Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Fri., Oct. 8, 1999

First Session

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Culture - Georg Tintner (Music Director - Symphony N.S.):
Death of - Tribute, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 31
Fin. - P3 Financing Process Review, Hon. N. LeBlanc 33
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3, Estimates - Committee of the Whole House on Supply,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 36
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 1, Gemstone Emblem Act, Mr. D. Dexter 36
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4, Gov't. (N.S.): Gamesmanship - Recognize, Mr. Manning MacDonald 37
Res. 5, DFO - Lobster Fishery: Atl. Chiefs (Standing Comm.) -
Proposal Support, Mr. Robert Chisholm 37
Res. 6, Sysco - Closure: Impact - Intolerable, Mr. P. MacEwan 38
Res. 7, Sports - Triathlon (World Champs.): Chris Roberts (Truro) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 39
Vote - Affirmative 39
Res. 8, Sports - Softball: Hall of Fame - Gerard McMullen Dec'd.-
Induction Congrats., Mr. R. MacLellan 39
Vote - Affirmative 40
Res. 9, Nat. Res. - Oil & Gas: Importance - Maintain, Mr. J. Holm 40
Res. 10, Volunteer Firefighters: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 41
Vote - Affirmative 41
Res. 11, Gov't. (N.S.) - Mandate: Fulfilment - Wish Well,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 41
Vote - Affirmative 42
Res. 12, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Road Safety: Snap, Buckle, Drive
Prog. (Canning) - Sponsors Recognize, Mr. M. Parent 42
Vote - Affirmative 43
Res. 13, Commun. Serv. - Hope Cottage: Efforts - Commend,
Ms. E. O'Connell 43
Vote - Affirmative 44
Res. 14, Culture: Celtic Colours Festival - Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 44
Vote - Affirmative 44
Res. 15, Nat. Res. - Mine Rescue Competition (N.S.-1999):
Prince Colliery Team - Winners Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 44
Vote - Affirmative 45
Res. 16, Health - CMA F.N.G. Starr Award: Dr. Richard Goldbloom
(Hfx.) - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 45
Vote - Affirmative 46
Res. 17, NDP (Canada) Leader: Negotiation - Learn, Mr. M. Samson 46
Res. 18, Health - Care: Regionalization Task Force - Recommendations
Implement, Mr. D. Dexter 46
Res. 19, Commun. Serv.: Child Tax Benefit (Nat'l.) - Restore,
Mr. K. Deveaux 47
Res. 20, Health - Full-Time Nurses: Funding Commitment -
Intention Indicate, Dr. J. Smith 48
Res. 21, Educ. - Sir John A. Macdonald HS: Overcrowding Alleviation -
Plans Inform, Mr. W. Estabrooks 48
Res. 22, Econ. Dev. - C.B. (Indust.): Future - Optimism Share,
Mr. D. Wilson 49
Res. 23, GG (Can.): Rt. Hon. Romeo LeBlanc-Retirement/
Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson-Appointment - Best Wishes Extend,
Mr. H. Epstein 49
Vote - Affirmative 50
Res. 24, Gov't. (N.S.) - Civil Service: Respect - Show, Mr. B. Boudreau 50
Res. 25, Fin. - P3 Financing Review: Five Point Plan (NSGEU) -
Endorsement Urge, Mr. J. Pye 51
Res. 26, Health - CANO (Admin. Ex. Award): Jean MacPhee
(C.B. Cancer Ctr.) - Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 52
Vote - Affirmative 52
Res. 27, Agric.: Contribution Valuable - Recognize, Mr. John MacDonell 52
Vote - Affirmative 53
Res. 28, Health - Nurse Training Seats: Increase - Announce, Dr. J. Smith 53
Res. 29, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Gas/Oil Prices: Protection - Announce,
Mr. J. Holm 54
Res. 30, Agric. - Drought Relief: Securement - Encourage, Mr. D. Downe 54
Res. 31, Terry Fox Feud (30/08/99) - Politicians v Media: Participants -
Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 55
Vote - Affirmative 56
Res. 32, Justice - Jail/Forensic Hosp.: Location - Indecision Expensive,
Mr. M. Samson 56
Res. 33, Gov't. (Can.) - Economy (C.B.): Revival - Leadership Show,
Mr. F. Corbett 56
Vote - Affirmative 57
Res. 34, Gov't. (N.S.) - Mandate: Leadership - Premier Remind,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 57
Res. 35, Health - Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Oct.): Events -
Participants Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 58
Vote - Affirmative 58
Res. 36, Educ. - N.S. Commun. Col.: Enrolment Record - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 59
Res. 37, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. Projects: Announcements
(Premier) - Promises Remember, Mr. K. Deveaux 59
No. 38, Sen. Alasdair Graham - Dedication: Thanks - Extend,
Mr. P. MacEwan 60
Res. 39, Educ. - Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Commun.:
Safety Concerns - Actions Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 60
Vote - Affirmative 61
Res. 40, SCS: Exec. Dir. - Hire, Mr. J. Pye 61
Res. 41, Lt. Gov. - Caring Cdn. Award: Bruce & Marian Walker
(Mt. Uniacke) - Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 62
Vote - Affirmative 62
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. Robert Chisholm 63
Mr. R. MacLellan 73
Mr. M. Parent 79
Mr. C. O'Donnell 86
Mr. H. Epstein 90
Adjourned debate 91
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Oct. 12th at 2:00 p.m. 91

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HALIFAX, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1999

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

11:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will commence the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has lost one of its greatest musicians with the recent passing of Dr. Georg Tintner.

Dr. Tintner was the Music Director and Conductor Laureate of Symphony Nova Scotia, beloved by his orchestra, fans and many others in the community. He worked all his life with young musicians, including our own Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, his reason for first coming to our country. His international career took him from Vienna, where he was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir, to the Australian Opera, to New York, Hong Kong and most major cities in between.

31

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Dr. Tintner also worked with amateur choirs, singers, aspiring conductors and anyone who seriously desired his help. He was awarded honorary degrees by universities, including Dalhousie and St. Francis Xavier, and this year he received the prestigious Portia White Award bestowed by the province through the Nova Scotia Arts Council in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the cultural life of our province.

To his wife Tanya and his seven children, I would like to extend the deepest condolences and sympathy of the people of Nova Scotia. I would also like to acknowledge the significant loss which our musical community is currently experiencing. Dr. Tintner will be sadly missed and never forgotten in his adopted home. We will all cherish our memories of the wonderful music he made and the inspirational example he set for all of us of a life well lived.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me, as a great fan of Dr. Tintner's, to respond and to thank the government for initiating this. I would like to say that Dr. Tintner was a world class musician. He was truly a remarkable man, he was a musical genius. He was born in Vienna in 1917, he started playing the piano at the age of 6 and by the age of 9 he was composing works for the Vienna Boys Choir. As a Jew he was forced to leave his native Austria when the Nazis moved in and I think we can take it here in this province as a tremendous compliment that he chose to spend the last part of his life in Nova Scotia. He enriched our musical heritage, he brought life to everything he conducted and Georg Tintner will be sorely missed.

I had the tremendous pleasure of presenting Dr. Tintner with the Portia White Prize, I had not had the opportunity to meet him up until that time. He was such a fine man, so in love with music, so in love with his fellow man and so in love with the Province of Nova Scotia that it was quite an experience.

The musical world and indeed the whole Province of Nova Scotia will miss this truly remarkable man. To his wife Tanya and to his children, I want to express on behalf of my Party and certainly, myself, the great sense of loss that they must feel and to say that we truly have lost a remarkable man in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be able to say a word or two on behalf of my own Party about this great man whom the Liberal Leader described as a musical genius. Although Dr. Tintner chose us in the latter part of his life he did not really belong to us, he belonged to the whole world and the world of music, a world that has no international boundaries. That is clear from the outpouring of grief and sympathy that appeared almost immediately on a number of sites on the Internet after his death. I think that

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is a fairly strong indicator of both the international power of music and the lack of boundaries in that world.

We have noted that in the latter part of his life he attempted and was working on recording the works of Anton Bruckner, the 19th Century Austrian composer and the outpouring on the Internet includes pleas to have this work completed.

On behalf of my Party and joining with the government and the other Party, I would like to express my sympathy to his family, to the people of Nova Scotia and to music lovers throughout the world. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker and members of the House, yesterday the Speech from the Throne set out a clear agenda for our government. Today, we are continuing to put these words into action.

We said our government stands for openness and accountability. That means openness about how we build our schools, jails and other public infrastructure. It means accountability for every dollar spent providing these essential facilities and services.

Today, through the Public Tenders Office, we are seeking an independent consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of P3 financing. We are using this opportunity to look well beyond schools. We are questioning the very nature of public-private partnerships. We are looking for some very basic answers. We want to know if the theory of public-private partnering can really work and what should the expected benefits be? Has it worked in Nova Scotia? Has it achieved the government's objectives? And finally Mr. Speaker, if public private partnering can deliver good value for the taxpayers, what changes should we make to maximize those benefits? In simple terms Mr. Speaker, does P3 represent a good deal for Nova Scotia?

With this independent advice, we feel we will have the answers to these fundamental questions. To take it a step further, this analysis will also allow us to consider P3 within the context of our new accounting principles - principles of openness that let Nova Scotians see the true cost of the services and programs that they, as taxpayers, fund.

By moving to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, it doesn't matter whether we have a capital lease, an operating lease or a mortgage on the building. In each case, there is a real long-term cost for the taxpayers that shows up every year in the form of interest, depreciation or lease payments.

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Now that the accounting is out of the way, we want to see if this method of supplying capital projects has enough benefit to warrant its continued use for schools, jails or other forms of public infrastructure. Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to doing these sorts of projects in a way that gives the taxpayers good value. That means we also want to do it in the most efficient manner possible.

I look forward to having our questions answered in a timely manner. With the answers in hand, we can make the right decisions on how to best provide essential facilities and services. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I want to first thank the minister for sending the statement over in advance. As we all understand, infrastructure is important to the Province of Nova Scotia and educational infrastructure is key, whether they deal with the environmental concerns of some of the facilities that were mentioned yesterday in our schools or just simply making our schools technologically advanced, allowing our children and our youth the opportunity to experience global opportunities and economic opportunities anywhere they live in the Province of Nova Scotia.

We all understand that under the previous accounting methods, P3 was an option that we had to deal with, an option that was allowing us to go forward, to be able to build the infrastructure that was required for our youth and our education system and others. Now, with the fast-tracking of the new accounting practices, by the way, which were brought in, in fact, in 1998-99 by the Liberal Government, it will now allow, under that current method, for the consolidation of debt, the opportunity to expend some of these issues over a 10 or 20 year period; realizing that that now is a new option that was not available to us before.

I want to say, on behalf of our Liberal Party, we welcome the review of the P3 process, value for money in meeting CICA guidelines. We acknowledge that the minister will review that and bring that information to the House, and above all, we want to make sure that the badly needed facilities in areas of education are not impeded by this review. We welcome the review and look forward to its outcome. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, very much appreciate the minister's kindness in faxing his statement over to our offices earlier this morning. I must say, it is interesting that the heat of the summer must have changed the attitudes slightly of the political Party to my right, because I seem to hear some different views being expressed now than what we had heard not so very many months ago.

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Mr. Speaker, it is essential, certainly, that we develop and that we develop in a timely fashion the infrastructure so crucial in this province. If we look back, and I have the benefit maybe of a little bit of history in this House, and I can remember the inefficient manner in which schools, for examples, used to be delivered in this province, many years ago. I used to think that they were on a political timetable.

What you would do is just before one election, you would announce that a new school was going to be built. By the time the next election rolled around, they would announce that they have completed the preparation work and the sod would be turned, so that you could get your second election out of it. Then by the time that the third election was around, of course, you would have had your official opening, so you would be taking credit.

