Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Wed., May 3, 2000

First Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. J. Holm 4867
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Ms. E. O'Connell 4868
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4868
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4868
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. Robert Chisholm 4868
Econ. Dev. - Min.: Budget - Silence, Mr. F. Corbett 4869
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4869
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. D. Dexter 4869
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. John MacDonell 4869
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. J. Pye 4869
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. J. Holm 4870
Educ. - Students: Special Needs - Support, Ms. E. O'Connell 4870
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. K. Deveaux 4870
Health - Environmental Illness: Treatment Clinic - Support,
Mr. D. Dexter 4871
SPEAKER'S RULING ON PREVIOUS POINT OF ORDER:
"Deceived" - Use (Point of Order by Mr. J. Pye p. 4851)
Ruling - Unparliamentary 4871
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Abor. Affs. - Sergeant-at-Arms (Mr. Noel Knockwood): Job Performance -
Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 4871
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1698, Tourism - Prince of Fundy Cruise Lines: Service (30 Yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 4872
Vote - Affirmative 4873
Res. 1699, Health - Multi-Organ Transplant Progs.:
Dr. Allan MacDonald & Dr. Vivian McAlister - Thank,
Hon. J. Muir 4873
Vote - Affirmative 4873
Res. 1700, Tourism - Yar. Co. Tourist Assoc.: Dedication - Recognize,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 4874
Vote - Affirmative 4874
Res. 1701, Health: World Asthma Day - Recognize, Hon. J. Muir 4874
Vote - Affirmative 4875
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1702, Educ. - Schools: Equipment Removal -
Performance Recognize, Mr. P. MacEwan 4875
Res. 1703, Educ. - Kingston School: Birthday Unhappy (Student) -
Explain (Min.), Ms. E. O'Connell 4876
Res. 1704, Petroleum Dir. - Offshore: Promotion (Premier) - Commend,
Mr. K. Morash 4877
Vote - Affirmative 4877
Res. 1705, PC Backbench MLAs - Educ. Budget (2000-01):
Advice (PC Candidate) - Take, Mr. Manning MacDonald 4877
Res. 1706, PC MLAs (Anna. V.): Mascot (Chicken) - Adopt,
Mr. D. Dexter 4878
Res. 1707, NDP (N.S.) - Promises: Consequences Gov'ts.
(NDP [Ont. & B.C.]) - View, Mr. F. Chipman 4879
Res. 1708, Culture - Bob Homme (Friendly Giant-CBC), Death of:
Contributions - Recognize, Mr. K. Deveaux 4880
Vote - Affirmative 4881
Res. 1709, Volunteerism: Kentville & Area Red Cross - Recognize,
Mr. M. Parent 4881
Vote - Affirmative 4881
Res. 1710, Tourism - Peggy's Cove: Rock Patrol Cut - Reconsidered,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4882
Res. 1711, Educ. - School Equipment: Non-Lavish - Recognize,
Ms. E. O'Connell 4882
Res. 1712, Volunteerism: Oakwood Terrace Ctr. (Dart.) -
Recognize, Mr. T. Olive 4883
Vote - Affirmative 4883
Res. 1713, Econ. Dev. - Anna. V. Peat Moss (Endres Family-Berwick):
Success - Congrats., Mr. J. Carey 4884
Vote - Affirmative 4884
Res. 1714, CBC - 1st Edition & Maritimes Tonight - Maintain,
Ms. M. McGrath 4884
Vote - Affirmative 4885
Res. 1715, Educ. - Youth Abroad Team (Cdn.): Aaron Holdway
(Fall River) - Trek Congrats., Hon. P. Christie 4885
Vote - Affirmative 4886
Res. 1716, Sports - Chess Challenge (Cdn., Maritime & N.S.):
Students (Lun. Co.) - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 4886
Vote - Affirmative 4887
Res. 1717, Sports - Motocross (Truro Arenacross 2000): Organizers -
Congrats., (By Hon. J. Muir) Mr. B. Taylor 4887
Vote - Affirmative 4887
Res. 1718, RCL F.E. Butler Branch No. 44 (Chester): Contributions -
Salute, (By Mr. W. Dooks) Hon. J. Chataway 4888
Vote - Affirmative 4888
Res. 1719, Educ. - School Equipment: Removal Rescinded -
Lesson Recognize, Mr. D. Wilson 4888
Res. 1720, Culture - Comedy Awards (Cdn.): Charlie Rhindress
(Amherst) - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 4889
Vote - Affirmative 4890
Res. 1721, Econ. Dev. - Ron Roach (Caldwell Roach [Insurance]):
Retirement - Good Wishes, Hon. J. Muir 4890
Vote - Affirmative 4890
Res. 1722, Health - QE II: Cuts - Reconsider, Dr. J. Smith 4891
Res. 1723, Sports - Basketball (Boys Bantam Champs): West Pictou -
Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 4891
Vote - Affirmative 4892
Res. 1724, Tourism - Princess Wolfville 2000: Keltie Woodford -
Congrats., Mr. D. Morse 4892
Vote - Affirmative 4893
Res. 1725, Econ. Dev. - C.J. O'Handley Ltd. (Yar.): Anniv. 100th -
Congrats., Mr. R. Hurlburt 4893
Vote - Affirmative 4893
Res. 1726, Sports - Triathlon: Amherst Triathletes (3) -
World Success Acknowledge, Hon. E. Fage 4894
Vote - Affirmative 4894
Res. 1727, Sports - Swimming (Hfx. Invitational Meet 2000):
Michael Nemec (Pt. Hawkesbury) - Success Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 4894
Vote - Affirmative 4895
Res. 1728, Econ. Dev. - Jacques Whitford Environ., Inland Tech. &
Envirosoil: Success (Internat.) - Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 4895
Vote - Affirmative 4896
Res. 1729, Sports - Bowling-Candlepin (N.S. Youth Champs):
Clark's Hbr. Bantam Team - Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 4896
Vote - Affirmative 4897
Res. 1730, Commun. Serv. - E. Preston Day Care Shelley Thomas
Mem. Van: Fund-raising - Success Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 4897
Vote - Affirmative 4897
Res. 1731, Agric. - Dairy Industry: Rupert, Mary & Curtis Boss
(Rodney, Cumb. Co.) - Commitment Congrats.,
(By Mr. W. Dooks) The Speaker 4898
Vote - Affirmative 4898
Res. 1732, Agric. - Farm Safety Day: Bridgeville, Pictou Co. WI -
Sponsorship Commend, Mr. J. DeWolfe 4898
Vote - Affirmative 4899
Res. 1733, Commun. Serv. - Apple Tree Landing Children's Ctr.:
Families (Canning, Kings Co.) - Contribution Recognize,
Mr. M. Parent 4899
Vote - Affirmative 4900
Res. 1734, Lt. Gov. (N.S.) - Hon. J. James Kinley & Hon. Grace Kinley:
Performance Distinguished - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 4900
Vote - Affirmative 4900
Res. 1735, VON - Anna. Chap.: Service - Commend, Mr. F. Chipman 4901
Vote - Affirmative 4901
Res. 1736, Sports - Athletics (Boston Marathon): Terry Delong
(Chester Area) - Completion Congrats.,
(By Hon. M. Baker) Hon. J. Chataway 4901
Vote - Affirmative 4902
Res. 1737, Sackville-Cobequid MLA - Attendance: Grade -
Fail Issue, Mr. D. Morse 4902
Res. 1738, Health - IWK-Grace Hospital: Kingston RCMP -
Fund-Raising Commend, Mr. J. Carey 4903
Vote - Affirmative 4904
Res. 1739, Sports - Badminton (Mt. Allison Univ. Women):
Rookie of Yr. - Emily Cox (Shel.) Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 4904
Vote - Affirmative 4904
Res. 1740, Environ. - Gaff Pt. (Lun. Co.): Preservationists -
Vision Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 4905
Vote - Affirmative 4905
Res. 1741, Culture - Genealogy: Taylor (James E.) Family (Pictou Co.) -
Reunion, Mr. J. DeWolfe 4905
Vote - Affirmative 4906
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 620, Educ. - Schools: Equipment Removal - Impact,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4906
No. 621, Health - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Impact,
Mr. R. MacLellan 4908
No. 622, Educ. - Prog. Assts.: Elimination - Target,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4909
No. 623, Health - Lbr. Readjustment Strategy, Dr. J. Smith 4910
No. 624, Tourism - Budget (2000-01): Peggy's Cove -
Rock Patrollers Cut, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4911
No. 625, Educ.: P3 Schools - Equipment Removal, Mr. W. Gaudet 4912
No. 626, Agric. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Changes,
Mr. John MacDonell 4913
No. 627, NSRL - Panuke Field: Sale - Advisor, Mr. R. MacLellan 4914
No. 628, Health - Col. Reg. Hosp.: Cardiac Unit - Closure,
Mr. D. Dexter 4915
No. 629, Health - Mental Health Serv.: Review - Status, Dr. J. Smith 4916
No. 630, Health - Northside & Glace Bay Gen. Hosps.:
Emergency Rooms - Hours Reduction, Mr. F. Corbett 4917
No. 631, Health: S. Shore Reg. Hosp. - Bed Closures, Mr. D. Downe 4918
No. 632, Justice: Dalhousie Legal Aid - Future, Mr. H. Epstein 4919
No. 633, Lbr. - Prov. House: Elevator - Inspect, Mr. R. MacKinnon 4920
No. 634, Health - Addiction Services: Cut - Effect, Ms. E. O'Connell 4922
No. 635, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Marine Atl.: North Sydney -
Job Losses, Mr. B. Boudreau 4923
No. 636, Lbr. - Safety: Elevators - Priorities, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4924
No. 637, Lbr. - Occup. Health & Safety Regs.: Linesmen -
NSP Include, Mr. R. MacKinnon 4925
No. 638, Commun. Serv. - Soc. Assist.: Rates - Cut, Mr. K. Deveaux 4926
No. 639, Agric. - Programs: Cancelled - Replacements, Mr. D. Downe 4927
No. 640, Commun. Serv. - Child Benefit Prog. (Natl.): Clawback -
Promise Unfulfilled, Mr. K. Deveaux 4928
No. 641, Sysco - Sale: Pensions Fairness - Ensure,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 4930
No. 642, Sysco - Sale: Info. Leak - Inaccurate, Mr. F. Corbett 4931
No. 643, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Truck Rate (80/20 Provision) -
Continuance, Mr. P. MacEwan 4932
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 1592, Health - System: Funding Adequate - Ensure,
Mr. D. Dexter 4933
Mr. D. Dexter 4934
Hon. J. Muir 4936
Dr. J. Smith 4939
Mr. John MacDonell 4942
Res. 982, Human Res. - Pub. Serv.: Non-Privatization - Promise,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4945
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4945
Hon. R. Russell 4947
Mr. D. Wilson 4950
Ms. E. O'Connell 4952
Hon. G. Balser 4954
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5C:
Hon. R. Russell 4955
Vote - Affirmative 4956
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 4th at 12:00 p.m. 4956

[Page 4867]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject that was selected for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable Minister of Economic Development.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the benefits to this province of the Sable Offshore Gas Project.

That debate will be heard this evening at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of meeting approximately 1,000 parents, educators, concerned citizens, students at the constituency office of the MLA for Kings South. These people, approximately 1,000, came forward to express their concerns about education and the cuts that are going to be happening. In the absence of any government member, they asked that I bring back to this House many hundreds of letters and petitions and asked that I table them on the floor of the House.

4867

[Page 4868]

The first two batches I would like to table, Mr. Speaker, is a box of letters for the member for Kings North, and at the same time I would also like to table a box of letters for the MLA whose constituency office I was at, the member for Kings South.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table this large petition from the students and teachers at Kingston School. It has 150 names on it and they appear to be Grade 6 and Grade 7 students from Kingston School. I have affixed my name to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to table 111 letters to the Minister of Education to protect education in the Province of Nova Scotia, from students in the Annapolis Valley.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in addition, I would like to table a petition with 176 signatures from students in the Valley schools.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have here a group of letters, I don't know how many there are, probably hundreds. These are addressed directly to Premier Hamm and just as an example, there is a letter here that says, "Dear Mr. Premier: This is what my students will learn next year if our classroom enrollments grow to 30+." It is a blank piece of paper. I would take pleasure in being able to table these on behalf of the people from the Valley who are desperately concerned about what this government is doing to the education system.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 4869]

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to table some letters from the children in the Annapolis Valley area, in particular letters to the member for Digby-Annapolis. A line from one of the letters, "Dear Mr. Gordon Balser: You were a great superintendent in Digby and have a hard time understanding your silence on this budget." I table this document.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the students of Kings County. There are 127 students' names on that and I have affixed my signature just above a young woman by the name of Lindsay.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table many letters addressed to the Honourable Neil LeBlanc, the Minister of Finance, protesting the cuts to education from the Annapolis Valley and with this comes the very lovely drawing that has been done by the children of that school as well. I think it says, "Keep the teachers, lose the Hamm".

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to table some letters to be delivered to the member for Annapolis and these are all regarding cuts to education and the individuals who are writing these want to be assured that the member for Annapolis receives those.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table letters as petitions from the Hants West parents, teachers and students against the proposed cuts in education. Once again, I find this shameful that we have to make this presentation.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 4870]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have another petition here and the clause on this petition reads as follows, "There has been much discussion relating to the provincial budget on education. Because of this matter, 800-1,300 teachers in N.S. will be cut. About 144 of the teachers are from here in the Annapolis Valley. At our school, there will only be two grade seven teachers and 46 students to a class. How will each student receive the attention they need to comprehend their work. With your help we can possibly help prevent this from happening."

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope that we can help prevent that from happening and I support the request and I have affixed my signature and am proud to present this petition on their behalf.

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 in the form of a package of letters, poems, photos and drawings addressed to the member for Kings West from students, parents and teachers from Kentville, Berwick, Kingston and Greenwood and I think this photograph with a note on it qualifies as the operative clause . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member realizes there will be no props in the House. I would ask the honourable member to table the documents please.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: I will do that Mr. Speaker. The documents request that special needs students, among others, be supported in the classroom and the photograph depicts that. I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from students of the Eastern Passage Education Centre, and the operative clause is, "We the undersigned, disagree with the proposed cuts to the Education budget. This action will impact our future in a negative manner. We feel the government should reconsider their proposals they have set in their budget." There are 329 signatures and I have affixed my signature for tabling of it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 4871]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from Nova Scotians who support a full-time treatment clinic for environmental illness in Nova Scotia. The operative clause 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 service 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.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

Before I move on to the next order of business, yesterday the honourable member for Dartmouth North rose on a point of order. I ruled a word that he used in this House yesterday as being unparliamentary; that was the word deceived. He made it known to me that according to Page 147 of Beauchesne, since 1958, it has been ruled parliamentary to use the following expressions and one of the words indicated there is deceive.

As well, it contradicts itself again, because in 1958 it says it also has been ruled unparliamentary to use the same word. When I looked in the Oxford Dictionary for a definition of deceive, it clearly says "mislead purposely". So as a result of that, my decision will stand that that word is unparliamentary in this House.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to rise in my capacity as Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. Since Mr. Noel Knockwood has been named as Sergeant-at-Arms in our House, he has done a fine job. He is a very patient man, having to listen to our debates and, on behalf of all members of the House, I would like to present him with a small memento of his time in the House as Sergeant-at-Arms. I noticed, with no message intended honourable members, that in the picture of Mr. Knockwood in the House, there is a picture of the Government House Leader in the background. There is no free advertising intended. That was just by-lucky happenstance. So on behalf of all members of the House, I would like to congratulate Mr. Knockwood on his fine job as Sergeant-at-Arms, and on behalf of members, to present that to Mr. Knockwood. (Applause)

[Page 4872]

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Attorney General, the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, for the presentation he has made on behalf of all members of this House. I think it is a terrific picture. Although I must say I kind of like the picture that was in the paper of the new Sergeant-at-Arms dragging the member for Cape Breton South out of here. He is patient man. He is doing a great job. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I, too, concur with the Leader of the New Democratic Party, but if there is any prop that was used, obviously the Government House Leader is the appropriate one to be in the background and maybe further in the background in the future, I don't know. I want to say congratulations to Mr. Knockwood as well. He will do an outstanding job, as he is, as Sergeant-at-Arms. I have gone back a few years with Mr. Knockwood and I can only say there is another member of this Legislature who has a CD who is learning Mi'kmaq, and kwe.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1698

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

Whereas this year Prince of Fundy Cruise Lines is celebrating 30 years of service to Nova Scotia with nearly four million people making the crossing from Portland, Maine; and

Whereas Prince of Fundy Cruise Lines provides a critical transportation link to Nova Scotia resulting in a significant economic boost to the tourism industry in Yarmouth and the entire province; and

Whereas the province's own marketing partnership with Prince of Fundy Cruise Lines goes back some 15 years and is helping to further build a strong connection with this transportation partner;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in congratulating Prince of Fundy Cruise Lines on the special milestone and extending a sincere Nova Scotia welcome to the passengers, captain and crew of Scotia Prince to our shores.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4873]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1699

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

Whereas the multi-organ transplant programs at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre are responsible for a medical breakthrough in organ anti-rejection therapy; and

Whereas this significant medical advancement has the potential to virtually eliminate rejection episodes in recipients of hearts, kidneys, livers, and pancreas; and

Whereas health professionals across North America and Europe are so impressed with this new life-saving research that they are adopting this "Halifax protocol" for their own research and transplants;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to express thanks to Dr. Allan S. MacDonald and Dr. Vivian McAlister for their dedication and expertise in leading this research, and to congratulate the multi-organ transplant programs for this commendable contribution to improved health outcomes for transplant patients around the world.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4874]

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1700

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

Whereas the Yarmouth County Tourist Association is hosting its annual general meeting on May 4th; and

Whereas the association brings operators together in order to build Yarmouth County as a prime tourism destination; and

Whereas the association has helped to make tourism what it is today - a significant part of our economy and an industry that is poised to grow;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join me in recognizing members of the Yarmouth County Tourist Association for their ongoing dedication and support, and wishing them continued success in their efforts to grow tourism.

