Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Tue., June 6, 2000

First Session

TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
NSLC: Privatization - Oppose, Mr. B. Taylor 7064
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 58, Fire Safety Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7065
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2623, D-Day (06/06/44) - Veterans: Heroism - Thanks Offer,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7065
Vote - Affirmative 7065
Res. 2624, D-Day (06/06/44): Sacrifice (Cdns.) - Commemorate,
Mr. R. MacLellan 7066
Vote - Affirmative 7066
Res. 2625, D-Day (06/06/44) - Troops (Cdn.): Bravery - Mark,
Mr. K. Morash 7067
Vote - Affirmative 7067
Res. 2626, GG Medal of Bravery: Recipients (N.S.) - Congrats.,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7067
Vote - Affirmative 7068
Res. 2627, CBC Radio - Information Morning: Anniv. 30th -
Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 7068
Vote - Affirmative 7069
Res. 2628, Commun. Serv. - Upper Room Food Bank (Anna. Co.):
Fund-Raising - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 7069
Vote - Affirmative 7069
Res. 2629, Health: Changes - Consequences, Mr. J. Holm 7070
Res. 2630, St. Ann's Bay Utd. Church: Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. K. MacAskill 7070
Vote - Affirmative 7071
Res. 2631, Phyllis & Albert Colley Sr. (E. Preston):
Golden Wedding Anniv. - Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 7071
Vote - Affirmative 7072
Res. 2632, Educ. - Special Needs Children: Unprotected - Admit,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7072
Res. 2633, D-Day (06/06/44) - Forces (Cdn., U.K. & U.S.A.):
Courage - Salute, Mr. P. MacEwan 7072
Vote - Affirmative 7073
Res. 2634, Health - Care: Cuts - Reveal, Mr. F. Corbett 7073
Res. 2635, Health - Medical Soc. (N.S.): President -
Dr. Louise Cloutier Congrats., Dr. J. Smith 7074
Vote - Affirmative 7075
Res. 2636, Tourism - Maps: Correction (Ex-Prov.) - Buy (N.S.) Last,
Mr. D. Dexter 7075
Res. 2637, Environ. - Eco Efficiency Ctr. (Burnside): Awards (2000) -
Winners Congrats., Mr. R. MacKinnon 7075
Vote - Affirmative 7076
Res. 2638, Econ. Dev. - Buy (N.S.) Prog.: Promises - Unfulfilled,
Mr. K. Deveaux 7076
Res. 2639, Health - IWK-Grace Telethon: Octave Deveau (Meteghan) -
Generosity Commend, Mr. W. Gaudet 7076
Vote - Affirmative 7077
Res. 2640, Sports - Softball (HS Girls Prov. Champs):
Cornwallis DHS Clippers - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 7077
Vote - Affirmative 7078
Res. 2641, Cole Hbr.-Eastern Passage MLA: Lions Club -
Induction Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 7078
Vote - Affirmative 7079
Res. 2642, Culture - Language & Culture: Diversity (N.S.) - Recognize,
Mr. D. Wilson 7079
Vote - Affirmative 7079
Res. 2643, Environ. - EAC: Sustainable Communities Award (2000) -
Spryfield Congrats., Mr. Robert Chisholm 7079
Vote - Affirmative 7080
Res. 2644, Culture - Scotia Festival of Music (2000): Concert
(31/05/00) - Performers Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7080
Vote - Affirmative 7081
Res. 2645, Educ. - School Bds.: Cuts - Minority Needs Ignored,
Mr. R. MacLellan 7081
Res. 2646, Educ. - House (Summer Adjournment): Image Repair -
Escape Short, Ms. E. O'Connell 7082
Res. 2647, Environ. - HRM: Waste Prog. - Award (Cdn.) Congrats.,
Dr. J. Smith 7082
Vote - Affirmative 7083
Res. 2648, Nat. Res. - Pt. Pleasant Park: Decimation - Regret,
Mr. H. Epstein 7083
Vote - Affirmative 7083
Res. 2649, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Balanced - Consequences Condemn,
Mr. P. MacEwan 7084
Res. 2650, Econ. Dev. - C.B.: Commun. Control - Awaited,
Mr. F. Corbett 7085
Res. 2651, Pubnico - European Settlement: Anniv. 350th - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 7085
Vote - Affirmative 7086
Res. 2652, Exco - Official Bird (N.S.): Sandhead Ostrich -
Request Refuse, Mr. J. Pye 7086
Res. 2653, Gov't. (N.S.) - Confidence: Restore - Challenge,
Mr. D. Dexter 7087
Res. 2654, Fin. - Debt: Architects - Admit, Mr. H. Epstein 7087
Res. 2655, Educ. - Advice: Former Min. (Terence Donahoe) - Call,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7088
Res. 2656, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99 on): Deficit -
Address, Mr. J. Pye 7089
Res. 2657, Culture - Eva Moore (NSDL-Exec. Dir.): Contribution -
Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 7089
Vote - Affirmative 7090
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 860, Health - IWK-Grace Hosp.: Mental Health (Post-Partum
Depression) - Serv. Elimination, Mr. Robert Chisholm 7090
No. 861, Health - Hospitals: Closures & Serv. Reduction - Info.,
Mr. R. MacLellan 7092
No. 862, Lbr. - Fire Safety: Serv. - Reduction, Mr. W. Estabrooks 7093
No. 863, Health - Care: Rural - Dismantling, Mr. R.. MacLellan 7094
No. 864, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Drunk Driving: Roadside Suspensions -
Enforcement, Mr. J. Holm 7096
No. 865, Health - Care: Digby Neck - Serv. Reduction, Dr. J. Smith 7097
No. 866, Nat. Res.: Energy Council - Composition, Mr. J. Holm 7098
No. 867, Human Res. - ABCs: Process - Improvement,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7100
No. 868, Health - Hospitals: Continuance - Confirm,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7101
No. 869, Exco: Code of Conduct - Legislation, Mr. R. MacKinnon 7103
No. 870, Educ. - Schools: Libraries - Future, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7104
No. 871, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Privatization: Inv. N. -
Workers' Concerns, Mr. P. MacEwan 7105
No. 872, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Joe Howe Manor (Hfx.):
Pest Control - Action, Mr. J. Pye 7107
No. 873, NSLC - Privatization: Employees - Consider, Mr. K. MacAskill 7108
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 11:46 A.M. 7110
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 7110
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Gov't. (N.S.): Privatization - Cease:
Mr. P. MacEwan 7110
Mr. K. MacAskill 7113
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7114
Mr. John MacDonell 7117
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:30 P.M. 7120
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:21 P.M. 7120
CWH REPORTS 7120
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Private and Local Bills Committee, Hon. R. Russell 7121
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 7:23 P.M. 7122
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:24 P.M. 7122
CWH REPORTS 7122
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., June 7th at 2:00 p.m. 7123
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2658, Educ. - Anna. Royal Nursery School: Anniv. 25th -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 7124
Res. 2659, Educ. - E. Pictou RHS: Health Warner (Sec.) -
Service Acknowledge, Mr. J. DeWolfe 7124
Res. 2660, Health - Cancer Society (Can.): East Pictou Branch -
Volunteers Recognize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 7125
Res. 2661, Natasha O'Handley (Springhill Police Officer) -
Memorial Bursary: Commitment - Recognize, The Speaker 7125
Res. 2662, Educ. - Parrsboro RHS & Advocate DHS: Educ. Prog.
(Internet) - Success Congrats., The Speaker 7126
Res. 2663, Health - Cystic Fibrosis Research: Taylor & Frank Bailey -
Fund-Raising - Commend, The Speaker 7126
Res. 2664, Educ. - Parrsboro RHS: Graduating Class (2000) -
Congrats., The Speaker 7127
Res. 2665, Educ. - River Hebert DHS: Graduating Class (2000) -
Congrats., The Speaker 7127
Res. 2666, Educ. - Oxford RHS: Graduating Class (2000) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7128
Res. 2667, Educ. - Advocate DHS: Graduating Class (2000) -
Congrats., The Speaker 7128
Res. 2668, Educ. - Springhill HS: Graduating Class (2000) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7129
Res. 2669, Sports - Golf (Parrsboro GC): Clubhouse New - Congrats.,
The Speaker 7129
Res. 2670, Nat. Res. - Coal Miners (N.S.): Commitment - Recognize,
The Speaker 7130
Res. 2671, Sports - Hockey (Amherst Junior A Ramblers):
Mrs. Erdene Crowe (Springhill) - Commitment Recognize,
The Speaker 7130
Res. 2672, Sports - Cumb. Co. Nat. Trailer Sales Peewee AA Bombers:
Warren & Joan Keizer (River Phillip) - Dedication Congrats.,
The Speaker 7131
Res. 2673, Parrsboro & Area Lions Club - Melvin Jones Fellowship Award:
Lewis Brown - Congrats., The Speaker 7131
Res. 2674, Parrsboro & Area Lions Club - Melvin Jones Fellowship Award:
Merton Kay - Congrats., The Speaker 7132
Merton Kay - Congrats., The Speaker

[Page 7063]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Wayne Gaudet, Mr. Kevin Deveaux

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton East.

Therefore be it resolved that the government cease its plans to privatize government operations as it will be harmful to rural Nova Scotia.

This subject will be debated this evening at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

7063

[Page 7064]

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition whereby the prayer reads, "TO: The Legislative Assembly Nova Scotia Whereas, the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia is considering the Privatization of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia as follows: That the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission remain in Public Hands because we fear that the privatization of that organization will lead to increases in crime, drunk driving, alcohol abuse, health costs as well as loss of control over availability to minors, higher prices for consumers and loss of employment."