That is not an answer. We do have to, indeed, speed up the process in which we deliver our needed public facilities. We can do that and we can do that within government.

Mr. Speaker, certainly our caucus and particularly the member for Halifax Fairview, as a former Education Critic, raised consistent concerns about the P3 process on the floor of this House. The Auditor General and this Minister of Finance, by his own reviews, have discovered that, in fact, many of those leases that were signed do not pass the test.

Mr. Speaker, we very much welcome an independent review of the entire P3 process. In the minister's statement he talks about, for example, we want to know if the theory of public-private partnerships can really work and what should the expected benefits be. Has it worked in Nova Scotia? Has it achieved the government's objectives? I guess it all depends on what those government objectives are. If it is an objective to try to hide the debts of the province, maybe it has, but the key questions are, are we delivering our needed facilities in the most timely fashion and are we getting true value for our dollar?

[11:15 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to seeing the full terms of reference of the consultant's review. I also look forward to receiving from the minister information on when he anticipates that this study will be completed and a commitment that the full consultant's report, paid for by the taxpayers of the Province of Nova Scotia, will be made public so that we can all see exactly what we have been getting and what the government is going to be proposing in the weeks and years to come. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview on an introduction.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to say that in the gallery opposite to me, a group of frequent visitors to this House, and these are the students from the Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre located in Halifax Fairview. They are here with their teacher, Gerry Mills, herself an immigrant who became a citizen of this country a few short

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years ago and at whose Citizenship Court I had the pleasure to be. I would like to ask the House to give the Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre a warm welcome and I would ask them to stand and receive the applause of the House. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall:

(1) read and table the message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor transmitting the Estimates of the Sums required for the service of the province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2000 for the consideration of this House;

(2) table the Estimate Books;

(3) table the Crown Corporation business plans;

(4) table the Estimate and Crown Corporation business plans resolutions;

(5) table my Budget Speech; and

(6) move that the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the province, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2000, being Supply to be granted to Her Majesty and the Crown Corporation business plans, be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

Mr. Speaker, the budget will be tabled on Thursday, October 14, 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 1 - Entitled An Act to Declare Agate to be the Gemstone Emblem of Nova Scotia. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

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RESOLUTION NO. 4

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

Whereas the member for Halifax Citadel built her career on advocating the closure of Sysco, claiming that hospital beds would miraculously open if only we closed the plant; and

Whereas the Premier commended and even applauded the member's actions during the campaign, even though he knew the closure of Sysco would incur massive environmental, social and economic problems; and

Whereas this government's Throne Speech failed to mention Sysco once;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize this government's shallow political gamesmanship in the face of real policy challenges.

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

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 of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 5

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

Whereas yesterday the Atlantic Chiefs proposed the formation of a standing committee composed of a broad range of representatives of Aboriginal Nations and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; and

Whereas the standing committee would develop a process for long-term arrangements to implement the Marshall decision in concert with a 30 day voluntary shutdown of the entire lobster fishery, both inshore and offshore, effective October 9, 1999; and

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Whereas the shutdown of the fishery could result in substantial loss of income for fishers until negotiations conclude to all parties' satisfaction;

Therefore be it resolved that this House declare its support in principle for the Atlantic Chiefs' proposal and urge the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to negotiate a fair and reasonable solution, including compensation, for all parties to this fishery crisis.

Mr. Speaker, I would seek 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 member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 6

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

Whereas irresponsible elements within this government are pressing for a sudden and precipitous closure of the Sydney Steel Corporation; and

Whereas with the loss of Phalen Colliery and the wind-up of the Cape Breton Development Corporation, such a move would have effects too terrible to contemplate; and

Whereas such action would trigger immediate shut-down costs, including legal responsibility for site restoration to greenfield conditions, conservatively estimated at $1 billion, all payable immediately;

Therefore be it resolved that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia could never tolerate the financial impact of knee-jerk closure of Sydney Steel and that the responsible course is to support the existing process of marketing Sysco so that it can continue to be a major contributor to the provincial economy.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

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RESOLUTION NO. 7

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

Whereas Chris Roberts from Truro, Nova Scotia, is the number one ranked triathlete in his age group in all of Canada; and

Whereas Mr. Roberts and the rest of the national triathlon team will head to Australia in December to train for the 2000 World Triathlon Championships to take place in April; and

Whereas this athlete's positive attitude and dedication to the sport sets an example for our youth that no dream is unreachable;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to congratulate Chris Roberts for his outstanding achievements and wish him the best of luck at the world championships in April.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 8

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

Whereas the late Gerard "Jed" McMullen will be inducted onto the Honour Roll of the Nova Scotia Softball Hall of Fame in November; and

Whereas for over 20 years he had played for the Florence Coal Dusters, the Cape Breton Pepsis and the Pier Aces; and

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Whereas Jed helped the Northside Alpines capture a provincial title, led the Cranberry Travellers to the Eastern Canadian Championships and was chosen all-star and MVP of the Cape Breton Fast Ball League;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House offer congratulations and best wishes to the family and friends of Jed McMullen as he is immortalized in the Nova Scotia Softball Hall of Fame.

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

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.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 9

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's oil and gas resources hold tremendous promise for the people of Nova Scotia only if we start receiving our fair share of the benefits that accrue from our resources; and

Whereas prior to and during the election, Conservatives were quick to tell all who would hear that they knew we weren't getting our fair share in terms of royalties, employment or industrial benefits; and

Whereas the Speech from the Throne of yesterday was very conservative in terms of both rhetoric and details about how the government plans to begin to address the deficiencies;

Therefore be it resolved that given the importance of our oil and gas resources to the aspirations of our citizens and province, the government give the issue the same degree of importance post-election they gave them pre-election.

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MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 10

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

Whereas this is Fire Prevention Week in Nova Scotia and every week should be treated as fire prevention week; and

Whereas everyone, especially members of this House, have an obligation to be ever- vigilant in the prevention of fire and the promotion of fire safety; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has more than 9,000 firefighters, 8,000 of whom are volunteers, dedicated to the prevention of fire-related tragedy;

Therefore be it resolved that every member of this House recognize and support the outstanding contributions made by firefighters in every community in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 11

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

Whereas the significant and growing deficits in recent provincial budgets limit the capacity of this and future governments; and

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Whereas the new Conservative Government was elected by promising a government of honesty, integrity and compassion, realism and caring; and

Whereas Nova Scotians of all political stripes wish this government success in achieving those goals by fairly tackling the deficit, health care and educational inequality;

Therefore be it resolved that as the new government takes up its mandate, this House wishes it well on behalf of all Nova Scotians and on behalf of whomever is next chosen to govern our province.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 12

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

Whereas the program Snap, Buckle, Drive, initiated and operated by community volunteers, is dedicated to ensuring the safety of children as they travel our roads and highways; and

Whereas last Saturday, the community of Canning was the site of one of Snap, Buckle, Drive's many free public education clinics; and

Whereas a car seat inspection clinic held at the Canning Fire Hall was sponsored by the MacDonald Chisholm Group and the Canning Lions Club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the hard work and tremendous contribution of Snap, Buckle, Drive, and applaud the MacDonald Chisholm Group and the Canning Lions Club for their efforts in sponsoring such a valuable and worthwhile event.

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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 Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 13

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

Whereas Hope Cottage, Halifax's oldest soup kitchen, has recently undergone expansion; and

Whereas the official opening and ribbon cutting of the newly expanded premises will take place on Monday, October 11th, Thanksgiving Day; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians will be enjoying their own holiday meal on Monday, and are adequately fed throughout the year;

[11:30 a.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House both commend Hope Cottage for striving to meet the growing needs of the hungry and deplore the increasing disparities which make its expansion necessary.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

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The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 14

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

Whereas Cape Breton is known as the most beautiful island in the world, and is bursting with musical talent; and

Whereas the world famous Celtic Colours Festival is getting more popular each year, and highlights the best in Cape Breton talent, culture and scenery; and

Whereas this event is so successful because of the many community volunteers from across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House be encouraged to participate in the Celtic Colours Festival and congratulate the organizers for another successful event.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 15

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

Whereas on September 25th in Glace Bay the Prince Colliery mine rescue team won the 1999 Nova Scotia Mine Rescue Competition; and

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Whereas the Prince Colliery mine rescue team was captained by John Walker whose team won the written, first aid and obstacle course events; and

Whereas teams from the Phalen Mine and the Canadian Salt Company also participated in this event;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer congratulations to all who took part in the competition but in particular John Walker, Doug Rideout, Brian Halliday, Mansel Warren, Jim Cantwell, Steve Farrell, Jr., Bill Harris and Cyril LeBlanc of the Prince Colliery mine rescue team

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 16

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

Whereas Halifax paediatrician Dr. Richard Goldbloom has recently received the F.N.G. Starr Award, the highest award the Canadian Medical Association can bestow; and

Whereas this award, named for Frederic Starr, a former secretary of the association, recognizes outstanding achievements and is described as the Victoria Cross of Canadian medicine; and

Whereas Dr. Goldbloom in his roles as a faculty member at Dalhousie Medical School and paediatrician at the IWK-Grace, demonstrates professionalism, knowledge and compassion;

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Therefore be it resolved that this House take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Goldbloom on receiving the CMA award and recognize his tremendous contributions to health care in this province.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 17

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

Whereas federal socialist Leader Alexa McDonough has entered the fray in the native lobster dispute at the eleventh hour in true NDP fashion; and

Whereas she advocated a made-in-Ottawa solution with a top-down approach without concern for the interests of fishery stakeholders; and

Whereas eleventh hour socialist Alexa should take time to examine Nova Scotia issues by visiting once in awhile instead of examining the Rideau Canal fishery;

Therefore be it resolved that Alexa McDonough learn more about negotiation and examine how government can facilitate a solution rather than impose one.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 18

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

[Page 47]

Whereas in the last session of the House of Assembly the Progressive Conservative caucus pushed for the establishment of a Task Force on Regionalization of Health Care; and

Whereas the task force was established under the leadership of Dr. Richard Goldbloom; and

Whereas the report of the task force and its recommendations are now in the possession of the Minister of Health;

Therefore be it resolved that this government move quickly to implement the recommendations of the task force, strengthen regionalization and introduce legislation to establish community health boards.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 19

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 Progressive Conservative Party while in Opposition criticized the Liberal Government for clawing back the National Child Tax Benefit; and

Whereas members of the Progressive Conservative Party serving on the Standing Committee on Community Services reviewing welfare reform recommended immediate reinstatement of the National Child Tax Benefit in full to Community Services recipients; and

Whereas the restoration of the National Child Tax Benefit to Community Services recipients was a part of the Progressive Conservative Party platform in the July 1999 election campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that this Progressive Conservative Government live up to its election promise and immediately restore the National Child Tax Benefit to Community Service recipients.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 48]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 20

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

Whereas during the election campaign, the Premier and his government committed to funding full-time nursing positions; and

Whereas in the Throne Speech yesterday, the government committed to the funding of 100 full-time nurses or equivalents, whatever an equivalent may be; and

Whereas there was no mention in the 243 promises of the provision of funding for equivalents;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier clearly indicate whether it is his government's intention to fund full-time nursing positions as originally promised.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 21

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

Whereas overcrowding at the elementary and junior high levels of education in the Timberlea-Prospect constituency has been addressed; and

Whereas the graduates of these schools are now on the doorsteps of Sir John A. Macdonald High School, the 32 year old high school that services this community; and

Whereas currently there are two portable classrooms in use at Sir John A. to meet the needs of these new students;

[Page 49]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education immediately inform the students, teachers and parents of this community of her department's plans for Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 22

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

Whereas yesterday's Throne Speech indicated that Nova Scotia is enjoying an economic renaissance as it enters the 21st Century; and

Whereas Cape Breton's brief mention in the Throne Speech failed to use the term Devco even once; and

Whereas government intervention in the Cape Breton economy is crucial to enable Glace Bay and surrounding areas to enjoy their equal part in this so-called renaissance;

Therefore be it resolved that the newly-minted government move quickly to ensure that industrial Cape Breton has an equal opportunity to share in the Throne Speech's optimism, an optimism not shared equally among all Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 23

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

[Page 50]

Whereas yesterday marked the end of the term of Governor General Romeo LeBlanc and the start of the new term of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson; and

Whereas Mr. LeBlanc served as Governor General in a manner that allows us to remember him fondly; and

Whereas Ms. Clarkson holds promise to serve in the position with great distinction;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish Romeo LeBlanc well in his retirement and wish Adrienne Clarkson well as she takes up her new duties as Governor General of Canada.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 24

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

Whereas yesterday, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald quoted the Premier of Nova Scotia as saying, "The new budget will have our footprint on it."; and

Whereas the threat of massive government cuts means the Tory footprint will probably be planted on the backs of civil servants; and

Whereas the Throne Speech did nothing to calm the fears of the hard-working public employees;

Therefore be it resolved that the new Tory Government get its head out of the clouds and plant its feet firmly on the ground by showing respect to the Civil Service.

