Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD
01-8

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legi/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Striking Committee: Standing Committees - Appointments,
Hon. R. Russell 513
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. Of the Workers' Compensation Board, Hon. D. Morse 513
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Environ. & Lbr. - WCB: Annual Report - Highlights, Hon. D. Morse 514
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Supplement to the Public Accounts, Hon. N. LeBlanc 517
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 12, Assessment Act and Municipal Government Act,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 517
No. 13, House of Assembly Act, Mr. D. Wilson 517
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 209, Col. Musq. Valley MLA - Religious Intolerance: House -
Reject, Mr. Robert Chisholm 517
Res. 210, Credit Union Central (N.S.): Staff/Bd. Members - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 518
Vote - Affirmative 519
Res. 211, Agric. & Fish. - Outstanding Young Farmers (Atl. Cdn.):
Nominees - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 519
Vote - Affirmative 519
Res. 212, Chester-St. Margaret's MLA - Fed. N.S. Heritage:
Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley Award - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 520
Vote - Affirmative 520
Res. 213, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Fin. Min. -
Priority Status Inform, Mr. J. Holm 520
Res. 214, Health - Long-Term Care: Crisis - Solve, Dr. J. Smith 521
Res. 215, Hfx. Reg. Library - Virtual Branch: Initiative - Commend,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 522
Vote - Affirmative 522
Res. 216, Nat. Res. - StoraEnso: Forestry Mgt. - Congrats.,
Mr. K. MacAskill 522
Vote - Affirmative 523
Res. 217, Educ./Sport & Rec. - P3 Schools: Fields - Usage Allow,
Mr. K. Deveaux 523
Vote - Affirmative 524
Res. 218, Harris, Ashley: Smoking Eradication Campaign - Commend,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 524
Vote - Affirmative 524
Res. 219, Health - Hearing & Speech Clinic: Proposal - Fund,
Mr. F. Corbett 525
Res. 220, Educ. - Young People: Concerns - Awareness, Mr. M. Samson 525
Vote - Affirmative 526
Res. 221, Freedom Foundation - Renovations: Participants - Thank,
Mr. J. Pye 526
Vote - Affirmative 527
Res. 222, Ski Cape Smokey - Season: Success - Congrats.,
Mr. K. MacAskill 527
Vote - Affirmative 527
Res. 223, Commun. Serv. - Gov't. Bldgs.: Accessibility - Prog. Expand,
Mr. D Dexter 528
Res. 224, Fin. - Debt: Min. - Control Lack, Mr. D. Downe 528
Res. 225, Black Loyalist Heritage Soc. - Web Site: Design Team -
Congrats., Mr. Robert Chisholm 529
Vote - Affirmative 529
Res. 226, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Pylons: Gravel/Pavement - Replace,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 529
Res. 227, Health - Secure Treatment Centre: Spaces - Increase, Mr. J. Pye 530
Res. 228, Sobeys - Serca Foodservice (Sydney) Shutdown:
Cape Breton - Disdain Illustrate, Mr. J. Holm 531
Res. 229, Sports - Hockey: Jack Lamontagne Tournament -
Participants Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 532
Vote - Affirmative 532
Res. 230, Cdn. Peacekeeping Medals: Cape Breton Peacekeepers -
Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 532
Vote - Affirmative 533
Res. 231, Commun. Serv. - St. Vincent's Guest House: Accreditation -
Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein 533
Vote - Affirmative 534
Res. 232, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Prospect Rd.: Priority -
Residents Inform, Mr. W. Estabrooks 534
Res. 233, Educ. - Forum of Young Canadians: Participants - Commend,
Mr. H. Epstein 534
Vote - Affirmative 535
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. G. Steele 535
Mr. D. Wilson 539
Hon. G. Balser 543
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 5:28 P.M. 548
HOUSE RESUMED AT 9:29 P.M. 548
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 10, Order of Nova Scotia Act 549
Mr. D. Downe 549
Mr. D. Wilson 553
Adjourned debate 555
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 3rd at 12:00 p.m. 555

[Page 513]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

4:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Let us begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that the Striking Committee of the House has met and I am pleased to table the composition of membership of the Standing Committees of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia Annual Report 2000.

513

[Page 514]

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I was pleased just now to present to you the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia Annual Report 2000. Highlights of the report include the full implementation of the Assessment Payment Plan for Nova Scotia employers and a significantly improved financial position. In 2000, the Workers' Compensation Board, in conjunction with its partner, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, launched the Assessment Payment Plan for all WCB-registered employers. The plan allows employers to make their payments to the WCB at the same time as they make their payments to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, using a similar form, the same payment schedule and the same payment locations.

From a financial perspective, WCB also reported improvements in its funded position for the sixth straight year. The WCB now is 68 per cent funded, an increase from 62 per cent in 1999 and an improvement from 27 per cent in 1992. Although this is a significant improvement, there is still a long way to go. The WCB's Board of Directors now is anticipating that the unfunded liability could be eliminated by 2010, which is almost 30 years earlier than projected in the original funding strategy. This has been achieved through an increase in accessible payroll that has not been matched by a comparable increase in accidents and a strong investment market.

Meanwhile, the average assessment rate has been held steady at $2.54 per $100 of payroll since 1994 and is projected to remain at the same rate until 2004. Although the total accessible payroll increased from $5.82 billion to $6.19 billion in Nova Scotia in 2000, the number of accidents registered with the WCB actually decreased slightly from 35,010 to 34,874. However, the number of accidents where a worker lost time as a result of their accident increased by 11 per cent.

The WCB also has made improvements in the manner in which it delivers service to injured workers, having taken steps to assist injured workers more quickly and efficiently. The WCB has made gains in the amount of time it takes to issue a cheque to a worker after their injury, with 50 per cent of these cheques being issued within 15 days of the accident. The WCB will continue to work toward its 2002 goal of issuing 90 per cent of cheques within 15 days of a worker's accident.

There are just a few highlights of the report, and I encourage all members of the Legislature to take a moment to read it over. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 515]

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the minister for providing us with a copy of this statement earlier today. A few of the positions I would like to just hit on are - and I won't be up long - that while it is good to see that the rates of accidents are decreasing, I think those things have to be measured in a different way than just a straight look at numbers because what we see is a whole change in parts of this province as it relates to heavy industry. We have massive layoffs in the coal mining industry, which we all know has historically high numbers of injuries, and the same with the Sydney Steel situation. If you extrapolate those numbers out of the workforce then, just by virtue of layoffs your numbers fall, so I think in some ways we have to look at it. The other side we have to look at are things that the board itself does not cover, accidents like whether it is a repetitive strain injury and so on. The reason some of these numbers are falling is not necessarily because we are working harder to get workplaces safer, it is that the board sometimes refuses to pay some of these. So they may not be there.

Another position I would like to look at is lost time as a result of accidents which has increased by 11 per cent. I think another side of that that has to be looked at is the amount of time lost, not just is it a day, is it a month, or so on and are there injuries going on. As we saw today, a committee has been named to review the WCB legislation and someone would hope these numbers would be looked at in greater depth.

Before closing, I want to say it is very important that the payment of the unfunded liability does have to come down and it is coming down. But we have to ask at what cost to injured workers in this province are we getting a good rating and are workers going without sufficient funds, such as widows? In another place and time, another minister of that government would come to the table and talk about making a deal with them because outside of this House he has certainly talked about it. I hear that they are interested in a deal, Mr. Speaker. These are the things that have to be addressed. It is not only that the unfunded liability has to come down because that unfunded liability was not caused by injured workers in this province, it was caused by years and years of mismanagement and political interference at that board level. I hope that they would take any excess there and give it to injured workers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, first of all I thank the minister for providing a copy of this statement in advance of today's proceedings. Obviously, what we see here is the culmination of a lot of work that has been done since 1993, right up to and including 1999, under the previous administration. I believe all members would certainly concur that corrective actions were taken to eliminate the rather dismal leadership that was provided under then Premier John Buchanan, which led to the near bankruptcy of the Workers' Compensation Board.

