Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Tue., May 2, 2000

First Session

TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
ARRIVAL OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 4775
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 4776
BILL GIVEN ROYAL ASSENT:
No. 27 4776
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. R. Hurlburt 4778
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. R. MacLellan 4778
Educ. - Westmount School: Funding - Restore, Mr. H. Epstein 4779
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. Ronald Chisholm 4779
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Dr. J. Smith 4779
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Ms. E. O'Connell 4779
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. W. Gaudet 4780
Health - Environmental Medicine: Training - Increase, Mr. D. Dexter 4780
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
NSLC: Working Committee - Terms of Reference,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 4780
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1658, Health: Organ Tissue Donors - Thank, Hon. J. Muir 4781
Vote - Affirmative 4781
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1659, Nazi Holocaust: Dead - Remember, Mr. R. MacLellan 4782
Vote - Affirmative 4782
Res. 1660, Holocaust - Atrocities: Sorrow - Extend, Mr. H. Epstein 4782
Vote - Affirmative 4783
Res. 1661, Educ. - Salmon R. Elem. Sch. (Grade 4): Quilts -
Creation Applaud, Mr. B. Taylor 4783
Vote - Affirmative 4784
Res. 1662, Educ. - Cuts: Hfx. Bedford Basin MLA - Campaign
Platform Different, Mr. Manning MacDonald 4784
Res. 1663, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Consideration Suspension -
Urge (Premier), Mr. Robert Chisholm 4785
Res. 1664, Lake Echo Vol. FD - Chief Joan Kennedy: Appt. - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 4785
Vote - Affirmative 4786
Res. 1665, Econ. Dev. - Michelin: Bridgewater Expansion -
Commitment Applaud, Mr. D. Downe 4786
Vote - Affirmative 4787
Res. 1666, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Review - House Rise,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4787
Res. 1667, Health - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Nurses Retain,
Dr. J. Smith 4788
Res. 1668, PC MLAs (Valley) - King S. Constit. Office Demo.:
Attendance - Permit, Mr. J. Holm 4788
Res. 1669, PC MLAs - Partisan Politics: Prioritization - Chastise,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4789
Res. 1670, Kings S. MLA - Public Meetings (Post-Session):
Avoidance - Contemplate, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4790
Res. 1671, Exco - Constituencies: Pref. Treatment - Stop,
Mr. K. MacAskill 4791
Res. 1672, Educ. - String Night Concert (Hfx.): MLAs Attend -
House Adjourn, Ms. E. O'Connell 4791
Res. 1673, Educ. - Laura Filion (R. Bourgeois): Inst. of Aerospace
Research (Ottawa) - Success Wish, Mr. M. Samson 4792
Vote - Affirmative 4793
Res. 1674, Educ. - Schools: Students - Letter (Premier) Condemn,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4793
Res. 1675, Educ. - J.B. McLachlan Mem. Scholarship: Ian Bishop
(Breton Educ. Ctr.) - Congrats., Mr. P. MacEwan 4794
Vote - Affirmative 4794
Res. 1676, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - New Waterford Credit Union:
Coady Award (1999) - Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 4794
Vote - Affirmative 4795
Res. 1677, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Glace Bay HS-Fair
Treatment Ensure, Mr. D. Wilson 4795
Res. 1678, Dart. S. MLA - James F. Lahey Glass Ltd.: Involvement -
Reveal, Mr. D. Dexter 4796
Res. 1679, Agric.: Budget (2000-01) - Withdraw, Mr. D. Downe 4796
Res. 1680, Educ. - Auburn Dr. HS: The Talon (Poems) -
Editors et al Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 4797
Vote - Affirmative 4798
Res. 1681, Health: MS Awareness Month (May) - Recognize,
Dr. J. Smith 4798
Vote - Affirmative 4799
Res. 1682, Gov't. (N.S.): Dart. S. MLA - Business Methods Avoid,
Mr. J. Pye 4799
Res. 1683, Gov't. (N.S.) - Consultants: Expenditure - Cease,
Mr. K. MacAskill 4799
Res. 1684, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99): Deficit -
Address, Ms. E. O'Connell 4800
Res. 1685, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Methodology (B.C.[NDP]) -
Irresponsible, Mr. P. MacEwan 4801
Res. 1686, Health - Golden Glow Seniors Club/Essaim Pharmacy:
Wheelchair Acquisition - Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 4801
Vote - Affirmative 4802
Res. 1687, Educ. - L'Université Sainte-Anne: Mrs. Babineaux-Blanco,
Mr. Bernard Cyr/Graduates - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 4802
Vote - Affirmative 4803
Res. 1688, Commun. Serv. - Soc. Assist.: Cuts - U.N. Standing
Jeopardized, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4803
Res. 1689, Gov't. (N.S.): Stand Alone Entity - Ensure,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4803
Res. 1690, Culture - Arts C.B.: Promotion - Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 4804
Vote - Affirmative 4805
Res. 1691, Commun. Serv. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts -
Soc. Assist. Avoid, Mr. D. Wilson 4805
Res. 1692, Health - Seniors: Drugs Increase - Effects Felt, Mr. D. Dexter 4805
Res. 1693, Educ. - Astral Dr. Elem. Sch.: Peer Mediators - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 4806
Vote - Affirmative 4807
Res. 1694, Col.-Musquodoboit Valley: Toryism Moribund -
Recognition Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 4807
Res. 1695, Commun. Serv. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts -
Family Benefits Restore, Mr. J. Pye 4807
Res. 1696, RCL White's Lake - Cathy Ryan & Art Gilbert:
Life Membership - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 4808
Vote - Affirmative 4809
Res. 1697, PC MLAs - Budget (2000-01): Vote Consequences -
Reconsider, Mr. M. Samson 4809
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 605, Educ. - Schools: Equipment - Removal, Mr. R. MacLellan 4810
No. 606, Educ. - Schools (C.B. [3]): Equipment - Removal,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4810
No. 607, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Exco - Dep. Min. (Educ.)
Meeting, Mr. W. Gaudet 4812
No. 608, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Educ. - Figures Correct,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4813
No. 609, Health - Fees: Patients (Ex.-Can.) - Charge Premium,
Dr. J. Smith 4814
No. 610, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Statistics Inaccurate,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4815
No. 611, Health: Tobacco Tax - Increase, Mr. R. MacLellan 4816
No. 612, Commun. Serv. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts -
Transition Allowance, Mr. K. Deveaux 4818
No. 613, Health - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Acute Care, Dr. J. Smith 4819
No. 614, Commun. Serv. - Soc. Assist.: Rates Cut - U.N. Info.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 4820
No. 615, Justice - Springhill: Court Serv. - Closure Delay,
Mr. D. Wilson 4822
No. 616, Fin.: Public Tenders - Alternative Procurement Exceptions,
Mr. J. Holm 4823
No. 617, P&P - ABCs: Review - Status, Mr. P. MacEwan 4824
No. 618, Fin. - RDI: Contract - Untendered, Mr. J. Holm 4826
No. 619, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Marine Atlantic Hdqs.:
North Sydney - Relocation, Mr. R. MacLellan 4827
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4829
Adjournment of debate moved 4832
Vote - Negative 4833
Mr. J. Pye 4833
Mrs. M. Baillie 4838
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:55 P.M. 4841
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 4841
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Truck Rate (80/20 Provision) - Cessation:
Mr. P. MacEwan 4842
Mr. John MacDonell 4845
Mr. B. Taylor 4847
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M. 4850
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:32 P.M. 4850
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 46, Financial Measures (2000) Act 4851
Mr. D. Wilson 4851
Adjournment of debate moved 4864
ADJOURNMENT, there being no quorum present, the House adjourned to
meet again on Wed., May 3rd at 2:00 p.m. 4865

[Page 4775]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour the Lieutenant Governor is without.

MR. SPEAKER: Let His Honour be admitted.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable John James Kinley, preceded by his escort, and by Mr. Noel Knockwood, Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took his seat on the Throne.

The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Murray Scott; Chief Clerk of the House, Roderick MacArthur, Q.C.; and Assistant Clerk, Arthur Fordham, Q.C. They took up their positions at the foot of the Speaker's Table.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor.

4775

[Page 4776]

It is the wish of His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL (Acting Premier): Your Honour, on behalf of the Assembly, may I introduce to you and to other members of the Assembly, some distinguished visitors in the Speaker's Gallery. We have with us Victor Goldberg, President, Atlantic Jewish Council, Atlantic Region Chairman and Chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress. We have Jon Goldberg, Executive Director of the Atlantic Jewish Council and other members of the council, plus we have many members, from the Jewish community.

With us today, Your Honour, we have a very special guest, a Holocaust survivor, Philip Riteman. This is a very special day for Mr. Riteman because on this day in 1945, he was liberated from the camp at Bad Tölz in Bavaria. So it is a very special day for Mr. Riteman.

We also have with us, Your Honour, some other Holocaust survivors plus veterans of World War II and I would ask if they would stand, please, and receive the warm greetings of the House. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present session, passed a certain bill to which in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent.

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 27 - Holocaust Memorial Day Act.

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to this Bill.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL (Acting Premier): Your Honour, may I also today on behalf of the Assembly thank you very much for your service to this province over the past many years and certainly your service to this Legislative Assembly. We are going to miss you, sir, and this possibly is the last formal occasion that you will be in this House, but I would hope that you would return on occasion and visit with us. Thank you, Your Honour. (Standing Ovation)

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN (Liberal Party Leader): Your Honour, if I might just have a minute to follow up the very appropriate words of the Acting Premier and the Government House Leader, I think he speaks for all of us when we say how much we have enjoyed working with you. You have defined, sir, what Nova Scotia is all about. You have defined Nova Scotians, their aspirations, their dreams and their humanity.

[Page 4777]

It is fitting that on your last visit to this Legislature you are signing into law a bill that defines all of humanity. It is a fitting tribute, sir, to us and to Nova Scotia that you would be here on this occasion. I cannot thank you enough. You have set a standard that all will seek to emulate. To you, sir, and your wonderful wife, Her Honour Grace Kinley, on behalf of the Liberal Party and all of us in Nova Scotia, we want to say thank you, not only for what you have done, but for being what you are and the way you have represented this province. Thank you very much. (Standing Ovation)

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM (New Democratic Party Leader): Your Honour, I, too, would like to add my thanks and congratulations to you and your good wife. You have carried out your responsibilities in this role on behalf of the Queen in a way that has been very dignified, very pleasant and in a very relaxed manner that I think all Nova Scotians have appreciated. I certainly have enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you a bit and certainly seeing you and your wife at various functions, you have always been extremely gracious, pleasant to me and my wife, and certainly to my colleagues. I wish you well, sir, on whatever comes next, as you and your wife continue to make a contribution to this province, this country, and undoubtedly your community. So, thank you very much. (Applause)

[12:15 p.m.]

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Thank you. Well, I am overcome. I was honoured to come here today to assent to this bill which was spelled a little differently here. It had a "d" in it, and I wasn't sure, but in any case. This bill was a very important bill, as has been said. I am honoured to be here on that occasion. I did not expect the tremendous accolades that I have received, and I can assure you they are very much appreciated. It will be a wonderful memory to take with me when I go back to Lunenburg, the best place in the world, and join some of my family there, and I hope have many good years together. (Applause)

[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.

Before we begin the daily routine, the honourable Government House Leader on an introduction.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4778]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House and to you, sir, of course, in the gallery, Arthur Donahoe. Arthur Donahoe was the Deputy Speaker from 1978 to 1981 and then Speaker of the House from 1981 until 1991. He was the dean of Canadian Speakers, and he is serving all members of the Commonwealth at the present time as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He has done a tremendous job over there, and I think it has certainly shown in that he was appointed for a second term. I don't know if he gets a third term out of it or not, but I would imagine he will be glad to get back to Canada eventually. Arthur and his wife are based in London, England, and there is a standing invitation if you are in London to visit him at the headquarters of the Canadian Parliamentary Association just opposite Westminster. I am sure he will show you the sights of London. So, Arthur, welcome back. It is great to have you with us. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for the late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton South.

Therefore be it resolved that attempts by this Tory Government to kill the 80/20 truck rate provision is an attack on the very fabric of the rural economy.

This is to be heard this evening at 6:00 p.m.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with approximately 1,800-plus names. It reads, "We, the undersigned protest the reduction in the Public Education Budget recently announced by the Minister of Finance. These cuts will have a devastating impact on the students of the province." I have affixed my signature, for tabling these documents. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition addressed to the Minister of Education that has been signed by over 860 parents, teachers and students concerned about the future of French Immersion programs in the Sydney area. The operative clause reads, "the government find a solution to their financial problems without cutting valuable teachers and programs from the Nova Scotia school system." I have affixed my own signature, as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 4779]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition from 293 supporters of students at Westmount School, which demands, ". . . the restoration of funding for the 2000-2001 academic year to the full levels provided for the 1999-2000 academic year with adjustment for any increase in the Consumer Price Index; the government's undertaking to increase per student education funding for Nova Scotian public school students to levels at, or above, the Canadian national average per public school student, for the balance of its mandate; and the government's commitment to education budgetting, particularly for public schooling, based on the realistic educational needs of Nova Scotian children, acknowledging their legitimate right to a publicly-funded education of equal quality to that provided to children anywhere in Canada." I have affixed my signature to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

MR. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of 299 teachers, students, and support staff from the Strait Regional School Board. For the purpose of tabling, I have affixed my signature to this petition. The petition reads, "We, the undersigned protest the reduction of the Public Education Budget recently announced by the Minister of Finance. These cuts will have a devastating impact on the students of the province."

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition in the form of personalized letters from several hundred students at Auburn Drive High School, in Cole Harbour. I would ask permission to table those personal letters.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from 164 petitioners in the Bedford area demanding the cuts to public school funding be stopped. In particular they demand, ". . . the restoration of funding for the 2000-2001 academic year to the full levels provided for the 1999-2000 academic year with adjustment for any increase in the Consumer Price Index; the government's undertaking to provide per student education funding for Nova Scotian public school students at levels at least equivalent to the Canadian national average per public school student, for the balance of its mandate; and the

[Page 4780]

government's commitment to education budgeting, particularly for public schooling, based on the realistic educational needs of Nova Scotian children, acknowledging their legitimate right to a publicly-funded education of equal quality to that provided to children anywhere in Canada." I have affixed my signature to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table this petition, in the form of letters that I have received from parents from the Port Maitland area in Yarmouth County, which reads,"As a parent with a child/children attending Port Maitland Consolidated School, I am outraged by the funding cuts to public education as laid out in the provincial budget of Tuesday, April 11th. Education is our insurance for the future of a vibrant, healthy and energized Nova Scotia. The funding cuts of your government are being done on the backs of our young people. This is wrong and this is unjust. As a citizen of Nova Scotia, I demand that your elected government reconsider its decision in regard to funding for public schools in this province. Our children deserve nothing less." I have affixed my name to this petition as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honorable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of Nova Scotians in support of a full-time treatment clinic for environmental illness in Nova Scotia, the operative clause which reads, "We, the undersigned, wish to firmly express our support for (1) More physician training in Environmental Medicine, and (2) full-time Environmental Medicine treatment clinic services here in Nova Scotia, that will use treatment protocols and procedures that are accepted and widely used internationally within the field of Environmental Medicine." I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a previous day, I told the honourable member for Halifax Fairview that I would pass in the terms of reference for the working committee in the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission as well as members on the committee and I am tabling that now.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[Page 4781]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1658

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

Whereas in celebration of Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week a ceremony was held on April 30th to recognize the generosity of donors and their families; and

Whereas these individuals who have donated their organs and tissues have left behind the greatest treasure of all - the gift of life; and

Whereas in 1999 over 150 Maritimers were given a second chance of life because of organ and tissue donations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to thank the donors and their families for their tremendous generosity and encourage Nova Scotians to record their wishes to be an organ and tissue donor on their health cards and to discuss the decision with their families.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

[Page 4782]

RESOLUTION NO. 1659

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

Whereas today is Holocaust Remembrance Day; and

Whereas today is a tribute to the 6 million Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House take a few minutes today to remember those who died as a result of the Nazi Holocaust.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and I would ask that the House observe a moment of silence in honour of these victims.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

All rise, please.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

[12:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1660

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 tragedy of the Holocaust began with the evolution of Adolph Hitler's maniacal and twisted dreams; and

[Page 4783]

Whereas implementation went far beyond rhetoric and led to a war to try to take over Europe, expand his race, and in the process he almost eradicated the Jewish population - man, woman and child alike; and

Whereas this evening, Jewish communities unite the world over in their sorrow to recite aloud the names of Jewish victims of the Holocaust;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its deepest and most profound sorrow for the atrocities committed in the Holocaust, and its support for the local Jewish community in its observation tonight of the Yom haShoah 2000 Holocaust Memorial Program at Shaar Shalom Synagogue.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver and passage without debate.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 1661

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

Whereas the combined Grade 4 classes of Mrs. Laurie Gunn and Mrs. Sheila Stackhouse of Salmon River Elementary School have for 10 years created a work of art for the benefit of local charitable organizations; and

Whereas the students, under the leadership of their teachers, create a quilt completely designed by the students, highlighting the theme Pioneer Days; and

Whereas once completed, the quilt is donated to a local charitable cause which in the past has included the local transition house, the school sick room, and the Colchester Hospital;

[Page 4784]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud the school's teachers for their leadership, and thank their students for a project which offers a creative outlet for these young people which for the past 10 years has helped to develop their artistic abilities, as well as producing a beautiful gift for fund-raising efforts for local charitable organizations.

