Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Tue., Nov. 21, 2000

First Session

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ. - Eastern Passage: High School - Need, Mr. K. Deveaux 9007
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3435, Agric. - Wild Blueberry Assoc. N.S./NSAC: Facility
(Debert) - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 9008
Vote - Affirmative 9008
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 82, House of Assembly Act, Mr. D. Wilson 9009
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3436, Gov't. (Cdn.) - Lobster Fishery: Concentration - Cease,
Mr. John MacDonell 9009
Vote - Affirmative 9009
Res. 3437, Econ. Dev. - Prosperity: Min. - Actions,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 9010
Res. 3438, Chapman, Harry - In the Wake of the Alderney:
Book Launch - Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 9010
Vote - Affirmative 9011
Res. 3439, NDP: Leaders - Location, Mr. B. Taylor 9011
Res. 3440, NDP - Leader: Internet Access - Speaker Assure,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 9012
Res. 3441, Educ.: Halifax West HS - Replace, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9012
Res. 3442, Robicheau, Wilbourne: Birthday (100th) - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 9013
Vote - Affirmative 9014
Res. 3443, Astral Dr. Elem. Sch. - Parade of Lights: Float -
Organizers Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 9014
Vote - Affirmative 9015
Res. 3444, Kings South - MLA: Remarks - Consider, Mr. D. Downe 9015
Res. 3445, Health Care - Concerns (Pictou): Premier - Heed,
Mr. D. Dexter 9015
Res. 3446, Gov't. (N.S.) - Departments: Priorities - Provide, Dr. J. Smith 9016
Res. 3447, Swissair Memorial - Parking: Problems - Review,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 9017
Res. 3448, Sobeys - Glace Bay: Store Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Wilson 9017
Vote - Affirmative 9018
Res. 3449, Little, Kevin - NDP Position: Support - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Epstein 9018
Res. 3450, Election (Cdn.) - Corporate Research Poll: Nova Scotians -
Encouragement, Mr. P. MacEwan 9019
Res. 3451, Boudreau, Bernard - Dartmouth: Citizens -
Decisions Spare, Mr. J. Pye 9019
Res. 3452, NDP: Leadership (Cdn./N.S.) - Lack, Mr. B. Boudreau 9020
Res. 3453, Hants Reg. Dev. Auth. - Mandate: Success - Congrats.,
Mr. John MacDonell 9021
Vote - Affirmative 9021
Res. 3454, Morrison, Judy - East Richmond Sch. Bd.: Retirement -
Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 9021
Vote - Affirmative 9022
Res. 3455, Beechville Days 2000: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 9022
Vote - Affirmative 9023
Res. 3456, NDP: Loyalty - Reaction, Mr. P. MacEwan 9023
Res. 3457, Health - Bone Densitometers: Coverage - Min. Commit.,
Mr. M. Samson 9023
Res. 3458, NDP: Games - Cease, Mr. D. Wilson 9024
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1083, Premier - Office: Employees - Payroll Details,
Mr. John MacDonell 9025
No. 1084, Educ. - Halifax West HS: Repairs - Decision Review,
Mr. W. Gaudet 9026
No. 1085, Educ. - System: Strengthening - Premier Leadership,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9027
No. 1086, Environ. - CBRM: Discussions - Results, Mr. R. MacKinnon 9028
No. 1087, Environ. - CBRM: Water Supply - Safety, Mr. F. Corbett 9030
No. 1088, EMO - Emergency Services 911: Tax - Min. Comments,
Mr. D. Downe 9031
No. 1089, Environ. - Herring Cove: Water Supply - Contamination,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 9032
No. 1090, Educ.: Code of Conduct (Teachers/Students) - Time-Frame,
Mr. W. Gaudet 9033
No. 1091, Educ. - Halifax West HS: Engineering Study - Results,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9034
No. 1092, Health - Physician: Recruitment (Dr. Philip Edgar) -
Contact, Dr. J. Smith 9035
No. 1093, Educ.: Sir John A. Macdonald HS - Plan, Mr. W. Estabrooks 9036
No. 1094, Health - Yarmouth Reg. Hosp.: Renovations - Plan,
Dr. J. Smith 9037
No. 1095, Health - System (Two-Tiered): Min. - Encouragement
Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 9039
No. 1096, P&P - Sunday Shopping: Municipalities - TIANS Support,
Mr. D. Downe 9040
No. 1097, Commun. Serv. - Child Care: Workers - Wages Increase,
Mr. K. Deveaux 9041
No. 1098, Exco - Red Tape Reduction Task Force: Sunday Shopping -
Premier Directions, Mr. R MacKinnon 9042
No. 1099, Justice - DPP: Appt. - Announcement, Mr. H. Epstein 9043
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 1:34 P.M. 9045
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:12 P.M. 9045
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Environ. - Donkin Water Supply: E.Coli - Treatment Adequacy:
Mr. R. MacKinnon 9046
Mr. J. DeWolfe 9048
Mr. John MacDonell 9052
Mr. M. Samson 9054
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:43 P.M. 9054
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:53 P.M. 9054
CWH REPORTS 9054
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 9055
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 22nd at 2:00 p.m. 9056

[Page 9007]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Kevin Deveaux, Mr. David Wilson

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

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government has failed to adequately address the problem of E-coli in Donkin's water supply.

This 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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the residents of Eastern Passage, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause reads, "According to the 'Evaluation of High Schools' report produced by the Department of Education in May, 2000, Cole Harbour District (High School) is the only school whose projected enrollment exceeds the 'theoretical building maximum'. Given the fact that over 50% of that school's population comes from Eastern Passage and the inability, for logistical reasons, to transfer these students to another school with less capacity pressures, it is our opinion that the only alternative is to build a high school in our community." I have affixed my signature.

9007

[Page 9008]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3435

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

Whereas there was a sod-turning for a new wild blueberry research facility in Debert on Friday, November 17th; and

Whereas the facility is being built through industry and government partnership and will be worth $0.25 million; and

Whereas a strong focus on research has been a key to the province's wild blueberry industry having a record crop of 41 million pounds;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Nova Scotia Wild Blueberry Association and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College on this new institute and for their commitment to ground-breaking research as a means to support a strong agricultural sector and provincial economy.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 9009]

Bill No. 82 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 (1992 Supplement) of the Revised Statutes, 1989. The House of Assembly Act. (Mr. David Wilson)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3436

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

Whereas the federal government is quietly incorporating more lobster licences into fewer and fewer hands; and

Whereas this is the same route they have gone in the groundfishery to the point where the industry is almost completely privatized; and

Whereas the lobster fishery is the last truly independent fishery in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demand the federal government stop the concentration of the lobster fishery in a few hands.

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.

[Page 9010]

RESOLUTION NO. 3437

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

Whereas New Brunswick has announced an economic development strategy that will market New Brunswick as the gateway to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard; and

Whereas in the same announcement the New Brunswick Government set the ambitious job creation of 4,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector by year's end; and

Whereas the New Brunswick Government continues to target all regions in New Brunswick, both urban and rural, with high unemployment rates;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that our Minister of Economic Development continues to toy around with our prosperity instead of setting ambitious job creation targets for all Nova Scotians in all regions of the province, meanwhile New Brunswick leads while Nova Scotia follows.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, if I could beg the indulgence of the House, prior to my resolution I would just like to state that I have placed a copy of this book in the Legislative Library for all members to enjoy on behalf of the people of Dartmouth.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3438

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

Whereas this morning a book entitled In the Wake of the Alderney by Dartmouth resident Harry Chapman was launched in the appropriate setting of the Alderney Landing Theatre; and

[Page 9011]

Whereas Mr. Chapman has already provided readers with various histories on our city, but this is especially noteworthy as it celebrates the first 250 years of the life of Dartmouth; and

Whereas Mr. Chapman has also documented numerous highlights of Dartmouth's history through works including: Sketches of Old Dartmouth; Dartmouth's Day of Anguish: The Explosion, December 6, 1917; Men . . . Money and Muscle: Building the Shubenacadie Canal; and 100 Candles: Dartmouth's Natal Day 1895-1995;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Harry Chapman for once again utilizing his literary talents to capture through words and photos the tremendous history of the beautiful City of Dartmouth and the formidable strength of its founders in his latest book.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3439

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

Whereas the NDP Leader in the House isn't in the gallery; and

Whereas the NDP Leader in the gallery isn't in the House; and

Whereas there is obviously no meeting of the NDP minds in either the gallery or the House;

Therefore be it resolved that they all must be in the library.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 9012]

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3440

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

Whereas all members of the House of Assembly have access to the Internet system and telecommunication services in the clerk's former office; and

Whereas the Leader of the NDP is now occupying the Legislative Library; and

Whereas the NDP require the latest in technology to ensure their quest for the Holy Grail is very successful, as was not the case for Monty Python and his Flying Circus;

Therefore be it resolved that the Speaker ensure that the honourable Leader of the NDP in the library be plugged in and wired for sound.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3441

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

Whereas estimates to resolve environmental concerns at Halifax West High School have now increased from $8 million to $10.5 million; and

Whereas environmental costs are increasing as the money to modernize the school is decreasing; and

Whereas the consultant hired by the province states, "the report needs to include a larger contingency factor, which means still more money.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education dip into her government's slush fund and build a new high school to replace Halifax West High School.

