The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Public Accounts -- Wed., March 6, 2002

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8:00 A.M.


Mr. William Estabrooks

MR. CHAIRMAN: Good morning, colleagues, and welcome to the Public Accounts Committee meeting. You will notice that we have another full agenda. We have a couple of items which I think are of real relevance. If you just arrived, there is a piece of correspondence there from the law firm of Stewart & Turner that I'm sure will take some interest.

There is also, and I draw note to this, and I am aware of the fact that Mr. DeWolfe is coming - right, Mora? - but he has mentioned to me earlier, topic three, which is the conference in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and there is attached to the agenda a note there from Mark Noseworthy from the Public Accounts Committee in Newfoundland and Labrador. So we have to make a decision on that one.

More importantly, we are here to determine some upcoming witnesses. I would like to get that out of the way in as expedient a manner as possible, not to rush, but I guess because of my own personal agenda today, at 10:00 a.m., we are out of here. I apologize for being that curt, but the meeting goes until 10:00 a.m. today.

Good morning to Mr. DeWolfe. Now I guess we can officially begin to talk about who is going to Newfoundland and Labrador with Jim and me, right? No, no, let's go through the agenda. (Interruption) You have to have your priorities right.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Is there a date yet?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, there is correspondence there in front of you, Jim. I was mentioning the agenda and the correspondence from the law firm of Stewart & Turner and the attachment from Mark Noseworthy from Newfoundland and Labrador.


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However, can we receive the direction of the committee with regard to upcoming witnesses? How would you like to proceed with that? Jim, would you like to take the lead on it?

MR. DEWOLFE: Maybe someone else could start for a minute. I just got in and if I could just get my thoughts organized here.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I don't think I am out of line - if I am I know you will quickly put me back on stream here - Mark-Lyn Construction is coming in twice, as I see it here. Refresh my memory, Mora, why are they split up? Give me the answer again.

MS. MORA STEVENS (Legislative Committee Coordinator): One is with the officials. It is about Mark-Lyn Construction, it is the Department of Economic Development and the various departments that have to do around the concern. It was felt that there would be too much for just one meeting so it was divided into two two-hour sessions. It's a matter right now of who is actually going to come in with Mark-Lyn Construction, who would be the best fit. The parties are aware that they are coming in and Peter Thomas has said March 20th is the best day for him. So that would be the first meeting, but it is a matter of who you would like to have in with Mark-Lyn Construction on that day, specifically, who would be the best fit and I leave that up to you guys.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. DeWolfe.

MR. DEWOLFE: I would suggest that we follow Mora's suggestion. I think we discussed that at a previous meeting, that we would have officials in from departments, perhaps Environment, and discuss this issue. My question is, I guess, through you, Mr. Chairman, to Mora, has there been any concern from the gentleman coming in? You say March 20th was the . . .

MS. STEVENS: There is a letter, yes, that I just received yesterday, from his attorneys.

MR. BARRY BARNET: Could we maybe just instead go to the letter first? Maybe we should deal with that first.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You see the letter? Some concerns expressed particularly in the points listed, (A) to (E), there. What is your reaction to this? Mr. Barnet.

MR. BARNET: First of all, I guess if we can just get to his alphabetized concerns, I don't know how we are going to address some of these things. Obviously he wants a summary of the focus of the Public Accounts Committee. The nature of our type of meetings, we are not going to be able to provide him with that, nor should we even attempt to provide him with it. I think what he is looking for is some advance warning on what the questions are

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going to be and I don't think that is either appropriate or past practice in terms of what we have done as a committee.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I may cut you off, Barry. On that topic, Mr. Downe, I recognize you.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: I agree. I think really they are just looking to see exactly where we are going to go with this particular file and I think if anything, you could simply write back that generally it is not uncommon for us to bring companies in. The members consist of who and the questions will be based around the issues that are at hand with regard to this particular contract and the relationship between that and the government and that we are all without prejudice. We are allowed to ask those particular questions and questions will be answered in the House and that all those questions in the House, you can't be liable for those discussions inside the Chamber.

I think they are just basically looking at the framework. I think they are concerned what will come out of that that would hurt them later if there was any civil, any class-action suits. That is basically what I read from it, they are scared to death to come and worried about where it is going to go. I think their lawyer is just trying to protect them as best they can. I think we can clarify those points.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I was recognizing you just in terms of Mr. Barnet's comments about the fact that they want a list of the questions which we are going to ask. That format doesn't happen.

MR. BARNET: Their questions (C), (D) and (E) are simple. A list of the full persons in power to ask questions - that is the members of the committee and that is easily put forward; (D) is whether or not members of the public are allowed to ask questions and will they be there - well, anybody can watch but only members of the committee can ask questions; and then (E) is whether their legal counsel can attend on his behalf. I don't know what the past practices are but it would seem to me that it would be fair to allow him to have

his legal counsel present but we are not asking them questions, we are asking him questions and he can consult his legal counsel if he is present, whether or not it will help him with his replies. The part that is troublesome is (A) and that is whether or not we are going to send a list of questions in advance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Can I have your questions in advance, Russell? No, okay. I will take that as a no. Mr. MacKinnon.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Chairman, on that, I can see where Mr. Turner is going with his outline. In the legal system, in the court system, we have what we call the rules of procedure. I forget the exact terminology but there are certain rules of engagement when you go into a court. Those same rules are not the same rules that apply to the Public

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Accounts Committee when we are doing value for dollar. Anyway, I forget the terminology, but from my own experience, being here, at the Public Accounts Committee, and also over the last 20 years in and out of court as an expert witness, the rules of engagement are entirely different and I think that is . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: An expert witness on what?

MR. MACKINNON: I'm not sure. (Laughter) I'm not sure but let's put it this way, I'm not in shackles here today.

But seriously, I think that's where Mr. Turner is coming from and I think it would be appropriate that we advise the mandate of our committee, doing value for dollar. He is more than welcome to attend, as Barry has suggested, that has always been the practice.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are there other speakers on this topic, on the correspondence? So I take it the direction of the committee is that we would respond, outlining how the Public Accounts Committee works and providing the list as was asked in (C), encouraging him if he wishes to bring his solicitor with them. I am sure you can word it better than I can, Mora. So could you leave it with us that way, that we will respond appropriately, such as that?