[Page 516]

Some of the things I have seen here today concern me. On Page 2 of the minister statement, stating that the number of accidents where workers have lost time as a result of their accidents, increased by 11 per cent in the past year. That is the very reason we opposed the amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act last year that was introduced by the then Minister of Labour, who is now Minister of Housing and Municipal Relations. That is a licence for further accidents, further injury and possible further death in the marketplace. That is exactly what I predicted then and this is what is showing up on record and will continue to show, so long as political interference is the order of the day with this particular government.

Further evidence of that is the fact this government unilaterally cancelled the ADR program which was one of the most successful employer/employee, labour/management relation programs within the workers' compensation system. That would have allowed injured workers to enter into a layman's forum to negotiate and resolve many of the concerns that they had with the workers' compensation claims that they had before the Workers' Compensation Board. That program had a 75 per cent success rate and this government, despite its success, cancelled it because of pressure from certain business interests in the Province of Nova Scotia, big business, the same interests that came in the back door of the Minister of Labour and lobbied against the advice of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Panel.

[4:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing here is a shift. We are seeing a shift from good safety, good management, to the good old days of John Buchanan and the way they politicized occupational health and safety in the Province of Nova Scotia, and I find that very disturbing. What we will see - and I will predict the same as I did last year - is that this rate will continue to grow. If the minister is concerned about the unfunded liability coming down so fast, let's look at some reprieve for the employers who have abided by and partook in many of the occupational health and safety training programs with the Nova Scotia Safety Council across this province that reduced the number of preventable accidents in the workplace. Reward them with a reduction in their premiums.

We are gouging the employers of the province. Not only that, but we are not providing any relief for the injured workers of this province. Seventy-two cents of that $2.54 goes toward the unfunded liability. The government of the day is gouging, despite the fact that we broadened the assessment base and took corrective measures by dealing with non-Nova Scotian firms.

Mr. Speaker, I would advise the minister to take notice that he has a golden opportunity to do some good things, and shake the shackles of what happened back in the 1970's and 1980's, and make sure that the injured workers and the employers of Nova Scotia, who want to do some good in this province, are rewarded in a positive way.

[Page 517]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the permission of the House to revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed by the House that we revert to Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank the Opposition Parties. I beg leave to table the Supplement to the Public Accounts of the Province of Nova Scotia for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill 12 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Assessment Act, and Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

Bill 13 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 (1992 Supplement) of the Revised States of 1989. The House of Assembly Act. (Mr. David Wilson)

[MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 209

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

[Page 518]

Whereas this Legislature has recognized the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, and in May 2000, adopted legislation which recognizes the multicultural reality of modern society; and

Whereas this Legislature is supposed to protect Nova Scotians from discrimination on the basis of a person's religion; and

Whereas the Premier recently urged Nova Scotians to learn from the horrors of racism and religious intolerance;

There be it resolved that this House rejects the intolerance which was demonstrated Friday, March 30th and Thursday, March 29th by the MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and other Conservative MLAs.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notices is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 210

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 Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia will be holding its AGM on April 10th and April 11th; and

Whereas the Credit Union has a tradition of service in many Nova Scotian communities; and

Whereas the staff and board members are to be commended for their contribution to the organization;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate the staff and board members of the Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia and wish them our best in the future.

[Page 519]

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 Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 211

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

Whereas Nova Scotian nominees for the Atlantic Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2001 were couples: Chris and Karen Brown of Bridgewater, Kevin and Debbie Charlton of East Torbrook, and Patrick Ueffing and Cynthia Coleman of Canning; and

Whereas Pine View Farm Inc. greenhouse operators, Chris and Karen Brown, were named Atlantic Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2001; and

Whereas Chris and Karen will be competing in Quebec City in the national program later this year;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate all nominees and wish Chris and Karen Brown the best of luck in Quebec City.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 520]

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 212

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

Whereas the member for Chester-St. Margaret's has spent over 30 years helping to preserve the history of Chester Municipality; and

Whereas his efforts have earned him the Federation of Nova Scotia Heritage Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley Lifetime Achievement Award; and

Whereas the member of Chester-St. Margaret's is one of four Nova Scotians named to receive that award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the member for Chester-St. Margaret's for his efforts in receiving the Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 213

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

Whereas it is well known that $1 million can only pay to twin one kilometre of road; and

[Page 521]

Whereas this government is now preparing to twin only five kilometres of Highway No. 101 at a cost of $5 million, but this is contingent on Ottawa kicking in funding; and

Whereas while the Minister of Transportation continues to complain about a lack of funding from Ottawa, Highway No. 101 continues to be a treacherous drive;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance tell the commuters of Highway No. 101 the truth, and that is their road is not a priority of this Tory Government.

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 of Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 214

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

Whereas forcing seniors to pay $50 a day for the Tories' failure to address the long-term care crisis has become a public relations nightmare for this government; and

Whereas last Friday's late afternoon release-and-run news release at 4:30 p.m. which defended this scheme is a sign the government has a guilty conscience; and

Whereas despite the government's weak excuses, the truth is senior citizens are once again the target of the Tories' mismanagement of health care resources;

Therefore be it resolved that this government should focus on solving the growing problem in long-term care before forcing seniors to pay for the government's mistakes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 522]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 215

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional Library has always been on the cutting edge of technological innovation; and

Whereas a new on-line virtual branch of the library is being launched on Thursday, April 5th at 11:00 a.m. at the Alderney Gate Public Library; and

Whereas public libraries will hopefully always be available for use of all patrons;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend the Halifax Regional Library on this most recent initiative to extend the library to its users.

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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 216

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

Whereas the sustainability of our precious woodlands depends on the co-operation of all stakeholders; and

[Page 523]

Whereas StoraEnso has recently set up a forest advisory committee with representatives from environmental, recreational, community and tourism groups; and

Whereas the committee also includes input from the Aboriginal community and will give all stakeholders a chance for input;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate StoraEnso for setting a good example of forestry management by including the wider community in decision making that will affect the future of our woodlands.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 217

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

Whereas it is widely accepted that children and youth are best served by accessible recreation activities that create a healthy mind and body; and

Whereas the current state of the soccer fields in the Halifax Regional Municipality and the limited number of them in some areas is preventing full access to healthy activities for all children; and

Whereas P3 schools have recreational fields but are not allowing access to those who so desperately need it;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the Department of Education and the Sport and Recreation Commission to work with the P3 school owners to allow their fields to be used for summer activities by the children and youth in their communities.

