Tuesday, December 13, 2005


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This site always puzzled me. This picture was taken last Satuday. The parking lot is empty and Bernard still demands that his parking spot stays free! Come on???? Give me a break!!!!

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December 13, 2005 Not finalized / Non finalisé le 13 décembre 2005
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Child Protection

Mr. S. Graham: We are all proud to be New Brunswickers here in this Chamber, and I think when we enter into the public service, we should put aside partisan politics and work to represent all New Brunswickers. That is why I have to say it is a concern when we see a headline in a national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, that reads “Abuse cases scream for advocates: New Brunswick still hasn’t acted despite years of complaints and a new law”.

It is these types of headlines that reinforce the “can’t-do” attitude here in New Brunswick. That is why today, we have an opportunity to debate an important motion to put in place a tangible deadline for the creation of a Child and Youth Advocate Office here in the province of New Brunswick.

My question for the Premier today is this: The amendments that your government is proposing are looking to limit the scope and responsibilities of the Child and Youth Advocate as adopted in the law that has already been passed in this House. My question to you, Mr. Premier, is, Why would you want to confine the responsibilities of the Child and Youth Advocate to two departments—Public Safety and Family and Community Services?

Hon. Mr. Lord: We are all very proud to be New Brunswickers. There are other headlines out there that are very positive about New Brunswick, but I know that every time those come out, the opposition Liberals are very disappointed. They like days when things go badly for New Brunswick, because they think it makes them look better. We like days when things go well for New Brunswick—when New Brunswick has record low unemployment, when we are leading the country in investments in health care, when we are leading in reducing the number of people on social assistance.

Our government is committed to helping the families and children of this province, and there is more than one way to do that. The most important way to do that is to make sure there is a strong environment for growth in the economy and in jobs. That is what will help children and families the most in the province, and that is what we will continue to do.

Mr. S. Graham: In the rhetorical answer that the Premier has provided today, he has not answered the question. I very clearly asked him a question, and I know the Minister of Justice is going to brief him now.

I am asking him this question very clearly: Mr. Premier, in the amendments that you are proposing, why are you looking to limit the scope of the Child and Youth Advocate’s responsibilities simply to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Family and Community Services?

Hon. Mr. Lord: We supported the bill that was brought forward by the opposition. When we supported that bill, it was indicated very clearly to the Leader of the Opposition himself, by myself, that the government would, in the upcoming session, make modifications to clarify the scope of the Child and Youth Advocate. That was in the legislation that was tabled last session, which did not pass because it was not brought in for third reading proposed.

It is our intention to appoint a Child and Youth Advocate in 2006. It is our intention to bring in modifications to clarify the scope of the Child and Youth Advocate in this session.

Mr. S. Graham: Again, for the third time, my question to the Premier, explaining the process . . .

I am asking why the government wants to reduce and limit the responsibilities of the Child and Youth Advocate to two departments, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Family and Community Services. This is the third time. I am sure the Minister of Justice has briefed the Premier fully by now. Please answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Lord: If the Leader of the Opposition wants a full briefing from the Minister of Justice, we can certainly provide that. In the legislation, there is advocacy for individuals, as there is advocacy for the system. What the Leader of the Opposition is referring to is only for individual advocacy.

We want to make sure the scope is the right one for New Brunswick. There are different models in Canada. We are looking at those models, as well, and that is why we want to clarify the scope of the Child and Youth Advocate that we will appoint in 2006.

Mr. S. Graham: The Premier is indicating today that he does not have a sound answer as to why the Child and Youth Advocate, which mirrors the Child and Youth Advocate’s office that was created in Newfoundland as a template and a model for all other jurisdictions to follow . . . Why does this Premier want to limit those responsibilities to two departments pertaining to individuals?

It begs the question, if an individual in New Brunswick is not receiving services that he or she should receive in the Department of Education, the Child and Youth Advocate would be powerless to make recommendations to the government. My question to the Premier is this: Why do you want to limit those powers of responsibility?