[Page 9013]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3442

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

Whereas today, November 21, 2000, Wilbourne Robicheau, of Mavillette, is celebrating his 100th birthday; and

Whereas today, Mr. Robicheau celebrates this milestone with his five children, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren; and

Whereas Mr. Robicheau is retired from the Boston Navy Yard;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Wilbourne Robicheau on the occasion of this 100th birthday, and wish him continued health and happiness.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham on an introduction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention to some guests we have today who had a press conference earlier this morning, in our east gallery and also in our west gallery, we are surrounded. Members in the galleries today, who have come

[Page 9014]

from across the province, people who work in the school system in a variety of capacities, and are members of five different unions, the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, the Canada Union of Public Employees, the Service Employees International Union, the Nova Scotia Union of Public Employees as well as Sandra Himmelman who is the President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations who is here with Rick Clarke from the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. So I would ask our guests to rise and receive the warm welcome of members of the House. (Applause)

[12:15 p.m.]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3443

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

Whereas the Parade of Lights is an annual Christmas parade held in downtown Halifax to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season; and

Whereas this year the parade was held on November 18th and included many excellent floats reflecting the theme of Bridging the World in Peace; and

Whereas the Astral Drive Elementary School PTO entered a float in the Parade of Lights for the second straight year and ended up winning the 2000 Best Non-Commercial Float prize from the organizers, making it two consecutive years for the PTO in that category;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mary Ann Pishinger and the other members of the Astral Drive Elementary School PTO who helped to organize the award winning float at this year's Parade of Lights.

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 Lunenburg West.

[Page 9015]

RESOLUTION NO. 3444

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

Whereas the member for Kings South once attacked the Opposition for daring to criticize the government; and

Whereas more recently he admitted to telling a constituent to shut up; and

Whereas the member obviously mistakes Nova Scotia for an autocratic dictatorship rather than a democracy;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Kings South should refrain from remarks that make him seem more like a tyrant than a member of the Legislature and remind him that the next provincial election will sneak up very soon.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3445

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

Whereas in a speech to the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, the Minister of Health blamed opposition to health cuts on inter-hospital jealousy, resistance to change and negative media coverage; and

Whereas the Minister of Health also blames Nova Scotians for the health care crisis noting that Nova Scotians have to address lifestyle issues like inactivity, smoking and overeating; and

Whereas instead of addressing the community's concerns about cutbacks at the Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital, the Minister of Health has instead decided to attack the residents of the area;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of blaming citizens in Pictou County for his own government's failure to meet their health care needs, that he listen to the people of Pictou and reinstate the nurses at the Harris-Sutherland Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

[Page 9016]

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3446

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

Whereas this government has displayed an amazing lack of direction in recent months; and

Whereas the Premier's positive position on the recent generous agreement between the federal Liberal Government and all provincial governments seem to have come a negative full circle within 24 hours of signing the agreement; and

Whereas the government seems to spin its wheels just as much when it comes to deciding where its highway priorities are risking the lives of Nova Scotians who may find themselves out of luck when highway dollars are handed out;

Therefore be it resolved that this government make an honest attempt at getting its act together, providing clear priorities in all departments and stop trying to take Nova Scotians and their essential services for a ride.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3447

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 Swissair Memorial at Whale's Back on the road to Peggy's Cove continues to attract visitors and local residents who wish to pay their respects to the 229 souls who perished on Flight 111 on the evening of September 2, 1998; and

Whereas the parking lot at this location is clearly inadequate; and

Whereas the no parking signs and the issuing of tickets have not deterred visitors from parking on Route 333;

[Page 9017]

Therefore be it resolved this government take the initiative to review the parking problems at Whale's Back in the vicinity of the Swissair Memorial.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3448

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

Whereas Sobeys is following the successful opening of the Atlantic Superstore and the remodelling of the Co-op store by opening its own megastore in Glace Bay before Christmas; and

Whereas the opening of a new Sobeys will continue competition in the market place and is an expression of confidence in the Glace Bay market; and

Whereas the grand opening will mean much-needed employment for the area;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sobeys on its new store opening in Glace Bay and encourage businesses throughout Nova Scotia and Canada to choose Glace Bay as an investment destination.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

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 9018]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3449

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

Whereas in his election advertising, Halifax Liberal candidate, Kevin Little, is claiming the federal surplus should be used "where we want it invested, in health care, in education"; and

Whereas this flies in the face of the Liberal Party's priorities for the surplus, namely tax cuts for the wealthiest; and

Whereas in fact the Rev. Kev, mirrors exactly the NDP position on the surplus;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Rev. Kev, for making yet another about face in returning to his roots by supporting the NDP position and, in essence, endorsing his NDP opponent, Halifax Member of Parliament, Alexa McDonough.

[Page 9019]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3450

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

Whereas the latest poll from Corporate Research shows a commanding lead for the Liberals in Nova Scotia, demonstrating the desire of our people to be effectively plugged in to the national government; and

Whereas with 42 per cent of decided Nova Scotian voters in the Liberal camp, as compared with only 24 per cent in the NDP and 20 per cent in the Tory, the prospects are excellent for this province regaining effective representation at Ottawa; and

Whereas the key to defeating the NDP and Tory Parties in Nova Scotia provincially is to defeat them first federally;

Therefore be it resolved that all sensible Nova Scotians will be greatly encouraged by the findings of the latest opinion poll, and will look forward to confirmation of these trends in the real poll to be taken November 27th.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3451

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

Whereas in his election advertising, Dartmouth Liberal candidate Bernie Boudreau said, "It's time to be part of the decisions that affect Dartmouth"; and

Whereas Senator Boudreau has already been part of the decisions that affect Dartmouth, by presiding over the unprecedented cuts to health care funding that have hurt institutions like the Dartmouth General Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that Senator Boudreau spare the citizens of Dartmouth his decisions that affect them, as they have already suffered far too much as a result of his decisions.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 9020]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3452

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

Whereas the NDP in Cape Breton are so scared of losing their federal seats that they dug up former Leader Ed Broadbent to boost their chances; and

Whereas when he was in Sydney the former NDP Leader compared the other political Parties to credit cards, like Visa and MasterCard; and

Whereas if the Liberal Party is a credit card, then the NDP Party is nothing but a blank cheque;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP have been forced to drag in former Leaders because they have a total lack of leadership both here in Nova Scotia and in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party.

[Page 9021]

RESOLUTION NO. 3453

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

Whereas small businesses and entrepreneurs often have a tough time getting their projects off the ground due to a number of reasons; and

Whereas regional development authorities were created to provide the supports for local business and start-ups; and

Whereas Hants Regional Development Authority was recently evaluated by Chaytor Educational Services and was found to provide a high level of satisfaction to over 80 per cent of its clients;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the staff of the Hants Regional Development Authority on carrying out its mandate and for a job well done.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3454

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

Whereas Judy Morrison has served as a school board member for East Richmond for the last 10 years; and

Whereas Mrs. Morrison served as a school board member on both the Richmond District School Board and the Strait Regional School Board; and

Whereas in September 2000, Mrs. Morrison decided to retire as a school board member;

[Page 9022]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mrs. Judy Morrison on her retirement and recognize her outstanding contributions to the education of our youth.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3455

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 community of Beechville celebrated its 18th annual Beechville Days recently; and

Whereas Beechville is a legendary community in the Timberlea-Prospect constituency with a proud and historic past dating back to 1816; and

Whereas Beechville Days shows that this great community also has a bright future ahead;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Co-ordinator Faye Williams, her committee and all involved for their highly successful Beechville Days 2000.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 9023]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3456

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

Whereas the NDP are very thin-skinned, especially when it comes to people who saw the light and joined another Party after flirting with the NDP; and

Whereas this issue upsets the NDP so much that MP Peter Stoffer introduced a bill in Parliament forbidding members from crossing the floor; and

Whereas the NDP did not have this moral dilemma when they swallowed up former MLA Hinrich Bitter-Suermann only two weeks after his defection from the Tories;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP should not sit so high in the saddle when it comes to their high horse on Party purity.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3457

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

Whereas on Thursday in this House the Health Minister admitted he is considering the two-tiered privatization of bone scans to detect problems like osteoporosis; and

Whereas downloading this service on private drugstores will be another abdication of responsibility by this minister and his Tory Government; and

Whereas despite his claim to make decisions based on evidence, this minister plans to flip-flop on his decision about a bone densitometer at Colchester Regional Hospital based solely on testimony from the MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley;

Therefore be it resolved that this Health Minister make a commitment to proper coverage by bone densitometers across the province so Nova Scotians will not be forced to seek out private, fee-for-service, bone scans.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 9024]

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3458

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

Whereas the popular game of Clue has been a favourite of bored people looking to waste time; and

Whereas the NDP seem to have plenty of time to waste and have been playing their own game of Clue in the Legislature; and

Whereas in the NDP game, it was Mrs. Orange who did it in the library with a lap-top;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP admit that they do not have a clue and stop playing games on the taxpayers' time.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 9025]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Question Period will begin at 12:29 p.m. and end at 1:29 p.m.