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 Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1701

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

Whereas today, May 3rd, marks World Asthma Day, a day dedicated to creating awareness and educating individuals about asthma; and

[Page 4875]

Whereas asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease of children, affecting 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults; and

Whereas the Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada are dedicated to researching and creating awareness and education on asthma in order to improve the lives of those suffering from this condition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to recognize today as World Asthma Day and thank the Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada for their commitment to improving the lives of those with asthma.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1702

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

Whereas even as the moving vans arrived to strip the contents of the new school, the Minister of Education did not know anything about it; and

Whereas as the movers tore the computers out of their plugs and loaded the projectors and science equipment aboard their van, the minister professed that nothing at all was underway; and

Whereas the children gathered to watch their school being stripped bare, saying "See Jane strip," still the minister insisted nothing was amiss;

[Page 4876]

Therefore be it resolved that the Order of the Head-buried Ostrich, first class and with peacock feathers, should be awarded to the honourable minister for her extraordinary performance herewith.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1703

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, this resolution quotes from a poem which I have here to table for you.

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

Whereas a 10 year old student at Kingston School wrote a poem, titled "The Worst Birthday Ever," for today, May 3rd, is her 10th birthday; and

Whereas "May 3rd is my birthday,/I think you ought to know,/But I'm very sad because/My favorite teachers may have to go."; and

Whereas "May 3rd is my birthday/And I feel like I want to weep,/So my wish before I blow out my candle/Will be for the teachers I want to keep.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education explain to Kimmy why she has made her birthday a miserable day instead of one that every child should enjoy.

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 Queens.

[Page 4877]

RESOLUTION NO. 1704

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

Whereas the Premier has spent the last two days in Houston, Texas, to promote oil and gas exploration in Nova Scotia's offshore; and

Whereas the development of these resources is essential to the future economic growth of this province; and

Whereas the Premier has already been able to announce that PanCanadian Petroleum, Marathon Oil and Imperial Oil have committed to spending more than $50 million on seismic research this summer alone;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the Premier for his efforts in promoting Nova Scotia's offshore potential to industry players from all over the world.

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. 1705

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

Whereas Tory backbenchers claim they are representing the needs of their constituents over their government's ravaging budget; and

Whereas if Tory backbenchers were seriously considering the needs of their constituents, they would vote against the budget; and

[Page 4878]

Whereas former Tory candidate and school principal Mike Brownlow publicly admitted last evening on CBC television that had he been elected he would have left caucus by now;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory backbenchers take the advice of a former Tory candidate and immediately give up their positions as MLAs for failing to protect the needs of those who elected them.

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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1706

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 ever accessible Valley Tory MLAs informed teachers, parents and students wishing to meet to express their opposition to education cuts that they were only available to meet on Monday, May 1st at 6:00 a.m.; and

Whereas these same accountable MLAs rejected an offer from the MLA for Sackville-Cobequid to pair so that at least one government member could attend the rally of concern that was held in New Minas yesterday; and

Whereas the MLA for Sackville-Cobequid, who was representing the NDP, was the only elected official willing to meet and greet the approximately 900 teachers, parents and students as they arrived at the constituency office of the MLA for Kings South yesterday to express their opposition to the savage Tory cuts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Tory MLAs from Annapolis Valley to adopt as their mascot a spineless, rubber chicken.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled. (Interruptions)

Order, please.

[Page 4879]

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege. The resolution is not totally true, we offered to meet any morning and also on the upcoming weekend, but that was not acceptable.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1707

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

Whereas the promise Party, often referred to as the NDP, is full of constant criticism while offering absolutely no solutions whatsoever to this province's debt load; and

Whereas the promise Party's leadership candidate from Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage is offering free tuition to every university in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the promise Party fundamentally believes the only way you can govern is by increasingly raising taxes;

Therefore be it resolved that since the promise-all, give-all New Democratic Party is only interested in building a mountain of debt, they glance at both Ontario and the pathetic situation in British Columbia to see just how poorly NDP Governments really perform. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I cannot hear what is happening in the House.

There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 4880]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The honourable member for Kings North rose on a point of privilege a few moments ago and I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that it wasn't a point of privilege, it was a self-serving commercial, but I didn't hear whether or not you ruled whether it was a point of privilege or not.

MR. SPEAKER: I did not hear the honourable member say he was rising on a point of privilege, I thought it was a point of order (Interruptions) It was a point of privilege?

Order, please. Order!

Honourable member for Kings North, when you rose was it on a point of order or point of privilege?

MR. MARK PARENT: I mentioned both, whatever works. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is neither a point of order or a prima facie case of privilege.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[2:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1708

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

Whereas yesterday Bob Homme, the Friendly Giant, died at the age of 81; and

Whereas the Friendly Giant show ran on CBC from 1958 to 1985 and along with Jerome the Giraffe and Rusty the Rooster introduced generations of Canadian children to books and music; and

Whereas Homme was the creator, writer and star of the show which began in 1953 as a radio show;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the great contributions of Bob Homme, the Friendly Giant, to generations of Canadian children and send our sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 4881]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1709

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

Whereas the Kentville and area Red Cross hosted its appreciation ceremony on April 11, 2000 at the Aldershot United Baptist Church; and

Whereas Jean Morine and Evelyn Scott were both honoured with Service Awards for outstanding service to this community organization; and

Whereas these generous Nova Scotians were joined by Marion Parks and Marjorie Zinck, both of whom received Distinguished Service Awards and by Diane Wallace, who received the Parchment Certificate;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the invaluable contribution made by these volunteers to the Kentville and area Red Cross and thank them for their commitment to their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4882]

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1710

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

Whereas the Minister of Tourism and Culture has turned to legal mumbo-jumbo as an excuse to cut five rock patroller jobs this summer at Peggy's Cove; and

Whereas safety at Peggy's Cove benefitted immeasurably from the presence of these young people; and

Whereas these rock patrollers during the last five years have professionally handled countless incidents on these rocks with no loss of life;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Tourism and Culture immediately reconsider this short-sighted, irresponsible decision.

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. 1711

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

Whereas the Minister of Education has shown once again that she has no idea what is going on in her department; and

Whereas the Minister of Education compared having computers and furniture in a school to having marble in a bathroom in a new house; and

[Page 4883]

Whereas perhaps marble is the standard in the minister's home, but unfortunately lots of schools in this province are lacking adequate access to computers and new furniture;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education recognize that new computers and desks in new schools do not constitute lavish furnishings by any stretch of the imagination, which leaves one to wonder if it is the Minister of Education who has lost her marbles.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1712

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

Whereas volunteers form the cornerstones of our strong Nova Scotian communities; and

Whereas well over 100 volunteers selflessly donated 4,441 hours last year to brighten the lives of residents at the Oakwood Terrace in Dartmouth; and

Whereas volunteers all too often go unrecognized for their valuable contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and thank the wonderful volunteers at Oakwood Terrace for giving so freely of themselves to improve the lives of others.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 4884]

RESOLUTION NO. 1713

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

Whereas Atlantic Progress recently published their list of the 50 fastest growing companies in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Annapolis Valley Peat Moss, with revenues having grown by 97 per cent over the past three years, was listed as one of the 50 fastest growing companies; and

Whereas Annapolis Valley Peat Moss, with operations in Berwick as well as on Prince Edward Island, is one of the top five peat moss producers in North America;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the Endres family - owner, Henry Endres; and customer service manager, Tonia Endres - for their success and wish them more years of continued growth.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1714

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

Whereas each day, thousands of Nova Scotians tune into the local CBC supper hour and late night news broadcasts; and

Whereas the CBC is considering programming cuts that would eliminate these important local and regional news programs, including 1st Edition and The Maritimes Tonight, replacing them with national broadcasts produced in Toronto; and

[Page 4885]

Whereas a decision to do so would deny Nova Scotians the opportunity to stay informed of local issues and events that are important to us all;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House urge the CBC to give serious consideration to the impact of eliminating regional programming across Canada, and maintain the CBC supper hour news, 1st Edition, and late night regional newscast, The Maritimes Tonight, here in Nova Scotia, thereby honouring the mandate established so many years ago by the federal Conservative Government of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.

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. (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: There was a No over there. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: I didn't hear a No. I didn't hear you. (Interruptions)

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1715

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

Whereas Aaron Holdway is a second-year chemistry student from Fall River, studying at Queen's University; and

Whereas recently Mr. Holdway has left for Nepal, as a member of the Canadian Youth Abroad, to play an active role in fostering environmental awareness in Nepalese children, and to perform garbage clean-ups on a hike to the base of Mount Everest; and

Whereas on this very exciting experience, Mr. Holdway stated that he will display the Nova Scotia flag proudly;

[Page 4886]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations and best wishes to Aaron Holdway and the members of the Canadian Youth Abroad Team on this educational trek.

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1716

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

Whereas eight local Lunenburg County students, from four different schools, made it to the semi-finals, placing in the top four provincially at the Nova Scotia Scholastic Chess Challenge held on April 9th; and

Whereas all winners will compete at the Maritime Chess Challenge on April 30, 2000, in Truro; and

Whereas Spencer Landry of Bridgewater Elementary will represent Nova Scotia at the Canadian Chess Challenge in Calgary on May 20th to May 22nd;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kevin MacLean, Spencer Landry, Cory Mader, David Cote, and Kendall Thompson, from Bridgewater Elementary; Peter Ryan from Hebbville; Ben Bruhm from New Germany Regional High School; and Justin Wong from Bridgewater High School.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4887]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1717

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution: (Interruptions)

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

MR. MUIR: Probably the noise that I am going to read about would be better than the noise we are hearing here.

Whereas Truro Arenacross 2000 was held this past Saturday, April 29th, at the McMillan Show Centre; and

Whereas the event showcased the skills of motocross riders from across the Maritimes;

Whereas thanks to organizers and several local sponsors, this event provided entertainment for hundreds of spectators of all ages;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulate the members of the Arena Cross 2000 Committee, which included Joanne Cooke of Brookfield, Anthony Turner of Lower Sackville, and Jeremy Wallace of Truro, for their hard work in organizing this tremendous event for their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4888]

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1718

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Human Resources, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion, F.E. Butler Branch No. 44, Chester, held its Annual Honours and Awards Ceremony on April 7th; and

Whereas approximately 50 people attended the ceremony which saw Years of Service pins awarded to those with 10 to 55 years of service, as well as to the members of the Ladies Auxiliary with 10 to 50 years of service; and

Whereas James Crawford and Dr. Allen Gibson received the Legion's highest award, the Palm Leaf, for their contribution to Branch No. 44 over the years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join the Royal Canadian Legion in saluting the members of Branch No. 44 who have contributed so much of their time and hard work for this great Canadian institution.

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. 1719

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

Whereas yesterday the Minister of Education was unaware of her own department's cost-saving measures; and

[Page 4889]

Whereas the Minister of Education stated that cost-saving measures included repossessing computers and office and school equipment; and

Whereas upon learning from the Liberal Leader the extent of the repossessing, the Minister of Education rescinded the order;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the lesson the Education Minister has learned, a lesson advocated by musicians Blue Oyster Cult, don't fear the Repo Man.

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 Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1720

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

Whereas Charlie Rhindress of Amherst has written five full-length plays, two plays for teens and 15 for dinner theatres; and

Whereas Charlie has received a nomination for the category of New Playwriting for his play, A Maritime Way of Life, at the 1st Annual Canadian Comedy Awards; and

Whereas Charlie was instrumental in starting a Live Bait Theatre in Sackville, New Brunswick, in 1988, where he is currently co-artistic director;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate Charlie on his nomination and encourage him to continue to develop entertainment for the live stage for both local fans and patrons from away.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request waiver.

[Page 4890]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1721

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

Whereas Truro resident Ron Roach is retiring after 44 years of meeting the insurance needs of people; and

Whereas the insurance firm of Caldwell-Roach was founded in 1965 and has grown into four offices - Truro, Shubenacadie, Enfield and Tatamagouche; and

Whereas Ron Roach has given tirelessly to his community, including being President of Crime Stoppers, a Deputy Governor of the Kinsmen Club and a member of the local and provincial CNIB Boards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Ron Roach on his successful business career, thank him for his outstanding commitment to his community and extend every good wish to him and his wife, Donna, on their new career - retirement.

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.

[Page 4891]

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1722

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 Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre is facing cuts of $17.9 million impacting on bed closures and staff levels plus $10 million in salary adjustments and increased drug costs for a total of over $27 million; and

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas because of massive cuts by this Tory Government, the new QE II will result in bed closures, job losses, staff shortages and heavier workloads; and

Whereas these cuts are totally inconsistent with the Tory election promise to heal the health care system for a mere $46 million; and

Therefore be it resolved that Premier Hamm and Health Minister Muir reconsider these cuts which have caused tremendous worry, frustration and concern at QE II and right across the health care system.

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 Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1723

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

Whereas the West Pictou Bantam Boys Basketball Team recently competed in the provincial basketball championships in Sackville; and

[Page 4892]

Whereas the West Pictou team advanced to the finals after defeating the Bedford Eagles, the ABA Celtics and the West End Steelers; and

Whereas the West Pictou boys emerged victorious in their final game, defeating the Bedford Eagles for a second time;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to the West Pictou Bantam Boys Basketball Team, and wish the team as much success in the future as it enjoyed this year.

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 Kings South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1724

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

Whereas Keltie Woodford was chosen as Princess Wolfville 2000 at the princess tea and luncheon held at the Wolfville Lions Club Hall on April 8th; and

Whereas Keltie will represent Wolfville at the 2000 Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival; and

Whereas Keltie is also a recent graduate of Horton High School, now attending the University of New Brunswick;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Keltie Woodford of Wolfville for this honour and wish her every success in the years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4893]

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1725

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

Whereas the staff of C.J. O'Hanley Limited of 210 Main Street, Yarmouth, is celebrating 100 years in business this year; and

Whereas C.J. O'Hanley is a fourth generation family firm, now owned and operated by William Cox and Robert Cox, Jr.; and

Whereas C.J. O'Hanley has expanded beyond small engine sales and service to offer expertise in a range of fields, including refrigeration, air conditioning, sheet metal work and electrical contracting;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate William and Robert Cox, Jr., together with their staff, for 100 years of success, and thank them for their commitment not only to their customers, but also to the community of Yarmouth.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4894]

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1726

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

Whereas Carl Ripley, Alex Gill, and Jason Murphy of Amherst competed successfully against the best triathletes in the world in 1999 in competitions in Penticton, B.C. and Montreal, Quebec; and

Whereas Alex Gill will be competing in the international competitions again this summer, and Jason Murphy will be competing in the World Championships in Perth, Australia; and

Whereas the discipline and dedication of these three fine athletes sets an example to the youth throughout Cumberland County in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the province acknowledge these three athletes and wish them well in their competitions against the best in the world this summer.

