Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 01/02-107

Commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, 2002

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://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Highway Signs: Policy Change - Oppose,
Mr. D. Downe 10201
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mrs. M. Baillie 10202
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mrs. M. Baillie 10203
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3919, Van de Wiel, Tracy: Golden Jubilee Art Piece - Congrats.,
The Premier 10204
Vote - Affirmative 10205
Res. 3920, Tourism & Culture - Prov./Terr. Tourism Ministers:
Co-operation - Recognize, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10205
Vote - Affirmative 10206
Res. 3921, Little Narrows Gypsum: Ryan Award - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 10206
Vote - Affirmative 10206
Res. 3922, Kinsmen, Le Club de Cheticamp: Anniv. (25th) - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 10207
Vote - Affirmative 10207
Res. 3923, van Zanten, Dr. Sander: AstraZeneca Grant - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 10207
Vote - Affirmative 10208
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3924, Educ. - Special Ed. Review Comm.: Recommendations -
Implement, Mr. D. Dexter 10208
Res. 3925, Risser, Matt - Germany: Exchange - Commend,
Mr. D. Downe 10209
Vote - Affirmative 10210
Res. 3926, Van de Wiel, Tracy: Golden Jubilee Art Piece - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 10210
Vote - Affirmative 10211
Res. 3927, SMU: Bicentennial Postage Stamp - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Epstein 10211
Vote - Affirmative 10211
Res. 3928, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Roads: Safe/Reasonable Condition -
Maintain, Mr. K. MacAskill 10212
Res. 3929, Tim Hortons Fdn. - Camp Day: Efforts - Recognize,
Mr. W. Langille 10213
Vote - Affirmative 10213
Res. 3930, Timberlea & Area Lions: Charter Anniv. (20th) - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10213
Vote - Affirmative 10214
Res. 3931, Grease - Hfx. West HS: Production - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 10214
Vote - Affirmative 10215
Res. 3932, Land Protection Leg.: Gov't. (N.S.) - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Barnet 10215
Vote - Affirmative 10216
Res. 3933, Herring Cove & Dist. Vol. FD: Service (35 yrs.) -
Congrats., Mr. Robert Chisholm 10216
Vote - Affirmative 10216
Res. 3934, Univ. of King's Coll.: Graduates - Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 10216
Vote - Affirmative 10217
Res. 3935, Mann, Lois Dyer - Met. Hfx. Chamber of Comm.:
Service - Thank, Mr. T. Olive 10217
Vote - Affirmative 10218
Res. 3936, Weatherhead, Richard (Dick) - E. Hants Mun.:
Recognition - Recognize, Mr. J. MacDonell 10218
Vote - Affirmative 10219
Res. 3937, Centre Acadien at Université Sainte-Anne: Blakeley Award -
Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 10219
Vote - Affirmative 10219
Res. 3938, Astor Theatre: Improvements/Anniv. (100th) - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Morash 10220
Vote - Affirmative 10220
Res. 3939, St. Pat's HS Team - N.S. Computer Prog.: Champs -
Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein 10220
Vote - Affirmative 10221
Res. 3940, Sports - Les Jeux de l'Acadie: Richmond Athletes -
Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 10221
Vote - Affirmative 10222
Res. 3941, Goucher, Peter: NSSAF Award - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 10222
Vote - Affirmative 10223
Res. 3942, SS Atl. Heritage Pk.: Int. Ctr. - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10223
Vote - Affirmative 10224
Res. 3943, Somerville, Jeff - Met. Hfx. Chamber of Comm.: Pres. -
Appt. Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 10224
Vote - Affirmative 10225
SPEAKER'S RULING: Document tabling by a private member.
(Pt. of order by Mr. Manning MacDonald [Hansard p.10203]) 10225
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1087, Premier - Smoke-Free Leg.: Position - Reconsideration Admit,
M. D. Dexter 10228
No. 1088, Premier - Energy Min.: Appt. - Delay Explain,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 10229
No. 1089, Tourism & Culture - N.S. Theatre Cos.: Partners -
Cancellations Prevent, Mr. W. Estabrooks 10230
No. 1090, Educ.: Debt Relief Prog. - Reintroduce, Mr. M. Samson 10231
No. 1091, Environ. & Lbr.: Contaminant Release - Public
Notification, Mr. H. Epstein 10232
No. 1092, Health - Pathologists: Recruitment - Details, Dr. J. Smith 10234
No. 1093, Premier - Office Staff: Duplication - Explain, Mr. J. Holm 10235
No. 1094, Commun. Serv. - Touch on Wood: Funding - Action,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 10236
No. 1095, Commun. Serv. - Nahaum House: Support - Lack Explain,
Mr. J. Pye 10237
No. 1096, Health - S. Shore Reg. Hosp.: Pediatric Unit -
Negotiations Update, Mr. D. Downe 10238
No. 1097, Educ. - Out-of-Prov. Teacher Recruitment: Prov. Regs. -
Effects, Mr. K. Deveaux 10240
No. 1098, Environ. & Lbr. - Int'l. Pier: Coal Restriction -
Removal Explain, Mr. P. MacEwan 10241
No. 1099, Premier - Automobile Emissions: Reduction - Plans,
Mr. H. Epstein 10242
No. 1100, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Leitches Creek Bridge:
Replacement - Abandonment Explain, Mr. B. Boudreau 10244
No. 1101, Tourism & Culture - Theodore Tugboat: Fees - Pay,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 10245
No. 1102, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Directional Signs: Changes -
Consider, Mr. D. Downe 10246
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 1:52 P.M. 10247
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:01 P.M. 10247
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Smoking Ban - Prem.: Pol. Health - Effects:
Mr. R. MacKinnon 10248
Hon. J. Muir 10250
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 10252
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:30 P.M. 10254
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:59 P.M. 10255
CWH REPORTS 10255
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 17th at 9:00 a.m. 10255
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3944, Yar. HS Robotics Team: Comp. - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 10256

