Legislature to pass the previous legislation. While it was struck down, it was well intended. I know all members of this House keep Rehtaeh and her family in our thoughts, especially as we discuss this legislation. This legislation is a tool for victims, driven by victims, and it gives them the option to go to court if they wish to pursue that route. We are confident that many instances of cyberbullying will continue to be resolved through the restorative justice approaches and with the help of the CyberSCAN unit. [4:00 p.m.] [Page 1829] Our experience has demonstrated that CyberSCAN is effective in mediation and negotiation and will continue to help victims to engage with social media platforms to remove harmful content. We know that often that is exactly what the victim wants, to have the harmful content, whether it is a photo or offensive post, removed - and removed quickly. We will continue with prevention efforts, including educating Nova Scotians on the harmful impacts of cyberbullying. We will also continue to help victims with restorative approaches through the CyberSCAN Unit. Mr. Speaker, I spoke about this at second reading, but it's worth repeating - technology is rapidly changing around us and within months of buying an innovative piece of technology there is something more innovative and advanced on the market. We know that this can have an impact on the use of the social media and those who abuse it. That's why it's important that we keep this legislation current and effective. We have also included in the law a requirement that we review the legislation within three years. This will allow us to gauge its effectiveness and, within one year of the review, a report will be tabled in the House of Assembly. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia remains a leader in addressing cyberbullying. We are the only province with this type of legislation and I assure you that the rest of the country is watching. With the passage of this legislation I believe that other jurisdictions will be encouraged to do the same. I want to thank those who provided their feedback during the consultation which helped shape this legislation, and I specifically want to thank my colleagues from Pictou West and Dartmouth South for their constructive, positive input and dialogue, and their passion to ensure that we had this bill right. Government is pleased to accept in principle the Opposition amendments that my colleague from Pictou West advanced, that will provide CyberSCAN with legislative authority to provide information to victims regarding contacting police, as well as information on how to better navigate the justice system. I'm pleased with the support of this bill. It underscores the importance that all members of this House not only recognize the harms of cyberbullying but are committed to finding solutions and protecting victims. Our dialogue with the Opposition members helps bring us to a better place with this legislation, it has made it a better bill and I thank them for that. The first cyberbullying law, the Cyber Safety Act, had all-Party support when it passed in 2013. I think it's important that we once again work together and again unanimously pass a bill that will protect Nova Scotians from online bullying. Mr. Speaker, I'm also well aware that this bill must support our shared belief in access to justice. I've heard the concerns raised by my colleagues and those who've provided input, and I want my colleagues to know that as we go forward we will be looking at various options to ensure access and mitigate barriers. For example, we will be working on raising awareness and continuing to educate the public and updating the CyberSCAN website, as well as development of new tools to assist victims. [Page 1830] The regulations, Mr. Speaker, will spell out the duties of CyberSCAN and we will be preparing simple, easy-to-use forms that victims would use to file an application. We believe that this legislation will protect victims of cyberbullying for years to come. Together, I believe we are making Nova Scotia a safer place. With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the comments of my colleagues. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou West. MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : I am very pleased to stand in my place and speak to third reading of Bill No. 27, the Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act. I want to take the opportunity to thank the Premier and the Minister of Justice and his department for once again allowing my colleague from Dartmouth South, and myself, to collaborate on making this bill stronger. As we evolve I think and I hope that we can see more of this. It's a good start, so thank you to the minister. Many will be pleased, some will say it's not perfect - and I would agree, but I know we have a very strong start. I was happy to hear the comments from the minister that there are a few things that will be looked at to enhance the bill further along. When speaking to this bill in second reading, I mentioned the young man who stayed with me and my daughter Chloe and my son Jack. He committed suicide, as I had mentioned. This bill would have helped him greatly. I miss him. I often wonder how he made it to 29 before taking his own life. I think about the vulnerability he possessed and the slow trust he gave me while disclosing much of his heartache and shame. Many would say, he was a criminal, Karla. But I believe he was a victim. He did spend a lot of years in jail. He spent time homeless. He spent time trying to make himself better with little or no support systems in place. He spent time contemplating suicide and was unsuccessful twice but sadly not the third time. He spent time seeking help, seeking friends - friends that he could trust, not the ones who would manipulate his good intentions, his self worth, his soul, his kindness. He was hard-working when given the chance. He would often say to me, I'm stupid, though, Karla. I would say, no you're not - you have no idea. He was one of the most brilliant young men I have ever met. He thought no one would ever love him, but he was wrong. Chloe, Jack, and I loved him. We loved him very much. Love is not a luxury anymore. It's a necessity. Everyone does better when loved. [Page 1831] Why do people bully? Why do people feel the entitlement to share intimate images without consent? We may never know. We can collect all the stats, all the data out there. We cannot change human nature, but we can change the law, and that's what we did together. I often sit with my children, and we discuss bullying. I try to educate them, and I try to bring awareness. I know my 19-year-old daughter gets it. I'm totally comfortable now. Sometimes with my 15-year-old son, I am so nervous. He's a good kid, but these things happen. There are situations sometimes that take on a life of their own without intending to do things. I know that bullying would not be the case. But it's amazing the pictures these kids send. All I can say to those who are parents are lucky enough to have your children sort of by-pass that - although it's not just youth. It happens at all ages, so it's not like this bill has any specific gender or anything. But I think we all can agree that it's for youth that we're trying to ensure that there are rules and regulations and there are boundaries. All I can say to those parents who are in my place or those younger members in the House who have children growing up is that you have to check your kid's phone every night. You have to make it a chore. You go into their bedroom, you pick up their phone, and you see what is on it and on their computer. That is our responsibility. I hope that parents will start taking more responsibility. I think without them taking responsibility, that's when things escalate. I think that's when innocent situations or things that started out innocent escalate. A bill that impacts so many lives deserves a bipartisan approach, and we in this Chamber definitely proved that. Success and credit are not singular, they're plural. The best teams, I often say, are horizontal. Again, thank you to the minister for giving me the chance to collectively collaborate on this. In the coming days, I know the minister and his department will work to seek to see the bill proclaimed. I know the Premier has commented on that as well. I also want to mention that the CyberSCAN Unit is the country's first cyberbullying and investigative unit and Nova Scotia should really be proud of that. I mean we really should be proud of that and they have done an amazing job. With over 800 cases, only 10 had to go to court. I think that's sort of the key here, that they are a unit that is able to bring education awareness and resolve. I look forward to their continuation with the department. I also want to say this in closing, that I think this bill, as we all know, came because of Rehtaeh Parsons. I mentioned in second reading that Rehtaeh would often come to Pictou with her aunt who is an artist and Rehtaeh was an artist. Rehtaeh was a lot more than what we, here, know about her. I know that the member for Cole Harbour is close to the family and I would ask that all of us in this Chamber leave here today and when Rehtaeh is mentioned in a conversation again, that we talk about what a beautiful, intelligent, jovial, artistic, loving, caring, honest, kind young lady. That's what we want to remember. On those few words, Mr. Speaker, I'll take my seat. Thank you. (Applause) [Page 1832] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. MS. LENORE ZANN « » : It's with mixed emotions that I rise today to speak to Bill No. 27, the Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act. I'd like to first begin by saying that I don't intend to vote in favour of this bill and I am probably the only one in the Legislature who will be doing so. That is not to say that I blame anybody, including my own caucus, who do support it and who feel that this is something that is needed in order to fill in a gap that we don't have presently and have not had since 2015, two years ago when our first Cyber Safety Act was struck down. However, having been a victim of cyberbullying and intimate images being used without my consent, I have, I would say, a first-hand view of what that is like and I also have spoken to many, many victims since my experience, who have reached out to me to say thank God that you spoke out, thank God you stood up for yourself because now it gives me the strength to actually say something when I was being either privately bullied or people had my intimate image and I didn't know what to do, and you've given me the strength to be able to actually stand up and speak about it and say enough is enough and something definitely has to be done. One of the things I'd like to talk about to begin with is the intimate images issue. Some people may not be aware that it's a very difficult issue when young people allow other young people to take their picture. They think that they're their boyfriend or their girlfriend, but in most cases it's the boys who are doing this. They talk their girlfriend into posing in some kind of a shot, either partly clothed or no clothes, and the girls think they are going to be loved forever and this boy is going to love them forever. Coming from my position now, after two marriages and knowing how relationships can sometimes flounder and sometimes get incredibly unpleasant and very angry. I try to tell young women today, and I've done this publicly in my hometown of Truro, I've written stories about it, and been interviewed about it, and go to schools talking about it. The fact that just because somebody is your boyfriend or girlfriend today, does not mean that they are going to be forever. [4:15 p.m.] [Page 1833] So, therefore, if you allow anybody to take a picture of you that you do not want anybody else in the world to ever see, don't allow it. Say no. Don't give in to peer pressure, don't give in to the individual pressure, just say no. Because, after my experience, what happened was I started to get e-mails from young women right across Nova Scotia. It started off with women in Truro and then it spread to other areas of Nova Scotia. They told me that there were pictures of them, many of them underage, too, that had been taken and were now on a couple of websites that were out there, and that their boyfriend had either shared their picture with someone else who had put it on this website, or had sent it to this website themselves. Sometimes these websites can be called "revenge porn." If somebody's pissed off, or whatever, about something and the relationship is broken up, it's called revenge porn. And they will send, you know, to get back at the partner, they will send a picture of that person to try to get back at them, and then they'll let them know - oh, by the way, your picture is now up there, and, ha ha ha, you can't do anything about it. Sometimes it's not revenge porn. In one of the cases, there were pictures of young women at the CEC High School in Truro, who were being put on this website that was located outside of North America, in an Asian country, and that's where the server was, and that's where whoever was the mastermind behind this was out there, and they were asking for pictures of young women from Truro. There was a whole site: Truro teenagers, Truro girls, and there were men on there commenting on each picture, and saying, oh, I like that one - can you get me some more of that one? Or there was one, and, oh hey, I got her, but, you know, maybe I could get her sister, and they all had fake names - one of them was called "the milkman," another one was called something else, and something else, and I'll tell you, when the women brought my attention to it, I went on there, and I was trying to figure out who these people are, trying to figure out, who were they? How could they get these pictures - asking, like, for the sister of another girl? It was absolutely disgusting. And they would relegate the girls to numbers, like, from 1 to 10 - is this a 10? Or is this a 1? Or whatever. But, the problem was, once the girl was on there, they could not get their picture off. And many of these girls, they hadn't told their parents, they hadn't told their now-boyfriend or girlfriend, now that they're older. Some of these women were now 24 years old and their picture was from when they were 14 and was still on there. I contacted the police; they said they couldn't do anything. I contacted the RCMP; they said they were aware of it, but they couldn't do anything. So, then I contacted the Minister of Justice for the Conservative Government at the time, from the Pictou area, Peter MacKay. I contacted Peter MacKay and asked him if there was something that he could do, as Minister of Justice, to try to get all the police bodies and the RCMP working on this, to try to bring it down. We had a few different conversations with his staff, and had some e-mails back and forth, and they were shocked, but they said, you know, at this point and time, even working across borders was very difficult with online stuff. [Page 1834] The girls told me that if they went to the police, or they went to the RCMP, nobody seemed to know anything about it, they didn't even really know how to work the Internet that well. It was kind of a useless proposition. So, I went public with it, and I did an interview and told people about how frustrating it was that nothing could be done, and that women should be really aware of letting their images be taken. Eventually, I got a message on Facebook from a gentleman who told me that he was with Anonymous - the group Anonymous - and he said that he'd been watching my plight with my own instance of my own intimate image that had been plastered everywhere and went all around the world in 48 hours, and he had been following how I was trying to do something about this for other young women. He said, we in Anonymous take on cases on a case-by-case basis, and we don't always agree to take one on, because we're all over the world. We're in many different countries, and there are at least 1,000 of us working on cases. But one of the things that we particularly care about is child pornography, and this falls under child pornography. So he said, I've had a meeting with my cohorts and we have decided to take this on. We're going to try to bring down that website. I mean, what can you say? I said thank you, and at this point, if