The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party.

PREMIER - OFFICE: EMPLOYEES - PAYROLL DETAILS

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, this Premier makes a great statement about his government's fiscal restraint. He points to his own office payroll as a prime example of that. I would like to ask the Premier, are all the staff who work in your office listed solely on the Premier's Office payroll or do you have people who work primarily in your office who are paid through other departments?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, the Office of the Premier does draw on services of others who work in Priorities and Planning for certain functions.

[12:30 p.m.]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that Moira MacLeod, Dale Madill, Chris Lydon and James Mitchener, who between them make more than $175,000 are paid through P&P but work almost exclusively out of the Premier's Office. Will the Premier, today, table a document showing exactly who works out of his office and how much they are paid?

THE PREMIER: The member opposite, as well, has to be reminded that in the pursuit of the duties of my office I also rely on services of people from other departments, not on a regular basis but on an interim basis to provide the kind of information that is required to allow the Premier's office to function. The short answer, will I provide the list, yes.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, Chris Lydon, the fellow who bought $300 worth of whiskey and cigars on election night for the Conservative Party and James Mitchener spend much of their time as chauffeurs for the Premier. My question is, why are you hiding two part-time drivers in P&P?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, if he will check his information thoroughly, will find that on a few occasions I have drawn on the services of the people that he mentioned. It has been very infrequent and it was at times when their particular services were required for me in carrying out the functions that I do as Premier of the province.

[Page 9026]

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

EDUC. - HALIFAX WEST HS: REPAIRS - DECISION REVIEW

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Yesterday the Halifax West High School Planning Committee was briefed by the architectural consultants on the cost to repair and enhance Halifax West High School. The briefing revealed that the cost will increase by over 20 per cent, from $8 million to $10.5 million. My question to the minister is, will the minister, in view of this preliminary report, immediately, out of concern for the health and well-being of the students, teachers and support staff, review her decision to repair and enhance Halifax West High School?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the decision to repair and enhance Halifax West High School was made precisely because of concern for the health and welfare of the students and the staff.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, parents of students attending Halifax West High School are very concerned about the state of the present building and the need to replace it. My question to the minister is, has the minister, who lives in Halifax, visited Halifax West High School to see first-hand the absolutely deplorable state of this building?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the problems at Halifax West High School are well known, that is why the decision was made to renovate the building at considerable expense. The answer to the second part of the question is, I have not visited that building personally. I have deliberately not visited that building personally. If you visit a building personally, it raises expectations and it raises them unnecessarily.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Tang Lee, the environmental consultant who discovered a massive mould problem at the school has questioned the cost estimates in yesterday's report. Officials have allowed just 4 per cent for contingency while the industry standard is 15 per cent. This would certainly increase the project cost over $12 million. My last question to the minister is, will the minister immediately undertake to start the process to construct a new school to replace Halifax West High School?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the member opposite has the same solution now as he did before into the very serious problems in our schools here in Nova Scotia. The solution to the problems, according to the Liberal Party now, is not only what is another $1 million, what is another $5 million, what is another $10 million, what is another $20 million? That is not a solution.

[Page 9027]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - SYSTEM: STRENGTHENING - PREMIER LEADERSHIP

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Today in the Red Room of Province House there was a news conference that may have been unprecedented in Nova Scotia. All the government's partners in education - parents, teachers, staff, people who work in a variety of support roles in school - all of them came together and spoke with one voice. Their message is that the education system is in crisis. Their message is that the last round of cuts was bad and they expect another round of cuts that will be worse. There has been an astonishing lack of consultation as this government pursues its agenda. My question to the Premier is, when will the Premier start showing leadership when it comes to strengthening our education system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that in our attempts to do two things, one of which is to balance the budget, the other is to strengthen the education system, this year this government made an increased commitment to the community college system. We have started a program that will make adult literacy available to the many people in Nova Scotia who have not become literate heretofore. We are slowly and methodically building an education system (Interruptions) We are slowly and surely building an education system of which this province will be truly proud and which will be truly effective.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, one of the points made this morning was that the government says the right thing and they do the opposite thing. A perfect example is in the infamous blue book. It says, "It's time government started looking at education as an investment in our future rather than simply as a cost to government."

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier is, when will this government start keeping the promises it has made and is still making about education being a priority?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite fails to recognize that this government, in a year and one-half, has made significant strides in keeping the commitments it made to the people of Nova Scotia. Over the course of our mandate, we will keep them all.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, I find nothing in the blue book that says they would make per capita funding in this province the worst in the country, Mr. Speaker. Another theme of this morning's news conference was the lack of consultation from one end of the province to the other at every level of the school system. This government's partners in education are bewildered and they are angry at the lack of consultation.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 9028]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: My final question to the Premier is, when will you convene a conference of your partners in education so that you can listen to them instead of dictating to them?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite fails to realize that this government is faced with a tremendous challenge. There is one word that does not appear in the New Democratic Party lexicon and that is sustainability because day after day they come to us as government with suggestions, all of which bear no relation to sustainability. That Party and that member will not be satisfied until this province has been driven into bankruptcy and the young people in our school system will be guaranteed absolutely no future.

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

ENVIRON. - CBRM: DISCUSSIONS - RESULTS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. I notice the Minister of Environment is not in his place, and I am just wondering who is the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member is well aware he does not indicate a member is not in the House.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, thank you but I am in Question Period and nobody has notified us . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You do not indicate the absence of a member.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I realize the Minister of Tourism is now acting as Minister of Environment. (Interruptions) In all fairness, this is minister number five in Environment in just the last year. I understand that the Acting Acting Minister of Environment is now in . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. This is question number four, so let's get at it.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment. Since last week, when I raised the issue of boiling of water supplies in various communities throughout Cape Breton County, an additional community has been added to that boil order, that being the community of Donkin. The Minister of Environment of the day indicated that discussions were going on between his department and CBRM officials. Would the minister please apprise members of the House as to what the details of those discussions and the end result of those discussions have been to date?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour to get that information for the member. I don't have that at my fingertips, but I will certainly get that information for the member. (Interruptions)

[Page 9029]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable members to bring themselves to order, please.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, they are getting a bit emotional, that is for sure, but quite frankly it is very discouraging. We are on minister number five here, and we can't get any answers to some very serious questions. We see big billboards along the Trans Canada asking the Minister of Environment to resign. He is over in the Hague; maybe he is appealing the blue route decision at the International Court of Justice. I would ask the minister, the Acting Acting Acting Minister of Environment if he could please give some indication as to when officials from the Department of Environment will, in fact, contact CBRM officials and take some real action on correcting the water problems in the Donkin area, which many suspect are E.coli - and faecal coliform - related?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that staff members have been in touch with CBRM. I will get the information for the member, and I will report it back to the member.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the first question he answered, he said he didn't have the information; the second answer, he tried to bluff his way through. I guess there is no sense wasting any time with ministers who don't know what in the heavens is going on in that department. My question to the Premier is, how many more communities in Nova Scotia will have to suffer boil orders because of the water problems across Nova Scotia, before your government will take some substantive action and put in a clearly defined policy on how to deal with these rather critical issues in Nova Scotia? (Interruptions)

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite understands that the correct thing to do is quickly identify the problem. That has been done. Residents are being informed what to do in the interim and the member opposite is also aware that this government is participating with the federal government on an infrastructure program, the thrust of which will, among other things, be directed at good water supplies for communities in Nova Scotia. (Applause)

[Page 9030]

[12:45 p.m.]