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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 1727

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

Whereas Michael Nemec recently competed at the 2000 Halifax Invitational Swim Meet as a member of the Port Hawkesbury Thunderbolts; and

[Page 4895]

Whereas Michael won both the 200 metre butterfly and the 400 metre freestyle event in Halifax; and

Whereas these victories were accompanied by several other outstanding performances by Michael, including one second, one third, two fourths and a fifth place finish amid a field of more than 200 competitors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Michael Nemec of Port Hawkesbury for his achievements at the 2000 Halifax Invitational Swim Meet and wish him every success 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 Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1728

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

Whereas Jacques Whitford Environmental Ltd. of Dartmouth has partnered with other Nova Scotia companies, including Inland Technologies Inc. of Truro and Envirosoil Ltd. of Bedford, to compete for environmental business around the world; and

Whereas this consortium recently won a contract with the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company to clean up more than 100,000 tons of petroleum-related contaminants in Brunei; and

Whereas the successful completion of this project will help to ensure that Nova Scotian companies maintain and enhance their reputation for excellence in the field of environmental remediation;

[Page 4896]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the management and staff of Jacques Whitford Environmental, Inland Technologies and Envirosoil for their success abroad and thank them not only for their contribution to the economy of Nova Scotia but also for their commitment to a clean environment for generations to come.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 1729

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

Whereas a bantam girls team from Island Bowling Lanes in Clark's Harbour recently were crowned provincial champions of their division in the Nova Scotia Youth Candlepin Bowling Championship recently held in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas the three teammates Kyla Symonds, Laken Atwood and Becky Smith were three of over 200 youth bowlers participating in this provincial championship; and

Whereas Kyla, Laken and Becky have now advanced to the Canadian Youth Candlepin Bowling Championship to be held later this month in Dieppe, New Brunswick;

Therefore be it resolved that member of this House of Assembly congratulate Kyla, Laken and Becky for winning the Nova Scotian title while wishing them every success.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4897]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1730

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

Whereas the memory of the late Shelley Thomas, staff member of the East Preston Day Care for 18 years, was honoured last Thursday at the centre; and

Whereas prior to her passing, Shelley was working hard on fund-raising efforts to purchase a van for the day care; and

Whereas the community rallied around the East Preston Day Care to fulfill Shelley's initiative for the centre and its children and successfully raised funds to purchase what has been labelled the Shelley Thomas Memorial Van; and

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the East Preston Day Care and their community who fulfilled the commitment of a dedicated co-worker and friend in her memory so that the children of the centre have a vital means of transport to go to and from the centre for outside activities.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

[Page 4898]

RESOLUTION NO. 1731

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Cumberland South, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Rupert, Mary and Curtis Boss, owners of the Ruplen Farm Limited of Rodney, Cumberland County, were recognized by their peers in the Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture by being awarded the Jon Van Vulpen Memorial Award; and

Whereas the Boss family has operated this farm in Rodney since 1895; and

Whereas the Bosses have also won the Dairy Award for Excellence and many production awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Rupert, Mary and Curtis Boss on being recognized for their commitment to the dairy industry of Nova Scotia and wish them all the best in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1732

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

Whereas the Bridgeville, Pictou County, Women's Institute sponsored a farm safety day that was attended by 26 children last weekend; and

Whereas the farm safety day camp showed children various safety methods such as how to use a fire extinguisher, tips on sun safety and emergency response; and

[Page 4899]

Whereas numerous community volunteers participated to make this safety day such a tremendous success;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend the Bridgeville Women's Institute and volunteers who participated in this very worthwhile event.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1733

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

Whereas the new Apple Tree Landing Children's Centre in Canning, Kings County, is now in its third month of operation; and

Whereas the opening of this facility was only made possible by the generous support of the community, with donations totalling $270,000; and

Whereas the centre will offer a variety of workshops, pre-school programs, after school care, educational upgrading and a youth internship program for those 13 to 17 years of age;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the contribution made to local families by the Apple Tree Landing Children's Centre, and express their gratitude to those whose support made the recent fund-raising effort such a success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4900]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1734

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

Whereas His Honour, Lieutenant Governor J. James Kinley, has distinguished himself in serving his province as Her Majesty's personal representative in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas His Honour represents the best in Nova Scotians and has shown humility and a welcoming and compassionate disposition to all the people with whom he meets; and

Whereas the performance of His Honour, as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, has brought particular pride to residents of the Town of Lunenburg and represents a family tradition of public service to country, province and community;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulates Their Honours, Lieutenant Governor J. James Kinley and Mrs. Grace Kinley, on their distinguished performance of their duties, and the House wishes them the very 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 Annapolis.

[Page 4901]

RESOLUTION NO. 1735

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

Whereas the Annapolis Chapter of the VON, Victorian Order of Nurses, recently recognized community volunteers and their years of service to the order; and

Whereas Sharon Longley was recognized for her 23 years of service with the Annapolis Chapter of the Victorian Order of Nurses, while a number of other individuals were presented with five year pins; and

Whereas the Victorian Order of Nurses has been caring for the lives and well-being of Canadians in their homes and local communities since 1897;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature commend the Annapolis Chapter of the Victorian Order of Nurses for their great work and wish them every success in the future.

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 Acting Minister of the Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 1736

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Honourable John Chataway, the honourable Minister of the Environment, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Chester Area Middle School staffer Terry Delong set his sights on competing in the Boston Marathon as a special millennium event; and

[Page 4902]

Whereas a runner for 22 years, Mr. Delong began his training in earnest many months ago and his commitment to his goal prompted students to present him with a new track suit for the race; and

Whereas an injury to his foot just five weeks before the race meant his training was sidelined for a month;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Terry Delong for completing the marathon despite the injury, and for being an inspiration to his students.

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 Kings South.

MR. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to take a moment first to do an introduction. We are fortunate today to have in the Speaker's Gallery, a school board member from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, a very dedicated one, Lavinia Parrish-Zwicker. Lavinia, if you would please get up and accept the warm greetings of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1737

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

Whereas an important component of the school day in Nova Scotia is taking daily attendance; and

Whereas, like the school system, this House also requires good attendance to understand issues and make good decisions; and

[Page 4903]

Whereas members of the Opposition seem to bolt from the House, running all over the province, missing important public debate;

Therefore be it resolved that this House issue the member for Sackville-Cobequid an F for attendance.

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 Kings West.

[3:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1738

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

Whereas two Greenwood businessmen plan to bike 152 kilometres from Greenwood to Halifax on June 3rd in aid of the children's hospital; and

Whereas Mark Israel and Tony Roach will have support on their 152 kilometre journey, from Kingston RCMP Constable Mike Peters and Auxiliary member Selen Alpay, while Kingston RCMP Sergeant Tom Grant will follow behind in an RCMP cruiser; and

Whereas these two men are tireless workers in their community having worked on fund-raising initiatives for the IWK in the past;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature commend both Tony and Mark for their fund-raising initiatives, as well as members of the Kingston RCMP Detachment for offering their support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4904]

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 Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 1739

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

Whereas former Shelburne High School star athlete Emily Cox was recently named the Mount Allison University women's badminton team Rookie of the Year at ceremonies in Sackville, New Brunswick; and

Whereas Emily is a former player with the Shelburne Junior Badminton Club while also finishing second on four separate occasions in the Nova Scotia Badminton Association's Junior Grand Prix; and

Whereas Emily is also a former two-time school Athlete of the Year and a six-time badminton team MVP at Shelburne High School under the guidance of Coach Greg Porter;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs extend their best wishes to Emily on her Rookie of the Year Award at Mount Allison and wish her every success as she goes back for her second year of science in the fall.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4905]

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1740

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

Whereas the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy have launched a financial campaign aimed at purchasing 124 acres of mixed woods, heather and grassland wilderness, which has been called one of the last wild headlands of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Gaff Point is a unique promontory that separates the LaHave River Estuary and Hartling Bay; and

Whereas the conservancy is about to receive generous gifts from those many individuals who are deeply interested in preserving Nova Scotia for the enjoyment of future generations;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy for their vision in launching a campaign to preserve Gaff Point.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1741

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

Whereas families mean so much to a majority of Nova Scotians and are treasured in so many ways; and

[Page 4906]

Whereas family trees and genealogy projects are a source of considerable interest for a number of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas it is not often that five generations of one family can reunite to share pleasurable moments;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize such an occasion recently shared by one Nova Scotia family at Plymouth Park in Pictou County, which saw great-great-grandfather James E. Taylor holding his 16 month old great-great-granddaughter Emily while surrounded by the baby's father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Before we move on to Orders of the Day, I would just like to remind members, it seems over the past week supplementary questions and answers are really infringing upon other members' time in this House. I will allow leeway in the original question but the supplementary and answers, please remember time is for all members of this House and I would ask that you shorten it up please.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:04 p.m. and will end at 4:34 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: EQUIPMENT REMOVAL - IMPACT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Education. Yesterday, what the minister didn't say was that her department's program of systematically stripping schools of furniture and equipment continues elsewhere in the province. The principal of the new Annapolis Royal school, which

[Page 4907]

will open later this year, tells us that the department has directed that there be fewer computers, no money for software and deep cuts to the budget for furniture and equipment. In fact, it has been suggested by officials that the principal scrounge through the department's warehouse for furniture. I want to ask the Minister of Education to explain, what is the logic to having computers in schools, but no desks or software?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have been saddled with much higher costs than anticipated for our P3 schools. As a result, we are looking for savings wherever it is reasonable to find them. I would like to tell the member opposite and the House that no decisions have been made about furniture, equipment, or anything of that nature that will be changed in schools.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Well, maybe she just doesn't know. Annapolis Royal isn't the only school, Mr. Speaker. We believe, based on a conversation with the principal of another, soon-to-be-opened school, the equipment for the new school has been bought and will be included in the school's lease payment, even though the equipment will, in fact, be pulled from that school and used in other schools. I ask the minister, will she confirm or deny that lease payments for these new P3 schools covers equipment that in fact will be used in other schools?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, lease payments for schools cover the schools for the lease payments, not other schools.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister says that she and her government are saddled with a debt. You know what? Nova Scotians are beginning to realize what a sad government they have been saddled with as a result of the last election.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: This minister has been in charge for nine months. She has approved these equipment purchases, Mr. Speaker. She hasn't cancelled the P3 leases.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to ask the minister, what is going on in the Department of Education? What are students going to be faced with when they go to school in September?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what students are going to be faced with in September when they go to school are good schools, good teachers, a good education system.

[Page 4908]

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

HEALTH - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - IMPACT

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. I am tabling a copy of a memo that was sent from the Deputy Minister of Health to all CEOs of the regional health boards and hospitals across the province. This memo is dated April 12, 2000, the day after the budget. He is asking in this memo that the CEOs produce a reworking of their business plans to accommodate the stringent requirements of the budget. It is now clear that, as is in the case of education, this government brought forward a budget with absolutely no idea as to how it would impact . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: . . . on health care in Nova Scotia. Why did this minister and this government bring forward a budget without any idea as to how this budget would impact on health care in this province?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question. I will tell all members of the House that there was considerable consultation with the health care providers in this province in the preparation of that budget. It would seem to me that a very appropriate thing to do once the budget document was tabled is to tell these people, make sure that they work business plans according to the budget.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, this memo tells the CEOs to rework their budgets, and they did that. The government got the information in the reworked budget and were so scared at the cuts they saw, they haven't approved these budgets. So, right now, no budgets for these hospitals have been approved.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: We are one month into the new fiscal year. When is this government going to approve budgets for the hospitals in Nova Scotia?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has a short memory, but I would remind him that there wasn't a budget when they left office last July. (Interruptions) What had happened was all institutions had drafted up budgets, and they were required to revise them, and they are still in the process of revising them in light of the budgetary figures. As the honourable member knows, a considerable portion of that budget is allocated to the existing regional health boards, and they in turn distribute it to the hospitals.

[Page 4909]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the hospitals have revised their budgets, they have submitted them to the Department of Health, and the Department of Health doesn't like what they see because the figures that they are imposing on Nova Scotia require bed closures and a vast number of employee cuts. When is the government going to acknowledge that? When are they going to accept their responsibility? When are they going to put more money into the system, and approve budgets for the hospitals in this province?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the budgets for the hospitals are in the process of being reworked to reflect the numbers which they have been assigned. We expect that these numbers will be approved in due course.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - PROG. ASSTS.: ELIMINATION - TARGET

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. The minister would have us believe that she doesn't know what her department is up to as they scramble around trying to rob Peter to pay Paul. Nova Scotians now know that classroom furniture and computer software are also on this minister's hit list. I want to ask about student program assistants. The Halifax board has a report recommending that 60 assistants be cut. My question for the minister is, how many program assistants has the minister targeted for elimination, and what effect is this going to have on special education that is available in Nova Scotia's classrooms?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the answer to that is quite simple, we have targeted no program assistants for elimination.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in the last five years, according to published reports, the number of program assistants has increased from 718 to 1,244. These people are critical for the delivery of special education. My question for the minister is, what has she done to ensure that the teacher lay-offs are not simply transformed into an even different and worse kind of cut in the number of program assistants, library staff, and others who are critical to classroom education?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, that is true, the number of special assistants has risen quite dramatically in the last number of years. Our budget for those assistants has stayed the same in this year's budget.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government is taking direct control of education in the southwest Nova Scotia region. It can't wait to get its hands on the rest of the boards, but with responsibility comes accountability. I want to ask why this minister won't table, here and now, her targets, her reports for the cuts she wants school

[Page 4910]

boards to make to keep her incredible promise that teachers will not be laid off as a part of her budget?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I have no targets for any particular cuts that would be made by school boards. I have said that we are targeting administration first and that is what we will look at first in the southwest and what I would like the boards to look at everywhere across Nova Scotia, not teachers and not program assistants.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - LBR. READJUSTMENT STRATEGY

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The memo tabled earlier by the Leader of the Liberal Party revealed an incredible ineptitude within the office of the Minister of Health and the Deputy Minister of Health. It proves that the Minister of Health has no plan and no idea of how his budget will impact on the health care system in Nova Scotia. However, the memo does reveal that there is a plan to lay off health care workers. This plan is called a labour readjustment strategy. My question to the minister, is the minister not releasing his labour readjustment strategy because he does not think that Nova Scotians can handle the bad news?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will tell the honourable member for Dartmouth East that this government is committed to treating employees fairly and if there comes a time when that happens, we will be working with the unions to try to minimize any adverse effects on employees that the business plans and the budgets will have.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that is the trial balloon going out. In the memo the hospitals and health boards are told to assume about the same level of funding for the next two or three years. My question to the minister, in the face of rising health care costs, is the minister saying that the level of cuts absorbed by the hospitals and the health boards this year will be continued until the end of the Tory mandate? Will those cuts continue as stated in the memo?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in our election platform we committed to having a balanced budget at the end of our term and we will continue in that direction. As the honourable member well knows, health takes up about 42 per cent of the program spending and clearly, as we try to get the fiscal house of this province back in order, health has to be a player.

DR. SMITH: There are going to be cuts and there are going to be some closures. The memo goes on to say that the department will also be reviewing all business plans to assess the broader impact on services across the province. The question, Mr. Speaker, to the minister, will the minister finally admit that we have learned by talking to health care

[Page 4911]

professionals across the province, that we have heard from them that his cuts to health care cannot be achieved without closing hospital beds and without probably closing some hospitals?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I was reluctant to mention this earlier, but as much as the honourable member brings it up, I would like to remind members of the House that it was his government that paid the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre $12 million not to implement a business plan. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to have a sustainable and responsible health care system and the measures that we are taking are those which we believe will ensure this in the future.

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

TOURISM - BUDGET (2000-01):

PEGGY'S COVE - ROCK PATROLLERS CUT

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Tourism. Mr. Minister, young people in my community who worked as rock patrollers at Peggy's Cove are not impressed. I have a letter which you, hopefully, received a copy of and I will ask one of the Pages to table this. This letter is from a young man by the name of Jack Whalen. Jack and his friend, Laurie Little, are in our gallery. In this letter Jack writes that his supervisor, a Ms. Sharon Martin, explained that, "She told me that there was a reduction in the Tourism budget, and that Peggy's Cove was one of the areas affected." Mr. Minister can you explain to Jack and Laurie, can you explain to these rock patrollers why they don't have jobs at Peggy's Cove this summer?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, a committee of the department discussed this during the past year and we were looking at the occupational health and safety aspect of this issue with regard to the rock patrollers. We sought some legal counsel on this. We determined that we could not meet those standards. We do not want to put those workers in an unsafe situation. I can tell the honourable member that some of those workers have been re-hired through the VIC services and, as well, that we will continue to ensure that there is as safe an environment as possible at Peggy's Cove.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, they may as well not allow the people out of the tour buses, because we are not concerned just about the safety of the rock patrollers, we are concerned about the millions of tourists who are on those rocks. Jack, in his letter, also says, "It will not be a matter of if someone gets swept into the water, but when." Mr. Minister, how can you put a price tag on the safety of tourists who are visiting Peggy's Cove?

[Page 4912]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am not putting a price tag on any tourist and I am not putting a price tag on my workers either, that is for sure. What I can tell the honourable member is I take this issue very seriously. My staff has met with members of the commission already to look at alternatives. I am willing to listen to alternatives from the member. I know this is an issue in his riding and if he has any alternatives he can send them right over to me.

MR. ESTABROOKS: All right, I will see if I have an answer for you, Mr. Minister. You keep referring, and your staff, to legal advice. Legal mumbo-jumbo, an excuse for the real fact; a budget cut. Mr. Minister, will you table in this House today the legal opinion on which you made this ill-advised decision?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we are getting into a matter of solicitor-client privilege. Without looking at that material first, I would have to check on that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Clare.