Hon. Mr. Lord: There is more than one model of Child and Youth Advocate in the country. In the specific case raised by the Leader of the Opposition, in the case of education, the Child and Youth Advocate, under the legislation that we tabled last year, which is no longer before this House, could still make recommendations with regard to the system in education. There are other means in the education system, as there are other means in the government today, to protect every child. It is
incorrect for the Leader of the Opposition to try to suggest, and to create the perception, that some children are not protected in New Brunswick.

Mr. S. Graham: I am reminded of the Charles Dickens classic entitled A Christmas Carol. When Scrooge was asked to contribute to the relief of the poor at Christmastime, he said: Are there no prisons? Are there no poorhouses? I have to say that it is very fortunate today that Tiny Tim did not come from New Brunswick, because if he were looking for government help, he would likely have
been out of luck if this legislation were passed as the government proposed.

The Premier wants to limit the scope and the responsibilities pertaining to the Department of Health and Wellness. Today, we have many issues pertaining to obesity in New Brunswick. A Child and Youth Advocate could make many recommendations on how to improve the wellness of young children in New Brunswick and on how to prevent obesity, but he could also do it on a specific case, on a needs basis where individuals in New Brunswick may not be receiving the necessary services.
That is where the shortfalls of this legislation exist today.

Mr. Speaker: Question.

Mr. S. Graham: I am asking for the fourth time, because you have not answered the question. What you are saying is that we want to be at the bottom of the pack . . .

Mr. Speaker: Question.

Mr. S. Graham: . . . rather than at the top of the pack. That is not good enough for the children of this province who are at risk.

Hon. Mr. Lord: When the Leader of the Opposition talks about these examples, he is really stretching. When it comes to obesity, it is not the Child and Youth Advocate who will make a difference for the children in the province. Parents can make the biggest difference in obesity in children.

Parents are the number one people responsible for the education and safekeeping and security of their children. I know that the Liberal view on parents is that they are only there to buy beer and popcorn for children and their families, but that is not the view of the government of New Brunswick. The view of the government of New Brunswick is that we are there to support parents in the education of their children and to protect their children. However, that responsibility falls on
the parents, first and foremost.

Mr. S. Graham: I am not going to get into the gutter politics that the Premier wants to play this morning, because I do believe the parents of New Brunswick . . . Today his government is falling far short of the national average that the Canadian Medical Association says we should be entertaining in physical education in our school system. The Canadian Medical Association says we should be averaging 150 minutes per week. Our Francophone system is averaging less than 40 minutes per week, as your own deputy minister stated in the public accounts committee. The
Anglophone system is attaining less than 100 minutes per week. The same Deputy Minister of Education stated this clearly in the public accounts committee.
That is where a Child and Youth Advocate can help move the government in a direction to deal with changes that are necessary to help children who are at risk in New Brunswick. What your government is proposing today is to put it simply on the mandate of two departments.

We are saying that this is wrong. That is what I am asking you. Why do you not adopt a law that will allow the Child and Youth Advocate to review all government departments to better serve the children of New Brunswick?

Hon. Mr. Lord: I am glad the Leader of the Opposition is talking about phys ed classes, keeping in mind that it was the government of which he was a member that cut phys ed classes. That is part of the problem. They do not want to look back to the past, because they say that is the past.

Every once in a while, I hear some of them say: You guys have been there for six and a half years. Stop talking about the years between 1987 and 1999. However, I remember the last day that I was in opposition. Sheldon Lee was talking about Richard Hatfield 12 years after the fact.

The fact is that the opposition, when it was in government, cut phys ed, and it had an impact on our children—absolutely. When they cut the number of medical training spaces, it had an impact on wait times 10 years after the fact. That is why, when the member for Fredericton-Fort Nashwaak today criticizes another 10-year plan, it is because these people do not know what it means to plan ahead.

