Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., June 8, 2000

First Session

THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Health: Soldiers Memorial Hospital: Services - Save, Mr. D. Dexter 7235
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. for Collège de l'Acadie, Hon. J. Purves 7236
Nova Scotia Pay Equity Commission Report, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7236
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Leaders of Liberal (Mr. Russell MacLellan) & New Democratic
(Mr. Robert Chisholm) Parties: Service - Acknowledged,^
The Premier 7236
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Digby-Weymouth North -
Approved, Hon. R. Russell 7240
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2722, Econ. Dev. - Production School House (Windsor) &
Hants Ventures Inc.: Success - Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 7242
Vote - Affirmative 7243
Res. 2723, Justice - Cdn. Bar Assoc.: Annual Conf. (Hfx. 21/8-23/8/00) -
Best Wishes Extend, Hon. M. Baker 7243
Vote - Affirmative 7244
Res. 2724, Fish. - CBC Info. Morning Birthday Party (30th):
Fish Cakes (Min. & Staff) - MLAs Attend, Hon. E. Fage 7244
Vote - Affirmative 7245
Res. 2725, Fish. - Oceans Day (08/06/00): Importance - Recognize,
Hon. E. Fage 7245
Vote - Affirmative 7245
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2726, Nat. Res. - Davis Day: Coal Miners - Memory Honour,
Mr. F. Corbett 7246
Vote - Affirmative 7246
Res. 2727, Liberal Party (N.S.) Leader (C.B. North MLA) - Service:
Appreciation - Extend, Dr. J. Smith 7247
Vote - Affirmative 7247
Res. 2728, Holocaust - Survivor: Philip Riteman - Commend,
Hon. P. Christie 7247
Vote - Affirmative 7248
Res. 2729, NDP (N.S.) Leader (Hfx. Atlantic MLA): Dedication -
Recognize, Mr. J. Holm 7248
Vote - Affirmative 7249
Res. 2730, Health - Care: Truth - Commit, Mr. R. MacLellan 7249
Res. 2731, Milne (MLA Lun. West 1978-1988) & May Pickings:
Golden Wedding Anniv. - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 7250
Vote - Affirmative 7250
Res. 2732, Lions' Club Internat. (Vice Dist. Gov. [41-N2 Dist.]):
Sharon Dykman (Mineville) - Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 7251
Vote - Affirmative 7251
Res. 2733, Sports: Judo (World Champs.-Sydney [N.S.]) -
Success Wish, Mr. Manning MacDonald 7251
Vote - Affirmative 7252
Res. 2734, RCMP (Tatamagouche): Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. W. Langille 7252
Vote - Affirmative 7253
Res. 2735, Educ. - Special Needs Children: Cuts - Info.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7253
Res. 2736, Fin.: Deficit (1993) - Recalculate, Mr. D. Downe 7254
Res. 2737, Educ. - Harry R. Hamilton Elem. Sch.: Bill Gerrior
(Principal) Retirement - Thank, Mr. B. Barnet 7254
Res. 2738, PC Party (N.S.) - Promises-Explanation/Gas Ball-Earth Hit:
Timing Coincidence - Beware (N.S.), Mr. D. Dexter 7255
Res. 2739, Shelburne MLA - Roseway Hospital: Future - Revelation
Ensure, Mr. R. MacLellan 7256
Res. 2740, EMO - Ground Search & Rescue Operations: Efforts -
Recognize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 7256
Vote - Affirmative 7257
Res. 2741, Educ. - Colby Village Elem. Sch.: Anniv. 25th - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 7257
Vote - Affirmative 7258
Res. 2742, Culture - Gaelic College: Support - Continue,
Mr. K. MacAskill 7258
Vote - Affirmative 7258
Res. 2743, Nat. Res. - Peregrines (Cdn.): Falconers (U.S.) - Access Deny,
Mr. F. Chipman 7258
Vote - Affirmative 7259
Res. 2744, Gov't. (N.S.) - Actions: Public Views Balanced - Remember,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7259
Res. 2745, Fin. - Sysco: Clean-up - Initiate, Mr. P. MacEwan 7260
Res. 2746, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99 on): Deficit -
Address, Mr. Robert Chisholm 7261
Res. 2747, Health - System: Knowledge (Min.) - Lacking,
Mr. M. Samson 7261
Res. 2748, Trinkie Coffin (Pres.-Elect CHEA) & Dr. Garth Coffin
(Pres.-Elect AIC) [Bible Hill]: Success - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 7262
Vote - Affirmative 7262
Res. 2749, Educ. - Terence Bay Elem. Sch.: One Class (P to 2) -
Oppose, Mr. W. Estabrooks 7263
Res. 2750, Educ. - Democracy: Concept - Revise, Mr. W. Gaudet 7263
Res. 2751, Educ. - Harry R. Hamilton Elem. Sch.: Bill Gerrior
(Principal) Retirement - Thank, (By Mr. B. Taylor) Mr. B. Barnet 7264
Vote - Affirmative 7265
Res. 2752, Nat. Res. - Energy Council: Composition - Reconsider,
Mr. H. Epstein 7265
Res. 2753, Fin. - Min.: Economics Course - Enrol, Mr. R. MacKinnon 7265
Res. 2754, Commun. Serv. - Family Benefits: Cuts - Explain, Mr. J. Pye 7266
Res. 2755, Gov't. (N.S.) - Methodology: Backwardness - Condemn,
Mr. M. Samson 7267
Res. 2756, Charlie & Kay McDonnell (Enfield): Golden Wedding Anniv. -
Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 7267
Vote - Affirmative 7268
Res. 2757, Girl Guides (Glace Bay) - Ambassadors: Selection - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Wilson 7268
Vote - Affirmative 7269
Res. 2758, Gov't. (N.S.) - Throne Speech (1999): Commitments (35) -
Abandonment, Mr. J. Holm 7269
Re. 2759, GG Medal of Bravery: Recipients (N.S.) - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 7269
Vote - Affirmative 7270
Res. 2760, NSLC - Privatization Review: Social Impacts - Include,
Ms. E. O'Connell 7270
Res. 2761, Educ. - Sc. Fair (Cdn.): Robert Selig (Shel. RHS) -
Gold Medal Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 7271
Vote - Affirmative 7271
Res. 2762, Educ. - Special Needs Child: Follow Day - Promise (Min.)
Fulfil, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7272
Vote - Affirmative 7272
Res. 2763, Health - IWK-Grace Hosp.: Crisis Intervention Serv. -
Cut Condemn, Dr. J. Smith 7272
Res. 2764, Premier - Jobs: Quote (Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney) -
Consequences, Mr. F. Corbett 7273
Res. 2765, Health - Emergency Ambulance Serv.: Cost (Senior) -
Investigate, Mr. R. MacKinnon 7274
Res. 2766, Health - Min.: Travel (N.S.) - Listen, Mr. D. Dexter 7274
Res. 2767, Health - Healthcare Assoc. (Cdn.) Award 2000:
Brenda Montgomery (Clementsport) - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 7275
Vote - Affirmative 7275
Res. 2768, St. Andrew's Parish - Kts. Of Columbus Group:
Anniv. 10th - Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 7276
Vote - Affirmative 7276
Res. 2769, NDP (N.S.) - Sysco Workers: Plight - Response Curious,
Mr. P. MacEwan 7276
Res. 2770, Educ. - Sch. Athletes (2000): Jill Daurie & Tim Norris
(Sir John A. Macdonald HS) & Others - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7277
Vote - Affirmative 7278
Res. 2771, RCMP (C.B. Co.): Service - Congrats., Mr. B. Boudreau 7278
Vote - Affirmative 7278
Res. 2772, Fin. - Fiscal Responsibility: Mins. (Pre-1990) -
Backbenches Relegate, Mr. H. Epstein 7278
Res. 2773, Health - Min.: Actions (Exco) - Commun. (Truro-Bible Hill)
Betrayed, Mr. J. Pye 7279
Res. 2774, Educ. - LAMBDA: Dustin Harvey (Elmsdale) -
Selection Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 7280
Vote - Affirmative 7280
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 894, Commun. Serv. - Social Assist.: Cuts - Justify,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7281
No. 895, Health - Reg. Bds.: Business Plans - Parameters,
Mr. R. MacLellan 7282
No. 896, Sysco - Sale: Bidders - Consider (Exco), Mr. F. Corbett 7284
No. 897, Exco - Prog. Review: Info. - Release, Mr. R. MacLellan 7285
No. 898, Health - Care: Rural - Needs Consider, Mr. D. Dexter 7286
No. 899, Health - EMC: Dispatchers - Concerns Address, Dr. J. Smith 7287
No. 900, Health - Brain Injury: Treatment - Criteria, Mr. D. Dexter 7288
No. 901, Commun. Serv. - Dayspring Youth Facility: Damage (Youth) -
Payment, Dr. J. Smith 7290
No. 902, Pet. Dir. - Offshore: Benefits - Reveal, Mr. J. Holm 7291
No. 903, Justice: Shelburne Youth Centre - Lay-Offs, Mr. M. Samson 7292
No. 904, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Trucking Permits: Staff - Reduction,
Mr. J. Holm 7293
No. 905, Justice - Dal. Legal Aid: Funding - Continuance,
Mr. M. Samson 7295
No. 906, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Fraser Rd. (Hants Co.): Gates -
Remove, Mr. John MacDonell 7296
No. 907, Tourism & Culture: Gaelic College - Cuts, Mr. K. MacAskill 7297
No. 908, Environ. - Hfx. Hbr.: Clean-Up - Solution, Mr. W. Estabrooks 7299
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 42, Municipal Law Amendment (2000) Act 7299
Refer to CWH on Bills for Amendment 7299
Vote - Affirmative 7299
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 12:26 P.M. 7300
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 12:51 P.M. 7300
CWH REPORTS 7300
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 10 - Farm Practices Act 7301
Hon. E. Fage 7301
Mr. John MacDonell 7301
Mr. D. Downe 7303
Hon. E. Fage 7304
Vote - Affirmative 7305
No. 29, Medical Laboratory Technology Act 7305
Hon. J. Muir 7305
Dr. J. Smith 7305
Mr. D. Dexter 7307
Hon. J. Muir 7308
Vote - Affirmative 7308
No. 30, Flea Market Regulation Act 7308
Hon. R. Russell 7309
Mr. H. Epstein 7309
Mr. M. Samson 7311
Hon. R. Russell 7312
Vote - Affirmative 7312
No. 31, International Wills Act 7312
No. 32, Water Resources Protection Act 7312
Hon. R. Russell 7312
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7313
Mr. M. Samson 7313
Hon. R. Russell 7313
Vote - Affirmative 7314
No. 34, Health Authorities Act 7314
Hon. R. Russell 7314
Mr. D. Dexter 7314
Amendment moved 7318
HOUSE RECESSED AT 2:01 P.M. 7319
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:06 P.M. 7319
Vote - Negative 7321
Dr. J. Smith 7321
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7328
Mr. R. MacLellan 7332
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7335
Vote - Affirmative 7336
No. 35, Housing Development Corporation Act 7336
No. 42, Municipal Law Amendment (2000) Act 7337
Hon. A. MacIsaac 7337
Mr. J. Pye 7337
Vote - Affirmative 7338
No. 43, Energy and Mineral Resources Conservation Act, Petroleum
Resources Act and Pipeline Act 7338
No. 46, Financial Measures (2000) Act 7338
Hon. R. Russell 7338
Mr. H. Epstein 7338
Mr. D. Downe 7341
Mr. J. Holm 7345
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7349
Vote - Affirmative 7353
No. 47, Education Act 7353
Hon. J. Purves 7353
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7354
Mr. W. Gaudet 7356
Ms. E. O'Connell 7357
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7359
Mr. H. Epstein 7361
Mr. John MacDonell 7363
Mr. W. Estabrooks 7364
Vote - Affirmative 7364
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Health - Fishermen's Memorial Hospital: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. D. Downe 7364
Tourism & Culture: Gaelic - Preserve, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7365
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 28, Motor Vehicle Act 7366
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 37, Preston Area Housing Act 7366
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 36, The Scots: North British Society Act 7367
No. 41, Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial Assistance
(2000) Act 7367
No. 50, Bluenose Club Act 7367
No. 52, Nova Scotia Association of Realtors Act 7367
No. 53, Hilden Cemetery Act 7367
No. 56, The Anglican Church Act 7369
HOUSE RECESSED AT 5:09 P.M. 7368
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:28 P.M. 7368
ARRIVAL OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 7368
BILLS GIVEN ROYAL ASSENT:
Nos. 10, 28, 29 7368
Nos. 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 50, 52, 53, 56 7369
No. 49 7370
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again at the call of the Speaker 7370
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2775, Sports - Baseball (World Children's Fair):
Robyn MacLean & James Melanson (Springhill) - Reps. (N.S.)
Congrats., The Speaker 7371
Res. 2776, Tourism & Culture - Springhill & Area Irish Festival:
Organizers - Congrats., The Speaker 7371
Res. 2777, Parrsboro Masonic Lodge Minas No. 67: Commun. -
Participant Congrats., The Speaker 7372
Res. 2778, Justice - Pictou Co. Crime Prevention Assoc.: Efforts -
Commend, Mr. J. DeWolfe 7372
Res. 2779, Health - Hants Shore Health Ctr.: Alice Galley -
Efforts Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 7373
Res. 2780, Educ. - N. Col. HS: Students - Ex. Yr. (1999-2000) Praise,
Mr. W. Langille 7373
Res. 2781, Sackville-Beaver Bank & Yarmouth MLAs: Gov't. (N.S.)
Business Disinterested - Resign, Mr. D. Dexter 7374
Res. 2782, Sports - NSSAF (Outstanding Serv. Award): Frank Hubley
(Coach-Harold T. Barrett JHS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7374
Res. 2783, Sports - NSSAF (Outstanding Serv. Award): Linda Lund
(Coach-Sackville Hts. JHS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7375
Res. 2784, Sports - NSSAF (Outsanding Serv. Award): Cynthia Hoskins
(Coach-Millwood HS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7375
Res. 2785, Sports - NSSAF (Exemplary Participation Award): Julie Briand
(Harold T. Barrett JHS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7376
Res. 2786, Sports - NSSAF (Exemplary Participation Award):
Leslie Poirier (Millwood HS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7376
Res. 2787, Sports - NSSAF (Exemplary Participation Award):
Kristen Sampson (Sackville Hts. JHS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7377
Res. 2788, Sports - NSSAF (Exemplary Participation Award):
Kevin Villeneuve (Millwood HS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7377
Res. 2789, Sports - NSSAF (Exemplary Participation Award):
Michael Maxwell (Sackville Hts. JHS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7378
Res. 2790, Sports - NSSAF (Exemplary Participation Award):
Shawn Peverill (Harold T. Barrett JHS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 7378
Res. 2791, Middleton: Anniv. 91st - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 7379
Res. 2792, Commun. Serv. - Alt. Transport. Soc. (Anna. Co.): Service
(Janice Sheridan & Jean Ascott) - Recognize, Mr. F. Chipman 7379

[Page 7235]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 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. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the people of Middleton and the health care consumers at the Soldiers Memorial Hospital. The operative clause reads, "Save our community hospital, and all of the services it provides to our community." There are approximately 2,323 signatures on this petition and I have affixed my signature in support thereof.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

7235

[Page 7236]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table the Annual Report for Collège de l'Acadie for the years 1997-98 and 1998-99.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the report of the Nova Scotia Pay Equity Commission for the year ended March 31, 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer a few remarks about two outstanding Nova Scotia public servants. I trust the two Opposition Parties will forgive my not providing an advance copy of these remarks. Tomorrow, I will be in my constituency and I wanted to ensure that my comments, on behalf of the government, were on the public record of this House.

As the session winds down, this may be the last day in which the member for Cape Breton North and the member for Halifax Atlantic will serve as Leaders of their respective Parties in this House of Assembly. On behalf of the people of Nova Scotia and on behalf of the government benches, I would like to thank both Leaders for their exemplary service and dedication to building a better province. (Applause)

Through two general election campaigns, numerous budgets and several Throne Speeches, we have had profound differences of opinion but nobody would question the commitment of the honourable members to their constituencies, their respective Parties and their province.

I have known the member for Halifax Atlantic since my first election to the House, close to seven years ago. When I arrived here, along with many new members of the Savage Government, it is fair to say that the member was already a grizzled veteran of the parry and thrust in this Chamber. (Laughter)

What was readily apparent from watching the member for Halifax Atlantic during the first fall session of 1993 was his passion for advancing the greater public good. If I may inject a partisan insight, perhaps the greatest legacy of the member for Halifax Atlantic is the

[Page 7237]

transformation of the NDP under his leadership. For the first time in the province's history, the NDP is a force to be reckoned with, not only in this House, but on the campaign trail. The fact that there are five contenders seeking to succeed the member for Halifax Atlantic, including two of his current caucus members, in addition to former caucus colleauges, speaks volumes of the member's success as NDP Leader.

Just as I believe competition makes for a healthy economy, competition also makes for a healthy democracy. The member for Halifax Atlantic, through his efforts as NDP Leader, has made democracy healthier in this province, and for that all Nova Scotians will thank that member. I know that whatever career path the member for Halifax Atlantic will take following the election of a new NDP Leader, his passion for building a better society will not diminish. In fact, I am certain it will continue to flourish.

Now what can I say about the member for Cape Breton North that has not already been said? (Laughter)

We have known each other for over 40 years, dating back to our studies at Kings. I am sure the honourable member will agree, a special bond will always exist among those who attended Kings during that period. For over 20 years, the member for Cape Breton North has worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of industrial Cape Breton and, indeed, all Nova Scotians. In a time when political life and politicians are generally held in fairly low esteem, it is a tribute to the Leader of the Liberal Party that so many people in this province have recognized his years of service and hard work in the House of Commons, as the member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys. That recognition no doubt led to so many in his Party urging him to come home, to lead the Liberal Party, and to lead the province.

Last fall I read a quote from the honourable member's brother, who stated, "Russell has always believed that at the end of the day any government decision must be evaluated in its effect on people." That belief, that people come first in politics, has served the member for Cape Breton North well, whether as a Member of Parliament, a Member of the Legislative Assembly, as Premier or Liberal Leader. That compassion and care for people shone through when, as Premier, he showed such sensitivity to the families of the Swissair disaster. Nova Scotians will be forever proud of his comportment during the difficult days and weeks following that tragedy. I know that all Nova Scotians will also thank the member for Cape Breton North for the overall example he set for elected officials in this province.

To conclude, I would like to wish both members well, as they prepare to leave the leadership of their respective Parties. Most important of all, perhaps, I would like to thank the families of the members for Halifax Atlantic and Cape Breton North: Paula, Jessie, Claire, Sarah, Matthew. Few will know how much these close loved ones have sacrificed so that their fathers or husbands had the privilege and responsibility to participate in public life. I know all members join with me in wishing these members all the best with their families and their future endeavours. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Standing ovation)

[Page 7238]

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I was waiting for the punch line, maybe it will come during Question Period. (Laughter) I appreciate the kind words from the Premier. I want to say to you that I got up this morning, and how I usually start my day when we are in the House is that after I read the papers, we have a 7:00 a.m. phone conference, a few of us. As I dialled in the number, I thought to myself this is the last time I am going to have to do this. I wish I could say that I thought of that with mixed emotions. (Laughter) I will tell you, when you say to your colleagues, okay, what is the Question Period line-up going to be today, and you just hear nothing back, you think, oh, it is going to be another one of those days.

Let me say that it has been a special privilege for me to be the Leader of this Party and this caucus in this Legislature for over four years now. There is a fine tradition, and I would maybe quibble with the Premier a little bit to say that the NDP has not just become a force to be reckoned with, it has always been a force to be reckoned with and we will always be a force to be reckoned with.

[10:15 a.m.]

The issues and the ideas that we have in the social democratic movement remain strong and vital and are very important to the future of this province. I am just so excited that with the leadership race now that is going on within our Party, there are five extraordinarily capable women and men who are vying for that role. I know that the Leader who is chosen, the Party and caucus that will come from that leadership race will be further strengthened and vital and be strong as they go into the next session and the next election. I say to you that I will probably be sitting back by Jerry. (Interruptions) I say that with mixed emotions. (Applause)

Let me just wrap up and say that it has been a pleasure to be the Leader of this Party and this caucus. In the Legislature I will continue to sit as a member for a little while at least. I want to thank my family, as the Premier has recognized them, Jessie and Paula have always been extremely patient, understanding and supportive of me as I have carried out my responsibilities as the best I could; and my staff, the people. As the other Leaders in this House know, the staff, with our responsibilities, are extremely important, we could not do the job we do without the staff that we have. I have an incredible group of women and men who support me as well as the rest of the staff in the caucus office that help make this operation work. They have been extremely dedicated and hardworking for me and for the rest of our caucus over the period that I have been here and I want to say to them how much I value their friendship and that support and how much I wish them well.

[Page 7239]

Let me finish by saying to the member for Cape Breton North that I want to certainly wish him well in his future endeavours. We have been having some private conversations about what we might do next, other than play a little golf, but certainly as the Premier said, that member has made an important contribution to his community, to this province and to this country in his role as an MP, as an MLA, as the Premier and now as Leader of the Liberal Party. I want to send to him my best and from our caucus in his future endeavours.

Again, I thank the Premier for his kind words and to all members of this House and say to them that while I appreciate and respect what it is you have had to say, it will not mean that you will be let off the hook one little bit when we get to Question Period. So thank you very much to everyone. (Standing ovation)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to cry foul here for a minute. The Premier has thrown me off completely by being nice. How do you expect me to ask questions in Question Period after he has done this to me. I mean that is not playing fair and I am going to need at least 15 seconds to become nasty again.

I want to thank the Premier for his kind remarks and I want to thank the Leader of the New Democratic Party very much for his and when he talks about playing golf, it certainly paints a lovely picture. I used to play some at one time and in recent years, I haven't been able to do it; quite frankly, I can't remember if I play right-handed or left-handed, but I am going to find out.

As to what will be coming after, it is very difficult to say. I haven't really thought much about it, I haven't talked about it, there haven't been many offers. I did hear that I had a shot at a paper route, if I play my cards right. (Laughter)

I want to thank the Leader of the NDP as well for his comments. It has been a pleasure working with him. We have had a lot of fun, not always agreeing, but it has been stimulating and I want to wish him well and I want to wish his family well. He is still a very young man, everybody is a young man compared to me. I know he has a great career ahead and I just want to say that he is leaving a great career and a great record here in the Legislature.

Mr. Premier, I want to thank you very much for your kind remarks. I want to thank all members for their courtesy to me and to my Party, it has been a privilege to have been here for three years, to have been Premier, to be Leader of the Liberal Party and to have served the people of Nova Scotia, most particularly the people of Cape Breton North and previous to that, the people of Cape Breton-The Sydneys.

[Page 7240]

It is an honour to be in public service, it is a fulfilment that only those of us who have done it can appreciate. Anybody who thinks you are in politics to make money really should go see the Minister of Health. (Applause)

AN HON. MEMBER: He wouldn't know where to send you.

MR. MACLELLAN: Goodness knows I am trying to keep this on a high level. There is a fulfilment that money can't buy, that you really can't get anywhere else and this fulfilment and that satisfaction is something that you carry with you every day of your life. It is very light, but it is there and it is something that is quite rewarding.

I want to say too, to all members that I wish you well, I wish you all the very best. We don't really need a lot in Question Period, we don't necessarily feel that we have to have you guys in the government do things wrong. We really, secretly wish you do things right because we know that this great province benefits from this process and from all of the contributions.

I want to thank my family very much for the sacrifices that they have made, my children, my wife. When I was first elected, I was single, that is how long it has been; for my wife, it seems a lot longer. Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to make this statement and to wish all members well and I will be watching it over the summer. We will have our leadership race, not this summer, probably it will be next year. I remember my own was equivalent, I think, to Mao Tse Tung's long march through China - it just went on and on, but it was quite an exercise and I appreciate the support that my Party has given me.

I appreciate the support that I have had in this province with people I have met, the friendships I have made, it has been a wonderful experience and I am very grateful. Thank you very much. (Standing ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to announce today that Highway No. 101 is a step closer to becoming a fully controlled access highway. I have approved the route location for a new stretch of highway between Digby and Weymouth North. (Applause) When this 26 kilometre route is built and completed, the entire Highway No. 101 will at last be a fully controlled access highway in keeping with our standards for all 100-Series Highways.

As many of us in this Chamber know, the current route offers drivers a splendid taste of this picturesque part of Nova Scotia, but having said that, Mr. Speaker, the stretch between Digby and Weymouth North is less than ideal because it runs through busy residential and commercial neighbourhoods. The new alignment will not. It will run parallel to the current path, increasing both safety and efficiency for people and business. The route will be built as a two-lane highway with passing lanes.

[Page 7241]

Mr. Speaker, this is good news and is as a result of years of hard work and dedication by my department's engineers and planners, in cooperation with the people of the region. Smart, careful design and the expertise of our people have been well complemented by the patience and the input of the people in the Digby-Weymouth area. Now the project must go through both provincial and federal environmental impact assessments. We must work on more detailed design and we must start to secure any necessary property along the route, and that is going to take a while.

When will the construction start? That will depend on financing. This government is dedicated to reviving Nova Scotia's neglected infrastructure but we will do that within our financial means. I think Nova Scotians understand that.

Mr. Speaker, because Highway No. 101 is part of the national highway system, the project will be eligible for cost-sharing between the province and the federal government. However, at this point, Ottawa has not committed to a long-term agreement to help with the financing of the province's roads. This project is another example of how important it is to get federal support for our highway system; that support is long overdue and I am dedicated to securing such an agreement.

Mr. Speaker, this announcement gives me a great deal of pleasure. It is good news for the people of the community and for all Nova Scotians. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, this project known as the missing link was considered an important one by the previous Liberal Government, especially by the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, the honourable Mr. Clifford Huskilson. Mr. Huskilson advised me that his big concern in this matter was safety, because of the heavy truck traffic from the nearby sawmill and also the inability of the Cat ferry in Yarmouth to carry tractor trailers, which meant increased truck traffic to the Digby ferry.

The community consultation process was started by the previous government with an open house held last summer in the month of June, at which time it was explained that the construction would follow completion of the planning process, environmental assessment and design; much as has been stated here again today.

The project start-up meeting was held at Digby on July 8, 1999, attended by, among others, the Honourable Gordon Balser, MLA for Digby, so that there are some on that side who know that this is not a new initiative and that plans for it were well under way under the previous government. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, while the minister describes his announcement as news, he also states immediately after that it is the result of years of hard work and dedication by his engineers, planners and so forth in the department. In other words, it is the product of the Liberal years from 1993 to 1999.

[Page 7242]

[10:30 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, today's announcement is window dressing. It contains no specifics. The Department of Transportation and Public Works, as a matter of fact, their professional staff expect construction on this project to get under way, sir, in the year 2004. That is when they expect construction to actually get under way. We have seen a pattern here in this minister's work, for example, his record on Highway No. 101, lots of bluster, no substance, window dressing. The minister now needs federal funding, but during the election campaign, of course, his view was then that he could do it alone. So there has been a change of heart on that subject.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to belabour the House with more observations on this point save to note that this is a good Liberal project. I am glad they have not quashed it in their round of cuts, closures and cut-backs, but if they are going to allow to proceed what we would have done anyway, then I can say Nova Scotia will be the better off when that project is completed.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, in fact, I believe it was an NDP day, but I had to hear my older, more partisan critic go first. I am aware of the fact that I, too, have suffered through an environmental assessment by Clifford Huskilson. I can tell you that Nine Mile River and the proposed bridge, the twinning beyond Exit 3 to Exit 5 and the environment assessment are still going on and I have never seen the report.