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

ENVIRON. - CBRM: WATER SUPPLY - SAFETY

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question was for the Minister of the Environment, the Acting Minister of the Environment, the Acting Minister of the Environment, and then the Acting Minister of the Environment. I am going to go right to the Premier because, as in previous questions that have been asked in this House about the water problems in Donkin, Reserve, Glace Bay and Dominion, there is faecal coliform that has been detected in Donkin water supply and again it has been stated that possibly there is E.coli present. The municipality alone cannot address this problem, Mr. Premier, so I am asking you, can you tell us what the people of these communities can expect from your government by way of safe drinking water for these communities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite again brings a very serious issue to the floor of the House of Assembly. The first requirement of government is to make sure that these situations are picked up quickly, before illness results, and that residents are made aware of what remedial action they should take to provide, on an interim basis, safe drinking water. On the other hand, the long-term solution is, obviously, addressing the water supply in that community. That is an issue for CBRM to identify as a priority and to make that a request through the infrastructure program that we are undergoing with the federal government.

MR. CORBETT: Well, that is fine to say, you get one plan done and you give it to another group and they give it to another group. Mr. Premier, I tell you, today, people can't bathe in that water; people can't wash their clothes in that water; people can't brush their teeth in that water. There is a problem, today. Mr. Premier, I am asking you once again, very succinctly, what is your government going to do, today, to help those people in the CBRM? What are you going to do today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is aware that what the government should be doing today is providing the residents with the appropriate measures in which they can protect themselves from their contaminated water, and the government has done that.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, we have seen this government's commitment to the environment by its acting acting ministers. We have seen it in its ability to sign away environmental rights to sell Sysco, so we know what they think of the environment. In Glace Bay, the Canadian Tire store is handing out free water. They are doing more than this government. I tell the people in Cape Breton, you should pay your taxes with Canadian Tire money, you will get more respect.

Will the Premier promise today that he will go to Cape Breton, visit these communities and set up a policy so these disasters, and they are disasters, will not happen again? Will you go to Cape Breton and do that? (Applause)

[Page 9031]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can remind the member opposite that with the exception of Halifax and my own community, I have spent more time in industrial Cape Breton than in any other community in Nova Scotia. I will make this commitment to the member opposite . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

EMO - EMERGENCY SERVICES 911: TAX - MIN. COMMENTS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, the Premier who said in 1993, no new taxes to Nova Scotians. Last fall, in the sitting of the Legislature, the Minister of Health promised the measures introduced to him to provide 911 tax would not be used in Nova Scotia. Here is what the minister said when questioned about the hidden tax: I think that that probably not represents the intent of the bill currently being debated. Obviously the minister misspoke himself that particular day. My question to the Premier is, how can this Premier tolerate a minister who misled the members of this Legislature and misled Nova Scotians about a tax?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that what the Minister of Health has proposed is a fee, it is not a tax. Precedents have defined legal differences between a fee and a tax and the member opposite knows that. Courts have ruled that revenue from fees should be exclusively used to fund the particular service being provided the user who is paying the fee. Clearly, what the minister has announced fits that definition and clearly the member opposite's question is inappropriate.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, what the Premier forgot to mention is that that service is being provided across Nova Scotia free of charge today and the fact that he has gone forward is imposing a new tax. My question is to the Minister of Health. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please! The honourable member for Lunenburg West on your first supplementary.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Health is, last fall when the minister introduced the bill, he told the House that if he imposed a tax of $1.00 on every phone bill in the province that in fact it would only produce about $745,000. However, in last week's announcement, we were told that a tax of 43 cents a month would bring to the province $3.2 million. Could the minister please explain why he is trying to confuse Nova Scotians by fudging the numbers on this latest tax grab?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, going back to the first question that the honourable member asked, he knows full well that the context of the remarks that he cited had nothing to do with the financial measures and the budget that was introduced by the government earlier.

[Page 9032]

That was a bill that was introduced last spring and it was prior to the introduction of this particular budget. This is not a tax. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, the honourable members opposite have referred to it as a service . . .

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

MR. MUIR: . . . exactly what it is. I really believe that the people of Nova Scotia do not sincerely object to paying less than the 50 cents a month for increased safety.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, a recent editorial in The Daily News suggests that the public, although confused about the math, recognize this is a tax. Will the minister admit he is doing nothing more than stiffing and pushing the tax pedal to Nova Scotians yet with another tax grab? Yes or no, tax grab?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, this is not a tax, it is a fee. The money that will be generated as a result of this fee will be used to support and enhance the safety of Nova Scotians by enhancing the 911 service.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. - HERRING COVE:

WATER SUPPLY - CONTAMINATION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question to the Minister of Environment and Labour, if these guys had one, but since they don't I am going to go to the Premier. I am going to go to the Premier because this is a problem that has existed in mainland south/Herring Cove for 30 years now as the residents of the former City of Halifax have flushed the contents of their toilets through Herring Cove and into the ocean beyond Herring Cove. The problem has reached the situation where the water supply in Herring Cove is now being contaminated. I want to ask the Premier, will he commit his government to deal with this environmental disaster and solve the problems out there with sewage treatment and water supply?

THE PREMIER: I thank the member opposite for bringing that matter to the attention of the government. As a matter of record, I can report to the minister opposite that last Friday I visited Herring Cove and, among other things, the residents of Herring Cove did bring that issue to my attention. It is an ongoing, long-standing problem that obviously needs correction, and the residents of Herring Cove were very good to bring my attention to that matter.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the residents of Herring Cove brought it to this Premier's attention. They brought it to the previous Premier's attention. They brought it to John Buchanan's attention for over 25 years, but the problem has still not been solved. I want to ask this Premier - don't start patting people at Herring Cove on the head - give us a commitment here today that your government is going to put the resources, together with the

[Page 9033]

municipality and the federal government, to solve this problem once and for all. It is in your court now, Mr. Premier. Do the right thing.

THE PREMIER: I remind the member opposite that the primary responsibility for the issue rests with HRM. The previous mayor had come to government and put a plan in front of government which the government is looking at. I would presume the new administration will follow up with details. I did have an opportunity to meet with the new mayor, and among other things, he did discuss with me the approach he would be taking relative to the harbour clean-up.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is partly correct in that the municipality has taken the initiative upon itself to deal with the clean-up of the Halifax Harbour. That solution will result in a treatment facility possibly in Herring Cove as well as municipal water supply which will help solve the problem. What the municipality needs is a commitment from this government to make a contribution to the clean-up of Halifax Harbour. They have not made the commitment to this day. I want to ask the Premier right here and now, will you commit your government to the plan presented by the Halifax Regional Municipality to clean up Halifax Harbour and solve the water problem in Herring Cove once and for all.

THE PREMIER: What we will commit today is to continue the dialogue with the new administration of HRM and cooperate with them in providing a solution for the harbour pollution that has plagued this community for decades.

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

EDUC.: CODE OF CONDUCT

(TEACHERS/STUDENTS) - TIME-FRAME

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. This government promised in its blue book to develop a code of conduct for both teachers and students of Nova Scotia schools. Last November in this House, the Minister of Education said the code of conduct would be available next session, meaning the last spring sitting of the House. My question, where is the code of conduct?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the code of conduct is almost ready. It has been developed with a team of people with whom we have been consulting since last fall. The first draft is very close to completion and will be ready before Christmas.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the minister said last November she would consult with all groups who can help make schools a safer place. We have been contacted by parents who have real concerns about the safety of their children, environmental concerns as well as concerns brought on by tragic incidents that occurred in high schools in Alberta and Saskatchewan yesterday. My question on behalf of parents in this province, will the minister please tell this House who she has consulted with during the past year and its impact on the overdue code of conduct?

[Page 9034]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I can certainly supply a list to the member opposite. I can say we have consulted with school boards, the Teachers Union mainly and ourselves from our department in pulling together a code of conduct that will bring together all the other codes and existing policies that exist so that we have something in all our schools that is the same.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: I do not think it surprises many in this House that the Harris Government in Ontario has a code of conduct for teachers and students. My question is rather than consult with Nova Scotians, is the minister simply going to copy the Mike Harris code of conduct and implement the made-in-Ontario model in Nova Scotia?

MISS PURVES: I think that what the honourable member has just said is an insult to all the people who have been meeting over the past year, and longer, to develop this code of conduct.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - HALIFAX WEST HS: ENGINEERING STUDY - RESULTS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: My question is to the Minister of Education. Yesterday the minister received a draft engineering study on Halifax West High School. The report says the cost of fixing this school is at least $10.5 million, not the $8 million that was previously announced. The $10.5 million does not even include all of the necessary renovations so the true price tag is somewhere above $10.5 million. You have all of the information you need to declare that Halifax West High School cannot be saved for a reasonable price. My question for the minister is what are you waiting for, a by-election?

HON. JANE PURVES: The NDP's new-found interest in Halifax West shows just who is waiting for a by-election.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I think every member in this House is well aware that a member in this caucus for many, many years raised questions about Halifax West High School.

The original $8 million included $3 million for upgrades and yesterday's report has dropped this amount to $2 million. That means that despite this government pouring money into a sick, old school, Halifax West will not have proper classrooms, labs, or other facilities, and more important, it still does not guarantee a healthy school.

