INAUGURAL ADDRESS

MS. LENORE ZANN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Merci, M. l'Président, Wela'lin, Al sue sed.

Je suis tres heureuse et honoree d'etre ici finalement a parler dans cette Maison d'Assemblee - la premiere Maison Legislative pour tout les gens de Nouvelle Ecosse, et en face de le premier Government du Canada.

I'm very happy and honoured to be here finally this afternoon to speak in this House of Assembly, the first Legislature for the people of Nova Scotia and, in fact, of the first Government of Canada.

It's an honour as a newcomer to be given the opportunity to speak on the motion going into Supply and as well as to personally congratulate and welcome our new Premier to his place in this historic House. I'm thrilled, yet humbled, by the fact that I could play a role in helping him achieve that historic victory, a role that was a very new one for me and one that has changed my own life dramatically.

I wish to state here that I fully agree with, and support, our Premier's vision as articulated in the Throne Speech. I also applaud his continued championing of this province beyond its borders, and I promise to do everything in my power to help him achieve his vision in order to bring about prosperity, and the eventual elimination of poverty, not only for my own constituents, but for the incredible people right across this province. (Applause)

I have heard it said that sometimes you have to leave a place before you ever really know it fully. Well, I can truly say that after 30 years of living and working in the entertainment industry in cities right across North America and Europe, when I finally returned home to Nova Scotia in October 2007, I was able to see it in a much different light than when I had left on the train to York University at 17 years of age.

Instead of feeling like everything that was exciting and full of untold possibility was out there somewhere beyond provincial borders, I saw that Nova Scotia has actually come a long way since I was a restless teenager wanting to work full-time in film, television, and theatre, and I realized I could help to make exciting things happen right here at home.

 

What I saw was a province that is absolutely full of potential - potential that is only just beginning to be discovered. Not only do we have great alternative energy potential due to our geographic approximation to the Bay of Fundy with its powerful tides and winds, as well as the distinct opportunity of future green energy partnerships with our fellow Atlantic Provinces, but I believe there is a growing awareness of another potential power for our future - it lies in the creativity and the talent of our people.

It is my belief that this is a natural resource which has never been fully realized and I truly believe that, if given half a chance, Nova Scotia can become one of the great creative, historic, exciting, and - dare we say - fun cultural destinations of this country. (Applause)

In the recent provincial election I agreed to run for public office for the first time ever as a New Democrat in Truro-Bible Hill, in spite of its reputation as a staunchly Progressive Conservative fortress with a history of famous leaders like Ike Smith and Robert Stanfield. I agreed to run for two very simple reasons: I believed in Darrell Dexter, and I believed that the status quo no longer served the people of Nova Scotia and that the way of doing things in the past was over and we were due for a change. I also believed in the New Democrat values that shape and drive this Party, as well as Premier Dexter's vision, guidance, and good governance for all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, on June 10th the papers said that I had won by a Zann-slide, but everyone in this Chamber knows that none of us can do something like this alone. So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the members of my team who helped to change the colour of Truro from blue to orange. First and foremost, obviously, I thank my family, from the oldest, at 77, to the youngest, who is looking forward to turning six next weekend. Believe me, five-year-old hands can get candidate cards into places where adults can only dream.

Now, as many of my colleagues on both sides of the House know, my mom and dad, Jan and Paul Zann, are the salt of the earth. They are the salt of the earth and they brought me up to believe in the NDP dream. They have the distinction of being NDP members with the only orange sign on Willow Street in Truro for the past 40 years. Now, after all their years of knocking on countless doors, scrutineering, and encouraging candidates with unflagging energy in the belief that someday they just might get a win, it gave me great pleasure to be able to inspire people to finally put up a whole bunch more orange signs in Truro to keep theirs company. So thank you to my mom and dad for all the long hours they put into my campaign, and thanks to my sister, Tamara, and her husband, Tim Roland, sign erector, and their kids, Aidan, Lachlan, and Maia.

Mr. Speaker, a teammate who I especially need to thank for our success is Susan MacQuarrie. I simply couldn't have done it without her. When she agreed to be my local campaign manager, after first asking "what does a campaign manager do?", we decided that it was time for both the people and, in particular, the women, to take back the Town of Truro. For that and for all the work Susan did and continues to do now as my CA, I am eternally grateful.