anybody can do anything - I've talked to everybody right up to the Justice Minister of Canada, and nobody can do anything. In fact, within about two weeks I got a message from that person saying, we did it. We cracked it. It's down. It took 140 of us working on it from all around the world, from various different countries, to actually do it. This is what we're dealing with here. When we're talking about cyber harassment and cyberbullying and cyber pictures, it is a very difficult situation. It's complicated. When the very first major case came forward, about Rehtaeh Parsons, nobody knew at the beginning what it was or what was happening. I mean, phones and texts and tweets - I don't even know if Twitter was out at that particular point in time. I was there, and I witnessed our government being bombarded with people who wanted us to do something about the fact that this young woman was bullied and harassed to the point of wanting to commit suicide, and in fact, successfully did so. I was proud to have been part of a government that introduced the very first anti-cyberbullying law in Canada. I was very disappointed when the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia struck it down, saying that it infringed on Charter rights and freedoms. When you look at whose rights and freedoms it infringed on, it's actually - they were saying it infringed on the perpetrators. It wasn't infringing on the victims; the victims are out there already, and they're trying to say, please do something and please stop these people from constantly showing my picture over and over and over again, and having it go further and further afield, and more and more people around the world seeing it, and me getting more and more hateful messages about it from people telling me I'm this, I'm that, calling me names, saying I'm fat, saying I'm whatever. [Page 1835] It's disgusting. Unless you've actually gone through it yourself or been a parent or a family member of somebody who's gone through it, you really have no idea how bad and how awful and how disgusting it is. If you know anybody, or have been yourself, ever, raped or attacked or gang-raped, then you would know what it's like. It's like that, only because it's cyber, it's not physically happening, but it's happening inside your head. It is happening to you. You are under attack, day and night, constantly, for 24 hours. It doesn't stop. That is a very difficult thing to deal with emotionally, psychologically, and mentally, and it also affects you physically. Rehtaeh Parsons was only 17 years old. We now know - it's been proved - that she was raped. She was bullied. She attempted suicide, and she subsequently died. She was sexually assaulted by a number of youth - young boys, men - in November 2011, when she was just 15 years old. There were pictures taken of her in various positions, with boys on top of her and there was also a picture taken of her vomiting out the window because she was so drunk and, as we all know, drunkenness should not mean consent. Right? After that happened, she was bullied for months when digital photos of the incident were passed around her school and, if any of us can remember what it's like to be 15 years old and have our peers - you know peer pressure, peer support - what your peers think about you is very important. She was intimated, she was bullied, she was called all kinds of names, and she couldn't live with it. She attempted suicide and she was taken off life support in 2013. Any of us who were here in the Legislature at that time remember what it was like to have the parents and the public, basically demanding blood, demanding people's heads, demanding that something be done in order to provide an immediate fix. They wanted something done yesterday. So, the result was the Cyber-safety Act. Now, I have to say and I have to mention that around the same time there was another case across the country in Vancouver that happened with another young woman, Amanda Todd. She committed suicide. She was 15 years old as well, another 15-year-old. She committed suicide October 10, 2012, same year that, yes, it was just before the attempted suicide and the suicide of Rehteah. She committed suicide at her home in Port Coquitlam in British Columbia and, prior to her death, she had posted a video on YouTube in which she used a series of flashcards to tell her experience of being blackmailed into exposing her breasts via webcam by an adult. Right? By an adult. That video went viral after her death, resulting in international media attention. The video has had more than 12 million views as of February 2017, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia Coroner Services launched investigations into that suicide and, as I said, it was found that it was an adult male. [Page 1836] The Premier of British Columbia at the time made an online statement of condolence and suggested a national discussion on criminalizing cyberbullying. Also, a motion was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons to propose a study of the scope of bullying in Canada and for more funding and support for antibullying organizations. Amanda Todd's mother, Carol, established the Amanda Todd Trust, receiving donations to support antibullying awareness, education, and programs for young people with mental health programs. I would be remiss if I did not say that Amanda's aunt was living in Truro at the time when this happened and was a friend of mine, and we had a candlelight vigil for her niece. This was happening all over the place. It was like a plague and there was nothing in place to deal with the perpetrators of this. At the same time, after that, there were sports teams that started to spread pictures of young women from one person to another and, again, at that time, there was nothing really in place to deal with it. So, there are all of these victims feeling like, who cares about us? Nobody, you know, there's nothing there to help protect us, mainly young women and the parents too. They felt completely hopeless and helpless and it was after some time that, in fact, my own incident happened after all of this. [4:30 p.m.] After we had passed the bill, after I'd gotten up and spoken about how much we need a bill like this and, then, it was probably a year later, it was actually 2013, in November 2013, right after the election, that suddenly I was a target. All of a sudden I was like Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking-Glass, and suddenly I'm being dragged down the rabbit hole and all of a sudden I'm looking at it from the same perspective of the victims going, wait a minute, what is this, how did this happen? In my case, I was new to Twitter. I didn't know Twitter. I didn't understand those Twitter handles; I didn't even know they were called "Twitter handles." I just signed up, and all of a sudden it's like at midnight, after I got home from some event on a Saturday night, I looked and there was this picture of me topless from a TV series called The L Word, which I had done in Vancouver back in 2007, I believe. This person was laughing, like "Heh heh, hey, Lenore Zann, where's the old Lenore Zann now?" That was the tweet. I kind of looked at it and went, who is this idiot? I didn't know what to do, but I kind of wrote back, and I went, "Well, the new Lenore Zann is now in the Legislature, kicking butt," or something like that. "Please delete this photo." That was it, and then I went to bed. The next day, the same person wrote back and refused to delete the picture, and said, "You should know better, you're a politician, why are you showing all your lady parts? Heh, heh, heh." Something like that. [Page 1837] I didn't know who the person was. Three times I asked this person to please delete this picture. For one thing, it's not a legal picture. It's not something I ever agreed to have taken. I was in the middle of a television series, in a shower scene, and this is a frame that has been removed from the scene. I never signed anything, any waiver, that said anybody could use any pictures of me from that scene for any other purposes other than the scene being on television. Where I was coming from as well is that there are people out in the world who make money off celebrity nudes. They'll go into a movie or television or whatever and they'll freeze-frame a frame - they'll take it out, and then they'll stick it on a website that you can't get at, oftentimes overseas, and they'll call it "celebrity nudes." At the time, people had to pay money with a credit card in order to get on that website to see these celebrity nudes. It's completely illegal. I tried to explain to this person that it's illegal, you really should take it down, you have no right to do it. Anyway, the situation continued. This person refused to do it, kept laughing at me, calling me names. Next thing I knew, people were jumping in, pouncing in and piling in on me. Some of them were then sharing the whole scene, some of them were sharing other things. Again, name-calling, belittling, commenting about my body, whatever. I called the police, and a police officer in Truro had been working on the cyberbullying team in Truro, talking to young people about this kind of thing. In fact, they had that character Cyber who used to show up. He was a robot machine-type thing that taught kids about cyberbullying, and I had been on the video that was teaching kids not to cyberbully. That's the irony of this whole thing. I played Officer Web, who tried to teach young children in Grades 1 to 5 or 6 not to cyberbully. I was very proud of that work. That officer told me, "Lenore, you need to report it. You need to call the cyber squad unit." I said, "The cyber squad unit?" He said, "Yes, there's a 1-800 number. You just call the cyber squad unit. You explain what has happened, explain that they are continuing to harass you and now it is a big pile-on and all these people are doing it and you don't know who they are. Call them." I also checked with my sister, who is a guidance counsellor for junior high, and she said, "Oh my God, yes, you've got to do that. That's what we tell all the kids to do. You call the cyber squad unit, and they'll look into it." So that's what I did. I have to say, to make a long story short, that the cyber squad unit was amazing. For one thing, they listened. For another thing, they went online, they saw what was happening, they sussed out the situation, they called me back and they went, oh my God, you must feel really awful. It was so nice to have an expert, somebody who knows, think yes, we believe you, this is harassment. This is not your imagination, this is harassment. As a single woman living by yourself in a big old house in Truro, I was scared these people were going to suddenly show up at my doorstep. I didn't know who they were at first. [Page 1838] In the end, we found out they were teenagers, an 18-year-old actually and they were a sports team, a basketball team who were on a tournament in Moncton. They were doing this over the weekend in Moncton - let's torment our MLA. It turned out they were from Truro - let's torment the MLA. In that case it was very nice to be able to have somebody who could help explain to me what could be done and how we could get this picture down and get these people to stop harassing me. It went on for several weeks. As a victim's statement, I have to say that what it did to me, somebody who has been through a lot - I've said in this House before I have suffered through sexual assault, rape, came out the other end, and I'm okay most of the time - this was worse. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat. I was constantly feeling anxious, feeling less than, feeling like I never knew what was going to happen next, and I had no control over the situation whatsoever. Then the next thing I knew an adult, a father of one of the other kids - not the one who started it but another one - he suddenly decided that he was going to get involved and started showing my pictures online and berating me about being an adult and I should know better. I was an actor, that's like seven years ago, I am now a politician and that was my job. Guess what? Actors should be allowed to do scenes or whatever and if they want to run for government, so be it. They shouldn't be bullied out of the political life just because they may have done a love scene or kissed somebody, a boy or a girl or whatever, or had a nude scene. It turned out that this gentleman started harassing me along with the kids. Then the cyber unit contacted him and said please, you must cease and desist. You are now bullying and cyberbullying and harassing this woman. He didn't like that; he didn't like that at all. It was just a phone call. What he did was he went public, he called all the press that he could get hold of and complained and said, who's the bully? Here she is a politician and she's rich and she's got everything and here's this kid, this young kid who is innocent, so there's no difference. He went public with it, next thing you know you have CBC, CTV, Global, people from across the country calling up wanting stories. Trying to explain exactly what happened, stick to the story, let other people decide for themselves. The thing is they also put our twitter handles in and the pictures that they used, they used a picture of the 18- year old boy with a Harvard t-shirt on. Meanwhile he wasn't going to Harvard and he never did go to Harvard, but they used this picture and they used a picture of me from outside the Legislature crying. That story suddenly morphed into: Who is the bully here? Who's the bully? Is this innocent kid the bully, or is this politician, polished politician who should know better and what's she doing showing her lady parts anyway - who's the bully here? [Page 1839] Those stories, as I said earlier, went all around the world within 48 hours. It started on a Friday and by that Monday I had received so many thousands, maybe even a million - I don't even know - tweets from people I don't know, from countries all around the world blaming me and saying: you're the bully, how dare you tell this kid to take your picture down, you should have known better; I'd like to take you out and rape you behind a house; I would like to take a gun and shoot you and you be ready because I'm coming to your house. Things like this, all the things we hear about they were saying it over and over and over again, and, in the end, I actually found out that some people had set up those bot farms. That's when I first learned about bots. They had bots that were repeating the same message over and over and over and over and over again. It was devastating. Again, I live by myself. I don't have a partner. I've got two little dogs, and I didn't leave my house that weekend. By the end of that weekend, my phone died. It froze. It died because everything was coming in at the same time. That is the experience. I'll tell you, it took three months to get over that, three months for me to be able to calm down, be able to breathe, be able to just look at myself in the mirror ask, why am I doing this? Why am I even here? Did I sign up for this? I can just imagine what it's like for 15-year-old girl or boy to have to deal with this kind of thing, somebody who hasn't gone through all of the life challenges that I have gone through that enable me to say, well, I'm certainly not going to kill myself. That would be giving in to them. To hell with them. I'm going to stay alive, and I'm going to fight this thing. I'm going to continue be the spokesperson for it, and I'm not going to let them shut me down. But I'll tell you, it was difficult - very, very difficult. Let's come to now. When that bill was struck down, Supreme Court Justice Glen McDougall ruled that the anti-cyberbullying law should be eliminated right away, unlike other court decisions that have struck down legislation but offered politicians a one-year grace period to rewrite the laws. He said that this Act infringed on the rights and freedoms of people. As I said, as far as I'm concerned, these are the perpetrators. But he said that his job was to figure out whether the Cyber-safety Act unnecessarily includes material that has little or nothing to do with preventing cyberbullying. Lawyer David Fraser, who is a privacy lawyer, challenged that bill as well, saying that the law violated Canadians' freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He claimed at the time that ". . . amid the tense climate after