Mr. S. Graham: I am sure the Premier will have all kinds of time to do his planning in Quebec after Christmas. My question to the Premier today pertains to the issues here in New Brunswick. Very clearly, the Child Death Review Committee has been under the spotlight recently for conducting only partial reviews of a number of child deaths in New Brunswick. You yourself committed to an investigation of why this was occurring. Yesterday, unionized employees in New Brunswick stated that, with respect to the 143 required child protection social workers needed in the province, as
identified by your government’s own report, Children Come First, we are still far short of that benchmark. In fact, only 48 social workers have been hired for child protection services versus the 143 that were needed. There are shortfalls in the system today. That is why we are saying that a Child and Youth Advocate with a clear, broad mandate will be able to protect children at work.

My question to the Premier is this: Can you update us on the review that you were personally undertaking pertaining to the Child Death Review Committee? We hope that you will take into account the recommendation we are making today. This could be a process and a mandate followed under the Child and Youth Advocate’s office. Is this something that you are willing to entertain?

Hon. Mr. Lord: The Leader of the Opposition, with his staff, I am sure, is very good at twisting information and taking statements and creating a different perception. I am not undertaking that review myself. I have asked . . .


Hon. Mr. Lord: They can insult us as much as they want, because that is all they have. I did ask the department to review and bring to us the situation in terms of why it is like this. Is it or is it not adequate?

One thing is certain: There are more social workers working in the province for the government of New Brunswick today than there were when we took office.
Anoter thing is sure: During the 12 years that they were in office, the current Ombudsman, who has these responsibilities, is the one who said that the previous government neglected the social side, which included the children of New Brunswick. We have been making significant investments and significant progress. We will continue to work for the families and the children of this province.
Création d’emplois M. Haché : On a appris récemment que l’entreprise canadienne, Research In Motion, allait s’établir en Nouvelle-Écosse, plus particulièrement, à Halifax. J’aimerais vous rappeler que Research In Motion recevra un montant de 19 millions de dollars pour créer 1 250 emplois. Si on veut comparer cela et juxtaposer les faits, on sait que ce gouvernement-ci a accordé 6 millions de dollars à Molson
pour qu’elle vienne s’établir dans la région de Moncton pour quelque 40 emplois seulement.


M. Haché : Si ce sont 20 emplois, c’est encore pire. J’aimerais demander ceci au ministre des Entreprises Nouveau-Brunswick : Quelles démarches a-t-il
faites pour tenter de s’assurer que Research in Motion pourrait peut-être venir s’établir au Nouveau- Brunswick? Quelles démarches précises a-t-il faites auprès de Research in Motion?

Hon. Mr. Mesheau: I would be pleased to answer the honourable member from up the way.
Certainly, we have a number of files on which we are working. I would like to point out to the honourable member, who says that we do not do enough for the north, that, in the last six years, we have loaned over $200 million to over 140 companies in the north alone. I want to assure the honourable member across the way that we work hard every day with many, many files, including some in his area. I want to assure him that we will continue to do that.

M. Haché : Je pense que le ministre des Entreprises Nouveau-Brunswick a attrapé la maladie du premier ministre. Il ne comprend pas les questions et ne peut donner les bonnes réponses. Ma question est celle-ci : Le ministre a-t-il été en contact avec Research in Motion dans le but d’apporter ces emplois ici, au Nouveau-Brunswick? De plus, j’aimerais lui demander s’il est d’accord avec son agente de communications, Sarah Ketcheson, qui dit que le Nouveau-Brunswick n’était pas sur le radar de Research in Motion.

Hon. Mr. Mesheau: I can assure the honourable member that, indeed, a lot of companies are on the radar, including Molson, including Moosehead, and including a whole raft of companies in the north and in the south. I can assure the honourable member that, if there is any opportunity to bring 1 250 jobs here, we would certainly play a role in convincing a company to come to New Brunswick. Are
we involved in every file going on in North America and in Canada? I doubt it, but I want to assure the honourable member across the way that, when we are on a file, we rarely let go.