[Page 10201]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Jerry Pye, Mr. David Wilson

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

Therefore be it resolved WARNING: nothing less than a complete ban on smoking in public places is bad for the health of all Nova Scotians and will prove harmful to the political health of the Premier.

This will be debated this evening at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition in excess of 800 signatures, to which I have affixed my signature. The operative clause is VILLAGE NURSERY:

10201

[Page 10202]

"The following signatures are in protest to the new ruling to remove all signs from the highways not pertaining to Tourism. This new ruling will result in a substantial loss of business opportunity.

We do agree that our province must be clean and respectable that it is necessary that all signs be properly designed and installed to enhance our communities and should in no way interfere with the visibility of highway signs or intersections.

We feel the term used as intersection might be more applicable to main highways such as the 103 and not secondary roads that service small communities in rural areas.

This new signage ruling is a major injustice both to the businesses which rely on roadside advertisement and to those needing their services."

Mr. Speaker, I table this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 120 - Anglican Church Act.

Bill No. 121 - An Act to Incorporate The Mic-Mac Amateur Aquatic Club.

Bill No. 123 - Halifax Regional Municipality Harbour Solution Financing Act.

Bill No. 132 - Atlantic Blue Cross Care Inc. Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 10203]

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 133 - Antiochian Maronite Catholic Church Corporation Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place today to table a document on behalf of our Leader and the Liberal caucus. (Interruptions) This document outlines . . .

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Where is he?

DR. SMITH: He's not in the library. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I'm not sure if it's appropriate to table (Interruptions) Order, please. I'm not so sure if it's appropriate to table papers on behalf of someone from outside the House. I will ask the Clerk (Interruptions) Order. Clerk, please.

Order, please. I ask the honourable member for Dartmouth East, if he wouldn't mind, we could either revert back to that order of business. It would give me an opportunity to do a little research and seek some advisement on that business, because, apparently, there's no precedent that has been set in this House, other than tabling documents, regulations or papers that are presented on behalf of government or committees. I would ask the honourable member for Dartmouth East if he would mind holding back on tabling that document, and we will ask to revert back at a later time when I have had an opportunity to review the precedent.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. We felt it appropriate that we could table this under the heading of Other Papers. They are documents pertaining to this House and pertaining to the operations of this House, and we feel that we have every right to table them. Perhaps if it's not appropriate to table them on behalf of a Leader who is not in the House, we're tabling them on behalf of the entire Liberal caucus.