My question to the Premier is, if you are not listening to the experts, if you are not listening to the parents, if you are not listening to the school board or administrators - all who have asked for a school - who are you listening to?

[Page 9035]

THE PREMIER: What this government is committed to is providing a good school for youngsters from one end of this province to the other. We do not guarantee everybody a new school, but we are committed to giving everybody a good school. Whether or not the Halifax West solution is a good school or a new school will be developed as we have an opportunity to look at the engineering study. We will not be browbeaten by that member or that caucus simply because there is an impending by-election in that area.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Clearly, it is time to build a new school. It is time to close Halifax West High School before it makes another teacher or student sick. My final question to the minister is, when will you go and meet with the parents, students, and teachers of Halifax West High School and explain to them face to face your decision to keep them in a sick school?

MISS PURVES: I have met with many of the parents. I am always prepared to meet with people. The member's question is ludicrous. We are not keeping anybody in a sick school, the school is closed. The $8 million will make that school clean and safe. What is at issue is how many enhancements we can afford, along with making it clean and safe.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - PHYSICIAN:

RECRUITMENT (DR. PHILIP EDGAR) - CONTACT

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. On November 7th, the minister told this House that he had been in contact with a Nova Scotian doctor now living in Ohio, United States. Dr. Philip Edgar wants to return to Nova Scotia with his family to practise medicine. Dr. Edgar spoke with the minister about a month ago, and the minister promised to get back to him with more information. My question is simple, why didn't the minister call Dr. Edgar back?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Edgar was contacted by my office after I spoke with him.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Edgar left about a dozen messages. This doctor left a dozen messages at the minister's office, and he even left his cell number when he visited Nova Scotia two weeks ago. As of today, neither the minister nor his executive assistant returned any of Dr. Edgar's calls, as promised. My question to the minister is, how can the minister claim that his recruitment efforts are sincere when he doesn't even return phone calls from doctors who want to return to practise here in Nova Scotia?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in the case of Dr. Edgar, when I first heard that he was considering relocating back to this province, I personally called his home, I spoke to a member of his family. I then followed it up the next day by speaking with him, personally. I had my staff follow up with Dr. Edgar.

[Page 9036]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it may already be too late, because that doctor and his family may be staying in Fremont, Ohio. This is another example of what is happening across this province. I have his phone number here, and it is 1-419-334-7045. Will the minister commit to phoning Dr. Edgar today, as soon as Question Period is over, to apologize for rudely not returning his phone call and for failing to take a leadership role in physician recruitment?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I must say that I am rather shocked by the tirade the honourable member is exhibiting here. I would have thought, as a person who was concerned about health care in Nova Scotia, he would have made every effort to encourage Dr. Edgar to relocate back here. With him and his caucus colleagues, everything in Nova Scotia is negative. If they want to help us do something for the medical system in this province, let's be positive, talk about the good things, help us get people back here, instead of that garbage.

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

EDUC.: SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS - PLAN

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. Madam Minister, as you have heard me say many times in this House, I represent a growing community with numerous expanding subdivisions. The parents in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect are frustrated with this government and previous governments who have shown a lack of foresight on the topic of overcrowded schools. Timberlea-Prospect has too many portable classrooms. We have the largest elementary school in the HRM. The only high school in my area, Sir John A. Macdonald High School, has two portables. This is a 35 year old high school, designed for 800 students with an enrolment of over 1,100. My question for the minister is, what is your department's plan for Sir John A. Macdonald High School?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased the member brought that question up, because it serves to highlight the issue of school problems in Halifax and in the rest of Nova Scotia, and it serves to show that Halifax West High School is not the only concern this Legislature should be dealing with.

Mr. Speaker, the high school configuration in Halifax, there have been proposals put forward by the Halifax Regional School Board, that is being dealt with along with all the other needs of schools in the province. It is being dealt with by the School Construction Committee. I should have a report from that committee by December 15th. The job of that committee is to look at the most serious problems first that are faced by school populations in this province and deal with them. The problems at Sir John A. Macdonald High School, the overcrowding, is very real and that has to be taken into consideration with all the high school population in the area.

MR. ESTABROOKS: My question, Mr. Speaker, is how serious does it have to get? I want to table a 12 page report outlining 30 concerns about this high school. Concerns about a library being too small, a music room that is too small, science labs that are inadequate, you can't even have a general assembly in that school, the gymnasium is too small. Madam

[Page 9037]

Minister, it is time for a plan, unlike that other crowd who had none, show us you have a plan. What do you see as the future of Sir John A. Macdonald as a high school in this growing community?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member opposite, we need a plan. We are developing a plan in conjunction with the Halifax Regional School Board.

MR. ESTABROOKS: This report, Mr. Speaker, includes adjectives such as tired, inadequate, rundown, old. I ask the minister what is the specifics of a timeline for addressing the problem of an old high school serving a new community?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have a number of old high schools in Nova Scotia that are serving new and growing communities. It is a real issue that we all have to face and we will deal with it step by step in a rational manner, not with one-offs, building high schools and other schools willy-nilly all over the place, without thinking of the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - YARMOUTH REG. HOSP.: RENOVATIONS - PLAN

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. One of the cuts that this minister approved for the former Western Regional Health Board was to close the school of nursing building next to the Yarmouth Regional Hospital. This is from a minister who promised to improve access to nurse training. Staff at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital say they do not have room to accommodate the displaced faculty and the students. My question to the minister is, what has the minister done to make sure that all capital renovations take place before the hospital must absorb the relocation of the nursing school in Yarmouth?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as part of the Western Regional Health Board plan, it was determined that the building which houses the school of nursing, and other things as well, could be done without. Indeed, the new facility, which just recently opened in combination with the existing structure - I am talking about the hospital itself - can accommodate the school of nursing. So the actual physical location of the school of nursing is not an issue there.

Mr. Speaker, just to go back to the honourable member's previous question. I would like to tell the House that my staff did return phone calls to the gentleman, Dr. Edgar, on three occasions and his cell phone . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it looks like we are going to move some hospital beds out of Yarmouth, like we did out of Shelburne, to make room for the nursing school, perhaps. The plan to close the nursing school building is expected to save $100,000. However, the cost to move the faculty and students is pegged at $200,000. I would like to table that information that we have obtained.

[Page 9038]

My question to the minister is, what patient services does the minister plan to cut to make up for the $100,000 deficit which will be created by the closure of the nursing school building in Yarmouth?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me that we have another perfect example of the inability to understand figures by the member for Dartmouth East, because obviously if that building is closed, and it has not yet been closed, there would be savings from the operation of that building. Clearly, if the Western Regional Health Board suggested that is an option, it must have been a cost-effective option.

[1:15 p.m.]

DR. SMITH: It shows that the minister really does not understand the true community impact that decisions he is making here in Halifax will have on communities like Yarmouth. Mr. Speaker, the Yarmouth Hospital is simply not equipped to handle the faculty and the nursing students of that school. A question to the minister, can the minister guarantee, yes or no, that the closure of the nursing building is not just the first step to eliminate the nursing student program in Yarmouth completely?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I can say without reservation, despite the fact that that group may have wished to do so, we support that nursing program established at Yarmouth and we have absolutely no intention of closing it.

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

HEALTH - SYSTEM (TWO-TIERED):

MIN. - ENCOURAGEMENT EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Over the weekend, MacQuarries Pharmasave in Truro hosted a travelling bone scan clinic where people could find out whether or not they were at risk for osteoporosis. The price for the test was $30. It is very ironic that this clinic was being offered at a time when the minister has just rejected an offer by the Colchester Regional Hospital Auxiliary for a bone densitometer. This machine would be available to all members of the public for no cost. So my question to the minister is, why is the minister encouraging two-tiered health care?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government is very much committed to the principles of the Canada Health Act and we are not encouraging two-tiered health care in this province.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister is forcing citizens, through his refusal to allow the hospital to purchase the bone densitometer, to seek out private means of testing for this debilitating disease. The minister is allowing the private sector to capitalize on the fact that residents in his area do not have access to a bone densitometer. When will the minister show the

[Page 9039]

residents of Colchester that he does not support two-tiered health care and crack down on private screening clinics?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member should not ask questions like that without a greater knowledge base. Clearly, a bone densitometer and the machine that is being offered in drugstores here and elsewhere are not the same thing.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister should try answering a question for a change. I want to table a letter here from Dr. Diane Theriault who provides even more evidence on the value of bone densitometers in treating osteoporosis. She says and I quote, "To not use this machine is like trying to treat high blood pressure without a blood pressure cuff." When will the minister take immediate action and approve the bone densitometer at the Colchester Regional Hospital?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there were two questions. In response to Dr. Theriault's letter, which I will look at later on, this government has always indicated, and has never indicated anything different, that the bone densitometers for people who have osteoporosis or people who appear to be in danger of osteoporosis, clearly, that service should be available. The other thing in response to Truro, as the honourable member knows, we met with the auxiliary and they were to make a proposal to the health authority later on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

P & P - SUNDAY SHOPPING: MUNICIPALITIES - TIANS SUPPORT

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Chairman of the Priorities and Planning Committee. The Tory Red Tape Reduction Task Force issued a report indicating that municipalities should be responsible and take responsibility for the decisions on Sunday shopping at the local stores. The indication given in the report was that the Tourism Association of Nova Scotia supported that position. My question to the minister, does the minister stand by the task force's report and its opinion that indeed that position is supported by TIANS?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the report of the red tape commission was a report to government from a task force that went out and obtained information from various sources. I cannot confirm or deny that one of those particular sources was TIANS.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, well, in fact, I have spoken to the President of TIANS, Ms. Judith Cabrita, and she denies that TIANS have advocated that the municipalities should be setting the rules on the issue of Sunday shopping. While, in fact, they favour extended retail hours, they in no way had ever made a suggestion that that responsibility should be made by the municipalities, just that the government itself should have been making the decision. Can the minister explain to this House where in fact the idea of allowing municipalities to set Sunday store hours came from?