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

[Page 51]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 25

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

Whereas this government announced it will conduct a comprehensive review of P3 financing; and

Whereas concerns have been raised in some quarters that public-private partnering may not lead to improved service for Nova Scotians and it should only be done through a broad consultation process; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union proposed a Five Point Quality Public Service Protection Plan to ensure that public-private partnering is in the best interests of all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Premier to carry over his pre-election endorsement of the five point plan and use its principles in the comprehensive review of public-private partnering.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 52]

RESOLUTION NO. 26

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

Whereas Jean MacPhee, Director of the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, received a national award from the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO); and

Whereas Jean MacPhee was presented with the Administration Award of Excellence at the CANO annual meeting in Halifax this week; and

Whereas the award is sponsored by the association and supported by the drug company Pharmacia & Upjohn;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia applaud Jean MacPhee for her receipt of this prestigious honour.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice and passage.

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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 27

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

Whereas October 5th marked the kick-off for Nova Scotia's Agriculture Awareness Month;

Whereas Nova Scotians acknowledge agriculture as a valuable industry and employer in Nova Scotia;

[Page 53]

Whereas the agriculture industry forms the backbone of the economy of rural Nova Scotia and has produced many outstanding Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the valuable contribution agriculture has made to the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 28

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

Whereas during the election campaign the Premier and his government committed to an immediate increase in the number of nurse training seats; and

Whereas the Throne Speech yesterday did not make mention of an increase in the number of training seats; and

Whereas according to Webster's Dictionary, immediate means, "occurring at once";

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government immediately announce, as per Webster's definition, an increase in the number of nurse training seats.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 54]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 29

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

Whereas thanks to a government regulatory regime, the residents of P.E.I. have, and continue to enjoy, lower retail gasoline prices than the people of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Newfoundland Government, to protect its citizens, has announced it will establish a regulatory system that will require oil companies to justify price increases; and

Whereas as Nova Scotians are no less deserving of protection, the Throne Speech's failure to address the government's plans to safeguard Nova Scotians against unwarranted price hikes must have been the result of an oversight due to inexperience;

Therefore be it resolved that the government immediately announce what steps, if any, it intends to take to protect Nova Scotia residents and businesses against unjustified price increases in both gasoline and home heat fuels.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 30

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

Whereas farmers in our province have experienced their third straight year of drought; and

[Page 55]

[11:45 a.m.]

Whereas in previous years our provincial government has worked closely with the Federation of Agriculture in developing drought relief programs; and

Whereas this year presents exceptional challenges and the necessity to develop a long-term water strategy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the current Minister of Agriculture to work diligently to secure the needed drought relief funds and to work towards a long-term agriculture strategy for drought relief.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 31

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

Whereas on August 30, 1999, the fifth annual Terry Fox Feud took place between politicians and the media; and

Whereas the result of the previous four feuds was a 2-all-tie; and

Whereas in round five the politicians showed their superior knowledge, study skills and reflexes by clobbering the media 400 to 110;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate both the politicians and the media for participating in the Terry Fox Feud and challenge the members of the media, if they dare, to show their faces next year at the feud.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

[Page 56]

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. 32

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

Whereas this province is in dire need of a proper forensic care facility and corrections facility in Halifax metro; and

Whereas this government promised to move the facility from a site chosen after extensive consultations, helping to elect our Minister of Community Services, without considering the potential cost; and

Whereas this blatant political decision will cost all Nova Scotians additional unnecessary spending at a time they are being told to tighten their belts;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government will do anything to serve its own interests at the expense of justice and at the expense of the Nova Scotia taxpayer.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 33

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

Whereas the continual roof falls and weakening geology have caused the premature closing of the Phalen Mine; and

[Page 57]

Whereas this early closure has brought a negative impact upon the economy of Cape Breton; and

Whereas the federal government has shown no leadership whatsoever in the past nine months in renewing the economy of this area;

Therefore be it resolved that this government urge Ottawa to show the needed leadership to help turn around the economy of Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 34

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

Whereas the government's number one priority appears to be the completion of Highway No. 101 between Digby and Weymouth in the constituency of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, while putting other prioritized highway projects on hold; and

Whereas in yesterday's Speech from the Throne there was no mention of the crisis in the fishery; and

Whereas to add insult to injury, the government also failed to mention the crisis facing the miners in Cape Breton who are faced with the loss of their jobs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the Premier that his government is mandated to be a leader, not a cheerleader, and not to practise pork-barrel politics which favours its own as opposed to looking after the welfare of all Nova Scotians.

[Page 58]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 35

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

Whereas October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; and

Whereas on September 30, 1999, the Pink Rose Project held its annual Titz and Glitz women's fund-raiser, raising $50,000 in support of information materials for women diagnosed with breast cancer; and

Whereas on October 4, 1999, 4,500 people participated in the annual Halifax Run for the Cure, raising $380,000 for research;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate all those participating in the events of Breast Cancer Awareness Month for their commitment to furthering education, research and treatment of this disease.

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 Clare.

[Page 59]

RESOLUTION NO. 36

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Community College system is a provincial success story; and

Whereas enrolment at the Nova Scotia Community Colleges reached a record high this fall with an increase of 7 per cent over last year; and

Whereas the only mention of the community college in yesterday's Speech from the Throne was to recommit increased funding promised by the former Liberal Government;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Nova Scotia Community College on reaching this milestone, and encourage the new Tory Government to place more emphasis on the important role of the community college system.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 37

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

Whereas Highway No. 101 through the Annapolis Valley has a well-deserved reputation as a killer highway, evoking much concern from Nova Scotians and, in particular, from Valley residents; and

Whereas the Tory MLAs in the three Kings seats, in a recent letter to the Prime Minister, announced that, "Our Premier has made twinning the 101 his number one highway construction priority . . ."; and

[Page 60]

Whereas this government's very first action on Highway No. 101 came last evening at an open house where it announced a study to identify a 26 kilometre route for Highway No. 101 from Digby to Weymouth;

Therefore be it resolved that this House requests that the Premier remember to take his Book of Promises out and actually look at it before he announces proposed highway projects.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 38

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

Whereas Senator Al Graham delivered to the utmost of his capacity during his term of over two years as representative of Nova Scotia at the federal Cabinet Table; and

Whereas Senator Al Graham had not sought the role that he was asked to assume by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, yet had immediately agreed when asked to assume the most arduous duties that frequently saw him putting in 20 hour days; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians owe Senator Al Graham a great debt of gratitude for the tremendous commitment he demonstrated while in office and the enormous effort he brought to his work;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extends sincere thanks and commendation to Senator Al Graham for his total dedication to the welfare of our country and its people during the years he represented Nova Scotia at the federal Cabinet Table.

MR. SPEAKER: The resolution is a bit long.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 39

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

[Page 61]

Whereas the safety of our children as they make their way to and from school each day must remain one of our foremost concerns; and

Whereas involved parents in the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea communities have brought their concern for the children's safety walking the busy St. Margaret's Bay Road to the public's attention; and

Whereas parent activists Mary Riley, Christine Pettipas and Derek Cann have demonstrated leadership during this campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offers its congratulations to these parents and to the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea community for working so hard to guarantee the safety of their children.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 40

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

Whereas the Conservative Party, while in Opposition, asked the Liberal Government to restore the Senior Citizens Secretariat to its full committee complement; and

Whereas the Conservative Party made numerous commitments to seniors and to the seniors' community; and

Whereas the Senior Citizens Secretariat is presently without an executive director;

Therefore be it resolved that this Conservative Government immediately hire an executive director for the Senior Citizens Secretariat.

[Page 62]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 41

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

Whereas unselfish giving is the cornerstone of volunteerism; and

Whereas Bruce and Marian Walker have given of themselves for many years by volunteering in their community of Mount Uniacke; and

Whereas the Walkers have jointly received the Caring Canadian Awards presented by the Lieutenant Governor on September 21st;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of the Walkers and congratulate them on receiving the well-deserved Caring Canadian Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 63]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to resume my intervention today by talking briefly about the constituency of Halifax Atlantic which, as I said yesterday, I have been happy to represent, now having been re-elected four times, and been happy to represent now for over eight years. It is a great place, Halifax Atlantic, made up of a number of very diverse communities, from urban to rural and in between, made up of people who work, who play, raise families, go to school, make contributions to their communities and to the province in a variety of ways. In Halifax Atlantic, like in other constituencies across this province, people come together in their communities to deal with numerous challenges. A few that our people in Halifax Atlantic have been dealing with: they formed the Macintosh Run Society to further protect and enhance the beauty of Halifax's only river, Mr. Speaker. The Greater Chebucto Development Association was formed by people in the local community to better manage the use of one of the most popular beaches in all of Nova Scotia, Crystal Crescent Beach.

We have the Teen Health Centre at J.L. Ilsley School which is being used as a model across this province of how to provide public health to and with and for students, teenagers. It is a wonderful model. The board is made up of mainly students and they have been extremely effective. The Captain William Spry Centre is a board that tries to coordinate the delivery of services, all types of services, across the province. We have recently had the second annual Business Expo and it was extremely successful. It brought together hundreds of people within the community to talk about the community, businesses, how to improve the community, to show the kind of community support and spirit that is very much a characteristic of most if not all of the communities of Mainland South, of Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 64]

There is a seniors' club that has just come together and set up with space that was given to it by the South Centre Mall and every Saturday - for those of you looking for entertainment - in the afternoon they have a gathering there which has live entertainment by musicians from around the area. Some of you, in fact, may have caught me dancing there on TV during the campaign. That wasn't planned, let me tell you, because I was afraid that once local people saw me dance, that they would realize that I wasn't fit to be voted for, but nonetheless they did anyway and I think it was for my sense of humour and my willingness to humiliate myself. But nonetheless, it is a club run by seniors for seniors and comes together in order to give seniors an opportunity to socialize and to solve problems.

There are a number of challenges, also, in Halifax Atlantic, as there are in many communities in the province. We continually fight with the Department of Transportation for better maintenance of roads. Adult literacy is a problem. We have had a round table in the last year with a number of different agencies and churches to try to deal better with that whole question. Affordable housing is a serious problem in Halifax Atlantic. The proper, effective and efficient delivery of social services continues to be an issue.