[Page 10204]

MR. SPEAKER: I appreciate that.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the point of order. You cannot, you cannot table a document for the caucus or for your Leader, unless your Leader is in the House, and certainly not for a caucus. It would be like me coming in with a resolution from Peter Kelly about the harbour cleanup.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I might inform the Government House Leader, the Leader may not be in the House, but the rest of the caucus is in the House here. We have papers that we would like to table here before this House. I maintain that we have the right to table these papers here today on behalf of the caucus.

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Again, I want to take this issue under advisement because I'm not sure if there is a precedent set in the House or not in regard to tabling those papers. So can we have the agreement of the House that we will revert back to Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers when I've had an opportunity at least to look at the issue?

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3919

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas today Nova Scotians celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, at Province House; and

Whereas Nova Scotia College of Art and Design student Tracy Van de Weil of Antigonish was chosen from among six artists to design a legacy art piece in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee; and

[Page 10205]

Whereas Tracy's winning design was chosen for its relevance to the themes of the Jubilee and its use of Nova Scotian materials;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Tracy for this beautiful piece of art, which will be permanently on display at Province House, and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3920

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

Whereas this Monday, May 20th, Ministers responsible for Tourism from across Canada will gather in Halifax for the 5th Annual Provincial/Territorial Tourism Ministers' Meeting; and

Whereas Tourism Ministers gather each year to discuss some of the key challenges and opportunities facing Canada's tourism industry; and

Whereas this year we will be discussing air issues, federal-provincial/territorial funding agreements and strengthening partnerships with the federal government in tourism and policy development;

Therefore be it resolved that all members recognize the co-operative efforts of all the provinces and territories in growing tourism for the entire country.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 10206]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3921

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

Whereas the goal of the Occupational Health and Safety Division of Nova Scotia's Department of Environment and Labour is to improve health and safety in the workplace; and

Whereas the John. T. Ryan Safety Trophy is given to companies that have achieved the lowest injury frequency in their geographical and/or mineral sector; and

Whereas on April 29, 2002, Little Narrows Gypsum won the John T. Ryan Award in the select mine category with a perfect safety record, and they have also won or shared national select mine honours in 1995, 1992, 1984 and 1970;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House salute the efforts of this company for proving they understand the importance of running safe workplaces and congratulate them for being role models for all Nova Scotia companies.

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 10207]

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3922

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

Whereas Le Club Kinsmen de Cheticamp will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary on May 18, 2002; and

Whereas Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs have a history of over 70 years of service in Canada and are regarded as one of the world's most successful service organizations; and

Whereas last year these clubs contributed more than $24.3 million to Canadian communities, to say nothing of the countless hours spent planning and carrying out many fundraising and service projects;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge Le Club Kinsmen de Cheticamp for celebrating 25 years of service to the community of Cheticamp and area.

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 Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3923

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

[Page 10208]

Whereas Dr. Sander Van Zanten of the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine at Dalhousie University was awarded a $540,000 research grant from AstraZeneca to support research into the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with dyspepsia; and

Whereas Dr. Sander Van Zanten is internationally known for his research into disorders of the stomach and esophagus; and

Whereas Dr. Van Zanten's work is an example of the very high-quality medical research occurring here in Nova Scotia - he also did my scope;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Dr. Sander Van Zanten on this award and for his research achievements and wish him every success as he continues his battle against the problem of Dyspepsia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3924

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

Whereas the report of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee, delivered in June 2001 at the request of the Minister of Education, has not been implemented; and

[Page 10209]

Whereas in failing to implement the report's recommendations, the minister has dashed the hopes of the parents of special needs children for a real policy of inclusion in our classrooms; and

Whereas the minister not only fails to fund the existing program adequately, but also allows measures which indicate a return to segregated special ed classrooms;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demand that the Minister of Education immediately implement the recommendations of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee for a fully funded, truly inclusive education system.