So let's look at the fact that the engineers and the professional people in the department for which that minister is responsible have taken this task up and in spite of consultation and various other things that happened on certain dates, which was in the middle of an election if I remember, let's look at the fact that this work has to be done. This is a crucial piece of work. The statistics prove that. I am sure that the people in the community will receive it. However, that cynicism creeps in, Mr. Minister, that cynicism of soon, very soon, I think there should be some more specifics. I think the alignment would be well received but then, again, I say to the residents in the community, don't hold your breath until you see the asphalt hit the road. Congratulations.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 2722

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

[Page 7243]

Whereas the Production School House of Windsor, Nova Scotia, has assembled an exceptional group of experienced producers, artists, educators and entrepreneurs to deliver advanced digital-media training that is critical for today's information economy; and

Whereas Hants Ventures Incorporated has successfully launched a Community Economic Development Investment Fund to raise venture capital for the Production School House; and

Whereas the Community Economic Development Investment Funds are an excellent means through which Nova Scotians can invest in their own communities;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Production School House and Hants Ventures Incorporated and extend to them best wishes for continued success.

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 Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2723

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

Whereas the Canadian Bar Association will hold its annual conference in Halifax from August 21st to August 23rd; and

Whereas delegates will have the opportunity to experience all the history and hospitality that Halifax and Nova Scotia have to offer; and

Whereas legal experts from across Canada will be featured in 20 continuing legal education programs;

[Page 7244]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend best wishes to the conference organizers and to those who will be joining us at the World Trade and Convention Centre in August for the Canadian Bar Association's annual meeting.

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 Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 2724

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

Whereas many of us enjoy listening to CBC Radio's Information Morning show; and

Whereas we all enjoy the benefits of a good healthy breakfast; and

Whereas there will be a celebration held tomorrow morning for CBC Radio's 30th birthday party at Pier 22;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House try their best to attend the celebration bright and early tomorrow morning between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. for fishcakes served by myself and the staff of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

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.

[Page 7245]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 2725

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

Whereas Nova Scotians have a long history associated with the ocean; and

Whereas one in four Nova Scotians earn their living directly from the sea, contributing close to $3 billion to the Nova Scotia economy; and

Whereas the ocean will continue to be the backbone of the Nova Scotia economy through ever-increasing value from our fishing resources in harmony with the development of our offshore oil and gas industry;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the importance of June 8th, known internationally and provincially as Oceans Day.

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.

Before we move on, I just want to point out an error in the Orders of the Day on the order paper. Under Private and Local Bills for Third Reading, Bill No. 56, The Anglican Church Act, submitted by the honourable Premier was omitted mistakenly. Add that to your order paper, please.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 7246]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2726

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

Whereas June 11th will be the 75th Anniversary of the tragic shooting of coal miner William Davis by the provincial police at Waterford Lake; and

Whereas many miners were there protesting to try to reclaim the power at Waterford Lake, so they could have power and water for their families; and

Whereas power had been shut off by the British Empire Steel Company in order to intimidate the workers who were on strike;

Therefore be it resolved that this House observe a moment of silence in honour of all coal miners who have died in this perilous industry of mining coal in Nova Scotia.

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.

Please rise for one minute of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 7247]

RESOLUTION NO. 2727

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as Caucus Chair, I realize there has been a tribute paid to the honourable member for Cape Breton North, but I would like to add this resolution, with your permission.

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

Whereas this first session of the 58th General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature is slowly winding down; and

Whereas the honourable member for Cape Breton North has shown, throughout this session, strong, effective leadership and outstanding parliamentary qualities; and

Whereas the honourable member for Cape Breton North will soon be stepping down as Leader of the Liberal Opposition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend to the Leader of the Liberal Opposition their thanks and appreciation for his untiring efforts to bring about a better quality of life for all Nova Scotians.

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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2728

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

[Page 7248]

Whereas Philip Riteman has turned a horrifying experience and world tragedy - his testimony as a survivor of the Holocaust - into a living lesson of history for all who meet him, including the many young children he speaks to in our schools; and

Whereas the tragic experiences of Mr. Riteman, one of the comparably small number of survivors of the human annihilation of the Hitler death camps, are also part of Steven Spielberg's compilation of interviews with his ongoing work with the "Survivors of the SHOAH Visual History Foundation"; and

Whereas as Chair of the Foundation, Mr. Spielberg interviewed Mr. Riteman a few years ago at his home in Nova Scotia to, as the Hollywood producer stated in a letter, ensure "Far into the future, people will be able to see a face, hear a voice, and observe a life, so that they may listen and learn, and always remember.";

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend the amazing spirit of Philip Riteman, who is a true survivor, and thank him and Mr. Spielberg and the Foundation for immortalizing the stories and faces of the survivors in the hope that the atrocities and lessons learned will never be forgotten.

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2729

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I will be reading this not only on behalf of myself, but also on behalf of my caucus colleagues.

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

Whereas today, on what looks like the last day of this session, my caucus colleagues and I would like to pay tribute to a great Leader; and

[Page 7249]

Whereas the Leader of the NDP, the member for Halifax Atlantic, was elected in 1991 and came into this House in 1992 full of vision and promise and he has more than lived up to that; and

Whereas during the time of his leadership, the NDP became a political force to be dealt with by securing 30 per cent of the popular vote in the province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the NDP members in recognizing the member for Halifax Atlantic for his leadership and his dedication to the people of this province and for his desire to make Nova Scotia a better place.

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. (Applause)

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2730

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

Whereas yesterday the Deputy Minister of Health stated that there would be no hospital downgrades; and

Whereas when asked, the Minister of Health contradicted the statement of his own deputy minister; and

Whereas the Minister of Health refused to commit that there would be no hospital downgrades, giving the impression that the hospital downgrades and closures will become inevitable;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health stop the double speak and commit to telling the truth to Nova Scotians about the faith of our health care system.

[Page 7250]

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 Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2731

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

Whereas Milne and Mary Pickings are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on June 10, 2000; and

Whereas Mr. Pickings served as the member for Lunenburg West from 1978 to 1988; and

Whereas Mel and Mary have seen a lot of changes over the past 50 years, but their mutual affection has remained constant;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join with Mel and Mary's family and many friends in wishing them many more years of happiness together.

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 honorable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 7251]

RESOLUTION NO. 2732

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 Sharon Dykman of Mineville was recently elected Vice District Governor of 41-N2 District of the Lions Club International, being the first woman elected to this position after serving 18 years as a member of the Lake Echo Lioness and Lions Club; and

Whereas Sharon Dykeman has a long history of service to her community, including participation in the Lake Echo Ratepayers Association, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lake Echo Fire Department and many years as a Sunday school teacher; and

Whereas volunteers like Sharon Dykman enrich the lives of people in every community across Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sharon Dykman for this distinction, commend her for her service to the Lake Echo-Mineville and surrounding area, and wish her all the best in the years to come.

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 honorable member for Cape Breton South.

[10:45 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2733

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

Whereas the World Judo Championship will be held at Ecole de l'Acadie in Sydney from June 24th to June 25th; and

[Page 7252]

Whereas 300 competitors representing 19 countries will participate at the World Master Athlete Judo Championship; and

Whereas Cape Breton was awarded the right to hold such a prestigious event as a result of its proximity to European countries and its various tourism ventures;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House wish both the organizers and the participants the utmost success in Sydney at the World Judo Championships.

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 Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2734

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, this resolution is for the Justice Minister's ears.

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

Whereas the Tatamagouche RCMP Detachment, which covers Northern Colchester County and sections in Pictou County, continues to be one of the busiest detachments in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Corporal Don Gray of the Tatamagouche RCMP said recently that the average caseload per member in 1999 increased to 106.75 from 86 one year earlier; and

Whereas RCMP members at the Tatamagouche detachment also remain actively involved in leadership roles within the community;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize the significant contributions put forth by members of the Tatamagouche RCMP in their detachment coverage area.

[Page 7253]

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 Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2735

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 a letter to the Minister of Education and copied to the NDP caucus office, a mother of a special needs child states, "Children are our future, each and every child. Why is my child's right to a holistic, integrated education being threatened?"; and

Whereas she further states, "The government and Department of Education are singling out special needs children, setting them up to fail because they will not provide the support they need."; and

Whereas, as this mother points out, "This is my child's third year in school and each and every year her aid has been cut, this time to one hour a day and this is not acceptable.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education explain to this concerned mother and all parents of special needs children why this government feels it must balance its books on the backs of special needs children.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table with this resolution, that letter.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

[Page 7254]

RESOLUTION NO. 2736

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

Whereas the Finance Minister said in a resolution yesterday that, ". . . government's actions are true to its words . . ."; and

Whereas, despite Liberal requests on several occasions since the fall estimates, the minister has yet to recalculate the 1993 deficit using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for fear that the number is over $1 billion; and

Whereas the minister's refusal to comply with these requests leads us to assume the minister is ashamed of his own record with the Cameron-Buchanan Administration;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge the government to demonstrate its actions are true to its words by recalculating the 1993 deficit instead of trying to protect the Finance Minister's reputation by hiding the true legacy of the Cameron-Buchanan Government.

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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 2737

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

Whereas Bill Gerroir, Principal at Harry R. Hamilton Elementary School is retiring after 29 years of loyal, dedicated service as an educator; and

Whereas Bill's ability as an educator and an entertainer have made him a well-loved and respected member of the school community; and

[Page 7255]

Whereas Bill was honoured last evening at a community celebration to recognize his many contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to Bill Gerroir for 29 years of hard work and commitment as a teacher and principal and wish him well in the future.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 2738

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

Whereas scientists at the National Research Council say that a giant gas ball is hurtling towards Earth at 1,000 kilometres a second and will hit the planet this evening disrupting electronic equipment; and

Whereas these scientists say that although the gas ball is bigger than Earth, it is "composed of very hot gas" and "behaves rather like a huge blob of rubber"; and

Whereas both this description and its consequences aptly fit the Progressive Conservative Government of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all Nova Scotians should be aware that the only gas ball bigger than this government will hit the earth tonight just about the time the Tories will begin trying to explain to their constituents what happened to 243 promises.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[Page 7256]

RESOLUTION NO. 2739

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

Whereas last night in Shelburne several hundred people gathered to express their concern about cuts to Roseway Hospital; and

Whereas a letter from the member for Shelburne was read; and

Whereas the member backed away from the erroneous press release that he had released earlier in the day;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Shelburne make good on his letter's commitment to have the Minister of Health provide details on Roseway Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2740

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

Whereas a member of the National Search and Rescue Secretariat has described Nova Scotia's search and rescue capabilities as being among the best in Canada; and

Whereas there are approximately 23 ground search and rescue organizations stretched across this province that can be called on at any time of the day or night; and

Whereas many valuable lessons have been learned by the search and rescue organizations in this province since the tragic death of Andrew Warburton in Sackville just 14 years ago;

[Page 7257]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature recognize the valuable efforts put forth by Nova Scotia's ground search and rescue operations.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2741

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

Whereas Colby Village Elementary School was first opened in 1975 as the first elementary school in that community; and

Whereas Colby Village Elementary School has had a great influence in the development of a generation of children in Colby Village; and

Whereas Colby Village Elementary School has succeeded in great part because of its volunteers, including Doreen Russell who provided years of service to the school;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Principal Don Crosby, all the staff, parents and students at Colby Village Elementary School on their 25th Anniversary and the recognition of one of its finest volunteers, Doreen Russell.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7258]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 2742

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

Whereas the Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts has built a strong national and international reputation; and

Whereas students come from every province and territory in Canada, 28 U.S. states, and other countries including Japan, Argentina, Bermuda, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Ireland; and

Whereas this year, for the first time in its history, the college will be home to students from Brittany and Uruguay;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government continue to support the Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts to ensure that it remains a vital learning institution for both national and international students.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2743

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

[Page 7259]

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources has moved ahead and made an excellent decision to protect 10 additional species under the Endangered Species Act; and

Whereas one of the species, the peregrine falcon, while being protected here at home, is still a prime target for bird hunters in the United States; and

Whereas the Americans have applied for a permit to capture wild migrating Canadian peregrine as early as this fall;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs, through this resolution, immediately call upon the federal Environment Minister, David Anderson, to deny U.S. falconers access to Canadian peregrines.

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.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2744

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

Whereas the Premier relies upon the NDP report entitled, What We Heard, as the reliable source of what Nova Scotians want his government to do; and

Whereas according to that report, "the current atmosphere of panic and urgency, as indicated in the media and by government officials, did much to discourage the public."; and

Whereas it states further that "Balancing the budget and getting the provincial government financial house in order . . . should not happen at the expense of delivering core services";

[Page 7260]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should remember that while "most did not want government to allow debt and deficit to continue to accumulate . . . most stated, in the same breath, strong opposition to cuts to the public service and to funding of Health, Education, Community Services and social service agencies."

Mr. Speaker, I request 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. 2745

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

Whereas this government budgeted $230 million for the costs of a massive clean-up project at Sydney Steel, but shows no evidence of intent to carry the program out; and

Whereas all the Minister of Finance can offer to explain this anomaly is gobbledygook, talk about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles rather than jobs for steelworkers; and

Whereas environmental blight at Sydney, the government's responsibilities as property owner and, above all, the budget this government got this House to pass, all indicate the need to get the $230 million Sysco clean-up project under way immediately;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance, instead of offering gobbledygook, should instead initiate immediate action to clean up the gook at the Sydney Steel site, creating jobs for the unemployed steelworkers as authorized by this $230 million budgetary allocation.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

[Page 7261]

RESOLUTION NO. 2746

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: 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, 1,754 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 start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by the 1,754 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 a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2747

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

Whereas in a media scrum yesterday, the Health Minister did his own version of Abbott and Costello's Who's on First; and

Whereas the Health Minister's new version is called What's a Hospital, What's a Clinic and What's a Health Centre; and

Whereas the Abbott and Costello piece is a comedy classic, the minister's health reform has become a comedy of errors;

[Page 7262]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that while the Health Minister may be funny, perhaps even silly, his lack of knowledge of the health system is hardly a laughing matter.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2748

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

Whereas two residents of Bible Hill, Trinkie and Garth Coffin, are presidents-elect of national associations; and

Whereas Trinkie Coffin will become the President of the Canadian Home Economics Association on July 1st and Dr. Garth Coffin, Principal of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, is the 2001 President-Elect of the Agricultural Institute of Canada; and

Whereas in addition to the roles in professional associations, the Coffins make a great contribution to their home community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Trinkie Coffin and Dr. Garth Coffin, and wish them the best of success in their respective roles as President of the Canadian Home Economics Association and President of the Agricultural Institute of Canada.

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.

[Page 7263]

RESOLUTION NO. 2749

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

Whereas parents whose children attend Terence Bay Elementary School were informed yesterday that next school year there will be a combined class of Grades Primary, 1 and 2; and

Whereas this proposed class of 28 will include a number of high-needs students; and

Whereas this solution is not acceptable to the parents, and the community of Terence Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education support the parents' decision to oppose the proposal of one class combining Primary, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students at Terence Bay Elementary School.

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.

[11:00 a.m.]

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2750

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 current Tory Government is following New Brunswick's lead in eliminating school boards altogether; and

Whereas Bill No. 47 gives the Education Minister the power to disband school boards at any time without consultation with board members; and

[Page 7264]

Whereas Bill No. 47 completely erodes the democratic process in the education system by taking power away from the elected members of school boards;

Therefore be it resolved that the Education Minister brush up on her history and political science in order to reacquaint herself with the concept of democracy, which this government seems to be so willing to overlook.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2751

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

Whereas Bill Gerroir, Principal at Harry R. Hamilton Elementary School is retiring after 29 years of loyal, dedicated service as an educator; and

Whereas Bill's ability as an educator and an entertainer have made him a well loved and respected member of the school and the community; and

Whereas Bill was honoured last evening at a community celebration to recognize his many contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to Bill for 29 years of hard work and commitment as a teacher, principal and wish him well in all future endeavours.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7265]

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. 2752

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

Whereas Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre says that the Premier's Energy Council, "is the oil and gas industry advising the government on how the oil and gas industry should conduct itself vis-a-vis other industries and the environment - a situation which seems a little ridiculous and totally inappropriate"; and

Whereas he continues, "Don't suggest that this is a multi-stakeholder group when its overwhelmingly a single stakeholder group and certainly do not give it a task that it is not qualified to do"; and

Whereas the industry has 13 of 16 council seats;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should reconsider the composition of his Energy Council to include a properly weighted group of all stakeholders rather than just his big business buddies and a token gesture towards the true majority of stakeholders.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2753

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance has deliberately inflated the size of this year's deficit so as to make the previous Liberal Administration look fiscally irresponsible while at the same time creating a slush fund in the Conservative caches; and

Whereas this approach to budgeting is reminiscent of John Buchanan-style budgets that endorsed creative accounting methodologies; and

[Page 7266]

Whereas the Minister of Finance has failed to manipulate Nova Scotians into embracing his fudged budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance enrol in an Economics 101 course and spend less time embracing condescending platitudes about how wonderful he is and how wrong everyone who disagrees with him is.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2754

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I will be tabling a letter from Linda Peters because I will be making reference to that letter in my resolution.

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

Whereas in a letter sent to the Premier, and copied to the NDP caucus office, Linda Peters who receives family benefits writes, "I receive $714.00 per month which is the maximum."; and

Whereas Linda feels "robbed and cheated" by the cuts in the benefits and further states, "We shouldn't have to fight to keep what little we have. We should be fighting for an increase!"; and

Whereas she continues on, "How about if you need medical equipment? I have to fight for it at an appeal hearing. I know you don't. How about needing glasses or getting dental work? I get neither.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Community Services explain to Linda Peters, and others who receive family benefits, how attacking the most disadvantaged in our society will resolve our debt problem.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The resolution is too long.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 7267]

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2755

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

Whereas over the past two nights the CBC has aired a classic Canadian story by documenting the rise and fall of the Avro Arrow; and

Whereas the Arrow was conceived under a Liberal Government that looked into the future and dared to dream while the cancellation of the program came under a narrow-minded Conservative Regime with no vision and a bean-counter approach to government; and

Whereas today the Conservative Government of Nova Scotia is taking a similar narrow-minded tack - instead of investing in the future, they are nickel and diming us back to the 1950's;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House condemn the government for its narrow-minded backward approach to government - instead of providing hope for the future, they are destroying the dreams of a whole generation of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2756

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

Whereas matrimony is one of the most revered of commitments; and

Whereas on June 12, 1950, Charles and Kathleen McDonnell made their commitment public for their friends and relatives to acknowledge and celebrate; and

[Page 7268]

Whereas once again Charlie and Kay will celebrate with friends and family on June 11th at the Enfield Legion to tell all that their commitment has been kept in good stead;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join with the friends and family of Charlie and Kay McDonnell in congratulating them as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary and wish them the very best as they start the next 50 years.

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 Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2757

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

Whereas the Glace Bay Girl Guides have been selected to attend national and international events; and

Whereas since 1981, 66 members of the Glace Bay guiding groups have been accepted to international and national events sponsored by the Girl Guides of Canada; and

Whereas Christina Crosby, Angela MacDonald, Katie Boutilier, Karla Bray, Caitlyn Thompson and Natasha Cochrane have all been selected for an event;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all Girl Guides selected to become ambassadors for their areas at national and international guiding events.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7269]

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2758

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 October 7th Throne Speech said, "From this day forward, government in this province will be very different."; and

Whereas that is true to the extent that never has a government fled this House with so many Throne Speech commitments broken and abandoned; and

Whereas the Premier promised that his Tory team would not be a government that needed training wheels;

Therefore be it resolved that the 35 broken and abandoned Tory commitments made in last fall's Throne Speech demonstrates that this government does not need training wheels because they still aren't sure how to ride a tricycle.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2759

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

Whereas the Governor General announced Monday that four Nova Scotians will receive the Medal of Bravery; and

Whereas Maxim Silliboy, Anastasia Silliboy and Tonia Silliboy of the Eskasoni Reserve and Derek Kennedy of Sydney all tried to rescue drowning victims; and

Whereas Maxim and Anastasia Silliboy died while trying to save two children from drowning;

[Page 7270]

Therefore be it resolved that these four people be commended by the members of this House for their bravery in risking their own lives to save others.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on an introduction.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, through you and to all members of the House, it gives me pleasure this morning to introduce a hard-working municipal politician that has been very instrumental in commemorating this summer the Icelandic heritage that the Province of Nova Scotia enjoys. The Mayor of Lockeport has ancestors that actually came from Iceland and I want you to welcome, if you will, Sarah Huskilson. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 2760

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 yesterday in this House the Leader of the NDP and the Leader of the Liberal Party presented petitions with a total of 10,000 names; and

Whereas the people who signed those petitions are against the privatization of the Liquor Commission; and

Whereas this government has embarked upon a review of the Liquor Commission without consideration of the social impacts of privatized liquor sales;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for the Liquor Commission immediately revise this review to include the social impacts of privatized liquor sales on children and families.

[Page 7271]

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2761

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

Whereas Robert Selig, a Grade 12 student at Shelburne Regional High School won a regional science fair, the study on the best types of solution to neutralize acidic waters; and

Whereas Robert plans to use the results of his study to make the rivers of Nova Scotia healthy enough for salmon stocks to rebound; and

Whereas Robert has travelled to London, Ontario in May for the Canada-wide Science Fair and won a gold medal in the earth and environmental sciences category;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Robert Selig on his achievements in science and for his commitment to the ecology and welfare of Nova Scotia.

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 Halifax Needham.

[Page 7272]

RESOLUTION NO. 2762

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

Whereas the Minister of Education has repeatedly stated in this House that she will follow a special needs child for a day in a school setting; and

Whereas but then she has said that she can't get away from this House; and

Whereas I would like to point out that it looks like today the House will rise and the minister will no longer have that excuse to hide behind;

Therefore be it resolved that this House instruct the Minister of Education to do as she promised and follow a special needs child before school is out for the summer and I would be pleased to assist her in finding a child to follow.

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 Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2763

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

Whereas this Tory Government has cut funding by 50 per cent to the Crisis Intervention Service at the IWK-Grace Health Centre; and

Whereas the crisis intervention team works 24 hours a day and is trained to provide assessment and support for youth suffering a mental health emergency; and

[Page 7273]

Whereas as a result of this 50 per cent cut in service, one of the options looked at is the training of nurses to act as crisis intervention counsellors;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government be condemned for cutting the Crisis Intervention Service that will put young people across Nova Scotia at risk and requires a team of trained caregivers.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2764

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 response to a question on Tuesday in this House, the Premier stated, jobs, jobs, jobs, just like another well known Tory who have become the most vilified Prime Minister in Canada; and

Whereas like Brian Mulroney who was both arrogant and a bully to most people in Canada, this Premier seems intent on following the Mulroney path; and

Whereas the federal Tories have not been able to recover from the Mulroney years and Canada itself has only recently begun to recover;

Therefore be it resolved that quoting Brain Mulroney in this province will only get the Premier one thing and that is being unceremoniously dumped from office and requests that he please avoid Conservative Party events for 5 to 10 years.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7274]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2765

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

[11:15 a.m.]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Emergency Medical Ambulance Services were designed to assist people in need; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are being gouged by a 30 per cent increase in user fees this fiscal year; and

Whereas this gouging continued several weeks ago when a 91 year old lady suffering from Alzheimer's was billed $2,000 to travel a total distance of two miles to and from her dentist's office;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health investigate and order remedy for this senior citizen and any other Nova Scotian senior citizen being gouged by this government's funded health service.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2766

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

Whereas in the words of the immortal Hank Snow's song, "I've Been Everywhere Man", he sings, "I've been around and around and around"; and

Whereas the Minister of Health appeared to be singing from Hank's songbook yesterday when telling this House he has travelled around the province listening to regional health boards; and

[Page 7275]

Whereas maybe the minister has been around and around but he certainly isn't listening to concerns expressed to him in regard to health care services in this province;

Therefore be it resolved that when this House adjourns, the Minister of Health become a listening man, travel around the province and hear from Nova Scotians exactly what they think of the devastating cuts he is imposing on their health care.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2767

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

Whereas Brenda Montgomery of Clementsport has received the Canadian Healthcare Association's Award for Distinguished Service in 2000; and

Whereas this award recognizes Mrs. Montgomery's achievement in health care administration, her service and leadership over the years, and her promotion of Canadian health care organizations; and

Whereas Mrs. Montgomery has shown considerable professionalism and has made a significant contribution to the health care of Nova Scotia nationally;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Brenda Montgomery for her hard work and dedication to the health care of Nova Scotians.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 7276]

RESOLUTION NO. 2768

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

Whereas the Knights of Columbus have a long history of dedication and service to their communities; and

Whereas St. Andrew's parish in Eastern Passage chartered a Knights of Columbus group in 1990; and

Whereas the Father Joseph Mills Knights of Columbus Council No. 10486 group have been very active in numerous community activities that have touched all residents of Eastern Passage and Cow Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Father Joseph Mills Knights of Columbus Council No. 10486 group of St. Andrew's parish in Eastern Passage on their 10th Anniversary and wish them all the best in their future.

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.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2769

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a kind resolution here for the NDP.

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

Whereas the NDP stopped asking questions about Sydney Steel the day the government shut down the steel plant; and

[Page 7277]

Whereas the NDP's response to the government's action then was to peevishly call union headquarters in Toronto to complain that unemployed Sydney steelworkers had brought their concerns to their local Liberal MLAs instead of to the NDP; and

Whereas when the NDP learned that Sydney steelworkers could not be controlled by telephone calls to Toronto, they got very mad and terminated their efforts for steelworkers here in the House;

Therefore be it resolved that this curious response by the NDP shows the hollowness of their concern for the plight faced by the Sysco workers who are unemployed today because the NDP brought down the Russell MacLellan Liberal Government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2770

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

Whereas interscholastic athletics contribute immeasurably to our schools and school spirit; and

Whereas student athletes are being recognized for their accomplishments at this time of the year; and

Whereas on Tuesday, June 6th, Jill Daurie and Tim Norris were named as the Athletes of the Year at Sir John A. Macdonald High School;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jill Daurie and Tim Norris and other athletes of the year in their respective schools throughout Nova Scotia.

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 7278]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2771

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have served the residents of Cape Breton County with the utmost professionalism for the past 67 years; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be ending municipal policing duties effective later this year; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a world-renowned police force, provided Cape Breton County with exceptional police service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the excellent professional policing service provided in Cape Breton County for the past 67 years.

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 Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2772

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 Minister of Finance, a former John Buchanan Cabinet Minister, dares to lecture this House about fiscal responsibility; and

[Page 7279]

Whereas it was John Buchanan and his crew, like the Minister of Finance and Minister of Transportation, who are responsible for the financial mess this province is in today; and

Whereas if the Premier and company want to preach financial responsibility, then they should at least acknowledge that they and their Party were the authors of this misfortune;

Therefore be it resolved that those that can preach should, and those who cannot, like the former Buchananites, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transportation, should be relegated to the backbenches before they do any further damage to the financial stability of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2773

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

Whereas there will be nearly 70 jobs lost in Truro as a direct result of the Tory budget; and

Whereas Truro will bear 32 per cent of the first round of budget cuts in this province despite having a population of barely 1 per cent of the population of the province; and

Whereas the cuts to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College budget and the gutting of the Production Services Branch of the Agriculture and Marketing Ministry will hit Truro hard;

Therefore be it resolved that his constituents ask themselves what their member, the Minister of Health, is doing at the Cabinet table and why he is betraying his community and completing the wrecking job that was started when Eleanor Norrie gave Truro-Bible Hill exactly the same kind of representation.