Mr. Speaker, I was recently presented with the petition and asked to table it in the Legislature. I have affixed my name to the petition and there are 165 names on this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on an introduction.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am very proud this morning to have the opportunity to introduce through you to all members of the Legislature, 45 Grade 8 junior high school students from beautiful Ontario. The students are from a school that has a good Nova Scotian name, Joseph Howe Senior Public School from Scarborough, Ontario. The students and their chaperones, Ken Whittaker, George Nuppola, Joseph Arbuthnott and Wes De Souza, are in Nova Scotia and they are going to be travelling to the beautiful Annapolis Valley, down to the gorgeous South Shore. The students are part of an historic study class and this is part of a fact-finding mission and it is part of their curriculum. I would ask the class and their chaperones to stand and receive a warm welcome from the Nova Scotia Legislature. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the bill I am about to introduce is the result of a tremendous amount of work and energy on the part of a large number of people. Before I introduce the bill, I would like to beg the indulgence of the House to introduce the team that

[Page 7065]

has worked on the development of this bill: the Fire Marshal of the province, Bob Cormier; with Bob is Pat Clahane and Jill Shlossberg from the Department of Labour. Also with them is Greg Clark who is President of the Fire Chiefs Association of Nova Scotia. Behind them, being his modest self, is Al Hollingsworth, the Press Secretary at the Department of Labour. If the House would like to welcome them here today, I would ask them to stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

Bill No. 58 - Entitled an Act to Promote and Encourage Fire Safety. (Hon. Angus MacIssac)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2623

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas "We Will Remember", as we pledged each November 11th, the contribution that our veterans have made to our country's history; and

Whereas these veterans displayed untold valour on many occasions; and

Whereas it will be 56 short years ago today, June 6th - earlier in the morning than we are now - that Canadian troops, along with our Allies, stormed the beaches of Normandy;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House offer their thanks to all veterans, as we remember their heroism on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 7066]

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2624

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas today, June 6, 2000, marks the 56th Anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, better known as D-Day; and

Whereas on this day in 1944, 15,000 Canadian troops, most of them still in their teens, landed on an eight kilometre beach, code-named Juno; and

Whereas to ensure that D-Day would succeed, 340 Canadians gave their lives, 574 were wounded and 47 were taken prisoner;

Therefore be it resolved that this House, in commemoration of those Canadians who so valiantly gave their lives to preserve the cherished freedoms that we now enjoy, observe a minute of silence.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

All rise, please, for one minute of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 7067]

RESOLUTION NO. 2625

MR. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas today marks the 56th Anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of occupied France; and

Whereas the role of the Canadian infantry in that invasion was pivotal because our assault troops pushed further inland than any other Allied force; and

Whereas the price our troops paid in this monumental battle was enormous;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House mark the bravery and sacrifice of Canadian troops who took part in the D-Day invasion with a moment of silence, to honour and thank them for what they did for Canada, her Allies and for freedom.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2626

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas four Nova Scotians, two of whom died trying to rescue a pair of children from drowning, will receive the Medal of Bravery from the Governor General; and

Whereas Maxim Sylliboy and Anastasia Sylliboy, both of the Eskasoni Reserve, died on July 15, 1999, attempting to save two children who drifted away in a strong lake current; and

[Page 7068]

Whereas Derek Kennedy of Sydney will be recognized for rescuing three people in North Sydney Harbour, and Tonia Sylliboy rescued two boys on the Bras d'Or Lakes;

[10:15 a.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations and thanks to Maxim Sylliboy and Anastasia Sylliboy posthumously and to Derek Kennedy and Tonia Sylliboy for their acts of courage and for assisting their fellow human beings.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2627

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Friday, June 9th, Information Morning will celebrate 30 years on the airwaves, showering Nova Scotians with information on just about anything one can imagine; and

Whereas current hosts Elizabeth Logan and Don Connolly are joined by a cast of thousands on a yearly basis despite CBC cutbacks over the years; and

Whereas HRM intrepid political commentator Jean Laroche gives us weekly doses of politics whether politicians like it or not, making Jean Laroche the Mr. Nova Scotia Know It All of politics;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Information Morning on 30 years of providing top quality information programming and wish them all the best on their next 30 years.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 7069]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2628

MR. FRANK CHIPMAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Upper Room Food Bank in Annapolis County has now reached the $37,000 mark in their $50,000 fund-raising drive for the construction of a new building; and

Whereas Middleton Rotary Club President Chuck Shields and Rotarian Selen Alpay recently presented a cheque for $1,000 to Food Bank Chairman Harley Hazelwood toward the new food bank building; and

Whereas it is hoped that construction of this new food bank building in Annapolis County can begin sometime this fall;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs congratulate those involved with the Upper Room Food Bank for undertaking this initiative and to all the community groups and residents who have donated money to date.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 7070]

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2629

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Speech from the Throne that opened this session declared that the health care system " . . . will be changed, but unlike in the past, it will be done in a planned, thoughtful, and step-wise fashion."; and

Whereas the Health Minister has been the very model of thoughtfulness in each Question Period as he tries to explain cuts that, in his own words, don't look very good; and

Whereas even the Premier has stopped pretending that the vicious health care cuts are part of a step-wise plan;

Therefore be it resolved that the Progressive Conservative health changes amount to much longer waiting lists, fewer beds, higher user fees, hospital closures and a greater likelihood of death, disease and disability for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 2630

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Sunday, June 4th, marked the official opening of the new St. Anns Bay United Church whose structure was moved 16 kilometres from Skir Dhu to Barachois River; and

Whereas the new church was one of three of the former St. Anns pastoral charge, consisting of Bethel, Oliver and John Fraser Memorial; and

Whereas St. Anns Bay United will now serve all three from its new central location with a congregation of about 150 people;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the congregation on the official opening of the St. Anns Bay United Church and offer best wishes on their foresight in bringing their church into the new century.

[Page 7071]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2631

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Phyllis and Albert Colley, Sr. of East Preston, Nova Scotia, are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their marriage today; and

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Colley for many years have served their community in various capacities, such as on the East Preston United Baptist Church Deacons Board and Ladies Auxiliaries, the Lions Club, ratepayers' association, day care centre and many other community committees and organizations that have brought aid and support to those in need; and

Whereas Phyllis and Albert, Sr. are joined in their celebration by their friends and neighbours and by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me and all the residents of East Preston in congratulating Phyllis and Albert Colley, Sr. on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary, thank them for their service to the community and wish the entire Colley family much happiness in the years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7072]

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2632

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in an e-mail sent to the NDP caucus office, a mother of a special needs child describes her battle to have her child examined by a psychologist within the school system; and

Whereas she has been told that her child could be on a waiting list for two years before he is assessed because psychological services are limited; and

Whereas she says, "It is terrible that every year parents have to worry about what is going to be available for their child . . . A great deal of stress is placed on the inexperienced staff, parents and especially the special needs children . . .";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education should finally admit that she cannot and will not protect special needs children from the worst results of the heartless, incompetent Tory budget.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2633

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 7073]

Whereas today, June 6th is D-Day on which the most massive seaborne invasion in history was launched on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 to mark the beginning of the final phase of the struggle against the odious forces of Fascism and national socialism; and

Whereas it is appropriate that we should note that today is the 56th Anniversary of that momentous event in which Canadian troops played a leading role; and

Whereas D-Day marked a major point along a path to victory that began with the capitulation of the Nazi's 6th Army at Stalingrad and ended with unconditional surrender at Rheims, France and Karlshorst, Berlin on May 7th and 8th, 1945;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House salute the courage and bravery with which Canadian, British and American forces assaulted the beaches of Normandy this day 56 years ago.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2634

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in the Throne Speech the government promised that, "Where choices need to be made we will invest in hands that heal."; and

Whereas the speech declared that, ". . . as long as caregivers, communities and volunteers are shut out of the decision-making process we will fail to meet our goal of building a truly responsive, efficient and affordable system."; and

Whereas like the little Dutch boy, this government is holding back its wave of health care cuts until the Premier and the Health Minister don't face a daily Question Period;

[Page 7074]

Therefore be it resolved that the government should show caregivers, communities and volunteers the courtesy of sharing the Tory dictated plan for ruthless health care cuts while ministers are accountable daily in this House.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2635

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Dr. Louise Cloutier will lead the Medical Society of Nova Scotia as President for the year 2000-01; and

Whereas since having completed her residency in family medicine at Dalhousie University in 1976, Dr. Cloutier has practised in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Dr. Cloutier has been active in the local community as a member of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Primary Health Care and a member of the Dartmouth Task Force on Violence Against Women;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dr. Cloutier on her new position and wish her continued success in all her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 7075]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2636

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas during the past summer election campaign, this government promised to buy Nova Scotian first; and

Whereas in order to correct maps this government has awarded a $26,800 contract to a Quebec firm; and

Whereas we find it hard to believe there was no Nova Scotia firm able and willing and with a competitive bid to do this project;

Therefore be it resolved that now Nova Scotia businesses will have to realize that when you vote Tory, government work goes out of the province and the new government motto is buy Nova Scotian last.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2637

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas last week four Nova Scotia companies were recognized for their environmental contributions; and

Whereas the Eco Efficiency Centre in the Burnside Industrial Park handed out its environmental excellence awards to companies for contributing to a more progressive, environmentally conscientious business community; and

Whereas this year's award recipients are Metrographic Printing Services, Miller Composting Corporation, Swedwood Canada Limited and Farnell Packaging Limited;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate this year's award winners for their outstanding environmental contribution to this province.

[Page 7076]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2638

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in October's Throne Speech the Tories promised they would be, ". . . supporting Nova Scotia's entrepreneurial spirit by developing Nova Scotia Brand and Buy Nova Scotia programs, which will extend and enhance our image in the market place."; and

Whereas the Tories have instead been struggling with rural anger over the deep cuts in farm programs; and

Whereas the purchasing priority has been to eliminate most open tendering and to exclude many small businesses from bidding;

Therefore be it resolved that rural Nova Scotians and small businesses who have been waiting for the Buy Nova Scotia program should recognize that the promises of 1999 have been thrown into the Tory waste paper basket.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2639

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 7077]

Whereas 89 year old Octave Deveau of Meteghan was the focus of the IWK-Grace Telethon's giving story this past weekend; and

Whereas Mr. Deveau has given sizeable donations to the centre in the past and has provided for the IWK-Grace in his will; and

Whereas money raised through this telethon helps the IWK-Grace support research into childhood diseases and purchase medical equipment that helps diagnose and treat critically ill children;

Therefore be it resolved that Octave Deveau be commended by the members of this House for the generosity he has demonstrated the sick children of Nova Scotia and the Maritimes.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2640

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Cornwallis District High School Clippers girls' softball team, with catcher Kaitlyn Parent from the constituency of Kings North, won the provincial championships on Saturday, remaining undefeated throughout the entire season; and

Whereas the Clippers, on their way to victory, handily beat teams from the constituencies of Cumberland North and Pictou West, ably represented by two of my esteemed colleagues; and

Whereas the Clippers are following up on their victory as provincial champions in seniors girls' basketball;

[Page 7078]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in acknowledging the athletic powers of the Cornwallis District High School girls' sports teams, the support of the girls' parents and the hard work of coach Dale Sanford.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2641

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Lions International is the largest service club in the world; and

Whereas the continuing growth of the Lions Club is based upon the recruitment of community-minded men and women; and

Whereas the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage last evening, June 5th, was inducted as the newest member of the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the MLA for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage as the newest baby Lion of the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 7079]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2642

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas according to former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau, Canadian culture is an invention; and

Whereas Mr. Parizeau was quoted as saying that the notion that Canada was founded by two cultures is a fabrication and doesn't exist; and

Whereas provinces such as Nova Scotia are unique because of their diverse cultures;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize this beautiful province as a province rich in diversity of language and culture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[10:30 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2643

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 7080]

Whereas the Sustainable Communities Award is presented annually by the Environment and Development Committee of the EAC, Ecology Action Centre, Nova Scotia's oldest environmental organization; and

Whereas the award recognizes commitment to the principles of sustainability, including environmental, economical, social and cultural well-being within a health community; and

Whereas Spryfield has successfully ensured appropriate economic activity, economic self-reliance through community-based development, community spirit and community culture;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate the community of Spryfield for being honoured with the year 2000 Sustainable Communities Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2644

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 2000 version of Scotia Festival of Music held its second and final week last week; and

Whereas on Wednesday, May 31st, a concert at the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie University, united the classics of Cape Breton and a string quartet; and

Whereas this is the premiere performance of Scott MacMillan's The Set;

[Page 7081]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate fiddlers Buddy MacMaster, Carl MacKenzie, Howie MacDonald and David MacIssac, along with Scott MacMillan and the string quartet for their inspiring and energetic performance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2645

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas school board initiatives aimed at assisting Black and marginalized students will be cut by 75 per cent; and

Whereas the Tory Education cuts will cause a significant loss of Black teachers, student support workers, educational support staff and race relations officers; and

Whereas having teachers from many segments of society provides role models for minority students and gives all students a more balanced view of society while breaking down damaging stereotypes;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government be condemned for ignoring the needs of minority Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 7082]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 2646

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas one of the shortest sentences in last fall's Throne Speech was, "Education holds the key."; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are indeed learning this government's true colours from the way it is handling the public education budget; and

Whereas Nova Scotians, unlike this government recognize, ". . . the important role of education and training in building strong Nova Scotian communities.", as the Throne Speech said;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education and other ministers, who hope that a reprieve from this House will give them an opportunity to repair their image, should recognize that in an open society they cannot long escape public scrutiny and judgement.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2647

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Halifax Regional Municipality's waste program has won a national award; and

Whereas HRM's solid waste strategy picked up one of six sustainable awards from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities; and

Whereas HRM will receive a $5,000 prize to be used to advance sustainable development;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate HRM on their award and recognize their outstanding environmental contributions to our society.