[Page 524]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 218

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

Whereas it is evident the effects of second-hand cigarette smoking on non-smokers may be more adverse to one's health rather than those who do smoke; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's youth are our citizens most affected by smoking, an addiction filled with negative side affects and false pleasure; and

Whereas Ashley Harris of Howie Centre, a 15 year old student at Malcolm Munroe Memorial Junior High School is actively seeking support in her campaign to end the practice of smoking in public places;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend and support Ashley Harris in her campaign to eradicate smoking in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 525]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 219

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

Whereas two year old Mira Beaton of Marion Bridge will be receiving a cochlear implant; and

Whereas Mira and her parents, Earl and Mary Beaton will have to go to Toronto Hospital for Sick Children to have this procedure performed; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that still does not provide this essential medical service and continues to send families to other province, at their own travel costs, for this procedure;

[4:30 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the John Hamm Government acts immediately to fund the proposal put forward by the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Clinic to fund an extra full-time audiologist, an implant surgeon and two full-time auditory verbal therapists in this province.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 220

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

Whereas 40 high school presidents from across Nova Scotia recently met at Horton High to discuss forming a provincial council; and

[Page 526]

Whereas these young leaders are looking for ways they can improve their access to government; and

Whereas the Minister of Education indicated her support for such a group in a written letter;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House be mindful of the concerns of our young people when we make decisions that affect their lives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 221

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 Freedom Foundation is a transition house for men with addiction problems; and

Whereas this transition house was in major need of repairs and improvements to meet acceptable living standards; and

Whereas the Freedom Foundation, through the Department of Human Resources and federal MP Wendy Lill, were able to secure funds through the Skippy Program for Homeless Persons;

Therefore be it resolved that this provincial Legislature thank the Executive Director, Joe Gibson, and all those involved in bringing the renovations to completion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 527]

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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 222

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

Whereas despite a slow start, Ski Cape Smokey has had an excellent season; and

Whereas during the March break skiers came from as far away as Lunenburg, Halifax and Prince Edward Island to enjoy the highest vertical in the province; and

Whereas the hill features 16 runs ranging from the gentle bunny hill to the challenging cliffhanger and the glade trails for the more advanced skiers who enjoy deep powder;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the operators of Ski Cape Smokey for their successful season in hopes that they continue the success in following years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 528]

RESOLUTION NO. 223

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

Whereas this government established the Community ACCESS-ability Grant Program to facilitate access for our growing population of residents with physical challenges; and

Whereas facilities owned by non-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible for this program while improvements to provincially-owned buildings are not; and

Whereas residents in the provincially-owned seniors' housing facility on Circassion Drive in Forest Hills desperately require an elevator, but this government claims it has no resources or programs available for such a project;

Therefore be it resolved that this government revisit its commitment to seniors and the physically challenged by expanding its program to include making its own buildings totally accessible.

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 224

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance has added $1.3 billion to the net debt of the province since he took office 595 days ago; and

Whereas a large portion of that amount represents short-term borrowing; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance should have learned by now that you cannot borrow your way to a balanced budget;

[Page 529]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance has little control over the $11.3 billion debt of the province and no plan to tackle that problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 225

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 Black Loyalists arrived in Nova Scotia between 1783 and 1785 as a result of the American Revolution; and

Whereas the Black Loyalist Heritage Society is committed to discovering, interpreting, safeguarding and promoting the history and heritage of the Black Loyalists; and

Whereas that story has just become a little more accessible, thanks to the effort of the Society in setting up a Web page at http://www.blackloyalist.com;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud and congratulate the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, and in particular its Web design team of Tony Pace, Misty Cromwell, Jason Buchanan and Darren Jacklin, for making Nova Scotia history more accessible.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 226

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

[Page 530]

Whereas Department of Transportation orange warning-cone pylons are popping up on and beside Nova Scotia roads like a crop of crocuses; and

Whereas these cones, like the crocus, indicate that spring in Nova Scotia has arrived with the annual pothole season; and

Whereas Department of Transportation orange warning cones show to all where the work must be done on our deteriorating roads;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation stop watching the number of orange pylons grow and instruct staff to replace them with the necessary gravel and pavement to make our roads safer.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 227

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

Whereas when the Minister of Health was an Opposition member he continuously badgered the government for a secure treatment centre; and

Whereas the present Minister of Health has been in the government for two years and there is still no secure treatment centre; and

Whereas this Minister of Health is continuing to carry on the practice of his predecessor by locking youth up in hotels, and protecting them with prison guards as if they were criminals;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health stop this insane treatment of youth with severe emotional and behavioural problems by increasing the number of spaces at the secure treatment centre.

[Page 531]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 228

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

Whereas Sobeys recently shut down its Serca Foodservice Inc. distribution facility in Sydney and the 27 jobs that go with it; and

Whereas Serca will now handle all of its distribution services out of Lakeside Industrial Park in Halifax; and

Whereas this government has issued not a word of protest, a stark contrast to its fawning behaviour and $3.5 million gift of payroll tax rebates when Sobeys threatened to move its headquarters from Stellarton;

Therefore be it resolved that with its silence at this latest move from the Sobeys group, this government continues to show disdain for and complete indifference to the economic plight of Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 532]

RESOLUTION NO. 229

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 Cole Harbour-Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association hosts the largest March Break hockey tournament in Nova Scotia, with 194 teams participating; and

Whereas the Jack Lamontagne Hockey Tournament attracts teams from far and near, including teams from the United States and other parts of Canada; and

Whereas the organizers of the tournament, Dave Law and Dave Pyke, worked hard with many other volunteers to ensure the tournament was a success;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Dave Law, Dave Pyke, and all the other volunteers who made the Jack Lamontagne Hockey Tournament a success in 2001.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 230

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

Whereas Cape Bretoners have always come to the aid of their country whenever there was a need; and

Whereas 52 former Canadian Peacekeepers from Cape Breton will receive the Canadian Peacekeeping Services Medal in honour of their contributions to world peace; and

[Page 533]

Whereas the ceremony to recognize these peacekeepers takes place on Saturday, April 7th, at Victoria Park Armouries in Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature join in thanking these peacekeepers for their numerous contributions.

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 Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 231

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

Whereas St. Vincent's Guest House operates an excellent residential care facility in Halifax; and

Whereas the high quality of the care and services of St. Vincent's Guest House has long been recognized by residents, their families and the public; and

Whereas St. Vincent's Guest House has achieved accreditation from the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation, including now a three year award;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the board, staff and volunteers of St. Vincent's Guest House on achieving this level of accreditation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 534]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 232

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

Whereas the Prospect Road serves as an integral part of the Lighthouse Route on the way to the highly promoted tourist destination of Peggy's Cove; and

Whereas as many as 42 buses daily use this route between Victoria Day and Labour Day weekends; and

Whereas this heavy traffic must be considered an important factor in determining the Prospect Road as a top priority for road improvements;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation inform Prospect Road residents and area tourism operators when this road will receive the immediate attention it deserves.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 233

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

Whereas Jennifer Comeau, a Grade 12 student at the Convent of the Scared Heart and a resident of Halifax Chebucto, has been selected to attend the Forum of Young Canadians in Ottawa during the week of April 21st to April 28th; and

Whereas she has been selected on the basis of academic excellence, civic and school involvement, and is being sponsored by her school to attend workshops on parliamentary procedure and government; and

[Page 535]

Whereas she will be one of 500 high school students to participate in the program this year which is organized by the Foundation for the Study of Government Process in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend Jennifer Comeau and the other young Canadians who are participating in this program which encourages students to not only learn about government and Parliament, but to become active in the process of their home provinces.

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.

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 you now do leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take this opportunity to talk about a case involving a constituent family from Halifax Fairview that I think deserves the attention of the government and all fair-minded people.

[Page 536]

This family, who I will not name here, consists of a mother, father and two young children. They are immigrants to this country. They work very hard running a convenience store in Halifax Fairview and they live above that store. Mr. Speaker, these are good, honest, hard-working citizens who came to Canada and are making a very great contribution to their new country, to their constituency.

Mr. Speaker, this family is unfortunately embroiled in a very difficult situation which has been brought to the attention of the Minister of Health and of the district health authority, but so far there has been no action.

Mr. Speaker, it is a situation which is causing a great deal of stress to this family. The reason that I am raising it today is because I think the family deserves an answer.

Very briefly Mr. Speaker, what happened was that a relative of this family, the father of the husband, the father-in-law of the wife, came to Canada for a visit. He has several children living in Nova Scotia and unfortunately this gentleman came to Canada without any health insurance. While visiting his daughter in Truro, he suffered a very serious heart attack and was rushed to the Colchester Regional Hospital. He received excellent care there, as everyone would expect from that hospital, but while there he suffered another very serious heart attack and had to be rushed to Halifax to the QE II Health Sciences Centre. Needless to say, this medical crisis caused a great deal of concern to the family.