EDUC.: P3 SCHOOLS - EQUIPMENT REMOVAL

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Many Nova Scotians are still scratching their heads over the performance put on by the minister and her staff yesterday regarding the loss of computers and other equipment from P3 schools. My question to the minister is, can the minister explain to this House what her position is now with respect to removing computers and equipment from P3 schools?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, as I explained earlier, this government is trying to find savings in the P3 school area wherever it can and wherever it is reasonable. The costs for the school have escalated well beyond the previous estimated price and we are looking for savings wherever we can. The position on removing equipment that has already been put in schools is that we will do no such thing.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, will the minister explain why her department is undertaking punitive cost-saving measures across the province without her knowledge and without her consent?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the reason we are looking at cost-savings on these new schools right now is because the previous government authorized bigger class sizes, bigger gym sizes, which led to the cost of the schools going well beyond the estimate previously made. These new costs have to be paid one way or another.

[Page 4913]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, listening to the Minister of Education, especially in the last several weeks in this House, it is just remarkable. I can assure you one thing, when we were in government, we were providing schools to those communities across the province that needed schools. My final question to the minister is, there is no excuse for what transpired yesterday. Time and time again, this minister has demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge or even the most basic of budget issues with respect to her department. Will the minister do the honourable thing and resign from her portfolio immediately?

MISS PURVES: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC. - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - CHANGES

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be to the Minister of Agriculture. This budget is in complete disarray: the Education budget is being reworked as we speak; the true Health budget won't be known until June; and now there is new evidence the government is going back to the drawing board on Agriculture. I have here, and will table an internal government document that confirms the Department of Agriculture will shortly be joining industry reps to try to salvage something from this disastrous budget. My question to the minister is, why won't the minister tell Nova Scotians the truth, that the agricultural budget is being reworked because Nova Scotia farmers are telling him it is a disaster?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly want to convey to the member opposite that this minister and this government talks to the industry that the budget administers, and certainly there are normal discussions on implementations of budget.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, the minister talks very little and he listens even less. The minister is scrambling to keep the public from finding out just how badly flawed his budget really is. This document includes a thinly veiled gag order from his executive director. It states that the department employees who keep their mouths shut may be able to save their jobs. It is clear this message is coming straight from the minister. I want to ask the minister, why are you threatening to get rid of employees who are just being honest about this disastrous budget?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly the member opposite, if he has any proof of his allegations, I would love to see them.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I think that proves my point about listening. The minister is obviously being forced to reconsider his budget and he will even stoop to

[Page 4914]

veiled threats and manipulation to cover up his bungling. I want to ask the minister, when will you stop the threats, stop looking for pity and withdraw your flawed budget?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly the member will have his opportunity in the estimates on Agriculture. I would like to point out to the House that this is the member who has problems with inconsistency. This is the member who wanted millions spent on harness racing. When we supported the harness racing industry, one person talked to him and then he was against it. There is no consistency or reliability here.

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

NSRL - PANUKE FIELD: SALE - ADVISOR

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance. This morning in Public Accounts, Mr. Jim MacDonald of Nova Scotia Resources agreed that the decision to sell 50 per cent of the Panuke field to PanCanadian was made by this government in October. I want to ask the minister, what was the basis for this decision to sell this 50 per cent for 2 per cent of the gross revenue royalty, and whose advice did he get before he made this decision?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that was dealt with through Nova Scotia Resources Limited. What the honourable member opposite doesn't say is that the board of NSRL had decided prior to that government being defeated that they were not recommending going ahead with that same project. The member, today, should put all the facts on the table when he asks a question. The final decision was made in October, which is what the member opposite said.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, what the minister is saying is absolutely not true because we have copies of the minutes here which show that the decision was made in October. Not only that but the minister fired the three directors who knew something about deep water drilling and the ramifications. What we want to know, what all Nova Scotians want to know is, why is this government costing this province millions of dollars by the stupid decision that they made? We want to know where they got the advice to make this decision. We expect to get that answer, as do all Nova Scotians.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I want to say first of all, unlike the previous administration, who gave away the pipeline for zero, for nothing, and unlike the previous government, who gave away the right of first refusal for nothing, this government has put forward a plan, where we have moved out of an asset because we didn't think that we should be in the offshore gas and oil industry. We got something for it, not like that previous administration.

[Page 4915]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance got something for it, he got a bag of coloured beans. I want to say to the minister that all of this blame that he has been putting on the former government will not hold water, this was his decision, his decision as the Minister responsible for Nova Scotia Resources Limited. We want to see the reports and the advice that he got to make this stupid decision.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all, we made the right decision, and I stand by that decision. Do the people of Nova Scotia want their monies invested or put at risk in offshore gas and oil? This province doesn't have the tax income pools that these other companies are investing, whereby if they make a mistake, they get about 50 per cent back. That is not the situation that Nova Scotia Resources Limited or this government finds itself in. When he is talking about 2 per cent gross overriding royalty, that equates to a 20 per cent to 40 per cent working interest, and we didn't put one penny of the taxpayers' money at risk.

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

HEALTH - COL. REG. HOSP.: CARDIAC UNIT - CLOSURE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health is keeping Nova Scotians in the dark about what health care is going to look like after this disastrous budget. We are already beginning to see the signs. The cardiac unit at the Colchester Regional Hospital in Truro is going to close for the summer. The cardiac unit has been in operation for 30 years, and has a 92 per cent occupancy rate. The patients require highly-specialized intensive care. The last time a unit at the Colchester Regional Hospital was closed temporarily, the progressive care unit, it never opened again. My question to the very troubled Minister of Health is, will he confirm that this unit will be closed, and if so, indicate when it will reopen?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the answer is that that cardiac care unit will close as a summer shut-down to allow nurses and other medical staff to take vacation, however, in the plan it is combined with the intensive care unit, the same floor plan, and there will be a cardiac care nurse available to anybody who needs it, and if there are people who need it, they will receive the service.

MR. DEXTER: What concerns the staff at the hospital is the fallout from this closure. Patients will now be sent to the intensive care unit, as the minister says, which will already be at over-capacity because it is dealing with the fallout from the summer closure of surgery beds. Cardiac patients requiring highly-specialized care in a quiet environment will be whisked through the system and have their health placed at risk. The eventual fallout will trickle its way down to the waiting rooms. Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister, is this the kind of health care that Nova Scotians can come to expect with the cuts to the health care budget?

[Page 4916]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I just want to tell you a little bit about the health care system in Nova Scotia. (Interruptions) They don't really understand health care, they understand rhetoric, but the people who are served by the Colchester Regional Hospital will continue to receive service from that Colchester Regional Hospital this summer. My little story is that an enquiry came in today from the Far East to the IWK-Grace Health Centre in which they wished to bring an infant in there for treatment. What I am saying is that despite the fear-mongering by this bunch on the other side there, that we continue to have an excellent health care system in Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: The Minister of Health has now told us everything he knows about health and even that wasn't correct. When will the Minister of Health tell the truth, that this is only the start of the fallout that we can expect to see as a result of this disastrous budget?

MR. MUIR: Like in other jurisdictions there are certain aspects of hospitals in Nova Scotia that will be sort of phased out or phased down for the summer and that is not unusual and that is the standard practice. One of the things that we are doing is that we are moving to an evidence-based health care system and if the evidence says that a certain service can be reduced for a certain period of time, then we are prepared to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - MENTAL HEALTH SERV.: REVIEW - STATUS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health today and I hope I won't take up too much time, but it reminded me of the fish boats and the captain said to me once, Smith, I told you everything I know and you still don't know anything. I said, Captain Joe, you better think about that. I think that is what has happened here this afternoon.

One of the 243 promises of this government was to review the delivery of mental health services, particularly as they relate to children and adolescent mental health. When the minister announced the review, he said it would be completed in April 2000. Mr. Speaker, my question, it is now May 3rd, can the minister please give us an update on the status of the mental health services review?

HON. JAMES MUIR: I thank the honourable member for that question. Indeed, the review was done as scheduled. We expect a report probably in the next 10 days or so.

DR. SMITH: We will be watching because in a submission to the Tory Mental Health Services Review Committee, the Western Regional Health Board recommended the closure of the psychiatric in-patient treatment services in Yarmouth and Bridgewater, 31 beds in total. These services would be moved to the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville. My question, Mr. Speaker, does the minister feel that it is acceptable to force people from Yarmouth along

[Page 4917]

the South Shore to travel vast distances to receive mental health care when they need the family support close to home? Does he feel that is acceptable care?

MR. MUIR: I think the honourable member has a rather archaic definition of mental health if he is considering in-patient psychiatric beds as the only aspect of mental health. The way mental health is approached now, it is a community-based thing and hopefully before too long, it will be fully integrated as a primary health care service. In reference to the specific incidents he is referring to, the honourable member knows unfortunately, like in other areas, sometimes you have difficulty recruiting appropriate medical personnel and I agree with him. I wouldn't like to see people travelling from Yarmouth to the Valley to receive that service, but on the other hand, if the service is necessary, I think they would sooner have the service than not have it.

DR. SMITH: Make no mistake, Mr. Speaker, when we look at the Amherst Hospital we see mental health being put out of that hospital. There are still people who need hospital beds very acutely for mental health. We have not solved that issue yet. Mental health leaders in Yarmouth were not consulted on this. On Wednesday, November 24, 1998, the MLA for Argyle, the now Minister of Finance, expressed his concern about mental health services at the Yarmouth Hospital. I would like to table the Hansard on that.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. SMITH: My question to the minister, will the minister guarantee these vital mental health services will not be moved from Yarmouth and removed from Bridgewater?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member referred to in his first question, there was a mental health review that has just taken place and we will be assessing the mental health delivery system across the province in the context of many things, including that review.

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

HEALTH - NORTHSIDE & GLACE BAY GEN. HOSPS.:

EMERGENCY ROOMS - HOURS REDUCTION

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the Cape Breton Regional Health Care Complex is currently holding discussions about what to do about the fact they can't find any physicians to cover midnight shifts at outlying hospitals such as the Northside General Hospital and the Glace Bay General Hospital. One of the options on the table is closing outpatients departments at midnight. My question to the Minister of Health is, does he approve of the hospitals shortening their emergency room hours?

[Page 4918]

HON. JAMES MUIR: I understand, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is correct that like other facilities, unfortunately, there are some pressures on the emergency care services and emergency services that are being delivered at a number of sites by the Cape Breton Health Care Complex. Staff is considering what alternatives there may be to continue to provide services to the residents of those communities.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the minister needs to assure the people of industrial Cape Breton that if they have an emergency at 12:03 a.m. in Sydney Mines, they won't have to travel over 25 kilometres to get to a hospital because theirs has been closed for the night. Mr. Minister, you have said there will be no hospital closures because of your budget but will you reassure Nova Scotians there will be no reduction in the hours of emergency rooms in hospitals in this province?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the intent of this government and this Health Minister is to deliver good quality health care to Nova Scotians based on evidence.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, answers like that are as bogus as their budget, as bogus as their blue book. Will the minister stop being vague about serious health care issues and provide Nova Scotians with straight answers about what they can expect from health care when they need help in this province? Will you be straight with them?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat my answer. This government is committed to delivering evidence-based health care services in this province. One of the reasons that we are in the difficulties that we are is that too many aspects of health care were not delivered based on evidence. That is our plan and we will proceed to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

HEALTH: S. SHORE REG. HOSP. - BED CLOSURES

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. It is apparent that the western region cuts will represent about a $12.5 million cut, and $12.5 million of their budget is a fairly substantive amount of money. In other words, it is about 10 per cent of what they spend in public health, the addiction service, acute care and mental health. My question to the minister is that I understand that the 14 psychiatric in-patient beds for the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater will be closed and will be moving to the Valley. Will the minister confirm, either yes or no, will the beds stay in Bridgewater or are they going to the Valley?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think just before I answer his question, I should correct something that he said in the preamble. He talked about $12.5 million worth of cuts to the Western Regional Health Board. That members knows that that simply is not correct. That is one of those things that the other members are trying to spin out in the interest of

[Page 4919]

misleading Nova Scotians. (Interruptions) The question of the relocation of the in-patient psychiatric beds from the hospital in Bridgewater is not something that has been considered to this point.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I hear that it is $12.5 million and maybe this minister, when he starts digging into the bowels of the department will understand that $12.5 million has to be found in the western region to meet their target. My question to the minister is in regard to further cuts in the western region. The addiction services that are now at the Fisherman's Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg, I understand, is slated to be moved. My question to the minister, will he confirm today that he will do all in his power to assure Nova Scotians that the Fisherman's Memorial Hospital will not lose the addiction services that it is now providing?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is giving us fact information which I am not party to, and I wish he would table - if that is in documented form - that he put it on the table so I can examine it. I will go back to the answer that I gave the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre; we are going to build a health care system which is good and is sustainable, and if it is sustainable it is affordable; the decision will be made on evidence.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, $12.5 million out of the western region is a tremendous amount of money that will cripple much of the health care delivery system. What is apparent here today, is that the minister has no plan, and that the minister himself and the department here have no idea what the impact of that cut will be in the western part of Nova Scotia. My question to the minister, when is he going to be honest with Nova Scotia - along with the rest of the front bench - on exactly what this budget is going to be mean to the health delivery system in western Nova Scotia? Come forward with the truth.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would go back to my previous statement. I wish the honourable member would table that information he is talking about because I haven't seen it. I would like to assure him that, again, he repeated a figure which was not true or is inaccurate, I guess, if that is a better word, and we will make our plans known in due course.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

JUSTICE: DALHOUSIE LEGAL AID - FUTURE

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Edmund Morris would be very proud. In a fine old Tory tradition, this government is trying for the second time to kill Dalhousie's Legal Aid Program. Will the minister tell us why he is going after this much-needed program?

[Page 4920]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I welcome that question from the honourable member. In point of fact, the Government of Nova Scotia has in no way targeted Dalhousie Legal Aid for anything.

MR. EPSTEIN: It will be a surprise to everyone at Dalhousie Legal Aid who are anticipating their closure to hear that. The Dal Legal Aid Program is the only legal aid service in the province that does poverty law, its principal clientele is people on welfare. The provincial legal aid scheme deals with other matters, criminal law and family law. What does the minister suggest that persons on welfare do to handle their welfare appeals if Dalhousie Legal Aid closes? Is he going to volunteer to handle the cases in his spare time?

MR. BAKER: Well, the honourable member raises the issue of Dalhousie Legal Aid. Dalhousie Legal Aid's funding comes from the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission. I have met with the Dean of the Dalhousie Law School, and indicated that, as in every other case in government, that it was the responsibility of the Dalhousie University Faculty of Law to put a business case to the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission to demonstrate to them the business case for Dalhousie Legal Aid. In point of fact, I met with the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission and I am awaiting the results.

MR. EPSTEIN: As I said, Mr. Speaker, the Edmond Morris tradition continues. The Minister of Justice and I share at least one thing. We both, as law students, went through the Dalhousie Legal Aid Program. The difference is that over on this side of the House, we noticed that the poor need legal aid services and that Dalhousie Legal Aid provides them. I want to know why the minister is determined to squeeze the poor by shutting down Dalhousie Legal Aid? Did he not learn anything when he worked there?

MR. BAKER: Both the honourable member and I, as he correctly pointed out, are both graduates of Dalhousie Legal Aid. I can assure you that this government's commitment to providing legal aid services to Nova Scotia's less fortunate is very strong. In point of fact, Mr. Speaker, there have been no cuts or reductions to the funding for Nova Scotia Legal Aid this year or at all and I can also indicate to the honourable member that in no way has this government targetted Dalhousie Legal Aid for any cuts or reductions. The issue is up to the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission to make the decision themselves.

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

LBR. - PROV. HOUSE: ELEVATOR - INSPECT

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. In the House of Assembly we have an elevator that has not been inspected since December 1999. I would ask the minister if he can assure all members of the House and those who have used the elevator on a regular basis if, in fact, that elevator is safe to use and when, in fact, it will be inspected and a licence for approval of use will be provided? (Interruptions)

[Page 4921]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I am sorry, perhaps I could share the line that I just heard. Perhaps the honourable member would be prepared to donate his services as a crash-test dummy. (Laughter) Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the House, it is not my intention to take the question lightly. It is just that somebody did find some humour in the situation and I thought it appropriate to share that with the House.