[Page 7083]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2648

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the European brown spruce longhorn beetle has decimated the forest of the lovely Point Pleasant Park on the southern tip of peninsular Halifax; and

Whereas most of the over 50,000 red spruce trees in the park will surely be razed, leaving desolation; and

Whereas The Shakespeare by the Sea Festival will have a new melancholy setting for Macbeth, one in which the forests outside the castle march away into night and sea;

Therefore be it resolved that this House express its deepest regret for the decimation of the much treasured Point Pleasant Park and urge the Minister of Natural Resources to use every resource to preserve this place of rest and recreation.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 7084]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, before I move my resolution, I would like to make an introduction to the House. In the east gallery is one of the most dedicated and hard-working public servants I have ever had the honour of knowing, who has served as secretary to the Premier of Nova Scotia, Ms. Marie Cox, and current secretary to the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party. Perhaps we could have a round of applause for somebody who works very hard, long hours. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2649

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Dalhousie Legal Aid Clinic has been providing free legal services to people who can't afford a lawyer for 30 years while giving practical experience to third year law students; and

Whereas this Tory Government plans to cut funding to the clinic in the year 2001 from $500,000 to $115,000 and then to cut funding altogether for the years 2001-02; and

Whereas these funding cuts will mean that the already overburdened Nova Scotia Legal Aid service will have to provide all of the aid in the province and many will fall through the cracks;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government be condemned for continuing to balance the provincial budget on the backs of the poor, the sick and disadvantaged citizens of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 7085]

RESOLUTION NO. 2650

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Throne Speech told Cape Bretoners that this government will honour its commitment to devolve the powers and authority of economic development to the community level so that decisions, including funding decisions, can be made at the local level; and

Whereas eight months later this promise is as forgotten as the other 243; and

Whereas the disappointing results of the federal arbitration make a Devco transition plan more important than ever;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should explain to Cape Bretoners why community control of economic development is so much less important than Cabinet's escape from the summer heat of Province House.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2651

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the people of Argyle will celebrate the 350th Anniversary of Pubnico's European settlement in 2003; and

Whereas modern day Pubnico is recognized as the oldest Acadian region where the descendants of the original founders can still be found; and

Whereas the 2003 celebration will include the erecting of a monument, an historical pageant, a song contest, a ball and will feature period costumes;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the organizers of Pubnico's 350th Anniversary for their efforts in commemorating their milestone in the history of their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7086]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2652

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Nova Scotia is famous for its seabirds that flock about our large, beautiful coastline; and

Whereas many types of gulls, gannets, loons and plovers give great enjoyment to birders from all over the world; and

Whereas a new bird has appeared, a domestic variation called the Tory sandhead ostrich but it doesn't fly, it only sticks its head in the sand and hides while questions about our lack of health care and education planning fill the air;

Therefore be it resolved that this House refuse any request by the government to make the sandhead ostrich the official bird of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 7087]

RESOLUTION NO. 2653

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Tory plans and goals for the first year of this government were presented to this House on October 7, 1999 in the Throne Speech; and

Whereas it declared that "Perhaps the biggest challenge facing government is restoring Nova Scotians' confidence in their health system."; and

Whereas the Progressive Conservative Government has achieved a fundamental shift in Nova Scotia politics in the eight months since the Speech from the Throne;

Therefore be it resolved that now the biggest challenge is restoring Nova Scotians' confidence in the Premier and the Tory team right across the board, and not simply in health care.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2654

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the old Shakespearian phrase applies today, I think thou doth protest too much; and

Whereas this Tory Government would have us all believe that our debt and deficit appeared overnight in this province; and

Whereas if the truth be known, the previous Tory Government of John Buchanan is responsible for over $6 billion of this debt;

[Page 7088]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier admit today that his idol, John Buchanan, as well as the current Minister of Finance and the current Minister of Transportation and Public Works are architects of our burgeoning debt and yet he has foolishly allowed them to be in positions where this time they will do damage to the public services as much as to the finances of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2655

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas a former Tory Government report states, "That the library not be considered just another 'subject' department in the school, in competition for funding and attention, but that it be given special consideration as a basic support service, . . . "; and

Whereas it also recommends "a plan to develop and expand school library services throughout the province . . . "; and

Whereas it further states, "that the per pupil annual grant for the purchase of library materials be increased to a realistic amount";

Therefore be it resolved that it is now time for the Minister of Education to call a former Minister of Education, the honourable Terry Donahoe, and ask for some advice on how to fund and save libraries in our schools.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 7089]

RESOLUTION NO. 2656

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas every day in the Province of Nova Scotia six more children are born into poverty; and

Whereas since August 17th, this Tory Government's first full day in office, 1,742 children have been born into poverty; and

Whereas this heartless Tory Government would prefer to talk about only one kind of deficit, a budget deficit;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government should start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by the 1,742 children born into poverty under this Tory Regime.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 2657

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Eva Moore is leaving as Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Drama League after 20 years of her wonderful contribution to the arts in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Ms. Moore presided over Theatre Canada and gained an international reputation, having twice been elected to the Board of the International Amateur Theatre Association; and

[Page 7090]

Whereas Ms. Moore suffered through her own personal crisis and drama, having battled against breast cancer in 1998;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Eva Moore on her priceless contribution to the arts and culture of Nova Scotia, and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 10:44 a.m. and end at 11:44 a.m.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

HEALTH - IWK-GRACE HOSP.: MENTAL HEALTH

(POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION) - SERV. ELIMINATION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Premier. As a doctor the Premier knows that 10 per cent of women are at risk of experiencing post-partum depression. The program at the IWK-Grace has been cut by over 50 per cent. Women are being told that they will have to use other mental health services. Women who use the IWK-Grace services are reluctant to use other services because of the unique nature of post-partum depression. That is why the perinatal psychiatry program was started at the IWK-Grace 10 years ago. It is part of a coordinated care approach integrated with women's obstetrical care. I want to ask the Premier if he can explain how this uniquely valuable program could ever be on his government's chopping block?

[Page 7091]

[10:45 a.m.]

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is aware that right now there are negotiations going on between government and the institutions, including the IWK-Grace, regarding their business plan. I would ask the minister to respond to the member opposite and indicate where those negotiations are.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the Premier has indicated to the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic, and as he knew before he ever asked the question, a business planning process is going on. There have been a number of proposals made by the hospital which we are working with them in assessing. The final results of the business planning process, or at least the interim results of the business planning process will be made in very short order.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this Premier and his Minister of Health would have us believe that these concerns that we raise here in the House about the effects of their health cuts are fictional, that we are making them up and it is not going to be a problem, that everything is under control. They are wrong. In fact, the IWK-Grace has only made half of the cuts that this government has imposed upon them in terms of funding reductions. This program's small staff have been told that they are already gone.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: The matter is not under discussion. This is extremely important to the development of these children, Mr. Speaker. There is no other option for women and families who need a lifeline, yet the Tory axe is swinging again. I want to ask the Premier, why hasn't this government already recognized that the program is essential and given that message to the staff and patients who have nowhere else to turn?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that question to the Minister of Health.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the IWK-Grace, in conjunction with the Department of Health is going through a business planning process. The extent of the business planning process is probably - I won't say unequalled - the depth and the consultation they are going through has never happened, really, before in the province. Normally institutions are given a budget and told, go ahead and make your decisions and we will live with them. In this case, the business plan is being examined in conjunction with the Department of Health. However, I think people understand this, it probably doesn't do anybody any good to negotiate business plans on the floor of this House or in the media.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this isn't about business plans, this is about millions of dollars being cut from the IWK-Grace and the impact is that these important services are being cut, are being reduced. It is not about business plans, it is about services

[Page 7092]

to Nova Scotia and the Maritime Region's women and children that are being reduced. There is no new mental health services plan. There is no prospect . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: . . . that regular mental health services or private health care can replace this service. I want to ask the Premier, he is responsible for these cuts, why can't he find the compassion here and now to say that this program will survive for the benefit of the hundreds of new mothers who will need it in the years to come? Make that commitment right here, right now to these . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite started off, if I remember correctly, he said, this is not about business plans. No, it is not about business plans. It is about having a health care system where decision making makes sense today and makes sense tomorrow, something that that member and that caucus would never understand.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

HEALTH - HOSPITALS:

CLOSURES & SERV. REDUCTION - INFO.

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, while this House winds down, this government is skulking in rooms, planning the demise of our health care system. The following hospitals will be downgraded to community health centres: Digby, Lunenburg, Roseway in Shelburne, Tatamagouche, Pugwash, Parrsboro, Sherbrooke and Canso. Queens will be gutted and will lose its surgery; New Waterford will lose its emergency service; and Berwick and East Hants will be closed completely. Is the minister going to tell us that none of this is true?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would very much appreciate it if the honourable member would table that information for me.

AN HON. MEMBER: He doesn't have it.

MR. MUIR: Oh, he doesn't have it. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health has the floor.

[Page 7093]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, if he has the information documented, I would like to see it; I think that would be a reasonable thing. I can say, as the honourable member knows, the department, along with the regional health boards, is going through a business-planning process. There are certain suggestions being made as a result of that business-planning process. They are being discussed with the Department of Health, and the final decisions from these deliberations will be announced in due course.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to know, our Party wants to know, all of Nova Scotia wants to know, is what I have said about those closures and downgrading true or not true? Tell us, right now, in this House, that what I have said is not true. I dare the minister to do it. (Interruptions)

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again I would ask the honourable member to table that information for me so I could examine it; I would like to know the source of it. As I had indicated before, we are currently in the midst of a business-planning process, and the results of that business-planning process will be made public in due course.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the minister will not come clean with the people of Nova Scotia. He is misleading everyone in this province. The business plan is not being discussed, it was ready to go yesterday. The minister and the Premier told the Department of Health to put a hold on it until the House rises. That is the truth and I want to know why this insipid government, this treacherous government, doesn't have the courage to face the House with the moves they think are so great.