Supplementary funding in education. Even though the school boards of the county and city have been amalgamated, we still have the situation where people in the former county portion of the Regional Municipality continue to have to pay extra, upwards of $700 to $800 to send their children to French immersion and to take advantage of the kind of services that people in the former Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth have and that's wrong. It is discriminatory and it should not exist. It is a penalty that people in the county portion of the Halifax Regional Municipality continue to pay and it is not a fair one and we are going to continue to urge the Department of Education, and in this case, the Minister of Education, to remedy that situation.

I welcome everyone to attend the upcoming - it will be in November - annual Santa Claus Parade in Spryfield. It think it is the only community in the Halifax Regional Municipality that has a Santa Claus Parade. It is extremely successful, it brings out all of the clubs and the businesses from across the community and the people there to celebrate together what they enjoy most about their community.

[12:00 p.m.]

Many in Spryfield, which is a part of Halifax Atlantic, have complained about the bad press, the bad public relations that they suffer from. There was a letter in the paper today from the local councillor who said I wished the media had come out and taken a look at the business expo that was just held and saw how effective and how committed to the community the people in Halifax Atlantic are. So, too, do we wish that the media would come out and pay attention to things like the annual Santa Claus Parade and see the way that people, young and old, turn out to support their community and further the image, but also further that sense of collective action and cooperation.

[Page 65]

That having been said, I want to again thank the people of Halifax Atlantic for the confidence they have shown in me by electing me to this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, I said yesterday that the Throne Speech is a departure from the approach that was taken by the Progressive Conservatives in the election campaign. I want to talk about that at more length, and I want to say up front that I think that there is an impressive amount of detail in this Throne Speech. It does pledge to fulfil a number of Progressive Conservative promises. (Applause)

A Throne Speech in itself is another set of promises, but I do congratulate the government for the early approach to keeping promises. I am not going to go ahead and repeat all the lists that are in the Throne Speech, that would be going a little too far down this cooperative road.

We all know people who are impatient to see the wider scope and the stronger role for Freedom of Information. Amendments to open up adoption information are way overdue, and I urge their early introduction. Seniors will be looking right away for a stronger Senior Citizens' Secretariat, and the NDP will be looking to see if seniors' views on issues like Pharmacare are heeded by this government. Crown Prosecutors will welcome the promise to them, but await action to see whether or not this government can make those promises real. And so on throughout the speech.

Speaking of promises, an excellent example of the approach that the Progressive Conservatives used to win the election is a statement by the Premier that is still featured prominently on the Progressive Conservative website. Discussing his leadership of the government he has now formed, the soon-to-be Premier said the following, "I will be calling upon Premier MacLellan and Mr. Chisholm to work with me on the positions that we commonly share. I will ask their advice as we move forward because we are all duty-bound as public servants to respond to the needs and the concerns of all of the people.".

I say that is an approach which rises above ideology and philosophy, to put the good of the people first. And yes, a lot of Nova Scotians voted for the nuts and bolts approach that the Progressive Conservatives promised in the election. In fact, I would say to you that there is considerable common ground between the platforms and the approaches taken by the Progressive Conservative and the New Democratic Parties in 1998 and 1999. Both of our Parties took a practical approach. Both of us promised a change from the Liberal record that had proven to be so disillusioning, dishonest and disappointing.

As one commentator said last week, the government of this province has been left in bad shape by the turbulence of the 1990's that people are demanding a measured and responsible approach from all of their elected representatives.

[Page 66]

The NDP caucus stands ready to cooperate with any reasonable government measure. Mr. Speaker, in the minority government period, our caucus voted against only three pieces of government legislation. Two of the three were budgets. We voted for every other government bill. While I can't promise such an extraordinary degree of cooperation before we have seen this government's legislation, I do highlight that record to underline this point, and the point is that the NDP is ready to cooperate with any reasonable government measure.

Then came the Throne Speech. The Throne Speech declares a philosophical change. It proclaims the philosophical commitments of the government. It outlines what many would call an ideological approach. Mr. Speaker, that Throne Speech is hitting some people like a blast of cold winter air. I understand how they feel but I am not going to make a definitive judgement on the basis of a Throne Speech that has been produced by a government that has only been in office for a few weeks. We are going to wait. We are going to keep our powder dry and see how the government's program unfolds. Clearly, actions speak louder than words. However, Nova Scotians know that the Premier presented himself as a physician, not as a philosopher, when he sought their support. Although he has not sought my advice, I will say that this is not the time to engage in a philosophical exercise at the expense of our duty as public servants.

Here are some examples of what I am talking about.The Throne Speech says that self-reliance and personal responsibility are the keys to a better province. Those are solid values. Some of the Leaders of my Party and our social democratic movement have made personal responsibility a foundation of their platform, but they are definitely not the only values and, Mr. Speaker, the two so-called keys to a better province were not mentioned in the Conservative platform.

The Throne Speech points to individual Nova Scotians when it assigns responsibility for health. It says that the government will support those individuals who take a personal stake in their well-being. The Conservative platform said, "In everything we do we will put the health care needs of Nova Scotians first.".

The Throne Speech says government cannot invent jobs. The platform called, as you will recall, "John Hamm's Plan for Nova Scotia" promised a comprehensive plan to create jobs.

In the election campaign, the Premier said,"A service will not be privatized or contracted out without public consultations and demonstrable evidence that privatization will lead to improved services to Nova Scotians.". The Conservative platform incorporated that position; it made no commitment to privatize. Yet in the Throne Speech, we hear a commitment that is not among the 243. It is described as the government's "commitment to the reasonable and orderly divestiture of public business enterprises in favour of private sector involvement.". Now, we checked, Mr. Speaker, and the word divestiture is not to be found

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anywhere in the Conservative platform and there is certainly no suggestion that divestiture is itself a public good to be pursued regardless of the consequences.

Now, six months or six years from now, this Throne Speech's ideological bent may have been turned out to be a misstep that was quickly corrected. I do hope that it was just high spirits among the Conservative ideologues rather than a declaration that Nova Scotians are about to get something very different from the kind of government that they voted for on July 27th, because, Mr. Speaker, the turbulence of the 1990's was churned up by rapid and heedless privatization, massive cuts to health and education, wage freezes and roll-backs, by broken contracts and broken covenants with Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians soundly defeated the Cameron program in 1993 yet the Liberals broke faith by adopting those Conservative policies right down to the GST.

The point is that smaller government was not better government, fewer nurses did not better patient care, much higher tuition fees and loans did not improve access to education, shutting down piece after piece of Devco did not open up a new economy in Cape Breton. Massive amalgamations did not improve local government, unfair shifts in tax burden, and the tax burden did not unleash economic growth.

Now I suggest to you that this government must confront the contradiction between their newly discovered philosophical yearnings as described in the Speech from the Throne and the trust that they won from Nova Scotians as a result of the nuts and bolts approach indicated in their platform.

The Conservatives cannot say in one breath that they will pursue their own philosophical commitment to remove government from the lives of Nova Scotians and then in the next breath state that they are "commanded by conscience" to respect Nova Scotians' will. In good old Nova Scotia, a common sense revolution would be a government that actually does what it promised to do except for those isolated cases where the promise itself was fatally flawed.

It is too early, I would say, to start keeping a score card, checking off promises broken and promises kept. There are some Conservative promises that seem very expensive, impractical or harsh and we will make our points and see if the government can be convinced to honourably improve those flawed promises. Nova Scotians will be watching to see if this Premier and government are big enough to admit their mistakes.

Our caucus and our Party will keep faith with the voters who supported their NDP candidate. People were not ready to put us into power and we accept that. Nova Scotians now have a number of years to get to know a much larger NDP and we have more time to demonstrate our ability to deal with the issues that are central to Nova Scotians' lives.

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I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that our Party's pioneers believed that a promise made is a promise kept. We have a mandate to be true to our principles and our platform. The NDP came second in popular vote, winning 11 seats, coming second in another 21, plus the result in Cape Breton East, where the court will decide if the outcome must be set aside under the Controverted Elections Act.

We listened to nurses, to rural doctors and to many hundreds of individual Nova Scotians when we developed a plan to invest in front-line health care. We heard the concerns of so many families about the future and the concern of many communities about the opportunities that are being taken away. We responded with a platform to achieve equal educational opportunity for all Nova Scotians.

As our critic, the MLA for Sackville-Cobequid said recently, we presented a detailed plan to tell the truth about the budget and we support all steps by this government to achieve that goal. It almost goes without saying that we share the urgency and concern about honestly and openly eliminating the deficits built up by a Liberal Government which was obsessed with privatization and smaller government at any cost.

Our commitments on respect for Nova Scotians address the need for electoral reform, integrity in the operation of government and the need to treat hard-working Nova Scotians with as much or more dignity as any other Canadian deserves.

Most significant for many, our program to stand up for Nova Scotia communities detailed a new approach to the Cape Breton economy and a new approach to challenges in rural communities. That platform provides a framework for how the NDP will focus our work as a strong voice for ordinary, working people. The platform and the legislative agenda our caucus developed in recent years provide detailed, specific examples of how the NDP continues to be a force for positive change in Nova Scotia.

[12:15 p.m.]

There is no copyright on any of the legislation that we have presented in the past few years or on the proposals in our two recent platforms. I would rather see a good idea implemented than have it gather dust on the shelf. So I say to members opposite, help yourselves.

If you agree that Highway No. 101 twinning should start right away, be our guest. If you are prepared to accept the recommendations of the nursing profession, that 600 more nurses are needed to deliver adequate patient care, we will happily endorse your decision.

If you decide to respect community wishes about school construction and consolidation rather than hiding behind school boards that your own Party has criticized as too big and remote, so be it.

[Page 69]

Mr. Speaker, if the government decides to heed the views that you outlined in your September 25th letter to constituents entitled Bigger is not Better, we will be delighted. We, too, believe that it is the communities in Cumberland County or Inverness or Kings or anywhere else who should make basic decisions about their destiny.

We are not just reusing and recycling our platform. This is about doing things differently and doing things better. It is about hearing the less powerful voices and bringing more people to the table where decisions are made.

This government has won the confidence of enough Nova Scotians to make its mark. I keep faith with my Party's principles by urging this new government to truly give Nova Scotians a sense that things are different, that it is not 1992 or even 1994 all over again. Give ordinary Nova Scotians real evidence that they have been heard and that they can participate, regardless of who they are, regardless of how entrepreneurial they may be, regardless of where they live in the province, regardless of whether they share or oppose your philosophy.

By listening and responding, by respecting the tone and the realism of their own campaign, the new government can show that they do take people seriously. The same applies to us, and the same applies to our Liberal colleagues. But don't worry, we in the NDP will make our views clear. We will push as hard as we think we have to, as hard as it is justified for what is right and for balanced decisions.

In those lines, I am thinking of the workers at the Rodd Grand in Yarmouth who were locked out months ago, who have not been able to get that dispute resolved despite widespread community support and concerns about the effect on local tourism. This government can hear those workers, this government can use its capacity to promote a fair settlement.

I am thinking, too, of the individuals and the families who are living with hepatitis C. Their cause was at the top of the Tory agenda in the spring of 1998. Will the promises made and the positions outlined on their behalf be honoured now?

I am thinking of the families who live near the tar ponds. They had the Premier's ear and his generous support when they were trying to make themselves heard. Will this government follow through for them?

I am thinking of the paramedics and the dispatchers in the Emergency Health Services. They are on the front line of the improved standards and response provided by EHS. They and the volunteer firefighters who provide emergency services are looking to this government for meaningful support and recognition.

[Page 70]

I am thinking of the thousands of adults and children who are forced to live on social assistance. Few of our fellow Nova Scotians are as powerless and as voiceless as these women and men. They had a real opportunity to be heard when the Standing Committee on Community Services toured this province at the initiative of the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives on that committee.