Parsons' death, when people were questioning why no one was prosecuted . . .", why none of those boys were prosecuted, the government created the legislation without ". . . examining how the law would actually fit with freedom of expression." [Page 1840] He said at the time that this way, "They can say we didn't have a law, therefore we have to come up with a law," and that the law had the power to limit people from expressing themselves online. He said: "People should be able to express their honestly held opinions, particularly on matters of public interest . . . Anything that hurts anybody's feelings, if it's done online, it's cyberbullying. You can be liable, you can sue somebody for cyberbullying, you can be subject to an order that can cut you off from the internet, confiscate your electronic devices. It's absolutely Draconian." Well, meanwhile at the time, the Crown had argued that given the nature of cyberbullying and how quickly messages can spread online - hello, I am the first to say yes, how quickly, 48 hours around the world - China, London, Australia, you name it. It went everywhere. I couldn't believe it. It's necessary to protect a complainant against potential retaliation from a bully by allowing the victim to seek an order against the tormentor before a justice of the peace without giving notice. The legislation was created to fill a gap in existing laws, the Crown argued, and provide an alternative to a civil suit for defamation, which is expensive. I have to say, many victims, as I said, can't afford expensive suits. Many of the victims are young. In fact, there are a lot of older victims. One thing I learned through this whole experience, and I learned it from the CyberSCAN unit, is that many of the victims of cyberbullying are actually seniors. Seniors are being cyberbullied. They also said seniors are doing the cyberbullying, which was very interesting, I found. But again, it's expensive. Who can afford to just take somebody to court, unless you've got oodles of money? Meanwhile, the privacy lawyer, Fraser, also said at the time that he hoped the government would go back to the drawing board. Well, he got his wish, and now, two years later, this government has finally come up with a new bill, which seems to me to be in spite of the lapsed time, rather hastily put together. Now this same privacy lawyer, Fraser, says that when the bill was first considered on October 16, 2017, he had less than one business day's notice of the hearing and was scheduled to be out of town, and that he was advised on Thursday, October 19th, that the bill would again be before the committee on Monday, October 23rd - that's only one and a half day's notice - and he would again be out of town. He said: "If the government were serious about getting this right, surely it would make it easier for experts to appear on the Bill. I am sure the Committee would benefit from testimony from Canadian Civil Liberties Association or the Canadian Bar Association, but these organizations can't just drop tools, consult with their stakeholders and develop a coherent and helpful position with that kind of notice." [Page 1841] He also mentions in this letter to the Law Amendments Committee, which I'll table I have to finish it first - "I can name at least five people who have immense expertise in the field of civil rights, cyberbullying, restorative justice and youth suicide who this Committee and Nova Scotians should hear from," none of whom had "a chance to provide their well-informed and expert views." This is problematic, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Fraser also says that some of the issues he had drawn their attention to in the beginning - for instance, the fact that when a respondent would first hear of it would be if a police officer showed up at their house, usually at night, to serve them with an order - I don't find that to be absolutely on track, because I know that the CyberSCAN unit phoned them first. They contacted them first, tried to get hold of them either through phone or email, and they first requested that they cease and desist. The second step, if they would not cease and desist, was for them to come to their house and say, "If you do not cease and desist, we're going to have to take away your device." If that didn't work, then they could charge them, and if that still did not work, then there could be jail time. Of course, this is in serious cases. Fraser says that a couple of his issues, like that one, have been addressed in the new bill. He says that the definition of "cyberbullying" raises the bar much higher - he felt it was too low and too broad before - but he says that now he thinks "it may be too high, by requiring 'malice', but it does capture communications that are intended to harm the victim. The issue of procedural fairness has certainly been addressed, but I am afraid the pendulum may have swung too far the other way." Now "The way the Bill sets it out, a victim of cyberbullying has only one option: to commence an application in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia following the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules. I have 100% confidence in the fairness of a judge of the Supreme Court. But forcing a victim of cyberbullying to start a conventional lawsuit will represent a huge barrier to access to justice." He says that to his knowledge, none of these proceedings would fall within the scope of Nova Scotia Legal Aid. I notice that the Progressive Conservative caucus provided a couple of amendments that have been accepted, but again, I really don't think they go far enough. I said that at the time, in Law Amendments, that I don't believe they go far enough at all. Mr. Fraser says, "Going to the Supreme Court requires that a victim understand and follow Civil Procedure Rules. They'll have to read and understand Rules 5, 4, 5 and 6. They have to prepare a notice of application in court and an affidavit, all according to the rules. They'll have to hire a process server to serve the documents on the respondent. They likely have to be in court across from their tormentor to schedule the next steps and the court hearing. They get a written affidavit from the respondent. They can then maybe file another response affidavit. They can maybe cross-examine the respondent outside of Court, assuming that they are in a position to pay a court reporting service to transcribe the cross-examination on an expedited basis. Then they have to file their brief. And then they have their day in Court, except they never get to directly tell a judge their story. They don't get to testify on their own behalf, since their testimony is only in their affidavit." [Page 1842] He says he expects that it will cost at least $10,000 for a lawyer to represent an applicant in this process, which is daunting. But what is equally daunting is the prospect of a traumatized cyberbullying victim having to find, understand and precisely follow the civil procedure rules. And it greatly troubles him, Mr. Fraser, and he says it should greatly trouble us. I also have to say that sidelining the CyberSCAN unit from enforcement of the law, for me is a problem. He feels that is okay, I do not. I found that the CyberSCAN unit was the Godsend and every, every, every victim whom I have spoken to who has actually gone through this process, has said the same thing. They have written us millions of emails and letters which we have received in Law Amendments Committee, telling us so. I want to commend Roger Merrick and his team for being professional, for being empathetic, for being straight down the middle. They look into it, they try to make sure what is really going on. Is this just a nuisance call? Are we just trying to get somebody else in trouble for our own benefit? They were wonderful. Anybody who has ever been raped, attacked, assaulted, either physically or in cyberspace will tell you that this is what we need. And that the law, the courts, just don't fulfill what we need. So, the other concern is that the legislation says if the victim is a minor, their parent or guardian has to commence the application on their behalf. But there should be a mechanism by which a minor can do this on their own. First of all, there might be a case related to intimate images where the minor does not want to tell their parents, and secondly I can imagine a scenario where the parent is either the perpetrator or one of the friends of the parents is the perpetrator, or is unwilling to help the child. So some safeguard needs to be in place to give children direct access to somebody who can help them, and to the courts. But I will tell you, the CyberSCAN unit are the ones with the experience and they are the ones with the empathy, who should be doing that. I would really hope the minister would consider this as they go forward and as they look at regulations. The manner in which the non-consensual distribution of intimate images is treated in the Statute is good. I agree with this, because by separating it from the definition of cyberbullying and having it separate, that actually gives us two ways to try to approach this problem. [Page 1843] But again, I have to say the CyberSCAN unit needs to have teeth. They need to be able to have the power to be that intermediator between the victim and the bullies and the courts. I am glad to see that things have moved along to the point now where the rape culture is becoming more and more known. People are talking about it more. When you have sport teams who are intimidating and bullying people the way I was bullied, now people are going, oh yeah, you have to do something. In fact these kids are actually being charged, they are being told they cannot go to sports events, they can't go to the United States on this or that tournament if they have been found guilty of passing intimate images or bullying their classmates or others. So we are moving ahead, but we are not there yet. I say, everybody, please remain vigilant. If anybody in your constituency is suffering from this, they need our help and they need our compassion to be able to help them find solace and deal with this, so that we do not have more suicides on our hands here in Nova Scotia. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne. MS. KIM MASLAND « » : I can assure all members in the House that I'll be brief. One of the reasons why I did seek political life was to make sure that I could play my role in making sure that we'd see what is going to happen today. I'm delighted to see this legislation. I actually stayed after last night and spoke to the Minister of Justice and shared with him how happy I was that we're about to have this legislation in this province. I'm happy for two reasons. The first is that, as a new MLA, I have to tell you that in the last five weeks there were many nights I left here feeling pretty disenchanted. But this legislation, the fact that we worked together, that we put political affiliations aside and came together and put together this very important piece of legislation - a piece of legislation that is going to protect our children - it's heartwarming. The other reason why it is so important to me is because I was a mother of a daughter who was bullied when there was no legislation and there was no help. It was tough. It was a dark place to be. It was a conversation back then that many didn't want to have. When we're talking about kids being hurt or dying, it's just not a conversation we want to have. A lot of parents don't want to talk about - their child is doing these bad things to others. It was a difficult place for me, and I know how hard it was for me. I can't even begin to fathom, although I listened, to understand what my daughter actually went through. It was tough. She had dark days. She had people go online, a group of girls that would go online every day, and they would post things to her, trying to convince her to take her life, that she was worthless. They even posted pictures of a gutting knife, asking her to take that knife and to take her own life, and nobody could help us. Nobody. [Page 1844] The school could not help me. The police - and God love them, they were amazing. I'm friends with many of the officers at Queens detachment. I will forever be grateful for this one constable, Constable Cormier. She used to tell me, "I lose sleep at night, Kim, worrying about what is going to happen to your daughter, and I am powerless. I have nothing to do to help." I remember one day she actually met with one of these girls, and the girl looked at the police officer and said, "Not my problem if she kills herself." Those were her words, and there was nothing that could be done. These girls were ruthless, they were relentless, and they were cruel. This went on for years, and over those years they had intention. Their intention, and their drive every day, when they got behind their keyboards, was to convince my daughter to take her life. Thank God above, they didn't. I'll take my seat, but again, I want to thank everybody in this House for what we have done. I'm not a lawyer. I don't know if this legislation is everything we need it to be, but it is something for us to start, and it's important. It gives hope, it gives empowerment to children like my daughter, to parents like me who now live with guilt thinking, gosh, how could I not have protected her from these people? [5:00 p.m.] This is important. I certainly want to thank my colleagues who have allowed me to be very passionate and share my emotion with them many times around our caucus table to ensure that we understand what this legislation is doing. Until you are there, until you have a child who has gone through it, until you experience that darkness where there is nobody to help, pure desperation, you just don't understand. You know what? I think all of us do understand and that makes me very proud to stand in this Legislature today to know that I made a difference in somebody's life out there. I hope that I have helped, and all of us have helped, save lives. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth South. MS. CLAUDIA CHENDER « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Queens-Shelburne and thank the member for Pictou West, and thank you to the member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River and thank you to the minister. This has been an emotional session and I think we're at the penultimate bill and we're capping it off with more emotions which, I think I said on the first day I rose and spoke in this House, I think it's a good thing if we can channel it appropriately. [Page 1845] I want to thank my colleagues today for bringing real stories into this House. I think all of the members who have spoken today have brought real, specific, poignant examples of what this bill really means, how it will really impact people. Most importantly, it brought the story or Rehtaeh Parsons back into this House, which was the initiating reason for this conversation to begin with. As others have mentioned, we had a law, the law was struck down, found to be unconstitutional. There was a legislative gap so we have another bill before us. I think it's a step, I think we have yet to see, particularly given the minister's comments today, how it will unfold in practice. It's unclear at this point what the actual duties of CyberSCAN will be, notwithstanding the amendment made by my colleague, the member for Pictou West, the wording was changed somewhat. We'll wait and see. That being said, I'll just echo the core concern that I have as we watch this bill go forward which others have spoken to, which is access to justice. I was very happy to hear the minister say in his opening remarks that that is something the department is taking seriously, something that the courts are looking at. As I said before, I do think this is an issue which could be solved outside of legislation, that there could be some streamlined processes, bureaucratically, and with the courts that could greatly relieve some of the core access to justice issues that have been raised by David Fraser, and others in this House. We will watch eagerly to see if that is the case. I'll reiterate the other core objection we had around this bill, which was the access to justice in particular of a minor. We have been assured by the department that a minor could in fact bring an action under this piece of legislation via the civil procedure rules. There could be a litigation guardian appointed, but I feel compelled to point out that that's complicated. People may not know that it's possible, that guardian has to apply to the court. It's complicated. So, it's possible - anything's possible - but it's not easy, so I would urge the minister and the department to just explore other avenues to make sure that young people, young women in particular who are the most vulnerable and who I believe are at the heart of this Act, are able to avail themselves of its protections, and I think the other members have spoken eloquently as to why that's important. I'll reiterate the comments around consultation. We would have liked to see more extensive consultation. The minister has spoken a lot about the restorative justice approach that the CyberSCAN unit takes. However, to my knowledge, there were no restorative justice experts consulted in this version of drafting the bill, and I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong. It's one example of where I think a more robust consultation process could have informed this bill and brought some more interesting issues to the fore. Ultimately, what we need to fix - legislation is a blunt tool, the courts are a blunt tool. As someone said, I believe it was my colleague, only 10 cases got to the courts via the CyberSCAN unit. We know that all of these issues, the issues that the member for Queens-Shelburne spoke to, the issues that my colleague, the member for Pictou West, spoke to, their personal experiences - those may have been remedied in a court, but they definitely would have been helped by more resources on the ground. [Page 1846] So, regardless of what happens with this legislation, I would urge this government to continue to and to step up their investment in organizations that help, in this case vulnerable women and girls, who need access to victim services, who need access to abuse services, who need access to counselling because, Mr. Speaker, those are the places where these victims will most often avail themselves of help. It is for that reason that I believe we must fund those kinds of services to the greatest degree possible. I want to close by quoting my colleague, the member for Pictou West, because I was struck when she said that love is not a luxury, it's a necessity. I think that there is no more beautiful sentiment that we could take away with us as we think about this bill, as we think about the impact that bullying has, but to flip it on its head and think about what kind of world do we want. We're often criticized on this side of the House by the government for only talking about the bad stuff. With due respect, I think that's sort of our job but, notwithstanding, it's also important to talk about what it is that we want to achieve, what are the good things, and I think that that was very elegantly summed up by the member when she said, love is not a luxury it's a necessity. So, let's work at providing that necessity to everyone. Thank you. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth East. MR. TIM HALMAN « » : Mr. Speaker, what a powerful evening in this House. We all have much to ponder. I find myself this evening haunted. Haunted by memories of my time serving as a teacher. I don't speak of this very often. I was the acting vice-principal at Prince Andrew High School the day Rehtaeh took her life, and to hear her name reminds me of how important it is that this bill has moved forward to ensure our youth, to ensure all Nova Scotians have the necessary protections, and it's one of those moments where you never forget where you were, never forget the look on my colleague's face who had tried so desperately and in the most professional way to assist that situation, but not having the tools at their disposal to assist. The word that comes to my mind is "haunted," and I suppose, for those of us who were associated with that, that's how a great many of us feel. I want to thank the Minister of Justice, the Premier, and my colleagues, the members for Pictou West and Dartmouth South for being so vocal and passionate about ensuring that we have a foundation built, that we have a law, a piece of legislation, in place to ensure the protection of Nova Scotians. Laws, Mr. Speaker, must keep up with the times in which we live. As a former teacher I can tell you, and many of you know this, that the manner in which young people communicate with each other has changed dramatically since when we were in school. At one time, it's fair to say, it was the wild west when it came to how they interacted with each other, in terms of communicating on social media. [Page 1847] Now, I believe that, through this piece of legislation, we have a foundation built. While the bill is not perfect, I believe it is better to have an imperfect bill on cyberbullying than no bill on cyberbullying which is perfect. The member for Dartmouth South mentioned the importance of making sure more resources are deployed on the ground. I agree wholeheartedly. Our approach to cyberbullying must encompass education and our health care system, along with our justice system, youth and family groups, community groups, and faith-based organizations. I can tell you, as a former teacher, for those subjected to bullying or cyberbullying, a simple day can seem like a lifetime. Many times, while having lunch in my classroom, I would have students come to my room and my colleagues' rooms just to be in a safe place. I know members on the other side certainly recall that. Here's the thing, and many in this House know this: because of social media, a classroom wasn't always the safest place, because they couldn't escape the bullying. I believe this law will help educate. I believe this law will hold individuals who intentionally cause pain and suffering accountable for their actions. I believe it sets out to achieve that. Those who have been subject to bullying and cyberbullying, we know they carry the scars for a very long time. Collectively, we are saying as a province, we must have legislation in place, and we must ensure that this law clearly communicates to Nova Scotians that we take this very seriously. I have to say that it was inspiring, Mr. Speaker, certainly as a new MLA, to see members of this House work collectively to ensure the passage of this bill and to see that process unfold where elected members come together for the public good. I believe Joseph Howe would be smiling down upon us. I believe that we have acted for the benefit, through this piece of legislation, of all Nova Scotians. Thank you. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate. The honourable Minister of Justice. HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, allow me to take this time to thank each of my colleagues for their comments. I'm going to be brief, because I could not give comments any more justice and purpose than my colleagues have done this evening. [Page 1848] I want to take this opportunity to collectively thank the House for the support they've extended this bill and for the dialogue that we've had - very productive, very progressive. I appreciate the work that my colleagues, the members for Pictou West and Dartmouth South have injected into this discussion and look forward to many of those discussions in the future as we work to address and resolve issues for all Nova Scotians. With those few comments, I move that Bill No. 27, the Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act, be now read a third time and do pass. [5:15 p.m.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 27. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 39. Bill No. 39 - Financial Measures (2017) Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. HON. KAREN CASEY « » : I move that Bill No. 39, the Financial Measures (2017) Act be now read a third time and do pass. The Financial Measures (2017) Bill provides the legislative authority for the measures in the 2017-18 budget. The Financial Measures (2017) Bill allows for the reduction of taxes for people who need it the most. It also provides assistance to small and medium-sized businesses so they can invest more in their companies and create jobs. It allows for more investments in health care, in our youth, in our families, and in our communities. It lays out a clear, reasonable, and sustainable fiscal plan for this province. That positive position has been recognized by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, noting that Nova Scotia is one of only two provinces in Canada that has a fiscal plan that is sustainable. In addition, Standard and Poor's, a bond-rating agency, has improved Nova Scotia's long-term outlook to an A+ positive, citing improved fiscal performance as a reason for that change. [Page 1849] We recognize there is still more work to do. Being on the path to sustainable finances now allows us to begin a tax reform that Nova Scotians can afford. I thank the members opposite for their comments on Bill No. 39. I expect there will more tonight. I now move that this bill be read for a third time and do pass. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou East. MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : It's a pleasure to rise today and make a few comments on the Financial Measures (2017) Bill. I think of prior Financial Measures Acts over the last couple of years. Sometimes we had people marching around this Legislature and chanting and a lot of anger. That's not the case this time, and that's a good thing. On this side of the House, we don't want to be the voice of anger. We don't want to be the voice of cynicism, as the government often says we are. We want to be the voice of opportunity and the voice of options. When you look at a $10 billion budget, there's certainly lots of opportunities buried within that type of a budget. The question will be, how does this government execute on the opportunities that are presented? When we look at last year, we look back at a lot of the situations we had in health care which we know exist and which we're still talking about today. Even in Question Period today, there were lots of examples of situations in health care that are less than ideal, shall we say. We know that, in the face of that, even the amount of money budgeted for health care last year wasn't used. So we look at the budgets that are available this year to the departments, and we wonder, will they be spent effectively? Will they be spent to the betterment of Nova Scotians? We did have an election. We hear some of the members opposite refer to that and the majority that they won again. I know my colleague from Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg said it's a question of using your majority now. That was true. I think many people who we can find in the streets who may have supported this government - they may support them until they need health care and then when they find, gee, there are a lot of gaps in the health care system, maybe they're not so happy anymore. So, we need to make sure that in the coming years delivery of health care in this province gets better, not worse - and it's been getting worse. We know when the federal health transfer situation was being negotiated, that Nova Scotia broke ranks and signed their own side deal to the betterment of the federal government, many people would say. But one thing that our provincial government did hang their hat on was that they received additional funding for mental health care and they said, well, we got additional money for mental health care, it's a good deal. Now here we are as time passes and we're finding that people who are working in mental health in the province are wondering, where is that money? We didn't see that money. That money hasn't arrived to help front-line services. And they're right. They are right. [Page 1850] So, again, the money even that the province would say is there is not making it to its intended purpose. It's not making it to help Nova Scotians and we have to worry about stuff like that. The Premier has said many times that he heard the message on the need to improve health care in the province and he has talked about the numbers that they put investing in health care, but it's like with the rural Internet which we'll probably talk about. I asked the minister: When does it start? You keep saying this budget number, but when does it start, when will people actually have access to improved Internet? The answer is always, soon - it's immediately, it's soon, it's all these types of things. But here we are now looking at what's happening with mental health care specifically because it was held up as a big victory for Nova Scotia to get this additional money for mental health, and now, all these months later, the mental health professionals in this province are disappointed and disheartened that they haven't even had requests to meet with the department fulfilled - but I think the minister did say recently that he's now ready to meet with them. So, again, maybe we'll see some action on that, but the budget's a lot of numbers. The budget allocates a lot of money, but if you don't use that money to the benefit of Nova Scotians, then what is the point? You may be somebody who has supported this government but you don't have any children in school or you supported this government and, now, you have a child in school who needs some help through the education system, needs some supports and they're not there. So, I think people's eyes get opened as time goes by, and I just hope we don't have people marching in the streets around Province House today on account of this budget and this Financial Measures (2017) Bill but we will soon if this money is not spent effectively and efficiently to improve health care. I do worry when people see what happened here last night and again today with two bills and, on one bill, a bit of a love-in on some changes that were made by the government, quite rightfully, thanks to the efforts of two powerful Opposition members from Dartmouth South and Pictou West pushing for changes and, on one bill, they were accepted. Myself, I left here pretty disheartened last night when about an hour's worth of very reasoned amendments, very reasoned improvements to a bill were put forth one after another, after another, after another - and voted down. So, therein lies the other side of a majority government because I'm sure it's kind of fun to giggle and pat yourself on the back and say two consecutive majorities, but if you don't use them to the benefit of the people, then the back patting will soon stop - and it is time for it to stop on many of the cases on the health care file and on some of these bills that are coming before the House. [Page 1851] So, when we look at what is coming through this Financial Measures (2017) Bill, people look at it through their own lens. They will always look at it through their own lens and they will ask themselves, am I being treated fairly by the government? Is the government there to deliver the services to me that I would expect it would be there deliver? There are a lot of people in the province who don't feel like they're being treated fairly by this government and why should they, in many cases. We've had a lot of talk this session about the situation with the universities' funding. I talked before about the CBU situation. David Wheeler was there, doing what he thought was right and what he thought was fair, only to find out that other universities had a different concept of fairness, a different relationship with the government and were receiving additional funding and that beat goes on. Even in this recent Question Period, I think maybe in Estimates, I asked the minister did any other universities have SOFI loans that were forgiven, or asked to be forgiven? The minister said no, no. Now, bit by bit, it comes out, the truth ultimately comes out, there were at least three other universities who were struggling with their SOFI loans and had asked for some relief or extensions from the government and they weren't available, but they were available to one university. When people ask themselves, am I being treated fairly by my government, and then they hear these types of examples, they are quite right to be suspicious of whether or not they are being treated fairly, because these are the very public situations, very publicly-described situations of unfairness, but there are many more that just don't make it to the headlines and people are right to be concerned. When they look at the Financial Measures (2017) Bill, they'll ask