[4:45 p.m.]

My constituent, whom I will call Mr. S., met his father at the QE II as his father was leaving the ambulance. The father was very, very ill, Mr. Speaker, and needless to say it was a time of very great stress for my constituent and his entire family. The father was taken to a hospital bed at the QE II and it became immediately apparent that he needed surgery; he needed major, life-saving surgery. While visiting his father, my constituent was asked to see a member of the hospital administration and was asked to sign a form which, he discovered only later, was being used by the hospital to impose upon him complete financial liability for the hospital stay and the surgery. My constituent is not very conversant in the English language and certainly is not able to read and write the English language very well. Nevertheless, at the insistence of the hospital administration, my constituent signed this form - the so-called financial liability form - and the surgery was done.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that the father who underwent this surgery is doing well back in his home country but he has left behind a financial nightmare for the family. I will say nothing about whether he should have come to Canada with health insurance - clearly he should have - and it is an important lesson for everybody who has visitors from abroad coming to Canada, that it is important and necessary to have health insurance.

[Page 537]

Mr. Speaker, my constituents were shocked to receive a bill for $44,000 from the QE II, an amount that so far the hospital continues to insist is the amount that is owing by this family. There are several very serious problems, and the first of them is that this family, this constituent of mine, was asked to sign this form at the hospital at a time of very great stress and he certainly didn't have an opportunity to consult anybody, because this all happened late in the day on Christmas Eve 1999 and the surgery, in fact, was performed on Christmas Day. There was nowhere he could turn, no one he could ask for advice and so he signed the form.

So, first of all, there is this great problem of duress, about whether it is at all appropriate that a family should be asked to sign a form in these circumstances. Second of all, Mr. Speaker, I have read that form and let me tell you, it is far from clear what is intended. It is written in very legalistic jargon which was difficult for me to understand - never mind somebody who is not very conversant with written English - far from clear about what the intent of the form was, much less imposing an open-ended liability that amounted in the end to $44,000.

The third problem, of course, Mr. Speaker, is one that I have already alluded, to and that is the lack of language skills of the person who was asked to sign the form. So it seems to me inconceivable that anyone would ever find that this gentleman, this constituent of mine, had actually agreed to a liability of $44,000. It was not his fault that his father didn't have medical insurance. It is not his fault, or his family's fault, that the father suffered a medical crisis while visiting Canada and yet the hospital, so far, has insisted that he is personally liable for that amount.

Mr. Speaker, not only that, but the hospital in its wisdom decided to sic a collection agency on this family and the tactics of that collection agency, if they are to be believed, were despicable. The family was called at their store, with great regularity, amounting to every several hours, harassing and intimidating this family into believing that they owed this amount of money, and that they would lose everything they had worked for if they didn't pay immediately.

Mr. Speaker, that was despicable. The hospital should have known better, while the matter was still under negotiation, than to send the matter out to a collection agency. Finally, the family hired a lawyer, a lawyer they can't afford, and the collection agency was called off. To its credit, the hospital was willing to enter into negotiations and offered to accept an amount of money less - not substantially less but less - than the $44,000. It is an amount that would still be a crushing burden to this family, one that they are certainly unable to pay, and one that is not at all in keeping with the justice of the case.

Mr. Speaker, in fact, I would suggest that the justice of the case is that this family owes nothing, because of the problems that I have told you about with this so-called financial responsibility form. The family was asked to sign it under duress. It is a completely unclear document about what its intent was, and the gentleman who was forced to sign it, under

[Page 538]

threat that his father would not receive the surgery - or that is the threat he believed was being made - did not have facility with the English language.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult and troubling case, because it is inconceivable, surely it is inconceivable, that the hospital would have denied lifesaving surgery if this form had not been signed. To a large extent, the whole matter has proceeded under a false pretense.

Mr. Speaker, I have written to the Minister of Health and I have written to the head of the hospital, imploring them to see the justice of this case. This is not a case where a family is trying to rip off the medical system. They didn't know their father was visiting without health insurance and, even if they did, it wasn't their responsibility to make sure that the father did. Perhaps the father owes the money, that is a question for another day, but he is in another country. What has been left behind is a hard-working, decent, honest family who are being asked to bear the burden of a crushing debt that in any view of fairness and justice of the case they simply do not owe.

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you could let me know how much time I have left.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has five minutes left.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I have written to the Minister of Health and I have written to the head of the hospital, outlining the circumstances of the case, and saying, surely to heavens, something can be worked out here. I am sure the family would be willing to work with the Department of Health in working on some kind of publicity or advertising campaign for visitors to this country about the importance and necessity of having health insurance. I am sure that the family is willing to pay a small amount over and above the several thousand dollars they have already paid - I don't think I mentioned that they have already paid several thousand dollars.

I am sure they would be willing to reach a reasonable compromise that reflects the justice of the case and the amount that they are willing to pay. The hospital has already shown a willingness to compromise, but only a little bit, still leaving a crushing debt for this family. So I stand here today in my place - again, I have done it in writing but so far there has been no answer, so now I am doing it verbally in the Nova Scotia Legislature - imploring the Minister of Health to see the justice of this case, to work with the Central District Health Authority to see what can be done for this family, and not leave the family anymore under the stress, the burden of this debt that the hospital says that they owe.

Let's face it, if no suitable arrangement can be made, this case is heading for litigation, which is the last place that it belongs. The only people who will win if this case goes to court are the lawyers on each side. The people who will lose are good, decent, hard-working Nova Scotians and the people who will lose will also be the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. There is no

[Page 539]

doubt in my mind that if this case is pushed all the way to a courtroom that the government will lose for the reasons that I talked about.

This was no contract, this was not something that engages a liability to this family, but the hospital has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that. So I am imploring the Minister of Health to take this case up with the Central District Health Authority so that a fair arrangement can be made that finally takes the stress off this family. They do not deserve it, they certainly do not need it.

Mr. Speaker, where I began, these are good, honest, decent, hard-working people. They live in a home above the store. They are not rich and they do not deserve the strain and anguish that this case has caused them. So, with those words, I think I have pleaded their case and I commend it considerably to the Minister of Health's attention for his consideration. Thank you.

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

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to talk about an item that is near and dear to my heart. Hopefully, by the end of my discussion it will be near and dear to the hearts of many in this Legislature and that finally something will be done about a problem which has been ongoing in the community of Glace Bay and surrounding areas for far too long.

I am talking about a problem that we have in our community and in the communities surrounding it, with water, and a serious problem. If I may quote from the Budget Address for the Province of Nova Scotia for the fiscal year 2001-02 on Page 17 under the heading, Quality of life, "Few services of government are more important to Nova Scotians than those that protect our health and our natural environment. In the wake of the tragic events in Walkerton, Ontario, wise governments everywhere are redoubling efforts to ensure the safety of water supplies. In Nova Scotia, new safe water regulations mean increased vigilance . . . We have an abundance of safe, clean water. We need to make sure it stays that way." Mr. Speaker, those are great words. In the community of Glace Bay and surrounding areas, they are not worth the paper they are written on. We have a severe problem, one of which I have said has been ongoing for some time now. Is our water safe? It depends on who you talk to. Is it clean? No way.

All of the members in this Legislature have before them on their desks glasses of water. Pages that you can see doing their jobs, scurrying back and forth, bring glasses of water for the members of the House of Assembly. The members in this House of Assembly do not hesitate to take a drink of that water.

[Page 540]

In Glace Bay and surrounding areas, you cannot do that. You would not be able to drink that water. You would take one look at that glass of water in Glace Bay and area and you would put that water back down. You would probably spill it out into a sink or into a toilet because you would not drink it. It is visible that there is something wrong with the water in Glace Bay and surrounding areas. It is so visible that I have had complaints from residents that it stains their fixtures in their homes.