We all caucused proposed recommendations on social assistance reform. Will that effort and the heartfelt testimony before the committee get swept under the rug? I urge this government to demonstrate the caring, compassionate approach, which was promised when the Progressive Conservative platform was unveiled, by acting to reduce poverty instead of neglecting the inequality and arbitrary treatment that was brought so strongly to this committee's attention.

I am thinking of the hundreds of families who depend directly on Sysco who wonder if the renewed hope for that industry will be sacrificed for the sake of what was said in the heat of an election campaign. Mr. Speaker, let's not see commitments to create jobs and give people decent treatment be swept aside while promises to wipe out jobs get implemented. With October being Mental Health Awareness Month, I am thinking of how the stigma attached to those illnesses has translated into inadequate and incomplete care. The recent recommendation for a Mental Health Commission may start to address this long-standing problem in our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, there are some very difficult issues in front of this government, in front of this House and in front of this province. Some think that an election campaign demands simple messages and simple promises. I say to you that I and my colleagues look for signs that this government recognizes that Sysco is one of the major issues before us that does not have a simple, easy answer.

There are two other such issues that I want to bring forward for particular attention. One is our relationship with the First Nations, the Mi'kmaq people. The Speech from the Throne is moving in the right direction when it calls for a more inclusive relationship and a meaningful dialogue. A few more steps in the same direction will bring the government to negotiation and to co-management of our shared resources. The government might even find itself where the Buchanan Administration went when it lost in court and negotiated co-management of hunting seasons and game harvesting. The NDP would welcome that step as one that promotes peaceful resolution and a stable climate for our resource industries.

Mr. Speaker, our caucus is extremely concerned that this Progressive Conservative Government is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand you have MLAs demanding court action against the Mi'kmaq, on the other, they wanted to ignore the court when the decision went against the government. You cannot have it both ways. I and my colleagues were very concerned when a senior Minister of the Crown walked into a tense situation on Monday in Yarmouth and in the radio reports heard here called on non-natives to take action. In that

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context could such action be anything other than confrontational? My point is that on this issue, now more than ever, we need a measured and balanced approach from all Parties.

The Mi'kmaq chiefs and the leaders of the inshore fishery who advised patience and openness have so far been vindicated. I say, hats off to them. They deserve all the help that we can give them. If the government is not prepared to resolve Mi'kmaq claims through negotiation, then it must be ready to deal with the consequences of court actions. The fingers that have been pointed at Ottawa and at the DFO may soon be pointed at our own Cabinet Room. When the Premier urged Ottawa to seek a stay of the Marshall decision, did this government propose a contingency plan for rejection of the stay and a reaffirmation of the original decision? What plans have been made for the possible outcomes of the logging charges against the Mi'kmaq harvesters? What steps is the government taking to prepare industry and community opinion for a possible or probable decision in favour of Mi'kmaq logging? Is this government discussing a joint contingency plan with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Chiefs, on logging, on oil and gas and on other issues like Aboriginal title, where the courts are making decisions?

The spiritual and political leadership of the Mi'kmaq people in Nova Scotia have demonstrated restraint, demonstrated respect for their neighbours and an acute awareness of the rights they enjoy as the First Nations among us. I know the kind of political pressure that has at times been stirred up against Aboriginal peoples. I believe that this is an issue where we must seek statesmen, not scapegoats. Let's avoid the violence and the economic damage that other provinces have encountered by letting confrontations get out of hand.

Mr. Speaker, on another matter, the economic crisis hitting Cape Breton is a major issue that I want to address in some detail. The Premier was true to his word - when an opportunity presented itself, he brought the three Party Leaders together as he and I had long sought. The downward spiral in the Cape Breton economy and the signal failure of years of federal assistance to make a noticeable dent in the low employment rate are problems for all Nova Scotians. I ask the newly-elected Progressive Conservative MLAs to just consider how prosperous this province would be and how quickly our deficit would melt away if Cape Breton enjoyed the same levels of employment and household income that exist in mainland Nova Scotia. It is in everyone's best interests to turn around the economic decline that has resulted from the short-term and short-sighted decisions that have afflicted Cape Breton these many years.

The federal government's message to us about their final shutdowns in Cape Breton could be, some day all this will be yours. Nova Scotia can't afford to wait until the last federal plum has been put into the hands of the last political chum and the lights turned off in the last federal program for Cape Breton. Mr. Speaker, a strong voice and a united voice, on behalf of this province, is the only way to overcome any narrow and self-serving approach to Cape Breton's future. That is why I believe so strongly that all of us must rise above our immediate

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political agendas and help Cape Bretoners, especially those in mining communities, grab hold of their destiny.

I say that we have finally made a start, but events are racing ahead. I and my colleagues are ready to participate in whatever united delegation can have the greatest impact at the right moment in Ottawa. The NDP caucus is prepared to help develop a common position. The MLA for Cape Breton Centre represents us in this endeavour. I hope the consensus of the Parties will soon be that we all join in taking the risk of forming a common position. When so much is at stake in human and economic terms for Cape Bretoners, Mr. Speaker, who are we, as political Leaders, to try to play the angles for a little extra political credit?

Those of us who are following the situation have to be impressed by the recent work by the Devco unions to emphasize the economic development agenda, rather than simply pursuing their own narrowest interests. The municipality is working hard to put together the kinds of ideas that can spark a turnaround. They deserve our ear and our active support.

Mr. Speaker, after a tough campaign, faced with a new government and a thought-provoking Throne Speech, there is a lot more to be said, but I will say to you that others will have to say it because I want to wrap up.

[12:30 p.m.]

I want to wrap up by assuring Nova Scotians that New Democrats are here for the people who work hard every day to build a good life for themselves, for their families and for their communities. I say that is not about power, it is about how we use the position that Nova Scotians give us; it is about respect for people and respect for our basic principles.

Come what may, the principles of this Party are the bedrock on which we build. Those principles tell us that a successful economy is one where entrepreneurship and free enterprise can thrive and contribute to the common good and the common wealth of society. Government has an obligation to help ensure good business conditions, good social conditions and a sustainable environment. Our Party is as dedicated today as our founders to the abolition of poverty, to the elimination of exploitation and to the dignity and the freedom of the individual.

Finally, some may have believed that one NDP principle was to always move a motion of non-confidence in the government of the day.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is your first clue.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Perhaps our large numbers mean that we need not shout to be heard. Maybe we are just giving it a rest, this one time, and concentrating on what we can do for Nova Scotians today.

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Mr. Speaker, I look forward with interest to the speeches of new and returning MLAs, and let me say to the new MLAs that your words and your thoughts as you deliver your maiden speech are important. I say that as we embark on this new chapter in Nova Scotia history, and we are all working to make this a better place. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, as we begin the new session, I want to congratulate the members of the House, particularly newcomers who were honoured by the confidence of voters in the past election.

For my own part, I want to extend my deep appreciation to the voters of Cape Breton North, and I want to say I will do my best to represent their interests in this House of Assembly as I carry on my duties as their MLA and as Leader of the Liberal Opposition.

The role of a political Party in Opposition, it seems to me, is fairly straightforward. We are paid by the taxpayers to hold the government accountable for its performance.

Obviously we must respect and abide by the results of the election of July 27th and, indeed, I want to take this opportunity to publicly congratulate Premier Hamm on his election victory. (Applause) I have to admit he wasn't my choice, but respecting the result of the election however does not involve any promise on my part to be easy on this government, nor would I expect the people of Nova Scotia to wish that or the government to expect that. It is not in my job description, even during that special period of a government's popularity that often follows an election victory.

Mr. Speaker, I want to serve notice today that my caucus colleagues and I intend to be vigorous in discharging our responsibilities. We will monitor this government closely and seek clarity and explanations for the words and actions of the government, its Leader, Premier Hamm and his ministers. We will debate and critique the words and actions of the government so that all Nova Scotians can better assess the performance of this government. Our aim is to act in the interests of all Nova Scotians, and our purpose is to encourage better government in the short term and in the long term.

Today, I am pleased to rise in the House in reply to the Speech from the Throne read yesterday by His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor. I will not condemn the speech for the sake of condemnation; rather, I will try to pose and answer these following questions: Did it set out a clear direction by the government? Were there enough specifics that would create confidence that the course set by the government will be followed? Was it consistent with previous words and actions by members of the government? Are there inconsistencies or attempts to obscure the intentions of the government? What are some of the implications for the people of Nova Scotia? Are those implications good or are they bad? Does the Throne

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Speech address the current political and economic context of Nova Scotia at the turn of the 21st Century?

On the whole, I found yesterday's Speech from the Throne a profoundly disappointing document. By rights, yesterday's Throne Speech should rightfully reflect the benefit of six years in waiting by an Opposition Party that is well established with previous experience in government. Instead, Mr. Speaker, the document had a perfunctory quality and a lifelessness about it that you would expect from a fourth-term government that had run out of interesting ideas.

Did it set out a clear direction? Unfortunately for Nova Scotians, the truthful answer is - if I can paraphrase Premier Hamm's response to other questions - yes and no. The speech asserted that government cannot and should not attempt to be all things to all people, yet the inspiration for the document is an election platform with 243 promises. On the one hand, you have an attempt to imitate Mike Harris who talks a good game about individual self-reliance and smaller government; on the other hand, you get a strange new assortment of bureaucratic creations that I guarantee you will duplicate current efforts in government: a health care advocate, a nursing policy advisor - as if we didn't have one already - and an energy council. A red tape commissioner; good heavens, that sounds like something the NDP would propose, but it was proposed initially by Mike Harris.

Having mentioned this list, Mr. Speaker, I can certainly, without any question, support the proposal for a technology council, provided that it is set up as a prestige, volunteer committee that draws from the immense talent we have in our universities and our private sector.

Let's look at a few more of the inconsistencies here that illustrate my point. In one breath, you have a statement that, "Government should not try to direct or control the natural economic growth of the province.". Moments later you have a promise to develop a Buy Nova Scotia program. This seems to harken back to an earlier time when a favoured few received government procurement contracts, free from the rigours of competing with suppliers elsewhere. I would be very interested to see how this idea flies with our neighbouring provinces in Atlantic Canada who have signed procurement agreements with the intent of avoiding exactly this kind of protectionism.

If Premier Hamm's government truly intends to adopt a hands-off policy, I wonder how well it would have played in Pictou County during the troubles earlier this decade at TrentonWorks. I wonder what such a policy statement really means and whose interests are being catered to. I want to know, does it apply as well to the people of Cape Breton, who are undergoing an economic dislocation at this moment that is unprecedented in Canada?

[Page 75]

Considering the magnitude of the problem now at hand, it astounds me that the strategic direction outlined in this Speech from the Throne amounts to a single, limp promise to ". . .establish a committee . . ." to explore a vision of the economic future of the industrial communities of Cape Breton. Are we to assume this committee will be warned not to try and ". . . direct or control the natural economic growth . . .", of Cape Breton?

I honestly don't know whether this government is saying in its Speech from the Throne that it wants out of economic development. Frankly, the document is too incoherent to say. But if that is the intent, then we have entered a troubling period in our development as a province, because as much as we would like to believe otherwise, investment doesn't always land here naturally. In fact, I am sure it doesn't land anywhere naturally. You have to go and hustle for it. If you don't, your neighbours and competitors will.

On Page 7 of the Speech from the Throne, Premier Hamm's government promises to build on the success of cultural industries by ". . . taking initiatives in the field of film and television production .". Well, I question and I question very sincerely whether there would be a film and television industry in this province without some help and some bold action and policy from the previous government. (Applause) Actions that said, ". . . natural economic growth . . .", we had here just doesn't cut it. If this policy was in effect, there would not be four films being produced and filmed in Halifax as I speak right now. It stinks, as my son would say, and we have to do something about it.

[12:45 p.m.]