themselves, is this a good thing for me? If they are living in a rural area they'll ask themselves, is it a good thing for me in terms of my rural Internet service? There will be money in the budget for that, but again, when will it start to get to the people who are seeking the relief, who are seeking the fairness from the government? These are the things - they're driving the roads and they're looking at how the money is being spent and they are asking themselves, is this a fair allocation? There's a lot we could be doing in this province around economic development in particular. I do applaud some of the tax changes that happened in this budget but we look at some of the industries that could be in this province, that could be growing in this province, that could be thriving in this province and what has happened to some of them. One budget we spent a tremendous amount of time talking about, the changes to the Film Tax Credit and the impact they would have on the film industry. We were very concerned about the impact that the changes that came through in that budget would have on the industry. We were called negative and we were called nay-sayers and we were called fear-mongers. We were called a lot of things over raising those concerns but unfortunately in many ways our concerns were very well-founded. If we look at the size of our industry here in Nova Scotia today, it's much smaller than it was and it's certainly much smaller than it should be, in terms of many of the factors that are lined up would be lined up for us to be having a successful, growing industry. [Page 1852] We might be clawing back to where we were, but there's no success in that. That's the same as looking at the funding on the long-term care facilities, where the government would quite rightly say, we put money back in, but they haven't even approached putting back in what they took out. There's always two sides to the discussion that we need to consider together. We can't just take one element out and say well look, here it is, without the perspective of the full picture and that's what's happening with the film industry. I'm still disheartened by that in so many ways because we may be clawing back in some parts of that industry, certainly not in all of them, but we're nowhere near where we should be. [5:30 p.m.] These are the types of things that we will, in time, find out are in this budget and what are the impacts of the things that are happening in the budget in this Financial Measures (2017) Bill, what impact do they have going forward. I will say that we don't know what they are today, but what we do know is that we are hopeful that the government will not abuse its majority, we are hopeful that the government will use its majority effectively and efficiently to spend the money that it's allocated through this process, to the benefit of Nova Scotians, around health care, around transportation. We could talk about, in transportation, the spending of money on the ferry situation. I remember during the campaign, I think it was right when the campaign started, that the ferry operator was in the news saying how high the bookings had gone, and what an incredibly successful year this year would be. I said at the time, to many people, that that was political posturing, and the numbers are now in. It was political posturing. If we look at how that investment - tourism numbers overall are up, for sure, and that is a good thing for this province. They are not up because of that investment. I've said many times in this House, and I will continue to say that that investment, properly spent, would have had an even greater impact on the growth of our tourism industry. When we think about how money is spent, we need to spend it effectively, we need to spend it efficiently, we need to spend it where it has the greatest return for Nova Scotians. Here we are in the context of the film industry. The Film Tax Credit at the time was - $25 million was the cost that the province had identified. They said it cost $25 million. They never really talked about the benefits. They never really talked about the value, they talked about the cost. [Page 1853] Back to them, the cost is now pretty much that again, it's pretty much that again. To what end, is the question? We have a $10 billion document here, and there's some very good stuff in there. Obviously, some stuff that we were happy to see, especially around the take-home cancer treatments. Some of these things are good, positive movements. What I would say to the members opposite is, you have a lot of opportunity at your feet, to spend this money where it gets the maximum result for Nova Scotians. I would just ask that you do that carefully, and you do that thoughtfully, and you do that wisely. Taking a different path than has been taken for the past couple of years, because the final numbers, the final result on this budget, will only be in, in years from now, when the lawsuits are settled, and the dust has hit the ground, on what the cost might be, because of the approach that was taken on various issues. Don't continue to take that approach. Take an approach which has some compassion, and shows some thoughtfulness on how the money is spent. I wish the government well in that. I think we've demonstrated our desire to provide some ideas, and solutions to some of the issues, and maybe some will be taken, maybe a couple. I don't know what the result would have been on the total number of amendments we introduced on the bills over the last few days, but I think there was probably, maybe close to 100 amendments, in totality. I think one was accepted, maybe two. That's a pretty low percentage, but it's still higher than zero. I would only ask that the members consider trying to increase that percentage, if they are serious about Nova Scotians, and helping Nova Scotians. With those few words, I would take my seat. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth North. MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : I want to start by saying that sometimes it feels strange to talk about what I am going to talk about today when the House, when we've been debating things like cyberbullying and adult capacity, the rights, you know, in that bill, for people with limited capacities. It feels a strange thing, and yet, I feel I must do it. I feel compelled to talk about what I am going to talk about. I've had many chances over this session to talk about certain things in this budget, in Budget Estimates and in Question Period, and I've talked a lot about what I think are the shortfalls of this budget. I am still, and I'll be on the record for saying this, I still am in disbelief as the Critic for Community Services, I'm still in disbelief that the government has already spent somewhere close to $6 million on the elusive transformation that we await with bated breath, to see what will be. Now we're going to spend $2 million more on a study to look into poverty. While we still make no increases to income assistance rates, while child poverty is the highest in the country, and while more people are using food banks than ever before, the government continues to plan to do things differently - but we know the people can't wait any longer. [Page 1854] But I'm not going to talk about that today. I'm going to leave that there. I'm going to talk about the Financial Measures (2017) Bill from a very particular perspective. It's one that doesn't get much attention in this House - which is fine, I get that - or in the budget or even in the outside world. The everyday person looking at the budget, listening to the news about the budget, would not immediately look to the lines that I want to talk about, and yet the budget lines are intrinsically connected with the quality of life that we enjoy in Nova Scotia - with our health, our education, and yes, even our economy. When someone is feeling sick and is desperate for a family doctor or desperate for a raise in their minimum-wage job, they don't first go to this budget line, yet it contributes to our critical thinking, our political action, and our advocacy and care for one another, which connects to all of those things. Surprise, surprise: today I want to talk about art. There is a theatre director and puppet maker in Vermont named Peter Schumann. He's the founder and director of a company called Bread and Puppet Theatre. As part of his work, he has written a manifesto about art. It's called the Cheap Art Manifesto, and in that manifesto, it says - I won't read the whole thing, because it's a little weird, but I love it - it says, "Art soothes pain! Art wakes up sleepers! Art fights against war and stupidity! Art sings halleluja!" Artistic expression at its best stirs emotion, allows for the potential for new perspectives - which we could all stand to gain from in this House - challenges social and political norms, educates, heals pain, and responds to happenings in our communities. The presence of art is something we take for granted in our world, but just imagine a world without it for a moment. Sir Peter Bazalgette, who is the head of the British Arts Council, gets it perfectly. I'll quote him, and I can table this if you like. "Imagine society without the civilising influence of the arts and you'll have to strip out what is most pleasurable in life - and much that is educationally vital. Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theatres or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you're left with a society bereft of a national conversation . . . about its identity or anything else." I am not saying that is what is happening in this province right now. Far from that. There was a time when I felt like that was happening in this province. I'm thinking, of course, of when the Progressive Conservative Minister of Culture and Heritage, Rodney MacDonald, shut down the Nova Scotia Arts Council with no warning and little regard for the value of art in our society. It was a terrifying day. It was a dark day. Just like when the Film Tax Credit was cut, there were people everywhere in the streets. It was a really scary time, actually. But I don't think we're in that place right now. [Page 1855] I don't think we're in nearly as dark days as those. In fact, I think there are many things to be excited about in this budget when it comes to art. I'm very grateful for the new Innovation Fund. I think that's a very exciting amount of money, but also an exciting purpose to encourage innovation in the arts. I'm really happy about it, and I can't wait to see what comes out of it. I'm also excited about the new money for expressions of Mi'kmaq culture. Those are just two things. There is good stuff, and it's not very often when artists can look to a provincial budget and go, there's $2 million of increases. That's incredible. So frankly, it's good. (Applause) But wait, I'm going to say more. I'm going to criticize more. No, no. Let's see, I've got 53 minutes left. Just kidding, everyone. The Old Triangle doesn't close until 11:00 p.m. They're important funds, and they'll be used to create incredible works of art. I encourage everyone to take in some of those incredible works of art when they are created. But here's the thing: when those projects are finished, when those artworks are created, some of them will be finished forever. If they're performance works, they may never be seen again. If they're works of visual art, then that's great. They'll hang in museums. They'll provide pleasure. But the thing that happens to the creators is that they go back to the drawing board, so to speak. Pardon the pun. They go back to piecing together a living from many sources of income, mostly getting by, but in most cases unable to grow their art practice or get to a place that's a more sustainable and less precarious way to live their lives. They are afraid to start families. I was afraid to start a family, and finally I was like, you know what? I'm too old to be afraid anymore. I have to just have a baby, because this is what I want to do. My position as an artist in the world didn't allow me to have the confidence to do something like that. That's a big deal. Artists can't buy houses, generally. It's a very particular situation - and I understand the irony of what I'm talking about. As the minister - pardon me, as the Critic for Communities, Culture and Heritage, I understand that many of the people who I work for in that area are obviously in the same boat. However, everyone has the right to a home. Artists are poor, for the most part. I'll get more to that - well, no, I'll tell you this. I did a quick little survey of some theatre companies in town. I asked the artistic directors, quickly tell me, your full-time employees - what is their salary? I asked three different companies. [Page 1856] For full-time employees of companies that have been around for 20 years - artists who have been working on their practice for 20 years - the maximum was $40,000 per year. The minimum was $30,000, so around $35,000 is the annual salary for an artistic director of a theatre company in Nova Scotia. That's not official numbers, but that's about right. That's before taxes. Over the course of the session, I have heard the government - and again, rightly so - in the Budget Estimates, in members' statements, in Question Period boast about the tourism industry. There was one day when almost every person over there gave a member's statement about how great the tourism industry is. Listen, I like tourism. I like tourists. I think it's great for our province. It's great, and I'm happy to hear it. But when I think about the tourism industry, and I think about what people who come here to consume things in our province consume, they largely consume art and culture. They go to shows. They go to music. They eat yummy food created by chefs, who are artists. These are all artistic endeavours, and our tourism industry is based upon them. When we're talking about raking in millions of dollars and doubling our tourism revenues, you need to recognize that that money is on the backs of poor artists who are largely underfunded. So here I am in my role as the spokesperson for Communities, Culture and Heritage for the NDP, and I'm going to make an impassioned plea for one budget line. I would like to plead for a significant increase in the line to the budget that goes directly to sustaining grants for arts organizations. (Applause) A $1 million increase to that budget line would create incredible economic waves through the arts industry. Those organizations create and sustain the art, and the art practices of many individual artists. They're largely made up of artists, or they contract artists to create the art. They are the backbone of the professional art communities, and they are chronically underfunded. They do things that you would not believe with shoestring budgets. There are a few organizations in this province that are well funded, although I am willing to bet that I will get phone calls from them tomorrow saying, why did you call us out for saying that we have enough money because we don't? So, Neptune Theatre, Symphony Nova Scotia, and Mermaid Theatre are well funded from the pot of money that I am talking about, and rightly so. They do incredible things and they are anchor organizations in the professional arts community here and they need to be well funded. But we go from Mermaid Theatre whose operating grant is just over $100,000 to the rest of the other operating companies where the lowest operating amount is $10,000 and the highest, I believe, is $45,000 and most of them are at $25,000. There are 26 companies in this situation. [Page 1857] [5:45 p.m.] So, most of these companies are between $10,000 and $35,000 at the top end and they have been at those levels for many years - these organizations, like 2b Theatre that tours around the world with very good, excellent high-quality performances that are being booked for years in advance; Motion Dance who, again, they tour all over the place. They have put Nova Scotia's dance classes and community on the map; and Eye Level Gallery that features so many visual art grads from NSCAD and other artists who are making visual art. So, these organizations are creating work and sustaining the work of artists full time and whose artistic output is very, very high. I did some number crunching - I am not an accountant but I can play one on TV - and $1 million dollars, I worked this out if you take away the top three organizations that