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. 3925

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 Lunenburg Rotary Club is celebrating the town's 250th Anniversary by sending a student to the motherland; and

Whereas Matt Risser, a 17-year-old student council president has distinguished himself as a voice for young people in Lunenburg over the past year; and

Whereas Matt will be leaving in late June on a one-year exchange that will see him living and attending school in communities around Luneburg, Germany;

Therefore be it resolved that young Matt Risser be commended for his student leadership in Lunenburg and wish him well during his year in Germany.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 10210]

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

Is it agreed.

It is agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 3926

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

Whereas the Golden Jubilee flag was raised on the south lawn of Province House this morning; and

Whereas at this time, our Premier, Speaker and the Lieutenant Governor also unveiled an art piece commissioned specifically for the Golden Jubilee - a traditional Greek earthenware cup created by Tracy Van de Wiel, who is a native of Antigonish and a student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; and

Whereas Ms. Van de Wiel's creation was chosen from six student submissions for its relevance to the Jubilee themes and her use of Nova Scotia materials and is special not only because it commemorates the Queen's 50th Anniversary, but also because of the significant tie the college has with the monarchy;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the pride felt by all in Antigonish with Ms. Van de Wiel's significant accomplishment, making her a positive role model for other Nova Scotian youth.

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.

[Page 10211]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3927

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University is being honoured by Canada Post with a stamp for its 200th Anniversary; and

Whereas Saint Mary's University has been teaching students since 1802; and

Whereas Saint Mary's has combined scholastic excellence with athletic achievement;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Saint Mary's University on 200 years of outstanding achievement and its new stamp commemorating its existence.

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 on an introduction.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Today I have a student who is job-shadowing me. She is seated in the gallery opposite. Her name is Jessica Brown. She's a Grade 10 student at St. Patrick's High School here in Halifax. I would ask her to stand and be recognized by the members of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome Jessica to the gallery today and hope she enjoys her day with the Legislature.

[Page 10212]

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 3928

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

Whereas residents living along the South Ridge Road in Dingwall, Victoria County, feel neglected by the Department of Transportation and Public Works with regard to the condition of their road; and

Whereas their complaints seem to do no good in having something done to upgrade their road; and

Whereas information received by the homeowners seem to indicate that the lack of equipment the department maintains north of Smokey may be at the root of the problem;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister see that all areas of the province have the proper equipment available to keep our roads in a safe and reasonable condition.

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 Colchester North.

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, today it's my privilege to introduce a group of Scouts and their leaders from the 1st Tatamagouche Scout group in the east gallery, and I might add that one of the leaders is a former Page and a tour guide of this Legislature. His name is Skip Riley. He is also accompanying these Scouts, and Lyn Sutherland, Chris Pankhurst and Betty MacKinnon, along with her husband Blair MacKinnon. There are three Scouts working on their Chief Scout's award - Corey MacKinnon, Dainis Nams and Scott Pankhurst. They're accompanied by the rest of the Scouts, and I would ask that they stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome the special guests to the gallery today and encourage our young Scouts in their endeavours.

[Page 10213]

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3929

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

Whereas May 15th is recognized as Tim Hortons Camp Day, where the entire coffee proceeds for the 24-hour period are donated to the Tim Hortons Foundation; and

Whereas since 1974 more than 44,000 children and youth have benefited from a camp experience thanks to the Tim Hortons Foundation; and

Whereas campers at the Tatamagouche camp in Nova Scotia participate in activities such as sailing, pontoon boating, swimming, land games and fishing;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the tremendous efforts of the Tim Hortons Foundation in changing the lives of so many children and youth and congratulate them on their fundraising efforts province-wide yesterday during Camp Day.