MR. MACKINNON: It's fine with me.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Did you get your thoughts collected there, Jim? Please.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Chairman, as you all have noted, the three Parties have put forward some suggestions for witnesses. Our Party would like to suggest, in a tentative proposal, that perhaps on April 10th, we bring in the Auditor General's Report and have Roy Salmon in as a witness. Whether that will be before or after the budget, time will tell. We thought that that would be an opportunity to open up perhaps further sessions. I noted that the NDP, in their proposals that they put forward, most of which could be addressed by the Auditor General to some extent, and then if we wanted to progress from the initial meeting with him, then we can at a future agenda-setting meeting. Perhaps I will just throw that out first for consideration.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Comments on this topic? Mr. MacKinnon.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Chairman, that's consistent with our number one priority as well, so that's fine with us.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Downe.

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MR. DOWNE: I agree. The only other thing is that you might find that there are so many questions for the Auditor General on the report, will one meeting suffice to be able to get through the questions? I know the New Democratic Party had a number of questions. I think even some of the issues that were brought up in your own report from the Conservative Party could be tied into the Auditor General's Report. We have a number of issues that are directly and indirectly related to it. I don't know if one meeting will be enough for the AG, but are we flexible enough to have one meeting and then re-book another?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm listening, Don, I'm sorry to be distracted.

MR. DEWOLFE: We would certainly be in agreement to extending the Auditor General's sessions to two.

[8:15 a.m.]

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. I was informed earlier, whether or not I am remiss or not to have introduced you, Claude, I apologize. Mr. Salmon could not be here today and usually there is a member from his department present. You don't see it as a problem that the staff could be there for two sessions?

MR. CLAUDE CARTER: Not at all, no.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Should we go ahead and inform them we want two sessions? We are looking at a month away. Mr. Carey.

MR. JON CAREY: I just wondered if we could have the first one and then see where it stands, and then knowing that we are all in agreement, then schedule him in. Maybe there are some others who we are going to be doing in between or something. I guess we could set it at that time. Would that be appropriate?

MR. MACKINNON: Most of ours centre around the Auditor General's Report anyway.

MR. DOWNE: Yes, I don't have a problem with that. I think it would be appropriate to inform the Auditor General that there could be two meetings and we will assess it. If we can get through the whole agenda with one, great, and if not - just so he has some planning to know in the event of that. It could be that he could be tied up for about three weeks after that. Anyway, I am just thinking in advance of waiting. Anyway, I don't disagree with what was just mentioned but I do think we will cover enough material that we will need two different sessions, in my sense.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Downe. Mora.

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MS. STEVENS: What happened the last time we had two sessions is Roy could tailor it more, whereas he did his opening statement on half the report, so those are where the questions led. Instead of having one large opening statement, which takes a lot of time, and then questions were back and forth. If I recall correctly, he did a number of chapters the first time that questions were asked and then when he came back he did the second half of the number of questions. It worked quite well, I think, because members could concentrate on specific sections instead of having to jump around. That's when we had the two sessions. That's just a thought to put out there. I'm sure he would be willing to do anything that you would like him to do.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I saw the hand signal. Claude, could you put that on the record for us?

MR. CARTER: Yes. As I said, Mr. Chairman, the Auditor General and his staff are here to serve the committee, so whatever your committee's wishes are.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Mr. Barnet.

MR. BARNET: Why don't we do this then. We will schedule the first one and we will break it into two. We will schedule the first one and we will propose that there be a second one. Obviously, because of scheduling difficulties, we are not going to be able to get to everybody; between now and the spring there might be an opening and we will fill him in. We will use him as a back-fill for the opening week or something. Is that reasonable?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I don't know if I have ever heard the Auditor General being determined as back-fill before, but okay. (Laughter)

MR. BARNET: I think he would be more flexible than maybe some of the witnesses who are being proposed. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: It's okay, Jim. That's a good suggestion. Do you want to . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: I think that's a good idea to perhaps utilize the Auditor General for two sessions.

The other suggestion we had was the KPMG report and have witnesses from the Department of Economic Development. As you know, that report announced Nova Scotia as one of the most cost-effective business sites in the world. It might be interesting to move forward on that one.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You are suggesting that for the . . .

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MR. DEWOLFE: Perhaps April 17th. I'm just throwing out dates here. That's for the committee to make decisions on. Do you want to deal with them one at a time?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Downe.

MR. DOWNE: I don't have a problem. I know that there was a study done previously, outlining basically the same situation, that Nova Scotia is the best cost zone in North America for businesses. That's good for us. So it is not necessarily new news, although it is great news and it is probably reconfirming what has been said before. My question is, would that be as much an issue for the Economic Development Committee? It is a good economic development story for Nova Scotia. The Public Accounts Committee would be more in tune to specific aspects of accountability of expenditure. I don't disagree with doing it, I just wonder if it fits under the Economic Development Committee more. It is good news for us as a province. I'm just wondering if it fits under another committee more effectively, for the Economic Development Committee rather than the Public Accounts Committee.


MR. DEWOLFE: Barry has his hand up there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Don, did you direct that question to Mr. DeWolfe?

MR. DOWNE: Well, yes. It doesn't matter, if Jim wants to answer it or if he would rather Barry . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: I don't know if another department would be more suited to come in. I guess you're thinking more in terms of the Economic Development Committee itself.

MR. DOWNE: That they go to them.

MR. DEWOLFE: That they go to them.


MR. DEWOLFE: I know in the past there has been some overlap of witnesses from one committee to another. I see no problem with that but I think our committee sort of is in the forefront. I think that we also have to look at some good-news stories from this committee and any press we would get from this particular story is certainly great for Nova Scotia. I mean, it encourages business to locate in this wonderful province of ours. (Interruption)

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MR. CHAIRMAN: Wait a minute, I have a couple of speakers left. Mr. Barnet and Mr. Carey.