means you divide $1 million dollars by 23 companies and that will be an increase of $43,000 which will be unbelievably helpful - but you can also increase people's operating grants by $35,000 and add five new organizations at $35,000. That is good math, eh. So, that comes up to one million bucks. There are many, many, many emerging arts organizations that cannot access this money at all because there are no new companies or organizations being added because the fund has been frozen for so long and there is no political will to put new increases in the arts and culture into these operating and sustaining grants. So, again, I know that it's a million bucks - well actually it is not that much money although a million bucks anywhere would be very helpful, we all know that. So that is my plea to better support these organizations and bring more organizations into the revenue stream, at the sustainable amount it will go a long way in creating more sustainable creative culture in Nova Scotia, from which would grow the more innovative minds we keep talking about here. We are putting a lot of emphasis on innovation in culture, in business and innovative minds are grown because they have access to art and things that challenge their brains and make people think different ways. That is the job of art, and so if we want innovative people we need to increase our funding for the arts. I have already talked about the intrinsic value of art. I will reiterate that artists need to be highly valued and sustained by our society. Artists need to be able to create art and support the organizations that are run by artists and create work. Art needs to be a top priority of this province, and this budget would be a much better document if it reflected this value. Now, off my notes, so bear with me, I want to echo something that the member for Pictou East was saying when he talked about the Film Tax Credit. We have not talked about the Film Tax Credit very much in this session, and it feels a bit like the film industry is in a better place. Screen Nova Scotia got an operating grant for $238,000. But the fact is that in 2014, in one union only - I'm talking about the technicians' union, IATSE 849 - the salaries that that union collected, that the union members made in 2014, were $11 million. This year it's $3 million, and it has dropped consistently since the tax credit was cut - $3 million. [Page 1858] That is only one union. We're not talking about actors. We're not talking about the directors' guild. We're talking about IATSE 849. To me, that is extremely troubling. The film industry has taken a hit, and I am not actually sure that it will recover. I have been told by industry professionals that when they go to meetings in Los Angeles or New York to talk up Nova Scotia, the first question that's asked by producers is, "What's your tax credit?" It's not "How does the government support your industry?" It's "What is your tax credit?" It's an assumption that the support is a tax credit. So the answer is that it's not really a tax credit, and you know what happens? The decision-making producers leave the room, and the underlings are left to sort of hear about how great Nova Scotia is to shoot in. It's a real issue. The other issue with that change that happened when it did is that there is no money left for local film development. That money has dried up, and we need a fund of money to support local filmmakers who are indigenous to Nova Scotia, who need money to develop their scripts and then to use the equity funding to leverage money from other levels of government - sorry, other funders. Not necessarily other levels of government, but the Harold Greenberg Fund or Telefilm Canada. They will not look at anyone who doesn't have some seed money. We need a pot of money to support those artists. I'm going to close by quoting the Québécoise writer Gabrielle Roy, whose words - until recently, thank you to Stephen Harper - were on the $20 bill. I'm sure you remember that the $20 bill used to say "Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?" Please, let us heed these words and understand how much we benefit from art and culture in our province, and what we stand to lose if we do not protect and sustain our artists. Thank you. (Applause) MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I just want to rise and say a few words on the Financial Measures (2017) Bill, and say that we're in the dying hours of this House. This bill, of course, is going to pass. There's no question about that. We've seen that time and time again. But I think it's incumbent upon me to make a last-ditch effort to emphasize to this government and to the Department of Health and Wellness just how important proper funding for health care is. I believe there is money there that can be saved if you would actually work with the people who are in the system: the doctors - if they don't all leave - the nurses, the front-line workers, the lab technicians. [Page 1859] We just heard some very passionate speeches about the cyberbullying bill. One of the things that might help that is if there was proper funding for people who could help those who are having challenges in their life. Right now, you're looking at 450 to 460 days to get a meeting with a psychologist on Cape Breton Island. I talk to doctors on a regular basis who are telling me that they're going to have to leave. They're going to have to leave because the working conditions that are put in place are not proper for them. The tax issue that's being done with the federal government is creating a problem. When I had some discussions with the Minister of Health and Wellness, he made it very clear that they, the government, have a majority. I'll make it very clear: they have a majority, but the onus on them is to make sure that they use that majority to help Nova Scotians. When you have 100,000 people who don't have a doctor and the plans you keep hearing are for two and three and four years down the road, that is of no comfort to the families who need someone today. Mr. Speaker, this budget has been allocated to do the right thing for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia and the right thing to do for people, to do for all the people of Nova Scotia, regardless of who they voted for, is to make sure that their quality of life is good and that they can access the services that they've come to expect. I know that when I vote "no" today, that it's not going to make any difference. I'm hoping, though, I'm sincerely hoping that the government will look at some of the shortfalls, will look at what is happening in health care and decide to act today, not three and four years down the road. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. MR. GARY BURRILL « » : Mr. Speaker, my opposition to this bill and the budget that it codifies into law and my opposition to the approach to the economy of Nova Scotia that it embodies, is an opposition that is rooted in, amongst other things, the experience of economics in my own family. I'd like to take a few moments, just as I open, to explain how that is so. My people come from Yarmouth County, which experienced one of the most dramatic out-migrations in the history of our province, the out-migration to the Boston States in the years following the First World War. Now this was the generation of my grandparents, many of whose brothers and sisters and cousins moved to New England, mainly to Massachusetts, in those years, who throughout their lives, returned home every summer and spent time at home with their families, particularly once they got older in life and were in retirement. [Page 1860] That was when I, as a younger person, particularly in the summers, spent a great deal of time with and getting to know them and hearing about their lives. I grew up and heard a lot, as a younger person, listening to the generation of my great uncles and my great aunts talking when they were home, about their lives in the United States over the years. Most particularly their talk would often run to that period of 10 or a dozen years before the outbreak of the Second World War. They would speak about those years, many features of them - carpentry jobs, mill jobs, domestic jobs, hard times and good times. But as a person, there was one word that they said with a sense of significance, that when they said it that it almost sounded sacred. The one word they all said with this special kind of weighted sense was the word 'Roosevelt'. Now bear with me, Mr. Speaker, I'll be returning to our budget in a moment but I want to explain about the background to the significance of that word. The background was the economics of their experience of the Great Depression. In 1928 Herbert Hoover, a Republican and a fiscal conservative, had been elected President of the United States. When the stock market crash took place in 1929, his approach to the economic crisis was one totally consistent with his fiscally conservative approach. For Herbert Hoover, if the economy was not performing well and certainly at that time it wasn't, for him this must be because, in his view, the government was failing to operate with a balanced budget. Taxes for investors must be, in his view, too high. That must be the source of the problem. The result must be that the too-high taxes are being used to support bloated government expenditures. Such was the train of thinking of Herbert Hoover's mind. Therefore, Herbert Hoover's solution to the economic crisis was not to invest. The Hoover solution was port to starboard, to cut. When the Great Depression then deepened in 1930 and 1931, the greater the deepening happened, the greater was the response of that American administration to respond to the crisis, thinking this would solve it, of bringing in an ever deeper series of cuts. [6:00 p.m.] The Hoover solution was to cut, restrict, constrict and then to do that some more, assuming that at some point - this was a path - by focusing exclusively on the balancing of that budget, that could lead to the rectifying of the increasingly deepeningly-dire economic situation in the country. Those who lived through that crisis in 1929, 1930, and 1931 in those circumstances, there are people who remembered the details of this very clearly. As the cuts deepened, people had less and less money to spend. As a result, of course, businesses' profits began and then continued to decline. As a result of the loss of profit in the business sector, of course, employees were laid off. Laid off employees had less and less to spend and the downward spiral continued to a place that was deeply frightening to everybody who lived through it. [Page 1861] People who had never been without work in their lives were without work for the first time, many of them on bread lines. People who had been brought up on a farm, had never known anything about hunger, were hungry for the first time in their experience. Then in 1932 something happened and this is a matter of the experience of our people in Nova Scotia who have known such levels of out-migration over generations, this is a matter from our people's history that is very important for us to not be ignorant of in this particular moment in 2017. In 1932, the Democrats in the United States nominated for President, Franklin Roosevelt and he ran on the basis in 1932 of what was an entirely new, an entirely innovative idea about how to deal with the crisis. We're familiar with its name, it was called the New Deal. Roosevelt and the New Dealers, as they were called, held the view that the core cause of the Depression was a chronic shortfall of aggregate demand. Therefore, since aggregate demand being chronically insufficient was the cause of the economic shortfall, the economic road forward, the New Dealers said, was exactly the opposite of the proposal that Hoover had been putting forward. It wasn't to cut, it wasn't to restrict, it wasn't to constrict the spending of the government and the investment of the government in its people, it was rather for the government to, in a bold way that it had not done before, move into the business of investing in people's lives. Therefore, purchasing power would be stimulated, incomes would be increased, new investment would be drawn towards a re-invigorated market and thus, they held, the chronic constriction and shrinking of our economy and the crisis that had come to be experienced by so many, thus this crisis would be lifted. Roosevelt won that election and the New Deal was implemented and soon soup kitchens began to shrink. Bread lines started withering up and people went back to work, people began again to buy things. The Depression lifted. Some of my own relatives' positions, I'm sure this is true of the relatives of many of those here this evening, found themselves in circumstances as the New Deal continued to gather momentum, where they went from utter destitution to places where they were able to provide for their children, even to buy homes and to establish coherent working lives. For the rest of those people's lives even until as old people, they came home and spoke about it decades later to me, their young, very interested great-nephew. The word "Hoover" was a word they spat out. The word "Roosevelt" was pronounced with a certain reverence. I want to return to the present moment, and I want to say something that will sound very harsh but is a considered and weighed judgment. In my view, what we have at the moment in Nova Scotia is a Hooverist administration. What is the legacy of this government's first term? The legacy of this government's first term is the cutting, the elimination, of the entire Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, with the loss of jobs resulting in the hundreds; the cutting of jobs in parks; the cutting of jobs in tourism; the cutting of support to organizations like the CNIB, Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, seniors groups, community groups all over the province; the cutting of the Film Tax Credit - as the member for Dartmouth North has spoken about so articulately - with the resulting dispersal of hundreds of thousands of creative, project-oriented, and entrepreneurial people to jurisdictions with more future oriented programs of support to the creative sector; the cutting, I am sorry to say, of the funds that support staffing and programming and diet in nursing homes all across Nova Scotia. [Page 1862] What was accomplished by all of this cutting, all this retrenchment, all this shrinking? This, Mr. Speaker, and this alone: a budget surplus and then a second budget surplus as we have it before us in this current bill. At what price have these budget surpluses been accomplished? At the price of the government's making no investments significant enough to alter the fact that we in Nova Scotia have the worst child poverty rate of any province in our country. This was accomplished, this budget surplus, at the price of the government's making no investments significant enough to alter the fact that in Nova Scotia, we have the fastest rate of increase in food bank use of any jurisdiction in the country. These back-to-back budget surpluses that have been accomplished at the great price of the closing of the door of opportunity, of the government's making no investments significant enough to alter the fact that we have the fastest-rising tuition of any province in the country. If you read anything about the story of those years in the United States - 1930, 1931, and 1932 - one thing that you will be struck by about Herbert Hoover and his approach is the absolute swaggering self-certainty, the utter self-satisfaction, the absence of any critical self-reflection with which Herbert Hoover held the view that prioritizing budget surpluses over investment in people was the path that could lead to recovery from the economic doldrums. We hear the echoes of this sanctimoniousness in the defences that are offered of this budget and for this budget and the defences that are offered of and for the program of which this budget is a part. We hear the echoes of the voice of Herbert Hoover in the proclamation of Bill No. 148, as though our economy is going to thrive and prosper when the incomes of the entire provincial public sector are frozen and surpassed by annual inflation. We hear the echoes of Herbert Hooverism in our minimum wage, as though our small businesses can thrive and reinvest when they are selling into a market where a third of employees make under $15 an hour. While other