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1662

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 member for Halifax Bedford Basin says she is glad school boards and the Department of Education are finally meeting; and

Whereas the member should understand that consultation prior to the budget would have made much more sense than trying to negotiate after the fact; and

Whereas this could have avoided the blatant disrespect demonstrated by this government and some government backbenchers in the past two weeks;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Halifax Bedford Basin realize that her government did not campaign on a platform based on dictatorial behaviour on the part of the Minister of Education and her department.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4785]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1663

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

Whereas this government and this Premier were elected with sunshine promises of openness and consultation; and

Whereas if there was ever a time when Nova Scotians wanted to be consulted by their government, it is now; and

Whereas the Premier has chosen this moment to leave the country and to order that his petroleum minister stay behind lest the day be lost in railroading the earliest possible approval of the incomplete budget estimates;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Premier, when he returns to his native soil, to suspend consideration of the budget so that he and his MLAs can come clean about the program cuts, consult Nova Scotians, and introduce a budget that truthfully and honestly keeps the many Conservative election promises.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1664

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

[Page 4786]

Whereas Joan Kennedy was named Chief of the Lake Echo Volunteer Fire Department in April 2000, making her a trailblazer for women firefighters as she becomes the first female fire chief within the Halifax Regional Municipality and also being the first female fire chief of a composite fire department in Nova Scotia with both full-time paid staff and volunteer firefighters; and

Whereas this promotion followed 12 years of service with the department, including four years as deputy fire chief; and

Whereas Fire Chief Kennedy is also a licensed practical nurse and an award winning instructor at the Firefighters School in Waverley and, most importantly, a mother of three;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Fire Chief Joan Kennedy of the Lake Echo Volunteer Fire Department on her new position, thank her for contributing so selflessly to her community and wish her all the best in the 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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1665

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

Whereas today Michelin has announced that it will invest over $9 million to further expand steel and cord production at the Bridgewater plant; and

Whereas the 1,400 square metre, or 15,000 square foot, expansion further solidifies Michelin's presence in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the total capital expansion at the Bridgewater facility has reached over $30 million in the last three years alone;

[Page 4787]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud Michelin for its commitment to Bridgewater and, in fact, all of Nova Scotia as it continues to play a valuable role in local communities.

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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1666

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

Whereas this government is in such a hurry to approve its half-baked budget that the Premier cancelled a deal to suspend estimates for one day and let the petroleum minister use his ticket to Houston; and

Whereas Tory MLAs who are feeling the heat have joined in the effort to kill budget debate in this House sooner than is humanly possible; and

Whereas Springhill Town Council were told their courthouse received a stay of execution until mid-summer, thanks to their MLA, who will now join with council to review the decision;

Therefore be it resolved that if this government is truly committed to suspension of the Tory cuts and independent review of its many program and office closures, this House should rise until all communities and MLAs review these harmful Tory shutdowns.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4788]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1667

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

Whereas the cuts being imposed by the Tory Government on various health boards and hospitals cannot be achieved without bed closures, program shutdowns and making nurse lay-offs inevitable; and

Whereas during the election campaign the Premier stated that he was committed to nurses and that his government would hire an additional 150 new nurses throughout the province; and

Whereas nurses across Nova Scotia accuse the Tory Government of "butchering the health care system";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health guarantee that his government's budget will not mean nurse lay-offs and the dismantling of the health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1668

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

[Page 4789]

Whereas pairing of members is an old established practice that is used to allow members to absent themselves from the House to attend important business elsewhere; and

Whereas the member for Kings South said he would like to meet with protesters at his office this afternoon if circumstances were different as he wasn't elected to avoid these circumstances; and

Whereas the Government Whip is attempting to save the Valley's Tory MLA's bacon by refusing permission to be absent from the House;

Therefore be it resolved that the Valley's Tory MLAs be encouraged to approach their House Leader with hat in hand, if necessary, to get a permission slip allowing them to use established parliamentary practices so that they may attend the demonstration at the member for Kings South's constituency office this afternoon, and I will see them there.

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 Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1669

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 member for Kings South campaigned on open and accountable government; and

Whereas educators from Kings County have publicly complained that the members for Kings North, Kings South and Kings West will not meet with them; and

Whereas the member for Kings South, in a high-handed fashion, condemned anyone who would dare to criticize this Tory Government's regressive budget;

Therefore be it resolved that this House chastise these Tory MLAs for putting partisan politics ahead of the needs of their constituents.

[Page 4790]

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1670

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

Whereas in an often interrupted discourse on democracy in this House the member for Kings South showed us all why he never made it onto the Tory front benches; and

Whereas the member for Kings South was quoted in The Chronicle-Herald as saying, "I wasn't elected to avoid these situations", but he is doing just that by allowing the Party Whip to bully him into submission; and

Whereas it is important for the member for Kings South to remember that soon, very soon, this Legislature will close and he will then have no more excuses for avoiding his constituents;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of railing against the injustice of Opposition Parties doing their jobs, the member for Kings South should contemplate how he will dodge public meetings in his riding when the House rises.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

[Page 4791]

RESOLUTION NO. 1671

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 MLA for Cumberland South admitted during a CKDH Radio interview that he was able to convince the Justice Minister to delay the decision to phase out the satellite provincial court in Springhill; and

Whereas as a result of the Tory Government budget the Ingonish courthouse will close; and

Whereas the residents of Ingonish question why their courthouse can't get a reprieve but the courthouse in Springhill can;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier stop his ministers from giving preferential treatment to some parts of Nova Scotia and realize that each constituency must have equal and accessible representation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1672

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 tonight at St. Patrick's High School, parents, friends, students and, hopefully, MLAs can be a part of the city-wide String Night Concert; and

Whereas String Night is an impressive display of music education and much cherished by students, parents and teachers; and

[Page 4792]

Whereas the lifelong gift that these children receive, whether they play for two years or the rest of their lives, surely enriches our entire community;

Therefore be it resolved that we adjourn this House so that members can go on a field trip to St. Pat's to reassure students, parents and teachers that this program will not be just another victim of PC cost-cutting measures.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1673

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

Whereas River Bourgeois, Richmond County, native Laura Filion is the recipient of a prestigious National Research Council of Canada Women in Engineering and Science Award; and

Whereas Laura Filion is a second year physics student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish; and

Whereas as 1 of 25 winners nationwide, Laura will gain summer employment for the next two years at a National Research Council Institute;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Laura Filion and wish her continued success this summer at the Institute of Aerospace Research in Ottawa as well as in all her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4793]

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. 1674

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 deplorable display of partisan politics the Premier sent a letter to Nova Scotia students by faxing this letter to every school in the province; and

Whereas this letter was filled with government doublespeak and misinformation; and

Whereas this letter provided propaganda instead of answering the questions and concerns students have sent to the Premier;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn this Premier for this unprecedented and flagrant abuse of power by using his office to distribute such blatant propaganda instead of telling the truth about his broken promises to improve our schools.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes. (Interruptions)

Order, please.

[The notice is tabled.]

[12:45 p.m.]

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

[Page 4794]

RESOLUTION NO. 1675

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

Whereas Ian Bishop, of 1305 Lingan Road, New Waterford, a Grade 12 student at Breton Educational Centre, is the winner this year of the $10,000 James Bryson McLachlan memorial scholarship; and

Whereas the J.B. McLachlan memorial scholarship is a fitting tribute to commemorate the life and work of the late James B. McLachlan, the outstanding Cape Breton labour figure during the years 1909 to 1937; and

Whereas Ian Bishop plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science program at the University College of Cape Breton this fall;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Ian Bishop as this year's recipient of the J.B. McLachlan memorial scholarship.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1676

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

Whereas the New Waterford Credit Union has won the 1999 Coady Award; and

Whereas the award is given annually to the Nova Scotia Credit Union that best exemplifies strong leadership and innovative involvement in the community; and

[Page 4795]

Whereas one such project has been teaching elementary students in New Waterford how to manage their money and to save over $1 million;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members, staff and board of directors of the New Waterford Credit Union on winning the 1999 Coady Award.

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1677

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 students of Glace Bay High School took it upon themselves to gather names on a petition protesting education cuts; and

Whereas these students collected over 900 signatures on that same petition and presented it to this House; and

Whereas these students, who are an investment in our future, are very worried about their own educational futures;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Education make sure these responsible young adults be treated fairly and that they not have to worry about their education and classrooms of upwards of 50 students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4796]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1678

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

Whereas the MLA for Dartmouth South is quoted in today's Chronicle-Herald that he is trying to settle a $49,000 debt for unpaid rent and unpaid taxes arising from his business, James F. Lahey paint and hardware store; and

Whereas the member for Dartmouth South is reported in that same story to have said he has no involvement in a new company, James F. Lahey Glass Limited, which recently started up at a different address; and

Whereas the new company's registered head office is in fact the home of the member for Dartmouth South, and the new company's directors are the member's wife and daughter;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the member for Dartmouth South to set the record straight about his involvement with James F. Lahey Glass Limited and immediately dispel the unfounded suspicion that the new company is a transparent attempt to evade the old company's obligations.

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1679

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

[Page 4797]

Whereas the budget for the Department of Agriculture lays out a very clear (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, the honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

MR. DOWNE: Do you want me start again, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

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

Whereas the budget for the Department of Agriculture lays out a very clear course for farmers in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the course is going to move Nova Scotia's agricultural sector down the garden path; and

Whereas in the latest issue of Farm Focus, a farmer appalled by the Department of Agriculture said, "That wasn't cuts! That was murder.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture immediately withdraw his budget to begin work on a new budget, and this time the minister should make sure he listens to the farmers of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1680

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

Whereas students throughout Nova Scotia have been finding inventive ways of expressing their concern with the future of our education system; and

Whereas students at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour have created the second edition of The Talon, a collection of poems written by high school students to express their concerns; and

[Page 4798]

Whereas the managing editor of The Talon is Jason Spurrell, and the associate editors are Jonathan Benjamin, Maggie Chapman, Ashley David, Den Deschambault, Warren Feltmate, Amanda Gilkie, Angela Henneberry, Leana Hines, Krista Lewis, Catherine MacKeigan, Laura MacLean, Kim Russell and Lindsay Zwicker;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the editors of The Talon, and all those who contributed with artwork and poems, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

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 Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1681

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

Whereas the month of May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month; and

Whereas more than 50,000 Canadians suffer from the chronic disease that affects the nervous system; and

Whereas multiple sclerosis usually strikes young adults between 20 and 40 years of age;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize this month as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4799]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1682

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

Whereas the member for Dartmouth South has been widely quoted as saying, on the night of his election victory, "I'm tired of being told that we can't run government like a business"; and

Whereas the member for Dartmouth South has freely and frequently advised schools, parents, teachers, and others to be more businesslike; and

Whereas the member for Dartmouth South has run into a little spot of bother with respect to the operations of his former business, including unpaid rent and unpaid taxes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House earnestly hope that this government will not run its affairs like the member for Dartmouth South runs his business.

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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1683

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

[Page 4800]

Whereas last week the Tory Government stated that it wanted outside advice on what to do with the province's liquor stores; and

Whereas the Tory Government spent $40,000 on outside advice to decide which route is more suitable for the Highway No. 104 bypass at Antigonish, which was inconclusive; and

Whereas the Hamm Government spent $89,000 on a consultant to review the P3 process, which again was inconclusive;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government stop spending taxpayers' money on consultants and realize that it is they who were elected to run this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1684

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

Whereas since August 17th, this Progressive Conservative Government's first full day in office, 1,554 children have been born into poverty; and

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

Therefore be it resolved that this Progressive Conservative Government start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by the 1,554 children born into poverty under this Tory Regime.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Page 4801]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1685

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

Whereas the budget tabled by this government is a fudge-it budget, in that the numbers it contains and the assumptions on which it is based are neither valid nor accurate; and

Whereas the NDP in British Columbia has experience with fudge-it budgets, and is now answering in court for having told the people one set of numbers only to have to drastically revise them shortly afterwards; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia it is unprecedented for a government to table a budget of amorphous numbers which can be readjusted or revised, as need be, to meet the changing circumstances on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that it is an abrogation of responsible government for this administration to replace sound budgetary accounting practices with fudge-it budgeting borrowed from the worst excesses of the NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1686

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

Whereas seniors, when they see a need, usually do not beat around the bush about getting something done; and

Whereas a member of the Golden Glow Seniors Club in Shubenacadie recently saw a need for a wheelchair for disabled patients at the local blood collection unit; and

Whereas the Golden Glow Seniors Club, with the generous aid of pharmacist Pat Munroe of Essaim Pharmacy, have seen to it that there is now a wheelchair available for the use of patients at the clinic;

[Page 4802]

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Golden Glow Seniors Club and Essaim Pharmacy for their initiative and generosity and for their attention to the health needs of their community.

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1687

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

Whereas l'Université Sainte-Anne will confer two honorary degrees as 36 students graduate from arts, science, business and education programs Saturday during their spring convocation; and

Whereas Kathleen Babineaux-Blanco, the Lieutenant-Governor of Louisiana, and Bernard Cyr, a New Brunswick businessman, will receive honorary doctorates; and

Whereas l'Université Sainte-Anne is Nova Scotia's only French language university;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mrs. Babineaux-Blanco, Mr. Cyr and all graduates of l'Université Sainte-Anne.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4803]

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. 1688

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 1998 report by the United Nations on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Nova Scotia was singled out for having cut social assistance rates to single people by 35 per cent; and

Whereas the UN report concluded that these cuts have had a significantly adverse impact on vulnerable groups, causing increases in already high levels of homelessness and hunger; and

Whereas the Minister of Community Services has recently stated that social assistance is "never adequate";

Therefore be it resolved that we can only ask the minister, how is cutting social assistance to vulnerable groups going to improve Nova Scotia's standing with the United Nations?

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1689

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

[Page 4804]

Whereas the Minister of Education claims cuts to school boards of $20 million is necessary because of waste and inefficiencies, yet employs four communications officers in a job designed for one; and

Whereas the Minister of Tourism is compromising tourists' safety at Peggy's Cove by eliminating coastal safety officers, yet increasing the complement of political staff within his department; and

Whereas such senseless and mindless logic is reminiscent of the John Buchanan Regime where politics destroyed any sense of justice;

Therefore be it resolved that the John Hamm Government be a stand-alone entity and not an extension of the John Buchanan and Donnie Cameron regressive regimes.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1690

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

Whereas in the past year Arts Cape Breton's membership has grown from 50 to 225 members; and

Whereas over 25 businesses have contributed to the Arts Cape Breton Scholarship Fund which will assist in placing arts scholarships in high schools; and

Whereas they were able to hire two UCCB co-op students on placement for apprenticeship in the Heritage Skills Apprenticeship Program;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of Arts Cape Breton for the excellent job they are doing in promoting the arts in Cape Breton for all the world to enjoy.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4805]

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. 1691

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

Whereas Tory budget cuts will leave many families financially devastated; and

Whereas food banks such as the Glace Bay Food Bank witnessed increases over the last number of years; and

Whereas budget cuts target people on fixed incomes and will increase the number of people unable to afford basic groceries;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government stop trying to solve its problems on the backs of those who need government assistance the most.

[1:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1692

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

Whereas since this Tory Government took power the Premier has been called everything from Dr. Welby to Dr. Strangelove to Dr. No; and

[Page 4806]

Whereas this Premier should remember that he made 243 promises, most about spending and not cutting; and

Whereas this Premier made one fundamental promise to seniors, that he would " . . . ensure that input from seniors and the interests of seniors are at the forefront of all government decision-making affecting the future of our province";

Therefore be it resolved that seniors have now felt the effects of this savage Tory Government in the drugstore and, as far as they are concerned, the Premier's new title should be Dr. Do-Little.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1693

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 Astral Drive Elementary School held a Celebration of Peace to honour peer mediators from Grades 4, 5 and 6 and the staff Peer Mediator Committee; and

Whereas the Astral Drive Elementary School's peer mediators are Matthew Bordian, Kelsey Harding, Jamie Spracklin, Ryan Robertson, Jacquline Hines, Scott Huxtable, Emma Chiasson, Venessa Bonhomme, Teri O'Sullivan, Kristen Gallant, Leslie Gallagher, Chris Buckowski, Krista Blight, Jill Doiron, and Emily Brown; and

Whereas the Astral Drive Elementary School peer mediators were honoured with the presentation of berets by Robert Hamilton, Vice President and Registrar of Lester B. Pearson Peacekeeping Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Astral Drive Elementary School peer mediators for their success and wish them all the best.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4807]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1694

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 federal PCs are steadily proving to be a poor bet; and

Whereas the provincial PC leadership shuns the light of "Day"; and

Whereas the PC MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is boldly going where no Tory MLA has gone before, by exploring an alliance with a long shot;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley be congratulated for recognizing that Toryism is moribund and bereft of leadership and ideas.

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 Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1695

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

Whereas in the government document The Course Ahead this government set a goal for itself in the reduction of the incidence and depth of child poverty; and

Whereas in the Budget Address, family benefits for families with children will be reduced by an average of 10 per cent; and

[Page 4808]

Whereas the United Nations has called upon governments to establish social assistance at levels which ensure the realization of an adequate standard of living for all;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government restore immediately the cuts it has made to families living in poverty and keep the promises of reducing the incidence and depth of child poverty.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1696

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

Whereas Legions throughout our province play an important leadership role in Nova Scotia communities; and

Whereas Cathy Ryan and Art Gilbert have made valuable contributions to the Royal Canadian Legion at White's Lake on the Prospect Road; and

Whereas these two dedicated Legion members were presented life memberships at the annual awards ceremony on Saturday, April 29th;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature offer its congratulations to Cathy Ryan and Art Gilbert with best wishes of good luck in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4809]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1697

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

Whereas Tory backbenchers have taken a lot of heat from their constituents over their government's disastrous budget; and

Whereas the MLAs for Inverness, Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury, and Antigonish were given a tongue-lashing by their constituents at a public meeting in Port Hawkesbury on Sunday; and

Whereas constituents warned the MLAs about the consequences of cutting $27 million from the Education budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory backbenchers reconsider our offer of catching the blue flu so that they are not mobbed by their own constituents over their government's crippling budget.