MR. MUIR: Again, I would like to go back and ask the honourable member to table that information. I would also like to know his source, because he seems to know certain things that I don't know. I want to assure, Mr. Speaker, that the results of those business-planning processes are in the stage of being finalized, and the contact will be made with the particular authorities and NDOs in due course.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

LBR. - FIRE SAFETY: SERV. - REDUCTION

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Labour. Today, with classic Orwellian logic, the Minister of Labour made a statement concerning fire safety in this province. Yet in the statement the minister has made all kinds of promises; reality however, as Orwell would testify, does not in any way match up with the magic ahead. Ordinary Nova Scotians are concerned about fire safety, yet they face more and higher fees. I would like to ask the minister, can he explain the obvious contradiction with his department's responsibility for fire safety when there is a reduction in services forthcoming?

[Page 7094]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I want to thank the honourable member for the question and I can say to the honourable member and to the House that the services of fire safety in this province will be enhanced and will move forward.

MR. ESTABROOKS: In this statement - and I can table it for the interest of members - the minister points to the Electrical Installation and Inspection Act where the proposal is to change compulsory inspections of all installations to a system of sampling inspections, based on the safety record of the contractors. We have gone from compulsory to, well, we might inspect you depending upon the history of your safety record. That is the very sort of cozy relationship that results in a lack of safety when it comes to fire prevention in this province. The downloading obviously continues.

Mr. Minister, why have you stepped back from your responsibility to ensure fire safety for Nova Scotians in this province?

MR. MACISAAC: There is no movement to step back from responsibilities with respect to fire safety. If the honourable member wanted to be inclusive in his comments, he would also have indicated that the comment was made in the context of further legislation that will be introduced which will categorize and evaluate contractors within this province. That will enable all Nova Scotians to have a much better view of what the contracting people in this province will be doing. It was in that context that the comments were made.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Minister, let's face it. Your department has suffered irreparable cuts and you don't even have the staff to be able to maintain the inspections needed to guarantee safe fire conditions in this province. Why are you pretending to increase fire safety when in fact, you are cutting it?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, it is the honourable member who is pretending and he is pretending to mislead the people of this province. We will be enhancing fire protection in this province and the bill that we introduced today will ensure that takes place. I can assure all members of this House and the people of this province that the bill will be moved forward and we look forward to people's reactions. If the honourable member has some constructive suggestions, we would certainly receive them openly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

HEALTH - CARE: RURAL - DISMANTLING

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Members of this government are nothing but scurrilous cowards, hiding behind (Interruptions)

[Page 7095]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The well experienced member would realize that calling someone a coward in this House is unparliamentary and I would ask him to retract that please.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to let the people of Nova Scotia judge for themselves.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to retract that please.

MR. MACLELLAN: Then the people of Nova Scotia can judge for themselves. Mr. Speaker, I want to say I have never seen such treachery in absolutely dismantling rural health care in this province. The backbenchers probably won't even be told until tomorrow, yet they were told they had to support the budget and they said in their report there would be no hospital closures. They were double-crossed by their own government. Why doesn't this government, Mr. Premier, have the courage to come forward and admit to the information I have stated and that they are intentionally holding back the business plans?

THE PREMIER: Again, the Leader of the Liberal Party demonstrates wild speculation. He was challenged by the Minister of Health. If he has any information to table it for members of the House and we can debate it. What this government is doing and what that minister is doing is putting together a sustainable health care delivery that bears no resemblance to the allegations that the member opposite is bringing to the House.

[11:00 a.m.]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I will tell you and this House how bad it is. The absentee rate in the Department of Health has tripled. This government has hired a new Associate Deputy Minister, Cheryl Doiron, from New Brunswick; a co-ordinator for the deputy minister's office but also plans to cut the staff in the Department of Health by 10 people. This is feathering the nest of government and at the same time destroying health care in rural Nova Scotia. It is absolutely despicable, it is treacherous and it is not being frank with the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: Come clean and tell us, what in fact you are going to do?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we went on record some time ago, back in January, tabling a structural plan for the Department of Health. I guess maybe they just finally learned to read or something like that but it has taken them some time to take a look at it.

[Page 7096]

The second thing is, Mr. Speaker, we have said for some time that there would be no facility closures and I still stand by that statement.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the courage is still lacking. Still lacking. In addition, the QE II is going to lose 30 beds; the Cape Breton Regional hospital is going to lose 20; this government is absolutely destroying the health care system in Nova Scotia. I want to ask this minister why doesn't he just come clean and tell the people of Nova Scotia now that his clandestine little plan has failed, come clean, and tell them that what I have said is going to happen is, in fact, the truth?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely nothing clandestine about what this government is doing, indeed I think the record will show that no government has been more open and more consultative than this one. The problem that we did have to face, and I do think that the honourable member recognizes this, and I am glad that he finally admitted after six years of fumbling and bumbling with that government, we were put in a position where we had to fix it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

BUS. & CONS. SERV. - DRUNK DRIVING:

ROADSIDE SUSPENSIONS - ENFORCEMENT

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, have a question to the Premier on another matter. Last November, the government introduced some tough new measures like the 24 hour roadside suspension of a driver's license to combat drunk driving. There have been very many suspensions since that time. Now, the Civil Service cuts that are being imposed by the Tory Government are putting that very program in jeopardy. My question to the Premier is why is your Minister of Business and Consumer Services being allowed to undermine that legislation by axing the very staff who are needed to enforce it?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Business and Consumer Services is with us today and he can answer the question directly.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite, I guess in a sense, can be very gloomy and any changes you can make in the department will mean that no programs will be delivered. We brought in place last fall a new measure in trying to control people who drink and drive. We think it is a very appropriate measure. It is one that has been put across not only Nova Scotia but, I guess, across most of Canada and it is one that I believe is a responsible one. So for the member to say that we won't be able to implement that program is not accurate.

[Page 7097]

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, if I didn't think that it was an extremely important program I wouldn't be raising questions about it. Drunk driving is indeed a very serious offence. There have been literally thousands of licences that have been suspended over the last number of years. Now, the Premier is allowing his Minister of Business and Consumer Services to fire 5 of the 26 staff members in that section of the department who deal with it, and it is a section that has been cut heavily in recent years. There is already a backlog of up to six months, so something has to give. You can't have it both ways. I want to ask the Premier, when will you stop your Minister of Business and Consumer Services' foolish attack on a program that is aimed against drunk drivers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is one of the objectives of this government to have law and order in Nova Scotia, to eliminate drunken driving on our roads. We have indicated through measures, both when we were in Opposition and now that we are government, that we are determined to do that. We will provide the back-up that will allow that to happen. That is our objective, and we are pursuing that objective.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is telling us that it is a very important program, and that we have an objective, which I think all members of this House and almost all Nova Scotians support, and that is to make our highways safer. But you have to have some staff to enforce that. We have backlogs now of three to six months, the Premier has no concern about the fact that the Minister of Business and Consumer Services is laying off staff, in his department, who have the responsibility, so he is unwilling to defend those positions that are essential for the effectiveness of enforcing that program. I want to ask the Premier, what is his plan to make sure that you are going to be able to tackle the problems, since your government is laying off the staff whose job it is to actually enforce that legislation?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the members opposite don't appreciate the situation that this province is in, in the sense of trying to control our expenses. We will live within our means. I know that the Opposition doesn't share that same philosophy, that we should just continue to spend and not be aware of the consequences of doing that. We will deliver that program. We have delivered it in the mandate that we have had up until now, and we will continue to deliver it. It means that we will have to do more with less. We have said that consistently as a government, and my department will be no different than any other department of government. We will deliver those programs.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - CARE: DIGBY NECK - SERV. REDUCTION

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. We are gradually learning of the horrors of what is going to happen to our health care system in Nova

[Page 7098]

Scotia as a result of all the Tory cuts to their budget. The minister could save himself a lot of hardship if he would simply deny that these cuts are going to take place; in fact, this morning his unwillingness to do so adds to their validity. My question to the minister is, will the minister explain why someone suffering a heart attack or an injured victim in Digby Neck will have to travel to Yarmouth in order to receive proper emergency and acute medical care?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the simple answer is that I am really not happy to be negotiating business plans on the floor of the House. In straight answer to his question, they won't.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, those business plans are ready, and the minister knows that, and he is deceiving the House. This is the most heartless group of people that I have ever encountered since I was elected here in 1984. Will the minister tell the people in Shelburne why they do not deserve to have acute medical care in their community or, for that matter, in any other community surrounding them?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again, like the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party, the honourable Health Critic for the Liberal Party seems to have documented evidence of some of these things which I would request that he table for us. I would like to know whether he is making this up, or if he has a real source with this information. What I can say is that we are going through a planning process. The results of that will be announced in due course and Nova Scotians will receive services when and where they need it.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that process is finished and the minister knows it. These hospital closures will mean the lay-off of hundreds of nurses, jeopardizing the lives of Nova Scotians. Question, what is it going to take for this government to understand that providing health care is not an option but a responsibility of government?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am very delighted to hear the honourable member for Dartmouth East finally admit that the provision of health care is a responsibility and that is a responsibility that this government takes very seriously. As a matter of fact, the steps that we are taking now in this planning process are so that a good standard of evidence-based health care will continue to be delivered to Nova Scotians. It will be available today into tomorrow. At the way they were running the system, there would have been no health care in five years.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

NAT. RES.: ENERGY COUNCIL - COMPOSITION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, last week the Premier announced the composition of the Premier's Energy Council and to no one's surprise, it was heavily dominated by industry, with the environmental and fisheries interests lost pretty well in the shuffle. The 16

[Page 7099]

member council includes a number of high profile Tories, a number of private interests and one lone fisheries representative with no environmental expertise to speak of. My question to the Premier is, will you explain to this House how your assurance that the council will be, "sensitive to other interests, most particularly the fisheries", when most of the members represent the corporate interests?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I announced last week was an Energy Council so nobody should be surprised that the majority of people who are on that council would represent aspects of the energy industry. I would point out to the member opposite, in answer to his question, that there is a representative of the fishing industry who represents a very significant part. There is also a professor of oceanography. There is also a representative of a company specializing in environmental law. So there is a good balance on what is primarily an Energy Council.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hear the Premier's answer but the reality is that basically what you are going to be having are dark suits and Guccis advising the Premier on the environmental issues and upon the fisheries. Notwithstanding the Premier's assurances, the lone fisheries representative who the Premier made reference to, one Mr. Brian Giroux, says, "I am a little outnumbered." That is the understatement of the year. I want to ask the Premier what it is that happened in Houston that is making the Premier sell out the fishing industry and mortgage our environmental future?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is the intention of this government that the resources of the sea will be shared by the fishing industry and the oil and gas industry. It will be done in such a way that the activities of one will not jeopardize the other. That is why the representatives that were named on the Energy Council are there. It is a balance. I would suggest to the member opposite that he would be equally as incensed if, in fact, I named a fisheries advisory council and stacked it with members from the oil and gas industry.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think that most Nova Scotians would be very grateful if we had a balanced council. Let's be clear about who is going to be benefiting from the decisions of that council. It is not the fishermen in Lockeport, in Digby, in Cheticamp or Sheet Harbour. It is not the unemployed Nova Scotians in Glace Bay, Amherst, Yarmouth or Eastern Passage. It is the CEOs and the engineers in the oil and gas industry.