MR. BARNET: One thing about this particular issue, it's not necessarily about the government but it's about the department. I think it is ideally fitted for the Public Accounts Committee because we as elected officials, and I'm sure the Opposition members when they were government often would get questions from the public whether or not the government was going in the right direction in terms of its economic development strategy and things like that. I think this really does fit with the Public Accounts Committee because it provides us an opportunity as members of the government and all Opposition who are concerned about the economics of Nova Scotia, to show that in this particular area some people believe we are doing some of the right things, or the department is doing the right things.

I think it is an opportunity to use our mandate to show value for money, the things that Nova Scotians are getting value for money and that there are particularly departments where things are going quite well. I think it is ideally suited for the Public Accounts Committee. (Interruption)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I know, but I have a speaker here. Jon.

MR. CAREY: I would agree with Barry. I think the Public Accounts Committee is a good place for it because I think most Nova Scotians would like to know if economic development - what procedures they are using and if they are giving away taxpayers' dollars or whether they are being invested wisely, so I think very much part of our mandate.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, thank you. Back to you, Mr. DeWolfe.

MR. DEWOLFE: Just in summation, I think it is a good-news story and I think it should be addressed in a timely manner.


MR. DEWOLFE: Another suggestion that we had was the energy strategy, seizing the opportunity, and have the Natural Resources Department in, also the Petroleum Directorate. As you know, the province has indicated that the government will create a new Department of Energy, so this strategy will certainly maximize the benefits to Nova Scotia from the development of the province's energy resources.

It seems to me that, and I know Mr. Downe was involved very much with this department in the past and he, as well as many of us, realize around this table the importance of the mineral industry, and the oil and gas industry to this province. But the public is not very much aware of what is going on in this province. So I feel it's very important that we bring this matter before the Public Accounts Committee.

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MR. CHAIRMAN: I just wanted to clarify with you, though, Mr. DeWolfe. You are talking about the Department of Natural Resources, you are talking about the Petroleum Directorate. Who, in particular, are you suggesting as a witness?

MR. DEWOLFE: I never suggested anyone in particular but I would think that it involves both departments so I would suggest the CEO perhaps, Walter Tucker, would be in for the Petroleum Directorate, or perhaps even the minister could be called. I know that has been done in the past; back in 1998 we had ministers in making presentations. I don't have any problem in requesting ministers to come forward. Perhaps Gordon Balser could come in as one of the witnesses.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Chairman, I haven't conferred with my colleague but I don't see any difficulty with bringing the minister before the Public Accounts Committee on addressing some issues on the Petroleum Directorate.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're not going to give your questions out in advance to him though are you?

MR. MACKINNON: Well, if he would like some insights, I have no problem sharing them. I think it's a good idea. The only thing is, I don't want to get off the track on what Mr. DeWolfe was saying, but I am just a little concerned we're not just doing economic development material here rather than value for dollar, which is Public Accounts on past expenditures. Our focus has usually been fairly crisp and it seems like this is becoming a little vague - it's a generalized shopping menu for good-news stories. That's good, because if they're good-news stories there are processes to make sure we have an opportunity and to be fair to the government caucus. If you want to bring the minister in and speak on the Petroleum Directorate, I think that's an excellent idea.

MR. DEWOLFE: I haven't asked him.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, Mora will take the direction of the committee.

MR. DOWNE: Two things we can go ahead with. I agree that I think we've some other items that we can get on there, but Jim had mentioned both the minister and the deputy minister at the same time, so I assume we're talking about both of them coming forward to that meeting. Is that what you're suggesting, to have both of them appear before us?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. DeWolfe, for the record, nods approval. (Interruption)

MR. DOWNE: Okay, great. That's fine, are we ready to go on to another topic?

MR. CHAIRMAN: We are. Is that agreed?

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MR. RICHARD HURLBURT: I disagree, but go ahead.

MR. MACKINNON: Let's have a vote on it, to be sure.

MR. DEWOLFE: I think we're enough in agreement around the table . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: We have enough consensus that I don't have to put someone on the spot. I'm sorry, Russell.

MR. DEWOLFE: Something that may interest Mr. Downe a little more, a couple of issues, one being the illegal trade of fish; currently a timely and important issue and probably worthy of this committee's attention. I will just throw that out. I don't know what the feeling would be with the committee, but we're looking at new fish buyer's licence policy and working in partnership with the Canadian Revenue Agency.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Who would you suggest as witnesses, Jim?

MR. DEWOLFE: I will throw that out to the committee for discussion. I have to admit fisheries is not one of my areas of expertise, but I know it's causing a lot of controversy around the province right now.

MR. MACKINNON: As Fisheries Critic for our caucus, I think Mr. DeWolfe has come around to a very important issue with regard to licensing and licensing fees, kind of attach it in that sense, that way we're doing value for dollar rather than going into our Resources Committee. Unless we're attaching some value for dollar then we're getting out of our mandate a bit. Perhaps the director for licensing and licensing fees for the province in that department might be one way to deal with it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Reactions to Mr. MacKinnon's suggestions on the topic of licensing?

[8:30 a.m.]

MR. MACKINNON: It was an issue that was well addressed by the minister during budgetary estimates. I thought he gave some good detail I thought was very helpful not only for the industry but for myself as a member of the Legislature. Things I thought I knew, I wasn't correct on.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You have that on the record do you? Sorry.

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MR. MACKINNON: Well, it's true, the perception and reality.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. MacKinnon has made a specific suggestion of a particular person to appear at that time.

MR. MACKINNON: I would say whoever is in the department, the director in terms of licensing and licensing fees, that's really the person you want to do it, because if we're doing value for dollar that's about the only thing I could see other than getting into a Resources Committee witness.

MR. DOWNE: There's federal jurisdiction and provincial jurisdiction and I think this is really what we're talking about. I concur with my colleague that if we're going to bring them in it's really to deal with the issue of licensing from a provincial perspective. The issue of where the jurisdictional boundary lies provincially with regard to lobster pounds and the size of those lobster pounds, who gets a licence for those lobster pounds and the list goes on. I think the deputy and the staff member who's responsible for that would be the appropriate body to bring in. That would be the provincial side that would be our responsibility and whether or not there's accountability within that process.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, are we comfortable with this one too? Do we have any other speakers on this topic?