I want to come back to the pale attempt here to imitate Mr. Harris. The last time I checked, Mr. Harris led the Government of Ontario which has the fiscal muscle to set aside a $20 billion Superbuild Growth Fund that will renew a wide variety of public infrastructure; that on top of a five year 20 per cent increase in health care funding, that on top of a plan to slash taxes to spur job growth.

What corresponding bold action do we see to accompany the Harris-like rhetoric in this Speech from the Throne? So far we have only seen that this government intends to count paper clips and rubber bands. If a snowplow loses a tire this winter and the price tag exceeds $1,000, the snow will gather and blow until a piece of paper gets signed by one of Premier Hamm's ministers authorizing a new tire. Is this efficient government? Is this a new vision?

Page 6 of the Speech from the Throne declares that, "Nova Scotia is enjoying an economic renaissance as it enters the 21st Century.". I would suggest that past government policies helped fuel this renaissance. To date, Mr. Speaker, I do not see a shred of evidence that this government has a coherent plan to build on the successes of the past six years. As a Nova Scotian and as a parent this worries me very deeply. Vague assurances on education -

[Page 76]

and I have talked about the economy, but, surely, the higher goal of government in economic growth has to benefit society. We have to develop and go from there to open up the opportunities that flow from a strong economy.

One of our principal levers available to our government is our education and training. This Speech from the Throne devotes several paragraphs to that topic. P3 leases will be reviewed as promised. Vague commitments are also made that there will be further training. This concern is on top of us now as community colleges have an 11 per cent increase in enrolments this year, 20 per cent in Yarmouth, 20 per cent increases in Cape Breton as well.

The government that on one page of this Speech from the Throne is determined to stay out of the lives of Nova Scotians will develop yet another code of conduct for teachers and students. The words and the sentiment in this section of the Speech from the Throne are tired. They are drab and they are unimaginative.

Astonishingly, Mr. Speaker, our universities really don't rate a mention. You would hardly know that we are in the midst of an exciting revolution in information age technology that poses some of the most startling opportunities and challenges ever to be confronted by our society.

Mr. Speaker, overall, you get the sense that this government's energies have already been zapped by the daunting fiscal conditions of the province, compounded by some less-than-realistic promises made in the last campaign.

This leads me to the most troublesome area of the Throne Speech, the so-called "first priority" of the government to address the issues of our health care system. I don't intend to dwell on the direction for health care outlined in the Throne Speech. I believe the issues raised here are best left to a forum where questions can be posed and answers extracted from this government.

The great mystery that must be solved in the coming months will be the miraculous promise by this government to address the generally agreed upon shortcomings of the health care system without investing substantial new sums of money. In a sentence, how will Premier Hamm and his Health Minister reduce the stress on the most expensive part of our system to operate, our hospitals, without finding new money to invest in home care, long-term care, community care and other much needed initiatives. To complicate matters, how will he do this while tearing apart the regional health boards, a promise that he has repeated in this Speech from the Throne?

Perhaps there is a clue in that ever-so-slight tinkering with words that we see in the Throne Speech. We heard an earlier promise for 100 new nurses in the first six months. Now we see that it is nurses or "nursing equivalents". There is no equivalent to a nurse. I don't know what nursing equivalent means, but I will tell you that our nurses are worked to

[Page 77]

exhaustion, we are literally burning them out so that they are having trouble actually coping with the jobs that we are assigning them. I will not, in any way, accept these words that will dilute the meagre commitments already of this government, words such as nursing equivalents. With careful and ongoing wordsmithing like this, who knows how many of those 243 promises could be eliminated or fudged over time.

We know from listening to the Speech from the Throne that this government intends to be cautious, some would say tentative, and slow to reach decisions. But you have to say this, once the Premier gets certain things in his craw, it is hard for him to give it up. So with his wrong-headed mission to turn back the clocks on regionalization in health, we have an example of that.

Here the government is rejecting the advice of the best expertise available, including the advice provided by a commission that Premier Hamm demanded while in Opposition and that was chaired by a man that we honoured with a motion today for an award that he has received, Dr. Richard Goldbloom. What can I say? It is just a bone-headed idea that will create chaos and inefficiency in the health care system at a time when efficiency is the objective.

Mr. Speaker, there are difficult days ahead for the health care system, and nothing in this Speech from the Throne suggests that the government has stumbled upon new and workable solutions. I am afraid that explains some of the dreariness in the Speech from the Throne. It is one thing to promise that the government is, "committed to removing itself as an unwanted intrusion into the lives of Nova Scotians where and when it can.", but it seems stark and unsettling to move on to describe something called, "the government that remains . . .".

I have always had the view that government can sometimes be an intrusion into the lives of people, but I have always believed, and believed quite sincerely, that good government is a welcome intrusion into the lives of people and that is why we are here, for people who need support and help from their government, who need their government to give them that little boost, to give them that position in life where they can maximize their lives. If I felt otherwise, I suspect I would never have entered or stayed in public life.

As I said earlier at the outset, this Throne Speech has its contradictions, but if phrases such as "the government that remains" truly disclose the direction of this government, then I would suggest that life just got a little harder for many Nova Scotians. We'll see. We'll wait and see where this government is going to take that idea.

Mr. Speaker, I promised that I would not be uniformly critical of the government. I have been impressed, for example, with the administration's effective use of symbols and symbolic gestures in its early days. Obviously they can be very important in communicating ideas to the public for building support for government. Unfortunately, nifty communication

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techniques by government are empty unless they are accompanied by the substance of sound policy, good judgement and strong leadership.

One example I see of symbolism disconnected from substance is the silly decision, trumpeted again yesterday in the Speech from the Throne, to reduce the size of the provincial Cabinet. Can Premier Hamm, or anyone else on his side of the House, explain to the people of Nova Scotia how this would lead to an improved public administration? Will Premier Hamm finally admit that this campaign promise was cut and pasted from New Brunswick where Premier Lord opposed a government with 22 or so Cabinet Ministers? Will Premier Hamm finally end the charade and admit this campaign promise had absolutely no relevance to good government in Nova Scotia, where the Executive Council had been 14 members at dissolution? Or, is Premier Hamm determined to emphasize style and symbols which, to date, is the most conspicuous trait of this government, at the expense of substance?

Mr. Speaker, as I listened to the Lieutenant Governor yesterday, I was reminded of a story about a man who showed up at an unemployment office some years ago. He said that he was searching for a job as a lion tamer. The claims manager was taken quite aback by that. She hadn't come across this request for employment in that category before. She couldn't even find lion taming under any of the job codes in her department. She asked the fellow if he had any experience as a lion tamer and he said no, he hadn't. Have you graduated, she asked, from some sort of lion taming school? No, ma'am, he said. Did you ever work in a circus at all, she asked? No, said the aspiring lion tamer. Then what makes you think you could be a lion tamer asked the puzzled employment officer? There was a long pause and he said, well, now that I think of it, I never really thought much about actually taming a lion, but I have always wanted to wear the hat.

[1:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the performance of the government to date and yesterday's Speech from the Throne show that Nova Scotia's Tories feel comfortable with the lion tamer's hat. Wearing the hat is talking about an ethical code of conduct and pondering at the same time the issue of free pens without understanding what a true conflict of interest is until it hits you over the head. Wearing the hat is changing the accounting rules without explaining how greatly those same changes would have increased the reported deficits of past Tory Governments. Wearing the hat is talking tough about Sysco only when it is politically convenient.

Mr. Speaker, now is the time for those Tories to show how they actually would tame a lion. In Nova Scotia the lion is the urgent need for strategic and far-sighted policies and investments within a framework of fiscal responsibility. It is early in the mandate of this government, but it is not too early to see some vision and some substance, to see more, quite frankly, than a pretty hat because, Mr. Speaker, as I know and we all know only too well, that lion is roaring. Thank you very much. (Applause)

[Page 79]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to reply to the Speech from the Throne and I want to assure my colleagues in the House that I will be brief this afternoon, not, I hasten to add, because I take lightly the privilege I have been afforded to represent the citizens of Kings North. In fact, the reverse is actually the case. I have the privilege of representing some of the finest citizens in the Province of Nova Scotia and one of the loveliest areas of the Province of Nova Scotia and, may I be so bold to add, of the Country of Canada as a whole. From the majestic rocks of Cape Split which cleave the waters of the Minas Basin, from those of the Bay of Fundy to the gentle farmlands of Upper Canard, from the picturesque fishing boats of Halls Harbour to the bustling community of the Town of Kentville, from the quaint Village of Port Williams, my first home, to the growing community of Centerville, the constituency of Kings North ranks second to none in its scenic beauty.

It is the community, as I mentioned, that I was adopted into by my parents, the Reverend Hazan and Hazel Parent, who were living and working in Port Williams at the time before moving to the Country of Bolivia, South America, where I grew up. It is the community in which my children have become teenagers and it is the community where my wife, Catherine Anne Parent, is buried, in the embrace of the North Mountain with a view of the Minas Basin in the distance, shaded by her favourite type of tree, a maple tree. That view of the North Mountain has always brought to mind the psalmist's rhetorical question, "I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help?", followed by his confident reply, "My help cometh from the Lord who made heaven and earth.". So it is not because I do not love the constituency of Kings North and its citizens that I will be relatively brief this afternoon, but because long experience, both as a professor and a minister, has taught me that the heart and the head can only take in what the seat can endure.

I want to begin, Mr. Speaker, by stating that it is a great privilege to follow in the footsteps of Mr. George Archibald who represented Kings North in this Legislature for some 15 years (Applause) Over the years I have come to admire George and, in particular his lovely wife, Kate. They both have been good friends to me and a strong base of support. I had to speak at my home Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Kentville recently, and the title of my speech was put down in the Rotary bulletin as, How I Got More Votes Than George. I suspected that some people might have thought that I was being a bit boastful, so before I delivered my talk, I explained what lay behind my title.

As a political rookie during the campaign, I would often get worried that things were not going well and I was not going to win the election. Whenever the honourable Leader of the NDP spoke, he seemed to emphasize his Valley roots and the Halifax-based media even went so far as to claim that the Tories were vulnerable in Kings North. So I would go to George and he would reassure me with the line, "Don't worry, Mark, you're going to win. The only thing I am worried about is that you will win with more votes than I ever did.". That

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would calm me down for a few more days until I heard the rumour that if my Liberal opponent, Dr. Peter Hill, won, he would be an automatic shoo-in for a Cabinet position, probably Agriculture. Off I would trot to George again and, once again, he would calm me down, stating, "Don't worry, Mark, the only thing I am worried about is that you'll win with more votes than I ever did.".

When that victory came true, one of the largest, if not the largest Progressive Conservative victory in the constituency of Kings North ever, it became true in large part because of the hard work as an MLA that Mr. George Archibald has done in Kings North and the goodwill that he has built up. (Applause)

They say that farmers live poor and die rich, and in a similar vein I suspect, Mr. Speaker, it is often only when a politician retires that he or she receives the credit which they all along deserved. In Kings North, we intend to give George and Kate that credit at a George Archibald Roast to be held in February of the coming year, and you will all be invited to it. But perhaps even now, you could join me in a round of applause for the work that George Archibald did for the people of Kings North and the Province of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

I also want to take the time to thank my campaign manager, Mr. George Lohnes, and the campaign team. We had the best campaign team in the province, they were second to none, and the campaign was run with honesty, integrity, cheerfulness and good humour. I wish I could thank each person on that team by name, but time does not allow for that. However, I do want to sincerely, from the very bottom of my heart, thank, at this time, all of those who worked on my campaign.

I also want to thank the voters of Kings North, I want to add, somewhat mischievously, for their good sense in voting for me, although I suspect that it was as much a case of grace as it was of good sense. I want to assure each and every person in Kings North that I will serve them, regardless of political stripe, to the very best of my ability.