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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 1:06 p.m. and end at 2:06 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[Page 4810]

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: EQUIPMENT - REMOVAL

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Last Thursday, the staff at the new Jubilee Elementary School in Sydney Mines were told that the school, which is ready to open, would be losing 20 per cent of its new technology, 25 per cent of its furniture, 33 per cent of its music equipment, 25 per cent of its physical education equipment, 100 per cent of its gym office supplies and 100 per cent of maintenance supplies. I want to ask the minister, why is she looting her own schools?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I have to undertake to get back to the House on this matter. I was not apprised of the specific details of any schools, including the Jubilee school. I will bring the details back to this House tomorrow.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it is incredible that the minister says she doesn't know. Last week I mentioned in estimates the case of the Forest Ridge Academy in Barrington where the same thing was happening. It has also happened at Riverside elementary school in Albert Bridge. Those are only two of the schools. Why doesn't the minister admit that she is looting her own schools to find money for teachers instead of making more of that money available in the system?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what is happening with some of the new schools is not a search for money for teachers, it is an attempt to contain cost overruns that had been previously reported and have been noted in the public domain. The specifics of any particular school and what has happened is what I will have to get back to the House about.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, then the minister does know what is happening. Members of this government are leeches and they are bleeding the school system in Nova Scotia and it is totally unacceptable. Why won't the minister admit that she misled Nova Scotians into believing that there were not going to be any teacher lay-offs, that she now knows and they know that there isn't the money in the system to prevent teacher lay-offs and now that she knows the jig is up she is looting the schools to try to find money to put teachers back in the system?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the only bleeding that is going on here is the bleeding of taxpayers' money and money that is needed for education and health by the huge deficit and debt that this province has incurred and that we are trying to put to right.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS (C.B. [3]): EQUIPMENT - REMOVAL

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Education here in this House in the past couple of weeks have been making soothing sounds and while the Premier

[Page 4811]

has been sending quite incredible letters to students throughout the province about how great things are and about how great he is, I want to talk about what is really happening out there to the education system in this province. Last Thursday - this is Tuesday - three soon-to-be open elementary schools in Cape Breton were summoned to a meeting with the Department of Education officials, and they were told their new schools, which are fully equipped and just about to be opened, are going to be stripped of equipment, are going to be stripped of computers, are going to be stripped of all sorts of equipment which will desperately affect the ability of those schools to operate. I want to ask the Minister of Education, when did she and her officials decide that stripping new schools of their equipment was a way to share the pain throughout the education system?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, for the past several months officials in my department have been negotiating with P3 partners to try to bring down cost overruns which have been incurred over the past couple of years. As I said to the previous questioner, details of any particular school, I will have to get to back to this House on.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let's be clear about one thing. This directive came directly from the minister's officials, from her department. I am going to table a letter here today from the Sydney Mines Community Study Committee, from the parents and officials in the community who are absolutely apoplectic about what this minister is planning to do to their school. I want to ask the minister a question. This gives Nova Scotians a taste of what direct rule by the Minister of Education is all about. I want to ask the minister, is pursuing a plan to seize school equipment and furniture right across the province what she means when she talks about solving the crisis in education, ripping equipment out of schools?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, among the plans that the private partners and school officials have talked about is, for example, reducing five computers per classroom to four. That is the kind of detail in which we are trying to save the taxpayers of Nova Scotia huge cost overruns on the P3 projects. We need affordable adequate schools, and that is what we will have for our students.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, once again the minister has been caught across the great divide from the truth. She just doesn't seem to be able to keep it straight in terms of what she knows and what she doesn't know. The principal of Jubilee Elementary says to the parents that they cannot allow this to happen. I am going to table her letter to the parents. This is the face of Nova Scotia's teachers, parents, and students who are facing hard-hit, mean-spirited decisions from this minister, and they are saying with one voice to this government, leave our schools alone.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 4812]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, what assurances will you give these Nova Scotians that you will back off from this asinine decision to take equipment out of these schools? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to containing costs and bringing down the costs of the government, including government-funded school boards and schools. We have very excellent new schools. They will continue to be excellent. Costs have to be brought down.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

EDUC. - BUDGET (2000-01): EXCO - DEP. MIN. (EDUC.) MEETING

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Last week the Deputy Minister of Education admitted to school board officials that the figures used by the Department of Education in drawing up the Education budget were wrong. He stated that new figures were being drawn up and would be discussed with Cabinet. My first question to the minister, when will the Deputy Minister of Education meet with Cabinet to discuss the new revised figures?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I am glad the honourable member knows what the deputy said at that meeting. I certainly wasn't there. I don't think he was either.

The Deputy Minister of Education has been meeting with Cabinet, and Planning and Priorities on and off for weeks, as have other deputy ministers and other departments. This is a normal part of the budgetary process. Thank you.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: It is interesting to hear the Minister of Education saying that this is a normal part of the process. Normally you consult the school boards before the budget is drafted, however this time around they are consulting after the budget has been presented to this House. My question to the minister is, will the minister reveal to this House the new figures to be presented by the deputy to the Cabinet?

MISS PURVES: Any discussions the deputy has had with Cabinet or with Planning and Priorities, if there are any new figures, they will be presented to this House after discussion with the school boards; if there are any new figures. Thank you.

[Page 4813]

MR. GAUDET: We are going to have to hold our breath to see those figures. My last question to the minister is, in light of the deputy minister's public admission that the figures originally used in developing the Education budget were wrong, would she like to now clarify for Nova Scotians her earlier statements about teacher lay-offs and education cutbacks?

MISS PURVES: The deputy minister said coming out of a meeting last week that the number of 400 teachers going by attrition had not been reached. I don't dispute that figure and I don't change the stand that the system could handle 400 teachers leaving by attrition. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for the New Democratic Party.

FIN. - BUDGET (2000-01): EDUC. - FIGURES CORRECT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Finance. It appeared last Friday as if we were beginning to reach some understanding of what the real figures were with respect to education. The government officials, the deputy minister, agreed that the school board numbers are right, the funding shortfalls in public education were $53 million. I want to ask the Minister of Finance, will he commit to this House here today that he is currently revising the figures in his budget and that he will ensure before this House is asked to vote on that budget that those corrected numbers will be presented?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: First of all in regard to what the Deputy Minister of Education said coming out of those meetings, that he had met with school board officials and some of the pressures that they had brought forward in his estimation were valid. There were also other factors which bear into this equation. As to the number of teachers who will voluntarily retire this year, the Minister of Education has just stated that in this House. Those numbers are still out and those discussions will go on tomorrow and perhaps further on this week.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: That is just the point. The numbers are still up in the air. The people who want answers were at a public meeting last night in Dartmouth. They are assembling in Springhill, Amherst and Kings County today. They were out in the hundreds in the Strait area on Sunday. Many of those people are among the 39 per cent that actually voted for this group.

It is three weeks since the budget came down, people want some straight answers. I want to ask the Minister of Finance, will he stop pretending that he got his numbers right and will he start working to ensure that the real numbers are brought in here before we are asked to vote on his budget?

[Page 4814]

MR. LEBLANC: This indeed is a serious issue. The Opposition members across the floor would rather make this a political issue, rather than sit down at the table. Our government last week sat down with the school boards and had those discussions. That is where it should not be. It should not be done in this political arena.

The Minister of Education, as even stated in her answer today, that it appears that the amount of 400 reduction in teachers will not occur this year. We realize from the discussions we have had with the school boards, that that number won't be reached. Those discussions that we are having with the school boards will deal with the problems that school boards face with this problem.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, what does the Minister of Finance think we do here? He tabled a budget that was wrong, that had wrong figures in it, and my job, on behalf of my constituents, and to the rest of the members here, and it should be those members over there, is to get at the bottom of it, and get him to start telling the truth. My final question to the Minister of Finance, when is he going to start living up to the commitment he made to Nova Scotians when he ran for election last summer, and start telling the truth about the budget figures and the impact they are going to have on the education system in this province?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the day I started telling the truth was the day I was elected. (Interruptions) I will say to that member across, we stated in our budget that there will be 400 teachers (Interruptions)

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

The honourable Minister of Finance has the floor.

MR. LEBLANC: I said in my budget, through the Minister of Education, that there would be a reduction of 400 teachers through attrition. We still stand by that statement. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - FEES: PATIENTS (EX.-CAN.) - CHARGE PREMIUM

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health and his government are looking at a policy change for out-of-country patients to be charged a premium on top of the regular fees, especially those patients who come to Canada specifically to have an operation or use our facilities. Will the minister confirm that his department is working to develop a policy to charge premiums on health care costs to out-of-country patients?

[Page 4815]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the member for Dartmouth East has raised an interesting thing. The department will be developing a policy this year in conjunction with the health care providers to try to set a more standard fee for out-of-country patients. Yes.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we hear tell of a new fee being set, so a new fee schedule is developing for in-patient care. To the minister, will this policy mean that the Government of Nova Scotia will be courting out-of-country patients, and if so, what effect will this have on Nova Scotia's already overcrowded acute health care system?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we are not courting out-of-country patients as a revenue source, although I do believe that there are situations where, for a variety of reasons, if medical services are not available in their home country, they do, by preference, come to Nova Scotia.

DR. SMITH: We all understand the offering of compassion, and I commend that. But we are talking about something else here, because it is built into the budget. I am really concerned that this is a line of revenue that this government is going to pursue post-haste. What if one bed is available for a Nova Scotian or a non-Canadian, who gets that bed? Will the government think of collecting the premium, or will they think of the person, the Nova Scotian, in need of a bed? Who will think of that?

MR. SPEAKER: It is a hypothetical question, but if the Minister of Health wishes to answer . . .

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it is not the policy in Nova Scotia to get into line-jumping or queue-jumping or anything else. Obviously if a person is here and they become ill, Nova Scotians are good people, and people will receive the service that is available in Nova Scotia. If somebody comes into the country for what might be deemed as a routine medical procedure that for whatever reason they opt, then they would adhere, I suspect, to the same conditions that would be set for Nova Scotians. The line would not be jumped.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - STATISTICS INACCURATE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Let's review where we are three weeks after a disastrous Education budget. The department admits that the math in the budget figures given to school boards is wrong. The deputy minister admits the school boards are right when they say they have a shortfall of $53 million and the deputy minister admits that the 400 teaching jobs that were supposed to be lost through attrition is wrong and it always was wrong and it probably will be wrong next week. My question to the minister, the hardest mistake to admit is the first one. Why won't

[Page 4816]

you admit, in this House, that if the Education budget were a school project, it would get a failing grade?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have been debating, and continue to debate in this House, estimates. The 400 number was a maximum number of teachers we wanted to take out of the system through attrition, retirement and voluntary options. That is still the number we are aiming for but it was an estimate. Teachers still have another month or so to make up their minds and so our number is incomplete at the moment. Incomplete does not mean wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, if it is incomplete, what are we going to vote on?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this minister seems to have the same answer, just bear with us. Teachers, parents and students in this province are getting tired of that answer. In fact, the superintendent of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board is quoted in Saturday's Daily News, from Truro, as saying that the talks that are ongoing are leading nowhere. No solutions, no decisions . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: . . . and he is not hopeful that anything will be settled this week. My question to the minister is, why aren't you coming to the table with something more than platitudes?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the school superintendents, the deputy and the officials are coming to the table with numbers and they continue to do so.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we are getting close to the budget vote yet we don't know the real impact of this Education budget on schools. So my final question to the minister is, when will you table in this House a true picture of the impact this budget is going to have on education in Nova Scotia?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have been seeking modest reductions in the budget for public education and that is what we will continue to seek.

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

HEALTH: TOBACCO TAX - INCREASE

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Nova Scotia. More than 1,400 Nova Scotians die each year as a result of direct link to smoking. Another 80 non-smokers die from indirect, second-hand smoke. Given the incredible cost to our health care

[Page 4817]

system, can the minister tell us why, amid countless other taxes and fee increases, he doesn't consider raising the tax on tobacco?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for drawing that to my attention. As a matter of fact, one of the conversations we had the other day was - the caucus which smoked the most in the House. (Interruptions) He is absolutely correct . . .

[1:30 p.m.]

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

MR. MUIR: It's not you. Mr. Speaker, I will get back to this. As he knows, the price of a carton of cigarettes was increased last fall, so there was an increase. By, the way, I agree with him. We are working on a full-fledged tobacco strategy with our Maritime partners that will be rolled out sometime before too long. I can say it is a Canadian concern and of interest to the national health leaders as well.

MR. MACLELLAN: The minister knows that his own Department of Health recommended a tax increase on tobacco. That plan was turned down by Priorities and Planning of this government. A plan that would have resulted in $20 million of increased revenues for the province. How can this minister and this government tax Pharmacare additionally? How can they put more tax and fee charges on ambulance services and yet not increase the tax on tobacco?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the tobacco strategy has not gone to Priorities and Planning.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it is not what a lot of us have been led to believe and a lot of us do believe. I want to say to this minister, his own Voluntary Planning Committee recommended increasing the tax on tobacco.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: A lot of teachers could be employed if that tax on tobacco was in place. Obviously, the government felt it was acceptable last fall. Why have they changed their minds and not had the courage to impose this increased tax on tobacco?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that question has a lot of dimensions to it, and I am going to refer it to the Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to say to the honourable member opposite that the statement he made that this has been turned down by Priorities and Planning is not accurate. I do want to say, last fall, the Atlantic Provinces along with the

[Page 4818]

federal government raised the taxes in unison. One province to go unilaterally and raise taxes has an affect because it encourages the black market activities which can have an impact of increasing usage while at the same time reducing revenues to the province. So, if we are going to make changes in tobacco taxes, we should do them in unison, because I don't think those members opposite would want us to actually increase usage of tobacco and cigarettes, and at the same time lose revenues. I think that would be counter-productive.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

COMMUN. SERV. - BUDGET (2000-01):

CUTS - TRANSITION ALLOWANCE

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. Order, please. The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. In the Budget Address, the Minister of Finance was talking about social assistance and how we need to be really truly helping people move from social assistance to work. A noble cause I am sure most of us would agree with. In particular, quoting from the Budget Address, the Minister of Finance specifically says, "The system is not presently structured to work at helping people overcome barriers to independence."

Now, my concern is that what this government has done in this budget, has removed a $200 a month allowance that was provided to family benefits recipients to help them get back to work, whether it be for day care or training or for other employment-related services. So my question to this minister is, how can this minister stand in this House and how can the Minister of Finance stand in this House and claim that they are helping people move from welfare to work when they are cutting the $200 a month allowance that helps them to get back to work?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, that is an important question and . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. No one can hear.

MR. CHRISTIE: . . . the member and I had that discussion as we were talking about the estimates. There have been two plans, as the honourable member knows, there has been the Family Benefits plan and there has been the Social Assistance plan. Each of those had different rates that people could keep. The part that we have now is the $200 rate. There is now, for people coming into the system, they are eligible for up to $400 through various things, through special needs.

[Page 4819]

MR. DEVEAUX: I would be curious where the minister can point it out, considering that these same assistance people on family benefits are actually losing over $100 a month in benefits in total, how it would actually work out that there would be $200 more to help them go back to work. But I want to go on to another example, Mr. Speaker, and that is prior to this budget, the Department of Community Services provided an $18 a month allowance to help people on family benefits get around with transportation. Now that's not very much but at least it did something and it showed a sign that you were going to help people with transportation issues.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. DEVEAUX: So my question to the Minister of Community Services is, now that that has been cut, since your government has cut that $18 a month allowance, how do you expect people to get to job interviews and to access transportation without that money?

MR. CHRISTIE: Let me clarify something for the member. People who are on social assistance today have not been cut. The member is aware of that; he has seen the rate schedules and we had that discussion. Those people who are under assistance are under the rate for a year. Part of the $18 is now included in the $400. It has gone up for those people. There is extra assistance for them to get to work and to get back to work as I just indicated.

MR. DEVEAUX: Sometimes the minister sounds so earnest, he actually might think he believes that, Mr. Speaker. But I want to really come down to the point and that is, you are cutting $18 a month allowance for the people on assistance, you are cutting $200 a month to help them get back to work and yet you are paying an extra $175,000 a year for senior bureaucrats in your department. How do you explain that to the people who are trying to move from welfare to work, Mr. Minister?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I will say to the honourable member again that the department has the same number of people, actually we have less than the head office in our budget, we have the same number of people, two came from Economic Development and two went to Economic Development, so nothing has changed at Community Services.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - ACUTE CARE

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The minister met with the Nurses' Union a few months ago and the Nurses' Union said they left that meeting optimistic but cautious. After the budget, the nurses are not so optimistic. Now the nurses say that this government is butchering health care. A question to the minister is, why did you mislead the nurses into thinking cuts to acute care would not be as devastating as they really have been?

[Page 4820]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would, perhaps, turn the thing around, why does he think that what the Nurses' Union has indicated is absolutely true. I don't want to get into a dispute with him on the thing (Interruptions) but I don't know what cuts to acute care he is talking about at the present time.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister can explain to the Nurses' Union what he meant by that statement that they have not adopted the tactics of this government in sending letters out to students and that sort of thing.