The question of the inspection of elevators is a problem that we are addressing within the Department of Labour. The difficulty arises as a result of the fact that it is a very specialized field of work and it is a very competitive field of work with respect to finding qualified individuals. I can inform the House that we did, this week, bring onstream a new inspector. We are hopeful that within a very short period of time we will be up to a full complement of inspectors and the work should progress from there.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, if I do happen to go for a test, I will borrow the hard hat from the member for Cape Breton North but, quite seriously, the fact is that the number of accidents are increasing in elevators and the minister has an internal audit that would show that the number of incidents are increasing because of the lack of inspection and the fact that licences are not being issued in a timely fashion. In fact, I would ask the minister if he could please give some indication to the members of the House as to when the elevators, some 2,300 in the province, will be provided the proper certification for use?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can indicate to the honourable member that when we have a full complement of inspectors, we will be proceeding as rapidly as possible in order to bring the backlog under control. When I am able to make a suitable projection in that regard, I will be glad to share it with the House.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, to give you an example, this morning, shortly after 7:00 a.m., the paper boy in our apartment building, Renaissance South, despite the fact that it had a new permit issued less than one month ago, the elevator just simply doesn't work; he was quite fearful for his health and safety. The elevator in the minister's building is not inspected. (Interruptions)

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

MR. MACKINNON: When will the minister, with a time period, assure all members of the House that these elevators will be inspected because more than 50 per cent of the elevators in the province have not been inspected?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious from the comments made by the honourable member in his preamble to the question, that inspection in itself is not sufficient in order to prevent elevators from working. He made reference to another elevator that was inspected and stopped working.

[Page 4922]

MR. MACKINNON: It may have a permit, but it is not inspected.

MR. MACISAAC: Well, the permit has been issued and the inspections will take place. The problem that the honourable member refers to, Mr. Speaker, is a problem that dates back some period of time. The honourable member's familiarity with this problem stems from the fact that it was an issue in his briefing books when he was the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

HEALTH - ADDICTION SERVICES: CUTS - EFFECT

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The budget shows that the Tory Government is dangerously out of touch when it comes to addiction problems in Nova Scotia. In the western region, addiction services is facing cuts of 11.2 per cent and we all know that for every $1.00 spent in preventative services, $7.00 is saved to the public in further health care costs. So I would like to ask the Minister of Health, why are you cutting addiction services when it is going to mean higher costs to the public?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we are not cutting addiction services. The service is going to be delivered. What she is talking about, and I will have to check on this, I believe I saw a transfer of funds from one section to another. It wasn't a great reduction.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary is to the Minister responsible for the administration of the Liquor Control Act. We see the same lack of concern coming from the Minister responsible for the administration of the Liquor Control Act. When he sent out a request for proposals for privatizing the Liquor Commission, he failed to tell the bidders to address the social problems associated with privatization, problems like increased addiction. So I want to ask the minister, why is he not looking at the social impact, such as increased addiction problems of privatizing the Liquor Commission?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: I would ask the member to repeat the question, if she wouldn't mind?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member for Halifax Fairview repeat question only, please?

MS. O'CONNELL: Out of the goodness of my heart, Mr. Speaker. I want to ask this minister, why is he not looking at the social impact, such as increased addiction problems, of privatizing the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, right now, we are not saying anything about privatizing. What we are saying is we are doing an analysis of the various options that are available to the government.

[Page 4923]

MS. O'CONNELL: Well, that shuts me down nicely, doesn't it, Mr. Speaker? I think I will go back to the Minister of Health, since I am not entirely sure, in fact I am not at all sure, that that answers the outline in the proposal. To the Minister of Health, it would appear the government would rather sweep addiction problems under the rug than provide the necessary supports. Can the minister give this House any evidence at all that would justify shrinking addiction support services or ignoring addiction problems altogether?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that addiction services have been shrunk. We are moving toward a seamless system of primary care, and addiction services is one of the things that hopefully will be integrated into that. It will be a seamless system.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - MARINE ATL.:

NORTH SYDNEY - JOB LOSSES

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation. In 1998, Marine Atlantic moved its head office services from Moncton, New Brunswick. My Leader and former Premier, the Honourable Russell MacLellan, fought for the deal that shared jobs between North Sydney and Port aux Basques. Operational human resource jobs went to North Sydney, finance and administration went to Port aux Basques. The remaining jobs within this operation are up for grabs. My question, why isn't this minister strongly advocating that these jobs be moved to North Sydney, instead of going directly to Newfoundland?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member is in error. The jobs are not going to Newfoundland, they are indeed coming to North Sydney.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, that is certainly not the information I have from Marine Atlantic officials. The understanding I have is that these jobs are going to St. John's, Newfoundland. Newfoundland is fighting for those jobs, tooth and nail. While they are only a small number of jobs, they are good paying jobs and would have a positive impact on the economy in any community. Will the minister commit to contacting his federal counterpart immediately after Question Period to make a last ditch effort to obtain those jobs for Nova Scotians?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I presume we are talking about the same subject matter, and that is Northumberland Ferries? Sorry, not Northumberland, Marine Atlantic Ferries from Cape Breton to Newfoundland. The president of Newfoundland Ferries has stated that that staff is moving to North Sydney.

[Page 4924]

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, St. John's is not even a port of call for Marine Atlantic. Those jobs belong in North Sydney. Will the minister do the right thing and make some effort to obtain those jobs from Newfoundland?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I will provide the honourable member, I don't have any correspondence with me, but I have some correspondence in my office which indicates, as I say, that the jobs are moving to North Sydney. So I am afraid we have a variance here in what is actually taking place. I will certainly take a look at it and get the information back to the honourable member.

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

LBR. - SAFETY: ELEVATORS - PRIORITIES

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I excused myself for a moment to take a ride on our elevator. I am aware of the fact it is January 1999, and this elevator doesn't go all the way to the roof in this place, obviously. I have a concern. The number of accidents have increased with elevators in this province from 22 a year to 25 per year. I want to ask the Minister of Labour, what sort of priorities does he have in his department? Are you, after all, putting public safety after the fact of budgetary restrictions?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the matter of inspections, that is a priority with our department, and the line budget items with respect to that matter have, in fact, increased.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is into double speak, because we are aware of the fact that there is a recommendation that not only will inspections be reduced, but be eliminated. Now, that says to me that regular users of elevators in this province should be concerned about their safety. What kind of guarantees do you have, Mr. Minister, that a regular user of this elevator, the good member for Dartmouth North, that that is a safe elevator for him to travel? Give him that guarantee in this House today.

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can say that every effort is being made to ensure that all elevators in this province are safe and operating properly. Earlier, in Question Period, I indicated that there were difficulties in securing an adequate number of inspectors. That problem is being addressed, and we expect to have all of our elevators inspected and brought up to date in the near future.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Explain then to the elevator users in this province the basis for the fact of the possible elimination of these inspections, furthermore compromising the safety of Nova Scotians, when your department - the number of inspectors reduced - is looking at the fact of no longer having inspections of elevators. Can you explain that to Nova Scotians please?

[Page 4925]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House and all Nova Scotians that whatever our department does with respect to the matter of inspections, that whatever is done will be done in such a way that the security and the operation of elevators will be paramount and of the highest priority with respect to our department.

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

LBR. - OCCUP. HEALTH & SAFETY REGS.:

LINESMEN - NSP INCLUDE

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. The Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Panel voted unanimously to approve a regulation that would require two linespersons to be in attendance with responding to emergency and service calls when employed with Nova Scotia Power, and this despite a recommendation with a contrary position that Nova Scotia Power holds. This proposed regulation has been in the minister's hands for several months. My question is, why is the minister delaying approval of this critical safety regulation?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the honourable member that we have received and sought additional information with respect to that issue, and that is related to what practices take place throughout the country. I can also indicate to the honourable member that that particular item is the subject of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee within the company, and it is being considered by that committee.

MR. MACKINNON: On March 28th of this year, the minister advised the co-chairs of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Panel that their concerns would be passed on to a red tape commissioner. Well, Mr. Speaker, there is no red tape commissioner, and there is no time-frame as to when they will even hire one. Will the minister please confirm that the reason for delaying the implementation of this safety regulation is because Nova Scotia Power officials privately lobbied the government to ignore the regulation proposals?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, no, I will not confirm that.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would be embarrassed to admit it as well, if that were the case. Nova Scotia Power officials advised the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Panel that the back-up support for a linesperson who would need some assistance, in the case of an emergency, would be the use of a cell phone. That wouldn't be of much value if somebody was zapped with 20,000 volts. How, in the name of Heavens, would they use a cell phone? My question to the minister is, will the minister please explain why the interests of such high-profile Tories as Murray Coolican at Nova Scotia Power take precedence over the safety of the employees at Nova Scotia Power?

[Page 4926]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member should make it clear to the House that we are talking about one specific item with respect to electrical workers and all of the regulations with respect to electrical work went into effect on May 1st. The item to which the honourable member is referring is the item of switching and that is the matter of turning switches on and off. The common practice throughout this country is for one person to do that and that is what is being done and the matter is under continued observation and discussion.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - SOC. ASSIST.: RATES - CUT

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, that was probably just to take a couple of minutes off my time for my question.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community Services. Yesterday, the Minister of Community Services, when questioned about the loss of a $200 employment allowance and the loss of an $18 transportation allowance, said that that was going to be replaced with a $400 allowance. I don't know where he learned math, but let me explain a little bit more about that $400 allowance.

Mr. Speaker, not everyone is going to be eligible for that $400. It is not going to cover everything the previous money covered and it is at the discretion of the caseworker much more than the last amount of money. So my question to the minister is, what will he do to reassure people on family benefits that if they want to move from welfare to work, they are going to have the same benefits that they had before May 1st when the regulations changed?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite correct that there has been a change and a redirection in that, but what the honourable member has indicated is those monies, where I indicated there was $400, will now help with child care and with other things directly to help people get back to work.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, let's talk about getting people back to work because before May 1st, before this government passed new regulations, it was quite specific that there was a fairly good incentive program to help people who were disabled get back to work. They could keep more of their money. That is gone. That has been cut by 50 per cent. This government has actually reduced incentives to help people move from welfare to work. So my second question is, why is this minister with one hand saying that he is trying to help move people from welfare to work, when with the other hand he is taking away the very incentives that will help them?

[Page 4927]

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, there has been some confusion. We have had a number of calls and I would like to say to the honourable member that he should go back to those people to whom he was speaking. What we indicated is that people who are disabled, who are working, are not being reduced by $50. They are staying at $100. Because of all the confusion, we have to write to the work centres to clear that up, but what the member said is incorrect. That is staying at $100.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, actually, for the minister's elucidation - and maybe it isn't in his briefing book - single parents with children, with dependants, who are on family benefits, are going from $200 down to $100. So people are losing money and they are losing incentives to go to work. So my question is, you are lowering rates for benefits, you are taking away incentives to move from welfare to work and you are lowering the amount of money that people have for training, how do you seriously consider this helping people move from welfare to work?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I think that question requires a lot of time to talk about all the different issues, but in a very short answer I will say to the honourable member that people who are looking for assistance to go back to work, as I indicated to him yesterday, the rate is going up. The assistance available is now going up to $400, not from $200. That is how we see people helping people get back to work.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

AGRIC. - PROGRAMS: CANCELLED - REPLACEMENTS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing. The minister is still in a fantasy world when he believes as a fact his saying that he has had real consultation prior to the budget. The reality is he has only started to do consultation with regard to the budget after it has been tabled.

A recent article in Farm Focus, Nova Scotia Government Butchers Department of Agriculture, and the list goes on, a recent editorial in Farm Focus condemns the minister for his cuts. Will the minister explain to this House what replacement programs are being put in place, if any? I suggest that the minister be specific.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: As the member opposite well knows, there are a number of new programs being instituted this year; a new entrants program, which the previous government cancelled, of which that member was a minister in that Cabinet. We are putting the Large Animal Livestock Program back in force, another program that his administration cancelled. We are putting many new programs in place to help farmers in Nova Scotia. We are not cancelling programs, like they did.

[Page 4928]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we have seen in excess of 160 programs slashed, cut, burned and eliminated in the Department of Agriculture, notwithstanding almost 100 employees, and he has the gall to stand up here and talk about one or two programs.

My question to the minister is quite simple. He is now consulting, according to the memo that has been tabled today, with the Federation of Agriculture to come back with a budget in June or July or August. My question to the minister is, when you have already used up one-quarter of a year and you are taking a 20 percent cut in the budget, these cuts will be even more severe by the time they ever figure it out. Will this minister admit today that his budget in agriculture is a failure to this province and to the farmers of Nova Scotia.

MR. FAGE: To the member opposite, the member well knows his administration reduced the Department of Agriculture budget during his administration, from in excess of $40 million down to $33 million. That is the administration that cut it. What is happening here, Mr. Speaker, is that we are doing alternative service program delivery. We have been in consultation with the federation and commodity groups. We are now conducting discussions with them about the implementation of alternative services on the $2.2 million. This is a sensible, common sense thing to do, not erode that budget, as the former administration did.

MR. DOWNE: Sensible, common sense thing to do. As the former President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Charles Keddy, says, this wasn't cuts, this was murder. The minister is now saying that it is no big problem. Well, the reality is that we have seen here today that the Minister of Health has no plan and doesn't have an idea where he is going in his budget. We have heard the Minister of Education without a plan and we heard today the Minister of Agriculture does not have a plan in regard to the budget.

My final question to the minister is, will the minister admit today to this House that he does not understand and know where the impacts of these cuts will be to the average farmer across this province.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again the member opposite deals in half truths and misleading truths. There are more program dollars in this budget than there were in the previous budget of the former government.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - CHILD BENEFIT PROG. (NATL.):

CLAWBACK - PROMISE UNFULFILLED

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, maybe I should revise my fund-raising calculations. (Interruptions)

[Page 4929]

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. You know, before the budget came out this minister waxed poetic in late debate and on Opposition Day about the devastating impact of poverty on children and what his government was going to do to change that. Then last Friday in Supply debate, he specifically acknowledged that this government will be breaking its promise to eliminate the child tax credit clawback and will actually be increasing it this year. Now, in a province where seven out of every 10 children of single parents are poor, I find that astounding. My question to this minister is, why is he breaking his promise on the national child tax credit clawback?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member and I did have this discussion last week as we talked about estimates. What I indicated to him at the time is that there are a number of issues around the National Child Tax Benefit. There are a number of issues nationally. There are a number of issues we have to look at in bringing those together. We have started to look at next year, to start to work toward changing that structure. As we go forward, we are committed to helping and assisting all low-income families.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, last time I heard this was the Minister of Community Services, and it is his job to adjust child poverty in this province and not try to pass the buck to the federal government or other provinces. Let me give another example. This government says they are going to provide an extra $50 in the August cheque for assistance recipients to help them with school clothing and supplies for their children. At the same time, they are cutting $120 a year for clothing and miscellaneous support for children in poverty. My question is, how does an aggregate cut of $70 in clothing allowance for children who are poor help address child poverty in this province?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of issues. The member raises the issue of assistance provided for going back to school. He also would know we have the plan targetted for low-income families on the Direct Assistance Plan. There are a number of ways we have to work with them, there are a number of things they need. We have increased the area of special needs, and those are the ways we are trying to help people in need.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, let me make it quite clear to the Minister of Community Services with this question. This province has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada. What can he specify in this budget that is actually going to address child poverty when he is cutting rates, he is cutting clothing allowances and he is cutting support for families.

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the honourable member is correct. There is a lot of poverty in this province, and there are a lot of areas we have to help. As we indicated the other day, when we look at the single tier rate, there are a number of people on the single tier rate that will see increases. There are a number of areas where we are increasing the special needs. We are trying to address all of those things as we talk to people and see what they need so we can help each and every person.

[Page 4930]

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

SYSCO - SALE: PENSIONS FAIRNESS - ENSURE

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for Sydney Steel. Whatever happens to Sydney Steel, be it a sale or, heaven forbid, a closure, the Premier promised he would protect workers, who, whichever the outcome of Sydney Steel, will be forced out the gate whenever that event happens. Pension negotiations seem to be going nowhere. All steelworkers and their families are faced with more uncertainty as this process drags on. My question to the minister, will the minister commit to providing a fair pension arrangement before any announced sale, by concluding a successful agreement with Local 1064 and other stakeholders who are interested in the outcome of those negotiations?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. We have committed from the outset that regardless of which of the two scenarios unfolds we would deal with the workforce in terms of pension obligations that exist under the current agreement, and we have in fact honoured that commitment. There was a meeting held earlier which, unfortunately didn't come to any successful resolution, but we do have a negotiator on behalf of the province who has met with the union, is continuing to meet with the union. They have recently held meetings and have another meeting date scheduled for later in May. Those negotiations are ongoing, and we hope that they will come to a positive resolution.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, no commitment. I want you to deal with the pension issue, Mr. Minister, before you get rid of the Sydney steel plant, because you are certainly not going to do anything with it afterward. We know that and all people who are concerned about this issue know that.

Mr. Speaker, I received many calls and one, in particular, a plea from a steelworker's wife to make sure her husband would not be left out in the cold when this sale is completed, regarding the pension issue. I couldn't assure her of anything, but the minister can. My question is, will the minister demonstrate some compassion and tell this steelworker's wife and other steelworkers that the workers at Sydney Steel will not be left out in the cold once this sale is completed?