In fact, recently, the contact centre industry of Canada rated New Brunswick in the top three jurisdictions in terms of procuring contact centre jobs in this country and, in fact, in North America.

M. Haché : J’aimerais citer l’agente de communications de son ministère qui dit :
Even the provincial government admits the company’s Maritime headquarters could have drained New Brunswick’s high tech job market and employees with the required skill set.

Elle continue en disant : “There’s a fear of - the term is called cannibalization - of the workforce.”

C’est incroyable. Vous pouvez blâmer l’ancien gouvernement libéral tant que vous voulez. Il y a une chose, cependant : McKenna ne se gênait pas pour aller chercher ces emplois-là. McKenna croyait dans les gens du Nouveau-Brunswick. Il croyait dans les gens d’affaires du Nouveau-Brunswick,
ce qui est le contraire de votre gouvernement. De ce côté-là de la Chambre, ces gens ne croient pas
aux capacités du Nouveau-Brunswick, ils ne croient pas aux talent des gens d’affaires du Nouveau-Brunswick et ils ne croient pas que, au Nouveau-Brunswick, nous avons le talent nécessaire pour faire venir n’importe quelle entreprise. C’est le problème…

Mr. Speaker: Honourable member, your time is up.


Hon. Mr. Mesheau: You sit down.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Take your seat. Order.

Hon. Mr. Mesheau: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. He can cannibalize the truth all he wants, and he can pick away at his old bones, but I want to assure the honourable member across the way that we have consistently, over the last 13 months, kept our unemployment figure well below double digits.

That, McKenna failed to do in 10 years of government.



Mr. Allaby: Perhaps everyone could regain composure in the House. This past September, following a lot of pressure from industry, road builders, truckers, CAA, and other advocates of better highways, the federal government agreed to add some 12 000 km to the National Highway System.

This should be very good news for northern New Brunswick, because Routes 8, 11, and 17 were added to the national highway system. The Minister of Transportation was absolutely correct in calling this an important victory for the people of New Brunswick. However, it is not important enough for the Premier even to have mentioned the words “roads” or “highways” in the throne speech. My question to the Minister of Transportation is this: Will the minister explain to this House
how the policy direction of the throne speech could completely ignore such a significant expansion of the National Highway System in New Brunswick.

L’hon. P. Robichaud : Cela me fait toujours rire lorsque l’opposition me pose des questions au sujet des routes. On parle ici d’un parti qui a négligé les routes du Nord du Nouveau-Brunswick et qui veut maintenant devenir un champion en défendant ces mêmes routes. La réponse à la question du député est bien simple. Lorsque je rencontre les constructeurs de routes du Nouveau-Brunswick et tous les autres intervenants dans le secteur de la construction de routes au Nouveau-Brunswick,
ils nous disent tous, sans exception, que notre gouvernement est un chef de file dans la construction routière. Nous allons continuer de l’être. J’invite les parlementaires libéraux à regarder le budget que le ministre des Finances déposera. Encore une fois, nous démontrerons que nous sommes des chefs de file dans la construction de routes au Nouveau-Brunswick.

Mr. Allaby: Compared to the way that this government gutted road building in the first few years of its mandate, finally starting to restore a road building capital budget is, indeed, worthwhile news.

It is still not back up to Sheldon Lee’s budgets. For a great many years, successive Ministers of Transportation have talked about how much more they could do for Routes 11 and 17, if only the federal government would help. I am told that this minister told a group wishing to have the Marysville bypass extended to South Portage, as was done in the 1998 design, that they would be able to do this if only the feds would agree to a partnership. Now, the announcement has been made that the feds are partners, but there is not a word about road building in the throne speech. Why?