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. 3930

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

Whereas Lions strive daily to meet the challenge of matching their international motto "We Serve"; and

[Page 10214]

Whereas the Timberlea & Area Lions have faithfully served their community for 20 years; and

Whereas on June 8, 2002, the Timberlea & Area Lions will celebrate their Charter Night;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly offer its congratulations to the members of the Timberlea & Area Lions on their 20th Anniversary Charter Night on June 8th.

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 The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3931

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

Whereas Halifax West High School recently presented the play Grease: A New 50's Rock N' Roll Musical at Mount Saint Vincent University; and

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas the play consisted of the graduating class of 1959 returning to Rydell High for a class reunion to recall their teen years; and

Whereas Vanessa Reid, who played one of the lead characters, and the whole cast did an excellent job on performing their parts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Vanessa Reid, the cast and all participants from Halifax West High School on the successful rendition of the play, Grease: A New 50's Rock N' Roll Musical.

[Page 10215]

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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 3932

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

Whereas the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, a non-profit conservation group, released a report Wednesday that assessed land protection laws of governments across Canada; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's land protection laws received top marks in the country from the group; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Special Places Act, Wilderness Areas Protection Act and the Provincial Parks Act were applauded in the survey that said our province could be a model for other jurisdictions in the Maritimes;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House congratulate the government for land protection laws that are being lauded as the best in Canada and thank the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for their work in this important area.

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.

[Page 10216]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 3933

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 Herring Cove and District Volunteer Fire Department is marking 35 years of service, starting with its formation in 1967; and

Whereas with strong community support, the Herring Cove and District volunteers equipped and trained the members of the department, and built a second station near Ketch Harbour; and

Whereas the Herring Cove volunteer firefighters are also trained to provide water rescue, emergency medical assistance, search and rescue, and other vital emergency services;

Therefore be it resolved that this House salutes the Herring Cove and District Volunteer Fire Department, its fundraising support group, its auxiliary and the community supporters who have contributed to its 35 years of service.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3934

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

[Page 10217]

Whereas the first university established in English Canada is the University of King's College; and

Whereas King's offers five unique academic programs, including Foundation Year, Journalism, Contemporary Studies, Early Modern Studies, and History of Science and Technology; and

Whereas approximately 120 students will be graduating from the University of King's College at the convocation ceremonies today;

Therefore be it resolved that the 2002 graduates of the University of King's College be congratulated for successfully completing the requirements for their programs and wish them success in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3935

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

Whereas the first female president of the amalgamated Chamber of Commerce, Lois Dyer Mann, has recently completed her term of service; and

Whereas Ms. Dyer Mann presided over the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce with tremendous energy, leadership and humour, and worked hard to promote Halifax as a vital business centre; and

Whereas her ability to balance the social and commercial aspects of her job made Ms. Dyer Mann not only a role model to women in business, but also to men;

[Page 10218]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Lois Dyer Mann for her service as president of the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce, and wish her success in her future business endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3936

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

Whereas many community projects are dependant on generous donations of equipment and material, as well as expert advice; and

Whereas Mr. Richard (Dick) Weatherhead of Rawdon gave all of the above-mentioned items and more in helping construct the Environmental Interpretive Walk at Rawdon District School; and

Whereas Mr. Weatherhead was awarded recognition for his generosity by the Municipality of East Hants on April 26, 2002;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Richard (Dick) Weatherhead on receiving a recognition award from the Municipality of East Hants for his unselfish efforts on behalf of his community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 10219]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3937

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 Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley Award was established by the Council of Nova Scotia Archives in 1988 as a memorial to Dr. Blakeley's many contributions to the world of archives; and

Whereas this award is presented annually to a Council of Nova Scotia Archives member institution or organization displaying outstanding accomplishments in the archival field; and

Whereas this year's award was presented to the Centre acadien at the University Sainte-Anne for a Web site containing a very large collection of oral narrative tales, songs and folklore of Acadians who lived in the early part of the 20th Century;

Therefore be it resolved that the Centre acadien be recognized for its mission to promote Acadian history and culture and be congratulated for receiving the Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley 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.