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I would probably say that maybe we are stretching the matter here, but I can take you to my own home in Glace Bay and I can show you bathroom fixtures and I can show you sinks in bathrooms and I can show you toilets that are visibly stained by the water that is being supplied to my house, the water that comes from the water supply of Sand Lake. It is also water that we pay for. As a matter of fact, we have had an increase in our water bill recently in Glace Bay and surrounding area. An increase for what? An increase for water that we cannot drink.

I would daresay that the majority of residents of Glace Bay and surrounding area, Mr. Speaker, now purchase their water from various supermarkets or corner stores, whatever the case may be. It is an extra cost to those who can afford it. It is an extra and extreme cost to those who cannot afford to purchase the water in the first place. For those who can purchase it, that is fine. I would say here today that there are those who are drinking the water in Glace Bay on a daily basis because they have no other choice. How about the children who go to the sports arenas in Glace Bay? How about the children who attend school on a daily basis and go to the fountains and take a drink of water because no order is in existence in Glace Bay and surrounding area not to drink the water?

What is anticipated, of course, will be what we get on a yearly basis, will be another boil order where we have to boil our water in order to drink it. The perception right now is that people are not drinking it, period. If you looked at it you would say, I am not drinking that water. Why should I drink that water? Yet the ironic part of it is that in a Budget Address here in our Legislature we would brag about having safe, clean drinking water in the Province of Nova Scotia.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not in Glace Bay.

MR. WILSON: Not in Glace Bay. As a matter of fact it is almost laughable that I would read that in the Budget Address after having tried to bring it to the attention of honourable ministers of this House the problem we are having with water in Glace Bay.

Not that there is not a solution in the future, Mr. Speaker, it is there. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality had a two year plan that would see a water treatment plant installed and other work done to the water supply, perhaps even changing the source of the water

[Page 541]

supply from Sand Lake to another source. All of that has been considered. All of that has been studied. It is still a year and a half away before that is done.

Mr. Speaker, what I have asked the government to do is to fast-track that by providing more money, because this is an urgent situation. This is a situation that I would daresay that does exist in other parts of this province. Unfortunately, there are water problems in other parts of this province and there had been water problems in other parts of this province that the government has stepped in and done something extra, and when I say extra, I mean aside from the infrastructure money that is provided on the cost-shared basis with Ottawa, the municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia. They have gone the extra mile to help other communities.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking for nothing less, nothing more than the same kind of attention and the same kind of assistance that has been given to other municipalities in this province. I daresay that if this problem with water was occurring in another more populated area of this province, I would not be standing in this Legislature today begging for that government to do something about the problem that we are having with water in Glace Bay and surrounding area.

Mr. Speaker, that is a sad situation when it comes down to where we have to pit one area against another, when we say one area's residents are more worthwhile and more deserving of clean drinking water than another area in this province. That is wrong. To quote the words again in the Budget Address, Walkerton, Ontario, let's not forget Walkerton, Ontario, and what can happen when we are not vigilant of our water supply. It is the right of every Nova Scotian, it is the right of every Canadian, it is the right of the residents and citizens of Glace Bay and surrounding area to be provided with clean, safe drinking water and that is not currently done.

Mr. Speaker, of course, not only does it possibly put the health of the area's residents in danger, as we have learned in Walkerton, possibly the lives of those very same residents,

but it has a dramatic effect as well on economic development for the area. How can we possibly attract people to an area which again, as I have said many times in this House, has an unofficial unemployment rate of upward of 45 per cent to 50 per cent on any given day, how can we possibly attract economic development to that area when the first thing they will look at is their source of water supply and what is it like? Is it safe, is it clean? We can't say yes to those questions.

You know, Mr. Speaker, this should not be happening in this day and age. This is the year 2001.

AN HON. MEMBER: The technology is out there.

[Page 542]

MR. WILSON: The technology exists. Water treatment facilities exist. We know that they work. They are in other areas but yet we can't do anything about it for another year and a half. Mr. Speaker, it is not the fault of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. They have put a plan in place. They are cash-strapped. We know that and again what I am asking this government is to stop ignoring this problem, this situation. They need some extra help. If extra money is available and we have heard in the past few days that there seems to be extra money available . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: For everything else.

MR. WILSON: . . . for everything else but nothing has been done about this very serious problem. Again, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you that because this problem is where it is . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: In Cape Breton.

MR. WILSON: . . . in Cape Breton and in the community of Glace Bay and surrounding area, I am suggesting to you, and I am suggesting to the members of this government that that is why nothing has been done about this problem.

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I have had complaints from residents and many of them, in particular, one resident called up and said she and her husband had just relocated to Glace Bay upon her husband's retirement. They spent in the vicinity of $30,000 to fix up their home, which creates economic development, the various work people who are there fixing up the home, the tradespeople who are there. After spending tens of thousands of dollars on their home, how proud they were to show off their home, their brand new fixtures that they put in their bathroom. Less than two weeks later, after putting those fixtures in, stains appeared and they can't get rid of them. Where did the stains come from? Bad water. It is very simple.

I would suggest to you that in the Halifax Regional Municipality right now, you cannot draw a bathtub full of water and two days later have permanent stains left on your bathtub but I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, and I am telling the members of this House that that is exactly what is happening in Glace Bay and the surrounding area. If anyone would like to come to Glace Bay and the surrounding area, I wouldn't have to take them too far to show them the damage that has been done. I will take you to my own home and show you those stains.

Our children, ourselves, we can go so far as to not allow them to drink the water. They are bathing in the water. They are showering in the water. How much goes into your system when you are taking a shower? You have an 11 month old baby. Can you put the baby in the shower? The baby has to go in a bath, of course, Mr. Speaker. The very water that you will

[Page 543]

not and cannot drink, you are not going to put your child in that water, you are forced to purchase.

Washing your clothes, a lot of complaints. Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to make fun of a laundry detergent. It is another thing to have to live with that situation. The whites aren't white anymore. It is not happening. It is further proof that there is a problem, there is a visible problem, there is a severe problem with our water supply in Glace Bay and surrounding area.

Mr. Speaker, a lot of people depend on it. As I mentioned economic development before, the fisheries is becoming quite a viable industry in Glace Bay and surrounding area and growing. Of course, we know that fish plants and such rely on a fresh water supply that has to be there; clean water supply that has to be there, but again it does not exist. There are tens of thousands of people in Glace Bay and surrounding area. As I mentioned, the water supply services other areas, not just Glace Bay: Dominion, Port Morien, Tower Road, those areas, parts of Reserve, as well, that rely on this water supply. The problem gets even bigger.

I am just talking straight to the point here about the existing problem and that is a problem of water, that if you picked up a glass, you would clearly see it is cloudy. Why would you drink that kind of water? The bigger problem means infrastructure and I am talking about infrastructure in a big way. I am talking about pipes that are so antiquated they are older than the community of Glace Bay itself, which is 100 years old this year. Pipes that started out being 12 inches in diameter, that might have a couple of inches left, the rest is - well, you don't want to know what the rest is. Those couple of inches left in diameter on our main water pipes, that's what the water is flowing through. You would wonder what it is picking up as it comes from its source.

All I am asking for is for this government and the ministers responsible - the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Public Works and the Premier of this province - to do the responsible thing: immediately take a look at a severe problem we are having with water in our area and do something about it. Less talk, more action will solve the problem, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in my place and speak for a few minutes about the riding of Digby-Annapolis and the people that I represent. This is only the second time that I have had the opportunity to get up and speak about the area and as you stand in this Chamber, it truly is humbling to think back to the number of people who have had the opportunity, those who have gone before us, to bring the issues of their constituents here to this prestigious hall, to speak on behalf of those people and to raise concerns. I think from time to time there are occasions when we lose sight of the importance and the gravity of responsibility that has been placed on our shoulders.