[Page 9040]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, no decision has been made as to whether or not municipalities would be given that power or whether it would be assumed by the provincial government or whether, in fact, we will have Sunday shopping, period.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the minister. The bottom line is that the task force is leaving a false impression which must be corrected. It has to be corrected. Given the importance of working closely with TIANS, my final question now is to the Minister of Tourism. What will the Minister of Tourism do to correct the false impression left by this Tory Red Tape Reduction Task Force against TIANS and the issue of retail hours?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the issue of Sunday shopping is one that TIANS has expressed an interest in during the past number of months. To the best of my knowledge I cannot say whether they have talked about the municipality side of things. It is in the hands of government now. There will be a decision coming forth. I would remind the honourable member that it is quite funny when he speaks about TIANS because since the TIANS conference, the honourable member hasn't asked me one question on TIANS. So it is kind of funny expressing an interest so far after the conference.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - CHILD CARE: WORKERS - WAGES INCREASE

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community Services. Last night we saw hundreds of child care workers outside this building protesting and calling for higher wages for child care workers. Now, I want to give one example to this minister. Back when it was the Cumberland County Community College, it entered into a collective agreement with its child care workers for the day care on-site, they classified those workers as making over twice as much as the going rate for the average child care worker in this province. That is a government agency that agreed to that rate. But this minister and this government are still debating whether or not we should be providing child care workers with more than $7.00 an hour. My question is, why does this minister continue to undervalue the work of child care workers and will he make a commitment here today to increase wages for child care workers in this province?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is only half right. The people who were here last night were talking about wages, but they are also talking about the method of delivering the early childhood development program with the federal government. I have a series of notes from them here. We made a commitment to them last night. Members of that caucus, members of the Liberal caucus and I met with them on Saturday, and we made a commitment to carry on our consultation to make it better.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, again the buzzwords from the Minister of Community Services. Yes, he made a commitment. He made a commitment to think about it. He might as well have just told them the cheque is in the mail for all that kind of commitment is worth.

[Page 9041]

This minister told child care workers that he agreed that higher salaries are important, yet he is not willing to make the commitment to ensure that they get the higher salaries they deserve. He is not saying that this is a top priority for his government. My question is, when will this minister actually make the commitment, yes or no, here today, that he will ensure higher wages will be provided to child care workers?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, what I will tell the member is a yes or no, we will agree to consult with them and carry this program to go with the way they want. We have indicated that we are prepared and we are developing, we want to have quality child care and we want to retain them and that is the work we will carry on with them.

[Page 9042]

MR. DEVEAUX: You know, Mr. Speaker, this minister has had plenty of time to know about the issues and he has had plenty of time to consult. Tonight child care workers are gathering again in Sydney, to make the same protest, so that you will hear them. My question is, when will this minister make a firm commitment to the child care workers of this province that he will ensure they get higher wages?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I will continue to work with the child care sectors. We have had a number of meetings with them, and we will continue to work with them and continue to see that both the private and the non-profit sectors have their concerns addressed.

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

EXCO - RED TAPE REDUCTION TASK FORCE:

SUNDAY SHOPPING - PREMIER DIRECTIONS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier with regard to the Red Tape Reduction Task Force. Having listened to the answer from the Minister of Tourism and Culture for Nova Scotia, I'll cut right to the chase. Will the Premier confirm that it was he and his Cabinet who directed the task force to take the position that municipalities would make the final decision on Sunday store shopping hours?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if I confirmed that, as the member suggested, I would be misleading the House, because the Cabinet did not direct the task force to make that or any other recommendation.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the Premier answered only half; he didn't indicate where he stood on the issue.

As the Premier may recall, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley refused to take part in the Red Tape Reduction Task Force. My understanding is that the member refused to do so because the Premier directed him and other task force members to come up with a policy that would allow for Sunday shopping. My question is, is that the reason why the member refused to join the red Tory task force in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley can't get up to answer that question himself. I did not direct that member, or any other member, as to how they should conduct themselves in the task force. I did not direct them as to what recommendations they should take to government and I certainly think that the Opposition Parties, in trying to taint that report, are doing that task force a disservice.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, Mr. Speaker, it is pretty independent, five Tories and one businessman. Why won't the Premier take responsibility for his actions, to make his own decision on Sunday shopping, without pawning it off to backbenchers of the Tory caucus?

[Page 9043]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, unlike members opposite, I have been very forthright in indicating publicly my stand on Sunday shopping, unlike members of the Opposition Party who want to be on both sides of the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto. You have about 10 seconds.

JUSTICE - DPP: APPT. - ANNOUNCEMENT

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, it is almost time for the honourable Minister of Justice to make his annual ritual statement that he is about to hire a Director of Public Prosecutions. I wonder, would he like to do that for us?

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. Traditionally in this House, Question Period is an accountability session for the government. What is happening here today is we have three Cabinet Ministers not in their places. We know where one is, he hasn't been in his place for quite some time. The other two, the Minister of Finance, and the Acting Acting Acting - or whatever it is - Minister of Environment is not in his place as well. Our caucus has had no indication from anybody on the government side that these ministers were not going to be in the House today to answer questions from Opposition.

Mr. Speaker, this is another example of this majority government having nothing but arrogance and contempt for this House. I would ask the Speaker to rule on this point of privilege. (Applause)

[1:30 p.m.]

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, however you are going to decide on the ruling, we will find out in a few minutes, but we have had the courtesy of government members who were occupying Cabinet benches notifying caucus offices of the Opposition Parties, if they are not present. That has not always happened, and I concede that, there have been other situations where ministers have been absent from the House and we didn't learn about that. It is not only this Tory Government that was guilty of that, quite frankly, even the former government did, sometimes, have that bad habit. Also, there were situations where, at the last minute (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, there are also some circumstances at the last minute - and everybody can understand that - where a minister can't be here, but certainly, on the day, every

[Page 9044]

effort should be made to notify Opposition caucuses if a minister is going to be absent, and if a minister inadvertently has to be absent, surely the Government House Leader, on the day, can advise the House and advise members opposite in advance of a Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the point of privilege, the tradition in this House has always been that the Opposition be notified when there is a minister absent. I understand that both caucus offices were informed last Friday of the absence of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations during this present week.

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a separate point of privilege, I indicated to the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I want to deal with this issue first. Because the member rose on a point of privilege as opposed to a point of order, I probably should take it under advisement, but in the short time I have been in this House I would think that it was more a matter of courtesy that Opposition members would be notified of the absence in the House of ministers. I am going to rule that it is not a point of privilege, but I would ask in the future that the honourable Government House Leader advise the Opposition Leaders when ministers are not going to be in the House. If, in fact, it did or did not happen, I would ask that for the courtesy of all members that it would happen in the future.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. In relation to a question the member for Cape Breton West asked earlier, just to provide an update, the three most recent tests with regard to the water in CBRM have come back okay. We are awaiting a fourth. Subject to the fourth test, the boil order could be lifted tonight or tomorrow. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please! The members will come to order or they will listen to the answer on the videotape outside.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. I thank the minister for that response, but the fact of the matter is all he had to do is read today's newspaper to find that out. That is something that was undertaken by the municipality. The question I asked was in regard to what the province is doing, and he didn't answer the question.

MR. SPEAKER: That is a matter of information or clarification of facts, more than a point of order.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 9045]

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery today we have a prominent graduate of Sackville High School, Athlete of the Year, way back, 100 years ago I think, a resident of Sackville-Beaver Bank, who is currently the IWK-Grace Health Centre Youth Care Worker, Raymond Billard. With Ray today is one of his young friends, Jeff Hodder. I would ask them to stand and receive the greeting of the House.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

The motion is carried.