 

 

Mr. Speaker, many friends and colleagues helped by making appearances and canvassing with me and I thank them from the bottom of my heart - Mr. Darrell Dexter, Alexa McDonough, Maureen MacDonald, and Rocky Jones, in particular. Many more helped out in the office, making signs, operating the computers, and making phone calls. I can't list them all, but I would like to mention a few in particular: Jamie Crane; Norm McKaskell; Pat and Dave Scammell; Bruce and Sharon Farrell; Kathleen McManus; John MacLean; Lenora Steele; Cheryll, Kyle and Tim Blaikie; Ibel Scammell; Greg McCloud; Jeannie Archibald; Dave Murphy; Kathleen Roy; Ruth Ann LaBelle; Danielle Pinkney; Cherie and Pete Keaveney; Dennis Keaveney; Gabriel Comeaux; Nelson MacKinnon; Wayne Burley; Rod and Connor MacQuarrie; and last but not least, Chloe MacQuarry and her gang of 13-year-old girls. I would like to thank them especially, since it was so exciting to see these girls get not only interested in politics at such a young age, but active as well. We did it and we're here, living proof that the status quo can change and that ideas are as important as concrete and steel.

In the past few weeks, we've heard from many of my fellow colleagues and I've been thoroughly enjoying hearing the descriptions of the wide variety of wild and beautiful natural settings and the people who make their locales unique.

My own constituency, known as Truro-Bible Hill, is nestled in the wide Salmon River Valley. Truro-Bible Hill actually encompasses four small communities: the Town of Truro itself; the suburb of Salmon River, best known as Hockeyville; the Village of Bible Hill; and Millbrook First Nation. Some people may find this surprising, but a recent study by KPMG concluded that Truro is, "the most efficient place to do business in Atlantic Canada." Only 40 minutes to the international airport and 60 minutes from downtown Halifax, with four new schools, a new hospital being built, and two respected colleges, Truro is rapidly becoming a satellite town of Halifax. Being the hub of Nova Scotia also means that all major highways go through it. One has to go through Truro to get to the other destinations in the province. The Atlantic Gateway is an important project for Nova Scotia and we hope that Truro has an important part to play in that as well.

Truro is blessed with some very interesting and beautiful natural attractions. Mentioned in textbooks around the world is the phenomenon known as the tidal bore. Another natural attraction that Truro possesses is our 1,000-acre Victoria Park. It was lauded by Joseph Howe in his writings, and Acadians were once baptized in a small clearing in the park, untouched since those days. The Falls have been a great tourist attraction in Truro for many years.

Along with these natural attractions, Truro can boast of having three designated heritage conservation districts, indicative of the town's growing interest in preserving its built heritage. As the saying goes, the greenest building is the one already built, and our town has the largest collection of Italianate and Queen Anne revival-style houses in the province. A wonderful example of the adaptive reuse of an heritage building is the former post office, designed in 1884 by Thomas Fuller and now converted into the town's civic building. The Normal College built in 1858 is undergoing a feasibility study right now to determine the practicality of turning this gorgeous 27,000 square-foot Victorian building with a second empire mansard roof into a post-secondary school for the performing arts.

Truro now has a fine live theatre as well, due to the fundraising efforts of the Truro Downtown Partnership and support from the province. The Marigold Arts and Cultural Centre, under the auspices of the Cobequid Arts Council, is located in the centre of town in a building on Prince Street that was once the local cinema. Truro certainly is the best-kept secret as well when it comes to affordable housing, so who knows, "Truro or bust" may become the phrase of the future.

Mr. Speaker, Salmon River is a suburban community that is growing. Located on the south side of the Salmon River from which it derives its name, new upscale housing developments are constantly being built up the hill along the south side of the valley. The defining feature that sets Salmon River apart is the fact that this community was the winning entrant of CBC's nationwide Hockeyville contest. Out of 450 initial entries across Canada, Salmon River won the competition hands down, and the tourists that were brought to the town from that TV show are a really good example of how tourism and entertainment can join to bring in tourist dollars to Nova Scotia.

The Mi'kmaq people of my riding are very important to me - Millbrook First Nation under the leadership of Chief Lawrence Paul. Our African Nova Scotian population is very important as well. They've contributed greatly to our community, and they've been here since the earliest days of Truro's settlement. In both sports and cultural pursuits, our black population excels. Portia White was the daughter of William White. She's a world-famous opera singer born in Truro.

Many of these people who are alive today are friends of mine and of my family. The entertainment there, the music festival, the band program have all grown to make Truro very well-known for its music and theatre heritage.

I really say that our stories, our songs, our history, and our heritage here in Nova Scotia are unique, inspiring, moving, and liberating. This is one of my favorite places on the planet. Its wild beauty and amazing people inspire me every day, and I feel grateful to wake up knowing I'm home, close to my family, and in a position to give back to the community and the province in which I grew up. So, yes, Nova Scotia has potential, Mr. Speaker, potential to become an even better place to live and I want to help make that happen.

I have a vision for our province, which I believe is mirrored by my fellow New Democrats and my Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. It's a vision that will see Nova Scotia grow stronger and become a real force to be reckoned with as we move inexorably forward into this 21st century. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to speak. (Applause)

 

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.