[11:15 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, will the Premier explain why he is choosing to serve the interests of his big corporate friends and big oil and not the interests of Nova Scotians who elected him?

[Page 7100]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the reason that we have an Energy Council is to do exactly what the member opposite accuses us of not doing, it is to develop that industry in such a way that there is maximum benefit for each and every Nova Scotian. What the member opposite fails to understand is that by promoting the industry we are promoting jobs and that is what we need in Nova Scotia, jobs, jobs and more jobs. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

HUMAN RES. - ABCs: PROCESS - IMPROVEMENT

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. On September 10, 1999, the Premier's office issued a press release stating that the appointments process to agencies, boards and commissions was being changed to reflect improvements. Two of the suggested improvements were the appointment of the member for Kings North as Chairman of the Human Resources Committee and the establishment of a new screening process.

I am certain that because of his announced interest in the appointment process, the Premier has closely followed the process of the Human Resources Committee since that time in making these appointments. Now that the committee has met several times and made a number of appointments since the election, would the Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, please indicate to the House if he feels that the appointment process has improved?

THE PREMIER: Yes.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, several weeks ago the member for Kings North approached a Mr. Wally MacDonald of Kentville and informed him that he would not get an appointment that he applied for, but he would be assured another one. Would the Premier please explain to the House how the member for Kings North, who is also Chairman of the Human Resources Committee, who should be neutral, could advise a constituent that he was going to be appointed to a particular board?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge of the incident which the member is bringing to the attention of the House. If he could file some information, I would be pleased to look at it.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I certainly will do that. In fact, I will table a memo dated June 1, 2000, from JoAnne Bond, the constituency assistant of the honourable member for Kings North, addressed to Mark Parent. It outlines essentially what I have stated already and, in fairness, I also confirmed that with Mr. MacDonald as late as yesterday afternoon.

[Page 7101]

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACKINNON: My question to the Premier is , Mr. Speaker, will the Premier do as I did, contact Mr. Wally MacDonald to personally confirm the events that I have just described and following his conversation with Mr. MacDonald, if he receives the same information I did, do the honourable thing and remove the member for Kings North as Chairman of the Human Resources Committee?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I will commit to do is what exactly my previous answer indicated. I will look at the information provided by the member opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

HEALTH - HOSPITALS: CONTINUANCE - CONFIRM

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of the Premier. We have been asking questions now for weeks in this House trying to confirm rumours about programs that are being cut, about hospitals that are going to be closed, beds that are being reduced. This government will not come clean. We understand that the Premier has actually intervened to speak with a local mayor about the Queens General Hospital to assure them that it is a temporary situation, but will not confirm whether or not that hospital is going to be gutted. I want to ask the Premier, will he tell us here today that there will be no hospitals closed in the Province of Nova Scotia as a result of this budget? Will he make that confirmation today?

THE PREMIER: The member opposite started off his question talking about some fictitious conversation with a mayor and then he goes off and asks a question that clearly could be better answered by the Minister of Health, and I would ask him to respond.

HON. JAMES MUIR: I realize that the Libercrats are making a fair bit of noise this morning, but just to refresh the memory of honourable member for Halifax Atlantic. About three questions ago I reiterated my statement that there would be no facilities closed this year.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to focus on the Premier here because he is responsible for this government, he is responsible for the budget, and he told Nova Scotians that health care was priority number one for his government. We know that a temporary arrangement was made to keep the New Waterford Outpatient Department open for the time being; we know that temporary arrangements are being made around the province to try and keep the lid on the impact this government's budget is going to have on services in this province . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 7102]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want the Premier to indicate to us here in the House today that, as a result of this budget the Minister of Health is carrying out, services throughout rural Nova Scotia are not going to be further deteriorated by what his government is doing?

THE PREMIER: What I have difficulty doing is fielding questions such as that. The difficulty is that kind of question makes no recognition of what it is this government is trying to do, and what it is trying to do is to bring fiscal reality back into the decision making of government, to provide good health care that is sustainable not only today, but sustainable tomorrow, and to provide a good classroom environment for all of our young people. Yet, day after day, that member and that caucus brings suggestions to the government by way of their questions that simply would drive the deficit this year right through the roof. Despite the fact that this government heard from the people of Nova Scotia that the number one priority is the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: The Premier is getting questions from me, and my colleagues, because of what commitments he made to Nova Scotians. The Liberals know all about closing hospitals and devastating health care in rural Nova Scotia, and this Premier was going to do something about that. He was going to stop that; he was going to stabilize health care in rural Nova Scotia. He won't make any commitments here today that he won't do that, that he won't go down the same road that the Liberals did. That is why I want the Premier to make a commitment here today that his budget is not going to further take us down the road that the Liberals took us down, where services and hospitals are going to be cut throughout rural Nova Scotia. Make that commitment.

THE PREMIER: The member opposite is absolutely correct. We did make a commitment to the people of Nova Scotia that we would stabilize health care in Nova Scotia. That is what this government and this minister has been doing since we assumed power in August of last year. Stabilizing health care is not as the member opposite suggests, spending more and more money, because we have done that. We had the highest percentage increase over the last three years of health care spending of any province in the entire country, and even that member opposite has said many times that things have not improved so it is obvious that the member opposite would continue . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West. (Interruptions)

Order, please. Order, please. Order, please. Order!

[Page 7103]

I would ask the honourable members for Dartmouth East and Cape Breton North to come to order please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor.

EXCO: CODE OF CONDUCT - LEGISLATION

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago we watched as the Premier flip-flopped on the issue of introducing his code of conduct legislation. Today, we have seen another example of some shady dealings in the Tory caucus by the member for Kings North. My question to the Premier is, can we expect to see your code of conduct legislation introduced in this session?

THE PREMIER: Yes.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, we have to wonder why the Premier has been dragging his feet on the introduction of this particular piece of legislation. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier, quite simply is, if any member of his Cabinet breaks the code of conduct before this legislation is introduced and approved, will he make it retroactive?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the member for Cape Breton West is positioning himself to be the conscience of the Premier. What I will say to the member opposite is that actually, and the member opposite will remember, the code of conduct is in effect now. The legislation will be brought forward that legislates that particular fact but I can assure the member opposite as I have done on previous occasions, the code of conduct is in effect right now.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, two points: one, somebody has to be a conscience because the conscience in that government seems to be a bit lacking. Two, the code of conduct that the Premier has enunciated is not enforceable and he well knows that. So my question to the Premier is will he please explain why he is deliberately delaying the introduction of the code of conduct legislation because certainly there is ample evidence as to why it should be introduced as quickly as possible?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite really is not in a position, having been a member of a government that promised a code of conduct and never delivered it. This government indicated that it would bring forward a code of conduct, it has brought forward

[Page 7104]

the code of conduct. The code of conduct is in effect and the legislation will be brought forward in this sitting of the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: LIBRARIES - FUTURE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. The last time a Tory Government made a dedicated study of school libraries was in 1991 and the Education Minister was Mr. Terry Donahoe. The first recommendation in that report is that the school library "be given special consideration as a basic support service and be accorded a special commitment by the Nova Scotia Department of Education.".

My question to the minister is, do you agree with that recommendation and if not, when did your government abandon it?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to a sustainable education system as it is to a sustainable health care system. School libraries and public libraries in general are the foundation of culture and literacy in this province and in every country.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, literacy in this province is being threatened and it is being threatened by members on that side of the House. This minister's Education budget is devastating school libraries in the Halifax region. I have in my hand a lay-off notice issued to a library assistant last week, who lives and works in my constituency. This is what a lay-off notice looks like, minister. Many library assistants are losing their jobs. Many others have had their hours cut by 60 per cent. My question to the minister is, are you proud of the fact that you are presiding over the end of school libraries?

[11:30 a.m.]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, libraries and school libraries are not at the end. The Halifax Regional Municipality School Board is choosing to make some very difficult decisions this year. A lot of their decisions - with library assistants and libraries - have to do with an issue of supplementary funding. It is up to the school board and the HRM to iron that out between themselves.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: The cuts are being forced on these school boards, and nobody is fooled about that argument that this is their choice. In the past few weeks, when the heat has been on, this minister has reached under her magic cushion and she has been able to find additional money. The so-called adjustment fund is nothing more than a

[Page 7105]

slush fund, to be used when the heat is on this government. My final question to the minister is, why won't you reach under your magic cushion again to save our school libraries?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there is no magic cushion, and school libraries are not being destroyed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - PRIVATIZATION:

INV. N. - WORKERS' CONCERNS

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works with reference to the pending privatization of his department. Last week, I raised the matter of the member for Yarmouth meeting with highway workers in his area on Saturday, April 22nd to raise concerns to be passed on to the minister. When I raised the matter last week, he didn't have too much to say about it.

I have now discovered that on the same day as the member for Yarmouth was meeting with his Transportation workers, the honourable member for Inverness was having a meeting with Transportation workers in his area of Inverness North. They listed a number of specific concerns that they requested their member to carry on to the minister. I would like to ask the minister if he could report to the House, has he heard from the member for Inverness? If so, what was the nature of his response?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, yes, I have heard from the member for Inverness. We had a long discussion.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer would imply that this is a verbal representation. In point of fact, there is a two page letter, which I now wish to table, from the member for Inverness listing nine specific written concerns that he, as MLA for Inverness, is passing on to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for a response. It concludes, "Thank you in advance for your response, as I realize how busy you are. Yours sincerely, Rodney MacDonald, MLA, Inverness". It wasn't discussions at all, it was a letter that he received. It was faxed, because it says right there at the top, "FAXED".

I would like to ask the minister, in response to these nine written concerns submitted by the honourable member for Inverness, if he could perhaps respond here in the House to concern number one, which is, who originated the idea of privatizing the Department of Transportation and Public Works; specifically, was it the Roadbuilders Association of Nova Scotia, which the honourable member notes, based on mainland Nova Scotia, not in Cape Breton?

[Page 7106]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am rather surprised that the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova doesn't have a copy of my written response to the member for Inverness. If any member in this House wishes to write or fax me, I would be perfectly happy to respond to their requests.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of questions being raised across Nova Scotia by highway workers and it is very natural that they should want an immediate response. Unfortunately, at this time we cannot provide that immediate response, but I can assure the members of the House, the people of Nova Scotia and the persons who work for the Department of Transportation and Public Works that this (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works has the floor.

MR. RUSSELL: . . . summer following the House rising, I will be travelling to every facility across this province that are operated by . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You are getting out of town, are you?

MR. RUSSELL: We don't have to hide like that government used to hide. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova on your final supplementary.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, have I the floor?