L’hon. P. Robichaud : J’invite le député à relire le discours du trône. Il se rendra compte que l’infrastructure stratégique et les routes font partie du discours du trône. Lorsque je suis allé dans la circonscription du député cet été, les gens m’ont dit que mon gouvernement investissait plus d’argent dans les routes dans Îles-de-Fundy que les Libéraux en avaient investi lorsqu’ils étaient au pouvoir. J’entends les Libéraux nous faire la morale au sujet des routes 8, 11 et 17 et je leur demande de convaincre leurs petits cousins à Ottawa d’être des partenaires financiers avec nous. Si nous avons inclus des routes dans le réseau routier national, c’est parce que le fédéral reconnaît qu’il a une responsabilité. Qu’il vienne donc à la table de négociation pour mettre de l’argent comme nous en mettons dans les routes 8, 11, 17, dans les routes 1, 2, 7, 95 et 15 ainsi que dans toutes les autres artères principales du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Mr. Allaby: I am glad the minister brought up Route 1. In early October, the U.S. Congress designated the East-West highway from Calais to Watertown, New York, as a high priority for funding from Washington. This is very important for trade and economic development for all of Atlantic Canada, especially southern New Brunswick, and also for industrial growth in Saint John..

This government has been asleep at the switch on Route 1 for five years. Only in the last year or so has the government started rebuilding it. There is not a word in the throne speech about how New Brunswick will shape our economic development road-building policy to take advantage of this enormous initiative that is taking place in Maine. We could really benefit from it, and there is not a peep about it in the throne speech. Why?

L’hon. P. Robichaud : Vous savez, si le député d’Îles-de-Fundy, qui est le porte-parole des Transports, et le Parti libéral au grand complet, veulent aider les gens du Nouveau-Brunswick en ce qui a trait à la construction routière, ce n’est pas compliqué, car nous avons des routes qui font partie du réseau routier national et une initiative pour les routes rurales. Nous avons un réseau routier qui comprend au-delà de 18 000 km de route, si ces gens-là veulent faire leur part ils devraient parler à leurs petits cousins d’Ottawa, qui nagent dans des excédents et ne savent plus faire avec leur argent, autre que de faire des promesses électorales à tout bout de champ. Ils devraient leur demander d’investir avec nous dans des projets stratégiques d’infrastructures qui sont les routes du Nouveau-Brunswick qui ont tellement été négligées lorsque les parlementaires du côté de l’opposition étaient au pouvoir.

Soins de santé

M. V. Boudreau : Le 21 novembre dernier, Donald Thomas, de Petit-Tacadie a été gravement blessé, lors d’un accident automobile, et a dû attendre 18 heures avant sa première chirurgie. Le 28 novembre, le ministre a annoncé qu’une enquête aurait lieu pour faire la lumière dans cette affaire.

Nous sommes maintenant à trois semaines depuis l’incident et à deux semaines depuis que le ministre s’est engagé à faire l’enquête. Nous savons tous que ce gouvernement est fatigué et ne fait rien dans bien des dossiers, mais cet incident est très sérieux et mérite une attention particulière.

Le ministre de la Santé et du Mieux-être peut-il nous confirmer quand, avec une date précise, il rendra publics les résultats de cette enquête?

L’hon. E. Robichaud : Premièrement, les questions de santé ne sont pas des questions de politique.

Lorsqu’il arrive des situations comme celle relatée par mon collègue, il faut regarder les raisons qui peuvent expliquer le délai. On a embauché un expert-conseil, le Dr Dubinsky Celui-ci est en train de faire l’analyse. Ce que j’ai demandé à mes employés est ceci : un rapport complet du temps où le patient a été admis à Tracadie-Sheila, jusqu’à ce que les traitements aient commencé à Saint John.
C’est l’information que j’attends, et je n’ai pas donné de temps précis. Lorsqu’on aura toute l’information, à ce moment-là, je vais sûrement regarder à ce cas, car mon intention est de m’assurer que, si on peut améliorer le système, on va le faire, comme c’est le cas depuis 1999.