[Page 544]

I recognize full well that the people have asked me to speak on their behalf and to bring those concerns forward and I was preceded by a very honoured MLA, Joe Casey. He did set a benchmark for me that I try to aspire to and I know that he continues to be concerned about the issues of our area.

Digby-Annapolis truly is a unique and beautiful area, from Brier Island, the tip of Digby Neck, to Maitland Bridge out near Keji Park in Caledonia, up to Allains River in Annapolis. It is a very large geographic area but the concerns of those people are very much the same as the concerns of the people anywhere in the Province of Nova Scotia. They are concerned about their future, they are concerned about their children, they are concerned about the economy, they are concerned about highways and roads and all those other issues that touch us all in here in terms of debate.

One of the things that I have noticed though, is that over the last number of years there has been a change in the atmosphere and attitude of the people that I was elected to represent. I know back in the early 1990's when the fishery was in decline and the federal government announced the closure of Cornwallis Park, the people in my area were very concerned about what that would do to the economy of Digby-Annapolis.

The other thing that people have come to realize is that we are not just a number of small unique communities. The communities are unique but they come together with a common goal and a common concern about how to make sure things are going to be better in the future. As I said, that is one of the things that they have come to know and realize, that if things are improving in Bear River, then they are good for Digby; if things are improving in Annapolis, they are good for Weymouth; that we as a group can work together to a common goal, whether that is dealing with issues about health care or school construction or anything of that nature which concern us all.

[5:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it truly is a wonderful place to reside. As I said, since 1998 I have had the opportunity to be here in the Legislature and carry those concerns forward. One of the big issues in my area has been the concern about new school construction. On the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the open house at Digby Regional High School. I can tell you that the people in that community are very, very proud and grateful for this wonderful new facility that has been made available for them to enjoy and to use, not just as a school for their young people but as a focal point for the community. They have a 300 seat theatre, which will mean that the community will be able to stage productions. I think the other message that was conveyed very clearly is that it doesn't have to be constructed through P3 programming. It was, in fact, made available through the Department of Education's funding programs.

[Page 545]

As I say, this has been a rallying point for the community, Mr. Speaker. They recognize how important this is and the children have come to value it. It was so rewarding to see parents, grandparents and former teachers walking through that school. The comment of one of the people that I saw, a former school board member actually who said, his comment was, I must be getting old because I came in this school and I have tears in my eyes. I think that is reflective of what that means to the community, the fact that they have such a new and beautiful facility. As I say, that is one new school and, in fact, we are looking at the possibility of new school construction to deal with a problem in the community of Weymouth and Clare. I am sure that given the success of the Digby Regional High School construction program that this school will be equally as successful.

As I say, Mr. Speaker, the people in my area want to talk about opportunities. They want to talk with optimism. I recognize that when you sit in certain places in the House the view that you have is somewhat stilted by the position that you occupy and that is that the government of the day, no matter what they do, it is never enough or if it is enough it is not enough or it is too much and so it goes. What happens is that tends to create a feeling of pessimism and negativity that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. In fact, when I look around my riding, I see the number of small companies and larger companies that have been very, very successful in taking charge of their own destiny. As I said, Mr. Speaker, one of the things that they have been able to do very successfully is become masters of their own destiny. They are no longer reliant on someone from away dictating what it is that would be good for them in terms of economic development.

As I said earlier, one of the major concerns was the collapse of the ground fishery and what would happen as a result of that. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that a number of the companies have taken that, not as a problem but as an opportunity, as a problem to be solved. They have done that very, very successfully. If you look at D.B. Kenney and the massive new construction they have undertaken to make a state-of-the-art lobster holding facility, or if you look at Royal Fundy and the way in which they have been able to market their product, not just as a frozen fish product but as value added, using technology to make that happen; they are now using the Internet to do e-commerce transactions globally, something that was unheard of just a short time ago.

Mr. Speaker, the whole initiative of the smart community, the fact that southwestern Nova Scotia, the area of the Western Valley Development Authority, was chosen as the site in Nova Scotia to represent the smart community initiative, speaks well for our community and for the leaders of that community, that they see technology as the way ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I look at Cornwallis Park, the Kespuwick organization, and the fact that they now have Fundy Fiberglass. Fundy Fiberglass just a few short years ago was a company struggling. They now have expanded significantly and they are in the export market. They have seen opportunity where others have seen adversity. If you look to Shaw Wood, they are now employing in excess of 200 people in that industry, creating value-added products from

[Page 546]

our pine. That speaks well to the ingenuity and initiative of the people in that area. Darmos Enterprises, they have expanded significantly over the last number of years and, in fact, have captured markets that put them in international scope. They market their product with Six Flags, the theme park organization in the United States. They market their product with Sea World. They are looking ahead, again, with optimism towards where they can go. They don't dwell on the past or become discouraged when things don't go their way the first time. They simply reach down and do what people from my riding have done for 100 years. They look ahead and see how they can move the thing forward on their own.

Granted, there is a role for government, whether it is the provincial government or the federal government or the municipal government, to assist. But that is the hallmark. They look for a hand to help them, not a handout.

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago in the Town of Weymouth, the sawmill burned and people were, again, very concerned about what would happen to them in the future. In fact, the Irving group came forward and acquired that asset and they now employ something in the neighbourhood of 300 people in the forest industry in southwestern Nova Scotia. There are a number of small sawmills. It is not always about large companies like the Irvings or Shaw Wood and so on. It is the small operation that employs one or two. It is the entrepreneur who starts a business because they feel they can succeed using their own ability and their own initiative.

Mr. Speaker, another growing area in my riding is the tourism sector. They have come together. They were concerned about whether or not they would be able to attract cruise ships to the Town of Digby, to the port there, because it is a wonderful port. In fact, when Champlain came in 1604, he named that harbour Port Royal because it was so large and beautiful. That group came together, setting aside their individual concerns about small communities and said, we have to put together a strategy that will position this area to be a destination, along with Sydney, along with Saint John, along with Halifax. They have done that very successfully. It is a credit to those people who come forward as volunteers.

Make no mistake, Mr. Speaker, that the future of Nova Scotia is linked very closely to those people who give of themselves for no reason other than because it is the right thing to do. The role of volunteers in my community and any community in this province cannot go unrecognized and unnoticed. It would cost literally tens of millions of dollars if we were to be required to pay for some of these services, whether it is the volunteers who came together to create the medic group in my community. When the issue of health care became a paramount concern, this group of individuals came together and said, we don't represent any particular group with an agenda, we simply represent our communities. We want to find out how we can work with government to solve this problem.

[Page 547]

In fact, Mr. Speaker, today they had two young doctors in the community, a husband and wife who have recently graduated and they have been, in fact, encouraged to come to Digby and the Digby-Weymouth area to look at that location as a place to raise a family. The medic group came together and made that possible. They came together with representatives from the town and the municipality, from the community of Weymouth and from the community of Bear River. I was involved in that committee as the provincial representative. The whole entire point of that exercise was to ensure that we would do our level best to attract a doctor.

Beyond that, Mr. Speaker, they wanted to work with the local hospital authority and with the health groups to ensure that, as we move forward, we create something that is sustainable, something that is not a quick fix. The other thing that happened is that it gave them a sense of pride and a sense of community that, sometimes, is lacking in many of our small areas. Sometimes when you dwell on things that have gone wrong, you lose sight of the good things that can happen, the good things that have happened. I believe that small communities, whether it is the community of Sandy Cove or the community of Freeport or the community, as I said, of Maitland Bridge or of South Milford, all those communities are unique in terms of their history and their heritage and their culture.

What happens is they have a sense of pride that they can build on to create a future that is brighter than today. I genuinely believe that, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the province has turned a corner, if you will, that we, for many years, languished in what might be and we relied very heavily on the federal government for transfer payments and the provincial government, in turn, to look at what the problems were and how to address them in small communities. That is not an effective strategy. What you need is to have community leaders come together with a view of how they can work together to solve these problems.