[1:34 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[6:12 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton West:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Tory government has failed to adequately address the problem of E. coli in Donkin's water supply."

[Page 9046]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

ENVIRON. - DONKIN WATER SUPPLY:

E. COLI - TREATMENT INADEQUACY

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on this very important resolution that is before the House. It is particularly important because of the foot-dragging that has been going on by the provincial government over the last number of weeks and months, particularly as it relates to a lot of the water problems in industrial Cape Breton, first starting off with the Coxheath-Westmount area in the constituency of my good colleague, the member for Cape Breton The Lakes, and then in the constituency of my good colleague, the member for Cape Breton East, in the Glace Bay area, and, indeed, over in the Dominion and Reserve areas, and now in the community of Donkin and the Tower Road area, which is predominantly in my own constituency. Of course, that, for the most part, would entail parts of the community of Port Morien.

Mr. Speaker, the questions have been raised on a number of occasions, here in the House, as to what the provincial government has been doing to address the question of the lack of water quality in these particular communities. The Acting Minister of Environment - who is now the fifth acting minister in that portfolio in less than a year - had no more to offer on this issue than the cleaning lady down the street; that is about the long and the short of it. (Interruptions) Not at all. I am not against the cleaning lady or the painter or the surveyor or the lawyer or anybody else, but what I am against is the way the government has been dragging its feet on this particular issue, and trying to dump the responsibility on the municipalities, school boards, individuals, downloading from a tax point of view, and a whole lot of other arrangements that really should be the responsibility of the Province of Nova Scotia.

We are not going to be caught up by the rabbit tracks of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, suggesting that we are accusing this one or being downgrading or despondent towards somebody of a third party nature. The fact of the matter is the record speaks for itself. In the last budget, the part-time Environment Minister at that point, who is now the Minister of Justice as well - I believe he was the second or third in line for that job description in less than a number of months - lifted over $500,000 from the Municipal Recycling Programs, diverting these funds from the Resource Recovery Fund, which were basically designed to help municipalities with issues of their garbage and recycling many of the by-products from human consumption.

Mr. Speaker, the Donkin area is serviced by the water supply from Schooner Pond, much the same as Port Morien and Glace Bay and Dominion and Reserve and Tower Road are serviced by the Sand Lake Water Supply. In the Sand Lake area, that water depot that supplies

[Page 9047]

these respective communities, I would suggest, is at least 30 or 40 years old and is very obsolete to the needs of the residents and in desperate need of upgrading.

[6:15 p.m.]

In the Donkin area, the Schooner Pond water supply and the chlorination that goes on on a regular basis is simply inadequate to meet the needs of the residents there. I believe a lot of residents, a lot of individuals, and I am sure members of this Legislature, are not even aware of what the purpose of chlorinating a water supply is all about. In simple layman's terms all the chlorine does is chase the bacteria from point A to point B. It doesn't clear the water supply of the bacteria. So sometimes after a number of months and years what we find is that this bacteria builds up in the pipelines and, indeed, with the pumping system itself. So the chlorination system becomes ineffectual after a certain period of time.

What we need is a more standardized, upgraded and ultra-modern water treatment plant for that entire jurisdiction. Mr. Speaker, that is the same as I referred to in the Coxheath-Westmount area; it is the same in the Truro area; it is the same up in northeastern Nova Scotia, in your own jurisdiction, and I am sure you would be only too anxious to have a quality water supply for all the constituents you represent, particularly if they invite you in for a cup of tea; you want to make sure that you are going to have good quality water in that tea, otherwise, you are not going to be feeling too good as you go canvassing, and I don't think they are going to feel too good about you, as you come to the door. So these are the types of side-effects that could actually occur, when a Tory member comes canvassing, if they don't provide quality water for their constituents.

Mr. Speaker, we don't have to wait for another Walkerton to happen, we really don't. The Minister of Environment knows full well. We learned today that the honourable Minister of Environment, the Acting Acting Acting Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Angus MacIsaac, is over at The Hague, in the Netherlands. Now what in the name of Heavens he is doing over at The Hague, when we need him here in Nova Scotia to address water quality problems, is beyond my comprehension. It has been suggested that perhaps he is over there appealing the blue route decision at the International Court of Justice.

Now maybe that may help him. I was really taken aback when I was driving along the highway over the weekend and somebody had indicated to me that there is trouble in River City, and I don't mean about water quality, I mean about the Minister of Environment. I will table this. There is a big billboard sign that says, Angus MacIsaac, MLA, resign.

[Page 9048]

We need this Minister of the Environment here right now, not that he is going to do a lot, but we need him here to address some of these problems. We don't need him to resign right now. If he is not going to do anything then we will go to the fifth minister who has been appointed as of today, then we will certainly go that route. Or perhaps, Mr. Speaker, what the Premier should do is start looking into the deep recess of the backbenches and see if there is at least one backbencher who would qualify as a good Minister of Environment. I know we have the good member for Guysborough. He was a former warden for that county and very sensitized to the municipal issues in Guysborough County. I am sure he would be well experienced on the issue of water quality and how to address it with the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations who, by the way, is also the Minister of Environment.

So what he has to do, he has to set up three or four mirrors. We will not go eight-sided, octagonal, we will go three or four. He can say, okay, I am going to talk to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. So he looks at himself in the mirror there and then he looks over here and he says, well, I am going to talk to the Minister of Labour because there are some occupational health and safety issues and, most importantly, I am going to look at myself, the Minister of Environment. So he can keep looking at himself all day and do you know what, Mr. Speaker, the answers are right there in front of him. He is the minister and he has the authority, he has the power to make those decisions on addressing some of the provincial responsibilities here. Simply passing rules and regulations and downloading on the municipalities and saying we now have more boil orders than any other time in the history of the province is a clear indication that the problem is getting worse, not better.

How he can stand up and thump himself on the chest and say what a great minister I am, it does not wash, not that it could wash because we do not have quality water, unless he is going to boil it or he is going to go to Canadian Tire to get some of the free water that they are supplying. Mr. Speaker, this is a serious issue and I would ask the Minister of Labour, Environment, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, or whatever title they want to exert for the day, but whoever the Minister of Environment is over there, we need help and we need leadership. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, we are talking tonight about our government's handling of problems in the Donkin water supply. I am here to tell you this government is doing all it can to ensure that the people of Donkin and, in fact, all Nova Scotians, have safe drinking water. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I would remind the honourable member for Cape Breton West there is to be no display of . . .

[Page 9049]

AN HON. MEMBER: Props.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, no props, put your number six away, please. The honourable member for Pictou East has the floor and I would ask all members to give him his time to speak.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that the boil ban has been lifted and, as we speak, the regional municipality officials are passing that good news on to the residents of Donkin. That is a delight to pass on to the members here and I am sure everyone is very much relieved.

The role of the province when it comes to water is to monitor the suppliers and this is a distinction that seems to be lost by the members across from me. This government has taken action to initiate a proactive approach to detecting and resolving any water problems in the province. As a matter of fact, the new regulations and guidelines that came into effect in October past make it clear to municipalities and other suppliers of water what needs to be done to ensure a safe water supply is available and complies with the regulations. Because of these changes, the regulations are more comprehensive and ensuring Nova Scotians have safe drinking water, thereby protecting public health.

Beginning in October Nova Scotia's public drinking water supply owners were required to begin registering their water supply under a process structured and monitored by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. The regulations require public drinking water supply owners to test the water supplies on a regular basis, to inform their customers, the Department of Environment, if there are any problems, and to take corrective actions to correct and address any of the problems identified.

The guidelines for monitoring public drinking water supplies call for a regular and frequent testing of the waters, microbiological and chemical testing to be conducted and approval by laboratories. Supplies must meet stringent water quality standards and action is prescribed as problems may arise.

We have also built in clearer requirements for immediate person to person communications of reporting potentially unsafe water situations to the Department of Environment, the local medical health officer and the water supply owners. The government considers the provision of safe drinking water to be a shared responsibility with the Department of Environment, and the systems' owners and operators across Nova Scotia. It makes good common sense because water systems' staff are present daily at the water supply and they are familiar with their water systems and they are in the best position to assume routine sampling. But, keep in mind, the Department of Environment will be carrying out auditing functions of these systems.

Under the new regulations, systems' staff and utility operators will work jointly in a proactive environment to increase quality control. The Department of Environment staff will offer training courses on water sampling. These guidelines require that water samples be tested by an approved lab and mandate the protocols be followed by the measures to be taken to ensure

[Page 9050]

that the public does not consume water that fails to meet health-based guidelines established by Health Canada.