provinces move to $15 an hour, our province moves this year 15 cents. We hear the echoes of Herbert Hooverism when the budget is balanced by funds being withheld that had been earmarked for hospital infrastructure spending with the result that our hospital infrastructure continues to crumble in communities across the province. We hear the echoes of Herbert Hooverism in a budget that increases social assistance rates by zero dollars and zero cents. We certainly hear the echoes of Herbert Hooverism when the members of the government roar in disbelief, sometimes in rudeness, and occasionally even in anger that anybody should dare suggest that they, like the Republicans of 1932, are anything other than utter heroes. [Page 1863] What we are presented with in this Financial Measures Bill is a budget and a program which is entirely a Hooverist reversal. It takes us backwards to the Hooverist approach, which wrongly thinks we can cut our way towards a prosperous future. It fails to recognize that there is another, more future-oriented path for which the people in our province are crying out as surely as my great uncles and great aunts were crying out for The New Deal in the early 1930s in Massachusetts. MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition. HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : I intend to do an examination of the Financial Measures Bill in a moment. But I just wanted to say, after hearing the speech of the Leader of the NDP, that I now understand why he has been so hard on the Premier and the Premier's grasp of history because that was a great historical lesson that he provided to us. He did leave one or two things out, Mr. Speaker. I am actually a Franklin Delano Roosevelt fan myself. When Roosevelt came into office in the Great Depression, he felt that one of the best things he could do was put people back to work, building infrastructure of his country. He started the Tennessee Valley Authority. He built the interstate highway system. He generated a great rural electrification program. All of those are great examples of public/private partnerships that got the country going. (Laughter) I see Mr. Buick in the gallery can't take it anymore. (Laughter) MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. How about we get back to Bill No. 39? The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition has the floor. MR. BAILLIE « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I intend to make good use of it in the next few minutes. I also just want to say quickly that there was another President Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt. It was before the Leader of the NDP's time. It was more aligned with my colleague the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley's time. He, too, was a Republican Roosevelt President of the United States. He was known for his great environmentalism. He started the national parks commissions across the states. He went to the Grand Canyon and insisted that it be protected for all time. He was also known as a trust-buster, Mr. Speaker. He saw the great concentration of corporate wealth at the top of the hierarchy of the United States, and he busted it up to support the small businesses of the United States. He was, in a way, a leading Progressive Conservative. I just want to pay a little tribute to the other Roosevelt who was also President of the United States a long, long time ago. [Page 1864] Now I know everyone is wondering what this has to do with the Financial Measures Act of 2017. Let me say this. The great question that we came into this House with after the election was whether the government get the message about health care and the crisis in health care or not. All 51 of us were engaged with voters for those 30 days in May, many of us criss-crossing the province. We met families without a doctor. We met parents whose son or daughter is on a year-long wait-list in Cape Breton for mental health services. We met people in chronic pain who had been waiting two years to get hip or knee surgeries, important surgeries to relieve that pain. [6:15 p.m.] I'll never forget the day I met an older woman who had been on pain medication for so long while she waited for her hip surgery that after the surgery was finally done, she needed addiction treatment for the addiction she had developed to that pain medication. These are the great issues that had people wanting to know, did this government get the message about health care? Sadly, Mr. Speaker, the answer is obviously no. This is the last bill to come forward in this Fall session of the House. It is the bill where the government literally puts its money where its mouth is. There has been lots of lip service from this government about health care. The Premier himself said that they got the message before this House session started. Then we had the budget and the Estimates and the Financial Measures (2017) Bill that we see before us - not one new cent in primary health care, which is where the investments need to go to make sure that people get the family doctors they need. There is very little for mental health care in this budget despite the glaring need. The wait-lists for important surgeries are not going down. They are going up. Beyond that, when the government does bring in its budget, and it prepares all of the budget bulletins that go with it, all they talk about is, we're putting $1 million into this, or we're putting $1.2 million into that, as if the money itself is the story. That is not the story. Why does the government never, ever think - when they do take action on health care - to tell us who's going to benefit? How many people will get the help they need? How many more doctors will be available to Nova Scotians? There's been no announcement about the important things that Nova Scotians want to know. How much can we bring that wait-list down for mental health services in Cape Breton? How much shorter can we make the wait for chronic pain and the important surgeries that can relieve that pain? How many families will get a doctor that don't have one today? Not one single target in any of those areas. We talked about the cap-and-trade bill and how it doesn't have targets on the environment. This is the bigger issue at the moment, the crisis issue: our health care system. [Page 1865] Today we talked about the Nova Scotia Health Authority issuing 101 press releases in the first half of this year. Sixty of them were about emergency room closures. That's more than half. Thirty were about blood clinic closures. Ninety per cent of those releases were about important services that were closing. Where is the press release that says the government is taking new action and that another 1,000 families will get a doctor? There isn't one. Or the press release that says the wait times for mental health are dropping for young people? There isn't one. Yet when the budget comes to this House, we're supposed to be happy if there's $1 million going somewhere. Nova Scotians don't care about the $1 million. What they care about is the people who aren't getting the help they need. Here we are, no further ahead on those important things. Did this government get the message about health care, about doctors, about mental health? No, they did not. What is an election for if it's not for the voters to tell their political candidates what's important to them? The voters did tell us. They truly want to believe that when the election is over, their voice will be heard after they've dropped their ballot in the ballot box. But that is not the case, or we would have a budget here in this House that has been labelled the health care budget, that puts real investments into health care and sets real targets for more doctors and for mental health wait-lists and all the rest. But we do not have that. They did not get the message. When I was asking the Premier about cap-and-trade today, and earlier in this session, this was the point we wanted to make. People deserve to know the cost, and this government is determined to always tell them the cost of things when it comes to health care. They deserve to know the benefits, as well, when the government is spending money in health care. But there's never any discussion about the benefits. That's very telling. It's very telling because people want to know, do you care about the dollars or do you care about people? If you cared about people, you would put that up front. A budget that cared about people would say, this budget is about health care and getting people the help they need because that's what they told us they wanted and, yet, it is not. I do want to say, changing gears for a moment, that one of the things that we have supported both in the campaign in our respective platforms and right up to today, is the tax cut that is aimed at our lowest-income Nova Scotians, delivered by way of increasing the basic personal amount so that Nova Scotians get a real tax break starting with the most modest-incomed Nova Scotians. This is something that we support. It actually makes the cost of living a little easier for the people who need that help the most. [Page 1866] On this one, the government was very quick in the press release that accompanied the Financial Measures (2017) Bill and in the budget documents themselves, to put that tax cut right up front so that everybody would know the amount of the tax cut. They broke it down into different income levels so that people would know at $20,000, at $40,000, at $60,000 this is what this tax cut will mean for individual families. That would be good if it was the whole story, Mr. Speaker, but, in this very same session of the House, the government brings in a cap-and-trade plan without any disclosure about how much more in cap-and-trade costs the government is going to add to the family budget of those very same people, how much more they're going to have to pay to drive to work or to heat their home or to buy the groceries or to pay the electric bill. There is no open, transparent press release that answers those questions. As much as we support that tax cut, if it isn't followed by a transparent analysis of the extra cost the government is putting onto the backs of Nova Scotians at the same time, then, it is not really meaningful and that's a problem. It would have been so much better and more respectful of hard-working, taxpaying Nova Scotians if the government said, look, there is this tax cut. That's good. We are going to ask you to pay more on the other side. I know that's a lot to ask but here's what it will mean for the environment. Then Nova Scotians could have all the information they need to determine whether they're supportive of this or not, but they don't get the whole story. They got half the story. They don't know how much more, because their government won't tell them they're going to have to pay cap and trade and they also don't know how much, if any, the environment will improve by. You can't support a budget that only tells Nova Scotians half the story. I know that the Minister of Health and Wellness has been among the members on the government side to keep pointing out that we're voting against the budget and, yes, we are. We wanted a health care budget. We wanted to see real investments and more doctors and mental health and wait-time reductions. That's not happening and I will repeat: we will vote against every budget this government brings in until they get serious about getting people a family doctor. That is the reality of the situation we're in. For the small businesses of Nova Scotia, the government was very quick to pat itself on the back for raising the small-business threshold which would result in less tax paid by a lot of our small businesses, and they were very quick to quantify how much that would be. That is a good thing, but it's only half the story because at the same time the federal Liberal Government in Ottawa is enacting some pretty serious tax increases on those very same small businesses. We asked this government to tell us how much more will come out of the pockets of small businesses because of the federal changes and the government says, well, we don't know, that's federal, we just passed along your concerns. As if that's the whole job of being in government. [Page 1867] How can a Nova Scotia small business celebrate the increase in their small business threshold when they are not also given the straight goods on how much more cap and trade will cost or how much more they're going to have to pay in taxes because of the federal changes, Mr. Speaker? We need more openness and transparency in government; we need a government that will actually trust the citizens of Nova Scotia with all of the information that they need to decide whether they like the direction that the province is going in or not. You know, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's small businesses are successful because they are very good at analyzing the costs and the benefits of different programs, and deciding what direction they want to take their business in. Why not trust them to do the same thing when the federal government and the provincial government makes changes to the way they are taxed, or to the way that we manage the natural environment? Why not let them see the whole story? Maybe voter turnout would be higher if Nova Scotians felt they were being given the entire picture, both before and after the election. That would be wonderful if that happened. You know, in its essence a budget is really just a list of all the taxes the government is going to take in, and all the programs that they are going to spend money on going out the other side, and then it's either balanced or not at the bottom, Mr. Speaker. I think it's fair to say this government has made it very clear that their focus is on those things. But there is a third element that is missing from this budget and, quite frankly, every budget this government has brought in. And that third element is growth, it is opportunity, it is prosperity, it is jobs, Mr. Speaker. That's where Nova Scotians want to see our energy. How do we provide more young people with opportunities here at home? How do we get our economy growing instead of flatlining or shrinking? How do we show the people of Nova Scotia we can be more prosperous in the future than we are today? In other words, the vision thing - where is the vision thing? Mr. Speaker, there are so many ways that we could be moving ahead. There are so ways we could be working on getting cheaper, cleaner energy to this province, as one example. Just today there was a report about how Nova Scotians are going to have to pay two or three times the North American price for natural gas, as an example, and that real Nova Scotia manufacturers like Michelin, like Oxford Frozen Foods and others are now looking to whether they can afford to stay on natural gas, even though it is cleaner and cheaper than the fuels that it replaced, because there is no plan to make sure that we can take advantage of the North America-wide surge in the supply of natural gas and the environmental benefits and the jobs that come with it. Three years ago, Mr. Speaker, this government was giving a report on onshore gas development and brought in a bill to ban onshore gas development in all its forms, specifically to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing. I know the government thinks that's because that's what the polls say is popular and I suppose they do. [Page 1868] Right now, in Springhill, there is a company with an exploration licence in Springhill, not even for hydraulic fracturing, whose licence is about to expire and they are pulling out. The potential for jobs is pulling out with them and the potential for our own domestic supply of gas is pulling out with them because three years later the government still hasn't defined what it banned, and so any company wanting to do onshore exploration and development here has been scared off. As a result, one more hope of how we might move forward as a province and create some jobs, particularly in rural areas, disappears. [6:30 p.m.] I will finish up with this. I think deep down in our hearts, all of us know not only that this is a great province but that it could be a prosperous province as well. We travel around. Many Nova Scotians vacation in their own province. They see the abundance of natural resources, the world-class lobster fishery and ground fishery, and the forest stands that we have harvested for