MR. MACKINNON: Is it agreed?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, it's agreed. Where are we regarding dates here, Mora? How far along are we?

MS. STEVENS: In the beginning of May. The thing is to get as many suggestions as possible because they might not be able to come in in this order. As well, if they're approved, even if they don't get in in the spring, we can put them into the fall and that would be fine. The more we have the better.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Absolutely.

MR. DOWNE: If I may, I agree with Mora, we have a possibility of five maybe six because of the Auditor General may be going twice. I would like to add one more to the list, Pharmacare, the advisory group; there's nine on that advisory group.

MR. MACKINNON: Maybe we'll do the Conservative ones first.

MR. DOWNE: Oh well, sure. I'm sorry, there's Jim. I forgot Jim's page is there.

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MR. DEWOLFE: There's another one that may be of interest to the committee, and that is the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries water task group, and have a witness from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, an internal group made up of staff dealing with water-related programs, dealing with the water quality and quality concern issues. As an agriculture-based person, Mr. Downe may be particularly interested in this, looking at better ways to assist our agriculture and aquaculture and sport fishing clients with issues of water as they relate to the department.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I may, I am aware of the fact that in an earlier decision of this committee that the water task group was on the list and that the Resources Committee was looking at this, and they could be called after that. Is that correct, Mora?

MR. DEWOLFE: I don't know what happened to that . . .

MS. STEVENS: It was approved. It was brought before the Public Accounts Committee, I believe last spring. What the committee did, they sent it to the Resources Committee asking them to look at it. While still having it approved at the Public Accounts Committee that it could be brought back at any time once the committee determined what the Resources Committee had done with it and if they wanted to look into it further. So, it has already been approved at the Public Accounts Committee, but it was sent there as the first step but again, they look at different topics within the Resources Committee versus what the Public Accounts Committee would look at. So that's from the last agenda session, I think that was back in the spring.

MR. DEWOLFE: Certainly, if I may, the quality of water is of great importance to industries, particularly the agricultural community. It's probably an issue that should be addressed before this summer; we could have another drought

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. You were going to speak earlier, Mr. MacKinnon. I cut you off, so go ahead.

MR. MACKINNON: That's quite all right. Mr. Chairman, through you to Jim, who would you suggest as a witness?

MR. DEWOLFE: Again, I don't have any thought on who may. I was hoping that would come from around this table.

MR. MACKINNON: How would we tie it into value for dollar? That's what I'm . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: I don't have a person but somebody from Agriculture and Fisheries, I suppose, would be the . . .

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MR. MACKINNON: So if we are dealing water, we would have to have Environment in there too. That is really the key issue.

MR. DEWOLFE: A hydrologist or someone of that level from Environment.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Downe, can you give us some direction here?

MR. DOWNE: I understood that Ottawa had agreed to send down some specialists from Western Canada and that group probably has the most knowledge about water conservation and water and they have hydrologists and all the specialists there. I understood they were to work with the departments respecting water which are the responsibility of Environment and Labour, and Agriculture and Fisheries. That group was to work with the province to find long-term solutions as to what the requirements would be. There are three actual bodies that would be involved that could come in to represent the issue of a water strategy in Nova Scotia, notwithstanding the issue of the Federation of Agriculture, I think who have been wanting to work with that body as well. That could easily be clarified to make sure we have the appropriate persons there.

I think of the Western Diversification Group, that's not it but it is a national body centred in Western Canada that specifically was there for water resource and conservation who Ottawa has agreed to come down to assist. That is a huge benefit for us to have that background. I'm sure we can find out specifically who that person would be. I think there are two departments that are very closely tied together, that I'm aware of.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So you have some direction there, Mora, with that? Okay, Mr. Chataway.

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: This being further to what Don just said, of course the Department of Environment and Labour should certainly be involved and basically if they're western Canadians, that's nice, but how much do they know about the East Coast, who knows? I'm sure they would figure it out.

The other thing is, of course, the United States, we are closer to the United States more so than Saskatchewan. Basically, we might want somebody from there but I would suggest we might ask the deputy minister, either he or she should be there or they should name somebody specifically; here is what we are going to talk about. If they can't make it or they would bring along people with them who would be able to answer the specific questions. Once they know the topic, they should be able to tell what is going on. I think it is very important, though, we have a person there to discuss what is happening or what is not happening.

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MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Chairman, I think it is fine to have a deputy in to answer basic questions in a basic sort of way but sometimes you have to get the experts in and the experts are working underneath the deputies. We have very highly qualified hydrologists working in the Department of Environment and Labour in this province. Somebody like that, who has been working in Nova Scotia for . . .

MR. MACKINNON: Perhaps the director for water resources.

MR. DEWOLFE: . . . water resources, someone like that, who really has come up through the ranks and really knows his stuff with regard to the water in this province. It may be an eye-opener for all of us.

MR. MACKINNON: That would have to be within Environment and Labour though . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: They would be. That's where they are.

MR. BARNET: Is there a chairman of that task group or task force or somebody who heads that up? There must be somebody . . .

MR. MACKINNON: There is a director in charge of water resources within that department.

MR. DEWOLFE: Can we leave this matter in the hands of the chairman and Mora?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, so to get specific, we are looking at the director within the department with that responsibility and if the deputy minister wishes to come . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: The expertise in water.

MR. CHAIRMAN: . . . he or she may also attend.

Please continue. Mora is firmly of the belief that the most number of contacts she can make gives her more flexibility in setting up our witnesses over the next number of weeks, months.

MR. DEWOLFE: There is one other issue that I would like to see dealt with and that is our air transportation. I think we are all finding out that there are some problems out around the airport. I guess there are more carriers coming. So I would suggest that Halifax International Airport air transportation and the Department of Transportation and Public Works come in to discuss this. I don't know about other industry stakeholders but I'm sure there are some names that could come up around this table in regard to air service to Europe, you know, the United States and other destinations.