My final word of thanks go to my parents and my sister who stood behind me during the campaign, and most of all to my three children: Jeremy Coles Parent, Meaghan Beth Parent and Kaitlyn Elizabeth Parent. It has been, as you can imagine, for those of you who know, a very terrible time for our family, with my wife's unexpected death this past March, the strain of an election campaign was very hard on my children, particularly my youngest daughter, Kaitlyn. However, they stood by me and supported me, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Mr. Speaker, one of the most important features of Kings North, as you are no doubt aware and as Mr. George Archibald would often remind this House, is agriculture. Kings County is the heart of agricultural activity in this province. Indeed, the top three agricultural areas in Canada are the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario and - most important of all, I would suggest - the Annapolis Valley in the Province

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of Nova Scotia, where 2,617 people are employed directly as a result of the agricultural activity in Kings County, many of them living in the constituency of Kings North.

From the broccoli farm of my good neighbour, Mr. Bruce Rand, to the blueberry bushes of the Kidston family, to the strawberry plants of Mr. Gilbert Allen, who ships his strawberry seedlings throughout the world, vegetable farming has been and will continue to be an important part of the economic activity of my riding.

Of course I must not forget apple production. One of my neighbours and former church members, Dr. James Beveridge, past President of Acadia University gave me some apples from his small orchard recently. They were Cox's Orange apples. Now I had never even heard of a Cox's Orange apple, much less had the privilege of eating one. They are delicious like a Russet, only I think even better.

Then along with much vegetable production is much livestock, mainly pork and beef. In fact, many of the farmers in my riding are mixed farmers, meaning that they produce both vegetable and livestock at the same time, something which the federal government has not taken into account in regard to its Farm Aid programs. When I speak about agricultural activity in Kings North, I cannot do so without highlighting the suffering which the farmers are enduring in my area due to three years of drought.

In this regard, I salute our Premier who, at the First Leaders Conference in Quebec City recently, was able to get the wording suggested by the western Premiers concerning federal aid for flooding to be changed to aid for "extreme weather conditions". This is significant since we have endured extreme weather conditions in Kings North, weather conditions which threaten to drive many farmers out of business, something which should worry all of us as it would make our province dependent for its food supply on outside sources.

I do not want to give you the impression that agriculture is all that goes on in the riding of Kings North. In fact, the largest town in the Valley, the Town of Kentville, is part of the riding. I worked in the Town of Kentville some 20 years ago and the town has undergone a great change since then, moving from being retail-dominated to service- dominated. Kentville is the centre for much of what happens in the Valley; in fact, even now they have their Harvest Festival and pumpkin people and displays are sprouting up throughout Kentville.

It is the seat of the county government and it has one of the best and most active industrial parks in the area. Sarsfield Foods Limited is located in this industrial park and it helps to illustrate the type of value-added production which is so badly needed in this province. Local fruits, particularly apples, are turned into pies which are shipped across the country and beyond.

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Port Williams is becoming another centre for such activity. Allen's Food Industries is located in Port Williams, and I have hopes for new industries to come on stream in the near future. All told, the manufacture of food and beverage products accounts for another 2,259 jobs in Kings County, many of them in Kings North.

I could go on and on about economic activity in Kings North - what is happening now and what I hope will take place with our new government in the future - but I want to mention just one more sector in this regard and that is tourism. At the request of the Halls Harbour community, I invited our new Minister of Tourism and Culture to visit Halls Harbour. We dined on lobster from the Halls Harbour lobster pound, and we enjoyed the beauty of one of Nova Scotia's most picturesque harbours.

Mr. Speaker, a growing emphasis in this regard is ecotourism and Kings County with Cape Split and Blomidon Park and other areas, is well poised to take advantage of this new thrust. Tourism, as someone once said, is this province's most important renewable resource.

[1:15 p.m.]

I took my family to the Ramada Hotel recently for a weekend vacation and at the desk was a young man who, when he noticed that my address was Canning, Nova Scotia, remarked that he had trained for the hospitality industry and had travelled across Canada visiting the areas throughout this great country, and he had never seen as beautiful an area as the area surrounding Canning, Nova Scotia. He continued that he hoped to set up an ecotourist business in the area of Kings North, since this was his area both of interest and of training.

Complementing the natural beauty and the deep goodness of the people of Kings North are excellent educational and health facilities. I obtained my Masters degree from one of them, Acadia University, which is consistently rated as one of the very best universities in the country of Canada and, I am sure, throughout the world as well. My son is currently attending another one of these institutes, Kingstec College, where he is studying one of Kingstec's specialties, Business Information Technology. My youngest daughter, in two years time, will be graduating from a new high school, which will serve the area of Kings North. Teasingly, she has begged me to use my new-found influence to postpone the construction of the new school since she has developed an allegiance to her present junior and senior high school. She knows I will not do that since we are all excited in Kings North that a new $18 million to $20 million middle and high school will be built in our riding. (Applause) We are also excited that plans are underway for upgrades at Central Kings Rural High School, which services the students in the western part of my riding.

So we have excellent education facilities and these, coupled with one of the very best hospitals in the Province of Nova Scotia, the Valley Regional Hospital, makes Kings North and the County of Kings as a whole, a very popular place in which to live. In fact, outside of Halifax and Sydney, the largest county in this province, and one of the fastest growing in this

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province, is Kings County. This, of course, is the reason why Highway No. 101 needs to be twinned, something that this present government is committed to and something for which I sincerely hope the federal government will soon commit its share of funds so that the project may succeed and proceed in a timely fashion.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I had planned to talk about the various communities in my riding and the characteristics of each of those communities, as well as some of the leading citizens, but there will be time to do that later, since if I follow in the steps of my predecessors before me, I hope to be in this seat for a good many years to come. (Applause) I do want to close with a concern which should be on the hearts of all of us. For while the Throne Speech has focused on and the upcoming session will focus on the budget and on the issue of fiscal responsibility, behind those numbers is an attempt to meet this concern, and to meet it by restoring confidence in government and confidence in the political process as a whole. This is what lies behind open accounting practices, behind attempts to be honest and forthright, to say what we mean and to mean what we say. This is what lies behind what, as Chairman, I hope to do, along with my honourable colleagues on the Human Resources Committee, as together we seek to approve the very best candidates to serve on the various boards, agencies and commissions across this great province.

You see, behind these attempts, Mr. Speaker, is a commitment of this government to respond in a constructive fashion to the cynicism and scepticism concerning politicians and the political process which exists in this province. This is an extremely important task, a vital task, for such scepticism and cynicism can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if we are not careful.

Let me illustrate this scepticism and cynicism with my own mea culpa and with a short story if you will. I was senior minister of the First United Baptist Church of Moncton, New Brunswick, and I was called upon to say grace and to give the benediction at a dinner in honour of Mr. Claude Taylor who at that time was Chairman of the Board of Air Canada and was a well-known citizen of New Brunswick and a staunch Baptist.

Before I gave the prayer I talked about how Baptists were the butt of many jokes and oftentimes deservedly so, but that most of the time most Baptists were good, hardworking, sincere folks whose word was their bond, much like Mr. Claude Taylor, and then I gave the grace and sat down. At that point Mr. Frank McKenna, the Premier of the province, when it was his turn to speak, got up and he said, the preacher says that Baptists are the butt of a great many jokes. Well, that is nothing compared to us politicians. I opened The Globe and Mail this morning and in the paper this morning's smile was this joke, what's the difference between a dead politician in the middle of the road and a dead skunk? The answer, of course, is, there are skid marks in front of the skunk. In one of those sort of inspired moments which could have turned out badly, but which turned out well, he turned to me and he said, so you see, preacher, we politicians have it far worse than you Baptists do, to which I replied, yes, but the difference is that you deserve it and we don't.

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I have to admit, Mr. Speaker, and I want to say it is so good to welcome you to the Speaker's Chair for the first time, it is a delight to see you there. I want to welcome you and look forward to seeing more of you, but I want to say in light of my present occupation, I am somewhat chagrined about that comment of mine to Mr. McKenna. I am chagrined particularly in light of the experience that I had going door to door during this last election campaign because I heard comments at the doors that politicians were not trustworthy. I had comments at the doors that the political process was flawed. I had comments at the doors that people were not going to vote because it made no difference and I was distressed by this cynicism and this scepticism concerning the political process.

In my own teaching at Mount Allison University, where I taught last year in the Department of Religious Studies, I noticed the same attitude, particularly among the young people, this cynicism and this scepticism concerning the political process and concerning politics as a whole. So as I went door to door throughout my riding, knocking on all the doors, soliciting their support, I asked myself why, why have Canadians turned against politics? Why have they turned against politicians?

I think one reason may well be an ancient practice that the Jewish people had called the scapegoat. They would put their feelings and downfalls and sins on the back of a scapegoat and send that scapegoat out into the dessert. I think as human beings we tend very easily to find scapegoats and people who see the troubles in our society and the financial crisis that we are in in this province, due to the mismanagement of the Liberal Government before us. (Interruption) Yes, when they speak back, it shows you have hit the mark, doesn't it? (Applause) Anyway there is this tendency far too easily and quickly for us as individuals to scapegoat and not to deal with the real problems.

I asked myself why and I realized that many political people, not many, but a few, have perhaps not behaved themselves in the way that they should have, both here in this province and in the country. I think the media sometimes is to blame for wanting to emphasize bad news and seek problems rather than emphasize what is being done right and to congratulate what is being done right. Perhaps the political process itself needs to be changed somewhat to become somewhat less adversarial.

Perhaps the greatest reason for the scepticism, in my opinion, is the changes that we are going through as we move from a modern to a post-modern society. Having taught in university, I know that post-modernity can mean many things to many people, but I think it is clear that we are going through massive changes that affect not only this province, that affect not only this country, but that affect the world as a whole.

These changes create, I think, amongst the citizens of Nova Scotia, great fears. There is a tendency in those fears, as I said, to react in a negative fashion. While I do not know the full reasons for this growing negativity, these are just some reasons I came up with as I was campaigning, but I do know that it is as political leaders we need to meet and respond to this

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cynicism and this scepticism, for unless we meet and respond to this cynicism and scepticism, it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy that will hurt us all, both young and old alike.

Mr. Speaker, what I am calling for is a change of heart from cynical scepticism to a more positive outlook. To be clear, I am not calling for a return to the naive optimism of the past which refused to recognize or acknowledge problems and which whitewashed all concerns. I am not calling for that.

There is the story about the two window cleaners up on the skyscraper. One was a naive optimist and the other was a realist. The rope gave way and they both began to fall down. When they passed the fifth floor, the realist called out, help, to a person who was standing there while the naive optimist said, well so far, so good. I am not calling for that sort of naive optimism that doesn't recognize the severe financial restraints and problems that we are under.

What I am calling for though is the rebirth of a realistic and a healthy optimism. I am told that the Chinese character for crisis means both danger and opportunity at the same time. What I am saying to myself, to you in this House and to all Nova Scotians is this, let's recognize the crisis yes, but let's approach this crisis, as I believe our government intends to do, as an opportunity rather than as a danger.

You have heard the story of the three salespeople who were sent to this territory to sell shoes. One was a Liberal salesperson and he ended up in this territory, and he phoned back to his head office and says, no one here wears any shoes, please send me a return ticket home right away. The other salesperson was an NDP salesperson and he phoned back to his headquarters and says, no one here in this territory wears any shoes, please send me a return ticket to come home right away. The third person was a Progressive Conservative salesperson, and he phoned back and said to his head office, no one here wears any shoes, wonderful sales opportunity, please send two truckloads of shoes immediately. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I call upon myself, I call upon my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative Party, I call upon all the members of this House to meet this challenge. I call upon us to act and to behave, not only in this House but in our ridings, in such a manner that confidence and trust in politicians and in the political process will be restored, not so much for our sake but for the sake of the citizens of this province, which we have the great privilege of serving. So that as we move into a new millennium, we will do so with energy, with enthusiasm and with a faith needed to seize the day, to take the crisis of change and to turn it into the opportunity of a new and of a far better tomorrow.