MR. SPEAKER: You sure do.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I can well appreciate why the honourable minister will be wanting to get out of town as quick as he can when this session of the House winds up because point number eight in the letter from the honourable member for Inverness read, "Workers are 100% against privatization and believe that Inverness County (20% unemployed) will be devastated with the possible loss of 30-40 jobs (Inverness North), and 30-40 jobs (Inverness South)."

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACEWAN: I would like to ask the minister, is he intent now on going forward with his plans for privatization after the very sincere remarks and advice that he has received from the member for Inverness and, no doubt, the member for Yarmouth as well, against privatization which is going to increase unemployment in rural areas? (Interruptions)

[Page 7107]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the last person and the last Party that I would turn to for advice on how to maintain roads is that crew over there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - JOE HOWE MANOR (HFX.):

PEST CONTROL - ACTION

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. Just when things are getting bad under this government, they can always get worse. Joseph Howe Manor is a seniors' complex that happens to be in the constituency of the Education Minister. It is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Authority which is a provincial agency. It appears that the Joseph Howe Manor has a mouse problem. It is causing distress to residents and their visitors. My question to the minister is, what standards of accommodations does the minister think our seniors deserve and does that standard include having to put up with mice?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, apparently the municipality is sending a by-law enforcement officer to look into the complaint. The municipality should not have to do that because the building is owned and operated by the province. If anyone should be an exemplary landlord, it should be the province, but instead the residents have glueboard which have been described by one visitor as "Basically a piece of fly paper that they stick on and scream until they die." (Laughter) And that is the mice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth North has the floor.

Question, please.

MR. PYE: My question is, what assurance will the minister give that this is not the standard that people can expect if they live in provincial seniors' housing?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House that the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs takes the situation much more seriously than the giggling member.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want the honourable minister to know that it really has become a laughable matter by the way in which this government has decided to address this issue by neglect. My final question to the minister, will you direct the housing authority, today, to take the immediate and decisive steps to eradicate the pest problem at Joseph Howe

[Page 7108]

Manor and any other seniors' complex owned by the province so that seniors can live with a peace of mind? And that is the final question.

MR. MACISAAC: The Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs always supports the efforts of housing authorities to look after the properties. They have done it in the past and they will be doing it in this particular instance. If the honourable member has information that would be helpful to the department in dealing with other situations, we would be more than happy to hear from him.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

NSLC - PRIVATIZATION: EMPLOYEES - CONSIDER

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: My question is for the Minister responsible for the administration of the Liquor Control Act. It is with reference to a letter that we have seen tabled already today. The minister knows that in Inverness there are 35 to 40 good jobs at the Liquor Commission and the minister knows that these types of jobs are rare in rural Nova Scotia. The minister has met with highway workers who are 100 per cent against privatization and the minister knows liquor store employees feel the same way. My question to the minister is, why is the minister not giving the liquor store employees the same consideration as he has given highway workers?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: I thank the honourable member for the question. It gives me an opportunity to address the previous letter as he mentioned in his question. I should say I do raise the concerns of my constituents and when my constituents ask me to put something in writing to a minister, I do so, unlike the previous government would do.

As well, I do take the concerns of the liquor store employees very seriously. That is why we are doing the analysis, that is why we are taking our time, we are doing it right, unlike the previous government who just decreased the number of full-time equivalents by 119 over the course of six years.

MR. MACASKILL: I am glad the minister feels that way because he is the only person in Nova Scotia who believes privatization of highways and liquor store workers will be a benefit to the government. Inverness County recently passed a motion opposing the privatization of liquor stores and the minister knows that unemployment in Inverness and indeed, in my riding of Victoria, is somewhere in the range of 20 and 30 per cent. Even higher in the winter months. How can the minister in good conscience privatize Liquor Commission stores that will do so much damage to our rural communities?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Again, it is like the Minister of Health was saying in answer to a question, I would ask the honourable member to table documentation he has that says we are definitely privatizing anything. We don't know what - we are looking at the

[Page 7109]

analysis, we are doing analysis on the various options available. We have been very open. In fact, I have tabled the terms of reference, I will table it again for the honourable member so he can take a quick read over. This will come back in the summer, we will make a decision from there. I won't say he is misleading Nova Scotians, I won't say that at all, it would be unparliamentary for me to say that.

MR. MACASKILL: Let me ask the minister today in the House, will the minister demonstrate the same concern for the employees of liquor stores . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova indicated that I said something in a letter. In fact, it is clarified in a letter. It says, "Many questions and concerns were raised, and I indicated that I would pass these questions along to you . . .", meaning the Minister of Transportation, ". . . for response." I feel that he should retract that and possibly apologize to the people of Inverness. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The member for Cape Breton Nova has the floor.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: The copy of the minister's letter that I tabled is unaltered and unadulterated in any way except that in my own handwriting I have added these numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The interpretation of the epistle is open to interpretation, and my interpretation of it is that he conveys to the minister . . .

[11:45 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. (Interruptions)

Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I was just going to suggest that maybe you could have a review of the letter yourself and, based on that, make whatever determination is necessary.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I believe it is a matter of interpretation and a disagreement between two members. I think the letter will speak for itself. There is no point of order.

[Page 7110]

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[11:46 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton East:

"Therefore be it resolved that the government cease its plans to privatize government operations as it will be harmful to rural Nova Scotia."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

GOV'T. (NS): PRIVATIZATION - CEASE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time on this important topic with the honourable member for Victoria.

Earlier today, in Question Period, I introduced a document addressed to the Honourable Ronald Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works, and signed by the MLA for Inverness, listing nine areas of concern expressed by Department of Transportation and Public Works' workers in the Inverness North area. Of these nine, seven related to privatization; seven out of nine. The seven questions were:

[Page 7111]

1. "Who originated the premise of a privatized Department of Transportation and Public Works? Was it from the Roadbuilders Association (based on mainland Nova Scotia)?"

2. "Why is the rural impact funding ($9 million) being contracted out?"

3. "Why are four (4) areas being targeted for privatization pilots? Why not do 10% of the province, rather than 30%? Workers believe that even if the analysis shows that there is little difference, that it will cost too much to buy back equipment."

4. "Workers believe that the degree of quality has diminished with respect to line painting and chip sealing, which have gone out to the private sector."

5. "The Department of Transportation and Public Works has a multi-task trained workforce. Why go out to the private sector with the talent now available within the Department?"

7. "What are the terms of reference for the pilot project?"

Hear this now, Mr. Speaker:

8. "Workers are 100% against privatization and believe that Inverness County (20% unemployed) will be devastated with the possible loss of 30-40 jobs (Inverness North), and 30-40 jobs (Inverness South)."

"Yours sincerely, Rodney MacDonald, MLA for Inverness."

I have tabled it already, but I have plenty of copies. The honourable member for Richmond is the first in line, so he gets the first copy I have available, but I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that these are serious concerns.

AN HON. MEMBER: Would you table that?

MR. MACEWAN: He wants me to table it again. I have already tabled it; the Clerk has one there on the table already.

Mr. Speaker, in the short time available to me, I want to briefly examine from what quarter the government has been getting this advice to privatize everything in sight, and I went through my file of clippings and I found this big one in The Cape Breton Post, September 30, 1999, under the banner, Close hospitals.

[Page 7112]

Does it sound familiar? "Close hospitals, sell liquor stores: business leaders", the date line is Halifax. "Sell liquor stores. Close hospitals. Scrap whole departments . . . The Halifax Chamber of Commerce called for immediate spending cuts in the budget due in mid-October. 'We do not expect all of the answers in the first budget,' said chamber president Murray Coolican" - who some have called the uncrowned king of Nova Scotia - and he went on to call for entire departments to be scrapped, starting with the Department of Economic Development.

Now, that is where they have been getting this advice from. I don't know why they should be bound to follow it. If they want me to table documents, I will table this clipping because I read from it. I have another big clipping here, Mr. Speaker, under the heading, Road Workers Vow to Fight Contracting Out. Well, we have already seen that from the epistle from St. Rodney, and I know that the road workers do indeed fight contracting out and I, as Transportation Critic of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, will certainly do all that I can to support them because we, in this Party, do not support the advocacies of Murray Coolican.

We do not want to see the department privatized; we do not want to see these workers become unemployed. We want to see the solid service that the Department of Transportation and Public Works has delivered for years to the people of Nova Scotia continued without interruption. That is why I tabled that letter earlier today, to indicate the concerns that have even been expressed by Progressive Conservative members on the other side of the House.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that time is limited and my friend, the honourable member for Victoria, wants to take up the cudgels from where I leave off. He is going to speak on the privatization of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. But I can say with some pride before I take my place that we in this Party governed for six years and there was no talk of the privatization of either the Department of Transportation and Public Works or the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission.

I can further state that we in this Party, when we were in Opposition to the Cameron Government, fought long and hard against the privatization of the Nova Scotia Power Corporation, a battle that we lost, and when we formed the government in 1993 it was financially impossible to gain the Nova Scotia Power Corporation back. But Nova Scotia Power is an example of how services suffer when government programs are privatized, and we do not want to see that repeated with the Department of Transportation and Public Works, and we don't want to see that repeated with the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. Having given those few opening salvos, I now will yield to my friend, the honourable member for Victoria, to take up the struggle from where I have left off.

[Page 7113]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for giving me a few moments to make a few points on privatization. I sat in this House 10 years ago when Nova Scotia Power was privatized. We would expect the Opposition Parties to do just that, to oppose government and their actions but we spent hours debating the privatization of Nova Scotia Power at that time. We learned from that experience that in Opposition we were right. What has the province gained by the privatization of Nova Scotia Power? They certainly didn't gain any money because that year we had one of the highest operating deficits in the province's history so it was not a great capital gain.

It seems that this government is proceeding with the privatization agenda based on nothing more than a feeling that privatization is better. There is no evidence to date that the taxpayer will save any money on privatization and there is no rhyme or rational reason put forth. Mr. Speaker, in rural Nova Scotia people depend on jobs, both in transportation and at the liquor stores. A fair number of businesses rely on people who make good money and who have steady jobs to keep them going in the winter months and it adds to these communities and to their economy. These are not charity jobs. They are good-paying jobs and they are required to provide a public service and to control the access of a highly restricted product.

Employees at the liquor store provide access to product for the same price, whether you live in rural Nova Scotia or whether you live in the urban, metro area. Under privatization, rural areas will be denied a wide selection of product and the price will be significantly higher, Mr. Speaker, than in urban areas.

The liquor store brings $130 million into the provincial coffers each year and employs 500 people full time and 178 part time and 300 casual employees. Many of those employees live and raise their families in rural Nova Scotia. Privatization will effectively end a way of life for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of rural Nova Scotians and that is why we are opposed to government moving ahead with privatization.

Mr. Speaker, government must cease its privatization agenda unless they can provide some rational reasons for moving ahead in this direction. So far the government has yet to prove its case. It also, both in the Liquor Commission and in the privatization of highway jobs, leaves a great fear of uncertainty or a great cloud hanging over these employees' heads as to what their future will be. Do they have a job next winter? It is not fair to those employees who provided for the province a good service over the year. They do their job and they do their job well. To leave those people hung out with that uncertainty what tomorrow is going to bring, what the future is going to bring, how they are going to feed their families, it is not fair to those employees.