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Now, I was very sad to see one airline pull out of here. This is a major centre and becoming more of a major centre. I think we have to find out why we are not attracting more carriers and why we are losing some.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Just a point of clarification. Are you suggesting the Airport Authority, specifically?

MR. DEWOLFE: Well, not specifically, no. I would suggest somebody from the Department of Transportation and Public Works, they are the overseers of the transportation system in the province, and other industry stakeholders that would be involved. Probably the Airport Authority.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I may, if my memory serves me, I believe that during the time I was on the Economic Development Committee, that the - Richard, could you clarify? (Interruption)Yes, that's where we met the gentleman from Yarmouth. It wasn't just the Halifax Airport we were concerned about, it was the Sydney and Yarmouth ones, that they had appeared in front of the Economic Development Committee.

You would like to continue to have - I mean, aside from Economic Development's earlier session - someone in from Transportation to address this issue?

MR. DEWOLFE: Yes, and probably the Airport Authority.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. MacKinnon.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Chairman, again, if we could crystalize the focus a bit in terms of value for dollar. How are we going to deal with Public Accounts? I mean, I'm all in favour of your suggestion. I just want to make sure . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: I guess the value for dollar - I don't know, when you have to pay $600 and $800 to fly to Sydney, there is . . .

MR. MACKINNON: Well, then, maybe we should go with bringing in the Airport Authority. That way . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: We don't have enough competition.

MR. MACKINNON: Sure. That's for sure. Maybe the Airport Authority because . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, we are just looking at the specifics.

MR. MACKINNON: Then go to the next level after that, depending on what comes out of that hearing, then we can go to Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 16]

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mora is the one who is going to be following up with the contacts and you are the one who would like, I assume, somewhat more specific direction in terms of the suggestion from Mr. MacKinnon, that on this topic we actually bring someone in from the Airport Authority, is that correct?

MR. MACKINNON: If you're speaking specifically of value for dollar, then ultimately, you know, if the department - you may want to review to make sure the appropriate individual or individuals within Transportation and Public Works would - unless that has already been canvassed. If not, you may want to kind of check with your department officials to make sure that they see the crossover - for lack of a better phrase - the cross-pollination between the two agencies.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Before I recognize, Jim, though, Mr. Downe has been waiting.

MR. DOWNE: There are two issues here. One is the Department of Transportation and Public Works' responsibility to interface with that of the federal Minister of Transport with regard to airline service, the licensing, and so on and so forth of air carriers in our area, and the fact that we have lost two or three different carriers, and what has the province done with regard to dealing with Ottawa and the other carriers to bring them in, lure them in.

The second issue is on the Halifax International Airport. Well, we have a Yarmouth Airport Authority, we have a Sydney Airport Authority. They are privatized. Whether we agree or disagree with that concept, each one of those are experiencing different problems.

We talk about the Cape Breton thing but Yarmouth has a huge problem down there, and their concerns and the issue of whether or not Halifax is a hub airport for Atlantic Canada and their problems and, of course, they have good stories about what their growth potential is.

[8:45 a.m.]

There are two different issues here, I sense. One is dealing with the airport authorities and how they are dealing with Ottawa provincially, and whether or not they are having the effect that they want so not everything goes to Toronto. How we deal with some of the other issues with regard to the smaller private airports, Yarmouth and Sydney, that's a huge issue that should be addressed. Then where does the provincial government - how are they dealing with Ottawa? Ottawa ultimately has the authority that regulates air traffic in Nova Scotia. So herein lies two different issues.

MR. CHAIRMAN: What's your priority?

MR. DOWNE: Well, if we are going to go this direction, I am just trying to clarify from what I know. One would be the issue of the fact that we have lost so many carriers. You could bring in the provincial government, what are they doing with regard to trying to

[Page 17]

interface with that, of Collenette and other members, on that. The other issue would be whether or not the authorities would want to add to that. But the authorities also have unique issues they would probably want to deal with. That is, infrastructure, development and/or dollars to be able to improve the service, and their concern with regard to increased costs for security, how that is going to impact on the use of the airport and so on and so forth, post-September 11th. There are a number of areas you could follow. I don't know how you bring them all together in one meeting.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Back to you, Mr. DeWolfe.

MR. DEWOLFE: It certainly appears that there are - like, I guess, WestJet is planning to make Halifax one of their stops, which is a good-news story because currently people can fly from out West to Moncton for $570. So New Brunswick can benefit from that and P.E.I. can benefit from that and I am thinking tourism could, certainly, since the events of September 11th, the whole issue of air travel has gained an importance in Nova Scotia. It's something that we should look at perhaps before we adjourn for the summer, before the tourist season perhaps. I guess we do have quite a few agenda items on the table now. Perhaps you want to just wrap your thoughts around it and we will consider it and put it on the back burner for a later date, perhaps.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well I see that, but it's there and there have been some good conversations around it. I know that Mora is looking for direction, who she is to contact. If I may, Barry, before I recognize you. Mora, do you have the direction of the committee on this topic?

MS. STEVENS: I think so. Calling over to the Department of Transportation and Public Works, I know they are always very helpful, and who actually would be qualified to come in and speak about this, and the authorities have been very helpful when Darlene certainly contacted them for the Economic Development Committee. That's more than enough for me to book a session as well, knowing exactly what you would like to speak about; that's great for that topic.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. I have you on there, Mr. Downe, because you have a topic which I want you to have the chance to put on the table here. Mr. Barnet.

MR. BARNET: Just on that same topic, I wonder if it wouldn't be wise for us to have the CEO of the Halifax Airport Authority and maybe the other two as well, probably the other two, and have TPW, somebody from the Department of Transportation and Public Works at the same meeting so in the event there are suggestions or discussions coming out of the airport authorities that will have an impact or have some - we will be able to cross-examine the department on that, so at one meeting we have both there and we are able to resolve these things.

[Page 18]

One thing about these airport authorities, from my perspective, our role of examining value for money should go beyond just the money the government gives. The airport authorities collect a substantial amount of the revenue from user fees and we have to look at that as well. I think that should be part of our authority, to examine the user fees that are being charged in terms of landing fees and all that kind of stuff, gate fees that our constituents pay. We should make sure they are aware these are things we think need to be examined.

