first_img The government also supported legislation from both oppositionparties to establish new rules on child booster seats,discourage alcohol consumption during pregnancy, enhancesafety measures at amusement parks and provide legislativecommittees with the power to subpoena federal officials aswitnesses. “Nova Scotians elected us to work together for a betterprovince,” said Premier Hamm. “It’s clear that as long as weco-operate, we can deliver good government to the people ofNova Scotia. Three consecutive sittings of the legislaturewithout an election being forced is a new, modern-day recordand shows that minority government can work.” The premier also praised the service of interim Liberal leaderWayne Gaudet who has served as party leader for the secondtime until a permanent successor is chosen this weekend. legislation setting the formula to determine the municipal taxation of natural gas distribution systems, based on revenues rather than property assessment; amendments to the Agriculture Administration Act to help reduce red tape and provide more flexibility for agriculture organizations; amendments to the Electricity Act to increase the availability of renewable energy sources; amendments to the House of Assembly Act to cancel this year’s commission of inquiry into remuneration for members of the legislative assembly and, instead, order a salary increase for members on par with Nova Scotia’s civil service. Legislation passed this fall will help improve the health andsafety of Nova Scotians, as well as government services. The House of Assembly concluded today, Oct. 18, after passing17 government bills and six opposition bills into law, thanksto co-operative efforts from all parties. “There are no guarantees with minority government, but cooperation from all sides helped ensure that positive newinitiatives for Nova Scotians were approved by thelegislature,” said Premier John Hamm. “Last month, I said wewould bring in 12 government bills. By working together withall members of the legislative assembly, our governmentexceeded that goal and delivered a higher number of new lawsthat will help the people of Nova Scotia. We also worked withall parties to pass good legislation that came forward fromthe opposition.” A new Prescription Monitoring Act was passed to allow theprescription monitoring program to share patient informationwith health-care providers and, when necessary, the police. Italso enshrines a clear legislative mandate for the program forthe first time in more than a decade. The act also providesgovernment with the authority to establish a computerizedinformation system to enhance the program’s effectiveness. “This bill gives Nova Scotia a prescription monitoring programfor the 21st century, supporting the good work of countlesshealth-care professionals,” said the premier. Legislation was also passed to strengthen the Motor VehicleAct, to improve highway safety and promote public transit.Meanwhile, a new Police Act was approved to deliver saferstreets and communities through better community governanceand clarified roles and responsibilities. Amendments to theMaintenance Enforcement Act will provide more tools to helpspouses and children who are owed support payments. “When measures are identified to protect the public or helpchildren and families, our government is prepared to act,”added Premier Hamm. For the first time in Nova Scotia history, a bill was passedto deliver French-language services at the provincial level. “On the 400th anniversary of the founding of l’Acadie andafter the very successful Congrès mondial acadien 2004, it wasa pleasure to bring forward the French-language Services Act,”the premier said. “This bill sets the stage for our Acadianand Francophone communities to have their needs addressed ingovernment programs, policies and services.” The premier noted that he was equally proud to havelegislation passed which formally establishes the Office ofAfrican Nova Scotian Affairs. Among the other government bills passed into law this fall are:last_img read more


CALGARY — A second coal-mining company in four months is being hit with a seven-figure penalty for polluting incidents that impacted fish in tributaries of the Athabasca River east of Jasper National Park in Alberta.On Tuesday, Sherritt International Corp. (TSX:S) agreed to pay a fine of $1 million after pleading guilty in provincial court to three counts under the federal Fisheries Act.The Toronto-based company was charged five years ago due to incidents where wastewater considered toxic to fish was allowed to flow from its open pit Coal Valley Mine about 120 kilometres east of Jasper National Park into ecologically significant habitat for rainbow trout.In June, Prairie Mines & Royalty Ltd. — formerly known as Coal Valley Resources — was handed almost $4.5 million in federal and provincial penalties after it also pleaded guilty to polluting tributaries of the Athabasca River.Prairie Mines was charged after a catastrophic break in an earthen berm at its Obed Mountain coal mine about 50 kilometres east of the park allowed an estimated 670 million litres of wastewater to escape into the river system in October 2013.Environment and Climate Change Canada said Tuesday the Sherritt charges were laid following an inspection in August 2012 at the coal mine located about 90 kilometres south of the town of Edson.The company was ordered to stop its practice and the ministry subsequently discovered that two other discharges had occurred in 2011.The severity of the fine reflects the size of the offence as half a million litres of poorly treated effluent was estimated to have escaped into the environment, said Daniel Smith, regional director for environmental enforcement for Environment Canada in Edmonton.“In this case, in addition to the significant volumes deposited in the river, the toxicity level was quite high in the tests that we performed … (It) resulted in 100 per cent mortality in our lab samples,” he said.“These rivers and creeks in the foothills contain sensitive habitat for some protected species so it is quite an important watershed.”He said the Coal Valley Mine was treating collected surface water with a chemical to remove suspended fine sediment but it wasn’t properly monitoring the dosage, resulting in discharges that were just as toxic to fish.Sherritt investor relations director Joe Racanelli said the company installed new sediment control systems and initiated better management practices after the charges were laid.He said the company is taking responsibility even though it sold the coal mine in 2014.“We do not own the Coal Valley Mine but we were operators and owners at the time so we are responsible because there was a non-compliance issue. Sherritt takes these kinds of issues very seriously,” he said.He wouldn’t comment when asked if the amount of the fine was negotiated in return for the guilty plea.Most of the $1-million fine is to be assigned to Environment Canada’s environmental damages fund to be directed to programs intended to benefit the natural environment.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter. read more