[Page 7114]

Even in the privatization of some highway work, nobody knows what areas will be affected. It is a shame. We would expect the government to be forthright with those people, let them know what is happening so that they can set the agenda for their future, and they will know where their paycheques are coming from. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will turn the floor over to another member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and take the opportunity to speak on the resolution put forward, I believe it was by the member for Cape Breton East, and I appreciate the words from the member for Cape Breton Nova and my next-door neighbour, the member for Victoria.

While I am relatively new to the Legislature and to the government, I would like to think I learned a little bit since the fall and the spring, although I am sure there will be some objections from the other side of the House. After listening to the lengthy debates, many hours through the fall and now in the spring, there is one thing I noticed from the other side, that is, it would appear from the other side that they wouldn't want anything to change in government. There isn't a department they would like to see changed, not a program shifted or removed, no processes should change course, Mr. Speaker. If the Opposition had their way, this government would remain static. Unfortunately, the financial outlook based on the status quo just isn't possible.

Over the past number of months, the government looked at a variety of areas. One we looked at is should we remove ourselves in whole or partially, or should we concentrate on the essential needs of the people of this province? One example which was brought up from the member for Victoria was our announcement to take a look at the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission during the Budget Address. Mr. Speaker, we did say we will take a new direction and go into a new direction if it makes sense for the taxpayers of the province. At present, we are the only province in Canada that does not permit any private involvement in liquor distribution, in wholesale or retail.

It was also ironic that the member for Victoria, when speaking, talked about the impact on rural jobs and so on, and the member for Cape Breton Nova said that we never gave it any thought whatsoever. I tabled this in the House, Mr. Speaker, and I will table this again. It is from the 1998-99 Crown Corporation Business Plans submitted by the honourable Don Downe, the Minister of Finance. Where he is talking about the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission in the future, he says, "While efforts in these areas will continue . . . ", that is talking about some of the cost reduction efforts they did, " . . . their impact will moderate as there are few significant short term, cost reduction opportunities without pursuing substantial structural change in the way the NSLC delivers its services."

[Page 7115]

Now that was put out by the previous government, and they said we should take a look at structural change. I have not stood up in the House and said that we are privatizing the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, but I did say we should take a look at the options. That is what this government has said. That is why I tabled the terms of reference for the working committee. This is a sensible approach, an approach which will take a look at the fiscal impact, the impact on service levels across the province, the collective bargaining impact, the impact on the control of liquor products, the economic impact. There is a sensible approach.

I really do believe that the members from the red team, I should say, truly agree that we should be taking a look. I think about people in my own area. I think about villages like Whycocomagh which is currently at least 25 minutes away from an NSLC. There has been a lot of talk in that community that this may be a possibility for them to take a look to see if there is an opportunity through a variety of options for a community like Whycocomagh. I think they endorse this, as I do.

Mr. Speaker, the options available range from beer and wine in the corner stores. There are options like the Alberta model, the New Brunswick model. There are a number of different options. But the honourable members from the red team and the orange team have tried to put words in my mouth and in this government's mouth. I can assure them that we are taking a direction which is a common-sense direction. At the end of the day, regardless, we are going to ensure policies and regulations are in place to control alcohol sales and distribution. We will do so.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things I would like to talk about, but I am not going to have time tonight. Unlike what the honourable members on the other side of the House say, that we are going to be harmful to rural Nova Scotia, in fact, the opposite is true. I can give you numerous examples. I look at some of the initiatives taken forward, I look at the government bursaries, up to 50 per cent of the cost of tuition for medical students providing opportunities to stay in the rural parts of this province. I think of another one which comes to mind. We were talking about transportation and the additional $9 million. As the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley would say, the previous government didn't even put a teaspoon of asphalt in my riding. They ignored it like they ignored many areas of the province. This government is committed to making a difference on the back roads with ditching, with paving and we will make a difference and we are making a difference already.

[6:15 p.m.]

We are making a difference even in the Liberal ridings. I am sure they are very pleased with the amount of work and how we are straightening it up. I mean, Lord knows we have a lot of work to do. They left the roads and the secondary roads - I know in your riding Mr. Speaker, I have been up there myself - in a mess and it is a shame. I think about the community economic development, I think in my own community of Mabou, the waterfront development which the previous government wouldn't even look at and already in the fall

[Page 7116]

there is work being done there. The community is looking forward to the rest of the work and we are committed to continue doing that throughout the province in many areas.

I also think about the call centre which is the largest announcement in Cape Breton. The previous government, six years, we had the Premier, we had the Minister of - I think we had about six or seven - and it took the minister from Digby to come down to Cape Breton and make the largest announcement. That says a lot about the previous government.

I think about the film tax credit which we increased. I think about the member for Victoria and how we just made the announcement to include the Highland Village in the Nova Scotia Museum, doubling the amount of funding they get now. Something which they committed to doing to a minister's riding and guess what? Like many other things, they just wouldn't do it and we did it. We are not just talking about it, we are doing it. That makes a difference.

I think about the funding for the provincial 4-H programs. Lifelong learning. As a teacher, and I know the member for Timberlea-Prospect knows full well how important the entrepreneurial skills and lifelong learning from 4-H is, we are committed to doing that and we have maintained that funding.

It would be easy to support the status quo and that is how government has been running for decades. This is not a problem which happened overnight. It didn't happen in the last six years, it didn't happen in the last 10 years, or 20, it happened long before that. It is time that we do have to change and I think about last year's election. I think about the number of young people who helped me out in my campaign and what they told me, and I know they told all members of this House, whatever Party, is that it is time for government to change. We need change. We need to move forward, we cannot remain with the status quo - it is not good enough. I am not going to get into the whole deficit and debt situation. They know full well the mess that was created.

Mr. Speaker, I am only getting warmed up, I only have 50 seconds, I wish I had a couple of hours, but unfortunately I don't. Again, in last year's election, young people are looking for change and the questions are asked, should we be in the hotel business? That is a good question and we are going after the private sector management contract. All Parties, all people may not agree with it, but to me it is something which makes sense. Of course, we are going to get the best deal possible for the people of the province. There are a number of different other things we could talk about. I realize I only have a few seconds left, I hear some grumbles from the other side. Mr. Speaker, I thought somebody would take the opportunity with the half hour to be out fishing with the free fishing licence they acquired in the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately they didn't and I will yield the floor to the honourable member across the way.

[Page 7117]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: I thank the honourable member for yielding the floor. I guess he didn't have much choice. A very quick introduction to privatization - I went through some information available to me. If this seems somewhat disjointed, in trying to absorb it, I will certainly try to offer members some information. I want to say to the member for Cape Breton Nova that I certainly endorse the concerns that he raised around the privatization of the Department of Transportation and Public Works. Lots of individuals employed there are from my constituency, and they are echoing some of the same concerns. I am glad that he brought those up. I certainly hope to speak somewhat to the Department of Transportation and Public Works, but first of all, the minister mentioned the Alberta experience. I have some information about the Alberta experience, and I would like him and all members of the House to be aware of it.

We in Nova Scotia are being coerced on this notion of privatization, based on the financial need to look at this. I think the honourable minister has tried to be clear in this House on many occasions, that is what the government is doing. We are looking at this to see whether it is worthwhile. I conclude from his comments that if it is not worthwhile, we won't proceed down this road. Albertans were told the exact same thing, that because of the efficiencies that could be gathered from doing this in the private sector, this was the direction that they would go. Within a month of the privatization, or opening the door to privatization, the Alberta Liquor Control Board received in the range of 600 applications from individuals wanting to carry out privatization of liquor. So the number of outlets increased from roughly 200 to 800.

Within a very short period of time - and I think if my time-frame is right, this occurred in 1993-94 - most of those had failed. Actually, in the case of Iowa - which actually had done the exact same privatization - by 1993, 70 per cent of the 400 licences were held by grocery stores and the other 65, or one-third, were held by independents, which shows that the larger chains actually took over most of the business.

"Consumer prices in Iowa also started to rise within a year of privatization, and by September 1993 were 7% higher. All signs indicate that Alberta is following the Iowa experience. In July 1994, the Consumer Price Index indicated prices were 5.9% higher than in September 1993 when all ALBC stores were still operating. In a poll of Albertans conducted last April, 42% believed prices had become 'worse' since privatization, while only 7% believed prices were 'better'.

The effect of the government's 'revenue neutral' tax was to raise the prices of cheaper products while lowering those of more expensive products. The result: savings for the well-to-do and extra costs for everyone else. Private retailers admitted they could not get by on the low

[Page 7118]

markup of 6% maintained by the ALBC stores. One survey found that the average markup for private retailers was 14-to-17% above the wholesale price, calling into question . . . claim that the private system would be 'leaner and more efficient' than the public system.

The evidence is clear that privatization has led to higher prices in Alberta, and at an earlier point than in the Iowa case. Selection has also suffered. Under the ALCB system, more than 2,500 brands were stocked in its stores. Now there are 48% fewer brands for beer, and almost 75% fewer brands for wine. Private vendors are frustrated that they cannot obtain many of the brands they would like to carry, and consumers are complaining of empty shelves where their favourite brands should be.

Apart from the decline in selection, consumers are enjoying greater convenience, although it should be noted that there was no shortage of outlets under the public system. By June 1994, there were 366 retail outlets in operation, presumably resulting in a reduction of consumers' average driving time. Hours of operation have also been extended. If the grocery chains are allowed fully-integrated selling, convenience will be maximized."

At present, I am not going to get into the social impacts; if I have time, I will come back to that because I am not sure that social impacts is something that members opposite may understand. But the one thing I will say about social impacts, finally privatization has had a negative impact on employment opportunities in the province. As of July 1994, 44 per cent of former Alberta Liquor Control Board workers surveyed remained unemployed and 24 per cent were only working part time.

The financial impacts, which I think members opposite will consider:

"The public system benefited from economies of scale in terms of purchasing, distribution and administration . . . In fact, by the standards of the private sector, the returns generated by the ALCB were phenomenal. In 1992 the ALCB earned $402 million on an investment of $119 million. This works out to a return on investment in excess of 300% superior to returns earned by most private companies, and far superior to the returns earned by most other government ventures, such as Novatel . . . Furthermore, these profits appear to have been sustainable without further investment.

[Page 7119]

Using the terminology of Michael Porter . . .", and I wish I could say who that was (Laughter), " . . . the ALCB system was a 'cash cow' that generated large profits for the government with minimal capital investment.

The Alberta Liquor Control Board also provided full-time employment to between 1,100 and 1,300 people. In addition employment of part-time and casual staff was equal to another 390 to 500 full-time positions . . . wages for full time employees averaged about $27,000 . . .", Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard University. "In contrast, most employees of the private retail stores are paid as little as $10 an hour, and part-timers about $7.50 an hour without any benefits. This represents a 25-to-45% drop in compensation -- and an equivalent reduction in tax revenue from these employees to the provincial treasury.