M. V. Boudreau : En parlant avec des professionnels de la santé un peu partout dans la province, on doit sérieusement se poser la question à savoir si l’incident de M. Thomas en est un isolé au Nouveau-Brunswick ou non. Nous savons tous que le plan de santé de ce gouvernement n’a pas été bien intégré dans le système de soins de santé de notre province. Ce gouvernement n’a pas consulté les partenaires et a réduit par centaines le nombre de lits dans les hôpitaux avant de mettre des ressources additionnelles dans les autres secteurs.

Le ministre de la Santé et du Mieux-être veut-il nous avouer qu’il se cache derrière cette enquête, car ce n’est pas un incident isolé, mais plutôt un problème systématique qui existe en raison d’un manque de plan de coordination entre les huit régions régionales de la santé de notre province?


L’hon. E. Robichaud : Évidemment, lorsque l’on parle de vérité, comme le député de Nigadoo- Chaleur le mentionne, il faudrait peut-être que ses collègues arrêtent de dire des faussetés.

L’incident dont il est question aujourd’hui n’a pas rapport du tout avec le fait s’il y avait des lits disponibles ou non. Je peux affirmer cela très clairement. Toutefois, nous allons regarder à ce qui s’est produit. Lorsqu’on parle de notre plan de santé, c’est bon d’en parler, parce qu’il y a à peine un an, il n’y avait pas de clinique de méthadone au Nouveau-Brunswick, sans parler du troisième
laboratoire de cathétérisme que l’on va établir à Saint John.

Un peu plus tôt, le député de Shediac—Cap-Pelé, faisait des commentaires à savoir qu’on n’investissait pas ce qu’il fallit, eh bien, selon les dernières statistiques de l’Institut canadien d’information sur la santé nous dit qu’on est la deuxième province au niveau d’investissement par habitant. En termes d’augmentation, l’année dernière, on était la troisième province au Canada qui a le plus augmenté ses budgets.

M. V. Boudreau : Selon certains spécialistes dans le domaine de la santé au Nouveau-Brunswick, l’incident de M. Thomas ne ferait même pas la liste des 100 pires scénarios dans la province. Alors, je pense qu’il y a des problèmes à régler dans notre système.

On sait tous que ce gouvernement cherche à concentrer tous les soins de santé dans nos centres urbains et ne tiennent pas compte des réalités rurales de notre province.

Mais c’est complètement ridicule d’aller aussi loin que d’embaucher un expert de Toronto pour évaluer les lacunes qui existent dans les régions rurales du Nouveau-Brunswick. Le ministre de la Santé et du Mieux-être peut-il nous expliquer pourquoi un expert de Toronto vient enquêter sur cette question, plutôt qu’un
expert de la Nouvelle-Écosse, par exemple, qui connaît sûrement mieux la réalité du phénomène de la ruralité dans les soins de santé dans une petite province comme le Nouveau-Brunswick?

L’hon. E. Robichaud : Lorsque le gouvernement libéral était au pouvoir, il apportait des toasts de Toronto à l’Hôpital régional de Saint-Jean. Le chef de l’opposition est sorti. Monsieur le président, vous m’excuserez si je fais un commentaire sur l’absence d’un député, mais cela le gêne, parce que c’est le même chef qui embauche des gens de l’Ontario pour venir décider de la destinée du parti d’en face.
Je trouve cela insultant quand les gens font de tels commentaires. Le député de Shediac—Cap-Pelé devrait prendre le temps de s’informer. On a vérifié avec une firme du Nouveau-Brunswick, mais ce n’était pas possible. On a vérifié avec une firme de la Nouvelle-Écosse, mais, dû à l’urgence de la situation, il fallait être sûr qu’on aurait une objectivité, on est allé chercher un spécialiste à l’extérieur de la province.

Premièrement, il faut vérifier les faits. Le député de Shediac—Cap-Pelé nous parle de 100 cas. Je l’invite à apporter ses 100 cas et je serais surpris d’en trouver une dizaine. On a des gens qui se dévouent dans le système de santé tous les jours. Je trouve honteux quand on fait des commentaires gratuits comme le député le fait actuellement.