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.

[Page 7280]

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes on an introduction.

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today in the House and introduce my youngest daughter. It is her first visit to the House. Accompanying her is one of her friends, Sarah Jessome, from Bras d'Or. My daughter's name is Brandy. They also bring greetings from their teacher, Mr. Jim Campbell, Grade 6 of the Bras d'Or Elementary School. On behalf of their classmates they want to bring greetings to all the House. I ask the House to give them a warm welcome. They are being accompanied today by their mother, my wife, Robin, and Brandy's oldest sister, Carly. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2774

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

Whereas the love of a profession is a greater motivator than success: and

Whereas one of the world's most professional theatre schools, the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Art in London, England, invites young actors to participate in their one year theatrical course; and

Whereas 23 year old Dustin Harvey of Elmsdale was 1 of 30 young actors picked from approximately 1,000 applicants from all over Europe and North America to attend LAMDA in September this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Dustin Harvey, and wish him the best as he embarks on his learning experience at this prestigious English school.

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 7281]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Question Period will begin at 11:25 a.m. and end at 12:25 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

COMMUN. SERV. - SOCIAL ASSIST.: CUTS - JUSTIFY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go to the Premier and talk about the impact his budget is having on women and children in the Province of Nova Scotia. I want you to hear about a constituent of mine, let's call her Marge. Her and her husband were raising four children on social assistance, because they couldn't find any work. Community Services gave them $1,150 a month to raise their family. Marge was living in an abusive relationship, and finally she was able to tell her husband to leave. She is now raising four children on her own. Because the previous assistance application was in her husband's name, Marge had to reapply. When she did, she was told that the new social assistance rates, effective May 1st, would apply. Last week Marge received her first cheque. The cheque, which would have to cover shelter, clothing, transportation, utilities, phone, everything for her and her four children, was $677. Next month and for every month after, it will be $651.

I want to ask the Premier, on Marge's behalf and on behalf of other women and children living in poverty, how could you shelter, clothe and feed yourself and four children on $677 a month?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member brings a very good issue to the floor of the House, the difficulty that the poor have in living in Nova Scotia. This government is determined that in the course of its mandate, it will make things much better for all Nova Scotians, including Marge and her family.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this government, this Premier has the gall to support a national agenda for children, to stand up and to give all kinds of wonderful words about dealing with women and children living in poverty, yet his government is forcing Marge to new depths of poverty, her and her children, even if the only other choice is to live with abuse that could scar her children for the rest of their lives. That is one of the options that Marge is considering. I want to ask the Premier to justify this use of a reapplication requirement to take money from families who are already living below the poverty line.

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

[Page 7282]

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite right. We introduced a new rate structure, a single-tier rate structure to take effect in June of this year. Those rates have been put in place, we will be bringing legislation in in the fall as we start those discussions to try to deal with all those concerns and those issues that people have brought forward to us.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, that is just more of what the member for Cape Breton Nova called gobbledegook. We are talking about taking money out of the pockets of women and children who live below the poverty line. I hear every day, and I am sure the Premier does, from families who say that this government is reducing them to beggars, because they have nowhere to go but to charities and to food banks. I want to ask the Premier to search his soul and decide whether or not he can't do better for women and children in the Province of Nova Scotia, and have his minister suspend those rate cuts, which became effective on May 1st, and consider their effects on the level of family violence in Nova Scotia and the kinds of choices that they force upon women and children, like Marge and her family. Consider those.

[11:30 a.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would say that the question that the member has just brought to the floor of the House is the most difficult question I have had to field since this session began, because government is having a difficult time in dealing with all of the problems that exist in Nova Scotia today. What we are committed to do on behalf of that Nova Scotian and her family, and all Nova Scotians, is doing the right thing today so we can do a better job for them tomorrow.

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

HEALTH - REG. BDS.: BUSINESS PLANS - PARAMETERS

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health, a friend and buddy of the Minister of Finance. A gag order has been placed on all of the regional health boards in Nova Scotia but, in spite of that, in the western region the chiefs of staff have disassociated themselves from the process of developing the business plans. The CEO of the western region got the chiefs of staff, union representatives, and clinical site managers together to try to develop the business plans in that region. The chiefs of staff said that it was nothing more than a bloodletting process. I want to ask the Minister of Health, what were the parameters set for developing the business plans and what instructions were given to the regions in developing those business plans?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, they are no better than they were yesterday, completely out to lunch. They wouldn't know a business plan if they saw one, and they certainly didn't have one in the six years they were in office. What we did in the construction

[Page 7283]

of the business plans, the departmental staff went back to the people in the boards, who met with their officials there and they got together and what they did, they were given basically budget guidelines and they were asked to prepare plans that would meet budgetary guidelines, something that bunch is unfamiliar with.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the meetings to develop the business plan in the western region were held on April 15th and April 16th, after the budget. There wasn't enough information given to the chiefs of staff and the others meeting, the financial information wasn't made available, and there was no picture of how what they were going to be doing would fit into the whole picture that needed to be obtained. I want to know from the Minister of Health, how can he possibly utilize a process like that to develop something as important as a business plan for the region? How could that be and how much faith can he have in that kind of business plan?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we began meeting as a department with people in the regions back in November. This business planning process has been an ongoing process. It did not start in May, it started actually back in November when the people out there were given some parameters, that they knew what we were trying to work toward. Certainly they were given figures, and the people in the districts themselves met with the people who are the administrators. The business plan is something that came to us.

What I want to emphasize, Mr. Speaker, is that when the plan came to us, our department is in the process of reviewing that plan. Contrarily to what the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party indicated, when he tabled that junk in the House the other day, is that the department has been working with these people and, to be quite frank, certain parts of the plans were acceptable and certain parts of the plans were not acceptable.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Health is saying is not correct.

The gun was put to the heads of those meeting to develop a business plan on April 15th and April 16th in the western region. The chiefs of staff are angry, they are disassociating themselves from the process and they are waiting to see what the business plans state to see exactly what this government has done to that regional health board.

I would like to ask the minister, why, in something as important as the health of the people of this province, would he actually promote an exercise like that and actually take the results of such a scurrilous process to develop the health benefits for the people of Nova Scotia?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will go back. The business planning process, in relationship to the province, has been ongoing since November. The department has been involved in that, working with people. In addition to that, as the honourable member knows, a clinical footprint is being developed in consultation with the people around the province as well. The business planning process began last November.

[Page 7284]

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

SYSCO - SALE: BIDDERS - CONSIDER (EXCO)

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The government has effectively shut down Sysco, spent the working capital and laid everyone off as it goes through its sales exercise. The Conservatives' hired hands are finalizing a contract with Duferco, although Duferco's most ambitious forecast is only for 172 jobs. There was no plan for decision makers - the Sysco board and Cabinet - to hear directly from the two final proponents.

Nova Scotians know that tens of millions of dollars are riding on this very sale, so I want to ask the Premier, why won't he ensure that the Sysco board and Cabinet hear directly from the two final proponents for the purchase of Sysco?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is a question for the Minister responsible for the Sydney Steel Corporation Act.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, the process by which the government will make a determination as to who is the best bidder, has been laid out in front of the members opposite many times in the past. There is a process in place; Ernst & Young will apprise Cabinet, will apprise the board of directors, will apprise the steering committee when they are prepared to bring forward that decision.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, one thing I will agree with, there are differences between the proposals, all right; North American Metals means 600 jobs, both directly and indirectly. It means saving more than $43 million in pension and severance costs. It means $3.5 million more annual tax revenue for this province.

I ask the Premier once again, why won't this government have enough self-respect to hear directly from a proponent with unquestionable business credentials in a bid that would leave this province in better financial shape?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government made a commitment to provide the best business deal which would provide the most advantage for the steelworkers, the people of Cape Breton and all taxpayers in Nova Scotia. We are determined that this will not be a political decision; it will be a decision based on a business plan and appropriate long-term plan for the operation of the Sydney steel plant. The politicization of that process, at this point, would not be in anyone's best interest.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the process has already been politicized. The government would rather rubber stamp the least attractive of the two deals and work by remote control through hired guns. The only issue is whether the Tories are utterly

[Page 7285]

incompetent, or whether they are so small-minded that they will not work on the people who formerly managed Sydney Steel, when they said that the NAM deal is the better of the two deals.

I want to ask the Premier once again, can he explain why his government is going to such great lengths and spending so much money to avoid hearing directly from a proponent who offers more jobs, lower government costs and a better opportunity for the families of Sysco who depend on that mill?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member opposite wants to hear again what the minister responsible has said in terms of how this process is being handled by government.

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, once again, there is a process in place and they will engage the government at the appropriate time in terms of decision making. There are many factors to be considered in what is the best proposal, which one costs the taxpayers the least money, and that decision will be taken once the information is available.

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

EXCO - PROG. REVIEW: INFO. - RELEASE

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The Premier has talked about this business review, program review, for some time. He talked about it last fall. He issued a press release saying that there were 1,126 programs under review. We still don't have the program review, it hasn't been made public, and yet he still talks about the number of programs. Is he still saying that the number of programs being reviewed are 1,126?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say to the member opposite is, yes, we have done an exhaustive research of programs in this province. Yes, we will be making that available and I can tell you that it will be very soon.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my information is that there are more than 1,126 programs being reviewed, that there are probably 100 more than the 1,126. I would just like to ask the Premier, if he doesn't know the number of programs that are being reviewed, how in the name of heavens can we trust the review that he, in fact, has done?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that any misgivings he has about the program review, any information that he wants about the program review, will be available to him very soon.

[Page 7286]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt it will be available very soon but what I have a problem with - and I say this quite frankly to the Premier - is why it hasn't been made available before now. Everyone in Halifax associated with the government knows that the program review has been completed, has been completed for some time, yet the Premier and the government are holding onto it until the House rises. If it is such a great review, as he likes to have us believe, why hasn't he released it while the House is still sitting?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has made one important mistake in fact. The program review is not completed. It is an ongoing process that will go on for many months but we will be releasing the situation as it exists now and the member opposite, as will all members on the Opposition benches, as will all Nova Scotians, have the information very soon.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

HEALTH - CARE: RURAL - NEEDS CONSIDER

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, today we tabled in the House a petition of over 2,323 signatures of persons who want to save their hospital, Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Middleton. These are the signatures of individuals who are afraid of what this government will do to their health care once the regional business plans are released. This petition has been organized by a front-line health care worker who knows that here hospital serves a rural population that has high health needs. My question is, we have already witnessed the downgrading of health care services in rural areas with bed closures, I want to ask the minister, how has he taken into account the unique health care needs of rural Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in the business planning process, we have not only taken into consideration the needs of rural Nova Scotians, we have taken into consideration the needs of all Nova Scotians and I want to assure all Nova Scotians - unfortunately, the petition that you tabled today was whipped up by that trash that was put out by the Liberals - that a good level of services will be available in the future.

[11:45 a.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, persons with low incomes or low education use nearly 40 per cent more of physician services than persons with high incomes or education. Unfortunately the rural population is older, has a lower income, and has had fewer educational opportunities. The need for health services is strongly associated with household income, education and health status. How is the department's funding formula to allocate Health dollars going to take into account household income, education and health status?

[Page 7287]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the honourable member asked that question. He does put, in a very clear way, the type of information that is going to help. When we get our health care information system up and running the way we design, the very types of things that the honourable member is mentioning are going to form a very important part of our decision-making process. The clear fact is now, unfortunately - and we have said this and it has been acknowledged even by the member for Dartmouth East, who finally got something right - the health information system that we have in the province is not what we would like to have. It is one of the priorities of our department. That is part of the initiatives that are ongoing now, this business-planning process. The clinical footprint, which is coming down, is based on evidence. The very things which the honourable member has mentioned - and I am glad that he did - are integral to decision making for the Department of Health in the future.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the information that he requires, he could go back to the community health boards before he makes final decisions with respect to the business plans. After the House rises, rural Nova Scotians' health care will begin to feel the effects of this government's slash-and-burn fiscal policy. The Minister of Health has shown that he places priority on fiscal objectives and health needs of Nova Scotia are treated as an afterthought.

I want to ask the Minister of Health here today, he states that he is committed to evidence-based decision making, when will he commit to ensuring that all factors which affect health care use, including income and education, will determine funding allocations?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, since we came into office and since we began the reorganization of the health system in this province, we have made it abundantly clear at every opportunity we have had that services are going to be delivered based on population, geography, burden of illness, age and we will be including level of illness, which of course is quite often attached to income.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - EMC: DISPATCHERS - CONCERNS ADDRESS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. We learned last fall how unprepared that minister was in regard to the issues surrounding paramedics. It seems the government has not learned from that. The issues of the dispatchers are festering and are about to boil over. The dispatch centre is regularly understaffed, with dispatchers working 12 hour shifts without break. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to address the concerns of dispatchers immediately, in order to avoid strike action?

[Page 7288]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, like the paramedics, the dispatchers perform a valuable service; like the paramedics, they are in the process of negotiating a first contract. We do not negotiate contracts on the floor of this House.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, last fall the minister said he had a plan to deal with the crisis for the paramedics, and we later learned there never was a plan. Now the dispatchers are in crisis. Negotiations have been going on for close to a year. The dispatchers say that the employer, EMC is preparing for a strike instead of listening to their concerns. My question to the minister is, what is the minister doing to make sure the concerns of the dispatchers are being considered by their employer?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is correct, the dispatchers are employed by EMC, not directly by the Department of Health. However, they are going through a fair and ongoing collective bargaining process. During that process, I am sure the concerns, which the honourable member is talking about, are being put on the table, and they are being discussed by both sides.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in the short time that they have been in office, the Tories are succeeding in the erosion of one of the best emergency response systems in Canada. My question to the minister, what steps has the minister taken to ensure that emergency response services do not suffer because of overworked dispatchers and understaffed dispatch centres?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate. The process is trying to come to a successful negotiation for a first contract. As all honourable members in this House know, the negotiation of a first contract is generally a little bit more difficult than succeeding contracts. I know this is going a little bit slower than I would like, than the EMC would like, than the unions would like, but the process is ongoing. It will come to a successful conclusion.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

HEALTH - BRAIN INJURY: TREATMENT - CRITERIA

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question to the Minister of Health, and it concerns the situation of Marion Anderson who suffered a serious brain injury in 1990. Last year, a plan was developed by the director of long-term care for Marion's care. Once this government was elected, this plan was never implemented. Marion has been languishing in a nursing home, and her status is declining. Her husband has been forced to piecemeal a rehabilitation program together with absolutely no government support. Why is it, minister, that when a person is in a car accident, we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep her alive, but once she is breathing again, we abandon her?

[Page 7289]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, obviously I could not comment on that case as a personal, an individual case on the floor of this House. Also I have been told that the people who are involved have indicated they may be taking legal action to try and resolve it. So I cannot comment on it.

AN HON. MEMBER: They want some help. They want some attention.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, June is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Over 1,200 people in Nova Scotia suffer from brain injuries each year. The QE II emergency room sees almost daily someone with a brain injury. But the treatment of persons in this province is not equal. After this government was elected a very high-profile case in the minister's own riding received appropriate services at the government's expense. Let me be clear, we are happy that this individual received the services. But I want to ask the Minister of Health, will he table the criteria his department uses to determine eligibility for government assistance.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, our department is in receipt of a report on acquired brain injury, ABI as it is known as, as we are currently working through that document in preparation for our next step. The honourable member is absolutely correct. Unfortunately, just about right across the country, the level of services for people who perhaps fall into that category is not as well developed as some other areas of illness. You are absolutely right. But I want to tell you that this government is working on it, for the first time probably in governmental history. We are actively working on it, and we are working with it.

One of the things I have to make clear, Mr. Speaker, is that the department does provide services, and services are provided for these things. Unfortunately, sometimes the services that are provided are not those that people would like. That is the difference.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, let me tell you how the Minister of Health is actively working on this. We have just learned that the Cape Breton Regional Health Care Complex has suspended neurosurgery. If a child has a bike accident and suffers a brain injury with severe cerebral bleeding in Cape Breton, there is no longer neurosurgery to help them. Brain injuries are of such a serious nature, patients can't afford the time to be sent to Halifax for emergency treatment. This review of services is the result of health care cutbacks. When will the minister guarantee that this vital service will not be taken away from Cape Breton?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, like other areas of the province, the residents of Cape Breton will continue to receive appropriate service based on their needs.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 7290]

COMMUN. SERV. - DAYSPRING YOUTH FACILITY:

DAMAGE (YOUTH) - PAYMENT

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community Services. The Dayspring youth facility was opened by our government last year and at a meeting on April 25, 2000, the board learned that the director had paid out approximately $6,000 to a local resident who claimed youth from the centre damaged a property. This pay-out was done without the board's approval and the board had to approve this pay-out after the fact. The director apparently was ordered by the Deputy Minister of Community Services to make this payment. Is it true that the minister's department ordered the director of the Dayspring youth facility to sidestep board approval and make this payment?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the issue around the Dayspring youth facility, as he is well aware, had some issues around the community and the community had some concerns. Back last year we met with the community representatives in terms of putting in place a committee that would help get the facility and the community more together. One of the things that did happen, there was an unfortunate incident as the member mentioned and yes, we went forward to compensate for that and to make that good in the community.

DR. SMITH: It appears the Minister of Community Services wants to avoid any controversy. Of course, he did get his favour when the correctional forensic facility was moved - at a cost of, the Minister of Justice said $1 million, it may be $5 million - from Bedford to Dartmouth, but that is by the by. I ask the minister, why a quick and quiet pay-out ordered when there were no charges laid, no full investigation conducted and the children from the community and not from the centre also were involved? Can the minister explain that to the House?

MR. CHRISTIE: I don't think the member is quite correct on the issue of charges. The RCMP were involved. There was some discussion with them. At the end of the day, the decision with our department and with the committee that is involved with the community decided that it would be best if we did compensate to put the issue to rest.

DR. SMITH: I want to ask the minister, where he is sending children with behavioural disorders out of the province, at the same time has the criteria for admission to this facility changed? A $2 million facility, 10 beds, only five residents on an average over the last while. Are you protecting the Minister of Justice from embarrassment in his backyard by not putting children involved as juvenile offenders into that Dayspring youth facility? Are you protecting the Minister of Justice in his backyard?

MR. CHRISTIE: Far be it for me to try to protect the Minister of Justice in his backyard. We have had, as I indicated, discussions with the community group that was there. The admissions to that facility are still through the referral of the Children's Aid Society of Lunenburg and the practice has been going on and is still continuing.

[Page 7291]

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

PET. DIR. - OFFSHORE: BENEFITS - REVEAL

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, the Premier jetted off to Houston without his Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, but the Premier did manage to garner some pretty good headlines for himself back here at home by talking tough supposedly to his friends in big oil. We all know that we didn't get in Nova Scotia the level of benefits we were supposed to receive from Tier I of the offshore development. The Premier talked tough and said he was going to be demanding more benefits, but he didn't give a minimum level that he was going to be requiring. I am wondering if the Premier would like to inform Nova Scotians what minimum level of benefits for Nova Scotians will he demand before Tier II proceeds?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what this government will be demanding of participants in offshore development, offshore activity, is the maximum benefit. The maximum benefit that can be provided to Nova Scotians and that is the amount we will be looking for - the maximum benefit.

MR. HOLM: Thank you very much, but nobody knows what the minimum or the maximum are. Maybe they are one and the same. It would appear that is what it looks like the government is talking about. I am sure the Premier didn't just go to Houston so he could win some big headlines back here at home. So I want to ask the Premier this, have you started to draft the regulations that will be requiring your friends in big oil to provide Nova Scotians with a fair share of our benefits, to which we are entitled, from developing our natural gas?

[12:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: What this government is doing is taking every opportunity, first of all, to attract participants in our offshore development, but indicating to them that the privilege of being here comes with a price and that price is to do exactly what that member is encouraging this government to do, to receive the maximum benefits for Nova Scotians in offshore discovery, exploration and development.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, we all know we got cheated in Tier I, we didn't get the level of benefits we were supposed to. We also know that we got very meagre royalties in terms of what we should have received, and the Premier will also know that companies like Maritimes & Northeast are now trying to bow out of contracts or agreements they had even for transporting gas across this province in terms of discounts for Nova Scotians. My question to the Premier is very simply this one. How can Nova Scotians have any confidence that we are actually going to be receiving the level of benefits to which we should be entitled when you are unprepared to do anything more than talk, but not prepared to put in regulation or legislation, requirements that actually put some definition to the term maximum?

[Page 7292]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member brings up the issue of the controversy on discounting. We will be presenting a very strong provincial position, to the National Energy Board later this month that will support this government's position and that is that the discount provisions that were negotiated by the previous government is the position of this government. We will present that very strongly to the National Energy Board.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE: SHELBURNE YOUTH CENTRE - LAY-OFFS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for the Province of Nova Scotia. Our caucus has just learned that several employees at the Shelburne Youth Centre are being laid off as we speak. In the last election the MLA for Shelburne, and his Party shamelessly used the employees of the youth centre for political gain. They misled them about how a Conservative Government would handle the issue of abuse allegations, and now they are delivering the final insult. My question to the minister is, how can the minister explain to these workers why he and his Party have stabbed them in the back?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's concern for the workers of the Shelburne Youth Centre. I share that concern for the members of the Shelburne Youth Centre. In fact, one of the difficult problems we have in Nova Scotia is that there are changes that are going on in corrections and we have to recognize them. One of the changes going on in corrections is a change dealing with young offenders. We have far, far, fewer people, as young offenders, going into custody than we used to. That is a fact. The people who are going into custody are going in for more serious crimes but there are fewer of them. We cannot staff a facility for one-half or one-third of the number of inmates that used to be there. What we have done is to simply staff the facility for the number of young people who are attending the centre.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it becoming more and more incredible every day to listen to this minister. One day he is throwing everybody in jail and he talks about home invasions and getting tough and taking action and he is going to put every one in jail. On the other hand, he turns around and lays off all the correction staff saying, we don't have a criminal problem here in this province, so we can lay people off and Nova Scotians are left to ask, what kind of credibility does this minister have?

Mr. Speaker, among those receiving the bad news today was a receptionist with 22 years of service at the facility, and the Protestant chaplain. Why did this government and the minister tell these workers that they had their full support when clearly they have delivered a devastating blow to this facility?

[Page 7293]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, unlike the former government, we were actually committed to being fair to these workers. The difficulty is that, as I indicated earlier, we have simply got to rationalize the number of people attending that facility. The honourable member just doesn't get it, the fact that you do not keep people at a facility regardless of whether or not you have the people in the facility to protect, we simply don't have the number of inmates to justify the staff we have. The staff complement is being rationalized. That is all that is happening at that centre. We are rationalizing the staff component.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speakers, workers throughout this province and the ones at the youth centre are quickly finding out that fair treatment from this government comes in the form of a pink slip. My final supplementary, what this government is doing is unbelievable. These workers campaigned for the Tory Party in the last election. They paid for radio ads that benefited Tory candidates across the South Shore including the Minister of Justice himself. They gave their full support to the Progressive Conservative Party in every way imaginable. Now they are being discarded by the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SAMSON: Clearly, they are no longer useful to this government as a political tool. My final supplementary, will the minister apologize to the workers and the people of Shelburne County for using them as political pawns?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the only one who is using anybody as a political pawn is the member opposite. The honourable member opposite is the one who is playing with people who have lost their jobs and misleading them into believing that he really cares about them when it was his government who never cared for those workers. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

BUS. & CONS. SERV. - TRUCKING PERMITS:

STAFF - REDUCTION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Business and Consumer Services. Every day in the province truckers require special permits for loads that are overweight and also oversize. Right now they can call into the vehicle compliance, they can make an application, and they will have their permit faxed back to them within one-half hour. The minister is laying off half of the staff that specializes in that permitting. My question to the minister is very simply this, there are over 100,000 special permits issued each year. What plans do you have to get this work done with just half the staff?

[Page 7294]

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I find this question amazing because just the other day, this member stated that because of the fact that we had some reduction in staffing at BCS that we would not be able to deliver the new program that has been put in place, the .05 policy we put in place. He stated we were months behind. That is not true. We were completely up to date. I am certain when I look back to the department for some insight into the specific question, that I will find that his comments again are totally unsubstantiated.

MR. HOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that answer and a loonie will almost get you a cup of coffee. The minister obviously believes that the only defence is to attack because he has no credibility in the matter, and he knows that his facts aren't right. The system of permitting is in place to protect our highways and the people who travel on them. Truckers rely on the staff of vehicle compliance for their knowledge of the routes, weight and height restrictions, and other load information. They say laying off half of the staff is going to cause problems and delays in the industry. The industry can't afford that. I want to ask the minister, what discussions have you had with the trucking industry about how your department will deliver this service and how it is going to affect the trucking industry?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I am just going to quote something from a report I got from the department the other day, and we will see who has credibility. It says, "The 24 hours suspensions are processed immediately - no backlog. Criminal Code convictions - no backlog. This includes drinking and driving." So who is telling the truth? (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable minister to table that document he referred to.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think that the minister should also go back and look at the question that was asked. I will stand by what I said and I will trust the staff whom I heard, from your department, who talked about all the various backlogs that exist in there.

I note, Mr. Speaker, a second time that the minister never came close to answering the question that I asked. We have spoken with the companies that are involved in trucking and with TANS, and none of them have been contacted by the minister about the permit issue. I am sure that his colleague, the member for beautiful Bedford - excuse me - Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, (Interruptions) Bedford is beautiful, too, . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. HOLM: . . . but the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has, I suspect a little bit more knowledge about the trucking industry and he could inform the minister - and he may believe his colleague - that the trucking industry here cannot afford to be waiting around for hours, or even days, before permits are issued to them.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 7295]

MR. HOLM: So I want to ask the minister, why are you getting rid of the experienced staff when the money you save will be far less than the additional costs being imposed on the trucking system because of the government delays that are going to be imposed upon them?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, it is very obvious that the member for Sackville-Cobequid has no faith in the staff who work in our department. We will deliver those permits. The member is right that the trucking industry needs those permits on a timely basis, and no one knows that better than myself because my father is involved in the trucking industry and he knows how it works. We will deliver those programs and those permits on time. He may not believe me today, but he also did not believe me the other day when I told him it would work, and I have proven him wrong.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - DAL. LEGAL AID: FUNDING - CONTINUANCE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. All members of this House know that Dal Legal Aid has been providing legal counsel for the poor for the past 30 years. The Minister of Justice, since the budget came down, has continually indicated there will be no funding cut to Dal Legal Aid. Opposite to that, recent news reports indicate that the Legal Aid Commission is eliminating funding to the program for the year 2001-02. My question to the minister is, can you confirm whether or not this funding is going to be cut to Dal Legal Aid?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly do appreciate the question about Dal Legal Aid. What I indicated to the honourable member earlier, I believe, was that there has been no funding cuts to the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission which funds Dal Legal Aid. With respect to Dal Legal Aid, the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission has received presentations from the Dalhousie Legal Aid group with respect to this business year and the subsequent business years, and I understand that the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission has not yet made a final decision. I believe there is a budget meeting scheduled for the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission later this month, where they will review the business plan and make a decision.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that the minister is aware of the importance of Dal Legal Aid for he actually worked there during his legal studies and I think he knows, and all Nova Scotians know, the importance of this program. The minister indicates this is a decision that is going to be made by the Legal Aid Commission. My first supplementary to the minister is, will the minister make an intervention as the Minister of Justice to ensure that the Legal Aid Commission maintains funding at 1999 levels for the Dal Legal Aid program?