May God guide us and bless us in this great task. (Applause)

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise today and reply to the Speech from the Throne and have the pleasure of taking a seat in these hallowed and historic chambers on behalf of the people of Shelburne County. I am looking forward to this, the First Session of the 58th General Assembly in the Province of Nova Scotia. This opening session of the 58th General Assembly will be remarkably different than the 57th General Assembly. There are many new faces, mine being one of them. A Progressive Conservative majority government was elected by the people of Nova Scotia on the evening of July 27th and I am looking forward to the many exciting changes to be brought forward by this government.

At this time, I would like to bring a warm welcome from the people of Shelburne County to you, Mr. Premier, members of Cabinet and all members of this historic Chamber. I want to thank the people of Shelburne County who demonstrated a tremendous amount of confidence in electing me to be their MLA in the Legislature. This is something brand new to me, but something I am truly looking forward to. I want to extend my congratulations to both new and returning members of this Legislative Assembly as you represent the concerns of people from your respective constituencies. There are other members in this House of Assembly today who will learn the ropes, as I will, from veteran legislators.

I want to note the incredible record of our Progressive Conservative Government House Leader, the honourable member for Hants West, who has been elected to this Chamber by the people of Hants West in seven consecutive elections, being first elected in 1978, and again in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1998 and again this past July. (Applause) It is my hope that with the confidence placed in me by the people of Shelburne County, I will be able to do the job for the people of Shelburne County and be as effective as the honourable member has been.

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your election to this most distinguished office. You are only the second elected Speaker in the history of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. I have great confidence in your ability to carry out the many challenging duties which have been placed before you with fairness while also playing an impartial role during House proceedings. Congratulations to the three Deputy Speakers, one from each caucus. This is something new that has never been tried before and should prove to be beneficial in light of the fact that the Deputy Speaker's job will be a role that is inclusive of all three Parties represented in this Legislature. The roles to be played by the members for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Clare and Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage will be important ones.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my wife Christina and our four daughters. Their support and strength throughout the campaign was second to none and meant very much to me. I also have to thank all my campaign workers who gave so generously of their time in helping to get

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me elected. A thank you must also be expressed to the voters of Shelburne County for allowing me to take my seat here today. One other thank you must also be extended to the returning officer for the constituency of Shelburne. (Laughter) One might say, "for the luck of the draw."

I will be spending a considerable amount of time in Halifax as the Legislature sits this fall, but the folks in Shelburne County know that I am still only a phone call away and that my heart and thoughts are with them.

Mr. Speaker, politics has always played an important part in my life, even as I was growing up. Going back to the early 1940's, my Dad was a candidate for the then CCF Party of Canada. I have also had the honour of serving on municipal council in the District of Barrington. I served six years as Municipal Councillor and three years as Warden for the Municipality of Barrington. There is no doubt in my mind that some of the challenges I encountered in the municipal field will serve me well as a member of this Legislative Assembly. Shelburne County has a great deal to be proud of, and its greatest asset is the people. The way of life in Shelburne County is based on a tradition of hard work and honest values.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a couple of minutes and take members of this Legislature on a tour through Shelburne County. At Exit 31, off Highway No. 103, you enter the Municipality of Barrington where you will see a sign that welcomes you to the Lobster Capital of Canada. At Woods Harbour, the lighthouse built in 1900 sits on a rock ledge in the harbour.

At Shag Harbour, you can climb the tower in the Chapel Hill Museum for a sensational view of the sea and outlying islands. During the evening, the lights of five lighthouses, at Cape Sable, Bon Portage Island, Seal Island, Baccaro Point and Woods Harbour, are visible from this point. The first lighthouse was constructed in 1830. The life of a lighthouse keeper was hard and lonely.

Members might be interested to know that Bon Portage Island was the home of noted author, Evelyn Richardson. She wrote, We Keep a Light, and it described her life on the island when she and her husband looked after the lighthouse in the 1930's and 1940's.

Another area one should visit while in Shelburne County is the Town of Clark's Harbour. Within the next few years, Clark's Harbour could be home to the first Nova Scotian to ever umpire major league baseball. Troy Blades is presently in his ninth year as a professional and will work in the Triple "A" International League next summer. The next promotion after that is the Big Show, and I know everyone, not only in Clark's Harbour but also Shelburne County, is wishing Troy Blades the very best.

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Barrington is just beyond Barrington Passage and is home to several historic attractions including a replica of the Seal Island Lighthouse built in 1979 as a Lighthouse Museum. You could also visit the 234 year old Barrington Meeting House, first used by settlers for public meetings and a place of worship. It is now operated as a provincial museum. Don't forget the Barrington Woolen Mill, constructed in 1882, which stayed in production for 80 years, until 1962.

If you stay on the Lighthouse Route, it will take you through quiet scenic places like Ingomar, Roseway, Gunning Cove and Birchtown. Birchtown was first settled by approximately 1,000 Blacks who came to Shelburne with the Loyalist migration in 1783. At the time, Birchtown was the largest free Black settlement in North America.

En route to the Town of Shelburne, you have the opportunity to pass through several smaller villages such as Lower, Middle and Upper Ohio to the Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area which covers the headwaters of the Mersey, Jordan, Roseway, Clyde and Tusket Rivers.

Shelburne is situated 16 kilometres inland, and I know a lot of Nova Scotians now know that the town founded in 1783 has certainly attracted the attention of the international film industry. The Shelburne County Museum has the oldest fire pumper in North America.

Shelburne County has so much to see, and I realize that I only have so much time, but if you are in Shelburne County, take the time to visit Lockeport and Sable River. Lockeport is Nova Scotia's only registered historic streetscape, made up of five houses built by descendants of Jonathan Locke between 1836 and 1876. These houses offer important historical architecture with well-known examples of Colonial, Georgian and Victorian styles.

Mr. Speaker, municipal governments in Nova Scotia and right across Canada are the basic building blocks of democracy. Crucial decisions are made concerning fire and police protection, water and sewer lines, and planning strategies. I want to take this opportunity and wish the Municipality of Barrington Warden Tina Wickens, Municipality of Shelburne Warden Patricia Nickerson, Clark's Harbour Mayor Leigh Stoddart, Lockeport Mayor Sara Huskilson, and Shelburne Mayor P.G. Comeau, and their respective councils, the very best with their deliberations.

I also want to commend Mayor Comeau for his diligent and dedicated work in an attempt to have a ferry crossing between Shelburne and Gloucester, Massachusetts. The work undertaken has been enormous and I believe Shelburne can only look forward to increased opportunities with the establishment of the Shelburne-Gloucester, Massachusetts ferry crossing in the town. Congratulations on your hard work, Mayor Comeau.

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned the old fire pumper at the Shelburne County Museum earlier. Besides this historic pumper, a number of other pumpers and firefighting equipment is manned by volunteer fire departments across Shelburne County. Our government will be recognizing

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the volunteer firefighters, not only in Shelburne County but across Nova Scotia, with the introduction of legislation.

More on that at a later date, but I do want to acknowledge the 16 volunteer fire departments in Shelburne County. They are located in Barrington Passage; one covering the areas of Churchover, Gunning Cove and Carleton Village and known as the C.G.C. Fire Department; Clark's Harbour; District 6 and District 8 Fire Departments; Three Harbour and Little Harbour and area; Ingomar-Roseway; Jordan; Lockeport; Middle and Upper Ohio; Port Clyde; Sable River; Shag Harbour-Bear Point; the Town of Shelburne; and Wood's Harbour.

I also want to acknowledge each chief for the leadership demonstrated by them. They are: Skip VanBuskirk, Blair Nickerson, Eugene Stoddard, Marvin J. Blades, Raymond Garland, Carson Perry, Stillman Smith, Dale Richardson, Leo Williams, Danny Holmes, Michael Stoddard, Wade Lloyd, Edward Nickerson, Edgar Allison and Brian Crowell.

Mr. Speaker, I have told this Legislature many great things about Shelburne County. Before finishing, I want to comment on the actual Speech from the Throne itself and the impact it will have on my constituency. Let's begin in health care. The Premier talked for six weeks this summer about strong leadership and a clear course. We have learned that neither individuals nor governments, as stated in the Speech from the Throne, can simply buy good health by pouring money into the system. As noted, we have learned that hard and very expensive lesson over the last six years. I am pleased that our government will be saving countless dollars in the long-term by listening to proper advice and truly understanding that paper does not bind wounds, nor can ink be used as medicine. The only way you obtain real information is by talking to those most affected.

The honourable Minister of Health knows what this means and it is why our government is presently speaking with hospital patients on a first-hand basis to seek out their opinions on health care and just how much money might be in other areas concerning health care. Our government is already acting, as advertisements have appeared for the position of a nursing policy advisor. This government will ensure that the necessary steps will be initiated so Nova Scotians can be confident about their health care system as we enter a new millennium.

We will be eliminating regional health boards and initiating a process to mandate community health boards that will have the responsibility to identify and plan programs responsive to local needs. With regional health boards, a system is in place where supplies are stocked in a central location and shuttled to Roseway Hospital, for example, two days a week. Mr. Speaker, these supplies are being driven by our door to a regional location and then driven back to us. It just doesn't make sense. The present system needs change because the existing structure is definitely not working and does not adequately involve local communities. The health system must change to reconnect with our local communities.

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[1:45 p.m.]

When it comes to education, we must assist our children and guide them as they seek to realize their potential. We must dedicate ourselves to an education system which is adequately funded and fully focused on the student and the classroom as we prepare young Nova Scotians to compete in the job markets of today and tomorrow. Shelburne Regional High School is a 50 year old facility. It is rundown and it has served its purpose. The previous Liberal Government placed a new Shelburne high school on a list for 2004. Today, on behalf of students, parents and families, I want to encourage our new Minister of Education to place Shelburne Regional High School on a list of priorities for new school construction. Mr. Speaker, I can't leave education without mentioning the deplorable condition of the gymnasium at Barrington Municipal Junior High School and the need for it to be replaced as soon as possible.

It is with sincere regret and sadness that I bring forward the issue of allegations of abuse at the Shelburne Youth Centre. The focus of the abuse inquiry has been on front-line workers within our institution. I expect that our government will bring a balanced approach to this issue. Mr. Speaker, the previous government approved of a compensation process that provides no protection for individuals mistakenly or falsely accused of a serious crime. I am encouraged, however, with the fact that our government has taken the time to meet with past and present employees of the Shelburne Youth Centre and is on record to review this matter. There are many more issues facing the people of Shelburne County that I will be addressing in the days and weeks ahead.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to address this House in the Reply to the Speech from the Throne and once again to thank the people of Shelburne County for showing their great faith in me. The Throne Speech contains other initiatives planned by our government such as the implementation of a policy of performance pay for senior officials, the establishment of a red tape commissioner to create an environment free of bureaucratic hurdles, and the establishment of an Energy Council to advise Cabinet and monitor development of our lucrative oil and gas industry to make certain that all regions of Nova Scotia benefit from offshore resources.

Mr. Speaker, thank you and I will conclude by saying, I will be supporting this Throne Speech which I believe provides Nova Scotia with a concrete plan for the future. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I wish now simply to move that we adjourn debate on this topic for today until the time of our next meeting, at which point I would like to take the chance to make some remarks of my own. I so move.

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MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate on the Throne Speech. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Tuesday. The hours on Tuesday will be from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the debate will be the Throne Speech.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

[The House rose at 1:50 p.m.]

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