Mr. Speaker, the minister said that he will cut only 600 administrative and support staff jobs, it could be up to 1,000. The nurses maintain that there are not that many administrative and supportive jobs in the system to cut. Cutting more support staff will mean more work for the nurses.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. SMITH: My question to the minister, will the minister guarantee that already overworked and overstressed nurses will not be forced to pick up additional responsibilities caused by lay-offs in the health care system?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again, you know, the rhetoric that he put in the first part of that question is one which I think is certainly open to debate in some cases. I am not saying in all cases, but I would not say that it is a universal characteristic. As you know, we are going through a process of restructuring health care and Nova Scotia's health care system will be better for it.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the minister can call it restructuring, I call it devastation. The Nurses' Union said the health cuts will lead to bed closures and this in turn could lead to nursing lay-offs. My question, will the minister guarantee that his health cuts are not leading to any reduction in the number of nurses and that he will keep his promise of 150 new nurses?

MR. MUIR: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I believe the promise of 150 new nurses has already been kept. (Interruption) We, in the Budget Speech, said that every effort would be made to protect the front-line health care workers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

COMMUN. SERV. - SOC. ASSIST.: RATES CUT - U.N. INFO.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is again for the Minister of Community Services. Back in December 1998 the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights singled out Nova Scotia for its problems with social assistance and

[Page 4821]

their help for people who need help from the province. At that point they specifically noted that people on social assistance, single people, the rates were cut by 35 per cent and that was the concern of the UN at that time. They noted that this caused a lot of pain and hardship, homelessness and hunger. Now we have this government cutting by 10 per cent the rates for families, single parents with children.

So my question to the Minister of Community Services, what will he tell the UN the next time it comes around about why and how this government is deepening poverty in Nova Scotia?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Chairman, I would say to the honourable member as I would to the UN, we believe that people in poverty need assistance. They want to get back to work and we want to help them do that and we believe that is the best way out of poverty.

MR. DEVEAUX: To quote an old quote, maybe the minister better start putting his money where his mouth is with regard to this. Mr. Speaker, prior to this budget, a single parent with children on welfare was at 63 per cent of the poverty line, that means below poverty. Now a mother and child are at only 47 per cent of the poverty line. This violates Nova Scotia's obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to ensure the right to an adequate income. So my question to this minister is, what is this minister going to tell children, the disabled, single parents, about his government's commitment to protecting their rights?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, again I will remind the honourable member that people who are on social assistance now stay at the same rate. The discussion that we will be having as to where rates are going, how we will be working with people, will be coming in the fall when we will have introduced the single-tier legislation. Before that time we will be having lots of discussions with various groups and indeed, obviously, I am sure, MLAs. So that discussion will be ongoing and I am sure there will be a lot of input and I am sure the honourable member will be involved in it.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia are getting tired of the buzzwords from this Minister of Community Services. They need action and action does not mean cutting $18 a month in transportation costs, $200 a month in employment support. What is this minister going to do to really show that he is serious about helping people on welfare move to work?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member's question is what are we going to do to help people get back to work. We are going to work with the various groups. We are going to work with the federal government departments and we are going to work with all of those people to try to get them back into training and get them back to work.

[Page 4822]

[1:45 p.m.]

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

JUSTICE - SPRINGHILL: COURT SERV. - CLOSURE DELAY

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. Individual MLAs have made pronouncements in the media that their satellite courts will not close. For example, the member for Cumberland South, on April 27th, in an interview with CKDH and in an article in the Amherst Daily News, which I will table, said that he has been able to convince the minister to delay a decision to phase out the satellite provincial court in Springhill. My question to minister is, why the special treatment for the ridings of Tory MLAs?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the honourable member. What has occurred here is that as a result of a review of the matter, we have decided to allow an additional month for the implementation of the closure and to give an opportunity to communities to put forward information to the government on the issues involved.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that the delay in closure in Glace Bay is merely a stay of execution. I want the Glace Bay courthouse to stay open permanently. So the message is clear, that if you want your court to stay open, or if you want your agricultural office to stay open (Interruptions)

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

MR. WILSON: If you want all of those things to stay open, you have to vote Tory. My question, then, Mr. Speaker, is why won't the minister convey some fair treatment to other satellite courts throughout the province and keep those open as well?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate during the honourable member's vacation away from the House that he didn't have an opportunity to hear the discussion in the House where it was determined that, in fact, the closure of the Glace Bay courthouse was a decision of the Liberal Party, so he will have to ask his own members why that was made. In point of fact, the real issue here is we are prepared to look at communities that have the resources to assist in keeping those courthouses open. I have never received such a proposal from Glace Bay.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes you have. It was tabled in the House. (Interruptions)

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

[Page 4823]

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable minister knows that that was tabled in the House and as for me, I came back. I don't know about the honourable minister. My final supplementary is, the minister knows that he has an obligation to clarify his position on satellite court closures and now should make a clear statement to this House so that he is accountable. When will the minister come to the House, outline his plans for all satellite courthouses instead of hiding behind government MLAs and communications officers?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we have made our plans extremely clear. It is called the budget.

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

FIN.: PUBLIC TENDERS -

ALTERNATIVE PROCUREMENT EXCEPTIONS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, our caucus has received a copy of a little list. The list is entitled Alternative Procurement Exceptions. A better title for that list might be times we didn't bother to follow the public tendering policy. My question is for the Minister of Finance in his capacity of being in charge of public tenders. I am wondering if the minister can explain why a Washington, D.C., international trade lawyer named Shoneman was required to funnel his account through a well-known Liberal law firm, Sampson McDougall, which has no known expertise in international trade law?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, obviously I can't answer the question because I don't have the level of detail the member is requesting. I would be more than prepared, if he gives me the details, to follow it up within the department. I don't know if this happened a year ago, two years ago or recently. If the honourable member would share that information, I will endeavour to get the information.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the Minister of Finance that it occurred after this government assumed office. Sampson McDougall is that same firm that did quite well, thank you very much, as getting part of the over $4 million worth of legal work with out-of-province firms from Calgary for the Sable offshore. So my question to the Minister of Finance (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid has the floor.

MR. HOLM: The former Liberal Government would like to reward its friends by giving them a piece of the out-of-province legal work. This wasteful patronage of Liberal practice has got to come to an end. What if anything is your government doing to stop it?

[Page 4824]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I have already indicated to the member that I am not aware of the specific issue he has brought up. This could be very well the legal work that was being done when we took office, a firm that had been hired by the previous administration and carried forward. I don't have the details, but I do want to bring up to the member, if there is an exception to the procurement policy, there should be a reason and it should be explained. As to this one specifically indicated on two occasions, I don't know the details, but if he can share with me the information, I will endeavour to get it for him.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer just leads into this obvious question, and that is, what steps are you taking to ensure that exceptions to the tendering policy are reported to this House fully and without delay?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to the member opposite on two different occasions that I will endeavour to find out the information he is referring to. I have also indicated that the exceptions to that policy should be the exception rather than the rule. As to exactly how the reporting process comes in regard to that policy, I will endeavour to follow that up. The member brings up a good point on how it is reported, whether it gets reported to the House or whether or not it becomes public in another forum. That is something I will take a look at.

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

P & P - ABCs: REVIEW - STATUS

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Human Resources. It relates to this ad that appeared in The Chronicle-Herald, Daily News and Cape Breton Post inviting applications to agencies, boards and commissions, and I would like to table the ad, one copy for the table and one copy for the minister so he will know what I am referring to.

This ad invites applications for positions on 67 different boards, agencies and commissions, totalling 235 positions in all at a time when the government has announced that all agencies, boards and commissions are under review with plans to eliminate those deemed unnecessary, redundant or non-essential. I would like to ask the minister if he could appraise the House as to the details of the review of agencies, boards and commissions now under way, and has it been completed and what is to be cut?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the review of agencies, boards and commissions comes under P & P rather than under the Human Resources Department. The advertising of vacancies as far as I know goes back many years. The department advertises in all daily newspapers in Nova Scotia as well as weeklies, and invites the public to submit CVs for vacancies or to go on a list for vacancies that may occur in the future. This is just

[Page 4825]

simply a routine advertisement. If the honourable member is looking to be appointed to a board, I should tell him that he should make application through the Executive Council office.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, a simple I don't know, would have sufficed to answer my question.

Mr. Speaker, while the government has stated publicly that 70 agencies, boards, and commissions are going to be cut, and 300 more are going to be changed or modified, it is simultaneously sponsoring these ads, inviting people to apply in good faith for positions that are advertised as paying $100 per day or more, and inviting people to send their applications and résumés to the Clerk of the Executive Council. That is what they are sponsoring in the press. I want to ask the minister, through you, sir, why is this government spending so much taxpayers' money on advertising positions which may not exist in a few months?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there is a review on at the present time. Some boards, commissions and agencies will disappear. However, I would just advise the honourable member that this is not stating that people are necessarily going to be appointed to these boards, it is simply that they go on a list from which applications will be accepted for consideration at such time when there is a vacancy, and at such time it is determined that the board will continue in existence.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, the ad begins, "The Province of Nova Scotia invites applications from qualified Nova Scotians interested in serving on . . . the following agencies, boards or commissions . . ." In view of what the minister has just told the House, I wonder if the minister would commit to table, before the budget is voted on, the results of the review of the agencies, boards and commissions, so that Nova Scotians won't be sent on a wild-goose chase applying for positions that may not exist in the very near future?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the review of agencies, boards and commissions is an ongoing work, in progress at the present time. I understand from what the honourable member is saying is that we should revert to the way the previous government used to handle the matter and just appoint Liberals to boards, commissions, and agencies. We have in place a system whereby all Nova Scotians, NDP Nova Scotians, Liberal Nova Scotians, or Conservative Nova Scotias, or those who have no political affiliation whatsoever can apply to serve on one of these boards and serve the people . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 4826]

FIN. - RDI: CONTRACT - UNTENDERED

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance, in the last question that I asked him, said that he didn't understand how exceptions were reported. As a member of the Priorities and Planning Committee, he should know that exceptions to the tendering policy are reported to that committee, contrary to what the Auditor General recommends, and that is that they be reported to this House. It is no wonder that this minister has a short memory, because very shortly after they assumed office, they broke the tendering policy with the help of one of John Buchanan's favourite political advisers. I want to ask the minister if he can explain why it was that an untendered contract for $15,000 was given to RDI, the Premier's favourite pollster, within weeks of your government taking power?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all, to the previous question, I have been discussing it with the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate. When he asked why that firm was hired, my understanding of it is, we have the capacity in this province to go sole-source, if there is a requirement for it. The previous administration, and the member brings up a very good point, spent over $4 million in legal fees to a law firm to represent them in the offshore negotiations. My understanding is that they brought a lot of experience, and with all the work that they had done, obviously it made sense to continue that.

In regard to the one specific incident that he is referring to with RDI, which is the opinion poll and some research that was done by the government, that was requested outside of my department. I don't know the details and specifics of it. I am more than prepared to get the information for the member opposite.

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister says it was requested outside his department, but you know, in case the minister doesn't, he and his department are responsible for tendering in the Province of Nova Scotia. RDI, of course, is that same firm that carried out the opinion research in January. The government took a novel approach here. What they did, they decided that they would share it with the Progressive Conservative Party and they would conveniently hive it off the amount that the government would be responsible for just below the $5,000 tendering amount, saying that the government is only responsible for $4,900 instead of the $5,000.

I want to ask the minister responsible for tendering, what commitments are you prepared to make on behalf of the government to stop making a mockery of the public tendering policy, especially when it comes to Conservative sweetheart deals with friends of the Tories like Dr. Peter Buckley of RDI?

[Page 4827]

MR. LEBLANC: In regard to the work that was done, it was requested through P&P and I think it is important that the minister respond as to what the research was done for it. I refer the question.

MR. HOLM: Some colleagues are saying the minister is looking bad. I want to apologize for using the wrong name in the last question. I should have said Butler, Mr. Speaker, so I want to correct that.

The Minister of Finance's department was responsible for the KPMG review of the P3 schools. That was the report that cost $89,000 and couldn't decide whether or not it was a good idea. That contract also was not in agreement with the tendering policy because it was not below his bid.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. HOLM: My question to the Minister of Finance is, as the minister in charge of the public tendering office and government purchasing, when will you finally take a stand and enforce the public tendering policy?

MR. LEBLANC: That is a ridiculous statement by the member opposite. Mr. Speaker, he is saying we should take the lowest tender whether or not they have the qualifications to bid on a contract. That was the panel that sat down and judged all of the different people who made application to do that research in regard to P3. All the proponents recommended that KPMG do that work, and for that member opposite to say we should take the lowest tender always, is not logical. No one would agree with that statement.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - MARINE ATLANTIC HDQS.:

NORTH SYDNEY - RELOCATION

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. What information can the minister give this House with respect to Marine Atlantic moving their head office from Moncton to St. John's Newfoundland?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: I am very upset if indeed that decision has been made. I know that it has been rumoured for a long time. I haven't been down to my office too often of late, but I believe that my staff are on top of this matter and are in contact with Marine Atlantic to find out exactly what is going on. As I say, it has only been a newspaper report to date.

[Page 4828]

MR. MACLELLAN: A Transport Canada official says that politicians are arguing over a handful of jobs that were not designated when Marine Atlantic was restructured two years ago. That is the head office in Moncton. That is what is left. This government and this Premier told us they would assure that jobs in Marine Atlantic were evenly divided between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. That is not happening as a result of this decision. Why has the government once again rolled over and allowed the interests of the people of Nova Scotia to be jeopardized, and Newfoundland get the benefit?

MR. RUSSELL: It is passing strange that the Leader of the Liberal Party, who is of the same political persuasion as the present federal government, who was unable to do anything at all with regard to obtaining for Nova Scotia money for transportation needs, now is saying that the Tory Government that is in power should be doing better. I can assure the former Premier that we are indeed doing better, and that indeed we are putting pressure on the federal government to ensure that we in Nova Scotia receive our fair share of all transportation dollars that flow to the East Coast.

MR. MACLELLAN: The government jobs were equally divided between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland; the federal government has broken that commitment. They broke it because this government is weak and won't stand up for the people of Nova Scotia. Why not? Why won't they?

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Minister, you have about 15 seconds.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, obviously the honourable member hasn't read this morning's newspaper, because in The Chronicle-Herald this morning it says, "Marine Atlantic denies office relocating." This just goes to show you . . .

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

The honourable Minister of Education, on an introduction.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, in the gallery opposite we have some friends of education, executives of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, President, Margaret Forbes; Mary Jess MacDonald; Sandra Everett; and Robert Tumilty. I would like them to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

[Page 4829]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus on the topic of education this afternoon because of some of the activities that have taken place over the last number of days, and weeks, within the minister's department. What we have witnessed over the last number of days by the Department of Education, in terms of some of the slashing and burning, particularly the efforts by the Minister of Education to secure the $20 million that she has as a shortfall in her budget by purging many of the new P3 schools across this province is absolutely mind-boggling, to say the least, notwithstanding the fact that it is absolutely shameful that a minister would have her senior staff engage in behind-the-scenes discussion whereby they would reduce the funding to these facilities - some completed and some still under construction - by 20 per cent to its new technology programs, 25 per cent of its new furniture, 33 per cent of its music equipment, 25 per cent of its physical education equipment, 100 per cent of its gym office supplies, and 100 per cent of its maintenance supplies.

Mr. Speaker, one only has to stop and wonder why we would have members such as the members who tabled petitions here in the House today; for example the member for Queens who tabled a petition on behalf of his constituents, opposing these rather dramatic and negative educational cuts that have a harmful effect to the educational system, to the schools in his particular constituency. We didn't get the same level of commitment from the member for Guysborough who tabled a petition on behalf of his constituents, but in a half-hearted fashion apologized for doing it by stating the only reason he signed his name to it, the only way that he could get the petition tabled in the House was that he had to sign his name. In effect, he was apologizing to the House, to his Tory masters, that he had to do something on behalf of his constituents. At no point in time did I ever have to apologize to my constituents for standing up for them on any particular issue, even if I had to take issue with my own government.

AN HON. MEMBER: And you did.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, they didn't apologize, but nature has its way of taking its course. We are here, and they are not. Mr. Speaker, all we have to do it go back to Wednesday April 19th, in Hansard on Page 4249 during Question Period, the Minister of Education states, "We have committed not to spend less this year, next year, the year after, any year of our mandate. It is the only area which has received that commitment." So what

[Page 4830]

the minister has said, is that there is zero cut in her budget by making that statement. Now, how she can say that and at the same time in her estimates have a $20 million cut? It must be a new form of math, it has to be. That is why so many people across Nova Scotia are going to their MLAs and asking the MLAs to plead to the government members, to plead to the Cabinet Ministers who are making these decisions, to the Minister of Finance, to the Minister of Education, that what is being done is being done wrong-headedly.

Mr. Speaker, it doesn't make sense that several months ago, the government agreed to give additional tens of millions of dollars to the teachers across this province, and then turns around and attacks the entire system of equal or greater magnitude for which it claims it was purporting to assist. It is very frustrating. What is even more frustrating is that we have government backbenchers who are sitting there quietly, allowing all this purging, slashing, burning and destruction within the educational system to take place, and saying nothing on behalf of their constituents.