hundreds of years that are still there today to be harvested again in a responsible way. They visit the Towns of Antigonish and Wolfville and the Cities of Halifax and Sydney, and they see the great universities that we have and the tens of thousands of smart graduates who come out every year. They look at the beautiful campuses we now have at the Nova Scotia Community College and all the graduates who come out of there as well. They look on a map, and they see that we are part of free trade agreements in North America and now with Europe, and we're in the middle of both. They watch every day as our great ports bring in and send out containers full of products here in Halifax and in Sydney and in the other ports. They see all of that, and they wonder why are we a have-not province when we have so much going for us? That is the great lament of Nova Scotia. We know we have the resources and the ingenuity and the business sense and the location on the planet and the higher education institutions to make us wealthy. It just takes vision. It just takes a plan. If this government spent half as much time on that as they did on trying to shave a few dollars off the cost side of the equation, we would all be in much better shape. So I do want to say to the government, yes, we are voting against the budget and the Financial Measures (2017) Bill. We will continue to until there's a real plan for family doctors, or more specifically, until those Nova Scotians who are crying out for a doctor get the health care that we need. Yes, we will vote against this budget and every budget that this government brings in until the wait-list for adolescent mental health in Cape Breton Island falls below the embarrassing one-year length that it is at now. Yes, we will vote against this budget when people in chronic pain have to wait two years or more for basic surgeries in our hospitals. [Page 1869] At the same time, we will vote against every budget that wastes another year in a flatlined economy while Nova Scotians want to see this province start to take advantage of the amazing potential it has and move its economy forward and create real opportunity for all Nova Scotians. That is the budget that we continue to hope to see come from this government. That is the day we will start voting for budgets and against budgets like this one that completely misses the point of what Nova Scotians want their government working on. MR. SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate. The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Before I begin to respond to what we have just heard, I do want to take the opportunity to thank all of the public servants who worked very hard in all of our departments to build this budget. (Applause) I stand to close third reading debate of Bill No. 39, the Financial Measures (2017) Act. We have listened, and we have heard. We have had a history lesson in U.S. economics. It felt like I was back in Grade 11 perhaps, where we talked about that. I also heard from some of the members who were acknowledging that there were some positive things in the budget. It's great to hear that from the Opposition members. In fact, one of the speakers talked about options and opportunities in this particular budget. I think it's important to look at that. Whenever a government is building a budget, they have to look at options and opportunities. They have to look at the resources they have, the needs of Nova Scotians, and how you can best invest the precious dollars that we have into services for Nova Scotians without loading a greater burden on our children and our grandchildren, who will be paying for that forever. We heard one of the speakers talk about the legacy of this government. I can tell you that the legacy of this government is one I'm very proud of, one that we're very proud of. I could go on and talk about the legacy of the previous government, one that I am sure - I would think, I can't be sure - I would think many people in that government would not be very happy with the legacy that they left. That government, the NDP Government, was one that took money out of classrooms. It bought labour peace at a price that this province could not afford. We had an election in 2013, and Nova Scotians made a decision then that they did not want that legacy for their kids and grandkids. They wanted a government that would be responsible. Also in 2013, they listened when we were saying, we have to take the chequebook away from the NDP, and we did. We talk about a balance, and I think it's important that we focus on a balance, but you're settling wage contracts with an increase of 7.5 per cent in wages and the revenue of the province coming in at the same time is hovering around 1 per cent, that's not a very fair balance. That's their legacy. They can live with that. It will not be our legacy. [Page 1870] We have said that we would live within our means, that we would bring the fiscal health of this province back in line. I've spoken a couple of times here about how that's being recognized nationally. We are one of two provinces that have a sustainable path for fiscal health in this province. When investors are looking at Nova Scotia, they're looking at the bond rating that we have. Our bond rating has just increased to . . . MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has the floor. MS. CASEY « » : Our bond rating has increased to A+ positive. That's what investors look at. When we were looking at how can you use the precious dollars that you have, we look at those people and those services in Nova Scotia who were in greatest need. One of the members spoke about the tax reform, and acknowledged that we were - when we were fiscally able to do it, to address taxes in this province. We did that, and we will continue to do that while we have the resources to do that. I know that whenever there's a budget presented, there will be places where people can say we should have done more, you should have done this, you should have done that. That's the role of the Opposition. But I do want to acknowledge the comments from the Opposition members who did speak positively about some of the items in the budget. That's encouraging. They are paying attention to what we are doing. We will continue to do what is best for Nova Scotians. So Mr. Speaker, with those comments, I will obviously expect support from the Opposition. I move that we now close third reading debate on Bill No. 39, the Financial Measures (2017) Act. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 39. There has been a request for recorded vote. We will ring the bells. (Interruption) We will not ring the bells. Are the Whips satisfied? The Clerks will now prepare for the recorded vote. I will ask all members to remain absolutely silent. When your name is called, please stand tall and please state clear "yea" or "nay". [Page 1871] The Clerks will now conduct the recorded vote. [The Clerk calls the roll.] [6:40 p.m.] YEAS NAYS Mr. Churchill Mr. MacMaster Mr. Furey Mr. MacLeod Ms. Regan Mr. Dunn Mr. MacLellan Ms. MacFarlane Mr. McNeil Mr. Baillie Ms. Casey Mr. d'Entremont Mr. Glavine Mr. David Wilson Mr. Delorey Mr. Burrill Mr. Colwell Ms. Zann Ms. Miller Ms. Roberts Mr. Kousoulis Ms. Leblanc Mr. Porter Ms. Martin Mr. Gordon Wilson Ms. Chender Mr. Hines Ms. Smith-McCrossin Ms. Diab Ms. Paon Mr. Ince Mr. Houston Mr. Rankin Mr. Orrell Mr. Mombourquette Mr. Lohr Ms. Arab Ms. Adams Mr. Horne Ms. Masland Mr. Maguire Mr. Halman Mr. Jessome Mr. Harrison Ms. Lohnes-Craft Ms. DiConstanzo Mr. Irving THE CLERK « » : For, 25. Against, 22. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried. Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. The honourable Government House Leader. [Page 1872] HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes government business for this evening. MR. SPEAKER « » : The House will now recess for a few minutes while we await the arrival of His Honour. [6:44 p.m. The House recessed.] [6:51 p.m. The House reconvened.] SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Order, please. His Honour the Administrator is without. MR. SPEAKER « » : Let His Honour the Administrator be admitted. [The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber. The Administrator, Hon. Justice Joel E. Fichaud, preceded by his escort and by Mr. David Fraser, Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Administrator then took his seat on the Throne. The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber, followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Kevin Murphy; the Chief Clerk of the House, Neil Ferguson; and the Assistant Clerks, Annette Boucher and Nicole Arsenault.] SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Please rise. His Honour the Administrator. [The Speaker, with the Clerk on his left and the Sergeant-at-Arms and Assistant Clerks on his right, took up his position at the foot of the Table of the House.] SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of His Honour that the ladies and gentlemen be seated. MR. SPEAKER « » : May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present Session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent. THE CLERK « » : [Page 1873] Bill No. 7 - Workers' Compensation Act. Bill No. 8 - Pre-primary Education Act. Bill No. 10 - Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. Bill No. 12 - Boxing Authority Act. Bill No. 13 - Harmony Cemetery Company, in the County of Colchester, An Act to Incorporate. Bill No. 15 - Environment Act. Bill No. 16 - Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act. Bill No. 17 - Solemnization of Marriage Act. Bill No. 18 - Congregation of Notre Dame, Saint Joseph Province Dissolution Act. Bill No. 19 - Consumer Protection Statutes. Bill No. 24 - Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, An Act Respecting. Bill No. 27 - Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act. Bill No. 29 - Marine Renewable-energy Act. Bill No. 33 - Gas Distribution Act. Bill No. 36 - Lunenburg Common Lands (2017) Act. Bill No. 39 - Financial Measures (2017) Act. Bill No. 41 - Digby Water Commission Act. THE ADMINISTRATOR: [Page 1874] In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to these Bills. MR. SPEAKER « » : Your Honour, having been graciously pleased to give your Assent to the Bills passed during the present Session, it becomes my agreeable duty on behalf of Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, her faithful Commons of Nova Scotia, to present to Your Honour a Bill for the Appropriation of Supply granted in the present Session for the support of the Public Service, and to request Your Honour's Assent thereto. THE CLERK « » : Bill No. 48 - Appropriations Act, 2017. THE ADMINISTRATOR: In Her Majesty's name, I thank Her loyal subjects. I accept their benevolence, and I Assent to this Bill. [The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.] [The Administrator left the Chamber.] SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Speaker. [The Speaker took the Chair.] MR. SPEAKER « » : I would ask the members to please rise and join me in the singing of our national anthem. [The national anthem was sung by the members.] MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier. THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, before I move that we close this session, I do want to take a few minutes. First of all, at the beginning of the session, when we had our Throne Speech, we recognized a number of Nova Scotians who had made an extraordinary contribution who we had lost since the last time we were sitting. As many members of this House would know, yesterday, we lost Grace Kinley, who along with her husband, His Honour, represented the Queen in our province as the Lieutenant-Governor. On behalf of all Members of this House, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the Kinley family and let them know that they are in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this journey as a family. [7:00 p.m.] [Page 1875] I also want to acknowledge the tremendous support that we receive as we sit in this House, from so many people. To our Pages, I think I speak on behalf of all members of this House that each time we come into this House and see so many young people here, it gives us tremendous hope for the future of this province. You not only represent your peers well; you represent all of us very well inside of this House. I want to recognize those at Legislative TV. To the Clerks, you have to suffer through all of the debate. I want to acknowledge Hansard - Bob Kinsman, who's now enjoying his retirement - and Colleen Denomme and the Hansard team for their tremendous support. Legislative Library - Peter, Mike, and all of the support staff here at the House. The Sergeant-at-Arms and the extraordinary group of Commissionaires, who not only serve us as we're sitting in this House but are here all the time. As members come back and forth from their constituencies, it is a great comfort to see the professional way that we're greeted in this House and served. Thank you and not just for the service you provide to us during the Session but all year long. I want to thank the Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP who have provided security in and around this building at different times. I'm grateful we didn't require them as much as we have in the past. I want to acknowledge the staffs of all of our caucus offices who do a tremendous job. To the Opposition staff, who I hope are listening, I know what a challenge it is at times to prepare for bills that are dropped here, and then you're expected to pull together speaking notes and get ready for Question Period and help members prepare for Question Period. On behalf of all members of this House, I want to extend our thanks to you. To our own staff, let me offer a great deal of appreciation from our members to those in the caucus office and those who work in the Minister's Office or in the Premier's Office. We thank you for your support to us and to our families and, quite frankly, your service to Nova Scotians. I want to thank the entire Public Service. This has been an extraordinary year for them. A budget dropped, and then of course, we went into a campaign. We all went out and looked for the votes of Nova Scotians and then returned back here to go through another budget session. I can tell you how proud I am, each and every day, of the public servants who work on behalf of us in this province and deliver services to Nova Scotians, so I want to thank all of them. On behalf of all of the members of this House, as we're here, our constituency offices are still running. I want to acknowledge our constituency assistants, who are not here, who do a tremendous amount of work day in and day out on behalf of the people we're so fortunate to represent here in this House. [Page 1876] I want to acknowledge all of our families. Being in this House - this job's a tough job every day, when it comes to families having to enjoy some of the activity that we get ourselves into. But when you're actually in this House and you're committed to being here five days a week, it is always challenging. In many cases, it becomes - I can speak for myself. My children were raised by their mother. She became a single parent when this House is sitting, and she became both mother and father while the House was sitting. I think that reflects what happens in a lot of our houses when this place is sitting and the hours we're sitting, so I do want to acknowledge all of our families for their commitment to each of the members, but also for their commitment to public service. (Applause) Finally, I want to congratulate all of the new members who are making it through their first session. You should be very proud of the effort that you've brought in. I can tell you, more than once I leaned over to someone in this House and said, "These members have hit the ground running." You all have done an outstanding job of representing yourself and your constituents, and we look forward to working with you over the next four years. Congratulations to all of you. (Applause) Now I move this General Assembly be adjourned to meet again at the call of the Speaker. MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House now adjourn to meet again at the call of the Speaker. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay. The motion is carried. We now stand adjourned
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