Within the Department of Economic Development, we now have the Community Economic Development Investment Fund, which gives community groups the opportunity to use their own resources to finance good, worthwhile economic development strategies.

Mr. Speaker, it is not in my riding, but it is a tribute to the hard work and ingenuity of the community that Eagle Timber, in Clare, came together and developed a stud mill saw mill for exporting studs into the American market. In Middleton, the farmers came together to create the grain centre. That facility had been sold to the private sector, and the farmers in the Middleton area were very concerned they would have no way to dry their grain. What they did is come together as a group, they used their own financing to put together a project. Not only that, they captured the opportunity to export hay into the American market. They have discovered a new opportunity and they are working together to grow that opportunity into something more than what it was before.

[Page 548]

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a bit about some of the very successful sports teams in my area. In fact, the Digby Regional High School Envirothon Team had the opportunity, the last three years running, to represent the province at international competition. They initially travelled to California to represent Nova Scotia at that event. The following year they travelled to, I think, Wisconsin to represent the province in that event. Last year, Nova Scotia, for the first time ever, hosted the Envirothon Competition at Acadia University. I can tell you that teams from all over North America attended, and they were very impressed with the facility and with the hospitality they received.

Mr. Speaker, we do have every reason to be proud, not just we as people from Digby-Annapolis but we as Nova Scotians. In closing, I would like to call upon the words of Hank Snow, who I would say would be the appropriate representative for the Order of Nova Scotia, even though he has passed away. At Hank Snow's eulogy it was said of Hank, if God came here on Earth with us and asked if he could rest, I would take him to my Nova Scotia home, the place that I love best. That says it all.

Mr. Speaker, we should be very proud of the fact that we are Nova Scotians, the very best province in Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[5:28 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[9:29 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 549]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Bill No. 10 - Order of Nova Scotia Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond, I believe, closed debate.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we, on this side of the House, are so excited to talk about ONS that we have a whole group who wants to get up and talk about it. I want to start off by saying our caucus is very supportive of the minister's initiative in this area. It is something I consider as being important to Nova Scotians, one that I want to compliment the government for, for their leadership in supporting that initiative.

We aren't going to go on at great length about all the things that we should be debating and all the positions we are going to be talking about as it goes further along its course to be proclaimed. For example, some members of the House are suggesting that anybody who makes $50,000 a year or greater shouldn't be entitled to the Order of Nova Scotia award. I don't know if the member was sincere when making that statement, but I guess it is in line with that of the federal New Democratic Party, that anybody who makes $50,000 a year is considered rich. There are many people in this province who make $50,000 a year and find it very difficult to look after their family. That is why we suggested to the Minister of Finance that bracket creep should have been eliminated and flowed through the tax savings, but that is another issue and I will not get into that.

[9:30 p.m.]

I don't know, the New Democratic Party, you are talking about total, whole in-house incomes, or are you referring to the fact that the individual themselves who make that, that it would be too much money for anybody to receive this award? The New Democratic Party talked about a number of other initiatives and other areas of intervention that they are looking forward to make.

I would like to say that I believe the minister is taking his proposal forward in a very professional way, one that talks about establishing individuals of merit, not based on income or political background or ethnic background or gender. He is talking about bringing forward a proposal, an order that would recognize a Nova Scotian who contributed to the economic well-being, the cultural well-being, the overall socio-economic well-being of this province.

[Page 550]

He hasn't put some caveats or goal posts or conditions on the outside of that; nor should he. In my view it should be choosing the most appropriate person. The biggest challenge this minister is going to have, or the committee is going to have, is where do you start.

Five people. You know there are literally thousands of Nova Scotians who should qualify for this very important order of merit and he is going to have a challenge trying to choose. I will say to the minister and to the government that I take the minister at his word when he says there will be no political interference and I take the minister at his word when he said their Cabinet will not be involved in a process of determining who should get this based on political affiliation. I want it stated in the House today that the minister's word that he gave to the press briefing, I accept it. I have accepted that word, and we will be holding that part clearly there.

I trust the minister's comments as being real and straightforward and honest, and for that I was encouraged by his approach, unlike previous administrations under the same political background that appointed - without naming the Premier - almost everybody who was Tory blue to some level of, you know they either got a plaque in their place, they have a certificate, they have a pin, they got everything. The former Premier, Mr. Buchanan, was known for his outstanding capacity of acknowledging people in this province who established or did something good that happened to be politically connected to the Progressive Conservative Party.

Notwithstanding there are other great people who are connected to the New Democratic Party, there are other great people who are connected to the Liberal Party. But, by and large, there are great people out there connected to no political Party. If I thought for a second that that Tory Government was going to go back to the days that it was only going to be Tories that were going to be appreciated in this province, then it would be a disgrace in this House and a disgrace on the Order of Nova Scotia in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is why I trusted the minister and his comments that he was just speaking on behalf of his Cabinet and his Cabinet colleagues that there will be no political interference.

A member opposite asked the question, name a Liberal but I can tell you I can name an awful lot of Conservatives that the Buchanan Government named and gave recognition for only because of their political affiliation and not necessarily based all on merit.

I remember all too well, Mr. Speaker, that there was a committee appointed by the Premier and as he went around the table; he was, Hi Jack, Hi Mary and everybody and he got to me and he said, what are you doing here? I said that I was appointed by the Federation of Agriculture - I think at the time - Mr. Premier; an independent body that didn't care about any political affiliation. They were just interested in having qualified, capable, competent people and they chose me. The Conservative Government was upset about that.

[Page 551]

MR. SPEAKER: Order please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West, I think wanted to say something about the bill.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the other part of this bill goes on to point out that there are eight provinces in the country that have similar orders. I am sure that the other provinces that have done it, it has worked out very well. They have acknowledged the people in their particular province, in the individual fields so it isn't a first for Nova Scotia, to be the first in the country to recognize its people in this way but in fact it is following suit of other provinces and of course notwithstanding the major award in the nation, the Order of Canada, which is another one. If an individual received the Order of Canada, they could still be eligible for the Order of Nova Scotia. So the Order of Nova Scotia is unique, it is distinct, it doesn't matter if you've received other awards in the past but it allows us to recognize outstanding work of individuals in our province.

You know, we are a province of volunteers and I think all Parties, recognize the fact that this is the year I believe of volunteers in this province, but we have a tremendous amount of individuals that are involved in volunteerism in the Province of Nova Scotia; literally thousands and thousands. That is one of the reasons this province is so unique, that we have so many dedicated Nova Scotians that care, not because of financial reward, but for personal reward for a better Nova Scotia. Because of that, this order not only will recognize all those great volunteers, it just goes one step further on the outstanding service that individuals have been able to provide.

Now we have the Order of Good Time in the Province of Nova Scotia. It is an order that all Cabinet Ministers of the past and the present have had an opportunity to bestow on individuals who are visiting our province and of course MLAs of all Parties have been able to bestow that order on individuals and it's a great part of our history. If I recall correctly, there are no fees and they don't meet on a regular basis. There are no dues and the meetings are fairly quiet and fairly short because they don't happen. I don't know how this is going to be with the Order of Nova Scotia. I understand that one recipient of each year would be on the board in the following year. So that individual would be there to help determine who would be involved.