Mr. Speaker, in today's Chronicle Herald, Tuesday, May 2, 2000, on Page A5, "Upset Valley teachers to march on MLA's office." Cutbacks will be devastating. The article goes on to state that the stakeholders in the Valley region, in the Kings County area, have been trying to seek a meeting with the three Tory MLAs for Kings County for some time on this budget issue, and the Tory MLAs keep finding excuses not to meet with them. They are not here on Saturdays. They are not here on Sundays. They are not here on Monday mornings.

This is a major issue. The Opposition MLAs can meet with their constituents on the weekends, surely to heavens, Tory MLAs, who only have to drive an hour from Province House, could do that on the weekends. Surely to heavens they could do that when the House is not sitting in the morning. They have time to go and have political meetings with some of their confrères within the Tory ranks, Mr. Speaker. So why wouldn't they meet with people who have a major problem in their constituency? This is absolutely mind-boggling, why the Tory MLAs are refusing to meet with their constituents. It is unprecedented, that MLAs would use the sanctity of the House of Assembly as an excuse not to go and meet with their constituents.

AN HON. MEMBER: This is their bomb shelter.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, maybe they think this is some kind of a bunker or bomb shelter that they will be protected from the people who are upset with this particular budget. I must congratulate the member for Queens. At least he had the gumption enough to stand up and show some dignity and pride in the fact he was signing his name to that petition, not like the member for Guysborough who apologized because he put his name on the petition because he felt it was the only way to get it on the record. (Interruptions) I mean Queens. Yarmouth, oh. Okay. Well, I was trying to help a number of backbenchers from the Tory team there, because they need some help. They really need some help because if they think they are going to escape all this after the budget vote is taken and then they will go back and

[Page 4831]

everybody will go to the beaches and have the tans and they will be relaxing and enjoying themselves at the barbeques and forget all about this, they are sadly mistaken.

[2:15 p.m.]

What about Bill No. 44, the Acadia University Act, a Private Member's Bill before this House? The honourable member for Kings South, where Acadia University is located, did not even show up for the discussion on this particular issue. I know, Mr. Speaker, I have to be careful on the rules of protocol here, but he would not even sponsor the bill. He reminds me of a member who on a previous day wanted to be on both sides of the issue at the same time. He said, some of my friends support this issue, some of my friends do not support this issue and I support my friends. That is what you get from the honourable member for Kings South. There is a show on TV I would suggest that the honourable member would perhaps want to watch. It is called Picket Fences. It may do that honourable member some good.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is why I focused on education because the stakeholders in the various communities across this province are raising concern that their Tory members are not standing up for their interests here in Halifax. Let's look at the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. At Musquodoboit Rural High School, the parents, the teachers, the students, are very concerned that they will be seeing the long-established music program in that facility axed. My question is, what is the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley doing to address that with the Minister of Education?

The Speaker, in his capacity as the member for Cumberland South, was very effective in lobbying the Minister of Justice, but what about the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley? Is he a voice in the wind? Is this what this is all about? They just use him to get up and do a little flabber-backing back and forth to entertain, to ensure that the backbenchers are part of this process? These scripted speeches that are coming from the backbenchers across are very weak. Do you know why they are weak? It is not only because of what is written on paper, but because it is not coming from the members themselves. They are not speaking from the heart. They are not speaking in a way that they believe what they are saying from this prepared text is fact.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education has said on numerous occasions in the House that there will be no lay-offs other than through attrition and they expected 400. (Interruption) Yes, but here is what the Minister of Finance says when he introduced his budget, I am going to quote exactly what the Minister of Finance says, "Mr. Speaker, there should be no teacher layoffs as a result of this budget."

How can all these school boards from across the province be so wrong and the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education, whose deputy minister has already conceded defeat on facts, how can they be so right and everybody else in the province be so wrong? Mr. Speaker, you would have to be living in a little glass tube not to face reality. Let's assume that

[Page 4832]

those figures can be achieved by attrition, then what is going to happen, who is going to fill the vacuum for 400 lost teachers on top of the fact that the costs for each of these individual school boards will be increasing by more than $23 million. We see that what is happening is the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance, numbers do not add up. How is it that over 1,000 lay-off notices have been issued? Now the Minister of Education says, I am introducing legislation to prevent lay-offs. Okay, that is fine. Well, whoop-dee-do. What is the purpose to delay the lay-off for one month? Well, that is great because the House will be shut down and we will be gone. We will fly the coop.

Mr. Speaker, that is not going to do any good because they know their numbers are fudged. They are fudged numbers, they are making them up as they go along. You can take the administration of just about every board in this province and you still will not meet the financial objective of this government, of this Minister of Finance or this Minister of Education.

Mr. Speaker, given the magnitude of this, I would move an adjournment on this debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[2:22 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The Clerk will call the roll, please.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[3:22 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. MacAskill Mr. Christie

Dr. Smith Mr. Baker

Mr. MacLellan Mr. Russell

Mr. Downe Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. Manning MacDonald Mr. Muir

Mr. MacEwan Miss Purves

[Page 4833]

Mr. Gaudet Mr. Fage

Mr. MacKinnon Mr. Balser

Mr. Samson Mr. Parent

Mr. Boudreau Ms. McGrath

Mr. Wilson Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Olive

Mr. Rodney MacDonald

Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Morse

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

Mr. Robert Chisholm

Ms. O'Connell

Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Corbett

Mr. Epstein

Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Dexter

Mr. Pye

Mr. John MacDonell

THE CLERK: For, 11. Against, 36.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion to adjourn is defeated.

[Motion for Supply continued.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to speak before going into Supply today, and I decided that I wouldn't be speaking about health care and a particular topic about an issue that might be in my constituency, but I decided to speak on

[Page 4834]

how the Tories politically deceived Nova Scotians to get elected and how they are now not listening to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is extremely important, and I think it is extremely important to all Nova Scotians how this Tory Government lied during the election campaign . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member knows very well that "lied" in this House is unparliamentary, and I would ask that you withdraw that please.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw the statement. I will use the term from now on, "pull the wool over the eyes" of Nova Scotians in order to get elected.

Many Nova Scotians out there are disappointed that during the election campaign that they, in fact, actually thought they were electing a very compassionate, consultive government that would be listening to the people of Nova Scotia. One whose doors were open to the issues and concerns of Nova Scotians. Never did they dream this government would be a government that would pull the wool over the eyes of Nova Scotians with respect to health care.

Allow me to tell you there are many seniors out there who cannot believe that this Tory Government, who walked around during the election campaign and introduced the notion and the idea that they were interested in protecting Pharmacare to many seniors, has increased Pharmacare by some 33 per cent to 50 per cent of the cost.

There is also the issue of concern with respect to acute care. There is a concern that there may be the need for families to pay the cost of acute care. Something that many Nova Scotians never dreamed about. From one end of this province, from Brier Island to Meat Cove and every point in between, there is not a single Nova Scotian who believes they have elected the political Party they now have in power. Many Nova Scotians believe that this is a Harris/Klein Government bent on making sure that Nova Scotians pay, and pay dearly for the price of this particular government.

We talk about the need to bring the fiscal house in order and I can tell you that our Party believes in bringing the fiscal house in order. In the Voluntary Planning report there are 55 per cent of Nova Scotians who earn $20,000 a year and less, and those 55 per cent of Nova Scotians can't afford a Tory Government. Those 55 per cent of Nova Scotians recognize they will be saddled with user fees, uncommon in the history of this province. With respect to the Registry of Motor Vehicles branch, as a matter of fact, it has now become a new Bank of Nova Scotia; a Registry of Motor Vehicle branch. Some $5 million is expected to be generated in revenue from user-pay fees.

[Page 4835]

There is also the health care issue where seniors will be expected to pay, and possibly pay for blood services and so on. There are many issues that have not been campaigned by this Tory Government. When I walked the streets during the election campaign in July, it was extremely hot and many Nova Scotians told me they felt this Tory Government - and I campaigned against the Tories and the Liberals in Dartmouth North - appeared to be listening to them, they are concerned and the candidates are out there and they are telling them that this government will be open, it will be consultive and it will be compassionate and it will understand the issues of Nova Scotians. I want you to know that many Nova Scotians today are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the political Party they have elected.

Many Nova Scotians are calling me and asking me what happened to health care by this political government. Many Nova Scotians are asking me what happened to education. As a matter of fact, many of the Tory backbenchers and many of the Tory members themselves don't even return calls to educators. Many of them as a matter of fact have had their lips sealed and they have had their lips sealed by the caucus Whip to make sure that nothing is being said and that they toe the Party line.

[3:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that no Nova Scotian elected a Party that will not listen to Nova Scotians and listen to their constituents. I think that one has to recognize that when the voters go out there and they cast a ballot, they cast a ballot for individuals who will speak on their behalf. They cast a ballot for the politician who will take their concerns to the Legislative Assembly. They cast a ballot for the individuals who, in fact, will make sure that when they are called upon to carry out the mandate of the constituency, they will do that.

Mr. Speaker, when one looks at your particular petition, I have to say that you have carried out the mandate of your constituency. You went and obviously must have spoken to the Minister of Justice, or to the Minister of Finance, and said, look, let's take a second look at this courthouse in Springhill and let's have a second look at the viability of this courthouse and if it makes sense to move that courthouse in Springhill, and so on.

Mr. Speaker, you have been heard by the members and, obviously, you have represented your constituency in a manner that most politicians represent them and make sure that that particular issue gets before this Legislature, but I have to tell you that there are a large number of members in the government today who are not carrying that message and who, in fact, Nova Scotians did not elect to not carry their message to this Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, there are many people out there who, in fact, don't know what core government services are going to be available. I do know that when I campaigned and I saw this blue book - and this blue book has been in many of the voters' hands in my constituency - and many of the voters in my constituency, in fact, brought this blue book to me and said,

[Page 4836]

here, there are 243 promises in this blue book. This is what a Progressive Conservative Government is going to do and what are you going to do?

Well, Mr. Speaker, we told the voters in Nova Scotia at that time the truth. We told the voters in Nova Scotia that there was a deficit in this province and that there was a huge debt, accumulated both by the former Tory and Liberal Governments, and that we could not make the kind of promises that other political Parties made to them. When, in fact, a government pulls the wool over the eyes of Nova Scotians just simply to get elected and then introduce the Draconian kind of government that they are now bringing forward to Nova Scotians, that is simply a very big concern to Nova Scotians, allow me to tell you.

There are people out there, there are teachers out there in communities who, I know, Mr. Speaker, would have never elected this government had they known that their jobs were going to be on the chopping block. This is a government that said it was committed to education and it was committed to giving education a priority within its budget, that it recognized the importance of education and the importance of education for the growth in the economy of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, this is also a government that made no mention of cutting the Public Service and government employees' jobs. As a matter of fact, I want to tell you that there would have been a good many Nova Scotians who would not have voted for this political Party had they recognized or known that as a result there were going to be a number of jobs cut. The only mention of downsizing of government in this blue book was, in fact, the fact that this government was going to reduce the size of Cabinet. I want you to know that there was never any mention of this government doing the kind of Draconian measures that it decided to do here.

Mr. Speaker, I want you to know that Nova Scotians deserve better than that. I want you to know that Nova Scotians deserve that that political Party, which is now the government in power, tell them what kind of a government they are going to receive within the next four years during their mandate. The people of Nova Scotia want to know, if in fact, what core services this government is talking about delivering? What kind of service programs are no longer going to be in existence? What kind of costs are going to be involved with respect to the delivery of programs? How many user fees are going to be introduced, and how many Nova Scotians are not going to be able to pay those user fees?

Mr. Speaker, there is a tremendous inequity here with respect to this government. Also, this government campaigned on an issue with respect to social service recipients of withdrawing the National Child Tax Benefit. That is an allotment from the federal Government of Canada to the poorest of the poor in Nova Scotia. That is an allotment that these individuals should have received, because the individuals already receive an allotment that is less than adequate to live on. Many people, whose doors I went to, told me that the Tory Government was going to eliminate the National Child Tax Benefit, and make sure that

[Page 4837]

everyone of those recipients received it. I had some difficulty in saying to them that I found that difficult to accept because, when the Tory Party was in Opposition, in fact, they did say they supported the return of the National Child Benefit Program. As a matter of fact, I believe it was in their recommendation for the members who served on the Standing Committee on Community Services.

Now, Mr. Speaker, they are the government in power, and now those social service recipients are still waiting for the National Child Tax Benefit. Instead, the government pulled the wool over the eyes of these recipients on social assistance, and what happened? Instead of giving them back the National Child Tax Benefit, they in fact cut the benefits to those people who, in fact, are on income assistance and the people who are on family benefits. I can tell you that I, as a politician, came to this Legislative Assembly to represent my constituents in a fair and impartial way. I would hope that the Tory representatives would have done exactly the same thing.

I have to say, Mr. Speaker, another time that wool was pulled over the eyes of Nova Scotians, particularly seniors. I remember when the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley stood here before this Legislative Assembly and told the seniors he was going to deliver free fishing licences to every single senior in this province. (Interruptions) That individual stood here, and he continuously berated the Liberal Party across the floor to give free fishing licences to seniors, and allow me to tell you, now the individual . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There are only about 20 seconds left in the honourable member's time.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would just like to clarify, and you are very much aware when you were in Opposition, too, that I tabled petition after petition on behalf of seniors who were asking for free fishing licences. You know, as well as anybody, . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that a point of order?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order. The honourable member for Dartmouth North, you have one minute.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has been using up my time, and the honourable member knows full well that this was another time that wool was pulled over the eyes of senior Nova Scotians by the very fact that he comes in and he turns around and makes an excuse that there ought to be an environment or conservation fee. Now, he told the seniors there would be a free fishing licence for seniors. He and his government did not live up to that. It is okay, when all of a sudden you become the government in power to renege on your commitments to the citizens of Nova Scotia, and that is the single most important thing here. This Tory Government waited until it got elected and then pulled the wool over the eyes of

[Page 4838]

all Nova Scotians. As a matter of fact, I could say deceived Nova Scotians in order to get elected here.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. According to Beauchesne the word deceived is unparliamentary and I would ask the honourable member to withdraw that please.

MR. PYE: Okay, then . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you honourable member, your time is up.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, my first career before I became an MLA was that of a school teacher, and a principal. Over the past few weeks, as I watched and listened to what was going on both inside and outside of this House, I have been able to relate to many of these issues being discussed - you will have to excuse me, but I do have to have some notes. Sorry. - However, as we have come to see in recent days, being able to relate to an issue and acting purely on emotion are two different things. I have listened as the Opposition stood in this House scaring Nova Scotians into believing that upwards of 1,000 teachers were going to be let go; I watched as the NDP Leader held up a bundle of papers, neatly tied together in a bow, saying this is what 948 lay-off notices look like.

Such actions, those appealing to the emotion of the situation rather than common sense, helped to motivate the hysteria we have all witnessed recently but fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed. Thanks to our Minister of Education, the superintendents are back at the table with the Department of Education discussing what is the centre of this issue, the education of the children of this province. (Applause)

The Minister of Education stood in this House for days on end facing questions from across the floor, emotional appeals designed to blur the real issues, and I listened to the members opposite throwing names at the honourable Minister of Education. It reminded me of my days in the classroom when name-calling was somewhat of a rite of passage, a passage from childlike behaviour to that of a mature individual. Back in those days, in my first career, I could have solved the problem by telling the student to take some time out, go stand in the corner. If only it were that simple today.

AN HON. MEMBER: Strap the children.

[Page 4839]

MRS. BAILLIE: Oh my, strap. No, I didn't strap. (Interruptions)

For her efforts, I would like to thank the minister. She has more than held her own; she has held the course. The course that our government is committed to taking with respect to education, to provide the best education possible for the children of this province, and providing an education that will ensure our children and all Nova Scotians have the knowledge and the skills necessary to be prepared for the workplace of today and tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this discussion in a slightly different direction, away from the issues that have received so much attention in recent weeks and take a look at one educational initiative that is going to have a significant impact on my constituency of Pictou West. The Nova Scotia School of Fisheries has for the past 54 years been an education cornerstone in the Town of Pictou and Pictou, of course, is a town in my constituency. The school has been providing valuable training in the region's oldest industry, the fishery. This institution has a history of growing, learning, adapting to the needs of their students and the fishing industry and continually improving on the courses and the programs it has offered.

[3:45 p.m.]

Let me give you a little history of the fishery school. In the mid-1940's the government realized that the fishing industry needed training and modernization to capitalize on the wealth from our waters. The government produced two reports that had a lasting effect on fishing education in Nova Scotia. It all started from the Dawson Report recommending three categories of fishing education be established. The first one was to train individuals interested in research to supply the industry and scientific laboratories with leadership; number two, to encourage those with a fishing background to become the new leaders in marine-related research; and the last one was to introduce fishermen to modern methods of ship operation, fish catching, handling and preparation.

So in January 1947 courses were held on a monthly rotating basis down at Canso and Petit-de-Grat. The first classes were on marine engines and navigation. They were held in small classrooms where students listened to lectures, they read textbooks, but instructors realized they needed hands-on instruction. So the fishermen brought in their engines to be stripped down and to be worked on. Of course, then word got around how well the fishermen were doing so other fishermen wanted to get onstream. The next year courses were offered I think down in Louisbourg and they were held in the parish halls, in old stores, boat buildings and any space that was available. The school grew.

Although the halls, the sheds and the garages suited the purpose, they soon saw the need for a permanent location for the school. The place chosen was Lunenburg. However, in 1955 it was closed due to a declining enrolment. So, anyway, it was decided then that they should take the school out to the fishermen instead of having the fishermen come to the school. They started doing this, but with all the equipment and having to find places for the

[Page 4840]

instructors to live, they found was not so easy. Clive Boehner was an instructor at that time and he came up with an idea. So he designed and he built a mobile unit in 1954. It was for the small engines. So on the road they went. Well, that caught on. In 1956 they built two more, one more for engines and one for navigation.