[Page 7296]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, what I have indicated to the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission is that I trust their good judgement; I know their commitment to delivering a Legal Aid program to Nova Scotians. That is why the Legal Aid Commission exists because of a commitment on behalf of government to delivering a good quality legal aid program to Nova Scotians. I indicated to the members of the Dalhousie Legal Aid that they should put together their best business plan to demonstrate that they are providing the best value of a program to Nova Scotians who need legal services of that kind.

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are seeing more and more the effects of cuts being made by this government, and how commissions, such as the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission, are having to make these tough decisions. It is imperative that the minister keep the Dalhousie Legal Aid program operating. If the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission makes the decision that they cannot afford to fund the legal aid program, will the minister step in and restore funding to the Dalhousie Legal Aid program by giving direct funding to this program, rather than forcing them to go through the Legal Aid Commission to obtain this funding?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that Dalhousie Legal Aid has been funded through the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission during the tenure of the former administration. That is the standard practice. To be perfectly candid, if I were to go in there and take money, would the honourable member suggest what other program he would prefer me to shut down. If I were to do that? It is about choices. We have given the same amount of money to legal aid this year as in previous years. That is because of a commitment to legal aid. We have to leave it to the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission to ensure that the money is spent in the best possible manner.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - FRASER RD. (HANTS CO.):

GATES - REMOVE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will direct my question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The minister is well aware - at least I hope - of the Fraser Road and the concerns of all parties involved with it. The Department of Transportation and Public Works approved the placing of gates on a public road, without adequate consultation with adjoining landowners and users of the road. Your predecessor, Mr. Minister, as Minister of Transportation and Public Works ordered the gates on the Fraser Road to be removed. They were not. My question to the minister, and the question that the landowners would like an answer to, is, why are the gates still up?

[Page 7297]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the difficulties and the problems with that particular road. There is a quarry at that site, and the owners of the quarry wish to protect themselves from persons who might go in there and injure themselves and have a claim against them. I believe that was the original concept. There are ongoing negotiations at the present time to put another road through, as I understand it, parallel to the first one. I would suggest that possibly that problem is going to be resolved in the very near future.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I think it is the landowners and the traditional users of that road who feel like they are the quarry in this. It is hard to believe that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works can give an order that the staff in the department don't follow. My question to the minister is, does your staff in the department have more clout than the minister and, if not, why are the gates still there?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I did not issue the order for the gates to be removed. However, I understand the concern of the residents of that area, and I can also understand the concerns of those who own the quarry operation. These matters will be resolved, and the gates will be removed in good time, if another alternative route cannot be found.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, needless to say the situation has been frustrating to everyone involved. The root of the problem is that the department has never properly articulated its policy on when and under what circumstances access to a public road will be barred. That means the Fraser Road situation could easily happen again elsewhere. My question is, when will the minister develop a policy to make sure that the Fraser Road fiasco won't be repeated anywhere else in the province?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the situation with the Fraser Road is unique. I can assure the honourable member and all residents of Nova Scotia that access to public roads will not be denied. In this particular case, as I said, there is some difference of opinion as to whether or not it is indeed a public road as outlined and described in the Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

TOURISM & CULTURE: GAELIC COLLEGE - CUTS

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism. For over 60 years, the Gaelic College in St. Ann's has been a leader in the preservation of the Gaelic language and the study of Celtic arts and culture. Yesterday in the House, the minister praised the college and said the Gaelic College is an excellent institution, where young children have an opportunity to not only learn Gaelic, but to learn violin, step dancing and piping. The Gaelic College depends on funding from the government. This year, the college has suffered from a $50,000 cut. My question to the minister is, does the minister

[Page 7298]

think the Gaelic College can offer programs such as he described yesterday while absorbing such a large cut?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Tha sihn ghé mhath. That is a good question, and I appreciate it from the honourable member, Mr. Speaker. I do realize, and like many institutions, there have been some changes in the amount of funding they are getting this year. But I would like to remind the honourable member we are making a $220,000 investment in the Gaelic College this year, and they will be able to offer the programs which they offered in the past. In addition, I would also like to remind the honourable member that we made an additional $150,000 investment in his riding, making the Highland Village part of the Nova Scotia Museum.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister giving an extra $50,000 to the Highland Village, but he has taken it from the Gaelic College, so it is not a great movement. (Interruption)

The minister knows also that there is a plan to take another $50,000 from the Gaelic College next year. The minister should know that this would be a terrible blow to our highland culture. Is it the minister's plans to follow through with the government's plan to cut another $50,000 from the institution next year?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member, and I thank him for his question, I know the Gaelic College is very important to the riding of Victoria. I know it is very important to all of Cape Breton as well as my own riding. What I can tell the honourable member is that we will continue to make a large investment in the college. Again, he knows that it depends on the budget for next year, but I can tell the honourable member that is something I take very seriously, the issue of funding for the college, and we will continue to make a solid investment in that institution.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable minister, but I want to remind him that if they take another $50,000 cut, that institution will surely close. It is the only Gaelic institution in North America, and it is vital to tourism and the culture of Cape Breton. My question, how does the minister plan to make sure this international reputation of the Gaelic College does not suffer as a result of those cuts?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I said, we will continue investing valuable dollars in that institution; $220,000 this year, as well, it was not $50,000 additional for the Nova Scotia Museum in Highland Village, it is $150,000. That is a large investment in the Gaelic culture in Cape Breton and for all of Nova Scotia. I look forward to the day when it officially becomes part of our Nova Scotia Museum family. That should take place later on this month.

[Page 7299]

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

ENVIRON. - HFX. HBR.: CLEANUP - SOLUTION

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like the opportunity to address a pressing matter called the Halifax stinkhole behind us and in front of the Premier. I would like to question why the Premier wants to risk years more of nothing being done by not being involved in the solution?

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 42.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, we would like to move this bill back to Committee of the Whole House on Bills for a certain amendment which will be explained by the honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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.

[Page 7300]

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

The motion is carried.

[12:26 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[12:51 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed 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. 28 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 37 - Preston Area Housing Act.

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

The committee also has met and considered the following bill:

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

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with amendment.

The chairman has also requested that they be added to the order paper.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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 call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

[Page 7301]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 10.

Bill No. 10 - Farm Practices Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to move Bill No. 10 for third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I certainly am glad for a few more comments before this bill finally gets through the House. I want all members to be aware that my caucus will be supporting this bill and we do so with some reservation I must say. I think that the minister and the government certainly could have taken a different approach to protection for farmers. I would say that it is unclear to me at this point, even as far as we have come, that this bill actually will offer protection to farmers. I would have liked to have had some comment from the minister through this process because we raised concerns very early on in second reading that we had problems with this. They were not addressed and I certainly hope they don't wind up being addressed in the court system.

I think the biggest concern we had was around the constitutionality of the board that the minister has developed for this process, that conflicts over nuisance or negligence would go to this board and this board would render a decision and that decision was binding. This board has the power of the court and there is no recourse for the individuals involved unless it is on a question of law, not on a question of fact. So in other words, the individuals would have to have enough information to indicate that the board had made an error in law and not in fact.

We also raised the issue around some identification of organic farmers in this bill, although the minister, and I believe the federation through the minister, believe that the bill covers and protects all farmers. Organic producers are considered farmers, and therefore they are protected. The bill clearly identifies the spraying of pesticides as one of the normal farm practices, but yet that is not a normal farm practice for organic farmers. Therefore, if their neighbour, carrying out spraying on their farm, happens to contaminate the crop of an organic producer, then that causes a real problem. Under this bill the organic producer doesn't have any protection, because the appellant in this case would be protected by the board as carrying out a normal farm practice and the organic farmer would have to incur the loss.

[Page 7302]

At the time the minister said this is hypothetical, but we have a case decided on May 4th of this year which actually didn't involve an organic producer. This was a case that involved two traditional producers, and in the case of the individual who was doing the spraying that contaminated his neighbour's crop, he was found to be not negligent in his use of that equipment and in how he sprayed his crop, but yet he was ordered to pay damages to his neighbour for the loss of time that the individual couldn't meet his contract obligation for getting his crop to the cannery, which was limited by time.

The minister still has not made any comment as to whether or not this bill would actually address that concern, and it is our feeling that it does not and that it cannot. In other words, the individual who was awarded damages in this case in Ontario would not be awarded damages under this bill in Nova Scotia; therefore, it doesn't protect all farmers in Nova Scotia. It would have been, I think, far more prudent for the minister to take the approach of land use, determine setbacks for different sectors of the industry, determine farm size and allow for protection of the farming industry based on clear-cut legislation that would say that you have to be a certain distance, et cetera, et cetera.

I think the first step in order to resolve these disputes is to prevent them. If we had legislation that worked more closely to prevent this type of dispute, not just between a farmer and his residential neighbour - which is actually what I think was the thrust for this piece of legislation - the notion that we have a farm operation that has been in existence for a number of years, a new neighbour moves in beside the farm operation and then starts to complain about what we would consider to be the normal farming practices of that operation, I think it is the major thrust that the farm community had as their concern.

We have to consider that other property owners coming to rural Nova Scotia also have rights as well, not just the farming community. If it was the case of a pulp mill that was producing an odour, then the whole community would think they have some right to complain about that. What we are saying in the case of farm operations is that those communities only have a right to go as far as that board and the board will make a decision. If it is considered an odour from a normal practice, then they really don't have any recourse.

Actually, I think one of the more negative aspects of the bill is the power of the board to determine who can come before the board. I feel that this is more power, along with the final decision of the board, meaning that there is no recourse after the board makes its decision, but the board shouldn't have the ability to tell those wanting to come before the board, no, you don't have standing, you don't qualify to be heard. I think this is an unnecessary power by the board.

I think if the power of the board was changed to that of a conciliator so that the board becomes a first step prior to going to court, then resolution of a lot of these concerns may happen at the board level. I think during the Law Amendments Committee, we heard information that indicated that there are a large number of conflicts that occur in the province

[Page 7303]

every year. I think recently in the past number of years, I think only 1 of 75 had made it to the courts. If the number of conflicts are resolved before they ever get to the courts at this high level, then it seems that the powers of this board and the formation of this board is above and beyond the call of duty.

[1:00 p.m.]

One of the real problems for the farming community is the not knowing. When a neighbour complains, then this starts a snowball effect that they wonder sometimes for months or years actually whether this is going to wind up in the courts. This causes a fair bit of stress for the farming family. I think the notion that this one will be faster and cheaper, people are deluding themselves with that because if you have a lot of dollars tied up in your farm operation, you are going to go to the board with a lawyer and you are going to spend money, and I think this will become a protracted exercise that will not turn out to be less stressful and speedier than the court system. I think if we were to look at the system in Quebec in which the board actually acts as a conciliator, then the burden of proof has to be on the plaintiff. Therefore, in that case, I think every opportunity is given to the farm operation that it is not a question of guilty, and then prove your innocence. Anybody making that complaint certainly has to come with that complaint on good grounds.

Before I take my seat, in my last few seconds, I would like the minister to be aware that I think the farm community is ill done by with this piece of legislation, I think it won't offer protection to the community and I think that they will have a false sense of security with this bill that at some point will be tested in the courts. There is already enough information around to direct the government into the proper approach for this bill. I know the community thinks this bill will meet the need, and we support it, certainly with the hope that these reservations will be considered. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on Bill No.10. We will be voting in favour of Bill No. 10, the Farm Practices Bill, a bill that has taken a number of years to put together and has worked very extensively with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and I might say for the record, Jim Burrows, Past President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture deserves a lot of credit for the leadership that he has played in working through this piece of legislation and involving the farm organizations, as well as past Ministers of Agriculture and the current minister, for the support of the department in bringing this forward.

The member who just spoke pointed out a number of the flaws or the potential flaws or the concerns that he has. Well, I remember back a number of years ago, the farmers in the Province of Nova Scotia had no legislation with regard to the right to farm and some sort of a protection measure. I believe it was the former Minister of Agriculture from a previous

[Page 7304]

government that actually brought in legislation, the Honourable Roger Bacon. That was the only bit of legislation the farmers had to have some protection. Since that time, it has been upgraded to the extent that we have Bill No. 10 here today. Is it perfect? No. I am sure there is no bill that is perfect that we pass through the Legislative Assembly in the Province of Nova Scotia. It is all subject to the courts and really the law is not established until it goes to court to be fully tested.

One could argue that there is lots of legislation that could be questioned in a court of law. I believe the intent behind this is not to send a false sense of security to the farmers, but in fact to raise the bar so that farmers establishing farm practices that are currently considered fair, right and just and also in environmental friendliness and so on and so forth, are good sets of guidelines and not a poor set of guidelines. I think the Federation of Agriculture, the farm communities that will be establishing these guidelines deserve a lot of credit. I know in our own farm operation over the last 26 years, there have been extensive changes in regard to proper codes of practice in my own operation as it is.

I look forward to those continual changes because invariably it allows our farm operation to be more user-friendly, as it were, in a rural environment. I will say to the members that this is a step in the right direction in regard to the legislation and I am sure that we will be reviewing it over a period of time, but for now it is the best that the farm community in partnership with the provincial government, have been able to develop and for that, we will be supporting this legislation because for the second time, what we are doing, is pointing out the importance of agriculture in the economy of Nova Scotia. We are pointing out that we support an industry that protects food delivery and food production in the Province of Nova Scotia and for that we will be supporting it, and Mr. Speaker, I now will retire from our comments and we ask for speedy passage of the third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: First of all, I want to thank my two colleagues from across the floor for their comments and consideration and certainly for their observations throughout the entire passage and process of the bill. I want to take a moment to also thank the staff who, under Susan Horne's direction, spent many hours in developing this legislation to bring forward in conjunction with the farming community in Nova Scotia, especially the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. Certainly, at the Law Amendments Committee, Mr. Jim Burrows who was official spokesman for the farming industry, did a wonderful job of explaining their concerns and addressing and, hopefully, alleviating concerns of members of this Legislature who had other concerns that they wanted to raise about this particular piece of legislation. Mr. Speaker, I think this is a very progressive piece of legislation that offers an opportunity for recognition of the farming industry. It allows for a strengthening of the process, of mediation and of ensuring that the farm community has other options than the law

[Page 7305]

court in deciding disputes over the normal practices of farmers and it allows the industry to put forward their peers to help define - in most cases, if not all cases - what normal farming practices are.

With those few brief comments, it is my pleasure to close the debate on third reading of Bill No. 10. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 10. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 29.

Bill No. 29 - Medical Laboratory Technology Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak briefly at third reading of Bill No. 29, Medical Laboratory Technology Act. This is a good bill, Mr. Speaker. The idea of it has been around for a long time. Certainly I was pleased, as minister, to be able to introduce it. It has, obviously, the support of the medical laboratory technologists group. I am pleased that during the debate that the members of the Opposition indicated their support. What this does is formalize the medical laboratory technologists as a professional organization, and will enable them to carry out their work more efficiently and with a better standard of practice. With those brief comments, I am pleased to move third reading of Bill No. 29.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding the floor so that I could make a few brief comments in support of Bill No. 29, An Act Respecting the Practice of Medical Laboratory Technology. We have supported this bill throughout the course of its journey through this House of Assembly and were present at the Law Amendments Committee when we received various interventions, representations made mainly by those persons who were supporting the bill, who saw it as a professional development for the medical laboratory technologists. I am not going to be long on this, I think the important thing is that we add our voice of support in the establishment of a college of medical laboratory

[Page 7306]

technologists. The bill establishes a board, it gives legitimacy to complaints, discipline issues, and matters of registration. Also, the amendments in turn address liability. I was not quite clear on the position of various groups on the liability issue and the automatic involvement with the national group. I think that is cleared and has not been controversial to my knowledge. Therefore, we support that initiative as well.

We have the approval, and all stakeholders are in approval of this bill, Mr. Speaker. Our concerns remain regarding the shortage of technologists. It think it is something that the Department of Health must look at. Also, the program development and support, because once these programs are lost they are very difficult to institute and get up and running. We have seen that from other professional areas of development.

I am sure the Nova Scotia Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists will be very pleased today, like the occupational therapists and the physiotherapists were to receive their legislation under our government. These are pieces of legislation that are very positive, because it not only brings accountability within the profession, in this case of laboratory technologists, but it also gives confidence to the public, that they are being protected as well. That is so extremely important.

The shortage is an issue. This group is the third largest group of health care professionals in Nova Scotia, behind nurses and doctors. That shows the influence and the impact they have within our health care system and within the delivery of patient care. It is important for the continual upgrading, and the bill provides for this. Determining who is a member, who remains a member, and it is important on an ongoing basis that medical technologists gain the skills and the upgrading to face the challenges, particularly of the new technology. There is new technology, and the companies have people who come in and train on these new initiatives, but it is extremely important to have a labour force of health care professionals who are there and able to give up-to-date care with the most modern of technology.

[1:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I will conclude my comments. Our Liberal caucus is very pleased to support this bill. We have followed its passage through the House with interest, and now are recommending third reading of the bill. It will meet the challenges of all health care workers. The medical laboratory technologists need this Act, they need enhanced training programs, they require strengthened and accessible continuing education programs, and for all this to continue to provide the high level of care and support to those Nova Scotians who they serve. I thank you for the opportunity to speak on third reading of this bill.

[Page 7307]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on third reading of this bill. This is an important piece of legislation, as you know, and as was mentioned by the previous speaker. It is the result of consultations that have taken place not only by this government but by the previous government, and in connection with a lot of hard work that was done on behalf of the society, on behalf of those who are very much interested in seeing to it that the important role of medical laboratory technologists were properly represented and recognized in this province. All of the members of the society and the national body worked hard on this legislation, responding to concerns that were raised about one piece of the legislation or another, talking with other interested parties, including the unions. They listened, the government listened when it came to certain amendments that were put forward, just to make sure that we could make the bill as good as it could be, to satisfy all of the collective interests, as it made its way through the Legislature.

I want to particularly mention Sheila Stevens, I think she worked very hard on this. I know she has been leading the charge for some considerable period of time. Her efforts, certainly, in supplying us with information and seeing to it in a timely way that we were informed of their initiatives and their recommendations around all aspects of the bill was certainly very helpful. My understanding is that she didn't just do that for our caucus, that she did it for the Opposition caucus and for the government caucus. Her commitment was to simply make sure that what eventually made its way through the Legislature was something that was going to be of use, both to them and to the government and to professionals in that profession for years to come.

We have, of course, raised, as did my colleague the member for Dartmouth East, the concerns that we have with health human resource development, with the projections for this profession in the future. We know that because of the lack of funding, because of a decision made by the previous government to do away with the training program in this province, that we are faced with a shortage of medical laboratory technologists, probably as soon as the year 2003, but most certainly by the year 2005, we will be in the position that we are in today, sadly, with nurses. We will be trying to recruit them, we will be trying to retain the ones that we have, as they are being recruited out of the province by other provinces and states right across North America.

There are some significant challenges for the government in this regard in the years to come. We are certainly encouraging the Minister of Health to have a look at the planning horizon for health human resources, to make every attempt to try to meet the need as it arises, instead of playing catch-up, as we have been with the nurses. I can tell you, if you don't prepare in advance to meet those challenges, then it is going to be more expensive to try to do it from a position of falling behind. It is going to create the same kind of stress and tension and crisis in the profession that we are seeing now in nursing. It makes every bit of sense for

[Page 7308]

the Minister of Health and his staff to spend some time having a look at that now and being prepared in advance for when it comes.

I think the best thing, of course, as Ms. Stevens and as the medical laboratory technologists themselves have said, is to look at the baccalaureate program at Dalhousie University. I see the Minister of Health is shaking his head. I am pleased to know that that is, in fact, being looked at. I believe that the work that the technologists have done is pointing to the fact that as this profession develops more and more, the international standard I believe is already to have a degree entry program into the profession. I know that the baccalaureate program had both diploma and degree exit points in the program and allowing the profession to refresh itself in that manner.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to take up a lot of the time of the House. I know we have a lot of things that we are trying to get through today. There are certainly other issues that are yet to be discussed on what could be the last day of the House. So with those comments I want to thank you for the opportunity, I want to thank the member for Dartmouth East for his comments which I thought were particularly salient with regard to this piece of legislation, and I want to thank the government for entertaining the amendments to see to it that this piece of legislation was the best possible piece that could be expected in the circumstances.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to close debate on this bill and move that the question now be put.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 29. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 30.

Bill No. 30 - Flea Markets Regulation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7309]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 30 for third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues will certainly be supporting this bill. In the event though, I do wish to put on record a number of problems we have identified with this bill. The problems we identified were unsuccessfully pursued at both the Law Amendments Committee and in Committee of the Whole House on Bills, I am sorry to say. We put forward a number of amendments that I would just like to flag here for the record. One has to do with the question of the application of this bill to operators of flea markets in addition to its application to vendors. In our view, we think it is not appropriate to expand the ambit of this bill, that is to say the essential requirement for oversight and record keeping to the operators of flea markets. We think it is quite sufficient to impose that duty, if one is going to be imposed, upon the vendors. Vendors in the legislation, of course, means the stall holders.

Another problem we identified with this bill is the extent to which goods have to have a paper trail established for them. The problem here is that a good deal of the thrust of this bill is retained for the time when regulations come forward. Members will know that when this bill was first introduced, it was presented as a measure to deal with shoplifting. It was presented as a measure to deal particularly with organized shoplifting of brand new, small, and typically valuable goods.

The examples given by the Minister of Justice at the time, and by the private-sector owners and operators of stores who accompanied him were typically of products like cosmetics, shaving equipment and, perhaps also, tools. One can well understand their concern. One can also well understand that in the case of new goods it would be possible and reasonable to require any vendor to come up with paper to identify where they acquired the goods.

The difficulty is that the legislation does not limit itself to new goods. One of the amendments we offered was to so limit the ambit of the bill but, for whatever reason, the government declined to agree with that proposed amendment. The result is that it is left for the minister, through the regulations, to decide what kind of goods will have to have a paper trail. I have to say that it would be very unfortunate if Nova Scotians, looking to sell some of their possessions - household goods for example that they may have owned for a number of years - were required to come up with some kind of paper trail for those goods.

It just doesn't seem practical, Mr. Speaker, to require people in those circumstances to come up with a paper trail, and I would imagine that many of them would not welcome being exposed to the possibility of a charge being laid by the police against them for their inability to come up with a paper trail. Yet that is exactly what the thrust of this bill is and as I say, that is very unfortunate. It is very unfortunate that the government did not accept the

[Page 7310]

amendment, or come forward on its own with some particular definition that would narrow the ambit of how they conceive of this bill as operating.

There were two other points we had raised as potential amendments, Mr. Speaker, and I do want to note them because I think they are important. The first was an amendment to narrow the range of the regulation-making power of the government. Unfortunately the government wants to give to itself the power to redefine terms that are already defined in the bill. I cannot see that this is an appropriate way to go about drafting legislation. It seems to me that there is a hierarchy of definitional powers when it comes to law making. The hierarchy is that this Chamber, this Legislature which operates with all Parties represented and in the open with public debate and with the opportunity for the public to participate, for example at the Law Amendments Committee, is the appropriate place to deal with definitions that appear in bills. It is not appropriate to delegate to the Cabinet the power to redefine terms in bills that have already been debated and adopted in the Legislature; that just seems to be wrong in principle as a matter of how it is that law making ought to be done.

I want to be clear that this isn't a question of defining terms that are not defined already or of putting in place certain kinds of administrative guidelines; that is what regulatory powers delegated to Cabinets are for. It is not appropriate though to expand that power to give the Cabinet the ability to redefine terms that have already been defined in legislation. I reject that kind of term in any legislation. This unfortunately is, I believe, about the third occasion in which I have seen similar wording come forward. I continue to reject it, and I hope at some point the government will rethink its policy of including such a power in legislation.

The final amendment that we proposed, and which was not accepted, was one that would invite some scrutiny of whether this bill is actually achieving its stated objective at some point in the future. Clearly what this bill does is it introduces more red tape into people's lives. The question, when a government sits down to decide to introduce more red tape into people's lives, is whether it is worth it. That is the question that the government has to ask itself, is our legitimate objective worth this inconvenience? Since this is a new legislative thrust, our view was that at some point in the near future there ought to be a re-evaluation of that policy decision; that is once it has actually been tested with people's experience on the ground instead of in the abstract with a theory and a request being made to the government, that the question ought to be revisited.

[1:30 p.m.]

Unfortunately, the government did not accept that amendment that we proposed, neither has the government followed through with its election promise to put in place a full-time red tape commissioner who one might have hoped would, as a natural matter of course, turn to examining whether this bill is actually working. Because the government's promise of a permanent full-time red tape commissioner has not been followed through on, indeed has,

[Page 7311]

along with so many other promises, been betrayed, we will never know whether there will be an automatic review of this legislation.

In the end, as I say, we thought we put forward a number of well-reasoned amendments designed to improve this bill. They were rejected by the government. Although they have been rejected and although we think, of course, the bill would have been extensively improved by having these amendments, we will support this bill and we hope in the end it will prove efficacious.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, very briefly a few comments on Bill No. 30. We have indicated all along that we would be supporting this legislation. We have indicated concerns, unfortunately, we did not feel it goes far enough in dealing with the issue of home invasions and theft, not just of new products from these retail outlets, but also theft as a result of break and enters. We hope that the minister will turn his mind to that and look to that. I am not going to go through the reasons, amendment by amendment, as to why we did not vote for the NDP amendments. I believe I explained those adequately at the time.

This is a serious social problem. I believe this bill gives the government an opportunity to try to keep up with the criminal element involved in this. We certainly hope that the minister and his staff will work diligently on this. They have the power in the bill to keep up with this and we certainly hope that they will take it seriously and that it will be enforced. Certainly congratulations and thanks to the RCMP and the retailers who worked very closely with the Department of Justice in establishing this bill. It was a joint effort and certainly we are pleased to see that the government is working in consultation with different groups in preparing legislation.

The one request we do have, Mr. Speaker, we have spoken about it before, is the regulations which will list what items are going to be covered by this bill. I certainly hope the minister will make those regulations available to each caucus the minute that they are ready so that we can have a look at them, bring them back to our constituents, and make sure that this bill, which is meant to address problems mainly being incurred in metro, does not start hurting rural Nova Scotia where we have legitimate people who are working in flea markets. So it is important that we see those regulations and I certainly hope the minister will make those available to us as soon as possible and he will make sure that while he has a considerable amount of power in this bill, he will limit himself to addressing the issue that it was meant to address in the first place. With those brief comments, we will be supporting this bill at third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Government House Leader it will be to close the debate.

[Page 7312]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 30.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 30. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 31.

Bill No. 31 - International Wills Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 31.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 31. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 32.

Bill No. 32 - Water Resources Protection Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honorable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to move third reading of Bill No. 32.

[Page 7313]

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: I would like to take a few moments first of all to make sure again that the record reflects the fact that this is a piece of legislation which will bring our province in line with other jurisdictions. It is a piece of legislation that has some provisos in it which were welcomed by the members of my Party, particularly consideration to the fact, of course, for such emergencies as the transportation of water to neighbouring areas. One area near and dear to my heart, the Tantramar Marshes and I am sure to the Speaker's also.

In terms of emergencies and the transportation of water across our provincial borders, I think it is also important to note that this is a piece of legislation that benefits from the Law Amendments procedures which we have in this House. At Law Amendments Committee there were a couple of particular changes which were brought forward dealing with the fishing industry which are of real consequence to the men and women who make their living in that particular industry.