The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 10220]

RESOLUTION NO. 3938

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

Whereas at the Astor Theatre, the project to refurbish the seating, renovate the lobby and purchase new sound and lighting equipment is nearing completion; and

Whereas with help from the federal government and a lot of community fundraising, the Astor Theatre has undertaken these much-needed renovations for the pleasure of its audience; and

Whereas theatrical and musical performers will also benefit from these upgrades, which were ready for this year's Liverpool International Theatre Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud these improvements to the Astor Theatre as it celebrates its 100th year of operation, a vibrant part of the fabric of Liverpool.

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.

Order, please. Order, please. For some reason there is a lot of noise in the House today. I would ask the honourable members, if they have to talk, to go outside the Chamber, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 3939

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Computer Programming Competition, which tests high school teams from across the province in math and programming, was held recently at Saint Mary's University; and

[Page 10221]

Whereas this competition has been conducted for three years and is judged by members of the Math and Computer Science, Finance and Management Departments at Saint Mary's University; and

Whereas for the second year in a row, the St. Patrick's High School team from Halifax took first place honours in the competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of the St. Patrick's High School team, Micah McCurdy and Jason Rogers, on their win and extend congratulations to the students and staff of St. Patrick's High School for their repeat as Nova Scotia Computer Programming Champions.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3940

M. MICHEL SAMSON: M. le Président, par la présente, j'avise que je proposerai à une date ultérieure l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que cette fin de semaine, plus de 60 athlètes de la région de Richmond se rendront à Par-en-Bas pour participer aux 18ième Jeux de l'Acadie; et

Attendu que les Jeux de l'Acadie offrent aux jeunes de participer au plus grand rassemblement de la jeunesse acadienne de la province; et

Attendu que l'année prochaine, les 19ième Jeux de l'Acadie 2003 auront lieu dans la région de Richmond;

Qu'il soit résolu que les membres de cette Chambre félicie les athlètes de Richmond et tou les athlètes qui vont participer aux Jeux de l'Acadie cette fin de semaine et qu'on leur souhaite bon succès aux jeux.

[Page 10222]

M. le Président, je propose l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas this long weekend more than 60 athletes from across Richmond County will travel to Argyle for the Jeux de l'Acadie; and

Whereas the Jeux de l'Acadie give youth the opportunity to participate in one of the largest Acadian and francophone gatherings across the province; and

Whereas next year, the 19th Annual Acadian Games will take place in Richmond County;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly send their congratulations to the athletes from Richmond, as well as all other athletes participating in the games, and wish them good luck this weekend.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3941

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

Whereas Peter Goucher has recently received this year's Hugh A. Noble Distinguished Service Award from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation for all the hard work and commitment he has given to others; and

[Page 10223]

Whereas Mr. Goucher has been involved in the education system since the 1970s as a teacher at Horton High School then moving into administration becoming vice-principal at Central Kings High School and made a principal at Horton High School and Cornwallis District High School; and

Whereas not a year has gone by that Mr. Goucher has not coached at least one sports team at his school and he has always been involved in organizing and administering sports through the NSSAF;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Peter Goucher on the receipt of this well-deserved award and thank him for all the years he has dedicated to helping students become active at their schools through participating in sport.

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. 3942

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 SS Atlantic Heritage Park Interpretation Centre in Terence Bay highlights displays depicting the 1873 disaster when the SS Atlantic of the White Star Line sank off the shores of Lower Prospect; and

Whereas the park is a memorial to the 277 passengers buried there; and

Whereas this centre and park acknowledge the community spirit of those who so bravely took part in this rescue;

[Page 10224]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate all involved in the SS Atlantic Heritage Park Interpretation Centre, a continuing tribute to the proud seafaring tradition of the people of Terence Bay and the Lower Prospect area.