MR. HURLBURT: My comment on this is that we should be looking at the carriers here. Air Canada has the monopoly in Canada and then their branch, Air Nova, Air Ontario and so on. They're dictating the market here. We had the airport authorities in to the Economic Development Committee - what did he tell us? We need help. That's all and that's what they're going to tell you here again. We need more carriers and we have to get a grip on Air Canada.

MR. CHAIRMAN: It was a very informative session and I learned a lot about the Yarmouth situation particularly. What would be the benefit of bringing them in again would be a good question - Yarmouth, Sydney and the Halifax Airport Authority.

MR. MACKINNON: On that point, I agree with Mr. Hurlburt. The problem is, Air Canada is under the federal purview and they go beyond our ability to have them come before the committee and they've thumbed their noses at us on a number of occasions in various departments, ACOA officials; I'm not even sure if they even had the courtesy of responding, let alone not showing up.

MS. STEVENS: They didn't.

MR. MACKINNON: They didn't even have the courtesy to respond. When we had the representatives from the Halifax Port Authority, one representative came. The other, I believe the president or CEO or whatever title that gentleman had, he didn't even bother to show up despite having indicated that he would be there and didn't even advise his colleague, Mr. Bellefontaine who arrived and we had to delay the meeting for almost 15 minutes waiting for him. I agree with you, but it's unfortunate, maybe this is the only way we can get at them is through this process. That would be my thought on it. So, I agree with Barry; have both of them in at the same time.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Richard.

MR. HURLBURT: If I may, with the Yarmouth scenario, Air Nova comes in at the weirdest hours that no one wants to travel on them, they've priced it so far out of whack that people cannot afford to travel on it and you cannot make connecting flights. They're not giving service on the weekends, so what's the Airport Authority going to do? They're sitting there hoping that they can find somebody else to come in and give service to our community. That's all they're going to tell you - they're going to come in and tell you just what I just told

[Page 19]

you. They'd like to get other carriers in there, but it's Air Nova that's dictating the whole thing. They have a mandate from the federal government to supply services to these little rural airports and I think that's up in two more years - I think that's their mandate. What's going to happen after two years? The airport authorities, I don't think, are the people to bring in here. That's my view. I think it should be the Department of Transportation and Public Works.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. DeWolfe, you've heard the strongly worded opinions from the member for Yarmouth, and a pilot I have heard.

MR. DEWOLFE: He didn't get that tan in Yarmouth, did he? Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, this could be at some point in time handled over two sessions. We could go with the airport authorities or do it jointly. We're getting two directions here, are we not? That's what I'm seeing.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I ask for a consensus or a vote on this particular one, I would sense that it's very important to bring the people in. I am objective and neutral, but being on the Economic Development Committee and I heard what Yarmouth said and Richard just said what they're going to say, so why bring them in again is the point. The point has been made and made well, but I would like to move on to another topic. At this stage, do you have any other suggestions?

MR. DEWOLFE: I don't have any other suggestions.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So, I would like to go to Mr. Downe.

MR. DOWNE: Actually, a couple of comments. One is with regard to Pharmacare and the advisory group on Pharmacare.

MR. HURLBURT: What are we doing with air transportation? What's the consensus?

MR. MACKINNON: Is it Department of Transportation and Public Works and a representative from the airport authority, or is it just Department of Transportation and Public Works, or just the airport authority? One of three options.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, if I understand correctly, Mr. DeWolfe suggested two sessions out of that but, Jim, if you could put it on the record what you . . .

[Page 20]

MR. DEWOLFE: I would just as soon if we had a representative from the Department of Transportation and Public Works and the authority in. If we want to go with a second meeting from that one, then we can decide at that time. We may indeed be able to cover all the concerns that we have in a two hour session.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are you all right with that, Richard? (Interruption)

MR. HURLBURT: Maybe I was sleeping.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, Mr. Downe has the floor on Pharmacare.

MR. DOWNE: The advisory group with regard to the issue of premiums and how those premiums are established, I think would be an area that would be beneficial for all of us; we're all hearing about those concerns.

MR. CHAIRMAN: How do we feel about that one as a potential witness group? We're into May, if we're doing it chronologically, but I would assume you would take the suggestions and just try to fill them in on a first-come, first-serve basis, correct?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Comments please?

MR. BARNET: When was the last time we dealt with Pharmacare?

MS. STEVENS: I will have to check on that. It's about a year and a half, maybe two years. I would say it wasn't last spring, that it was the fall before that. So that's about a year and a half. I would have to check the annual reports, but I know we did do sessions about certain drugs and them coming on the market, what their plan was.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I may get to the point, so what? Not to be confrontational . . .

MR. BARNET: I guess the "so what" is that I don't think it should be like an annual event. Obviously what we want to do is to explore as many different government spending and that type of thing as we possibly can. I know we kind of get to a point where it seems as though we're repeating ourselves over and over again, that's all. I'm not saying we don't do it, I'm just saying that . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Downe.

MR. DOWNE: I think there's the issue of the changes that have been made in the last, whether it's a year or a year and a half, Barry, since they've been here. If we are wanting to maybe wait and hear when they were here last, the issue is the changes in premiums and value

[Page 21]

for money on that. If we want to get into formulary applications and so on and so forth, I think there is an issue there. If that's a problem, the other area I think is a priority from our caucus is the Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Environment and Labour. If the committee is not interested in dealing with the issue of Pharmacare, I certainly would like to bring forward the issue of Occupational Health and Safety of the Department of Environment and Labour.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mora informs me that on June 21, 2000, Pharmacare was a topic.

MR. DOWNE: So it's almost two years now.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I would like to stay at Pharmacare for a moment. Are you talking on Pharmacare, Mr. DeWolfe?