Again, I would like to compliment the minister for bringing this forward and it is something that we look forward to supporting. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Very briefly, on Bill No. 32, I want to again congratulate and thank the hard-working staff of the Department of the Environment. This bill has been in the works for quite some time and they worked very hard to make sure we get the best possible bill and following the concerns raised during second reading. Before we began Law Amendments Committee, immediately the staff had some changes to bring to the bill to address the concerns that we had. In particular, I want to give special thanks to both Creighton Brisco and Kate Moir who worked very hard on this bill along with the rest of the staff at the Department of Environment and certainly, the Deputy Minister George Fox, who has worked hard on this and supported it so that it could see the light of day.

It is an important bill that brings us in line with a number of other jurisdictions and I want to commend the minister for bringing it forward and we will certainly be supporting this on third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Government House Leader it will be to close debate on Bill No. 32, the Water Resources Protection Act.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 32.

[Page 7314]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 32. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that this bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 34, the Health Authorities Act.

Bill No. 34 - Health Authorities Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Speaking for the honourable Minister of Health, I will be moving third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: I would like to take this opportunity to speak with respect to the Health Authorities Act. As you know, this bill is the subject of a fair amount of discussion, not only in this Legislature, but right around the province among those people who are the stakeholders in the health care community. That is from all levels, whether you are a health care consumer or a front-line health care provider, this is the bill that is going to shape the way in which health care services are going to be delivered in this province for a considerable period of time to come.

I think it is clear, over the last number of weeks as we have discussed this bill, that we consider it is a flawed piece of legislation. There is much in it that could be improved. There are lots of suggestions that have been received through the Law Amendments Committee process and certainly any number that we made over the course of our discussions with the minister and with members of his department. From the outset we have made it clear that this is not a direction in which we would have gone. We understood from what we heard from the front-line health care workers and from communities right across the province that there were problems with the regional health boards. That was something we acknowledged up front. It was something that we engaged in a discussion with Nova Scotians about. What we were also told, Mr. Speaker, was that despite the fact that there were problems with the regional health boards, the one thing that people across this province didn't want was increased chaos in the system. What they told us was the system needs a rest. We need an opportunity to

[Page 7315]

adjust to the changes that have been made. We need an opportunity within the system to make those connections internally. We need an opportunity for the organization to settle.

As with any large reorganization, the efficiencies that are eventually achieved are usually not seen in the first year or two. It takes a considerable amount of time for any organization that has been collapsed and expanded and manipulated to reach its optimum operating point. The regional health boards never had an opportunity to do that. They weren't given the opportunity to find the kinds of efficiencies that they ought to have been able to find. In our discussions around this province, that is what we heard from people in every community. This bill does not represent that. In fact, what people have said, and what is given lip service in this bill, is the idea of moving both the responsibility and authority for decision making out into the communities.

There was a commitment on behalf of our Party to bring forward the mandates of the community health boards and to see to it that they were appropriately funded, to make them the lead in the delivery of health care services throughout the province. In fact, the reason why we wanted to do that is to allay some of the suspicion. In debate last night, I heard the Minister of Economic Development speaking on behalf of his riding about the hospital in Digby, saying that the hospital in Digby had run its operation in the black year after year and felt they were being punished because of their success as a result of the regional health boards. First of all, that was never the intention with respect to the regional health boards, and secondly, it was something that could have been dealt with through proper mandating of community health boards to give the community of Digby, and to give those people who had been active in their hospital, an opportunity to give voice to the frustrations they were feeling. This was something that we were absolutely committed to, Mr. Speaker. It is not something that is properly addressed in this bill.

The reality of this bill is that it does two things. What it does first and foremost is, it takes decision making out of the community and it centralizes it in the Minister of Health's office. He is the person who is ultimately going to be responsible for all of the decisions in health care. He doesn't have to listen to or I guess it is fair to say that if you mean by listening, you receive the documents in your office, yes, it is more than likely that he will receive the benefit of the advice of community health boards, but there is no obligation on the minister to listen. There is no obligation for him to actually implement the plans that are put forward by the community health boards. In fact, I think the unfortunate history of the budget and of what is going on in health care today is the fact that the minister hasn't empowered local communities to take ownership of the changes that he wants to make in the health care system. In fact, what is going to happen is announcements are going to be made, business plans are going to be finalized, and they are going to be handed to communities without them having an opportunity to say, wait a second, you are making a big mistake here, this is stripping services out of our community which we think are necessary.

[Page 7316]

[1:45 p.m.]

That is not going to exist in the process that the Minister of Health is engaged in, because I think that they have essentially already folded themselves into a bunker, they have taken so many hits on health care, so many on education that they can't afford to allow any more information to get out, so they are just not talking to people. I think that is a terrible shame. I know we had talked to the minister about the whole question of having fully-elected district health authorities, that was something that he wasn't prepared to consider, that is something that is not part of the agenda of the government. You have to ask the question why, and when you do, I think the answer is obvious.

You look at the operations of school boards, and soon as the budget was handed to school boards, then the devastating effects of the cuts to budget were immediately known. It was left to the school boards and to the unions and to parents and teachers to point out to the government that they were just dead wrong. They were wrong about the effects of their budget, and eventually the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance had to capitulate by putting more money into the system, absorbing the debts of the school boards. It has been a kind of constant backtracking since then. You have seen minor shifts in position over a fair amount of time with respect to the Department of Education.

The Department of Health doesn't want that to happen in health. They don't want an accountable body like an elected district health authority that would have some credibility, that would have accountability, that would have effective power. They don't want that because their commitment is rather than placing these decisions in the hands of communities, their commitment is to place as much power as possible in the hands of the minister and to keep it there, and to keep it under wraps. I say that all of this is unfortunate.

Mr. Speaker, what I have been doing is laying out for you what I consider to be some of the problems with this bill. I talked about the first one, which was the absence of effective community control of health care decisions. That is the first glaring problem with this piece of legislation. The second one is that what this bill is really about on the delivery side is mergers and consolidations. We hear the euphemisms around shared services, and we have heard the explanation of the deputy minister yesterday in the Public Accounts Committee before that committee was shut down by the Tories in an unprecedented move to try and stifle the work of that committee. Nonetheless, we heard the deputy minister say that, well, what we really mean by shared services are things like laundry services and the provision of food services and those kinds of support mechanisms, those are the kinds of shared services that we are talking about when we talk about shared services.

Perhaps that is the semantics of it, but the reality is that the Minister of Health has said, time and time again, when he says, look, the IWK-Grace doesn't have a monopoly on the delivery of health care for women. What he is saying is we are going to take that program out of that hospital and there is going to be an alternative service available somewhere else. It

[Page 7317]

may not be as good, it may not meet the needs of the people who are making the request for the services, but nonetheless this is the standard that we have decided is appropriate and you are just going to have to live with it. He used the example of the difference between what he called a five-star system and a no-star system. He said, we have been living with a five-star system, what we can afford is a no-star system. Well, this is I think not only an unfortunate turn of phrase, it is an unfortunate philosophy for the government to be dealing with. I say this because the reality is that the commitment of this government is to underfund the health care system in this province. They are doing that in the same way they are underfunding education. I think the reasons are all too clear. It is because they intend to foster and to promote ancillary systems that are privately funded.

That is what we have seen in Alberta. That is what we have seen in things like Bill No. 11 in Alberta. That is what we have seen with the private clinics in that province moving away from the commitments made under the Canada Health Act, moving away from the fundamental tenets of Medicare that were fought for so hard for so many years. It is not just the question of the merger itself. There is also behind that a whole philosophy of privatization, of erosion of health care services that is deeply troubling to the members of this Party and I think deeply troubling to all Nova Scotians.

I think that if there is any part of the province that is going to be as deeply affected as Cape Breton, it is rural Nova Scotia. Cape Breton faces the very real possibility, as we have heard today, of losing services like neurosurgery. That is, as I understand it, today, not being offered there that the doctor who for 20 years has been the neurosurgeon there is being told that he is not going to have operating room time. We are starting to see the pieces of the fallout of the budget decision that is consistent in the way in which the Minister of Health sees those services delivered. If there is any part of Nova Scotia that is going to be affected as much as Cape Breton, it is going to be rural Nova Scotia.

There have been certainly spirited defences of community hospitals by people or by members like the member for Digby-Annapolis, who last night was standing here and pounding his desk and saying, there is going to be the delivery of health services in my community just like there was yesterday. I take him at his word. He is one of the individuals on that side of the floor that I have some confidence in, so I am hoping that when we return to this place in a few months that we will be able to look at the hospital in Digby and say, the member for Digby-Annapolis was right. That hospital has been preserved in its entirety. The services that are being delivered there today are every bit as good if not better than they were when he was first elected in 1998.

So, in those regards, the proof will really be in watching what develops over the next few months as we are moving out of this House. I am certainly one of those who is prepared to give the member for Digby-Annapolis, the opportunity to prove us wrong. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, if it is not Digby, then it is going to be Queens and its going to be Roseway, it is going to be Guysborough, it is going to be the Valley; rural communities in this province

[Page 7318]

will not escape the axe of the Minister of Health. The reality is that services are going to be stripped out of those communities.

I don't know whether or not general surgery is going to be taken out of the Queens General Hospital but I do know that when the Provincial Health Council came to Queens County, and when they held their open meeting in the Town of Liverpool, people showed up in droves, and the mayor made an impassioned pleas to the Provincial Health Council and said, if you are giving advice to the government, we want you to know this: keep your hands off our hospital. It is the centrepiece of this community, the people here rely on it, we have an aging population, we have a great catchment area with a high level of need. Don't touch our hospitals, that is what they said to the Provincial Health Council and that was the message that they delivered I believe to their member and I know that I read in The Liverpool Advance that their member, in order to reassure the people of Queens, came forward and said, I have been in touch with the Minister of Health, I have been in touch with the Premier and they tell me that there isn't going to be any cuts to the hospital in Queens.

Again, I am willing to give the member for Queens credit for lobbying on behalf of his constituents and we will wait and see what actually happens after the House closes and after the business plans actually come forward and then we will have to assess the effectiveness of that member in arguing on behalf of his constituents in the months to come. I wish him great luck with that.

These are some of the problems that we saw with this legislation. To be frank with you, if I can, we intend to vote against it and we recognize that the government has the majority and so throughout the process, we have attempted to make the legislation better. We brought forward amendments which we thought would be beneficial to the bill and in fact, the government agreed, much to our surprise and delight. He said we are not prepared to accept all of your amendments, but we are prepared to accept a list of them. Six of them, six important changes which we agree will make this legislation better.

With regard to that, Mr. Speaker, I intend to make the following motion. I move:

"That the motion that is now on the floor be amended by removing all the words following 'that' and inserting therefor the following words:

Bill No 34, the Health Authorities Act, be recommitted to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills for the sole purpose of voting without debate on the amendments appended to this amendment."

Mr. Speaker, effectively this does just exactly what the Government House Leader did a few minutes ago. It brings it back to the House for the short time of just voting on those six amendments and allowing the Opposition one more opportunity to very quickly make these amendments that we agree are beneficial.

[Page 7319]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion by the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour is in order. Is the House ready for the question?

A recorded vote is called for.

Ring the bells to the satisfaction of the Whips.

[1:58 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

[1:59 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

Are the Whips satisfied?

Order, please. The Clerk just needs two minutes.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the NDP have just asked to introduce a number of amendments without debate and they are asking us whether or not we are going to support them. We haven't even seen them. We don't even know what they are.

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: I have asked the Clerks to circulate the amendments.

Order, please. A recorded vote has been called for.

We will circulate the amendments to the House Leaders, please.

We will recess for five minutes.

[2:01 p.m. the House recessed.]

[2:06 p.m. the House resumed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Have all sides of the House had an opportunity to review the amendments?

[Page 7320]

Are the Whips satisfied?

A recorded vote has been called on the following motion:

"That the motion be amended by removing all the words following 'that' and inserting therefor the words:

Bill No. 34, the Health Authorities Act, be recommitted to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills for the sole purpose of voting without debate on amendments appended to this amendment."

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. MacAskill Mr. Baker

Dr. Smith Mr. Russell

Mr. MacLellan Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. Downe Mr. Muir

Mr. Manning MacDonald Miss Purves

Mr. Holm Mr. Fage

Mr. Robert Chisholm Mr. Balser

Ms. O'Connell Mr. Parent

Ms. Maureen MacDonald Ms. McGrath

Mr. Estabrooks Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Deveaux Mr. Olive

Mr. Dexter Mr. Rodney MacDonald

Mr. MacEwan Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. Gaudet Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Samson Mr. Taylor

Mr. Pye Mr. Dooks

Mr. John MacDonell Mr. Langille

Mr. Morse

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

[Page 7321]

THE CLERK: For, 17. Against, 26.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is defeated.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing on an introduction.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to introduce to the House, in the east gallery, 28 students from the St. Charles Elementary School in Amherst, as well as their chaperones, Margaret Myles, Marlene Barnett, Vonnie Allan-Black, Bill Meighan, Dawn Fage, Charlie Cormier and Belinda Nelson. I would ask them to please rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

MR. SPEAKER: We are back to debating Bill No. 34, the Health Authorities Act, in third reading.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 34 in third reading addresses issues in the bill to provide for community health boards and district health authorities and respecting provincial health care centres. I spelled that out because for the last 48 hours I have been very confused about definitions of terms relative to centres, clinics, hospitals and programs coming out of the Department of Health. In fact, this morning I requested - and I will do it directly to the Minister of Health now - perhaps he could put out the "Jamie Muir Health Definition Dictionary". At this juncture, throughout the province, it would be a big seller. It would probably be on the hit parade. A chance for fame, Mr. Minister.

Mr. Speaker, definitions are important because that is what we have been speaking on the last few days. We have concerns about this bill. We will not be supporting this bill. I have a list of amendments that we had prepared that we would introduce at some juncture, at the Law Amendments Committee, where it is proper to introduce amendments, and we discussed it. The more we looked at it, the more we thought there was nothing we could do to save this bill. This bill is wrong, it is wrong-headed, it is wrong-directioned, and it is just mean spirited.

It is tearing down a system that was starting to work, albeit even in terms of months that the regional health boards have been up in place and were working. The Goldboom report, with his excellent committee of people, whose personal politics were not an issue, were supportive of all Parties. We knew that when we appointed these people, that is the sort of committee, and that came out of a real direction that we wanted to take as a government. Personally, I feel that this is tearing down something that we worked hard to put in place. It is done under the idea of financial restraint and sustainability, we know all those words, best

[Page 7322]

practices and evidence-based research and evidence-based results and all these other terms. There have been a lot of terms thrown around in the mention of definitions.

Mr. Speaker, what it essentially does is it returns to the old ways of doing business. It says it is putting health care responsibility and the governance of health care and responsibilities and policy and all the other initiatives and decision making into the community. In fact, it does exactly the opposite, it takes it away from the community and puts it back into the office of the deputy minister and the minister. That is why we are not supporting this bill. It is wrong. There are not enough amendments, there is not enough paper, there is not enough old trees down in Point Pleasant Park to make enough paper to print the amendments that would fix this bill. It is wrong.

The Premier knows it is wrong. The Minister of Health knows it is wrong. Yet, they are plunging this through, and they will get it through. Unlike us, when we had to make arrangements with the two other Parties and were unable to do things that we wanted to do that would have been in the best interest of health care, we gave in to them and sometimes didn't bring legislation forward because we knew that it would be changed so much by the time that it got through the minority government that it wouldn't be worth anything.

This government is clear, they have a clear mandate. This is their legislation. I wouldn't really honour it by trying to bring in an amendment here, neither did we at the proper place for amendments, in the Law Amendments Committee. It creates a capital area that is just unbelievable, and I wish them luck. Nobody takes any joy out of seeing a health care system again thrown into a frenzy and chaos under the guise of fiscal restraints and to satisfy the Metro Chamber of Commerce and some of their wild directives supported by some so-called research about too much money being spent on education and health.

[2:15 p.m.]

The people here this morning, the young people, and we say they are our future, but their needs are now. They have needs in the classroom, and they have needs in their special needs programs within those classrooms. They have needs within the various programs within the IWK-Grace Hospital for Children. We see all of this being cut and slashed. The agencies that were in place, even some of those have had $2 million torn from them. So yes, the children are our future. But their needs are now, and they cannot wait. It really bothers me to hear people talk about the future of children and at the same time they are chopping and cutting those very things. Our health care system has got to be focused on children.

We are not focused enough, at the national level or the provincial level, on the special needs of children. Children are not small adults. They have special needs, and they have special illnesses that start in childhood. We see children born with cystic fibrosis and other types of illnesses. Yet we see the funding for formula taken for special needs, special needs for colitis and Crohn's disease and all those other illnesses. We also see mental health being

[Page 7323]

a real issue; the whole issue of small classes and the nurturing of children as the education program aids their social and education development as a complement and a supplement to their homes which is really the main place for nurturing of course.

Dr. Paul Steinhauer whose death we celebrated just this past week and a half or so ago was a one-of-a-kind psychiatrist in Canada who really brought forcefully between governments at all levels and any agency or group that he met, the rights of children and how the health Acts violate those rights of children. We have a bill here that is violating not only Nova Scotians but particularly the rights of children to mental health programs and those other special needs initiatives that are so important to the social and educational development of children.

Power and control returning to the Premier's office, we saw that. I sat in this House between 1984 and 1993 when we saw that if some group went to the ministers, and they didn't get their way, they called the Premier's office and they were attended to. That is why the debt was approaching $600 million to $700 million by the time we took over government.

It is not easy to get out from under debt. Debt is like a big stone rolling down the hill, and you have your shoulder to it, and you are trying to get out from underneath it. You add to that debt. We as a government added to that debt as we tried to get out, but we had a plan. We had a Health Investment Fund that would have addressed many of the issues, the technology issues.

So what we have done, instead of that, we were going to build a system. Some of that system had been downsized, no question. In areas of this province and some of the eastern parts of this province we had way too many hospital beds, there was no question. We were right off the scale for the national average. But that has been dropped back. Yes, some nurses lost their jobs during those early times of our government. What we were building was a new system, and our Health Investment Fund was going to strengthen that system.

Now what we have seen, we have the same old system that they threw over $200 million in last year and blamed it on us. They funded that old system again. Now they are cutting back on that old system. That is what we have. Instead of having a system that is new and innovative with high technology, the exchange of records, databases, those types of initiatives, across this province along with our telehealth and other communications between community hospitals, regional hospitals, tertiary care hospitals here in Halifax-Dartmouth and in the Halifax metro area - we have really a downsizing now. We are seeing a downsizing of that old system again. That is not good enough.

This bill just enshrines that in legislation. That will be a legacy of this government, Mr. Speaker, the enshrinement of this legislation. The response to those people, sure there were people that lost power and control in certain areas. There is no question. A lot of the hospital boards were upset, but for too long it had been left to them to address community health

[Page 7324]

needs and they were just unable. The system of governance at that juncture with hospital boards was not able to address the needs of the community. They were not able to provide services to special needs children in the education system. The relationship between Community Services and Health and Justice and Education was not working and still needs to be improved greatly.

If you move to a community model outside of your hospitals then there is a chance that you will develop those types of programs. We see those initiatives. We see across this is a government that was going to cut administration, $46 million, no new money and fix the health care system. Yet, we see and we understand there will be an announcement to this effect, probably tomorrow, of a new associate deputy minister and the Deputy Minister of Health in Public Accounts Committee yesterday told us that person was going to receive $110,000 a year at least. Well, if he admits to that, then there is probably some more thrown in as well. I think this person is from out-of-province as well. So we have the highest paid deputy in the history of this province, we now have an Associate Deputy Minister of Health, we have an Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and that is fair enough - we need those people. At the same time we hear that the department itself will be further downsized just to keep another promise of the great Tory blue book.

The business plans that go along with this bill and this must be supported and adequately resourced. These business plans essentially have been finalized. They have been to Cabinet and there might be a little fine tuning, but essentially they are there and this will probably be the last day that this House is sitting in this term and I am sure we are going to be hearing about these business plans.

The whole issue of the warnings and the gag orders going back to that pre-1993 style of government where people were not allowed to speak out, no institutional facility was allowed to talk about any nurse that might be laid off. Those are the gag orders and making good people like Brenda Montgomery, who received a national award, Mr. Speaker, and was recognized in this House to send out letters telling people if these types of issues come up before them at a meeting, they are to take themselves out of that meeting. Now, that is the type of gag orders that have been coming down from this government and having good people doing bad things. That is wrong-headed and it is not fair.

What the system will look like and I am just giving up these last few days, trying to determine what this government means and the Minister of Health means by community health centre. They are talking about will there be beds here? Well, of course, there won't be neurosurgery, well of course there won't be. There is not going to be neurosurgery in a community hospital either. That is a given, but why can't they be more open and honest? The people in the health care system are afraid and they are concerned and really, I don't know how much longer they are going to stand for this kind of behaviour.

[Page 7325]

At the same time we are told we are going to move into the community, we are going to have more mental health programs and diabetes programs, that sort of thing. We see these programs themselves being cut. We were putting up to 15 per cent a year in home care and heavens knows we are far enough behind the rest of the country, such as Manitoba and others who have led the way across this country, and this government is cutting that 10 per cent. They are talking about, no, there is going to be a continuum of care. This is fine, we will just downsize this and good luck to people. The MLA from Digby when he spoke here yesterday about how sure he is that in his hospital it would be business as usual. When we mentioned, maybe so and that is good luck, but again, what we are hearing around the province, people calling and saying, does that mean that we have to come in and demonstrate to make sure that we have strong representation?

A woman from Shelburne said that to me this morning and she said, does that mean now we hear that Digby is going to get their way. And I said, well, it sounds like the old way of doing business to me and that is how it was done previously.

At Queens General Hospital, I would just really beseech the government to really look very carefully before changes are made there, as well as the Dartmouth General Hospital. Those are two hospitals that, for community hospitals, are the tops in this country, absolutely. We had Dr. Bill Lenco, a surgeon, George Ferrier, a fully qualified anaesthetist in the Queens General Hospital, now someone equally as good after the passing of Dr. Lenco, but those are great hospitals. Yet we hear weasel words, well, there might be swing beds, there might be restorative beds, there might be this and that. It is time this government was open with the people of Nova Scotia. If you downsize that Queens General Hospital to any extent, you have no hospital between Bridgewater and Yarmouth all up that shore. I intend to spend some time up that shore. It is not only my self-interest those people have worked hard in those communities. Let's not use weasel words, well, it is going to be a clinic or centre and all of those types of things, the emergency services and those types of initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on for a long period of time, and I have enough notes to fill up an hour or so. It is not my intention to do this. We are resigned to our fate. We know our position here. We are in opposition markedly to this bill. There is nothing we could have done in our opinion that would have saved this bill. The bill itself talks about community, and yet it is interesting that this government was unwilling to even strengthen and make more functional the community health boards. Had that been in the bill originally, the amendments that the NDP brought forward again today, if they had been in this bill, we would have supported that part of the bill, the way that we supported the successor rights and the benefits for the people that would be transferred. We are not sure what is going to happen when the mental health starts changing here in this area metro community, adult mental health particularly and where the workers and the Nova Scotia Hospital will end up.

[Page 7326]

They are creating a system here, Mr. Speaker, and things have gone quiet in the QE II and I suspect there are lots of conversations going on. What this central region is going to look like and how the governance of this area is going to take place is going to be a very interesting challenge. This bill speaks to some of it. The provincial health centres, at least we have some understanding what they are because they are up and running now; maybe we can have a better understanding of what community health centres will look like.

Our reason for not initially supporting the NDP amendments is just because we felt the Law Amendments Committee was the place to bring them in. If the government, in fact, was supporting them as the NDP told us that they were supporting the changes that would strengthen the community health boards and make them more open and they had an agreement with the government, then there was no problem because the government and the NDP could work that out together. Yet, when the crunch came this morning, we finally say there was no alignment. I am sure the member for Cape Breton Nova would have a better historical term for what that alliance would be. I am sure in historical terms we have seen that happen before. But the alliance wasn't there. If the government is not prepared to bring this forward, why should we be trying to save them and make something better that we don't really agree with in the first place.

That is where we stand, and the government will have to speak for itself. They have a majority government. They have gone around sort of apologizing, well, the Opposition don't let us do this and they don't let us do that. Well we are not going to hold up this bill, they can sink with this bill and the history of this province will be written.

I just wanted to close in a couple of areas here. I think I touched on most of the things that I want to touch on this morning. The Provincial Health Council and what that role might be in relation to this bill. This was brought in with great fanfare, a resolution, I believe, from the now Premier that we addressed and agreed to. A Provincial Health Council was formed and now it has become nothing more than some sort of an advisory group that just seems to have no direction and really no job to do. I imagine the gag order is on them the way it has been on other groups.

I would just like to close again, just wondering in time what the health authorities will look like. This caters to a group of people who feel that if you give control back to the hospitals, everything will be good again. I really have concerns about that. That was what was wrong with the system previously, that they couldn't move into the community, they couldn't share their programs, and they were lacking direction. The surgeons and the others also won over. They always win over children's programs, and they always win over community programs when the heat is on.

[Page 7327]

[2:30 p.m.]

I want to close with a little bit of talk about the IWK-Grace Hospital. We know the difficult times they have gone through, and we know some of the lecturing that has gone on from the deputy minister to the CEOs, people who really aren't civil servants - who sometimes people like the deputy minister forget CEOs at a place like the IWK-Grace Hospital are responsible to a board - however everyone is treated the same in this business at this time and place. There are some programs at the IWK-Grace Hospital that they have been forced to cut under the massive cuts that they have suffered under this government; some are very high profile and they are very easily understood.

The formula funding was one of those. It is very easy to understand an intravenous line or a tube feeding and these types of initiatives. This got a lot of media attention, day after day this was featured in the media, and well, it should be. I met some of those children at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Walk down on the waterfront on Sunday, where I joined them. We had a ribbon cutting. I was introduced to children there, and their parents said this child is receiving benefit under that formula funding. So that has been taken away, and that is very tangible and it is easily understood.

I compliment the government and others who have raised their voices and have gotten that replaced. What deal has been made, I don't know, but we are back to an ad-hocery type of health care planning again, in that if you are able to get the media on your side and get it profiled and you have something tangible that you can hold up for people to see, then you may get some funding, and that is what has happened here.

Mr. Speaker, what is less clear are programs that are behind the scenes, particularly those related to mental illness, and I am talking about the crisis intervention team at the IWK-Grace Hospital that I spoke about this morning in my resolution. Those are the ones whom there is less public outcry about, but they are equally as important. They are important to the lives and the well-being of children, youth and adolescents, and their families. Sometimes it is not easy to get families into care, when it comes to mental health. These are ones that never seem to get the play or are even understood, and maybe even understood well by some of us who should know, who have worked in health professions and are now legislators, we should know. I am not sure that we even understand the work that is done by a crisis intervention team such as at the IWK-Grace. Those types of programs have been cut.

Where does that fit in this bill? Where will that service be delivered? Mental illness, a high percentage starts in childhood; we often tend to forget that. We talk in terms of autism and I have complimented the government for addressing that issue with some funding, albeit with just the first five years, but at least it is a start and hopefully we will see a program throughout this province that will be addressed in the schools as well.

[Page 7328]

Mr. Speaker, there are programs that are behind the scenes that are suffering, that are being cut right across this province and being downsized, when this government talks about reaching out to the community. Families who experience the suicide of a youth is something that the family never recovers from. Often the parents separate, they move out of their house, they move out of town, they even move out of the country. These are the types of programs that we see being cut. Children who are going to commit suicide, or threaten suicide, are not going to sit around waiting 10 or 12 hours for a clinic to open; instead of being open 24 hours, it is just 12 hours.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on about those types of programs, but using that crisis intervention team, I could say about the women's health. We have young women around this province, in their 30's, dying of cancer of the cervix, and you don't have to go very far away when the incidence of young women getting pap smears just drops dramatically, when women in their 30s, in our rural communities, are dying of a preventable disease. Unless we have the standards that are maintained at a level of a tertiary care hospital, then it is not going to be done out in the communities as well.