MR. BALSER: Certainly I can't predict how long negotiations will take and when they will actually come to a positive resolution. But, certainly, we have said, consistently, that we will work with the collective union to ensure that there is a fair settlement.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: A fair settlement. Mr. Speaker, there has been absolutely nothing put on the table regarding these pension meetings that have been going on now for months with the Sydney steelworkers. I contend they are ragging the puck here until

[Page 4931]

the sale or closure happens and then they are going to tell the steelworkers, it has been nice knowing you. We don't want another Route Canada deal here. Brian Mulroney pulled that with Route Canada and CN. My question to this minister is, is he going to make additional pension monies available to these steelworkers in the event that the steel plant is closed or sold?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it wouldn't be appropriate to discuss the details of the package that was put forward by our negotiator but, certainly, she was given very clear direction as to what was available within the parameters of her negotiations.

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

SYSCO - SALE: INFO. LEAK - INACCURATE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the government is keeping everyone in the dark about Sysco, especially with comments like that, but there is one group he isn't. He won't be open with the workers. He won't be open with the board of directors or the general public. The government is doing one thing. They are leaking one-sided information through the media that favours one bid only. I ask the minister, why is your department leaking inaccurate information to discredit one of the bidders?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I have no control over information that is divulged through media sources. As I mentioned yesterday in estimates in a response to a question, it seemed through the Rail Associates deal that members of the media had more direct access to information than I certainly did, as minister responsible.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this guy should speak to that guy over there who is the Minister of Finance, who is telling reporters out on the step that there is a $40 million deal with North American Metals. Maybe you should talk to him. The minister has claimed, repeatedly, that the board of directors of Sysco will be involved with the decision. The reality is, the minister is only going to let the board see one bid, the bid from Ernst & Young. How can the board of directors provide a complete opinion if you won't let them meet with the bidders or evaluate the bids? How can they do that, Mr. Minister?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it wouldn't be appropriate to speculate on information conveyed through media sources. Certainly there are a number of bits of information that may, in fact, be accurate or may, in fact, be inaccurate. Beyond that, certainly the involvement of the board of the directors has been ongoing and Ernst & Young are going through the process to review the proposal they have in front of them. They are going to bring recommendations forward. Of course, they are going to convey to the board of directors information pertinent to all of the proposals that were being reviewed.

[Page 4932]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this minister is either stupid or lazy or both and that is a lethal combination for the workers of Sydney Steel.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I don't think the honourable members needs me to tell him that was very unparliamentary and I ask him to retract that.

MR. CORBETT: Okay, we figured out that is not one, we know he is the other then.

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

MR. CORBETT: I will retract it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre has the floor. Put the question please.

MR. CORBETT: Okay. This is for the lazy Minister responsible for Sysco. This minister knows full well that he has a senior bureaucrat in his office that has an axe to grind. He has been in this very House leaking information and taking partisan sides in the sale of Sysco. Why won't you abandon this lazy approach of listening to a prejudiced bureaucrat who doesn't have a clue and get some real insight into the sale of Sysco. Ask the steelworkers.

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. BALSER: I would like to commend the member opposite on the level of theatrics he has introduced to his final supplementary. Certainly, a great performance; beyond that though, I would say that we certainly have tried to engage in an open and transparent process, recognizing that Ernst & Young have been given a clear mandate to bring forward a sale if at all possible to someone who will operate it as a private sector operation. We are committed to that and we believe that that will happen.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

TRUCK RATE (80/20 PROVISION) - CONTINUANCE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I ought to ask another question about Sydney Steel because that plant is in my constituency and I certainly am very concerned about the issues that have just been raised. But in view of the fact that there is only three minutes left which doesn't permit an adequate amount of time to canvass that subject further, I want to ask a question of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works relative to the 80/20 rule.

[Page 4933]

This relates to trucks that are used in provincial work. They are or were assigned by the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia under a rule that stipulates that 80 per cent of trucks used must be from the local area, this rule being implemented in order to give rural Nova Scotian truckers a fair opportunity to obtain work on government projects. My question to the Minister of Transportation is, does the minister agree that the 80/20 rule is fair and provides employment for rural truckers when otherwise there would be no work for them? Will he support the continued implementation of that rule?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: The honourable member is perfectly correct. The 80/20 rule is a good rule with respect to rural Nova Scotia in that it utilizes local trucking. However, unfortunately, it is to the disadvantage of the highway system if we have to pay a premium for that particular rule. In the past we have done so. In the future we will not do so. The money from the Department of Transportation will be spent on putting down asphalt and gravel.

MR. MACEWAN: We heard yesterday from the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley who swore - and I mean that in the sense of affirmed - that the government was irrevocably bound to the continued implementation of the 80/20 rule, but indicated that the rates paid to the truckers under that rule were subject to negotiation, as he put it.

I would like to ask the minister, through you, sir, is it a fact that the government intends to cut the rates paid to the truckers of Nova Scotia, perhaps very drastically. In fact, I have heard rumours that it may be cut down to $8.00 an hour and I don't know how low this government intends to go, perhaps the minister can tell us. How low does he and his government intend to go with respect to the truckers of Nova Scotia?

MR. RUSSELL: We are presently in negotiations with the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia and we are negotiating a rate.

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 1592.

Res. No. 1592, Health - System: Funding Adequate - Ensure - notice given April 28/00 - (Mr. D. Dexter)

[Page 4934]

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and address this resolution which I introduced in this House on April 28th. The resolution asks the Minister of Health not to follow in the footsteps of the Minister of Education who has made this province the province with the lowest education funding in the country. In fact, the motion goes on to really beseech the Minister of Health to stand up for health care and the health and well-being of Nova Scotians with an adequately funded system. This motion is really quite incomplete because, in addition, it also ought to ask the Minister of Health to withdraw his budget, because obviously you can't discuss an adequately funded system under the present budget.

The present budget doesn't adequately address the needs of the health care service of this province, and therefore, what he ought to do right now is withdraw the present budget until he is in possession of the budgets of the regional health boards, until he is in possession of the budgets of the non-designated organizations, so that he knows and has the information on what it will take to maintain the service levels in those boards and in those institutions. Might I say, that would be while the minister was living up to the commitments that the Progressive Conservatives made in their blue book, which incidentally calls for the spending of some additional $42 million or $43 million in health care this year.

I have said earlier in this House, and I want to repeat it, that I know that the Minister of Health has a penchant for preferring U.S.-based institutions to those that are available in Canada and, indeed, those that are here in Nova Scotia. I know that the minister spent a good deal or part of his life in Virginia, no doubt while he was attending university in Charlottesville and cheering on the Cavaliers, I have no doubt that it was there that he came into close contact with the U.S. health care system, and perhaps that is where some of the basis for this budget comes from.

Mr. Speaker, the health care system south of the Mason-Dixon line is not all it could be, and in fact it has its problems as well. I just want to remind the minister, while he is pursuing this U.S.-style health care that in the State of Virginia, things are not as rosy as they could be. I know many of us are given to nostalgia about our university years, certainly I am a proud booster of the University of Kings College and my law school, Dalhousie, but at the same time I know that things are different. Things are different today than they were when I went to school. I say to the Minister of Health, you are not in Virginia anymore.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to table a background document from the Virginia Health Care Foundation that shows that there are a million people in Virginia who do not have access to primary health care. They have difficulty trying to attract physicians to rural parts of that state, and many communities do not have access to doctors and other health care providers necessary to take care of its citizens.

[Page 4935]

Mr. Speaker, if that is where the model that the minister is following is coming from, then I say to him, we will all be worse off. We will all be worse off if what he is trying to do is put in place a U.S. or a Virginia-kind of model for us. Indeed, I am afraid that the evidence is that that is exactly the direction that the minister wants to take us in. I think that is why he has a dial-a-doctor program in his own office. This is where you can phone into the Minister of Health's constituency office, and he will find you a doctor because people can't find one on their own. I suppose, likely, the people in his constituency probably think that he is doing them a favour by finding a doctor for them. Maybe they think they are getting special treatment. Gee, I can phone the Minister of Health, and he will find me a doctor.

Mr. Speaker, there is a crisis in the minister's own riding with respect to the delivery of health care. We know that. It is a crisis that is spreading right across the province. What I want to do to illustrate this point is I want to take a look at one specific institution. Let's take a look at the QE II. What does the government's budget mean for that institution? I think the first thing you have to do is look at the situation before this budget came down. Before this budget came down, the QE II circulated a document called Chart, which I am going to table. This was circulated on February 18th, and then on February 28th, they posted the same information to their website, about how they were going to budget for the upcoming year.

This is what they said, they said that they projected that they would not be able to meet the demands placed on that institution if they received the same budget that they received the year before. Here is an example: they projected a demand for outpatient visits of 569,000 visits. What they are budgeting to meet is 502,000, a significant shortfall to meet the demand that is going to be placed on the institution. They have projected a demand of 30,000 operating room cases. They are budgeting to meet 28,715, a shortage in the number of operating room cases that they are going to be able to deal with. This is troubling enough, but this is based on the same budget as last year.

So what we have to do, Mr. Speaker, is we have to look at the Health estimates and say, well, are they going to get the same budget as last year? The answer to that question is absolutely not. What they are going to get is a decrease of almost $31 million to the QE II. So what does that mean? Not only is there a reduction in the budget, but there are also - and I think these documents point out very appropriately - cost increases in both wage costs and supply costs. I want to quote to the minister what this means in real people. The proposed budget reflects a reduction of 103 of the 5,128 full-time or equivalent staff or a 2 per cent reduction. It is expected that most of these reductions will be in support services.

Mr. Speaker, that was before this budget came down. So what is the situation now that this budget has come down? Well, you know, what is interesting is the QE II also put forward a statement on April 11th and it is called a Statement from the QE II in response to the Provincial Budget. It says, because our payroll takes up almost 70 per cent of our operating budget, most of which is based on collective agreements with our unionized employees, it will

[Page 4936]

likely be six months before we can make the changes to our workforce. To achieve an 8.7 per cent reduction over 12 months, we will have to cut 17 per cent as we have only one-half of a fiscal year left once the changes take effect.

Do you know what 17 per cent of the workforce at the QE II would be? Some 871 people would have to lose their jobs in order to meet the targets that this minister has put in place for the QE II. Mr. Speaker, do you know how they are going to do it? How they are going to do it, and we have heard this directly from the QE II, what they are going to do is they are going to enter into the business of private-for-profit care. They call it excess capacity. They say the facility is still there and what they are going to do is they are going to solicit what they call offshore work. They are going to make available their facilities to people from outside the country to come in and use that facility to do surgeries for a fee and this is how they are going to try to generate revenue in order to be able to support, or I assume if not to support, to mitigate the losses in income to the facilities put in place by this minister.

What the minister and the government is doing is far from finding a fix for health care in this province. What they are doing is they are destroying it and they are not destroying it bit by bit, Mr. Speaker, they are destroying it in one fell swoop. We know that there are going to be institution closures. We know that there are going to be dramatic lay-offs and we know that the people of Nova Scotia are going to be worse off because of it. A once proud health care system in this province is being levelled and ruined by that minister and the members of that government. I say it is a shame. It is not what they promised the people of Nova Scotia in their blue book. It is not what they promised during the election campaign and, frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves.

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to respond to the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour's resolution on health care expenditure. Virginia, indeed, is a lovely place and notwithstanding that I would like to see money spent in Nova Scotia and elsewhere in Canada, if you have not had the opportunity to visit it in the spring, it is a beautiful place.

I would also, Mr. Speaker, and it would take up probably too much time and not contribute a whole lot but I think most people would know very well that the spin that the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour was trying to put on the resolution was simply a spin, and close examination of his statements would find that they had very little substance to them.

[Page 4937]

I want to say that there is absolutely no denying that the demands on our health care system are increasing rapidly. Our population is aging, drug costs are rising, patient volumes and expectations are increasing and new and expensive technologies are being introduced. No doubt, Mr. Speaker, this trend will continue. While it is not something that we can particularly control, we do have to be mindful of its impact. The key to meeting these infinite costs is better management planning of our provincial health care system.

Mr. Speaker, people like the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and the member for Dartmouth East have the unfortunate misconception that quality health care and health care expenditures go hand in hand. We can consider that our health care system costs have gone up more than 37 per cent in the last three years. This is an increase of around $484 million. If you were to go around and ask the average Nova Scotian, the average Nova Scotian would look at you in dead seriousness and say, yes, there have been cuts in health care in this province. I can think of no better way to illustrate why you cannot have a good health care system without a certain amount of money, that dumping money into it without planning, without control and without some degree of wisdom doesn't work. There is overwhelming evidence that money alone will not lead to better health care.

Mr. Speaker, we have to regain control of the health care system and manage it better if Nova Scotians are to have a sustainable and secure future. Spending more and more of the taxpayers' money hasn't taken any Nova Scotians any place except into the poorhouse. We need a new approach, one that focuses on priorities and on results. That is what we intend to do, move to an evidence-based health care system that is community-based and responsible to communities and to have a strengthened primary care system where decisions are made in the local communities. So fundamental decisions have to be made; fundamental changes have to be made. Tough decisions must be made if we are to have and to ensure a health care system that is sustainable, responsible and secure, if we are going to ensure that appropriate health care services are available when and where they are needed for today and for tomorrow.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Speaker, during Question Period this afternoon the member for Dartmouth East asked about the psychiatric services down in the Yarmouth hospital and moving to the Valley hospital and whatnot. The fact is that that has nothing to do with budget, that has everything to do with human resources. Better planning for health human resources is necessary. That is not a budget decision, although the implication that it was, that is a health human resources issue.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has provided adequate funding for health care for years and we have provided, again, an adequate budget this year. Even as the fiscal demands on our system escalate, the federal government's financial participation has been steadily declining. When Medicare was introduced in Canada, the federal-provincial partnership was 50/50. Since that time, the federal participation has decreased by 75 per cent. Indeed, our friends in

[Page 4938]

Ottawa contribute only about 12.5 per cent of every health care dollar that is spent in Nova Scotia. As I said, it is a decrease of 75 per cent from where it was when we began.

The reality is, Mr. Speaker, and it is unfortunate that I have to say this, but I think it is important, our debt servicing costs next year are going to be the third highest budget item we have, right behind health and community services. The debt servicing costs in this province right now are more than $1,700 a minute, $900 million a year. If we had that $900 million, and we could put it into program expenditures here in this province, we wouldn't have the necessity to adjust our spending in education and our spending in health. We would have ample money. We are spending $900-plus million a year, on debt servicing costs. That is $900 million that does not go into program spending. Just think, what would these people say if we had that $900 million available for program spending in this province?

What would $900 million do? Do you know how many doctors that translates into, Mr. Speaker? If we take the average physician cost, about $250,000 a year more or less, then that would be about 3,600 family physicians or specialists. We don't have that, because we are spending $900 million a year, trying to pay off this debt that has accumulated over quite a number of years. But, you know, the honourable member would continue to pile that on to Nova Scotians and take money away that would be available for health care in the future, and for education, and for roads. Of course, he is not worried about roads coming from a basically urban riding.

Mr. Speaker, that type of spending cannot be sustained. We have to find ways to maintain core health services. We have to do it in a more effective manner. The new Cumberland County health care, acute care facility which we were able to announce on Monday is an example of this.

When the previous government was in power, they went to the folks and said, plan a hospital with no guidelines. The Auditor General said, well you shouldn't be doing that. So, what happened was that a facility was designed that was not really within the financial reach of the province. We went to the people up there and said, look, we have to have some modifications in that. It is like Taj Mahal Harrison, something that came around last year. The planning committee was able to make alterations in that plan where the core services that have to be delivered and the acute care services in Cumberland County will be continued, but it going to be within a price range that the province can afford, just as we promised.

We are going to do things in a way in which services are protected, but the issue of sustainability and affordability are going to be the criteria. Mr. Speaker, I am just about out of time, but in doing that, I would like to remind you, just to summarize that fundamental changes are needed if we are to continue to have a health care system in this province. Tough decisions have to be made if we are going to create a health care system that is sustainable, responsive and secure and if we are going to be able to ensure that appropriate health care services are available when and where they are needed, for both today and tomorrow.

[Page 4939]

We need to make decisions today, Mr. Speaker, and some of them are going to be tough decisions that protect core health services for tomorrow. For the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour's children, and the honourable member for Dartmouth East's children and grandchildren, and my children and grandchildren. We have to make those decisions, and we will do them. We will create, in the course of our mandate, a health care system which serves the needs of Nova Scotia which is sustainable and provides security now and in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that sounds like a man who found out how difficult it was - a debt that was inherited in 1993 from the previous Tory Government, and now we are once again coming full circle in this province and finding out what Tory times really mean again. I want to thank the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour for introducing Resolution No. 1592. It does speak about Nova Scotia having the highest spending - the Budget Address of this government said that Nova Scotia had the highest spending in health care whereas when we finally found out the truth, the resolution points out that we are actually fourth in health care spending. It does mention in another Whereas that, " . . . the least amount of money on health care, despite having the highest rates of cancer . . . and one of the largest populations of seniors;"

It does mention, Mr. Speaker, also about this Minister of Health, " . . . following in the footsteps of the Minister of Education, who has made us the province with the lowest funding in education in Canada . . .", and asking the minister to stand up and have an adequately funded system. You can argue what an adequately funded system is. The argument will rage and I am sure it will not be one that will be settled in our lifetime, but the minister does point out, and what did concern me in some of its comments was the issue of, well, if we had so much more money, then we could have 3,600 more doctors in Nova Scotia. Certainly I don't think he meant that. It came out that way, but I don't think he meant it because that certainly would add to many costs to having that many physicians competing. Perhaps if you had them on salary, if you had reasonable hours and that sort of thing, and I hope that will come out of the primary care pilot project.