Anyway, the school continued to grow. Finally they decided it needed a permanent location and that location should be somewhere in the central part of the province. So a building was found in the Town of Pictou and it was remodelled to make living and sleeping areas for the fishermen and rooms for classrooms. During the next years it operated only in the summertime. Again the school grew in numbers and more land was bought. In fact, it extended right down to Pictou Harbour. They built a new extension and the Nova Scotia School of Fisheries became a full-time operation. Since then the school has kept up with the students' needs. The school is modernized in response to the changes in the fishing industry and involving the needs of people in the coastal communities.

Many more non-traditional courses are offered, both at the school itself and the outreach programs. Some of these programs, marine emergency duties - that is MED - practice in the fisheries training pool and this pool is very important to the Town of Pictou because not only does the fisheries school use it, but it is made open to the public. When I was teaching in River John School, we bused the classes in where they took swimming classes from the Red Cross and the children learned to swim, a lot of the townspeople took part in it, so it has been quite a thing.

Also, those students who were taking part in the training in the fisheries school, this is the fishermen, they can even be seen training in the Pictou Harbour when the weather is right. The first aid, CPR and other safety training courses are available. The Project Managers for Community Groups course covers a wide range of topics from communications, aquatic habitat science to electro fishing and entrepreneurship. These graduates work with community groups doing watershed management. Aquaculture is a growing and diversifying field. The school offers various courses, including its popular aquaculture mentorship program where students continue classroom learning with an on-the-job experience.

Computer systems have been installed and computer literacy is included in many of the programs. The school is connected to the Internet and uses the information this technology provides to enhance the system programs. Internet capability makes distance education courses possible.

Of course, there are other courses including eco-tourism, marine mechanical operations and so on. All courses are designed to meet the individual requirement of the students. It is this personalized attention that has made the Nova Scotia School of Fisheries known worldwide. Worldwide, yes, because in the fisheries school it has delivered world-class education to students from Central America, the Caribbean, Inuit fishermen, as well as men and women from across this province.

[Page 4841]

Many of the students stay in residence in Pictou while attending the school, learning the knowledge and the skills necessary to making a living in the fishing industry. The fishing training school has been a generator of economic growth and a source of pride in the Town of Pictou for more than half a century. Today, this facility offers training to develop the knowledge and skills required to participate on both sides of the fishing industry, harvesting and processing.

Our government's budget contains some exciting news for this school. A process is currently under way that will see the Nova Scotia School of Fisheries merge with the Nova Scotia Community College. (Applause) The Nova Scotia Community College, with its growing infrastructure, including 13 campuses across Nova Scotia, provides a multitude of opportunities for the continued expansion and the growth of the fisheries school. The Nova Scotia Community College offers over 100 full-time programs with 62 new programs being introduced in the past five years.

The Pictou campus is located in the Town of Stellarton and serves the northern and eastern shore of mainland Nova Scotia. The campus on-line provides pre-employment to the three largest industrial bases of Nova Scotia. The programs are centred in the areas of business, industrial trade, applied arts and technology. This merger will help not only the fisheries school, but expand the potential of both institutions and reach a greater number of communities.

There is already a connection between the two schools of which few people are aware. The Pictou Campus of the NSCC has a contract to deliver the Airfield Engineering Flight Construction Program to reservice and regulars from CFB Gagetown. Many of these students stay in the residence of the fisheries training school while attending this course.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.

The motion is carried.

[3:55 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We have reached the moment of interruption. The Adjournment debate has been chosen as announced earlier, and won by the honourable member for Cape Breton South who has deferred to the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova. The subject is:

[Page 4842]

"Therefore be it resolved that attempts by this Tory Government to kill the 80/20 truck rate provision is an attack on the very fabric of the rural economy."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

TRUCK RATE (80/20 PROVISION) - CESSATION

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Merci, M. le Président, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to address this matter this evening because it is a very important topic. The 80/20 rule stipulates that any contractor awarded a tender by the Department of Transportation and Public Works must employ 80 per cent of local association trucks in their contract, association being the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia, which has 900 members approximately, in 21 separate branches across Nova Scotia. This policy dates from the time of the Honourable Richie Mann, when he was Minister of Transportation, and was an attempt to abolish patronage.

Prior to the coming to power of the Liberal Government in 1993, the method by which truckers had been chosen for this type of work varied from one county to another, but in many parts of Nova Scotia, it was done through the local Tory patronage committee. Mr. Mann felt that that system was wrong, and that this should be separated from politics. If a man or a woman had a truck, they had to have the right to earn a living irrespective of politics, even the NDP truckers should get their fair share of work. That was the belief of the Liberal Government in 1993.

The Honourable Richie Mann came up with this device as a means by which to try to eliminate patronage and enable all truckers, all truck owners, to place their vehicles in service in this type of work without political discrimination. I might also indicate that because of the success that this system has enjoyed at the provincial level now for seven years or so, the federal government is on the brink of adopting it as well, due to the efforts of the honourable member for Richmond and the former Minister of Transportation and Public Works, the honourable Clifford Huskilson, who lobbied very persuasively on this matter. I understand that the NDP version is that this is the results of the efforts of the honourable Michelle Dockrill, but I want to assure you that that is not correct. It is due to the work of the Liberal members that I know have worked so diligently on this matter.

The issue this evening is, is this system safe or is it to be another item to be attacked by the current Tory Government? I understand that the honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works met yesterday with representatives of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia and said that the 80/20 rule was safe, and it was not under review. But that contrasts

[Page 4843]

with statements he made in the press, saying that they may cut this policy out or renegotiate it. The Liberal Party wants to take a stand in this matter. As critic for the Department of Transportation and Public Works, I want to state that our Party stands for the retention of the present 80/20 truck rate provision.

The majority of the members of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia live in rural communities. The association provides a fair and equitable system of dispatching trucks on tendered construction road work in compliance with manual 23 of the Department of Transportation and Public Works' fair hiring policy. Currently the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia dispatches trucks in each Nova Scotian county for the Department of Transportation and Public Works construction contracts, and at least 80 per cent of the trucks hired must be private trucks that are retained or hired on a rotational basis throughout the local branch of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia.

All trucks in the area are supposed to have an equal amount of work and an equal opportunity to obtain work. The truckers are required to keep a log of the work that they do, so that this can be monitored. Members of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia are mainly single-owner-operators of a small family business trying to make a living in this province. They are frequently farmers or people who have some other job as well and have a truck, and whenever there is an opportunity for it to be put to work by the day, they can get their fair share of that work. The Truckers Association of Nova Scotia members are required to maintain complete compliance with provincial rules and regulations in order to be able to haul on government tendered work.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have already outlined that prior to the implementation of this rule, the Party in power picked who they wanted to do the work, no matter what the cost. Friends of the Party in power were, in all cases, awarded this work in many parts of Nova Scotia. I know that there were some parts of Nova Scotia in which there was sort of an informal arrangement struck with local truckers associations and that crept in in one place after another over the years, so that by the time this system was adopted by Richie Mann, there wasn't a terribly great deal of controversy about it. It was accepted, public opinion was ready for such a move, but it wasn't the way that things had been prior to that time at all.

Our understanding is that there is a significant lobby within the Conservative Party that wants to get back to the good old days and have all the local Tory truckers get work while the Liberals and the NDP get none. Now, we are not in favour of that and . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: He's imputing motives, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MACEWAN: I impute no motives at all. I say there is a substantial lobby within the Tory Party that wants to get back to the good old days. If that isn't true, I don't know what is, Mr. Speaker. I impute no motives whatever, I simply state a fact.

[Page 4844]

I want to tell you, sir, that we in this Party will do our best to maintain the status quo and to see that the existing arrangements with truckers are kept in place. We don't want to see what happened to the courthouse in Glace Bay happen to the truckers of Nova Scotia. We want to stand up for them and see that they don't get sabotaged the same as our new schools are being gutted and stripped bare of all their component parts, the same as our teachers are getting their walking papers left, right and centre, and all the other horrendous things that are going to happen to Nova Scotia under this government.

What we have seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg. The major hit in this budget is not in education at all, it is in health. The cuts that are to come out in health, we don't know yet, they have not been revealed yet because we have been challenged to ferret out the details of the budget and so we have to do it by efforts such as I am doing right now, to try to find out what their true intentions are with respect to the 80/20 rule in the field of trucking.

Mr. Speaker, the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia truckers buy locally and have their truck repairs done locally, contributing to local employment in rural communities. The 80/20 rule places all contractors on a level playing field and everyone who joins the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia has to be in compliance with the Certificate of Recognition, through safety associations. They have to be covered by workers' compensation and their trucks must be equipped with all the safety features that are required before going out on the highway.

Mr. Speaker, a commitment to retain the existing policy of 80/20 is a measure to support our rural communities which have been abandoned by this government across the way. The rural people of Nova Scotia are going to find, as events unfold, that the Liberal Party is the Party of rural Nova Scotia. The Liberal Party, of course, is a Party of all Nova Scotia, but in particular in this matter, it is the Party of rural Nova Scotia.

So, sir, I say that there are many matters that ought to be canvassed at this time with respect to the Department of Transportation and Public Works. I have another topic here on which I could go for another 10 minutes, although I see my time has just about run out - headed, Road Workers Vow to Fight Contracting Out. Now there is another one, Mr. Speaker, in which the existing government appears to want to get back - well maybe not the good old days but perhaps the bad new days. They want to get into the bad new days and that is another matter on which they are going to have to be fought.

Mr. Speaker, as my time has come to a close or has very nearly come to a close, I want to state that our caucus and our Party in this House will support the existing 80/20 rule and will oppose strenuously any efforts from across the way to try to deviate towards those bad old days, when Tory patronage committees were in charge of trucking and only Conservative truckers could get work and others got none. I thank you.

[Page 4845]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, actually I am glad for an opportunity to speak on this resolution. Certainly in my short tenure so far in politics, this has been an issue that has come across my desk. I know the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley would know the individual for whom I speak who would have brought it across my desk. I have to reluctantly admit that I agree with the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova in some regard. I would have to support maintaining the 80/20 rule, but I do have some reservations regarding this rule and I would like to see some changes in the implementation of the rule and how it applies to truckers.

I agree with the member when he spoke of the impact of this rule in rural Nova Scotia. This does have some benefits to the economy of rural Nova Scotia. I would see that these truckers, most of them who are single, individual operations, one individual trying to make a living actually, and I know they spend their money in the local community as much as they possibly can and it is probably easiest for them to do that if they can get the repairs, et cetera, that they need for their trucks. That being said, there are those individuals who don't make their living entirely in trucking and they are allowed in the system, as well, if they pay their membership fee. I would have to question if there should be some way to balance accessibility for those individuals who actually depend on this to feed their families and those who may have some other source of livelihood, but they own a truck as well and they hire someone to run that truck and, therefore, take up a place in the rotation. I see that as a much more difficult question to deal with, Mr. Speaker, simply because if the individual pays their membership fee, then they really should have accessibility to the same opportunities as anybody else.

I would like to address the rate at which truckers are paid in this system. The member for Cape Breton Nova was right in regard to at least 80 per cent had to go to the association, or a particular association, for dispatch to the members, and actually it provides an opportunity for them to get work. If they are busy with a contract or with another job and they get a call to go to work and they are already working, then they will have to forfeit their place in the rotation and wait until it comes back around again, but at least they are working and that is what this is to try to ensure.

Presently, contractors on the 20 per cent pay somewhere in the $35 or $36 an hour range, and when the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley gets his chance to speak, if he wants to correct me on any of this, then by all means, I am certainly willing to listen, but for the information I have been able to glean today, the highway rate, or the 80 per cent, is somewhere in the range of $39 for a tandem truck. I think if we consider the fuel costs in this past year, most truckers are not getting rich at that rate. I would say that from what I have been able to learn, probably somewhere in the $50 or $55 an hour might be more appropriate, but I am only taking that number at face value, Mr. Speaker, without having much time to investigate how appropriate that is.

[Page 4846]

I think the Auditor General has made comments regarding the 80/20 rule and I think his comments are comments that really should be listened to. If the government is actually looking at keeping the 80/20 rule or to abolishing it, it is probably based on comments made by the Auditor General, or at least I would like to think that they are listening to him. It is the ton/mile rate that is really the far more expensive rate, I don't have the table of rates with me, but I did speak to one of the local contractors in my area today and he told me he had been called at one point to put two trucks on a job, I am not sure if it was paving or just what the job was but, anyway, two trucks on one Saturday made $2,300. That was with the ton/mile rate. He thought the money was great, but he had to admit that he thought it was exorbitant. So this is certainly something I would like to see the government look at, whether or not actually the ton/mile rate should even exist, whether or not they could come up with an hourly rate that all truckers would work under.

[6:15 p.m.]

Actually, it has been mentioned by more than one individual to me that they think the ton/mile rate causes more safety problems than anything because those truckers are trying to haul as much as they can in that time period, and they certainly have the pedal to the metal when it comes to moving that load, in some cases, just borderline for the ability to stop and take care of any problems that may be coming their way. Certainly nobody wants to back away from a safety concern. But what I do see as a benefit in the 80/20 rule is that it allows for work to be proportioned out amongst the truckers, and I think that in rural Nova Scotia, that is an important thing, that the dollars do get to rural Nova Scotia, and we know it is going to be spent in a local economy. If the 20 per cent part is only based on the ability of the contractor to get trucks up to 20 per cent, in other words, if the trucks are not available, then more than 80 per cent would go on the rotation.

There is another component to the 20 per cent component or the contractor component in the 80/20 rule, Mr. Speaker, that I don't agree with, and that is referred to as the 10 day rule where an individual trucker can work for the contractor for only 10 days in the year. To my way of thinking, if they are getting the contractor rate which is the lower rate, I can't see what difference that would make to anybody. The problem arose in my area when a trucker would have a truck on the contractor rate or hired by the contractor, but also have a truck in the rotation, and some people felt they were kind of milking the system at both ends. If any individual was getting the high rate on two trucks, then I would say that definitely would cause a problem.

For getting the contractor rate, which has been recognized as not being an exorbitant rate, I think if the contractors are allowed to hire up to 20 per cent of the trucks, then let them do that and, if it turns out that they hire one individual a lot because they like the way the work or whatever, then so be it. I don't think government has any place to tell them who they should hire.

[Page 4847]

I support the 80/20 rule. I know it does have a benefit. I think the concerns I have raised around any exorbitance in the fees and the concerns the Auditor General has raised are things that it would be prudent on the part of the government to look at, Mr. Speaker, but I think the benefits, if they could come up with a stable price category that provided enough for truckers to make a decent living and didn't glean too much from the taxpayer, then I think everybody would be reasonably served. I thank you for the opportunity to speak on this resolution.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the opportunity to engage in this debate this evening, and I also would say that for the most part, I tend to agree with the previous speakers. I found their interventions quite helpful, except I would say, the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova should know that during the Gerald Regan years - and I remember them quite well because I was trucking at that particular time - patronage within the Department of Transportation ran rampant. It was blatant, just absolutely disgraceful.

It was during the Tory years that, in fact, the various counties started, across Nova Scotia, to recognize the various county truckers association presidents. In fact, in the Musquodoboit Valley and in a good portion of Halifax County, if not all of Halifax County, we employed that system long before the former minister, the honourable Richie Mann, actually did delegate dispatch rights for trucking on department construction contracts to the various locals. Very seldom I agreed with the former Minister of Transportaion but I did support the honourable member when, in fact, he did delegate dispatch rights to TANS - the Trucking Association Nova Scotia.

I also would suggest that it was the former Liberal Government, under the Savage Regime, that arbitrarily and dictatorally cut the salt-hauling rate by some 25 per cent in Nova Scotia without any consultation. Mind you, it was in 1993 that the Minister of Transportation delegated dispatch rights to TANS but, then in 1994-95, all of a sudden he didn't need to talk to TANS anymore, he knew what was best for them.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that you can't call individuals hypocrites or two-faced in this House and I won't do that, but it is very, very contradictory when an honourable member opposite gets up and discloses in this House that everthing is fair and just under the honourable Richie Mann. I had some concerns at that particular time and I made them known in 1994-95. However, it is encouraging and it is pleasing to learn that honourable members opposite, now that they find themselves in Opposition, support the 80/20 rule.

Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? The Tory Government in Nova Scotia has decided to maintain the 80/20 rule. Now let's not confuse the 80/20 rule with the provincial haulage rate, because there is a big, big difference. To me, essentially what the 80/20 rule means is

[Page 4848]

that we specified at least 80 per cent of trucks hired on Transortation and Public Works construction contracts must be private trucks, hired on a rotational basis, through the local branch of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia, so that all trucks in the area receive a relatively equal amount of work.

Now, how can you argue against that? Especially in rural Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, I note that the member who submitted the late debate resolution, the honourable Manning MacDonald, indicated that the 80/20 rule, or that provision is part of the very fabric of rural Nova Scotia and it makes up part of the rural economy. So I would like to thank that honourable member for bringing that resolution before the House this evening.

Now, as you would know - and I agree with the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova - there have been different stories in the newspapers, essentially contradicting each other. In one case we are saying the rule may be scrapped and the next day we are reading editorials that say it should be taken away, and then we learn that the program is going to stay in place. Well, I am here tonight to say on behalf of the government that the 80/20 rule will stay in place; we don't want the big companies coming in. We know that the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders Association was kind this winter and we appreciate the fact that they did haul salt for rates that, in my view, were quite low.