Mr. Speaker, don't say to me that this bill is going to move health care to the communities. It is not. It is taking the decision making and the care from those communities back to the deputy minister - and I tack on to the deputy minister the Premier's deputy, who is just a stone's throw away - and that is the way that kind of system works when you don't have it in the community and your accountability; your decision making and your policy is coming from the grass roots up. The lobby groups will be back at the Minister of Health again and they will be back at the Premier's Office, and that is where you will go to get health care in Nova Scotia. That is what this bill is going to do and that is a sad comment.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to speak for a few moments on Bill No. 34. Bill No. 34 brings into effect the government's first response to dealing with the crisis in the health care system. What this does is it reorganizes once again the health boards. It takes away and dismantles the regional health boards, re-establishes or establishes them as district health boards, instead of being four, there are going to be nine. Then they are going to have community health boards in some parts of the province, where exactly, we are not sure.

The bill does not identify the boundaries of those district health boards. It does not incorporate the direct and clear responsibilities of the district health boards, nor does it lay out any specific accountability structure or process for the district health boards or the community health boards. So, in effect, what it is doing is again creating chaos in a system that had previously been in a state of chaos and change for the past three to four years, by changing, dismantling the regional health boards and setting up a series of district health boards.

[Page 7329]

The explanation from the government on doing this was that they were going to ensure there were decisions being made in the communities. The community health boards were going to be properly constituted and would have much more say in the decisions around health care that is being delivered in the particular communities. Well, that has not happened through this bill. In fact, it has just continued on with what happened before with community health boards. In other words, they are basically there as advisory boards. They are asked to prepare a plan, develop it and present it to the district health board, but there is no requirement that that plan will be accepted, will be considered even, by the district health board, that it would form any part whatsoever of the district health board's plan or that the Health Department, in the final analysis, would ever consider it.

I think we have seen recently an example of the lack of willingness by this government to consult with the communities and their lack of recognition on the role of community health boards by the fact that there are all these business plans, supposedly, that have been presented by the regional health boards, and the government has made decisions on those business plans, but have not consulted at all, not one iota, with the community health boards. The community health boards don't have any idea what this government is going to do with respect to services in their particular communities.

We have had some great debate here in the last couple of weeks about what is going to happen when the doors to this House close and the government is free to run about this province and not be held accountable. What is going to happen? There has been all kinds of speculation. Hospitals are going to close. Community clinics are going to close. Services will be reduced. Larger numbers of health care workers are going to lose their jobs. Health services delivered, in particular in rural Nova Scotia, are going to be seriously downgraded. That is why we are so concerned and have been so concerned with a bill that ostensibly encourages and incorporates more community participation while doing nothing of the kind. That is why we have argued so strenuously against this bill as we will continue to do and we are not prepared to support it because of those provisions and many other provisions in there.

When Bill No. 34 was first brought in there was absolutely no recognition whatsoever of the impact that the changes it proposes were going to have on health care workers, Mr. Speaker. It took a huge hue and cry on the part of the organizations representing health care workers and the Opposition for this government to recognize that this bill was seriously flawed in not providing those protections. To their credit, they did respond in a positive way, stood back and had staff work with the unions to bring in those protections, to recognize the impact this bill will have on employees, because it will have this very serious impact on employees, and it is important that the rights of these workers that now exist carry forward in whatever it is that these new structures become. So that was done.

We had dozens and dozens of groups make presentations at the Law Amendments Committee where many of them from community health boards said, this bill is seriously flawed in that it does not properly recognize community health boards. It does not ensure that

[Page 7330]

the health plans that community health boards are preparing are incorporated, that they form part of the business plans that the district health boards are to complete, nor does it ensure that their plans form part of the eventual recommendations that go forward to the Minister of Health. We felt that was a serious flaw, Mr. Speaker. Clearly, the people who are working in the field, who are involved in their communities in matters with respect to the delivery of health care, felt this was the case.

We asked the Minister of Health to consider amendments that would ensure that the community health boards would have a greater level of participation, so we presented and prepared amendments as a result. Our Health Critic, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and our staff worked with the minister's staff to come up with amendments, and we got agreement on those amendments - there were six of them - that would ensure that community health boards had more of a role, and that their plans would have more of a role, that they would get more resources to prepare their plan, and that there was greater protection for the community health boards and other such changes.

We thought we had agreement from the government that that would be done. There was some confusion or whatever from the Liberal caucus, and they would not allow those amendments to come forward in Committee of the Whole stage. The Liberal Health Critic now says, well, that is because it should have been dealt with at the Law Amendments Committee, but we deal with amendments all the time in committee stage in this House after we get an opportunity to work with the government.

[2:45 p.m.]

The Liberal Health Critic and his colleagues have the nerve to say, almost like in a fit of pique, we are going to make sure that these amendments aren't going to come forward, because we are just not happy. We are not happy boys, and we don't want to improve this legislation, even if it means a lot of difference for those volunteers who work in the community. That is really unfortunate. The New Democratic Party Health Critic brought a motion in to recommit this bill, like we had just done with Bill No. 42, the Municipal Law Amendment (2000) Act. The Government House Leader told this House that they had an amendment that they wanted to make to that bill, and he asked for unanimous consent that that bill go from third reading back to the Committee of the Whole stage, so that that amendment could be incorporated. We said yes.

Then, when dealing with Bill No. 34, we asked that that be done with Bill No. 34 so that the amendments that the government had previously agreed to could be introduced and agreed. Well, I don't know whether it was the Minister of Health, who appears over the last couple of days to have developed a real hard edge or whether he is grumpy or tired, or whether it was the Government House Leader that had just decided that we have spent enough time dealing with these trivial matters, like the health of Nova Scotians, and he has

[Page 7331]

other plans, dinner plans or something, but he said, we are not going to. We are not going to agree to have this bill recommitted to make changes that they had already agreed to.

It just makes me shake my head at the way things get done in this place sometimes. These are not trivial amendments. This bill is still a bill that is not supportable, but it is a bill that the government is going to bring forward. We had tried, at the very least, and the Minister of Health had agreed with the people who made representations at the Law Amendments Committee that there needed to be changes to the role that community health boards play in that process. As if a bill like this doesn't have an impact on the lives of Nova Scotians, it comes in here and members play silly games with it, and the changes don't get incorporated. That is kind of sad. Nova Scotians don't benefit in any way from that, far from it.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, this bill dismantles regional health boards, it proposes to develop district health boards. It says nine, but it may be nine, it may not be; it may be three, it may be 10, we don't know for sure. The government ruled out the idea of these boards being elected in any way, shape or form. The minister wants to make sure that he has complete and utter control of that.

The bill, we believe, as our Health Critic has said, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, is in many ways a merger bill, it provides for mergers and consolidations of institutions, in the case of the central region. The IWK-Grace, of course, will continue for the time being to sit by itself, but the central region, the QE II, the Dartmouth General, the Nova Scotia Hospital will all be governed by a single board. We believe the intention is that the services there will be merged in many cases, whether that makes any sense or not. It will certainly mean the laying off of hundreds of employees in the health care sector; where that is going to improve health care, we simply do not know.

This government that talked in the last election campaign about stabilizing health care and investing more in health care, making sure the communities had more input, have done just the opposite. They are on the one hand disrupting the regional health boards and making more boards, and they are creating greater administration; something that many of us argued against during the election campaign. This government that said great savings could be made by reducing administration is going about ensuring that there is more administration, that there is going to be more bureaucracy and that ultimately there will be less health care delivered on the front lines. All you have to do is talk to any health care worker in this province and they are deeply concerned.

The reductions in the health care budget, already we have seen the impact they have had in terms of the loss of personnel, the inability of the institutions to be able to deliver many essential programs and, again, those are the effects of this government's budget, and completely fly in the face of the commitments they made during the last election.

[Page 7332]

I guess, in conclusion, I would just say how disappointed I am - and I know most Nova Scotians are - that Bill No. 34, along with the budget, are the first things that this government has done in health care. They promised stabilization, they promised more investment; they have slashed a lot of money out of the system, at the same creating more administration and more bureaucracy and more chaos. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians will not be well served by this bill and our caucus will certainly be voting against it.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, as the member for Dartmouth East has stated, this is a bill that we feel is just too much against what we believe in and too flawed to really be able to amend it sufficiently, where we could be in a position to support it. We just do not believe that the government is going in the right direction, doing away with the regional health boards. They said they wanted to cut back on administration; the Deputy Minister of Health says he himself does not believe that the government could cut back on administration by $46 million, to the extent that they would get the money they would need to be able to do everything that needed to be done to improve the health care system, and that $46 million would not be enough, as they have shown.

It is quite frankly rather ludicrous to say you want to cut administration, while at the same time increasing the number of units from four to nine. At the same time you are cutting back in the Department of Health, you hire an associate deputy minister to go along with the new deputy minister, and what I believe is a coordinator - although someone said that no coordinator has been hired - well, the coordinator is already from within the department, so that coordinator has been hired. But it does add to the staff of the deputy minister.

The deputy minister is getting quite an entourage and I think he is going to be somewhat like a potentate before he is finished. Of course, the reason for that is that everything in health care is going to pyramid to the deputy minister, including the minister himself. I think that is a little scary when the deputy minister is the one that is going to be calling all the shots. But that is what is happening; he is going to have the staff, he is going to have the tentacles in the department, and the minister is going to have to rely on what he says.

I would say to all members of the governing Party, watch out for that; watch out for the power of the Deputy Minister of Health. Watch out to make sure that you and your particular ridings know what is going on and what your health service is really going to be, because I have a real problem with what I am seeing, with all the unequivocal blarney that we are receiving from the deputy minister and the department, I don't know if it is going to get to a point where you are ever really going to know what has transpired. It is like a ring of elephants. You don't know where it starts and where it ends. It is going to be very difficult to find a problem and it seems this ring of elephants that has been created in the Department of Health is going to be something that we are going to have to watch very carefully.

[Page 7333]

The regional health boards, while they were not perfect, were actually being accepted more and more as time went along. People in the particular regions were pleased that they were responsible for those regions and that there was an autonomy which allowed them to provide particular services and make decisions for those particular regions. The community health boards were not really as strong as they should have been. There is no question about that. They should have been stronger. They should have been given more power. They should have been given more access to what went on and that is something that we in our Party, and when we were in government, believed. Unfortunately, the clock ran out and we were not able to put the things in motion that would allow us to give the community health boards the focus and the profile that they needed.

What this government is doing is blatantly wrong. They are not giving the community health boards that additional focus and that additional responsibility. They are saying that the community health boards can make these decisions, they can become involved in these areas, but the fact of the matter is anything that is done by community health boards has to have the approval of the deputy minister and the minister. They are also saying, too, to the district health authorities which are replacing the regional health boards, if you don't agree with what the community health boards want, then you have to tell us and we have to review it to see if it makes sense.

So while the deputy minister and minister are saying on the one hand community health boards' recommendations have to be agreed to by the district health authority, or the deputy and the minister have to be apprised of why these requests were turned down, at the same time the minister and the deputy minister are saying nothing that you do, meaning nothing that the community health boards do, can be approved at all unless the deputy minister agrees. So it is a convoluted exercise, it is a very misleading exercise. It is one that really, to me, no matter what you may think the community health boards should have in the way of amendments, it is not going to really give the community health boards any real power. They don't have any real influence. They can do some advising. Well, anybody can do the advising. I think that more and more the community health boards and the communities themselves will realize that there is very little power that they have.

We don't know where the cutbacks are coming and this is alarming. We have some very important units in our health care system. I think of the cancer unit in the Cape Breton Regional Hospital which has been a marvellous thing for Cape Breton because of the cancer rate and because of the fact that patients who need to be treated for cancer don't have to come to Halifax.

It is a big part of any rehabilitation, Mr. Speaker, that if you are undergoing treatment and you have to undergo some recuperation, you have friends and loved ones available who can come and see you. With the cancer unit in Cape Breton that is possible. That was not possible before and you had some institutions, like the Ronald McDonald House and others, that would put these relatives up so they could be near their friends and family who were

[Page 7334]

being treated, but these were isolated cases. In most cases friends did not get this kind of benefit, did not get this kind of financial compensation and this kind of consideration. So if there was a member of a family that was poor, he or she could not come to be near their kin or their friend because they couldn't afford to do it, and the patient suffered by not having that one near them. So the unit is important. We just got it staffed. We were told by the department when we were first considering the cancer unit, you will never be able to staff it. Well, we staffed the one in Sydney before the one in Halifax was staffed. It just goes to show that things can be done in areas outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality. This is what we are continuing to believe.

[3:00 p.m.]

Now, of course, everything is being brought into the Halifax Regional Municipality, and I know that the members of government realize that. It is a concerted effort, and that is their decision, but they will have to be accountable to the people of this province. The Opposition is doing a marvellous job. Fortunate for Nova Scotia there is a good Opposition, particularly here in the Liberal Party.

I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to all members of the Legislature that there is a very slippery slope here. I am concerned with where things are going. I am concerned that even if some of these hospitals are not rolled back and made community health facilities or clinics right away that we are always going to have to watch, through the next three years, to make sure it doesn't happen. I think this is something we are going to have to be very mindful of. There is a real process in place here to me which is very alarming. While there is nothing we can do - this bill is going to pass because of the majority of this government - I feel very bad about this bill. I feel bad about what has taken place in health care in Nova Scotia and what is going to be taking place. The people of Nova Scotia deserve much better. Our communities deserve much better. We are writing off essentially a large number of our communities in this province. I just feel that is unforgivable.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to pass along to somebody else, but I want to say unequivocally that this is wrong, this bill is wrong, the thrust of this government is wrong. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party on an introduction.

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure today to welcome to the Legislature members of St. Joseph's Elementary School, Grade 6. I want to welcome them. They are here from Sydney Mines in my constituency, and I am very proud of them. They are wonderful young men and women. (Applause)

[Page 7335]

The people who took the time to organize this trip and who have accompanied them here today are Lorne Penny, Deborah Murray, Judy Whalen, Lorraine Connolly, and Lillian Holland, and the driver Bruce Marsh who isn't here, he is getting a little mental rest I am told. I want to welcome the teachers, chaperones, and students. It is a pleasure to have you here in the Legislature today on the last day of our sitting. Have a very safe trip home, and I hope all of you really enjoyed this trip, and that you have enjoyed the experience. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: You are certainly welcomed to the House as we do all Nova Scotians.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I rise just to make a few points on this. I won't be very long, but I feel some points are important to make on third reading of Bill No. 34 as some of the comments that have been put before the House here today.

What we have seen here today on Bill No. 34 is the ultimate of some of the most irresponsible behaviour by any particular political caucus that has come before this House, that being the NDP caucus. We have seen, Mr. Speaker, the process being circumvented on a very, very important piece of public policy for political purposes. The NDP, by their own words, stood before this committee and now stand before this House and say that they had a deal with the government to have these particular amendments approved.

Only one of two Parties can be telling the truth. I will let others make that decision, but the fact of the matter is, there is supportive evidence to show that there is considerable question as to the validity of the claim by the NDP. The fact that they did not take advantage of the Law Amendments process that was afforded to them, as did the Liberal caucus on the Education Bill, as has been the precedent of the House and the customs and the traditions for generations.

What we have seen is the ultimate of some of the most petty, asinine politics I have ever seen come before this House. It is very discouraging and yes, it is an opportunity for the young people of Nova Scotia to come and see some of the games that are being played on matters of public policy.

If the claim of the NDP on Bill No. 34 was correct, then all those amendments should have been inserted in the bill so that when it would come back from Law Amendments, we would be able to have a more even and continuous flow of thought on these amendments as incorporated into the legislation, which has always been the tradition of this House, Mr. Speaker.

Bearing in mind, if the NDP had the claim and they were correct in what they were saying, what they were saying was that this was the place to do the amendments, well, then, where is the agreement? Where is the agreement? There was none. Given the fact that perhaps

[Page 7336]

the opportunity was there because of continuous debate and some possible new suggestions and ideas on ways to either improve the bill, suspend the piece of legislation or what have you, then those additional amendments could have been brought before the House or the committee and we as a caucus would have recognized the opportunity to deal with that accordingly, but for a deliberate and methodical, political showmanship just to try and undermine number one, the government's agenda; and two, to try and embarrass the Liberals for its position on the regional health boards, is very irresponsible.

Obviously, they have been exposed. We didn't support this particular piece of legislation simply because the provision is in the present legislation to allow for community health boards. We are not going to resuscitate the history of what has already been debated. Suffice it to say, we are opposed to this particular (Interruptions) Well, well, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to be sidetracked by the ramblings of the socialists who have never been in government, will probably never, ever have an opportunity to be in government, and are still in the learning mode, obviously, after generations on how the Rules of the House work.

Suffice it to say, the government knows our position on this. We stand by the actions and the leadership that was provided by the former Minister of Health, my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East and his predecessor, who initiated probably some of the most profound and well-needed reforms in health care in Nova Scotia. That having been said, we rest our case.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 34. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 35.

Bill No. 35 - Housing Development Corporation Act.

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this Bill No. 35 be now read for the third time.

[Page 7337]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 35, the Housing Development Corporation Act. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 42.

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

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for the third time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to have an opportunity to speak on this bill. I just want to thank the minister for the deletion of Clause 5, which treated public assessors somewhat differently than the rest of the public employees within a municipality. I also want to thank the Nova Scotia Government Employees Association, the UNSM, and some individual municipalities for bringing this to the attention of the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. I also want to talk briefly on the non-resident status. Once again I want to say that we appreciate the government listening to our concerns and the concerns of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and that of Nova Scotians on this clause of non-residential status. We believe there is a better way to address the issue of non-resident land ownership. I know the minister has been listening to many of the concerns from this caucus with respect to that issue, and I know the minister has been in touch with residents on this particular issue of non-resident land ownership, as well.

Mr. Speaker, with that in mind, and the fact that we have the opportunity to enable more individual public employees to partake in municipal election campaigns, we on this side of the House, in this particular Party, are going to support Bill No. 42 in its amended form.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 42, the Municipal Law Amendment (2000) Act. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 7338]

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 43.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be read for the third time.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 43, the Energy and Mineral Resources Conservation Act, Petroleum Resources Act and Pipeline Act. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please Bill No. 46.

Bill No. 46 - Financial Measures (2000) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Finance, I move third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I think there is compelling necessity to go on record . . .

[Page 7339]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member allow for an introduction?

MR. EPSTEIN: I would be happy to yield for an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester North.

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, today we have in the Speaker's Gallery a lady originally from Ingonish, Cape Breton, now living in Jeddore, Colette Dooks, the wife of my colleague, Bill Dooks. (Applause)

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, it seems necessary to go on the record, with respect to this bill, as noting exactly the essence of what it does. No Nova Scotian should be fooled into thinking that this bill is a benefit to them; every Nova Scotian should realize that the main thrust of this bill is first to deprive them of the opportunity to benefit from the tax cut which the federal government put into place and I want to pause just to note that the magnitude of that foregone opportunity for Nova Scotians is probably on the order of $16 million to $20 million. That was the most reliable estimate we have seen of what it is that the federal tax cut would have meant to Nova Scotians if it had been allowed to flow through in the normal manner to taxpaying Nova Scotians.

We are all aware that the system of income tax is based traditionally on a percentage of the federal income tax payable. Since the federal tax was being reduced, application of that traditional formula would have meant a saving for Nova Scotians. The main thrust of Bill No. 46 is to interfere with that normal taxation scheme and to replace it with a provincially designed and administered scheme that will, in effect, negate that potential tax saving for Nova Scotians. This is very unfortunate, and this is not, I think, what it is that Nova Scotians expected from the government opposite; I think it is not what this government campaigned on.

The second main thrust of Bill No. 46 is to increase a whole range of user fees. Now we have tried to estimate the full impact on Nova Scotians of the increase in user fees. Various budget documents released at the time this legislation came in and the budget itself was introduced showed the government agreeing that the figure would be at least $20 million; in fact during the estimates process I believe we were able to establish that it looks to be about $10 million more. Unfortunately the thrust of these user fees shows up in health care services. Thus the user fee for ambulance will be increased, and thus, too, there will be a charge for calling 911, all things associated with people's health and safety.

[Page 7340]

When you add together the $30 million or so of user fees, provided for in Bill No. 46, with the $16 million to $20 million of foregone tax savings that result from this bill, the net result is that this bill is designed to hit Nova Scotians with about a $50 million increase in the amount of tax they are paying this year - and that is just this year alone - to the provincial government. Because our population is only about one million people, a little less, what that means is that each individual is going to be hit an additional $50; for a family of four, $200. I have to say again that this is not what it is that I understood the Party opposite to have campaigned on, or to have been explicit about, with respect to their intentions to the people of Nova Scotia last year.

It is one thing to be fiscally prudent; it is another thing to be fiscally obsessed. I have to say that is what it is that we have seen from this government. The one, main, overriding objective of the government, according to their actions, according to the bills like Bill No. 46 that they brought in, has been to bring the books of the province into balance, but you know if that were the only objective, one couldn't disagree. We over here said, and have been saying for several years, that it is important that the province not continue to run deficits. The essential difference is how we would get there. We have offered this government, time and again, an alternative vision of how it is that they should have moved over a three-to-five-to six-year period, at a reasonable pace, to bring the books of the province back into balance. The way to do it is not to undermine services and not to raise user fees. The main thing about user fees is that they are like sales tax; they are the point in the taxation system in which those who can least afford it are hit the hardest. They are a form of regressive taxation; it is just wrong.

We know, by looking forward, that there will be natural growth in the economy. The Minister of Finance should rely on that. The Minister of Finance, if he is looking for revenue, should do something aggressive about the Sable gas royalties. In particular, given the initiative that came forward in Newfoundland about one month ago, in which Premier Brian Tobin indicated the possibility of getting an amendment to the equalization formula so that the oil and gas royalties would not be offset, that is something that this minister should be pursuing.

If the Minister of Finance is looking for more revenues, he should examine resource rents. Resource rents mean the amounts that are paid for the right to cut timber on Crown lands and to extract minerals; the companies that are involved pay to the Government of Nova Scotia an appallingly low amount on both counts. Now, I know - and the members opposite will know - that in Question Period we have tended to focus on one of the most egregious examples, that of the open pit mine in Stellarton. But you know what? That isn't the only example. You can look at any mineral, and the royalty rate is just too low. There is another possibility. We could bring our corporate tax rate in line with those of other comparable provinces; that would be a small increase, but the resultant increase in revenue for the provincial government would be significant.

[Page 7341]

These are alternatives; these are things that could be done without cutting the kinds of essential services that are needed. I will say that if the government was intent on cutting, there is an obvious target. That target should be the Department of Economic Development, because the money there remains essentially as a slush fund, without guiding principles.

The main point is that there is an alternative to what the government is doing; they have chosen the wrong path to fiscal responsibility. We agree with the objective, finding fiscal responsibility in the sense of bringing the books into balance is exactly the right thing to do in Nova Scotia, and that is something that we have said consistently. The essential question though, is how you get there. Because of that, I do not feel comfortable with many of the provisions in this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be able to speak here today on Bill No. 46, a bill that I think I have spoken on probably five, six, seven, eight times so far. The more I talk, the less they seem to understand about the reality of this particular bill, that it is a tax grab; it is hauling money out of the pockets of seniors.

AN HON. MEMBER: Gouging.

MR. DOWNE: It is gouging and all those things, in that bill. We have used that debate for quite some time and the more we keep telling them about the pain of a tax grab and the increased tax burdens on Nova Scotians, the more they smile, because their agenda says this is what we want to do.

Before this government came into power, they ran an election campaign repeatedly stating the fact that they will be the right-wing agenda of government and they will be the ones to reduce taxes to Nova Scotians. Vote for us and we will invest in education and in health care; in fact, we can fix it for $46 million. Vote for us and we will reduce taxes, vote for us and we will give you the road to recovery that will be sweet and easy and smooth sailing. We have all the answers, and the Minister of Health knows we have been looking for answers for quite some time and we have not received them yet.

They trumped up the numbers, and we have said this repeatedly. I remember that I asked the minister repeatedly in the Red Room, in budget estimates, would he be willing to provide the effects of the changes of accounting back to 1993. The minister at the time made a commitment. Almost one year ago, the first time I asked, it was about six months ago . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: That is almost one year.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: It just seems like one year.

[Page 7342]

MR. DOWNE: It seems like one year; I will bet you it seems like one year. Well, you still have hair, so don't worry. (Laughter) I know I can speak from experience on that one. The rabbit tracks from the members opposite are unbelievable, at a time when we are debating Bill No. 46, a bill that grabs money from seniors. I note the member opposite who was making the comments should know better about seniors than anybody else in this room, or at least as much as anybody in this room, about the need for seniors to retain the few dollars they have instead of having government grabbing it out of their back pocket and hauling it right out, without a question, not even a thank you; just clawing it out of the pockets of the seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia.

They said back six months ago - it seems like one year ago - that they would be willing to do this. The minister committed he would do it. I remember I patiently waited. He said a few weeks, a month, six months later. I asked the question I guess four months, five months hence, and the minister then said, yes, I guess I did make that commitment and I will do that. Here it is possibly the last day of the Legislature and . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Ah, let's keep talking for a few more hours.

MR. DOWNE: Maybe another week or two. And we still have yet to receive that information. I know the minister is going to do it because he committed to do it. He said yesterday their words are truthful, you can trust us, read my lips, trust us. I am trusting him that he will deliver this shortly. Not in the fullness of time but within this year, I would hope that he would be able to get that done.

This bill talks about a tax grab. It talks about the ability of them to decouple from the federal tax; the great Liberal Government in Ottawa, the great federal government that is led by a great Prime Minister and a great Minister of Finance that is lowering the taxes to Nova Scotians, only to see this provincial government decouple hours before the announcement. During that time, hours before the budget came down, what did they do? They said, we are going to decouple so that we don't have to lower the provincial portion of tax. So in effect, instead of being at 57.5 per cent of the federal tax, we are now at about 60 per cent of the federal tax. Members up in the gallery who have to work very hard to make a few dollars only to find out that this provincial government now is taking more of your money than they should have because they didn't flow it through. Poor commissionaires and others that work so hard to make a few dollars. The government now provincially is about 60 per cent of the federal tax which is an increase of about 2.5 per cent. Next year, as the federal government under the leadership of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin and other great Cabinet Ministers will lower the tax again. What do you think government will do? They will claw back those dollars, and they will grab hold of a bigger piece of the tax portion of Nova Scotians taxes only to have it probably wasted somehow or another in the way they are trying to run the government today.

[Page 7343]

They turned around, and they have increased taxes on Nova Scotians - tax grab. What they have done is increased user fees to the extent now that we probably have never had, from a precedence point of view, the highest amount of user fees we have ever seen in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thanks to this Conservative Government, they have broken the record; another Conservative record. They have increased user fees to the highest percentage ever known in Nova Scotia. I am sure that the Minister of Health over there wishes it was more because he knows he needs more money to run the Department of Health because they have no plan. The cuts and the slashes and the torture that he is putting the people through in that health care system, he is just anxious to get out of here. The pressure is getting to him, he is normally pretty cool over there, but these last couple of days, he is a little feisty, just a little snappy, he is just a little nervous and insecure. I think it is because he is worried, he is worried that more of this information is going to get out.