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3943

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

Whereas Jeff Somerville, a 20-year veteran of the banking industry and president and CEO of a small business is returning to Halifax to take over the reins of the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas Mr. Somerville said he recognizes that the chamber is the leading voice in business in Nova Scotia and is honoured to have been asked to take on such a vital role; and

Whereas the incoming president wants to help HRM become a larger player nationally and looks forward to changing the shape of the business community;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Jeff Somerville on his new role as President of Halifax Chamber of Commerce and wish him success in implementing his ideas over the next year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 10225]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

SPEAKER'S RULING: Document tabling by a private member. (Pt. of order by Mr. Manning MacDonald [Hansard p.10203])

Order, please. Before we go to Oral Question Period, the honourable member for Dartmouth East rose to table a paper. There appears to be nothing in our rules that would address the issue, nor does there appear to be a precedent, as far as we can determine at this point. So we do revert to the Rules of the federal House of Commons which clearly dictates that the only way that a private member could table a paper or a document as a private member would be with the unanimous consent of the House. As well, there is another procedure, another way that the document that is being attempted to be tabled, there is another procedure in this House for that very document to be tabled in a different form, which would be through the committee. So my decision is that the only way that that paper can be tabled by the honourable member for Dartmouth East would be with unanimous consent of the House. Would he like for us to request unanimous consent? Before I do, I will, with the agreement of the House, revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in compliance with your ruling, I would request unanimous consent of the House to table a document.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: The Justice Minister has already said no, so I'm rising on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth East has requested unanimous consent for the tabling of a paper.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 10226]

[12:45 p.m.]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The reason that this matter is here today is that the Justice Minister asked our caucus to present amendments on the smoking bill not later than Wednesday, yesterday, and then that same Justice Minister changed his mind and said he didn't want any amendments from this caucus. So we're here today with our amendments to the smoking bill and we will distribute them to every member of this House today because we feel very strongly about it and we resent the tactics of the Justice Minister in this regard. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, just a couple of points, if I may, on this one. Yes, caucuses were asked and caucuses had suggested that they would, in fact, be presenting, in advance, on this, as we do on many other pieces of legislation, we share with the government members the amendments that we have on the legislation. We also have many amendments and those amendments, in fact, are to be shared with the government. That has been a practice that we have done all along. We haven't been doing it by tabling them on the floor in this manner because there is a process and my understanding for tabling of papers and other documents, the other documents would refer to those that there isn't a normal process or procedure in the House to table.

We do have a process for tabling amendments. We have a process in the Law Amendments Committee and we have a process in the Committee of the Whole. Therefore, I believe, honestly, that tabling them as a block would fall outside the orders but that doesn't stop the Liberal caucus, nor does it stop our caucus, from sharing with the government members. In fact, it is good business sense and it helps create some efficiency to share those amendments with government so that they can consider them in advance. We are going to be doing that as well.

Certainly there is nothing at all to stop any member of this House or any caucus sharing their proposed amendments with the media, which is what I think that this whole episode is all aimed at. It is to be drawing attention to the fact. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, we can all use the formal and informal processes but the reality is - I hate to say it - there is a process.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Thank you.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 10227]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I find it somewhat ironic that the honourable member for Dartmouth East should have risen on this matter because I, in fact, had called his office, was unable to speak to any member of their caucus I asked for. I asked to speak to the honourable member. I then spoke to a researcher on their staff personally and indicated that we would not be going forward with the tabling of amendments yesterday because of the fact that the bill would not be proceeding at the Law Amendments Committee for the consideration of amendments this evening. I also told the honourable member for Halifax Fairview the same thing because I could reach him at his office with the exact same message.

Mr. Speaker, I need to remain parliamentary but I think the best I can say is that there has been utter misrepresentation by the honourable members opposite as to what has happened and I can only assume that that is as a result of the fact that they are trying to showboat when they know there is a process. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order to set the record straight here. We were told to submit our amendments as of yesterday on the smoking bill, Bill No. 125. Then we were told not to. So we took the opportunity, on the Orders of the Day, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers. It doesn't say government other papers, it says other papers. So that's what we did. I might remind the people of Nova Scotia that despite the wishes of the honourable Justice Minister, this is still a democracy and we have the right to table papers in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it was originally agreed that all three Parties would have their amendments available on Wednesday. I know that the Minister of Justice tried to contact the critic yesterday but furthermore, on Tuesday I told that honourable member for Dartmouth South . . .