The new system works. The Donkin situation proves it. When coliform was detected in the community's water supply the proper public officials, as well as the residents of Donkin were told immediately and informed of the actions that they could take to safeguard their situations and their health, and between 800 and 1,000 residents were placed on a boil order last Friday.

This government has been in touch with the water suppliers, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, since the onset of this and appropriate action has been taken and the problem has been corrected.

Provincial regulations demand two safe water samples obtained every 24 hours. Thus far, four safe samples, as required by the municipality, have been taken in Donkin. The boil order has been lifted. I know the boil order and other safety precautions have been inconvenient for the residents of Donkin, they have suffered some inconvenience . . .

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Clearly the member is incorrect in what he states. Even the Acting Acting Acting Acting Acting Minister of Environment today stated quite to the contrary what the member has just stated. The boil order is still in effect and I have confirmed that with the officials of CBRM.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order, but certainly a discrepancy over the facts.

The honourable member for Pictou East has the floor.

MR. DEWOLFE: The boil order will be lifted tonight. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is spreading that word right now as we speak. I wonder what the honourable member across from me was doing for the six years he was in power with regard to infrastructure. You were there for six years and did nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: We had fresh water. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable members to ensure that they address their questions or comments through the Chair and not to each other across the floor. The honourable member for Pictou East has the floor.

[6:30 p.m.]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, to address the honourable member's point that he has just made, the point of order is the fact that we had fresh water for the seven years I represented that particular jurisdiction. It wasn't until this member and this government got elected that we had foul water.

[Page 9051]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Not a point of order, but a clarification of the facts. The honourable member for Pictou East has the floor.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, our friends across the floor seem to take great delight in blaming this government for every ill in Nova Scotia. (Interruption) Surely even they can't hold the government responsible for rainy weather. Even they can't hold us responsible for that.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Canadian Tire for the efforts to ease this inconvenient situation for the residents of Donkin. (Laughter) The Opposition, Mr. Speaker, takes great joy in this, in laughing about it, but what they did in the past few days, Canadian Tire Store in Glace Bay has distributed 100,000 litres of bottled water to the residents through the Foundation for Families. I hail them for that. That is a wonderful initiative they did. This generous gesture is the epitome of good corporate citizenship that I am sure was welcomed by the recipients in Donkin, even if being ridiculed by the members across the floor.

Mr. Speaker, this government takes safety of water supply in Nova Scotia very seriously. In addition to the regulations I have already outlined, we have taken steps through the Provincial Capital Assistance Program to improve the infrastructure that has made municipalities deliver safe water, infrastructure that was neglected, totally neglected by the previous government. Important investments in the water supply infrastructure have already been made in communities across the province.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, this government has addressed the water problems in Donkin. They have addressed them adequately, they have addressed them completely, and they have addressed them safely. We have instituted comprehensive proactive regulations and guidelines to regularly test to detect water problems. We have shared responsibility with those who know the water supply best, and we have built a prompt and direct reporting mechanism. In addition, this government has granted funds to municipalities to help them better supply clean healthy water to its customers.

[Page 9052]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has expired for the honourable member.

The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party. (Interruption) Order, please. Order. Order, please. The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party has the floor.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand and speak to this resolution. In the heat of debate, I certainly get the unbiased view from all Parties. I certainly want to say to the member for Pictou East who just spoke that the member still hasn't said what it was that the province has done to alleviate the problem in Donkin. I think if it wasn't for the municipality, then nothing would have been done there.

I want to say to that member, talk is cheap. This crowd to my right has nothing to brag about either. When it comes to the performance of the Department of Environment and Labour, Mr. Speaker, this report pretty well says it all. (Interruption) The honourable member for Cape Breton South makes a good point, and I will get to that.

Mr. Speaker, the downloading of responsibility onto municipalities and to school boards and whoever else supplies water is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the government. For the member of the Tory Party to stand there and say that the Department of Environment has a procedure in place to deal with any complaints, we have regulations in place, well where were all these regulations for three years when a party at Twin Mountain was supposed to be monitoring their water, sending in testing results every three months or four months, whatever the case was, and nobody from the Department of Environment ever checked on it? The tests were never done, and nobody ever checked to find out why they weren't done. (Interruptions) Good point. That was for three years, and part of that three years was under the Liberal Administration. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I want to make a point about a statement (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party has the floor.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a point around a statement that the honourable member for Cape Breton West made about the fact that chlorine doesn't kill bacteria. I would have to disagree and say that certainly the intention of using chlorine is to kill bacteria. The fact that it chases bacteria from point A to point B would be an interesting piece of information for those people who use it in swimming pools. It would make you wonder which part of the pool you should dive into, that the bacteria isn't there. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party has the floor.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, in recent days we have had a number of incidents come before the floor of this House around Glace Bay, Balls Creek and Keltic Drive,

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and now the issue around Donkin. I think we can only consider ourselves lucky that none of these issues have been more severe. That doesn't cause us to forget the Bishops Bog and the Twin Mountain incidents.

We haven't seen any direction from this Department of Environment; the fact is the Premier has not been willing to assign a full-time minister at this stage. I think that for anybody in this province to be reassured, the member for Pictou East had mentioned that the Opposition was blaming the government because of rainfall, they are willing to blame the government for everything, even rainfall. I don't think we are quite so ridiculous as to do that, but in the case where rainfall causes problems - which is exactly what happened in Walkerton, Ontario, it was rainfall that occurred that caused an increase in the count of E. coli - I think that it is up to the government to ensure that the mechanism is in place to prevent a disaster like what has happened in Walkerton.

For this government to go down that same road that the Ontario Government has gone and realized the folly of its way in doing that, and to think that they haven't learned any lesson, then what does it take? Do we need a disaster in Nova Scotia in order for this Tory Government to realize they are making a mistake by downloading this responsibility onto municipalities and onto school boards? I actually got a letter from one of the assistant superintendents of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board expressing this very concern. The government seems to think that is fine, but what they have done is downloaded this and not allocated any funds to help any of these bodies take on this monitoring function.

The case for balancing the books has to be at what price, and I think they will find, at one point, hopefully, that Nova Scotians aren't willing to keep paying and paying to keep this bunch of bandits in power. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would suggest to the honourable member that it is unparliamentary and ask him to retract it, please. (Interruption) Thank you.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have heard members on the government side, and the Minister of Economic Development actually stood in the House in one of these debates and talked about the good things the government has done and mentioned the recycling program. Well, that recycling program and waste reduction is the only thing that was mentioned in this report that any government had actually put a deadline on. As far as air quality, water quality, anything else, neither of these governments have been willing to put a deadline on and try to stick to that deadline. The people in this province are depending on luck for security and safety as far as the quality of drinking water and the government opposite, hopefully, will learn the folly of its ways without a disaster. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: There are about one and one-half minutes left.

The honourable member for Richmond.

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MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it was with interest that I listened to the member for Pictou East and the blabbering that came out of him as the chief apologizer for the Tory Government in the backbenches. What has happened to the Department of Environment under this government has been an absolute disgrace. Under their two budgets, the slashes and cuts they have made to that one department, there are a lot of tough decisions that were made and municipalities have been more than happy to work with the provincial government to try to address water quality concerns. The problem is that when they call there is no one there to answer the phone because this government, that minister, or whichever minister it is now - they are on number six now, with the MLA for Inverness - has become an absolute disgrace.

This is only going to get worse, until this government commits funding and real money to the Department of Environment to have staff people who can deal with this, work directly with the stakeholders, work with these municipal units and be able to try to avoid these types of situations. If that is not done and they continue to reduce the Department of Environment to a staff that can fit in a phone booth, then we are going to continue to see water quality problems from one end of this province to the next.

The technology is out there, the expertise is out there, we have tremendous staff in the Department of Environment, but they can only do so much. When the manpower is not there, when the amount of staff is not there, we will continue to have the problems we are faced with.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to thank the honourable members for taking part in this evening's debate.

[6:43 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[7:53 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 69 - Denturists Act.

Bill No. 70 - Sydney Steel Corporation Sale Act.

Bill No. 72 - Dental Act.

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

Further, Mr. Speaker, that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

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Bill No. 62 - Employment Support and Income Assistance Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I would ask that we revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 68 - Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Bill No. 74 - Probate Act.

Bill No. 78 - Nova Scotia Business Incorporated Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow being Opposition Day, I would move that the House do now rise and meet tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

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Perhaps the House Leader of the Liberal Party would give us the order of business for tomorrow.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: After such an exhilarating day, I am looking forward to Opposition Day tomorrow, Mr. Speaker. We will be calling Resolution No. 3410, which deals with government's broken promises, and Bill No. 81. As the Government House Leader has stated, we will meet from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

I move that we adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 2:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 7:55 p.m.]