[3:30 p.m.]

The Health Critic that we have on this side has been ferreting that information out, just literally pulling it out of him. It is a tortuous, painful event for that Minister of Health over there to have it laid out in front of the members of this legislative group, the disastrous plan, or lack of plan that he has for health.

We are in for a bumpy ride and a bumpy road and as Jean Cretien, probably the best Prime Minister this country has ever seen, said in an article that I read one day, or in a book, buckle your seat belts because we are in for one heck of a ride.

Well, we are in for that heck of a ride now under this Tory Regime. This Bill No. 46 is an important bill to the government. One that no matter how long we stay here, they would go forward with this bill. They have the power to do that, but I feel sorry for the members in the backbench, the ones who voted for this budget, the ones who are going to be saying yes to this bill because when they go back home, they are going to have to be able to justify the slashes and burns that the Minister of Health, which is really the Minister of Finance. You shouldn't really blame the poor Minister of Health totally for being unable to come up with a plan that is fair and just for health. You have to go to the Minister of Finance because he is the one who gave them the shackles that have cuffed them to death.

The Minister of Finance is the one that said, poor old Jamie, too bad. He is the one - the Minister of Finance that has said, well, the members in the backbench, too bad. These are the decisions we made and you might lose this and you might lose that, but that is too bad. So you had better keep an eye on that Minister of Finance over there. He is a powerful man. I told him the other day, you are the most powerful minister in all of government. The more I said it, the happier he looked. It was unbelievable. He had a smile on his face from ear to ear and I said it to him a second time and his chest puffed up like a bantam hen. It was unbelievable.

[Page 7344]

AN HON. MEMBER: Rooster.

MR. DOWNE: Rooster, pardon me. I said hen for a reason because he laid the egg. The egg that is going to be on all the faces of the backbenchers when they go back home, when they say they supported Bill No. 46.

Then there is the Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia. The Premier who is really the other architect for this budget, this budget that is out there to try to actually destroy the quality of delivery of health care in Nova Scotia. He is the architect of the demise of some of the problems and programs in education. He is the Premier, along with his Minister of Finance, who is saying to the business community around the world, we are not open for business anymore.

The Minister of Finance is telling his backbenchers to give a little more respect. I am sure he is scared every time he sits in the front bench because there are two other rows of benches behind him and I am sure the daggers are out, wanting to make sure that he understands the pain that these backbenchers are going through when they go back home and have these massive cuts to the good people of their constituencies.

I want to inform the members of the House that this Party will be voting against Bill No. 46. I know they are disappointed because nothing would make them any happier than if we would ever support the demise of the programs that they are trying to cut. The slash and burn, the clawbacks, the tax grabs, the increased user fees, the undermining of the foundation of the society of the Province of Nova Scotia is the delivery of health and education.

MR. JERRY PYE: Oh, I need a bucket.

MR. DOWNE: The good member for Dartmouth North needs more than a bucket. I understand the Leader is going to be sitting back with him later on so it goes to show you he has no career moves left. He should do the honourable thing and resign and have a by-election in that area, I would say, because it is clear he has been told that he is not going anywhere, but maybe that is only half the team. The other half may want to put him up front, I don't know.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to prolong the debate because I know they are not paying attention. I will say, in closing, that we are all here to hopefully build a stronger and more dynamic Nova Scotia. We are all here trying to make this province the envy of the country and not to be ashamed about the future of this province. We feel on this side that some of the decisions the government has made are wrong, not all of them are wrong, but some of them are wrong and that is why by voting against this bill and voting against this budget we are expressing our concern and we are registering it here in this democratic facility, through this democratic process, by saying no to the slashing and burning of health care; no, to the undermining of the quality of education in Nova Scotia; we are saying no to the tax grab that

[Page 7345]

is going on before our eyes; we are saying no to the massive cuts and user fees being charged to seniors in the province of Nova Scotia and for that, we will be voting against this bill.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I am not sure where my remarks are necessarily going to take me, but I know where I am going to end and the end part of it is that I will definitely, as will my colleagues, be voting against this bill. I also have to say, I cannot help but make the aside comment, I listened with considerable interest to the previous speaker, the member for Lunenburg West, and while I don't always agree with everything he says and I did not agree with everything that he said this time, I will have to point out certainly on a number of items that he spoke about, I do agree, but what I could not tell is what option he was trying to keep open because it seemed like he was spending as much, if not more, time praising Prime Minister Chretien and Mr. Martin as he was pointing out the weaknesses of this Tory Government here in Nova Scotia. So the options are, obviously, kept open and whichever option my friend, the member for Lunenburg West, may choose, I wish him some modest success.

Mr. Speaker, what we have here in this Financial Measures (2000) Bill, this P.E.I. telephone book size bill, is one more betrayal of the people of the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. There is no question that less than a year ago, in fact, almost a year ago today, the election trail was hit. The Tories went around this province and they gave their word to Nova Scotians. They promised Nova Scotians that they had some top priorities. They promised Nova Scotians that health care and education were important and would be protected and preserved. They promised that they would take care of the disadvantaged in this province. They said that there would be no tax increases and they talked about user fees as another form of taxation and that they would not be imposing taxation. They told Nova Scotians, they implied, they wanted Nova Scotians to believe, that all people within this province were valued and when it came to the vote the Premier and all of his colleagues indeed valued Nova Scotians. But once the vote was held, those who had deep pockets were the ones whose votes counted to this government. This legislation does a number of things. It certainly sets up the privatization of a lot of the public services, and it is a betrayal of the hard-working men and women who have served this province.

We have had with this legislation and with a budget, which I see this as a part of, this budget which is assaulting the health care system. Do you know, members opposite can't wait for this House to finish. I am sure the backbenchers and as many front benchers as possible will run and hide. They will want to be out of public view. They will want to be disappearing off to their cottages or leaving the province so their constituents won't be able to get to them. Why? Because the health budgets will be coming out. They will be coming out, and as soon as we leave this place, we will find out what other programs and services will be slashed.

[Page 7346]

Unfortunately, as this House won't be in session, even after we ferret out that information, we will have a harder time embarrassing the government to restore the programs - as my colleague, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, embarrassed the Minister of Health to return to ensure that the program at the IWK, which provided a nutrition program for children who were ill and needed that, was restored. Unfortunately, when this House isn't in session, we won't have that opportunity on a daily basis, in Question Period, to hold the government accountable, to force them to back off on things like that. Mr. Speaker, the bad news is going to roll out, and it will be steamrolling over Nova Scotians. That is a disgrace.

Education was to be valued, and we had an Education Bill, and I am sure that will be passing later on today because the government has the numbers. They have the numbers, they can do as they wish. They are out there giving the minister more power, so the minister can go on a dissolve or do whatever the minister so decrees behind closed doors, down in this bunker where there is no public input. You know - when I see a member of my community up in the gallery tonight - I don't think there is anything, in fact there is nothing in that legislation that is going to be addressing a basic inequality in the education system within the HRM. The students in the municipal part, the old county, are losing teachers, losing teaching assistants and educational opportunities because the bill of the Education Act, which had been passed by the Liberals which had flaws in it, the Tories aren't interested in fixing. They aren't interested in fixing it at all. They are only interested in wrestling more power for the government and taking the opportunity to effect change away from the Legislature and to put it into the purview alone of the Cabinet in their secrecy.

Mr. Speaker, we still don't have the results of the program review. The over 1,100 programs that have been reviewed that the government has information on, they know what they are doing, pretty well, as well as Tories ever know, and that is sort of iffy, they think they know, and unless somebody is here to point out the failings of their way, we go astray. Program review has been complete. They have locked it away, and only after this place finishes will that information come out. Mark my word, those members on the Tory benches who don't want to listen and pay any attention, now, oh, I am sure it will be like the member for Kings South who said at the Public Accounts Committee the other day, I am not a member of government. I am sure the constituents across this province, when they call up or they walk into the MLA's office and say, why did you do this, why is the health care suffering in our area, why are these programs being eliminated, why is my job gone, why are you privatizing this service, why are you only listening to the downtown, big business interests like the chamber of commerce and the Murray Coolicans of this world, they will say, oh, we are sorry, but we are not members of government, we are just lowly backbenchers, we have no input.

[Page 7347]

[3:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, those members who voted for that budget, who are going to vote for this bill are members of government. Each and every one of us in this House has a responsibility to our constituents and to the province as a whole. I am proud to say that I am prepared to stand on my feet; I am proud to say that I will stand behind the commitments that I made in the last election; and I am proud to say that I will be voting against this legislation. I am proud to be able to say that I am not taking back my handshakes with the people of Sackville-Cobequid. I stood for certain things at that time, I stand; whether I was on that side of the House or this side of the House, I will still continue to fight for the same things.

It is a shame, it is a shame on those members on the government benches, who talked during the election about equality, who talked about having a system that valued health care, education, community services, helping those who were in need who can't help themselves. They, now that they occupy the benches of power, are acting like the Savage Liberals of before. I say shame on them.

We have major tax grabs in this legislation, not only the user fees that we have already figured out to be at least $30 million, health fees, ambulance fees, seniors' Pharmacare fees, home support service increases, social assistance prescription drugs co-pay increases, even for the Child Abuse Registry, charges are now there, and the list goes on and on. I would hope that you, if you haven't had the opportunity to do so already, and the Tory backbenchers who don't know what is going on, click on the NDP web page, NDP caucus. Do you know what you will find there? You will find a little fuzzy creature, it is called a ferret. We took the Premier up on his challenge, because the Premier scolded us and said it is up to the Opposition to ferret out the information. Not only did we put a ferret on the web page, but we also tried to take up that challenge. If you click on that ferret, you will find those areas, some of the areas, where the government has betrayed Nova Scotians.

The tax system. So much of this bill, so many pages of this hefty document are the government's attempt to pretend that they aren't increasing taxes. They have decoupled our taxation system from that of the federal government. They have decoupled it, but in decoupling that system, what they have also done is they have kept the bracket creep. The bracket creep. I am not talking about some individuals who creep. (Interruptions) I am glad there is one member of this House that is listening, because on the government benches they don't listen to people in here or to the people out there across this province unless they have deep pockets and are friends of the Tories.

Mr. Speaker, what they are doing with this bracket creep, what they have done, in effect, and I will say that finally the federal Liberals are doing something right and they are eliminating the bracket creep because now, and as has been, and part of the reason why the federal government has so much money is that they have been digging deeper and deeper into our pockets, and even though inflation has been taking more out of our pockets and our

[Page 7348]

incomes went up modestly to keep track with inflation, our tax rates just jumped because there was no leeway for increased costs of living.

The Tories here in Nova Scotia are continuing that bad practice, so the effect is that we will continue to pay more and more of our monies in the way of provincial tax; we will have less disposable income in terms of purchasing power as a result of what the Tories are doing.

We have cuts in health care and education, some of the most abhorrent cuts. I will say this - and many people may not see it - the cuts that are being made in Community Services to families and children, I am sorry it just doesn't cut it to say we have to make tough decisions. When you are putting children who have no control over their fate, who had nothing to do with the situation they are in, when you are saying to those children that they cannot have a safe place to live, that they cannot have proper nutrition or food because the government has had to make a tough decision and cut the amount of money we are going to give to your parents, so the kids are going to have to suffer, that is wrong. That is wrong and, Mr. Speaker, I would dip into my pocket, if that was necessary, to make sure that they did not.

I would also say that when I take a look at who is getting the tax breaks, whether it is John Chisholm - I don't care who it is - when I take a look at those businesses that are getting a low tax rate, the same ones who are screaming at the government to cut more and more, those are the same ones who are often benefiting the most. There is something wrong with us as a society and as a government if those who have the most are not prepared to give a little to help those who are most disadvantaged. The children of this province did not make the bed they are lying in; they are not responsible for that situation. For us to be saying that greed is more important than those kids is wrong. It is absolutely unacceptable in this society. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier and to his colleagues, dig into that slush fund if necessary, go back and alter the stumpage rates, charge more in the way of royalties for the coal that is being taken out of the ground at 25 cents per ton, go back to these oil companies.

Those oil companies, like Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Ltd., have no hesitation trying to break contracts with this government to get out of giving Nova Scotians what they deserve or what they are entitled to, as little as we are getting. If they are prepared to do that to us, let's flip the coin on them. Let's go back to them and say it is time that you belly-up to the table so that the kids in this province have what they need: food in their bellies, a safe place to live, and an opportunity to have a good education so that they can get the kinds of jobs that they are going to need in the future. That's not too much to ask, it really isn't.

Mr. Speaker, I am about to take my seat, but this bill is an indictment of this government. It is a question of where are your priorities. Is your priority on stacking the deck in favour of those who already have the most and who want more, or is it truly about trying to create, as a Liberal Prime Minister said, but he said it well in the phrase, and it is something that we should always keep in mind: a just society. I don't consider that a just society is

[Page 7349]

something that is partisan. It speaks to a much higher plane. I honestly do not believe that this bill or the budget that it is having the effect of putting into effect does anything to move us toward a just or a more just society. Quite to the contrary, I think it increases inequities. That is, I would suggest, or I should say, shame on all members of this House who will vote in favour of this legislation. Thank you very much.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to add a few comments to what my colleague has had to say with respect to this bill, the Financial Measures (2000) Bill. This is the legislation it has been stated that accompanies the budget that came down a few short weeks ago, a budget that clearly laid out for Nova Scotians what kind of government they elected in the summer of last year, a government that had run on a platform of making health and education a priority, of bringing growth and stability to the province, making sure that students didn't have to go to school in classrooms that were too large, that there were enough teachers, that there were enough specialists, that there were enough program assistants.

They had earmarked the gasoline tax to repair roads throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. They were not going to increase revenue through taxation of any kind, including user fees. They were going to make administrative savings. They were going to increase revenues through Sable gas and other royalty regimes. In fact we have seen none of that in this budget. We have seen just the opposite.

We have seen cutting of health care. We are seeing now the effects of the changes. The hospitals and health care facilities throughout the province are under threat of closure, under threat of downgrading. Health care workers are under threat of losing their jobs, of being asked to do more with less. People who were promised in the last election campaign that if the Tories were elected, they would look after them, they would ensure there were more nurses hired, that there were more doctors in the communities, that there were more services in those rural hospitals in those rural health care facilities, and they have done just the opposite of that, Mr. Speaker.

We are seeing now the effects of the cuts are beginning to come out. The IWK, a number of important programs that service women and children in the province and in the region are being cut. As a result of the hue and cry that has resulted from this information coming to our attention, some of that money has been restored, or some of those programs have been restored, but at what cost? Whether it is the IWK-Grace or the QE II or the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, that we learned today has cut their neurosurgery capacity.

When the government cuts tens of millions of dollars out of these budgets, they are faced with making tough decisions and decisions about whether they are able to service beds or whether they have to cut programs like the Well Woman Clinic at the IWK-Grace. The nutritional supplements for infants whose families can't afford those supplements, that

[Page 7350]

program has been reinstated, assured or guaranteed by the government. The government hasn't put any more money into the IWK-Grace, so they are going to be faced with cutting some other program. What program is that going to be? Well, it is going to be a program that provides services to women and children in the Province of Nova Scotia and in the region.

However you shake it down, this government is cutting away at health services in the Province of Nova Scotia. I believe that once this House closes we are going to see more and more of that information come forward. We know that the Minister of Health has been tap-dancing around any explanation of exactly what is going to happen in rural Nova Scotia with respect to health services. He doesn't want to tell us, Mr. Speaker, because he knows then that we have them here, that there is an opportunity to hold them accountable, that Nova Scotians will have them here all in one place, and they can come to this House and make their feelings known, and the government undoubtedly will respond. They did that. The Minister of Education was forced to back down from her statements that only 400 teachers would be laid off and that the school boards would not have any problem dealing with what she called a $20 million cut. In reality it was a $53 million cut and guess what happened? The Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance had to come up with some extra change. They had to rummage through the sofa and try to find some loose change in the back and they did. They found $33 million.

[4:00 p.m.]

I listened to the Premier outside talking in a media scrum earlier today and they asked him the question, what about that small problem with the Education budget, and he said something to the effect that, yes, well, that was a bit of a problem, but those are the kinds of problems that happen from time to time and, you know, there is not too much we can do about it and we were planning to come up with that and cover those debts and deficits anyway. Imagine. How are Nova Scotians supposed to have any confidence at all in a government that brings in a budget that goes through the kind of changes this budget did. I mean it was unbelievable.

Day after day, Mr. Speaker, this budget was getting changed. APSEA funding was cut by $200,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: By $500,000.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: By $0.5 million, sorry, and parents and children come to the House and what happens is the Minister of Education pulls $85,000 out of her back pocket, presto. I guess when you can drag $33 million out from underneath the sofa, what is $85,000 among friends, right, a piece of cake, and that is what we have been seeing. It is like this government lurching from pillar to post trying to contain the damage that they are causing through this lack of clarity in terms of a direction, but why would we expect anything different?

[Page 7351]

They ran on the basis of bringing competent management to the Government of Nova Scotia, of bringing stability, of promising not to cut and slash, not to lay all the problems with respect to what the previous government had done on this generation, but yet they come in and they do just the opposite. They cut and slash. They pound away. They are asking again, just like the Liberals did, they are asking this generation to pay for mistakes made by former governments.

We asked in here during debate, Mr. Speaker, and Question Period, we asked government ministers, why is it that students requiring special needs today, or in September of this year, should go without those services? Why should they be asked to sacrifice their lives, their futures, because a former Tory Government, followed by a Liberal Government, could not manage the books? Why should they be the ones asked to pay the price and, do you know what, it is not a simple price. It is the ability to live life to its fullest by receiving an education, by learning skills, by developing their capacities to contribute to their families, to the communities, to society. That is what this government is imposing on those people. That is what they are being asked to give and to sacrifice and I don't think that is fair.

I brought forward a case today and there are lots of other cases, lots of other examples of people and families directly affected by changes in the rules with respect to social services, people being asked, women generally, being asked in the majority of cases, to raise families on $650 a month, a family with four children as a result of arbitrary changes to social services benefits being cut in half, they are being expected to raise a family with four children. Now, just imagine, if you will, you have got four children who are trying to learn, who are going to school hungry in most cases, living in this kind of poverty. They are living in an environment that is not safe. They have to go to school, and they grow, and they participate in their community without sufficient funds, without sufficient nutrition, inadequate housing, inadequate clothing, without being able to enjoy the benefits of many children in the Province of Nova Scotia.

It is like their lives are being forfeited at the altar of debt and deficit reduction. The Premier said so outside that we can't afford for these children to have full bellies, we can't afford for them to live in safety, we can't afford for them to go to school and get the kind of education that they have a right to, we can't afford that. He said that. I can't believe that I heard it, but he said that. He would like us to believe, and would like Nova Scotians to believe, that he told them that during the election campaign. They know it is not true, and we know it is not true. Nova Scotians deserve a whole lot better than that. They deserve a whole lot better than that.

We saw a budget that went through daily changes. We have a bill here, the Financial Measures Act, which introduces income tax changes so that Nova Scotians, as opposed to the people in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island or Quebec, will have to pay more in income tax because this government was not prepared to pass on changes that were made by the federal government. At the same time gasoline prices are continuing to go through the

[Page 7352]

roof, this government is making an increase in revenues in the HST on gasoline, and that is being paid by ordinary Nova Scotians, Nova Scotians who have to drive to work, people who drive as part of their work, truckers and others. Those costs are being borne by ordinary Nova Scotians. This government does not have the decency to try to shield Nova Scotians from that burden.

In education, health care, social services, Nova Scotians are not getting what they thought they were getting. What they are getting is a government that is asking them, and members of government that are asking them to again sacrifice. They are getting a reduction in services provided by government. The government says they are going to make it smaller, they are going to make things smaller, they are going to participate in widespread privatization. Whether you would suggest that is trying to pay off their friends in the private sector or whatever, ultimately what it will mean is higher costs for the users and a decrease in service for the users. That means, once again, the burden is being shifted to ordinary Nova Scotians, and that is not right. Simply not right.

Mr. Speaker, this budget, this Financial Measures (2000) Bill, is a travesty on a whole range of issues and it is a bill that does not deserve the support of members of this House. As each day goes by, we learn more and more about the effects of the budget and health care in particular. We referred to it earlier when we talked about Bill No. 34, we called it the merger and consolidation bill.

We have learned just today, and I would be happy to table this communiqué, the list of services that will be shared in the central region. It is a communication that has been distributed today by chief executive officers in the central region: the IWK-Grace Health Centre, Nova Scotia Hospital and the QE II Health Sciences Centre. It refers to reviews, and it says these opportunity reviews associated with sharing services across the four organizations address current service components, structure-activity volumes and a preliminary analysis of cost and quality relative to industry standards.

What are we talking about here? Well, we are talking about audio-visual and printing, bio-medical engineering, business development, diagnostic imaging. So what does that mean? Does that mean that lab techs and those people who operate the X-ray machines, the MRIs and others, are going to be laid off? Food services is a priority area to be shared. Housekeeping, information technology, laboratory. I think what we are hearing is that there is going to be a spate of lay-offs in lab services. Lab techs, as a result of this decision to amalgamate those services, to share those services, are going to be laid off. Laundry, the same thing; risk management and supply chain, which includes purchasing, inventory control, stores and mail.

[Page 7353]

There are other aspects but those are the priority areas of services that are going to be shared, in other words, are going to be consolidated, which means that people are going to be laid off. Further job losses in all of those areas. Again, the shake out of this government's budget and of this government's legislation during this session.

I want to say here that I believe that Bill No. 46 is a bill that goes against what this government has committed, that it supports and puts into force the effects of the budget that was brought down which is going to be of significant impact, a negative impact to the people of Nova Scotia. I think it is important that we go from this place with a clear message that this government is cutting and slashing; that they are creating further havoc in health care and education; that they are asking this generation to pay for excesses of previous governments; that they are asking this generation to sacrifice a great deal to make the kind of sacrifices that they may not recover from.

When talking about children with high needs who will not get proper services for education, you are talking about women and children who will not get proper services with respect to wellness, that is exactly what the impact of this budget is going to be. We say that is wrong, and I know my colleagues and I will be voting against this legislation and voting against what this government has done with respect to important government services in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 46. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[4:15 p.m.]

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 47.

Bill No. 47 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 47 be now read for the third time.

[Page 7354]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we have had an opportunity to debate Bill No. 47 in committee, but I would like to put (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable members to take their conversations outside.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like an opportunity on behalf of the NDP caucus to put a few comments on the record with respect to Bill No. 47, a bill that amends the Education Act, that establishes a pilot project in the Southwest Regional School Board, but which also empowers now the Minister of Education to extend that pilot project to all of the other regional school boards without the benefit of coming back here to the House of Assembly for debate, discussion, public input and consultation.

Throughout the course of debating this particular bill, our Party has had an opportunity to secure some amendments in the bill, and we are somewhat pleased at the fact that this is a better bill than it was when it was introduced on April 27th. I would like to just review briefly what those amendments have provided for the people of Nova Scotia. The original bill introduced by the minister on April 27th gave the minister the power to extend, as I said, this pilot project in the Southwest Regional School Board beyond the year 2004 without coming back to the House. She could have done that through regulations. This bill has now been amended so that if the minister wished to extend the pilot project, she would have to come back to the House for that.

The original bill also provided very few protections for employees in the Southwest Regional School Board. This amended bill now has a series of clauses that more extensively address issues around successor rights much like the amendments that were introduced to the district health board and community health boards bill. The original bill had no requirement that an evaluation be done of the success or the failure or the adequacies or the weaknesses of the pilot project. That has now been addressed. There is an amendment in the bill that indicates an evaluation will be done and will be made public.

The original bill also revoked the termination of the notices received by hundreds of teachers across Nova Scotia, teachers who were full time, probationary, and term teachers, and revoked these termination notices until June 2nd. This has now been amended so that there will be no termination of full-time or probationary teachers. So, in total, those four amendments, I think, represent some very good news in terms of taking a piece of legislation that we knew would pass because the government was committed to it and because they have the numbers to force the legislation through, so, this bill has been improved through some amendments.

[Page 7355]

However, there is not all good news in this bill, unfortunately. The bad news, Mr. Speaker, is that there still will be teachers retiring in the system or teachers leaving for other reasons, perhaps they are moving to another jurisdiction, and those teachers will not be replaced. Many term teachers will have their employment terminated and will not be returning next year and class sizes will become larger throughout our province in the education system.

Additionally, many others have received termination notices and currently will be unsure of what the outcome will be, whether they will have jobs in the education system and whether or not they will be providing services in the fall. Some of these other employees who will be lost in the system are library assistants and technicians, student support workers, program assistants, school secretaries and school custodians.

During debate in Committee of the Whole House on Bills, our Party had brought forward a series of probably 14 amendments, amendments that were intended to hold the minister accountable for the power grab that is a central feature of this bill. As we have said repeatedly, this bill is not truly a bill that is a pilot project in one region, but clearly the minister is eyeing other boards across the province to impose her will, with a limited awareness of what the actual educational needs are.

Our concern, Mr. Speaker, has been that this provincial government is about to assume more central control over the distribution of resources and over the design and purpose of programs, all the while charging local boards and local people with increased responsibility for implementation and delivery. We see this as not fulfilling what the election promise of the Hamm Government was last summer, to invest in education and to bring things closer to communities and to give communities greater say in services that are important to them.

One of the biggest weaknesses that we have seen with respect to this government in this session, has been their lack of vision for education, as well as a lack of compassion for children, particularly children with special needs, and this is something that we will not be letting go and we will continue to fight on these issues on behalf of parents, and children with special needs, until we get the kind of programming that people require and they expect and they deserve.

Education for Nova Scotians is clearly a priority. Communities continue to want to be involved in the provision of education, and they want to be involved as more than fund-raisers in their local school systems. We have heard from people from the Nova Scotia Home and School Associations, people like Sandra Himmelman, who is the President of the Nova Scotia Home and School Associations, and she has made it perfectly clear what parents and PTAs and school advisory committees feel about education and their role in it. They want to have a more direct say in the provision, the design, and the implementation of education.

[Page 7356]

One of the other features of Bill No. 47 that we have been very concerned about is the real concern that services will be privatized in our school system as a result of Bill No. 47, the dividing of responsibilities in this bill, so that the Department of Education becomes more closely tied to the financial monitoring and the provision . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, honourable members. It is quite difficult to hear the member who has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Bill No. 47 contains real possibilities for privatization of services; privatization in a couple of ways, Mr. Speaker. Privatization with respect to cleaning and maintenance services, with respect to busing services, also the greater use of volunteers in libraries, and the greater use of volunteers as a replacement for school secretaries. We have had many examples where we are seeing privatization and we are seeing that it is not working. It results in less service, poorer service, poorer quality services, and it has not given us any cost benefit whatsoever in terms of any financial outcomes that are of any real benefit to Nova Scotians. So going down this route of privatization of public services that relate to our education system will I think be a very wrong-headed and short-sighted kind of an approach to take, Mr. Speaker, and it is not one that this caucus supports.

In closing I would just like to summarize by saying, while this caucus is very pleased that we were able to secure those amendments that I have indicated at the outset that substantially improve this bill, we will not be supporting this bill because it still has failed the important test of putting in place real mechanisms for the accountability of ministerial power and the expansion of that ministerial power has gone beyond the bounds that we think is reasonable for a good public education policy in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, our Liberal caucus and I have said, since this bill has been introduced in this House by this Minister of Education, this bill is not about splitting up the Southwest Regional School Board, this bill is about getting rid of all the elected school boards in Nova Scotia. This Tory Government is following New Brunswick's lead in eliminating school boards in Nova Scotia, and this bill gives the Minister of Education the power to disband school boards at any time without consultation, even without the school board members themselves.