The introduction of a flat tax system is unlikely to increase or even maintain government revenues since increased tax revenues will be eroded by substitution effects and pressures by retailers to have the flat tax rates reduced."

Now, it appears, " . . . that the amount of revenue generated was much less than what these assets cost originally, and what could have been realized with a less hasty and more organized sale. What these numbers suggest, in fact, is that the firesale approach adopted by the government has resulted in selling prices being a fraction of the value of the properties. Their sale amounted to a wealth transfer from taxpayers to individuals and corporations that bought them.

The likely future entry of grocery chains to sell alcoholic beverages in integrated premises would decrease overall sector employment and significantly decrease provincial income tax revenues from $3.8 million under the previously public-run system to $0.8 million. The withdrawal of these jobs, along with the decreased salaries in the remaining private retail outlets, would decrease the amount of money that Alberta citizens have to spend, resulting in decreased incomes for other businesses and individuals.

Economists refer to this as the multiplier effect and estimate this multiplier to be around 2."

[Page 7120]

So, I think it is clear that "Except for marginal gains in convenience . . . the overall direct result of privatization to Albertans will be higher costs, less selection, and significant revenue losses, accompanied by potential indirect costs to the province's social fabric and economic situation."

In my last seconds, I want to say from the Attorney General in Ontario that he is predicting a cost to the province of privatization of $100 million for the Department of Highways.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time for the adjournment debate has expired. I would like to thank the honourable members who have taken part in the debate this evening.

The House will now resolve itself into Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Kevin Deveaux in the Chair.]

[7:21 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Kevin Deveaux in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 47 - Education Act.

Bill No. 10 - Farm Practices Act.

Bill No. 30 - Flea Markets Regulation Act.

Bill No. 31 - International Wills Act.

Bill No. 32 - Water Resources Protection Act.

Bill No. 35 - Housing Development Corporation Act.

Bill No. 43 - Energy and Mineral Resources Conservation Act, Petroleum Resources Act and Pipeline Act.

Bill No. 36 - The Scots: North British Society Act.

Bill No. 41 - Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial Assistance (2000) Act.

[Page 7121]

Bill No. 50 - Bluenose Club Act.

Bill No. 52 - Nova Scotia Association of Realtors Act.

Bill No. 53 - Hilden Cemetery Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read for a third time on a future day.

The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill 29 - Medical Laboratory Technology Act.

Bill No. 42 - Municipal Law Amendment (2000) Act.

and the committee has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read for a third time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 56 - The Anglican Church Act.

[Page 7122]

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Do we need unanimous consent for the Committee of the Whole House on Bills to meet on this bill?

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Is there unanimous agreement that the House deal with Bill No. 56?

It is agreed.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[7:23 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[7:24 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 56 - The Anglican Church Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read for a third time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that completes the government's business for today and tomorrow being Opposition Day, perhaps the honourable Liberal Party House Leader would tell the House the business for tomorrow.

[Page 7123]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal Party House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House will sit from the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. We will be calling, following the daily routine and Question Period, Bill No. 57 and Resolution No. 2534.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn to meet tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. and we will sit until 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now adjourn to meet tomorrow from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

We are adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 7:26 p.m.]

[Page 7124]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2658

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Annapolis Royal Nursery School was founded in 1975; and

Whereas the Annapolis Royal Nursery School recently held ceremonies for their 25th graduating class of students who will start, as four year olds say, big school, in September; and

Whereas the mission statement of the Annapolis Royal Nursery School has been and remains to provide an atmosphere which encourages social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth and development of the child as a whole;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature and members through this resolution extend our best wishes to current director Robyn Berry as well as previous directors and founders of the school and wish them every success for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2659

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Heather Warner recently retired as Secretary at the East Pictou Rural High School after 44 years of service; and

Whereas Ms. Warner attended East Pictou Rural High School in the early 1950's and upon graduation went directly to work as the school's secretary; and

Whereas Ms. Warner, at a retirement party recently held for her in Stellarton, was presented with a huge card that had been signed by former and present students at the school as well as family, friends and colleagues;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs acknowledge the valued contributions made by Ms. Heather Warner in her 44 year career as secretary at the East Pictou Rural High School and wish her the very best in her retirement years.

[Page 7125]

RESOLUTION NO. 2660

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas volunteers from the East Pictou Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society were recently honoured for their time and effort put toward fund-raising for the society; and

Whereas four local bodies were thanked for their efforts and they were organizers of the Donald Keddy Memorial Hockey Tournament, the Westville Fire Department, the Laureate Kappa Chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi and the organizers of "Curl for Cancer"; and

Whereas community groups and their strong leadership abilities are of the utmost importance in fund-raising initiatives that help such large areas of our population;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize the diligent efforts put forth by volunteers with the East Pictou Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society and thank them for another great fund-raising drive.

RESOLUTION NO. 2661

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Natasha O'Handley, who was a very much respected and well liked member of the Springhill Police Department, both by the community and by all residents of Springhill, lost her life in a motorcycle accident on June 13, 1999; and

Whereas Natasha touched the hearts of many, including her co-workers, residents and especially children of the Town of Springhill as she served that community in her duties as the first female police officer on the force; and

Whereas as a result of her service to the community, her parents, Malcolm and Debbie O'Handley, have established a bursary in memory of Natasha at the Springhill High School which will be awarded to a graduate each year;

[Page 7126]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the commitment that Natasha O'Handley made and the impact that she had on the youth of the Town of Springhill and thank her family for this generous memorial which is being made in Natasha's name at this time.

RESOLUTION NO. 2662

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Parrsboro and Advocate High Schools have taken part in a national education program which could change the face of learning in Canada; and

Whereas students from the two high schools have formed virtual teams as part of an Internet-based learning program that is a collaboration between Knowledge House Inc., Intel of Canada, the Chignecto Central Regional School Board and MTT; and

Whereas students involved in the program were challenged to address problems in English, chemistry, biology, global and computer studies while developing critical skills such as consensus building, conflict resolution and communications;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the students and staff of Parrsboro Regional High School and Advocate District High School for their success in this ground-breaking educational program.

RESOLUTION NO. 2663

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Zellers Moonwalk is an annual event that raises funds for cystic fibrosis research; and

Whereas Taylor and Frank Bailey of Springhill are for the fifth consecutive year collecting pledges for this worthwhile cause; and

Whereas Taylor and Frank Bailey have raised more than $5,000 to date and hope to raise an additional $1,000 this year; and

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Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Taylor and Frank Bailey on their dedication to such a worthwhile cause and wish them well as they raise money to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2664

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on June 28, 2000 Parrsboro Regional High School will be honouring the first graduating class of the new millennium; and

Whereas these students have worked so hard with their families, teachers and staff of Parrsboro Regional High School to achieve this most deserving goal on this evening; and

Whereas these students will be leaving this school to seek their place in society, either through further education or in the workplace or elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the graduating class of the year 2000 of Parrsboro Regional High School and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2665

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on June 28, 2000 River Hebert District High School will be honouring the first graduating class of the new millennium; and

Whereas these students have worked so hard with their families, teachers and staff of River Hebert District High School to achieve this most deserving goal on this evening; and

Whereas these students will be leaving this school to seek their place in society, either through further education or in the workplace or elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the graduating class of the year 2000 of River Hebert District High School and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2666

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on June 28, 2000 Oxford Regional High School will be honouring the first graduating class of the new millennium; and

Whereas these students have worked so hard with their families, teachers and staff of Oxford Regional High School to achieve this most deserving goal on this evening; and

Whereas these students will be leaving this school to seek their place in society, either through further education or in the workplace or elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the graduating class of the year 2000 of Oxford Regional High School and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2667

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on June 28, 2000 Advocate District High School will be honouring the first graduating class of the new millennium; and

Whereas these students have worked so hard with their families, teachers and staff of Advocate District High School to achieve this most deserving goal on this evening; and

Whereas these students will be leaving this school to seek their place in society, either through further education or in the workplace or elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the graduating class of the year 2000 of Advocate District High School and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2668

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on June 28, 2000 Springhill High School will be honouring the first graduating class of the new millennium; and

Whereas these students have worked so hard with their families, teachers and staff of Springhill High School to achieve this most deserving goal on this evening; and

Whereas these students will be leaving this school to seek their place in society, either through further education or in the workplace or elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the graduating class of the year 2000 of Springhill High School and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2669

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the original Parrsboro Golf Clubhouse was a farm house moved to the location in 1929, owned privately by Joe and Mary Jeffers, which opened to the public in September 1930; and

Whereas the Parrsboro Golf Club has undertaken to build a new clubhouse funded solely by the members and supporters of the community with donations of money, services and materials, plus thousands of hours of volunteer effort; and

Whereas this fine new building will benefit Parrsboro and Cumberland County in direct economic support and will also enhance visitor awareness of the scenery and activities critical to tourism in the area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate all members of the Parrsboro Golf Club, the many citizens, donors and volunteers taking part in this very important project and wish them all the best in the future in this new facility.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2670

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas coal mining is so much a part of the history of many communities in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas on June 11th the communities of River Hebert and Springhill will recognize the commitment of men and young boys, who lost their lives in the coal mines, along with families who stood by them throughout the years; and

Whereas families, friends and residents will gather to keep the memories alive of those very brave people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature recognize the commitment made to this province by the coal miners of Nova Scotia and the sacrifice they made for all of us.

RESOLUTION NO. 2671

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas 70 year young Erdene Crowe of Springhill has been an avid hockey fan for a number of years, attending games of her children, grandchildren and youth from all communities; and

Whereas Mrs. Crowe has offered her services to the Amherst Junior A Ramblers in the way of staffing duties which they are presently looking to fill; and

Whereas the fine example Mrs. Crowe has shown both in her personal family life and in her many trips to the arenas would be a credit to any organization along with the knowledge she has shown of the game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mrs. Crowe on her commitment to her family and to the youth of Nova Scotia and wish her all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2672

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Warren and Joan Keizer of River Phillip are tremendous community supporters who have supported athletic teams, community organizations and fire departments for many years; and

Whereas this year the Keizers sponsored the Cumberland County National Trailer Sales Peewee AA Bombers; and

Whereas the Bombers recently recognized this generous sponsorship with a specially made plaque, complete with the team's picture;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Warren and Joan Keizer for their tireless dedication and generous contributions to their community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2673

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Melvin Jones was the founder of Lions International, the largest service club in the world; and

Whereas Lewis Brown of the Parrsboro and Area Lions Club will be receiving the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest award of the Lions Club, at their annual meeting on June 10, 2000; and

Whereas Lewis, who has 28 years of service with the Parrsboro and Area Lions Club, is being recognized for his commitment, dedication and caring attitude to his fellow man;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Lewis Brown on this very prestigious award and wish him all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2674

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Melvin Jones was the founder of Lions International, the largest service club in the world; and

Whereas Merton Kay of the Parrsboro and Area Lions Club will be receiving the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest award of the Lions Club, at their annual meeting on June 10, 2000; and

Whereas Merton, who has 21 years of service with the Parrsboro and Area Lions Club, is being recognized for his commitment, dedication and caring attitude to his fellow man;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Merton Kay on this very prestigious award and wish him all the best in the future.