MR. DEWOLFE: I just want to suggest that we don't have a problem, I certainly don't have a problem dealing with Pharmacare a little later on, perhaps before the summer, certainly before this committee breaks, but dealing with it in the immediate future I do have a concern because we are going into a budget period and because of that it would probably be better to defer it to a later date, but certainly before the House rises. We can do it before the House rises, whenever that may be, because this committee may be breaking for the summer at that point or near to it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I am going to take the consensus of the group that we will have Pharmacare as a potential witness. Is it agreed? It is agreed. Mr. Downe, you've moved on to another topic, environment and labour.

MR. DOWNE: The other one is with Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Environment and Labour. That, I feel, is one of the key issues in the Auditor General's Report and I am sure there's going to be a number of areas that will spin out of the Auditor General, but it will be one that touches every one of us who work and those who are concerned about the health and safety, whether it's water inspection or other inspections. I believe that's a major issue for the Province of Nova Scotia and, obviously, for that particular department to be able to explain really what their view is on it and how we're going to deal with the issue in the future with regard to the budgetary constraints that are there. I would recommend that we deal with that issue, and both of them if it's a concern pre-budget. The budget probably will be coming down shortly after April 2nd - I assume, that we will be within a week or two of April 2nd, which is somewhat normal - so we have until the latter part of April/May onward, or if we're there until June or July, to actually deal with that. So I would recommend that.

[Page 22]

[9:00 a.m.]

MR. BARNET: Did he say July?

MR. DOWNE: I heard somebody mention that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's focus here folks. We're doing great, we're almost an hour into the meeting and I know, Mora, the list is just a poppin' on that paper there. We're talking occupational health and safety as a potential topic. Opinions on that? Okay. What's that expression, silence denotes approval; is it agreed? Agreed. Okay, thank you.

MR. CARTER: In the past when there's been something that the Auditor General has dealt with fairly recently, the committee has considered whether or not they want a specific briefing by the Auditor General prior to the witnesses coming. In other words, so the Auditor General has provided the committee members with the background so they're better prepared.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. So, Mora, you've got that? That's in preparation for the occupational health and safety session. Other comments, suggestions, future topics? Mr. Barnet, then I am going to ask Mora to review where we are, chronologically.

MR. BARNET: One I'm not particularly interested in having on this spring, but I just want to put it on the radar screen for some point in time in the future and that is the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission; we examine them at some point in time, their capital, contributions to facilities and things like that? I know they have a program where the province contributes one-third of the funding if the community raises an additional two-thirds. We have quite a few topics lined up, I'm just asking to put this on the radar screen for some point in time in the future. I don't know what their schedule is like, they might be somebody we could call on short notice in the event we have an opening.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I would certainly, if I may as the chairman, second that. I would say that it's of some consequence that we could try to put it on if we have the opportunity prior to us breaking and it's possible. It's a good topic, it touches us all. I am editorializing and I have Mr. Downe recognized.

MR. DOWNE: Just to support your articulation of the support for that issue. Mr. Chairman, I think value for money, sport and recreation touches more communities and for small amounts of money helps a lot of people, a lot of young people and a lot of organizations. I agree, Barry, that it's been a tremendous help in a lot of rural and urban areas for quite small amounts of money relative to the overall $5 billion budget. I agree with you, it's been a great program.

[Page 23]

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, how are you doing there, Mora? The sport minister is going to a meeting with the federal minister in Nunavut in mid-April or something. Mora, I'm not cutting this discussion off, but give us some focus here.

MS. STEVENS: What we have approved today is the Auditor General's Report, 2001. We would start with that as the beginning of our new schedule. That would be two sessions; one would be scheduled first and the other one would remain floating. Other items that have been approved and not necessarily in this order because it depends on when the witnesses can come, the KPMG document dealing with economic development, businesses; energy strategy, Petroleum Directorate; then the illegal trade in fishing, dealing with the licences and fees. Then we are dealing with the water issue, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Environment and Labour, as well as that national body. Then we have the air transportation issue, and that would be Transportation and Public Works, and the airport authorities, and deciding - it will be one meeting for certain, after that, it would be - do you want a second meeting with someone else to continue on, on that. Pharmacare has been approved as well, before the summer. Occupational Health and Safety, with the Department of Labour, a briefing session with the AG, prior to that, and that's usually one week prior. Then, dealing with the Department of Environment and Labour on that. Also, the Sport and Recreation Commission.

MR. BARNET: Mr. Chairman, if I could make one more suggestion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please, go ahead.

MR. BARNET: Where we are going to have the Auditor General in, and we are also dealing with occupational health and safety, we know that in the report there are significant sections regarding that. Maybe we should try to have those meetings, one after the other, so that if we have the Auditor General one week, then we schedule the other meeting for the following week, so that, you know, if he wants to - maybe we could even tell him to - focus on those areas within his report. Does that sound reasonable?

MR. CHAIRMAN: That sounds, in my view, more than reasonable, but . . .

MR. BARNET: It might even help us to avoid that extra meeting.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So if I did the quick count here, we are looking at a possible 10 sessions at this stage. I understand they are not in any kind of chronological order, they are in the order the way they were brought forward with the caveat that Mr. Barnet brought in there earlier of bringing those two topics in, in tandem.

MR. MACKINNON: Bearing in mind, Mr. Chairman - if I may interject - we still have the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, I think - is it next week?

[Page 24]

MR. CHAIRMAN: Not next week. Is it?

MR. MACKINNON: Next week or the week after?

MS. STEVENS: March 27th.

MR. MACKINNON: March 27th, I'm sorry.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Next week is March Break.

MR. MACKINNON: Oh, well.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Are we sufficiently sufficed on that one? Okay. Can we return to our agenda? Actually, we are out of line because we had already discussed topic two and that I will respond on behalf of the committee to Mark-Lyn Construction.

Topic three is an attached note from Mr. Noseworthy, the Executive Officer of Public Accounts in Newfoundland and Labrador. Noted, "High Priority". (Laughter) August 25th to 27th - Mora.

MS. STEVENS: If I may, this is the Canadian Conference of Public Accounts Committees. As most of you are aware, we held the conference in 2000. Now we put in a budget request. What was approved last year was the chairman, vice-chairman and the clerk to go, but we had been sending the third member from the committee for a number of years.