Mr. Speaker, last summer during the election the Tory Party made 243 promises to Nova Scotians, but nowhere did Nova Scotians see in this Tory blue book that they would get rid of elected school boards in Nova Scotia. There are many things that this Tory Party said during the election, and now they are just doing the exact opposite.

[Page 7357]

[4:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this bill is about the direction that this Tory Government is going to take toward public education in Nova Scotia. The obvious question that comes to mind once this Bill No. 47 goes through this House is what school board will be next to come under the Minister of Education's control. All the major decisions in public education in Nova Scotia will now be made right here in downtown Halifax in the minister's office.

Another amendment in this bill will allow the creation of a seat on the school boards for an African-Nova Scotian representative in time for the upcoming school board election in October. This amendment will provide the Black community with a voice in our province's public education process.

On behalf of our Liberal caucus, I want to thank the Minister of Education for having accepted one of our main amendments that our caucus forwarded to her. Currently under the Education Act, school boards have to issue lay-off notices to teachers by May 15th. We felt the extension date for notice of termination in this bill was unnecessary, and if it hadn't been for the Liberal caucus to insist to the minister that this clause be deleted, this unnecessary clause would have stayed in there, and who knows what would have happened then? Well, I guess we just need to look back, especially after the Minister of Finance came to the Minister of Education's rescue with more money. Yes, more money for the school boards.

Mr. Speaker, this is the same Tory Government that said all along for the last four or five months that we needed to tighten our belt. The Minister of Education said in this House that there was no new money for education. Well, guess what happened? This Tory Government, this Minister of Education, they caved in. They backed down. So it will be interesting to watch this Tory Government operate in the future. All Nova Scotians will be watching as well to see if this Tory Government will back down again. You know what? I think they will. This Tory Government has lost credibility with school boards. They have lost credibility with teachers and support staff. They have lost credibility with students and parents with this Bill No. 47.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, this bill completely erodes the democratic process with respect to education in Nova Scotia. It is an insult to the democratic process. This bill centralizes power with the Department of Education and takes power away from the people. So is this a democratic process? No, I guess not. With those few comments, our Liberal caucus will not be voting in favour of this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise very briefly to speak against Bill No. 47, which I see as a kind of end point of a series of manoeuvres, stages in the dismantling, perhaps not an end point but a point bringing us closer to the end of a functional public

[Page 7358]

education system. The member for Clare is quite right, the centre of that is the anti-democratic nature of this bill.

Mr. Speaker, a couple of years ago UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization, did a worldwide study on education. It identified for all of us, on public education, the four pillars upon which public education stands and whose erosion causes it to fall. Those four pillars of public education are universality, accessibility, adequacy and equity. The UNESCO report came to the same conclusion that this government came to when it was running for office last summer and I quote "Education is the key." They said it. They professed to believe in public education. They professed to support it with all its pillars.

Mr. Speaker, either we believe in public education or we do not. If we believe in public education, we believe that it is universal and that it ought to remain universal. Well, I have to ask myself, as a result of this budget, what is happening to those children with special needs in Nova Scotia schools? Is education going to be universal or is it not? Is it going to be universal or is it not? Not in this province, and not for very much longer. Is it accessible? Well, less and less so.

We had a debate in here about class sizes, and what we come to every time is money. That is where adequacy makes it clear that the only way to get universality and accessibility is to fund it, to fund it properly. Is it equitable? We know that one of the areas where we can best see the lack of equity in schools is not just in the treatment of one group of students who receive less assistance than another, but in the condition of the buildings. We have said this in here before. Some Nova Scotia schools are palaces for whom future generations will pay, and others are rotten and poisoned and unhealthy and should be bulldozed into the ground.

This bill takes us one step further towards asking the question that has to be asked, that we all need to ask, especially the members over there need to ask it, do we believe in public education or do we not? If we do, and if we are going to profess to, as the members on the other side are going to profess to when they say things like education is the key, and when they make promises, then why are we letting the pillars crumble through bad decision making, undemocratic decision making and inadequate funding?

Soon those pillars will crumble. Those pillars will crumble, and then this government will say, well, Nova Scotia, you see public education doesn't work so maybe we had better look for an alternative here. Where have we seen this before in this province and in this country? We have seen this identical pattern with health care, where it was inadequately funded for many years, and where now we see the Premier of Alberta has passed a bill that speaks to the inadequacy of public health care by saying it wasn't working. Well, no wonder it wasn't working.

[Page 7359]

A more recent example, a more recently noticed example perhaps, in the federal realm, is the CBC. The CBC was starved of funds for years and years under the federal Liberal Government and the Tory Government before it, and there were political reasons for that. Now we hear the same cries all throughout the land. We hear the quality is not good in some areas, so let's get rid of it, let's knock these things out, let's say they are of no value. We have destroyed them.

This bill goes a long way to finishing the job of destroying democratic, accessible, universal, adequate and equitable health care in this province, and it is done on the basis of a cheap ideological mantra that says, these children will thank us for slashing the deficit in three years, when there is no need of it. They are stuck where they sit, in an ideological position that makes no sense in terms of the finances of this province now and they are stuck in it to serve their own ends because they do not believe in the collective good, which we take abuse for day after day in here. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you, we are not ashamed at all.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, honourable members. There is quite a racket in here.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview has the floor.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, this bill uploads power, which is the very contradiction of democracy, which is the very contradiction of the premises behind public education. What are we educating them for? So they can say yes ma'am, no ma'am to the Minister of Education, or so they can think for themselves in a productive world? So, I have to say in the strongest possible terms, and with accumulated regret over the past number of years - and this bill is the latest point in this ugly process of dismantling public education - with that regret and with those feelings, with the sense, that somebody over there has to start believing in public education soon or we won't have any. With that, I take my seat.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I add my voice to those of my colleagues in the NDP caucus speaking about Bill No. 47 and how egregious it is on the people of Nova Scotia, in particular on the children of Nova Scotia. What a betrayal it has been to see this bill, together with the cuts in education, the attack on the classroom that has been waged by this government. It is shameful and it is going to have long-term effects.

Mr. Speaker, when this Party was running for government in the last election, they said education was an investment in the future; they were right, everybody knows that. In terms of developing, in terms of growing the economy, you cannot make a better investment than by investing in education. What have they done? They have not done that, they have done the opposite to that. What they have done is they have sucked millions of dollars out of the system; they have taken teachers away; they have taken program assistants away; they have

[Page 7360]

taken away custodial people who keep the buildings clean and maintained; they have taken away bus drivers; they have taken money out of the funds to maintain and repair and upkeep schools around the province; and they have taken away money that should be available in order to build new schools.

The attack on the education system, as my colleagues have articulated so well, has been very complete by this government. I, for one, do not understand what the reason is. I have heard them say, and I heard the Premier say today that we simply cannot afford it, that for the benefit of untold generations in the future, we have to pound it to the people in the classrooms of our schools today. I don't understand the mentality of that. I don't understand how you can possibly arrive at a conclusion that that is in any way in the best interests of Nova Scotians, of the next generations. It just doesn't make sense and ultimately, Nova Scotians are going to pay. Not these folks. They come here and they sit and they make their decisions and they chuckle and they hoot and they holler and then they will go home and people will wag their finger at them and they will say, well, you know, it is the best we could do.

[4:45 p.m.]

It is not about them. It is about Nova Scotians, it is about families and it is about children. That is where the impact will be, that is where the impact is today. This morning I had the opportunity to visit ever so briefly, a school that has been designated as an inner-city school, Rockingstone Heights Elementary School. In this school, they have already been cut three and one-half program assistants, they have had their librarian cut by 50 per cent. Do you know how that happens? There is a formula that the Department of Education insists the school boards operate with. So they are going to cut the number of program assistants and the librarian. They are going to cut the same level in inner-city schools as they are in areas like in the South End or in other parts of the province where kids can go home and they have big libraries, there are all kinds of books in the home and their children are associated with books and computers from birth.

But there are a lot of homes where children live where there isn't that kind of environment, where they aren't exposed to reading, they aren't exposed to the culture of reading, they aren't exposed to books and to that type of learning, to computers when they go home. They don't get that. That is why the libraries for example are so important in the schools and the library technicians and assistants are so important to help these people, to help these students get what they don't get at home as a result of the fact that families either don't have the resources or don't have the history, the culture with respect to what they have learned in the past, to understand how important books are, to understand how important computers are for the development of children.

[Page 7361]

The result is that you have these cuts that are spread out across the regions, across the schools, without any recognition for the people who are actually in the school, for the students, for the children that are actually in those schools and what their needs are and how those needs can best be met and that is what is so tragic about what this government is doing. They are cutting across the system and their cuts are being implemented across the system in a way that simply does not relate, I don't think, responsibly, to the people who are most affected. That is shameful that the government is doing that.

I say I won't go on in the details, my colleagues, the Education Critic for our caucus, the member for Halifax Needham, the member for Halifax Fairview spoke so passionately about public education. They have laid it out more clearly than I could, but I think it is important that we recognize that what this government is doing in education with this bill and with the budget with which it is associated will have a deep and lasting effect on children and on the economy and on the whole of society in the Province of Nova Scotia. The sooner they realize that, the better, Mr. Speaker. It is not about getting from one election to the other, it is about growing a learned population and giving everybody an opportunity to have access to education, have access to the resources that they need in order to build that type of rounded personality with skills that can best contribute to the community and best contribute to the province as a whole.

This bill takes us in the wrong direction, and as my colleagues have said, we in the NDP caucus will be voting against Bill No. 47.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have been looking at my appointment book; about three weeks from now, and I think this will be in common with most members of the House, I will be attending graduation ceremonies at the schools in my district.

AN HON. MEMBER: You should say that again because the member for Preston didn't hear that.

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, I am told that not all members actually heard me. I said that I expect to be doing it in common with probably all members of this House in their own districts. I won't attend those graduations with trepidation myself, because I will be able to go to those graduation ceremonies and talk to the graduates and talk to the students and talk to the parents and talk to the teachers. I will be able to say to them that here in the Legislature this year, I, and the members of my Party stood up for education in the face of an onslaught from the government that is virtually unprecedented.

I know we have in front of us Bill No. 47, and when the parents ask, what is it that the government has been doing for education this year, the answer is going to be very clear. The answer is that they offered us Bill No. 47 to centralize and increase the power of the Minister

[Page 7362]

of Education to take direction over the education system and the school boards. What they didn't do was they didn't come through with the money that is needed in the school system. What they didn't do was come through for the students, for the parents, for the teachers, for the future generation. They were scrupulous and exacting and busy about attempting to re-devise some form of administrative mechanism for the school boards, a new mechanism that gives increased power to the minister. They were not so scrupulous about looking for ways that they could find extra money for the schools. It was only in the face of concerted action by thousands of parents and teachers and students who came to this building, showing their support for adequate funding for the school system that the government was prepared to add - and I don't say enough but - a little bit more money to the school system.

It is obvious that the nature of the philosophy of that Tory Government is to attempt to cause problems for the weakest in society. They will see who pushes back, and if someone pushes back, there may be some backing away. But that is the best that we saw from this government. I have to say, that isn't good enough.

So when I go to Westmount School, and I go to St. Agnes School, and I go to Queen Elizabeth High School, and I go to St. Catherine's School, and I go to Oxford School where both of my children attend, and I go to St. Patrick's High School, and I go to Cornwallis Junior High School, I am going to have no problem holding my head up high and saying to the parents and the teachers and the students that I meet that I and my colleagues did the right thing for schools in Nova Scotia, for them. We did the right thing for them and for every other child in the province.

I am going to be able to say to them, although they will already know it, they ought to be ashamed of the government that is in control of this province today on the score of education. They will know that that government has not done what they ought to do with respect to education. The students and the parents and the teachers were asking for the sustenance they needed in order to have a good educational system, and build for the future. Instead, all the minister was prepared to offer them was a bill that reorganized the administrative system, particularly to give her, the minister, more power.

They asked for bread and you gave them stones. That is what they will know. That is wrong. It should never have happened, and it is contrary to the specific advice that this government was given by the panel it asked to advise it about the financial future and fiscal health of this province. When Voluntary Planning was asked to give advice to this government, it came back and said, we are surprised to be saying this to you, but we think that you have to invest in education; you have to invest in lifelong learning. If you are not doing that, you are making a mistake. That is what Voluntary Planning said to them, but their ears were stopped with wax. They didn't hear, they won't hear, they are doing the wrong thing.

[Page 7363]

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say I indeed will be joining with my colleagues in voting against this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. I thought I wouldn't speak on this particular bill, but you can't be a school teacher for 15 years and let this go by without saying something. I am amazed, considering that a few people opposite are educated people, for starters, and they must realize that there is definitely a need for a proper education in this province, and that it actually pays dividends in the long run to have an adequate education system.

I can't for the life of me understand why those members would attack the system we have, and they will tell us that the status quo is not appropriate, that we have to change, we have to move on. The status quo may be more appropriate if you are going backwards. That is what this government has done. They have taken a step backwards and said that that is better for the children of Nova Scotia. It is unbelievable they can do that. There are certain things in this world that you cannot make a patchwork work. Health and education are two of those. If you want to run the roads into nothing, which was tried by the Liberal Government, then you can put a little bit of cold patch or a little spot of pavement here and there and they might still be passable for the next few years. But you can't make a patchwork out of education, you can't put children's lives on hold and say, when we balance the books, then we will put money into it, and that will make it okay. Those three or four or five or six years are going to be gone and they can't get them back. The damage that you are going to cause to those children will be irreparable.

I would think that there should be, although it is questionable at this point, enough intelligence from the members opposite who have children, who have grandchildren, to know, and to know what their own Voluntary Planning task force has told them, that money spent on education is an investment, it is not a cost, and it returns dividends in the future.

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this bill is a power grab by the minister, it does not represent input from the communities, although education should. The boards make it more difficult for that to happen and the minister should be implementing something that would allow for more input. I think on behalf of my own children, on behalf of children to come through the education system in this province, I wish this government would rethink where they are going and try to offer Nova Scotians something better for the future.

I will not be supporting this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 7364]

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, as an educator in a previous career, I want to share with you my highlights of this session over the past number of weeks; it was not a pleasant experience. I know for members opposite, at times, the frustration, the anger - a young person who was so upset that he actually did damage to this building and then, to the credit of the students involved, they issued an apology and actually made a contribution. Many times I stood in this House and talked about education; many times members opposite pointed fingers and said things about the NSTU and made other disparaging remarks about the fear-mongering and the number of teachers in this particular caucus.

Well, I can tell you - and this is the final thing that I will say on the topic of education during this session - when I go to Sir John A. Macdonald High School and have the opportunity to present the Bill Estabrooks Award, I know the young person who is going to receive it and I will be proud to give him a copy of the biography of J.S. Woodsworth, a prophet in politics, a book that shows this after all is what we have to have and deal with the future of young people. Members opposite, have a good time at your graduation because I am going to have an excellent time at mine. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 47. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, could I have the consent of the House please to return to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions?

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank the House Leaders of both Parties for agreeing to allow me to do this. Secondly, before I read the petition, I have to take

[Page 7365]

off to an event and I want to wish each and every one of you a very enjoyable summer, and I am sure I will see some of you sometime during the summer. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: Yes, I know there is a PC nomination meeting tonight, I did not get invited to go.

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition signed by 583 individuals from Lunenburg. The petition reads, "We the Undersigned strongly oppose any cuts to the out-patients and Drug Dependency sections of Fishermen's Memorial Hospital." I have also affixed my signature to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition. It is a Gaelic Council petition to me as the Minister of Tourism and Culture. It is quite a large front page, so I will read the end, "Therefore, we, he undersigned request that this Minister and this Provincial Government actively work towards developing a partnership with the Gaelic community as defined above which would afford further financial,human resource,and programming support for Gaelic based . . . " language and culture. I have affixed my name to this petition. There were 150 names along with it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party on an introduction.

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure today to introduce three gentlemen who are members of the Cape Breton Action Committee, Mr. Wes Stubbert who is the chairman of the committee, Blair Edmunds who also works for Marine Atlantic, and Bill Morrison. They are here to meet with the Premier this afternoon about the concerns of people on the Northside relating to the activities of Marine Atlantic and our position with respect to employment vis-a-vis the position of Newfoundland and where Marine Atlantic is going in Cape Breton and to make sure we have a solid position and a solid future with Marine Atlantic. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce these three gentlemen, and I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7366]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 28.

Bill No. 28 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 28. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Third Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 37.

Bill No. 37 - Preston Area Housing Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to move third reading of Bill No. 37.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 37. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded. Nay.

[Page 7367]

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Private and Local Bills for Third Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the consent of the House, I would like to move the following bills en bloc for third reading:

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

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

Bill No. 50 - Bluenose Club Act.

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

Bill No. 53 - Hilden Cemetery Act.

Bill No. 56 - The Anglican Church Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of these bills. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded. Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that these bills do pass. Ordered that the titles be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bills be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7368]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I believe that concludes the government business for this particular session of the House, and it has been a pleasure to have been able to partake in the business of the House. I suggest that we recess for a period of 15 minutes and the Lieutenant Governor will be here at approximately 5:25 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: We will recess until 5:25 p.m.

[The House recessed at 5:09 p.m.]

[The House reconvened at 5:28 p.m.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor is without.

MR. SPEAKER: Let Her Honour be admitted.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Myra Freeman, preceded by her escort, and by Mr. Noel Knockwood, Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took her seat on the Throne.

The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Murray Scott; the Chief Clerk of the House, Roderick MacArthur, Q.C.; and the Assistant Clerk, Arthur Fordham, Q.C.

The Speaker, with the Sergeant-at-Arms on his right and the Clerks on either side, took up his position at the foot of the Speaker's Table.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of Her Honour that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.

MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent.

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 10 - Farm Practices Act.

Bill No. 28 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 29 - Medical Laboratory Technology Act.

[Page 7369]

Bill No. 30 - Flea Markets Regulation Act.

Bill No. 31 - International Wills Act.

Bill No. 32 - Water Resources Protection Act.

Bill No. 34 - Health Authorities Act.

Bill No. 35 - Housing Development Corporation Act.

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

Bill No. 37 - Preston Area Housing Act.

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

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

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

Bill No. 46 - Financial Measures (2000) Act.

Bill No. 47 - Education Act.

Bill No. 50 - Bluenose Club Act.

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

Bill No. 53 - Hilden Cemetery Act.

Bill No. 56 - The Anglican Church Act.

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to these Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Your Honour, having been graciously pleased to give your Assent to the Bills passed during the present Session, it becomes my agreeable duty on behalf of Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, Her faithful Commons of Nova Scotia, to present to Your Honour a bill for the Appropriation of Supply granted in the present Session for the support of the Public Service and to request Your Honour's Assent thereto.

[Page 7370]

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 49 - An Act to Provide for Defraying Certain Charges and Expenses of the Public Service of the Province.

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I thank Her loyal subjects, I accept their benevolence and I Assent to this Bill.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor left the Chamber.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Speaker.

[The Speaker took the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, and members of the House of Assembly, I move that this General Assembly be adjourned to meet again at the call of the Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House stands adjourned to meet again at the call of the Speaker.

[5:36 p.m. The House adjourned.]

[Page 7371]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2775

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 World Children's Baseball Fair will be held from July 31st to August 9, 2000 in Regina, Saskatchewan; and

Whereas Robyn MacLean of Springhill, Nova Scotia, the only girl, has been chosen as one of only five children from across Nova Scotia to participate in the World Children's Baseball Fair along with James Melanson of Springhill as chaperone; and

Whereas there will be approximately 250 children attending this event from across Canada, representing all provinces, as well as children from 25 other countries;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulates Robyn MacLean and James Melanson on being chosen to represent Nova Scotia at the World Children's Baseball Fair and wishes them every success at the upcoming event.

RESOLUTION NO. 2776

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 Springhill and area Irish Festival will be held once again this year from June 11 to June 13, 2000 in Springhill; and

Whereas Brenda Corbett and Linda Campbell, along with many volunteers have again committed hundreds of hours to ensure the success of the festival, which adds to the culture and economy of Cumberland County; and

Whereas people from everywhere will travel to Springhill to be part of such a wonderful experience in Irish music;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the volunteers and members of the Springhill and area Irish Festival Society on their efforts and wish them every success in their endeavours.

[Page 7372]

RESOLUTION NO. 2777

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 25, 2000 the Parrsboro Masonic Lodge Minas No. 67 will once again hold a Masonic church services parade which was first started in 1872; and

Whereas hundreds of Masons, their spouses, families and members of the community from across Nova Scotia will attend, including Brother Arthur Brown, the Grand Master of Masons of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Equitones Gospel Choir of Equity Lodge No. 106 of Halifax will take part in the service as they have the past;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Brother Howard MacAloney and all members of Minas Lodge No. 67 for once again showing that the Masonic Order is so much a part of our communities and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2778

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 four members of the Pictou County Crime Prevention Association were recently honoured with the RCMP Commissioner's Award of Excellence for their faithful service; and

Whereas the members are Gerry Horne, Tat MacKinnon, Harry MacDonald and Corrine Johnson; and

Whereas Troy MacIntosh was also honoured for receiving the Queen's Venturers Award;

Therefore be it resolved that with the Pictou County Crime Prevention Association now beginning a well-deserved summer break, MLAs acknowledge the tremendous efforts put forth by the association and local Venturers in helping out the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

[Page 7373]

RESOLUTION NO. 2779

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

Whereas seniors often provide valuable leadership to our communities, many worthy projects often begin with a kernel of an idea and someone's determined initiative; and

Whereas the Hants Shore Health Centre grew from the efforts of Mrs. Alice Galley to try to find a replacement for their local retiring family doctor, Mrs. Galley has been a regular sparkplug for firing up the local community on many issues even in her golden years; and

Whereas she has been recognized for her achievements by national bodies such as the Canadian Confederation of Community Clinics by being asked recently to be a keynote speaker and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for her community contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Alice Galley, a retired school teacher, for her example of continuing to use her talents for the improvement and benefit of her local community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2780

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche held their annual Athletic Awards Night on Tuesday, June 1st; and

Whereas students honoured included A.J. Cunningham, Chelsea Mattatall, Holly Scharf, Allan Sutherland, Nathan Stewart, Jennifer Langille and Justin Marshall; and

Whereas a number of other students were honoured for their accomplishments in individual sporting activities;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs praise the students at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche for another excellent year in school and athletic participation and wish them well over their summer holidays and future endeavours.

[Page 7374]

RESOLUTION NO. 2781

By: Mr. Darrell Dexter (Dartmouth-Cole Harbour)

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

Whereas on Monday night in this House during debate on the Education Act, the members for Sackville-Beaver Bank and Yarmouth were hard at work; and

Whereas it was not government business or constituency business but rather golfing business that was occupying the time and laptop of the members; and

Whereas instead of being able to relate to their constituents how their government is destroying education in this province, they will only be able to talk about their handicaps in the game of Tiger Wood's Golf;

Therefore be it resolved that since the members for Sackville-Beaver Bank and Yarmouth are not interested in important government business, like the education of the children of this province, then perhaps they should give up their seats to someone who does care about important House matters.

RESOLUTION NO. 2782

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas school athletic programs provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas volunteer teachers and community coaches play an important role in school athletics, providing students with guidance and leadership; and

Whereas Frank Hubley, a coach at Harold T. Barrett Junior High School, was recently presented an Outstanding Service Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of his hard work and dedication;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to Frank Hubley for his time and commitment to school athletics and congratulate him on being honoured by the Nova Scotia Athletic Federation with an Outstanding Service Award.

[Page 7375]

RESOLUTION NO. 2783

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas school athletic programs provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas volunteer teachers and community coaches play an important role in school athletics, providing students with guidance and leadership; and

Whereas Linda Lund, a coach at Sackville Heights Junior High School, was recently presented an Outstanding Service Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of her hard work and dedication;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to Linda Lund for her time and commitment to school athletics and congratulate her on being honoured by the Nova Scotia Athletic Federation with an Outstanding Service Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 2784

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas school athletic programs provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas volunteer teachers and community coaches play an important role in school athletics, providing students with guidance and leadership; and

Whereas Cynthia Hoskins, a coach at Millwood High School, was recently presented an Outstanding Service Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of her hard work and dedication;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to Cynthia Hoskins for her time and commitment to school athletics and congratulate her on being honoured by the Nova Scotia Athletic Federation with an Outstanding Service Award.

[Page 7376]

RESOLUTION NO. 2785

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas each year more than 40,000 student athletes from across Nova Scotia participate in school sport programs; and

Whereas school athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas Julie Briand, a student at Harold T. Barrett Junior High School, recently received The Exemplary Participation Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of her commitment to athletic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Julie Briand on receiving The Exemplary Participation Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation and wish her well with all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2786

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas each year more than 40,000 student athletes from across Nova Scotia participate in school sport programs; and

Whereas school athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas Leslie Poirier, a student at Millwood High School, recently received The Exemplary Participation Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of her commitment to athletic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Leslie Poirier on receiving The Exemplary Participation Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation and wish her well with all future endeavours.

[Page 7377]

RESOLUTION NO. 2787

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas each year more than 40,000 student athletes from across Nova Scotia participate in school sport programs; and

Whereas school athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas Kristen Sampson, a student at Sackville Heights Junior High School, recently received The Exemplary Participation Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of her commitment to athletic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kristen Sampson on receiving The Exemplary Participation Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation and wish her well with all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2788

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas each year more than 40,000 student athletes from across Nova Scotia participate in school sport programs; and

Whereas school athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas Kevin Villeneuve, a student at Millwood High School, recently received The Exemplary Participation Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of his commitment to athletic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kevin Villeneuve on receiving The Exemplary Participation Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation and wish him well with all future endeavours.

[Page 7378]

RESOLUTION NO. 2789

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas each year more than 40,000 student athletes from across Nova Scotia participate in school sport programs; and

Whereas school athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas Michael Maxwell, a student at Sackville Heights Junior High School, recently received The Exemplary Participation Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of his commitment to athletic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Michael Maxwell on receiving The Exemplary Participation Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation and wish him well with all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2790

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas each year more than 40,000 student athletes from across Nova Scotia participate in school sport programs; and

Whereas school athletics provide a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their athletic abilities and develop life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork; and

Whereas Shawn Peverill, a student at Harold T. Barrett Junior High School, recently received The Exemplary Participation Award by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation in recognition of his commitment to athletic excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Shawn Peverill on receiving The Exemplary Participation Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation and wish him well with all future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2791

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 Town of Middleton is celebrating its 91st birthday this year; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Cabinet of the day met on May 31, 1909 and proclaimed the Town of Middleton as being incorporated; and

Whereas necessary steps were then taken over the next couple of months resulting in the first town council elections and meeting taking place in July 1909;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the citizens of the Town of Middleton as they celebrate officially the 91st birthday of the town on July 22, 2000.

RESOLUTION NO. 2792

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 Alternative Transportation Society of Annapolis County is working hard to ensure all residents of Annapolis County have access to transportation for a variety of means; and

Whereas the society began operations on April 17th of this year and operates under the direction of Coordination Manager Janice Sheridan and Jean Ascott; and

Whereas transportation is provided by volunteers who are only reimbursed for their mileage and focuses on seniors unable to drive, people who are unable to have access to their doctors or individuals trying to get back into the workforce;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the significant service being offered, as well as the jobs of Janice and Jean, in coordinating all aspects of the program to ensure appropriate travel is available for those in need.