We all have been lobbied, and I would suggest that honourable members opposite probably received letters from the big corporations asking that the 80/20 be scrapped, but this government stood up to the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders and said that we believe in rural Nova Scotia and we believe that the 80/20 rule must stay. However, the rate, the provincial haulage rate is being negotiated, Mr. Speaker, and I believe there will be some giving and some taking and the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia will, in fact, come to some agreement.

I know that will make some of the members opposite quite disapointed to learn that in fact the 80/20 is staying because, gee, that will be one less argument they have to bring before the House. Hey, you know, that will be one less argument that they will have to bring before the House. I know it disappoints some members opposite to learn that we are trying to work with rural Nova Scotia and we are trying to work with the 1,000-members-strong Truckers Association of Nova Scotia, because we care.

Mr. Speaker, nobody in that Liberal Government of the day cared two hangs about the 80/20 rule when they decided to shove the Cobequid Pass down the throats of Nova Scotians. Nobody cared then about the big company doing all the work; no, sir. Where was the honourable member for Lunenburg West? Was he standing up for TANS then? No, sir. The big company, yes, let the big company come in. We don't want to listen to the municipal leaders. We don't want to listen to business. We don't want to listen to truckers. We know what is best for you and that Cobequid Pass with the big toll, the only toll on the Trans Canada, right across this nation, the only toll.

[Page 4849]

You know it is, Mr. Speaker, a bit contradictory. I know we cannot call people hypocrites or two-faced in this House, I will not do that but, however, it is very contradictory for members opposite to get up and start proclaiming that they have always stood behind the 80/20 rule, and it was the honourable Richie Mann, yes, we did support the honourable Richie Mann delegating the dispatch rights to the local TANS associations across Nova Scotia. Members opposite know that, but we were very discouraged when arbitrarily, after making that provision, the salt rate was cut some 20 per cent to 25 per cent, no negotiation, no consultation, but what we are doing is negotiating.

We are negotiating with the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia and we are bargaining in good faith. We are not saying that we are going to put a toll road in place and bring in these big corporations, these companies with all the money, we are going to let them build the road, pay the rate they want, the heck with you guys in rural Nova Scotia, we know what is best for you, we will bring in all our trucks, our dozers, our loaders, our crushers, et cetera.

So, Mr. Speaker, I don't know sometimes where the honourable members opposite are coming from. Yes, I understand that perhaps some individuals - perhaps it may be just one individual who is quite concerned and perhaps the previous speaker knows exactly who we are talking about - have some concerns about the 80/20 rule, but you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you are working for a private company, I think it is only fair then that you cannot be two places at once and you should not expect your name to continue on the rotational basis, but what we are trying to do is be fair. (Interruption)

Well, Mr. Speaker, now Mr. Tough Guy, is going to start spouting off. The other day he wanted to take me on. I don't know what he is up to over there tonight but, Mr. Speaker, I am telling you the fact of the matter is it bothers the left wing that we are sticking up for rural Nova Scotia. We are taking away the 80/20 rule and they cannot offer any concrete suggestions, but the government has reviewed the program. We have reviewed the program and we are committed to keeping it this construction season. Take that to the bank. We have reviewed the program and we are committed to keeping it. We will be . . .

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have sat here for the last few minutes and listened to the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley rail away at big companies. I wonder if he would give us an indication of whether his buddy, Tom Long, who is running for the Canadian Alliance Party, who is getting all his backing from the big corporations, whether he would agree with what the member has just said and whether this might influence his chances of joining that Party?

MR. SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

MR. TAYLOR: Can I simply respond to that verbal diarrhoea by saying that I have never heard Alexa McDonough stand up in this House and stand up for the truckers in Nova Scotia. Has anybody in this - no, nobody has heard her, no. So I rest my case, Mr. Speaker

[Page 4850]

(Interruption) Alexa McDonough. So you cannot have it both ways. If the honourable member is thinking about taking a membership out in the CA, well, fill your boots, but I am here tonight and I am here to speak in support of the 80/20 rule.

My government has stated that the province has decided to maintain the 80/20 rule, but don't confuse the rule with the present haulage rate, Mr. Speaker. We have been meeting with the Truckers Association. We will continue to meet with the Truckers Association. However, at this point we have not set the rates. Let's be clear. Let's be honest, but we want 80 per cent of the trucks employed on a Transportation and Public Works project in this province to come from the local, rural community in Nova Scotia. Now, how can you argue against that?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I want to thank the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate. We will now reconvene into the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[8:32 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 4851]

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

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Today in debate going into Supply, I used a term or an expression that was considered unparliamentary. I said that the Tory Government deceived Nova Scotians. I have a copy of Beauchesne here with respect to parliamentary rules and procedure and with respect to expressions as well. Since 1958, it has been ruled parliamentary to use the following expressions and one of those expressions is deceived. So I would hope that the Speaker would recognize this and make sure that in the future the Speaker is very much aware of the expressions that are used.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member. We will take that point of order under advisement and perhaps the Speaker could render a decision on a future day.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, again, I would like to address the House on the Financial Measures (2000) Act, the amendment to hoist. I would like to say that there are a lot of very good initiatives within this Financial Measures (2000) Act, but there are many more that are worrisome at the same time. It is our belief that in six months' time the government will be able to get a better grasp of public perception.

For instance, Mr. Speaker, I can and give you a personal analogy that six months' time actually does give people a lot of time to get their point across. My personal analogy on that point would be that, of course, I spent six months in this House and after a recount and so on, the people were able to decide again, the people in Cape Breton East had a chance to rethink what they had seen over that six month period. We all know the end result.

So, Mr. Speaker, six months can make a major difference or in my case it made a 403 vote difference. We all know it can lead to better things. Surely, the demonstrations, which had been taking place day after day by thousands of Nova Scotians, have had some influence on this government. As a responsible government, they should want the opportunity to have that six months to look into this legislation further because in six months they can better represent the needs of the people that we all represent in this Legislature.

We have heard this government speak quite a bit about financial accountability and also about being an open and honest government. We have heard stories, Mr. Speaker, about financial ruin and economic disaster at the same time. This government has told Nova Scotians about what an uphill struggle they are facing, and how the cuts they are imposing are absolutely necessary in order for them to take care of this province. We feel that is not altogether true. In six months the government, as well as the people of Nova Scotia, will be able to better see the true state of the province's finances.

[Page 4852]

We believe the Tories have thrown in everything including the proverbial kitchen sink in order to make these cuts seem necessary and in six months the people will understand this is just a ramped-up budget and the cuts they are imposing are not necessary. For instance, in six months, people like Arlene Robertson who is a Grade 10 student at Glace Bay High School and who is severely visually impaired will know this government had a chance over that six month period to think about her situation, a situation whereby, in her classroom, she has made tremendous strides in accomplishing her goals, and whereby her teacher's aide has helped her out tremendously in her Grade 10 classroom.

I am also sure that in six months' time this government would realize that the students of Glace Bay High School, for instance, who took it upon themselves to gather more than 900 names on a petition which I presented to this House last week, those 900 names saying they don't want these education cuts. They don't want these cuts that are happening to government in general, but in particular, to education. In six months' time, those students would be able to get their message across to this government, and this government would be able to listen to them and finally understand what they are saying: that they don't want such things as classrooms with 50 students in them, they don't want less teachers, they don't want less teachers' aides, they want their schools to remain, at least, as they are, if not better.

Mr. Speaker, this is a government which campaigned on less red tape, as well. What did they do? They introduced a red tape commissioner, which simply adds another level of bureaucracy to the system. On top of this, almost all departments have added more money to the deputy ministers and the ministers' budgets as well. So, in six months' time, that would give, again, not only the people of Nova Scotia, but the government members who are now telling this House, including here tonight, that that is not true, them a chance to rethink the mistakes that they are making. As I mentioned, if you are cutting red tape, why extra staff? Why just keep piling on bureaucracy?

These are only some of the items that we can identify in this budget. I think a lot of people are asking what else is lurking in the budget, in this legislation, that we need to, as the Premier has said, ferret out that information. In six months, we would be able to discover more and more of those little hidden items that are there. I can tell you, as a former journalist, that if it is your job, which it is a journalist's job of course to ferret out information, that the more time you have to work on ferreting out that information, the better it is. You can do more research, you can make more contacts, you can have a sample of more differing opinions, which I think the government is hopefully looking for, and again, if you had that six month period, then you are able to find out more information, and again, as the Premier said, to ferret out that information. In six months' time, it would certainly be an addition that would be welcome.

I think we as Opposition owe it to the people to take as much time as we possibly need to tell them the whole story. We need to take that time, especially if the government is not going to do that, the government is certainly going to try and ram this legislation through

[Page 4853]

before a proper analysis can be done. What we as Opposition are saying to that is simply no, it is not going to happen. I think, again, taking as much time as we need to tell them the whole story, if that requires six months, then six months it will be.

Mr. Speaker, an amendment to hoist, as I understand it, and I am a rookie, but as I understand it an amendment to hoist is an amendment to give the government more time to consult with individuals that perhaps - and I will give the government the benefit of the doubt here - the government forgot to consult with them earlier. I don't think the government would intentionally not consult with them, although I am not quite sure about that, but let's say they did forget to consult with them earlier. For instance they may have forgotten to consult with such institutions as school boards; they may have forgotten to consult with teachers; they may have forgotten to consult with health care workers; they may have forgotten to consult with jail guards; they may have forgotten to consult with the people of Glace Bay about moving courthouses; they may have forgotten to consult with the people of Glace Bay about health care services; they may have forgotten a lot of things in their short tenure as a government.

If they had that six months' extra time, then perhaps their memories would come back to them, and perhaps they would be able to go back to these individuals, such as students, such as health care workers and consult with them. They could use the excuse that they forgot to consult with them earlier. They just simply forgot to consult with them and now they will take that second chance that they are being given and they will talk with them and they will get those differing opinions and they will listen to the people of Nova Scotia, which, of course, is the job that we are all given by being put here as Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, in this legislation the government wants all government business enterprise to have prior approval of financial transactions. I agree to a point that the government needs to know what is going on, but you also have to allow those government enterprises the ability to function efficiently. All financial transactions, for instance, need prior approval, there are loans and credit limits and bonds and financial notes. Although I agree in principle, I would have to point out that you are also handcuffing business opportunities. So, what does the business community and the individuals who are responsible for running these government enterprises think about that provision for instance?

Well, were they consulted as full partners in the decision-making process? Did the government do, perhaps, a cost-benefit analysis on this proposal? Mr. Speaker, six months would give this government the time to reconsider all of the things in this budget which, perhaps, were thrown in at the last instant.

Now, maybe, Mr. Speaker, the government is moving in this direction because it plans to privatize most, if not all, government services. I know the government has not done proper consultation with the people of Nova Scotia to determine what they think about privatization. For instance, what do the people on the Eastern Shore think about privatization? Has the

[Page 4854]

member for Eastern Shore been able to convey his constituents' thoughts to the government? What do the people in Victoria think about this? Does the government know what they think? Or does the government actually care? Well, six months would give them a great opportunity to begin to listen to Nova Scotians on these very specific and very emotional topics.

I mentioned earlier the topic of education, which seems to have been dominating lately in the news and elsewhere, and it is a very emotional topic. I think all of us are very emotional when it comes to education. Not only teachers and students but parents and I, myself, as a parent have three children in the educational system and I have attended school meetings, I think, on as much of a basis as I possibly could. I have a son who is graduating this year, I am very proud of him. I have another son who is in Grade 7 in junior high school, and a young daughter who is in Grade 1.

Now, Mr. Speaker, for the government to take six months and think about education would give the government, and in particular the Minister of Education, a chance to think about people like my children, like my six year old daughter, who already is in a double grade at Bridgeport school in Glace Bay. So if she is in a double grade now, are things going to get any better because of this budget, because of the legislation or are things going to get worse? Again, what is being attempted here is to give the government that six month period to reconsider what they are doing and to think about, possibly again, the mistakes that they may have forgotten about and they may want that second chance to take a look at that.

Back on the topic of privatization, Mr. Speaker, and as I said, maybe that is the government's agenda, to privatize most government services, maybe this Harris-Hamm agenda is becoming a Klein-Hamm agenda, it is quite possible. Perhaps the Premier has an idea to privatize health care, but I certainly hope not. I know, for instance, my constituents in Glace Bay, in the riding of Cape Breton East, would not want the government to move forward with any privatization strategy, especially for health, and not move ahead with that kind of strategy without first consulting with them directly.

[8:45 p.m.]

Those are major decisions that the government is going to be proposing, and six months could do a lot to ensure that the government receives some adequate public input on some very important public policy. If the government is not looking to privatize everything in sight, then they should allow government enterprise to go about doing its business reasonably, may I add, Mr. Speaker.

If we consider the process that the government has been through, then there certainly is a valid reason for this amendment to hoist. I am sure we will remember the election in the summertime, the Voluntary Planning process that the government undertook; the process was to seek input for government and actually guide them through their budget process.

[Page 4855]

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage all members of the Cabinet and all members of the backbench of the Tory caucus to take some time to review the bill; go back to your constituents because you have obviously been hearing from them, whether it be by fax, phone or mail. We have been hearing from constituents from all over the province. Go back to those constituents and have a real dialogue with those constituents. See if the implications of this bill are going to affect their constituents in any sort of negative way. After all, that is what we were sent here to do.

As I mentioned, this has some significant ramifications, so it is time for the government to take some time, six months in this case, to reflect, consider the budget, and I think even the members opposite would say that they certainly would agree with this. I am sure they have been telling some of their constituents that some of the things they really are not in favour of - and I have heard some of the members of the caucus over there say in this House that, certainly, if they had their way, they would, for instance, be out on the streets of Nova Scotia protesting such things as education cuts. I think as a matter of fact, one member opposite made that exact statement to a reporter and it was brought up in this House as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: The member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, if we had that six month period, which this is proposing, then perhaps members such as I just made reference to, would finally be able to tell their constituents that, yes, they are going to listen and they are going to do something about it.

If we are going to have clear input, if we are going to hoist this bill for that six month period, and you want to have clear input from the public, because it is the people who put you here in the first place, then what you have to do is listen to the public, because they actually have to feel that their concerns are being listened to. They have to have a genuine feel that when they talk to their Member of the Legislative Assembly, that that member is listening to what they are saying. I am sure that all members of this House, including the members opposite, would feel that way and maybe some members will actually take the chance to stand up in this House and agree with that.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation is not all bad. For instance, when a department wants to initiate a new program which was not budgeted for, that money was not allocated for, then the program has to wait, as I understand it, for the next year's budget or the department is going to have to find the new money in its existing budget. That is a positive step forward in the budgeting process, but even in this provision the six month period could certainly be used to prepare government departments for all the changes. After six months the departments will be able to hit the ground running and they would be able to implement those initiatives and they would probably be able to implement them with the least amount of glitches possible as well.

[Page 4856]

Departments must be held firm to the money which is budgeted to them and we agree. The six months being proposed, Mr. Speaker, would help ensure that the departments are ready as well, but I think we also have to be cognizant of the fact that things sometimes happen which are out of our control. For instance, things such as natural disasters, or other man-made disasters, and I am glad to see that the minister has recognized those occurrences in the legislation as, by the way, the Liberals did as well.

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to see the balanced budget provision which is found in this legislation. It is also interesting to see that it does not take effect until the 2002-03 fiscal year. Perhaps the Minister of Finance could use the six months that we are talking about here to take a look at a calendar and to double-check if, indeed, it is year three and not year four, but again that six months would certainly give the Minister of Finance a chance to do exactly that. I seem to remember the Premier saying during the election that they would balance the books in year three, but 2002-03 seems to me to be year four, but no matter. I would certainly like to ask the minister what would happen in 2002-03 if he presents a budget which just happens to forecast a deficit?

Mr. Speaker, there are lots of provisions for departments to table reports and resolutions if they run over budget and this legislation also makes those departments make up that shortfall in the next year's budget as well, but there is absolutely nothing to say what will happen if the budget is not balanced. For instance, would the minister be able to use these six months to come up with some criteria on what would happen if the books were not actually balanced?

Mr. Speaker, this hoist amendment, if the members opposite were to support it and agree to it, it would provide for a time-frame that would give, as I mentioned, people the input that they want to have, changes that affect the Income Tax Act as well, no indexing for increases in income, the bill would allow government to actually prevent what is called bracket creep and that way people will be paying more in income tax than they would have otherwise if that had been prevented. I know that the plan of the government is to give a tax break at some point in the future, but I certainly think that the people of Nova Scotia don't intend to pay any more taxes and that was certainly something that the Tory Government mentioned, I do believe, in a campaign promise, that there would be no increase in taxes. Well, you are actually causing an increase in taxes. That is what you are doing by not preventing a bracket creep measure.

I seem to remember the Premier saying something about how Premiers should resign as well if their budgets don't balance. Perhaps now that he is on that side of the House, he would like to make that commitment since it is nowhere to be seen in this legislation. Maybe, for instance, the Minister of Finance would resign if he presents a budget to this House in 2002-03 which is not balanced. Maybe, Mr. Speaker, the entire Cabinet would put their jobs on the line. There is nothing that brings out your best like a little incentive. Again, this six

[Page 4857]

month period could give some time to consult with Nova Scotians so they can determine what they would like them to do if that budget is not actually balanced.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move on to something which I find a little bit ironic. This legislation contains a section dealing with how departments and government agencies report on their fiscal decision making. The legislation says that these reports and budget and figures have to be rational, they have to be fair, they have to be efficient, they have to be credible, they have to be transparent, and they have to be - the big word - accountable. So, the ironic part is that all of those things, this budget is not. Do the people of Nova Scotia think that this provision goes far enough? Should the government go back and make this part of the bill perhaps retroactive? Well, a six month hoist would give all the ministers, as well as the Premier, the time to consider all of those points. I am sure the people of Nova Scotia would have certainly more than enough suggestions as to how this particular section can be expanded.