There are important issues. The minister has mentioned that the health human resources be debated, or in Question Period we had some exchange on the Yarmouth Mental Health Services in this province and that it was not a money issue, it was a health human resources issue. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, and through you to the others and to the minister, that you can talk about moving mental health programs from the South Shore of Nova Scotia where I grew up, directly, diagonally across to the Valley and Kentville, that may be a health human resource issue, but it is also a patient care issue. It is the best practices of care issue and it is a family of those people with mental health needs and, make no mistakes, mental health is one of the most common disabling illnesses that we have today in spite of

[Page 4940]

some appearance that sometimes is given that this can all be done in the communities; people have to be hospitalized.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to this resolution and maybe speak a bit about the Liberal Health record on health care. It is a record that I, personally, am proud of and we are proud of in this caucus. In 1993 the previous Liberal Government inherited a health care system that was 20 years behind the rest of Canada, that might be safe to say, certainly in many areas and perhaps most. We worked, from 1993 on, to improve the health care system, at a time when our unemployment rate was among the highest it has been in the province for some time.

When unemployment is high, Mr. Speaker, you know that the use of the health care system goes up without the tax dollars there to support it. We did not lull Nova Scotians into a false sense of security. We did not tell Nova Scotians not to worry, to take the summer off, as Premier John Hamm did. This Tory Government told the people of Nova Scotia that they had a health care plan during the election and they said it would cost only $46 million, no new money, all saved out of administration.

[5:00 p.m.]

Now here we are, Mr. Speaker, nine months later and we see the results of that phantom Tory plan. This must be a very secret plan because neither the Premier nor the Minister of Health nor the Deputy Minister of Health will tell us any of the details. We see the memos flying around, implying the gag orders. The Premier said it was up to the Opposition to ferret out these facts, and we have done some of that. It has been painful, but what we are finding and what the people of Nova Scotia are finding is that they don't like what they are finding out about this budget and this phantom health plan.

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, the Tory budget makes massive and devastating cuts to health care throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. The budget for acute care has been slashed by at least $70 million, and the Minister of Health said this translates into elimination of 600 health care workers; the true figure is much higher and probably at least 1,000. Cut at the QE II - it was mentioned earlier - $27.9 million, $30 million, somewhere in that range, and it amounts to a loss of perhaps 650 staff at a salary of $40,000 each, or however you want to figure it.

So you can come up with all kinds of projections but, until we know more details, people worry and fret and they are frustrated about this lack of information. We are looking at bed closures in that institution that is so important to all Nova Scotians. The QE II is not just a tertiary care hospital, university affiliated, settled in the metro area, it is a hospital, a referral where, when everything else has failed, patients have to be accepted into that institution.

[Page 4941]

We are also seeing bed closures in other parts of the province, and probably hospital closures, Mr. Speaker. I think the minister gave some inkling of that today. As well, you can't make these types of cuts to health care without having a negative impact on the delivery of the service. Our previous Liberal Government worked hard to improve the health care system; we worked darn hard during the time of our tenure in office. In 1993 Nova Scotia ranked close to the bottom with respect to pre-hospital care, we changed that. We had a patchwork ambulance system throughout the province, we turned that around. We had a plan. You talk about evidence-based outcomes and we have a performance contract signed that will measure outcomes and monitor very much of that pre-hospital care.

What are the Tories doing to the ambulance services? They are raising the costs of emergency services by implementing a huge fee increase of $85 for an ambulance. Between 1993 and 1999, the air ambulance system was also developed. In addition, Mr. Speaker, the Tories are also putting a tax on the 911 services. When we came to power in 1993, home care essentially did not exist in this province. By the summer of 1995 home care in Nova Scotia was in place right across this province, and 18,000 Nova Scotians benefited from the Home Care Program in 1998 alone. What are the Tories doing to home care? Under the Tories the cost of home support services will rise to $8.00 from $6.00 an hour, and this will create tremendous hardship for some of our seniors. We have seniors coming home from hospital, having previously received home care, and being told it is not available, there is no increase. That is the sort of thing we are seeing, like we are seeing in the social assistance programs across this province.

Our previous Liberal Government made tremendous improvements in seniors' Pharmacare. What do we see now? An increase from a $215 premium to $315, and, according to the government's own numbers, by the year 2003-2004, the last year of the Tories' mandate - and I hope truly the last year - Nova Scotia's seniors will pay a Pharmacare premium of $427 and a maximum co-pay of up to $702. Mr. Speaker, that is going to be crippling for many of our seniors. It may get worse. Some seniors will simply go without medication. They are doing it now, because they can't afford the fees to pay for that medication, and this will cause more strain on the health care system and more people going into the acute care system.

Physician recruitment is a challenge that we faced head-on; Nova Scotia, like other provinces, is still dealing with a chronic shortage of doctors. Under our previous government, more than 60 family physicians were recruited to Nova Scotia. Cancer Care Nova Scotia was also developed under our government. I would compliment the minister, at least give him his due, it looks like, at least, they will receive the large part of their budget. I will compliment him for not destroying that initiative.

Mr. Speaker, thanks to initiatives started by the previous government, we now have a full complement of oncologists in this province, and that is what concerns me. Already we are hearing of physicians in the outlying areas of British Columbia and the United States who are

[Page 4942]

looking at our province and wondering what the heck is happening in that beautiful province. What is happening to the education system? What is happening to the health care system? They are having second thoughts about coming to this province. We cannot afford this. We cannot lose these young professional people. They are looking at Nova Scotia, and this is a fact, I am not fearmongering, I am bringing this as a concern before this House today, because this is happening as we speak. It is happening for physicians who are looking at Sydney, a beautiful community to work in now, that has been completely turned around to the health care centre and community hospitals. Our oncologists have been recruited to Nova Scotia, and thanks to one of the best alternative funding agreements in the country where these physicians can come in, many of them who are interested in research. They can do research, they can do clinical training or care, and they can also teach students. That is a mix we need, and that is what is attracting these people to our province.

Perhaps the most shocking proof the Tories lack a plan is eliminating the health boards. So the list goes on. They have no plan, Mr. Speaker. There have been massive cuts and lack of plan for both health and education, that caring families and family life . . .

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

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have a few minutes to speak to this resolution. I certainly am hoping that the Minister of Health is listening. Some argue that Nova Scotia should spend less on health care, claiming the health care spending in Nova Scotia, and indeed in all provinces, is out of control. At the same time, many Nova Scotians are unable to obtain the services of a family doctor or find a nursing home bed for an ageing relative. Understaffing continues to be a problem in many institutions. Waiting periods for some tests and procedures are unacceptably long.

So, can health care be underfunded and have costs out of control at the same time? Well, at 37.3 per cent of expenditure in 1998, Nova Scotia spent a higher percentage of its budget on health care than all but two other provinces. Nova Scotia's health percentage is higher because the overall provincial spending, against which it was computed, is among the lowest. A more meaningful way of measuring health spending is on a per capita basis, and using this yardstick, Mr. Speaker, provincial expenditure on health care in Nova Scotia has traditionally been at or near the bottom. The notion that health care spending is out of control in Nova Scotia may reflect the fact that since 1996, it has increased by more than 10 per cent a year. However, the increase follows a four year period during which spending dropped every single year.

Nova Scotia has the highest rate of disability, the highest incidence of heart and lung disease, the fourth highest over-65 population in the country. The surprise is not that we spent more per capita on health care than five other provinces in 1999, it is that we spent so

[Page 4943]

little in comparison with other provinces in the years before 1997. Moreover, Nova Scotia is not alone in recent increases on health care, the larger increases are in those provinces which earlier made the deepest cuts.

Recent increases are a response to public concern over a health care system weakened by service reductions. Costs are not out of control. Between 1990 and 1999, health spending by all provinces increased 40 per cent. Between 1980 and 1990, the increase was 166 per cent. Comparing those two numbers, Mr. Speaker, we certainly can't say that it is out of control. A few comments made by the Minister of Health, I would like to take issue with. I think the minister is perfectly within his rights to refer to our debt servicing costs and as much as Nova Scotians don't like it, there is a large percentage of our revenue which goes towards paying interest or making loan payments on our debt. If that money was available to the health care system or, in fact, to a number of other systems, then we wouldn't be facing the situation that we are today. (Interruptions)

Something that the Minister of Health didn't refer to was that we do so little, Mr. Speaker, in regard to trying to increase our revenues. In Nova Scotia, if we exclude the revenues from the Sable project, last year Nova Scotia garnered $2 million and this would be from minerals, stumpage fees, et cetera. In the Financial Measures (2000) Bill that has been before the House, there is absolutely no mention in that bill that would address trying to get more from our resources. I find it hard to believe that the government would not be interested in trying to gain whatever is possible from our resources that we have in the province.

Nova Scotia expects to collect a mere $7.7 million in royalties this year on the exploitation of gypsum, coal, timber, firewood and petroleum resources. By contrast, Newfoundland is budgeting for $27.8 million in natural resource taxes and royalties, while New Brunswick expects to collect over $10 million from mining and $46.3 million from forest royalties. Saskatchewan expects to raise more than 12 per cent of its own source revenues from royalties on gas, oil and potash and Alberta brings in about $2.5 billion a year in royalties.

Mr. Speaker, if dollars are the reason for this, in other words, the lack of them, then you would think there would be some initiative on the part of the government to try to increase its revenues. We would assume, if that was the case, that we would see some action on the part of the government to try to have something in the Financial Measures (2000) Bill that would address raising the royalty regime on our resources and that doesn't exist. So the question has to be, if that is a concern, why isn't there something there?

The Nova Scotia Liquor Commission is known to generate a profit for the province, Mr. Speaker, and, yet, the Minister responsible for the administration of the Liquor Control Act has indicated that they are looking at the possibility of privatization of that resource. He has not come forth with any definitive answer to say, yes, they are or no, they are not, but,

[Page 4944]

certainly, if we are trying to increase revenues, then we would think that something that the province has that generates revenues would not be on the block to go to the public.

I would have to take issue with the Minister of Health. Nova Scotia has one of the lowest corporate tax rates of any of the provinces, actually, in this country and there is nothing that the province has done in this budget to indicate that they attempted to try to glean any more, by way of corporate taxes, from any major companies in this province. Yet, to say that we have to experience these cuts in Health and Education, I think, should be more difficult for Nova Scotians to swallow, Mr. Speaker, and, yet, I don't know if they have entirely told the whole story. Deficit projections for 1999-2000 have consistently underestimated revenues. In October 1999, revenues were projected to increase $72 million over 1998-99. The second quarter update, released December 22, 1999, projected a further increase of $44.5 million. An update issued March 3, 2000 added another $96 million to revenue estimates, a total revenue improvement of $140 million in less than five months.

[5:15 p.m.]

Why is it that the government takes on this doom and gloom approach? Why haven't they been more clear with Nova Scotians as to exactly what the agenda is? Why haven't they taken steps to ensure that Nova Scotia's revenues increase to a level that other provinces are experiencing with their own resources? I think if Nova Scotians have anything to worry about, it would be to worry about what agenda would there be that the government would not be clear on these issues.

Mr. Speaker, I think my time is getting on. I have concerns because of initiatives that are being carried out in my own constituency, the community health board there, which is now kind of changing its union, you might say, with the nine regional health authorities that are being established. The Community Health Board for Hants East has spent three years developing a survey relating to the needs in my constituency; their plan is ready. Now we see, with the nine district health authorities, they will be lumped in with other jurisdictions that don't have plans ready. I think when it comes to the allocation of funds for any particular area for a community health board to try to carry out their agenda, I can see that the funding will be somewhat of a fight.

I tend to worry that if the province is going to go ahead with its nine regional health authorities, that it has to get some dollars somewhere to establish those. They are going to need administration for these nine authorities or someone has to set this all up and run it. Then my fear is that the dollars are going to come out at the ground floor, where we need people the most. That is something that has been brought to the government many times. So I certainly hope that the minister and the members of the government will look at trying to increase revenues from sources that they have been unwilling to tap and try to lessen the burden on Nova Scotians, and give a much clearer picture as to the need for the cuts in health care that may not be as severe as what had been predicted. Thank you.

[Page 4945]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to congratulate the former speaker on a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 982.

Res. No. 982, Human Res. - Pub. Serv.: Non-Privatization - Promise (Premier) Fulfil - notice given April 3/2000 - (Mr. Robert Chisholm)

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak for a few moments this evening on Resolution No. 982. I would agree with the member for Sackville-Cobequid in regard to the previous debate; our two debaters from our caucus, on that Health resolution, made some important points. I hope the Minister of Health was paying attention and, hopefully, he will reconsider the disruptive strategy that he is undertaking.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution has to do with the privatization of public services, and in particular it has to do with a commitment that this Party made when they were in Opposition, a commitment that was officially made on July 24, 1997, by the now Premier, where he signed a document, a five point plan, that was a commitment to the provincial Public Service that it would not be privatized or contracted to the private sector without public consultation and without demonstrable evidence that privatization will lead to improved services for Nova Scotia. The then Leader of the Tory Party signed that in 1997, then went on and included a commitment against privatization, in support of the Public Service, in the election of 1998 and then again in the election of 1999.

Lo and behold, since this gang has taken power nine months ago, we have seen them move incredibly quickly in some directions that are leading down the privatization route. It causes me so much concern because it is not as if we haven't seen privatization in this province. It is not as if the Tories, when they were in office, didn't try to privatize things and have it blow up in their faces. I mean, remember the minister - I don't know what he is minister of - Transportation, that is right, I mean he must remember when the government he was part of tried to privatize part of the Department of Transportation back in the early 1990's, Miller Lake, the work that was done there. That pilot project ended very quickly because it was clear that the government was wasting money, that the service was inadequate and of less quality and the cost continued to go through the roof.

We continue to have examples under the Liberals where they tried to privatize various items. The construction of schools, perhaps, is the most expensive and most ridiculous and most obvious example. We now have schools that have lease agreements to supply equipment for a particular school, that have been signed and the government is paying for, yet they are

[Page 4946]

taking the equipment out of that one school and moving it into another school, and the school that had that equipment and just lost it is paying the bills. It is absolutely ludicrous. They continue with this plan, this Tory Government continues with a plan even though the cost overruns are astronomical, quality has been questioned, and now we have a situation where the equipment and the fixtures and so on are not up to snuff.

It is a bad deal. The government has been in power for nine months; they didn't scrap the P3 deal like they previously said they would. The Minister of Education agreed, approved the purchase of all this equipment, all this hardware, and yet now she decides that they can't afford it and they are going to have to haul it out and share it around. They are going to put wheels on the computers, wheels on the software or something, wheels on the desk, so they can ship them out and they can share them from one school to the next throughout the school year. It is just incredible.

This government initiated a privatization study by KPMG on P3. It cost $89,000. They came back and said, we don't know, we can't tell you whether or not it saves money, or it doesn't save money, we just simply don't know; for $89,000. I have heard the Minister of Economic Development say I don't know, and it doesn't cost $89,000. The point is that there has been study after study after study done about privatization, into privatization, and it doesn't save money, Mr. Speaker, and if it does save any money, it is on the backs of the workers in terms of salaries and benefits. The government that is involved, at whatever level, loses control of a particular contract and invariably the quality goes down and the costs go up.

We have examples of this right across North America. Just recently in the United States there was this new fad over the past 10 years to privatize the construction and operation of correctional facilities. Just recently in Louisiana, in fact I think it might have been yesterday or the day before, Wackenhut, the private company that was operating a youth correctional facility in Louisiana was kicked out. They were just told by the State, it is over, you have blown it, you have cost us enough money, shut her down and get the hell out. That is what they were told. That is another example, that is privatization at its worst. The state, the government, loses complete control over the operation of it and things go down the tubes and ultimately it is the taxpayers who are going to pick up the pieces. It is the workers that pay the price and ultimately it is the taxpayers that foot the bill. How many examples do we have to have before we recognize the fact that this is not the way to go and this government has to recognize that.

I want to return for a second to this resolution and to the five point plan. Even though the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union and other public sector workers in this province have done study upon study here and in other jurisdictions to show that privatization doesn't pay, this government - and they knew and the former government, the Liberals were bent on heading down this road as a way to try to save money, they said, okay, if you want to go this way though, let's do it under these circumstances. Let's make sure that you do an

[Page 4947]

independent study to be able to prove to yourself and prove to everybody else that it is going to save money and follow this particular protocol to make sure that you are not putting yourselves at risk, government, and you are not putting the workers at risk and you are not putting the taxpayers at risk.