Now, I guess the question that the minister would undoubtedly answer later is, what is the role of Cabinet in choosing the individual? Would the name come forward of the independent board that would be appointed. I understand it represents the Premier, representatives from all political Parties, a representative from the Order of Nova Scotia that had received an award. Then it goes to an Order in Council, I assume, to be passed by the government, to be an OIC. Then it goes to the Queen because there is a protocol that would have to follow. The province supports it, then it goes to the Queen, and I don't know if the federal government would be involved, but maybe the minister can explain the process for which that will be brought forward. I have tried to see it, I don't recall the process that will be there, but the Order of Good Time is one that has been well received in our province and

[Page 552]

many people from abroad have been able to receive that order, as we have guests in our province. When tourism was really strong under a Liberal Government, we were able to give out a lot of those. It is on a bit of a decline right now. I hope it improves now that we have a full-time Minister of Tourism and Culture, we will wait and see what he is able to do.

As my good colleague, the honourable member for Victoria, pointed out, tourism inquiries are actually slowing down a little bit right now in Cape Breton, in the Victoria area, along the Cabot Trail, and that tourism operators are a little concerned about what is going on, but I am sure that this minister - the only job he has is tourism, and it is one of the most important jobs in the government - will do all in his power to increase the number of tourism dollars in the Province of Nova Scotia. I believe it was under a Liberal Regime that had the highest number of tourism dollars in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Interruption) Well, I think you took over within a month. I don't know, Mr. Minister, if you can claim victory for a whole year for that one month that you were there, but maybe you can and maybe that is normal for some governments, but I don't think this Minister of Tourism would try to grandstand on the hard work of a previous Minister of Tourism who is from Sydney, Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would just remind the honourable member for Lunenburg West that he is speaking about Bill No. 10, the Order of Nova Scotia.

MR. DOWNE: Have a little patience there but, you know, maybe that can be one part of this award, somebody in tourism who has done a lot to help promote tourism and the cultural identity of the province is what I was getting to, Mr. Speaker. The cultural identity of what this province is all about, the mosaic of cultures that we have, whether they are in Cape Breton, the beautiful Isle of Cape Breton, or the beautiful western end of the province. Yarmouth and Digby have a unique culture and great communities of people. Those people in the tourism industry might be recipients of the Order of Nova Scotia because tourism plays such a vital role in economic growth and opportunity in the Province of Nova Scotia as well as it promotes our cultural identity, our music, our crafts, our folk art, our art, our poetry, our literary accomplishments, and the list goes on.

I am sure that the minister will do a great job of working with those, you know, he loves to play the fiddle, Mr. Speaker, and he is a good fiddler. (Interruption) I think he is pretty good. He is a lot better than anybody else in the House, I am sure of that. So I just hope that he is going to be as good a Minister of Tourism and Culture as he is a fiddler in relationship to the members of the House here, but I hope he is able to increase the numbers over last year in tourism. The Order of Nova Scotia might be a part of that and maybe what we can do in the first year that we celebrate five great Nova Scotians, that can be part of what our tourism, culture and history is all about. Maybe he can publicize that in some of his publications throughout Nova Scotia and abroad.

[Page 553]

I guess the other part of the Order of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, is the tremendous list of candidates that they are going to have to choose from and, my gosh, you know, this minister and the department are going to have such a challenge to choose the top five. I don't know if the minister was considering any larger number for the first year and then move into five or is it going to be five each and every year from now on. It will be a challenge to choose only five because there are so many who should be recognized for their outstanding service.

[9:45 p.m.]

I also hope, Mr. Speaker, the five who are chosen, the criteria, that we take a look at some sort of regional aspects of that. I think that is an interesting one because you could have all five from Lunenburg County, without question you could have all five from Lunenburg County (Interruption) The good Minister of Justice agrees with that. You could also have all five from Cape Breton; you could have all five from HRM; or you have all five from Digby or Yarmouth; and gosh only knows you could have all five from Cumberland County and Colchester County. That is why my hope is that this government does not try to politicize this process.

The minister has indicated he will guarantee on his word of honour as a minister, as a member of the Executive Council, a member of the Crown, that there will be absolutely not one bit of political interference. We will be watching that and we are supportive of that. So the list will go on, and if this minister ever moves on to other portfolios - assuming that he can do better in Tourism than he has been able to do and maybe move on to Health, which needs a lot of help, and maybe he can correct all the problems in Health - that the next minister will have the same strengths about the conviction of not having a political process involved.

I note with interest that one of my colleagues would like to speak on this, and I realize the other members are not going to put any other speaker up so out of respect to my colleagues I will allow my good friend to speak because he too has some areas of interest and concern.

In closing my comments are, congratulations minister, I think you have done the right thing here. I support you and I support the government's efforts in promoting the ONS in Nova Scotia.

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

MR. DAVID WILSON: I stand in my place to agree with my colleague and my colleagues here on this side of the House, that indeed the honourable minister has done a tremendous job in this case. I would, before I get into the relevance of the bill, if I may with your permission, Mr. Speaker, just congratulate the minister on paying a visit to the great community of Glace Bay last night, as a matter of fact, to attend the Vince Ryan Memorial

[Page 554]

Old Timers Tournament in Glace Bay. It was an honour to have the minister there. I apologize for the fact that the master of ceremonies got your name wrong, but we did correct it. It was still an honour to have you there, and at the end of the night everyone knew who the honourable minister was. It was a pleasure to have you there at that time. I know you had a long drive back, and so on.

Mr. Speaker, to get back to this bill, the Order of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. There is way too much noise, I cannot hear the honourable member who has the floor.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East has the floor.

MR. WILSON: Again, a couple of questions that we have dealing with the bill on this side of the House. One of the main questions would be, as I understand it in the Province of Nova Scotia now, it may not be similar, but there is something called the Order of Good Cheer. I am wondering what effect this bill will have on those programs and what is going to be done with them. I would think at some time in the future that perhaps the minister would explain to us exactly what is going to happen with the Order of Good Cheer which, if my memory serves me correctly, was instituted by the Buchanan Government, I think, at the time. I may be wrong there. (Interruptions)

I am getting a history lesson here from a number of speakers, Mr. Speaker, and I find it extremely difficult to hear myself speaking at the moment. Nonetheless, I am aware that the Order of Good Cheer was Samuel de Champlain and the year was 1604. I am told as well that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Speaking of the Order of Good Times it seems like everybody is having a good time. Did the honourable member wish to say something about the bill? (Interruptions) If not, we will move on to the next speaker.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East has the floor once more.

MR. WILSON: In my former life we always waited for the light to go on before we talked. (Interruptions). I appreciate the kindness and your wisdom from the Chair, Mr. Speaker, and I will return to Bill No. 10 and continue to talk on that.

I am quite serious when I say that the Order of Nova Scotia and its connection with what will happen with the Order of Good Times, the Order of Good Cheer, we would seriously like to know what effect this bill, Bill No. 10, is going to have on those.

[Page 555]

I think it has been raised in this House also that there was a matter of income that was suggested by another Party that this matter of income perhaps should be connected with this bill. Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you and the honourable members of this House that I have never heard anything so ludicrous in my life. To suggest that if someone does good work on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia it should be tied to how much money they make, I think it is absolutely incredible to even make that suggestion. Surely there are people in this province regardless of income, regardless of their status in life, regardless of what they do for a living who can do things that would benefit the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I think indeed it is a shame that that suggestion was even made in this House. As far as colleagues are concerned, we certainly in this the International Year of Volunteers, the honourable minister, Bill No. 10, suggesting that Nova Scotians should be honoured, I would take it that it is along the lines of the honour that is bestowed upon people when they receive the Order of Canada. I have a number of people from my own riding, and we all know people from our ridings who have been given the Order of Canada and they certainly cherish that honour. I can see that they would hold in high esteem the Order of Nova Scotia as they would the Order of Canada, and perhaps even more.

Mr. Speaker, at this time, because we are approaching that time, I would move that we adjourn debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate. 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 the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit from 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The order of business following Question Period will be estimates, and at the conclusion of estimates we will go into Second Reading of the Financial Measures (2001) Act, Bill No. 11.

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

The motion is carried.

We are adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:55 p.m.]