So, it is no wonder, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier told the opposition to ferret out information, because the government's own backbenchers don't even know what is in this budget. He knew that since these words were not in the legislation, then the chances of any of his ministers being open and accountable was very slim. It is a very sad day when the Premier of this province and the Minister of Finance have to legislate rational, fair, transparent and accountable government. They have to legislate that. . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would remind the honourable member that he is speaking to the six months' hoist amendment, and I would ask him to keep his comments to the hoist amendment please and bring himself back a little bit.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, this six months' hoist will give the government some time to do something they should have been doing since they began sitting on that side of the House, and that is developing a plan. I wonder why all of these things were not introduced in the last budget so we could hear the minister's projections this year. Could it be that the minister has no plan for the future of Nova Scotia? This hoist would give the government time to work on that plan. So, why does the government not want this hoist to go through? It could be because they don't want Nova Scotians to know the truth, that the financial outlook for the province is not nearly as bad as the government is saying.

That would mean that all of these ridiculous cuts proposed by the Minister of Education, and all of these ridiculous cuts in Agriculture and all of these ridiculous cuts in the Civil Service are not actually necessary. That is why I think the minister did not introduce these measures earlier. We are going to be watching to see if this is changed next year so the minister can get around this again, but by that time, all of the one-time hits that have been piled onto the budget this year, to convince Nova Scotians that the sky is falling, will be gone, and he can try to tell the people of Nova Scotia what a wonderful job he has done. Why will the minister not hoist this bill and simply prove us all wrong?

[Page 4858]

[9:00 p.m.]

There is another issue in this section that I would like to address with the minister as well. The minister, next year, will also be required to report for each fiscal year in a form that the minister sees fit. Now, I would ask the question, did the government consult with any independent accountants who told them that this was necessary? Well, here is their chance, six whole months to consult with CAs or CFAs or CMAs, or you could consult with anyone that the government's little heart desires, and they will tell the government if this is indeed necessary.

Then we can come back secure in the knowledge that all of our concerns have been addressed. The reason we say we want this done is because this all seems very redundant from the standpoint that we already have financial statements in this province; why do we need the information in, indeed, another form? Well, again a question. Perhaps it is so the minister can portray his numbers in the best possible light?

For instance, currency drop does not have to be recorded as a deficit. I am reminded of the commitment the minister made as well, to calculate the deficit figures using GAAP all the way back to 1993. He did not do that; the reason is that it would have shown the people of this province that, indeed, it was the previous Tory Government, of which he was a member, that gave Nova Scotians this giant debt in the first place. Having seen the minister's ability to be not quite forthcoming, I would suggest that the minister could use this six months to catch up on the work which is obviously piling up on his desk.

I mentioned earlier the Income Tax Act, and I would like to elaborate on that a little more. The Minister of Finance has announced the decoupling of the provincial and federal tax rates, and the government is saying that this is going to be revenue-neutral, which is a fantastic term. I don't know if anybody actually would believe that, but I guess a possible interpretation of revenue-neutral would mean that there is no money.

AN HON. MEMBER: There's just no money here.

MR. WILSON: No money here, no money there, no money anywhere. Anyway, that is what the government is saying, that this is going to be revenue-neutral, and we don't believe them and I don't think most Nova Scotians believe them as well.

There are going to be more forms to fill out, and those forms are going to be more complicated. I wonder if the government has determined if this new level - it is another level of bureaucracy - is going to cost Nova Scotians any more money. I mentioned the bracket creep. The Premier says there will be no reduction of taxes until the books are balanced. Why will the government not agree to this six months' hoist and let Nova Scotians tell them, actually tell them what they think of this new system of income tax, which is going to cost them more money and more forms to fill out, why won't they agree to the six months' hoist?

[Page 4859]

I spent a lot of time going over the financial aspects of the legislation, but there is a lot more to this bill than simply finance as well, so I will get on to some other issues now with regard to the assessment aspect of the bill. I would like to know what consultation was done with municipalities in regard to the Assessment Act of the bill. Did they agree to this downloading? Did they agree that at every opportunity they would be there to shoulder the brunt of this government's downloading? I would have a pretty hard time believing that they did.

This six months' hoist will give the government enough time to sit down and actually discuss those measures with municipalities. We have some great people who are municipal politicians and former municipal politicians who can come up with some great ideas, but all you have to do is ask them for their opinions, and ask them for their contributions and their ideas. I am sure if they had that six month period, which this hoist is all about, they would sit down with the government of this province, and those municipal officials and politicians would be able to perhaps come up with some ideas that the government has not heard before and perhaps could actually turn into some action, which would be used. This time not just discuss, but actually sit down with them and tell them how it is going to be, put the cards on the table and tell municipalities exactly what is going to be there and exactly what is going to be downloaded, and exactly what is not.

Mr. Speaker, what are the costs to the municipalities in this case? I would like to know what happened to this government's promise as well, not to download onto those municipalities. Who is responsible for doing the work? Who is responsible for training and upgrading the assessors, for instance, and if there are appeals, who is going to hear those appeals, and where? Those are all questions we are asking, and they are questions which municipalities are asking, which Nova Scotians are asking. They are questions that we are looking for answers to. We want the government to take this opportunity to go out and find the answers in those six months that we are proposing in this hoist.

On the subject of alcohol and gaming, Mr. Speaker. The chairman of the Alcohol and Gaming Authority has been removed, and the government is attempting to sever the chairman like any other civil servant. The chairman has a very specific contract which the Tories are breaking. If the government consulted legal counsel on this issue, I would like to know, did counsel say they could win a wrongful dismissal suit. If this government did not do this, will they take this six months, which is being proposed, and perhaps do it now?

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to know how much this is going to cost the people of Nova Scotia for the Tories to disband these members. In the future, I think we all know what is going to happen, you are going to replace them with good old Tory poll captains. Again, we are looking for answers, and the government has an opportunity to put this legislation on the shelf for six months so they can provide the people of Nova Scotia with those answers.

[Page 4860]

On the subject of the Emergency "911" Act, the Tories are introducing the user fee which they floated in the fall, and the Opposition, may I add, was successful in getting the government to remove this clause from the 911 bill this fall. At that time, the Minister of Health said, just because the provision is there doesn't mean the government will use it. Now, obviously I think the minister may have been trying to mislead Nova Scotians, because here we are, less than six months later and lo and behold the government has announced the user fee.

I would like to know, who has the government consulted on this user fee? It is our understanding anyway that MTT was not consulted until indeed this was a done deal. I am wondering now, is that an example of John Hamm's open and accountable government? It seems that the company that would be putting the charge on their monthly bills should have at least some say in this process and, again, it shows the arrogance of this government. They have their agenda and they don't need to consult with anyone.

So here is your opportunity. You take the six months and you sit down and you talk with people like MTT, who you did not consult with before, and you enter into an open dialogue and you would actually ask the question, a question which the government is not used to asking, Mr. Speaker, the question being, what do you think about this? Another question I would suggest, what would you do differently in this instance? Another question I would suggest, how would you do it so that it would not affect too many people, it would not hurt too many people? We would not have to lay off too many people. We would not have to cut, we would not have to slash. You can cut and slash and you can shave a little bit off here and you can shave a little bit off there, but eventually when you shave a little bit too deep, there is blood.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would remind the honourable member he is to be speaking to the six months' hoist amendment. I would ask him to bring himself back to that, please.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, so here is your opportunity to take the six months and sit down and talk with people like MTT. We all know that they have concerns and we want to know why the government is not addressing those concerns. This is the whole purpose of this hoist. This is the whole purpose of taking those six months and sitting down and reflecting on what you are doing and also entering into a consultation process with the people who are very much affected by what you are doing on a daily basis.

If there was ever a moment to reflect, if there was ever a time that the Tory Government wanted to take advantage of this initiative by the Opposition and if they want to blame it on the Opposition and they will stop for a moment, in a moment of sober second thought, and take a look at where this piece of legislation is headed and the motion before the House right now would be certainly an avenue for the members of the Opposition to do exactly that - take those six months and reflect on what you are doing and take those six

[Page 4861]

months that this amendment is proposing and use it to the best advantage of Nova Scotians, to the people we were put here to represent in the first place.

Mr. Speaker, I think in six months the members of this government, the members of the Tory caucus, the backbenchers and indeed all MLAs would find that a lot of people would take that opportunity to have some say on this. As I mentioned earlier, I know that they are having some say right now in terms of phone calls, in terms of faxes, in terms of e-mail that is being sent to caucus offices of the Tory members, of Liberal members, of members of the New Democratic Party. We have all heard from our constituents and we all know that people are saying they don't like what is happening, but they are also saying, maybe if we had some time, as an example, if we had six months to talk to government and actually perhaps get them to listen to this information.

I mentioned it before, I am sure that members of the Tory caucus have to be getting some information from your own members as well. There have to be people in your constituencies who are Tories, otherwise you wouldn't be sitting there. There have to be organizations out there that you can go to and ask them for some feedback into this budget process. You may not get flattering things said to you, you may even be called a few names every now and then, but I am sure that the ministers on the opposite side of the House, and I am sure the Tory backbenchers are used to being called names from time to time, especially over the past few months.

[9:15 p.m.]

I am sure they could put that behind them, and they could tell people, look, we are willing to take that six month time-frame that the Opposition members are talking about and we would take that six months, because it actually makes sense now that we think about it, now that we have changed our minds, and now we are sorry that we tried to rush into things too soon here, and maybe even if it would come up from somewhere within their constitution to say, I am sorry, perhaps we did make a mistake, and we do want to listen to you, and that was a tremendous hoist amendment that the Opposition introduced, and it was a great idea that they would give you a six month time-frame to come back and talk to your government backbench MLAs and your Cabinet Ministers and your Premier.

Just take another look, and it is a possible way out of maybe some of the troubles that you have gotten into over the past seven or eight months; maybe not all of them. I am sure there is not a Cabinet Minister on that side of the House who would disagree when I say that there is nothing wrong with consultation. You can talk to people about just about anything in this province, because we have the most tremendous people in the country living in Nova Scotia, people who understand that other people and other Nova Scotians, from time to time, make a mistake, and we also have people who, indeed, have some very great ideas to contribute toward the operations of this government.

[Page 4862]

Now hoisting this bill and taking those six months, again would give those people who have not had their say in this legislation whatsoever. It has been pushed forward and forced down their throats, and sometimes you will get your back up if someone does that to you, because you have not had any input into what they are saying. A couple of weeks ago, Opposition Liberal MLAs attended an agricultural meeting in North Sydney, at the Exhibition Grounds, and we heard the farmers there, as the member for Lunenburg West was mentioning here earlier this evening, who were tremendously upset with the cuts and the legislation that is being proposed and they asked that we take their concerns back to the Legislature, back to the members of Cabinet, and tell them that they weren't happy.

I think what they were asking for at that time was some additional time to bring their concerns over agriculture, which employs by the way about 1,000 people in Cape Breton, they were asking us to take their concerns back and asking for more time. This is exactly what is being proposed in this amendment to hoist, to give more time - in this case six months - to members of the government to reconsider what they have done.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: They could go around the province holding town hall meetings.

MR. WILSON: There are other issues as well, and we will make some suggestions. The member for Cape Breton South has just made a tremendous suggestion, perhaps this six month period would be a fantastic time for the government to hold meetings around the province, to go out and actually hold public meetings, public forums, where people could actually come and tell you what they think about your legislation. It is a tremendous way of learning. Let me draw on a personal experience here. For 15 years, I had an open-line show where people called up and told you about their concerns, and you listened to them. You know, you heard some great ideas on that open-line show. I wasn't in the position of a Cabinet Minister or a government to do anything about it but I listened. I think the people of Nova Scotia are telling you that perhaps you should have an open-line show over the next six months and take your show on the road and listen to their concerns.

Another instance here is the courthouse issue which was being dealt with in this Legislature earlier today. Again, you are not listening to what people in Glace Bay are saying about their courthouse. So if you had the six months to actually sit down and have a public meeting in Glace Bay and listen to the concerns, how they don't want their courthouse moved to Sydney, because it is doing just fine in Glace Bay, maybe you would listen to them, and you would change your mind. Not just listen to certain members of your own caucus, and not move the courthouse because certain members of your own caucus happen to be Tory. Maybe you would actually listen to them, you know. And, as I mentioned over those six months, maybe you would actually listen to students, and you would listen to teachers and you would listen to government employees and you would listen to farmers, and you would listen to ordinary Nova Scotians who are asking for a chance to talk to their government. It is not your government, it is their government. They are asking for a chance to talk to you. That is all

[Page 4863]

they are asking. Giving them that six months would be a great chance to finally hear from the people of Nova Scotia.

As I said, this hoist, and the reason we are supporting it is because we think it is a tremendous idea to take those six months, and I have mentioned a bunch of things from hidden income taxes to education cuts to courthouses, things that people are complaining about these days. When you are a government in power, you don't have to do exactly what you think is right just because you as a caucus sit around and have a majority, and you think it happens to be right. You also have a responsibility to the people of Nova Scotia who put you each individually in this Chamber to represent them. You have a responsibility to listen to their concerns. It is not a responsibility you should take lightly, because if you take it lightly, you will not be back in this Chamber again. That is what will happen in the end result.

Now, the people of Nova Scotia will have several years to think about that, but in this case, by accepting this hoist, they would have six months to hear you tell them why you are doing this. Maybe the story isn't getting out correctly, okay. Maybe you can blame it on that darn media that doesn't give you the proper clips on TV or the proper articles. Maybe you can blame it on them, that they are just not giving you a fair shake. Well, six months, you would be able to get your story out as well to the media and to Nova Scotians to tell them exactly what you are doing and how you feel about it, and exactly what you can do about it.

Now, in six months time, I will not still be here talking, but as I said, it does give people a chance to get their point across, certainly. Six months - that is half a year by the way, six months is actually half a year - that is a tremendous amount of time. If you think about time, time itself and six months, how long that is. Think about how many public meetings you could hold in six months. If you had six public meetings in six months across this province, or maybe if you are not too busy and we understand that Cabinet Ministers are busy, if you are not too busy you could have maybe two meetings a month. Or if you really wanted to step it up and show people that you cared, you could have three meetings a month, maybe four, maybe five. Maybe you could have a couple of meetings a week in this province, and think of all the people you would be hearing and listening to.

If you were listening to those people, and I say if you were listening to those people - and if is only a two letter word, but it is a very huge word when it comes down to the bottom line, because it means whether or not you are actually doing that - if you were listening to the people of Nova Scotia over the next six months that we are proposing in this hoist, then I think that would certainly make me feel better about my government, because you are my government as well. People in the Opposition, we have a government in Nova Scotia and like it or lump it, you are it. We have no other choice; the people have spoken. (Interruptions) Neither will we.

[Page 4864]

All we are asking is that you take that opportunity for those six months and listen to the people of Nova Scotia and I know, as I stand here tonight, that you will hear ideas that will help you along in your goal to provide a responsible government for the people of Nova Scotia; a responsible government that will listen to the concerns of Nova Scotians from every corner of this great province. That is your responsibility and that is your obligation; that is what you were elected for, as I said earlier, to this Legislature.

As I said, the Premier promised open and accountable government, so it seems very strange that all of this is happening and you are still saying that what is being put out there to the people of Nova Scotia is, indeed, open and accountable government. I am not here to lecture the government tonight, but let me tell you that the people of Nova Scotia are beginning to see through things and it won't take them too long, it certainly won't take them six months because it hasn't taken them six months already, to see through what is going on over there.

They will have some time to consider their choice of putting you in that situation and over the years to come, they will think back to the day that you failed to support this hoist, this amendment in that six month period. They will think back to here today, that you had the opportunity, and they will say that the Minister of Health had the opportunity to listen to my concerns and he did not care; he did not take that six month opportunity to listen to me. They will say it about the Minister of Health, they will say it about the Minister of Education, they will say it about the Minister of Finance, they will say it about the Minister of Tourism, they will say it about the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, and they will say it about the backbenchers of the Tory caucus as well. You have that opportunity now.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, there was once a man who fell into a well and he called for help. Several people showed up and they threw him down a rope, but the rope was too short. Despite how much and how hard that man tried, he could not reach the rope, so the people above had to think hard on how to solve the dilemma. Most of the people above were Tories and it took them six months to throw down the rope and finally hoist the man from the well.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I do move to adjourn this House for the day.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I believe the honourable member has to move adjournment of the debate first. Moving adjournment of the House is out of order; it would be adjournment of the debate.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, then I do now move to adjourn debate on Bill No. 46.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a motion to adjourn debate on Bill No. 46.

A recorded vote has been called for.

[Page 4865]

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[9:30 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

[10:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: A recorded vote was called on the motion but because there is not a quorum for the vote, there will be no vote, but I will allow the Opposition to now give the business for Opposition Day tomorrow.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the business will be debate on Resolution No. 1592 and Resolution No. 982, after Question Period and we will divide the time up to deal with those two resolutions.

Mr. Speaker, I move that we adjourn to sit tomorrow from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: We will now rise until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 10:01 p.m.]