It is extremely reasonable and undoubtedly why the Leader of the Tory Party, the now Premier, signed that five point plan in the first place.

Now that they are in government, they turned their back on that five point plan, the Minister of Transportation is now undertaking what he wants to call "pilot projects", basically privatizing a service with no standards, with no terms of reference that make any sense, no protection for the workers involved and no commitment to the protections that were provided for in the five point plan. The workers are not involved in ensuring that the terms of reference were properly established, there is a committee that has been set up to review the privatization of the liquor stores and the workers aren't involved in that. Why will this government not learn from the mistakes of the past and begin to involve the people on the front lines that know the best and that have something to bring to the table?

We are going to, in this Opposition caucus, continue to try to bang home to this government that they have to start respecting their employees, respecting the fact that they bring something to the table, analyse independently what the privatization is going to do before they head down the road because the costs for the employees, for the taxpayers are just simply too great. Thank you.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to have the opportunity today to debate Resolution No. 982 which raises the matter of privatization of government sectors that have been identified as having a potential for involvement for the private sector.

The Premier of this province fairly recently made a statement and I would just like to read it, it is very short. He says, "We are going to make strategic investments to foster the competitive business climate in Atlantic Canada and get out of non-essential areas that are better left to private business." That is exactly what we are going to do.

We have a Party in front of me to your immediate left, Mr. Speaker, that you could consider to be the big spender Party. This is the Party, that if there is a problem, the answer is to throw the big bucks that way. I would just like to mention in passing, and I don't intend to dwell on this for any great length of time, this is the Party that if they were in power today, they would have saddled this province last year with another $600 million rather than having a deficit last year of $700 million; the debt last year, if they had been in power, would be a staggering - for one year - $1.3 billion. They are not ashamed of that. They are proud of it.

[Page 4948]

They keep coming forward, why don't you spend the money here, spend some money there and give everybody the money that they require. That is not the answer.

[5:30 p.m.]

Whereas the orange team closer to the door, Mr. Speaker, their solution is that if anything is worth doing, it must be done by government. They would have everybody in Nova Scotia working for the government. I don't know how they would support the economy, but that is their philosophy. They are living back in the age of socialism, the planned society where everything must be controlled and run by government.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the people of Nova Scotia would agree that government should not be in certain sectors. For instance, I don't think anybody would say that government should be in the corner store business, or in the warehousing business, in any kind of retail business for that matter. Yet we have had this tremendous outrage from the Opposition when we suggest that perhaps we should not be involved in the liquor business, or the warehousing of liquor, or the retailing of books, or the provision of janitorial services, or the general building maintenance trades in competition with the small building contractors. They were suggesting that we should still be in competition with private golf courses and tourist resorts.

AN HON. MEMBER: The next thing they will want is to have a hockey team.

MR. RUSSELL: Going further afield, Mr. Speaker, should the government be involved in the banking business and, believe it or not, we are. Should we be competing against private printing concerns? We, in the Government of Nova Scotia, are I believe the second largest printers in the province. Is that right that the government should set themselves up as printers of that size in this province? In fact, when we examine government, as we have done in great detail over the past six months, it is astounding what this government is involved in that parallels what the private sector is doing and should be doing.

Mr. Speaker, we have just completed an analysis called the program analysis and options process where we went by all the programs that we have in the provincial government and there are 1,200 programs approximately that government administers. We asked every department of government, every agency of government that reports to a minister, to provide a detailed accounting on which that department or that agency spends money. We wanted to know how many people were employed in providing that program and we wanted to compile an inventory of the number of programs that they had.

Only five minutes, Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to skip some of this stuff, quite obviously, because I want to get to the meat of the business. We have clearly pointed out from the completion of this program, although the program is still ongoing, that we have become a competitor to the private sector and I believe we have become a subsidized

[Page 4949]

competitor to private business. That is what we are going to examine with various pilot services through various departments of government because we believe that if we can find programs that can be delivered at a lower cost and with equivalent service to the people of this province, we should get out of that business and turn it over to the private sector.

I know that the members of the NDP abhor the thought of the private sector doing jobs that are presently the purview of the government, but that is false in this 21st Century, Mr. Speaker, and I am sorry that they are unable to adapt to the realities of the world today. The reality is that government does not create jobs. That is job one of the private sector and they do it very well.

In fact, the honourable member was talking about things south of the border a little while ago. I would remind him that this business of government getting out of business and turning things over to the private sector has got their unemployment rate down to something like 4.2 per cent. Why can we not do that in Canada? I believe we can and I believe we can do it in this province.

As I said in debate a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, when the member for Dartmouth North was on his feet with a resolution very similar to the one that we have today, that Luddites have gone. That is gone completely. Today, people recognize that the progress that we have made in the western world has been by governments getting out of business. Socialism, I am afraid, is dead. Socialism is dead.

Mr. Speaker, in the department of government that I presently have the honour and the pleasure to be minister of, the Department of Transportation, we are going to put in place several alternate service delivery programs. We are not going into this willy-nilly. We are not going to do it tomorrow. We are not going to do it next week. We are going to do it after a suitable time that provides the necessary review of what programs we actually administer and how those programs can go out to the private sector and be run by the private entrepreneurs of this province.

Mr. Speaker, we believe the people of Nova Scotia elected us on that commitment to foster private enterprise and we are going to carry out that commitment. Health, Education and Justice and the provision of infrastructure, those are the basic core businesses of government, that is what government should be doing. Those other ancillary things, we should get rid of them and we should turn them over to the private sector, providing they continue to provide the same or equivalent or better service to the public at a lower cost. I believe they can. A government, by nature, has a higher administrative cost than the private sector. (Interruption) I don't really believe that. I can assure the honourable member I believe that. The honourable member is suggesting, Mr. Speaker, that, in this province, we have bad managers within the Civil Service. I would like to correct him. We have the finest Civil Service in Canada.

[Page 4950]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Transportation was suggesting, on the record, that I was saying that we had bad managers in the Public Service. What I am talking about is the fact that his Cabinet, who he is a part of, are bad managers if they can't run this government right. That is the problem.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That is not a point of order. I would advise the honourable Minister of Transportation that his time has now expired.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the 10 minute comedy break is now over. In reference to the honourable minister making reference - before I get into the meat of things here - to the Liberal Party being the big spender Party, then I imagine that the minister forgets people such as John Buchanan and items such as electronic toilet seats. So I might remind him of some of those things before he starts throwing names around at other Parties. When you live in a glass house, you really shouldn't throw stones.

This Resolution No. 982, "Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier to keep the one and only specific privatization promise that he made by implementing without delay, his agreement to public services protection and improvement."

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that separates this resolution from government policy is that it calls for a cost-benefit analysis. There has not been one cost-benefit analysis on any government plan or program to date and that includes any plans for privatization. I have heard some members of the business community say that the government, perhaps, is on the right track and privatization is the only way to solve the debt and the deficit problem. Well, my question to that is, how would we know? The government has no idea how much, if any, of its initiatives will actually save money. If the business community really knew how poorly planned government actions have been to date, I would suggest they would be simply aghast.

Effectively, the government did not submit a budget to this House, it submitted nothing more then a vague outline. Hospitals don't have accurate numbers. School boards don't have accurate numbers and I wonder if anyone in government, as a matter of fact, has any accurate

numbers. They have told the Opposition to ferret out the details, and the government has made a joke of the whole budget process by evading and by stonewalling and, indeed, hiding the truth. I suggest through you to this government that is no way to run a business, and it is certainly no way to run a government. That is why the whole privatization idea makes absolutely no sense. There is no comprehensive plan, no concept as to whether or not it will save money. As the resolution states:

[Page 4951]

"Whereas on July 24, 1997 the Premier signed his commitment to, 'a provincial public service will not privatized or contracted to the private sector without public consultation and without demonstrable evidence that privatization will lead to improved services for Nova Scotians;'".

Well, it really doesn't get much clearer than that, does it, Mr. Speaker. If the government fails to live up to the Premier's signed agreement with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, then it simply cannot privatize. The Premier is legally bound by his signature, and I would hope that he is morally bound by his word. In the case of Nova Scotia liquor stores, a strong lobby has advocated closure without any analysis as to whether or not it would improve service, and they use the Alberta model as their guide, and quite simply the Alberta road to privatization was far from what you would call a smooth transition. In most areas, if the truth be known, selection is down, and in some cases, prices are higher. Even the Harris Tories of Ontario have balked at the idea of privatization of liquor stores because they know it doesn't work.

Mr. Speaker, the government, as I said, has called for a request for proposals for assistance with the evaluation of various options open to government with regard to liquor store privatization, and certainly, the Liberal caucus approaches this issue with caution. We see no reason why the study is necessary. Any improvement to the system is welcome, but that can be done within the context of the current structure. The Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has proven, actually to be a success, and government members know that. It brought in $131 million last year, and there is more projected for this year; $135 million in 2000 and $141 million in 2001.

Now before consulting a private company, the government should find out what the people feel are the best options. I know that may sound like a novel idea to government members on the opposite side of the House, and I spoke here last night at great length during the debate on the hoist about government listening to people and taking the time and, in that case, to take the six month option and actually listen to people and hear what their opinions are as well. The question of control, again dealing with the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, control is also an issue there, and there is a question as to whether rural areas will have the same access to the product as they would have in urban areas. So, there are a large number of questions dealing with just that one issue and privatization.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier's close association with a firm by the name of Sobey's should raise some alarm bells about any attempt to sell liquor or wine or beer exclusively at Sobey's or Needs stores as well. Even in Alberta, they don't allow sales in grocery stores either.

Now, I don't think it gets much clearer than what this resolution is pointing out. Resolution No. 982. If the government fails to live up, as I mentioned to the Premier's signed agreement with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, then simply, Mr. Speaker, it cannot privatize. As I mentioned, the Premier is legally and morally bound.

[Page 4952]

[5:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line, I would think in this case, is quite simple; the government has no idea whatsoever of what it is doing. This whole resolution had to do with a commitment that was made by that government while in Opposition. That commitment, as I said, was by the Premier, the now Premier of this province and then Leader of the Tory Party, who made that commitment, his commitment was to a provincial Public Service that would not be privatized or contracted out to the private sector without public consultation and evidence again that privatization will lead to improved services for Nova Scotians. I think that is what the Minister of Transportation was trying to get across, anyway - I am certainly not speaking on his behalf - but trying to get across to this House and to the many Nova Scotians who are listening to him, that indeed, that is what it is going to lead to, improved services and decreased costs.

We simply have absolutely no idea that that is going to happen in any way, shape or form because again, we simply don't have the accurate numbers that are necessary to deal with in coming up with that kind of a conclusion. Again, by telling such things as telling the Opposition to ferret out those details, and I think again kudos to both Opposition Parties here, I think we are doing a pretty good job of ferreting out those details on a daily basis. We take that job very seriously because we are actually informing the general public and Nova Scotians about what is happening in this province and we are bringing to light some of the details that this government is not telling them, some of the details about such things as education, about hospitals, about what is planned in terms of cuts and closures and so on, and in this case bringing out some of the details as well about what privatization will actually mean to the people of Nova Scotia.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, the government has made somewhat of a joke of the whole budget process here by evading and by stonewalling, and I have made reference as well to the government somewhat hiding the truth . . .

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

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to stand and speak for a few minutes on Resolution No. 982, which has had some discussion already today and about which a couple of facts are clear. The resolution addresses protection and improvement of public services and urges the Premier to keep the one and only privatization promise he made, which was a commitment to the Public Service.

Now it has been documented that he did make this commitment, he made it, he confirmed it, he reconfirmed it, up until he became the Premier of this province. Then, Mr. Speaker, everything changed. The Opposition's commitment which ought to be and appeared

[Page 4953]

to us that they held it in the same regard that we did, which is that the Public Service is an honourable and dignified profession whereby people serve the government of the province or the country and do their very best to do so.

Now, instead of admitting that before the election they had a commitment to the Public Service of this province, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transportation gets up and does his usual shtick. He gets up and calls us Luddites, old socialists. Nobody in the province, except these 1955 Conservatives, believes that. For him to put it about is a valiant attempt but it isn't going to go anywhere at all. So, I want to talk for a minute or two about what is actually going on with the Liquor Commission and the attempts to privatize it, because I think we need a few facts in this debate. The government issued an RFP on April 19th, to open on April 25th, for exploration of the future plans for the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. Now, it is worth noting that we had to file a Freedom of Information to get this RFP. So there is your openness and transparency. When we got it, and here it is, we discovered that this proposal closes on May 12th and, between May 12th and June 26th, everything is going to be figured out. It is going to report to P & P on June 30th.

When you look in the RFP, Mr. Speaker, and you look at the mission statement of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission you discover that point four, bullet number four, the mission of the Liquor Commission is to provide its employees with progressive management, equality of opportunity, and career development. So here we have it. We have a group of public employees employed in this enterprise whose mandate includes providing progressive management, equality of opportunity, and career development.

When you look at the situation overview, in the RFP, you discover that when I asked the minister today about privatizing the Liquor Commission, he was certainly disingenuous when he said that no decision had been made. When you read this - and I will be happy to table it - it is very clear what it is that the government is doing, so don't tell us that you are not doing it. The Government of Nova Scotia is currently undergoing a major process of review and redesign intended to provide focus on core government priorities and the achievement of fiscal objectives. The objective is to streamline government and government service delivery through process redesign, new service structures, and the consideration of privatized or alternative service delivery models. Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't know what you call that if that isn't a good hard look at an attempt to privatize.

Mr. Speaker, the RFP goes on to say that the budget made this commitment, and for the minister to get up there and imply that it did not, is just plain silly. They made the commitment, it says here, that it would get out of the retail and wholesale liquor business under certain circumstances. They have, outlined in the RFP, the things that they want explored, but they have left a huge hole in it that you could drive a truck through and that is the whole question of the social impact of the privatization of the Liquor Commission. They have noted it on liquor control, but not on the social effects, only on what presumably is enforcement and not on the social effects that will or may ensue from various models.

[Page 4954]

So, Mr. Speaker, for the government to say that they are not looking at privatization is not the whole truth, disingenuous as I said. Their whole behaviour around this issue, as far as we are concerned, the commitment to Public Service was not genuine. The commitment to and respect for the Public Service was not genuine and what is evolving now is that there is no commitment as they slop their way rather rapidly through this process. There is no commitment to telling the truth about what they are doing, and there is no commitment to openness and transparency.

Mr. Speaker, it really amuses me when this government tries to label the New Democratic Party as some kind of ideologues when what we have seen over here from the minute they put their gluteus maximus in the chairs, what we saw from that moment on was a complete turnaround and a complete commitment to either one of two things. I would like to suggest that there are two possibilities, and I am certainly hoping, well, I am not hoping for either one of them, the more I think about it. Number one is that they are the ideologues, that they have a mindless frame of reference, a set of frameworks which they are going to plow through, without restraint, without thought and without consideration, or, perhaps even worse, they are making sure that after their years in the wilderness, they are going to make sure that the trough is full and the fence is open and they can line up their friends, who have been out there crying, what about us, what about us, for years now.

What they are going to do, if they are not just committed to some galaxy of mindless idealogies is they are going to line their friends up here, they are going to make sure that every nut and every bolt is in place so that they can take whole sections of this government apart, piece by piece, put it in a little velvet box, and give it to their friends. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development. He has approximately half a minute.

HON. GORDON BALSER: It is certainly appropriate to rise at this point in time to continue the discussion. It is certainly entertaining and interesting to listen to the comments from across the way. One sometimes wonders what is actually going on in terms of the comments that they make about the agenda that this government has put forward to address the problems that have been inherited by government since the early 1970's, when the first deficit budget was put forward.

It is unfortunate that we have built upon that and built upon that in such a way that it is no longer possible . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired. That concludes the debate on Resolution No. 982.

The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.

[Page 4955]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, we will give the remaining two minutes to the Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I could ask you revert to the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading, but I won't. (Interruptions)

I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon, and the House will sit until 10:00 p.m. The order (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The Government House Leader has the floor.

MR. RUSSELL: We will do the daily routine, and then we will go into Question Period, unless you don't want Question Period. Then we will have four hours of Estimates, and then for the remainder of the time, we will work on Public Bills for Second Reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House now adjourn and sit tomorrow from 12:00 noon until 10:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[5:59 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is that the House shall adjourn and sit tomorrow, May 4th, from 12:00 noon until 10:00 p.m.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[6:59 p.m.]

[Page 4956]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Christie Mr. Holm

Mr. Baker Ms. O'Connell

Mr. Russell

Mr. Muir

Miss Purves

Mr. Fage

Mr. Balser

Mr. Parent

Ms. McGrath

Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Olive

Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Morse

Mr. Hendsbee

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 23. Against 2.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried in the affirmative.

There is no late debate tonight.

The House now stands adjourned.

[The House rose at 7:02 p.m.]