Now, I'm not sure when that budget request - we will know, obviously, when the budget comes through, but as soon as we know, we will be able to determine how many people will go. The invitation is always for the chairman, the vice-chairman and the clerk, just because those are the people who go from the committees, although substitutes have gone in the past.

Why I attach this is, Mark just wanted people to know when the dates were because it is much earlier than it usually is. It is usually the second week in September. He wanted people to be made aware of that.

The travel days would be Saturday, August 24th, because, of course, if you are flying in you need to spend the Saturday night to get the lower fare, as well as, the conference is over Tuesday afternoon. Some members fly back on the Tuesday or they use the Wednesday for the travel date. So that's why I put that on the cover.

[Page 25]

We are not sure of the business agenda yet. It might be coming out tentatively when he does send the actual official invitation. This was just to remind you that the conference will take place. Since he sent this yesterday, I thought this was a perfect time to just remind everyone of that upcoming conference.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So obviously it will be something to discuss again at an opportune time. Mr. DeWolfe.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Chairman, just for the record, that conference was cancelled last year because of the events of September 11th.



MR. DEWOLFE: We were scheduled to go and we were very lucky to get our money back for our tickets.


MR. DEWOLFE: That was to Regina, I believe, was it?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Other topics? Mr. Carey.

MR. CAREY: Well, just for clarification, for the Mark-Lyn people, has there been a decision made whether we are going to have Peter Thomas in first or the department people first, if it is over two days?

MS. STEVENS: His better date is the first day, on March 20th.

MR. CAREY: I realize that but I also think that we would be better informed if we had the department people in first. I think we would be dealing from a better position if we had the information before we . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Mr. DeWolfe.

MR. DEWOLFE: I have some concerns - maybe unfounded, I don't know - but perhaps he should be reminded that we do have the power to subpoena.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Thomas, you mean?

[Page 26]

MR. DEWOLFE: Yes, Mr. Thomas, just so there are no donkey dances going on here.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, but before we go to that concern, I would like to know if Mr. Carey's suggestion - are we agreed with the fact that it would be the preferred order, that the department people would be first, and that Mr. Thomas and associates would be at a subsequent meeting? Mr. MacKinnon.

MR. MACKINNON: I think that's a good idea because that may help to address some of the questions by Mr. Turner in his letter. You couldn't get more fair play than that, than having the department officials come in and give their perspective on the issues. Certainly, that would discount any of the . . .

MR. CAREY: I believe there is a lot of information out there, some of it fact, some of it fiction. I think it would be good if we were dealing from a position of information.

MS. STEVENS: If I may, that would be very helpful, as I say, for him, almost - when we have briefing sessions by the Auditor General, what usually happens is that the people coming in the next week are informed, at least, of the topics. So that would certainly benefit them in giving them the ideas of the questions that were asked and they would know about it. He has been reminded of the power of subpoena. That goes out in that initial letter I showed you - I think it was in December - how we are inviting him to appear but we do have the power to subpoena him if we so choose, if he refuses to come. I think that is also why the lawyer's letter came.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Thank you and thank you for the suggestion. Obviously it is an important point.

Other items of concern? How about a motion for adjournment? I'm sorry, Mr. MacKinnon.

MR. MACKINNON: One housekeeping item.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, please.

MR. MACKINNON: On a number of occasions our committee has requested witnesses to provide detailed information. I know of at least three particular cases, and I have raised it at the committee level once before. I hate to belabour it, but . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: No, it is a good point.

[Page 27]

MR. MACKINNON: . . . a couple of them are of significant importance, I feel, particularly the criteria for entrance into nursing homes. The individual witness, she gave a commitment. We have been trying to secure that information since that meeting and that is, what, near six months ago?

MS. STEVENS: November, I do believe. I think it was November or October.

MR. MACKINNON: Four or five months. We can't even get a response from the department. I know if we were to bring that up to the ministerial level we would certainly get some action. I think it is inappropriate that we have witnesses persistently coming before the committee, giving undertakings and not fulfilling those undertakings. Do we want to start doing something about these things?

It may be myself, today, it could be another member tomorrow. I raise that. I think we should send a strongly-worded letter and copy it to the minister, and ask that they fulfill their obligations.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I would assume that members present are aware of that request that was made by Mr. MacKinnon that day of that witness, where the commitment was given that there would be further information on that particular topic. It has not been forthcoming so I would like to take the direction of the committee, but I will take Mr. MacKinnon's suggestion and we will compose a letter saying that we would appreciate that as soon as possible, with a copy . . .

[9:15 a.m.]

MR. MACKINNON: Send copies to all members of the committee so you know exactly . . .

MR. DEWOLFE: Copies to all of us, as well.

MS. STEVENS: What I usually do in those cases, if they can't send it, or at least when they're going to send it, sometimes it is a study that is not done or completed but at least they could give us a date when they would table it or a reason as to why they are not. Then the committee can deal with it again because I know . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. DeWolfe.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Chairman, through you, I would suggest that you just request the information . . .

MR. CHAIRMAN: A commitment was given.

[Page 28]

MR. DEWOLFE: . . . they will come back with an excuse if they are unable to do it.

MR. MACKINNON: I believe Mora has written and called on several occasions, and it's just simply asking for the list of the criteria that she indicated that the department had. They had a written list of criteria in written form and have refused to provide that. Now if the department has policies and procedures, and she says they had them at that juncture in time and they were in writing, documented forms, why not provide it? It is probably straightforward.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you for continuing on that, too. Mr. Chataway.

MR. CHATAWAY: In a letter like that, do you inform the minister responsible for that department?

MR. MACKINNON: I think we should at least cc the minister out of . . .

MR. CHATAWAY: Send a carbon copy.

MR. MACKINNON: . . . just a courtesy.

MR. CHATAWAY: Yes, just because they should know.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The letter will be cc'd to Mr. Muir, the minister. Okay? Now I will recognize Mr. DeWolfe for an important motion at 9:15 a.m. Thank you for your co-operation.

MR. DEWOLFE: I move we adjourn, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The meeting is adjourned.

[The committee adjourned at 9:17 a.m.]