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Cape Breton South.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: . . . as well as the House Leader for the New Democratic Party, that we would not be doing that necessarily. If they wanted to table them on Wednesday, well, bring them forward to a common point on Wednesday, so be it, but however our amendments would not be ready and, therefore, they did not necessarily have to bring their amendments forward, and I told him personally.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 10228]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Question Period will begin at 12:51 p.m. and end at 1:51 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREMIER - SMOKE-FREE LEG.:

POSITION - RECONSIDERATION ADMIT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday the government indicated that it will take more time to consider what amendments it may wish to bring forward to the smoking legislation and that it will not respond to Opposition amendments or table its own until some time next week. Today's Chronicle-Herald reports that according to government sources, both the Premier and the Minister of Health support a total ban on exposure to the dangers of second-hand smoke. So my question is this, why won't the Premier admit that his government is reconsidering its position on the smoke-free law and considering a free vote by his caucus on the issue of a total ban?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible for the bill.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the legislation which is before the Committee on Law Amendments now is certainly the very strongest in the country. It has the support of virtually all of the anti-smoking groups. There's no question there are quite a number who say it doesn't go far enough, but they all will say to a group that it is a very, very significant advance and it puts us at the forefront in Canada.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, you know, the best and most historic step this House can take to improve the health of Nova Scotians would be a ban on exposure to second-hand smoke and yet the Premier and the government, including the Minister of Health, have gone for a compromise that pleases no one. Now, the Premier boasts that his stubbornness is one of his finest qualities. So I ask, why won't the Premier show that as well as being stubborn that he can listen and learn?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm listening and I'm learning.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that the Progressive Conservative Cabinet and the caucus are deeply divided on this issue - may I say racked with division, like it is on so many other issues. It is no secret that a number of Conservatives would like to join the other Parties in this House in support for a total ban on involuntary exposure to second-hand

[Page 10229]

smoke. So this is the question, why is the Premier so reluctant to provide non-partisan leadership on this issue of health and conscience?

THE PREMIER: Yesterday, the member for Halifax Needham did show a tremendous amount of interest in how we handle our business on this side of the House and it would appear now that the Leader of her Party, as well, is showing that kind of an interest and I will offer the same invitation to that Leader that I offered yesterday to the member for Halifax Needham.

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

PREMIER - ENERGY MIN.: APPT. - DELAY EXPLAIN

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last December 12th, with much fanfare, the provincial energy strategy was announced. One of the key points of the strategy was something that our caucus had been suggesting for some time, the creation of a full-time Minister of Energy. The Premier stated at that time that the new minister would be in place by April 1st. My question to the Premier is . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: What year?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: April 1st, this year. My question to the Premier is, can the Premier explain why he is more than a month late on his own deadline to appoint a full-time Energy Minister?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has, for some considerable time, encouraged the government to do exactly what the energy strategy, in fact, as well recommends. That action by government is quite imminent.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, I want to go to the Premier for my first supplementary. Again, the Premier avoids answering the question. Imminent doesn't mean much to this Premier, because we've heard that before and before in this House. If I wanted him to be evasive I would have asked him about his back-tracking on the promise on the 10 per cent tax cut. The Premier seems pretty defensive on this issue. I believe that this Premier should come clean with Nova Scotians and say that this is another broken promise, like the 10 per cent tax cut, the new gas tax, the politically-motivated advertising, and also some of the other promises regarding user fees in this province. My first supplementary to the Premier is, part of the strategy was a new department would be up and running by the start of the fiscal year, can the Premier inform this House whether or not the directorate has been made ready for departmental status?

[Page 10230]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can assure the member opposite of is the planning process for the new department is well in hand, and in a very reasonable length of time that department will be up and running with the appropriate officials in place.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that's a far cry from what the Premier said before, as to what was going to be the future of the Department of Energy in this province and its full-time minister status and its full-time departmental status. There's a major holdup somewhere along here, and all our futures in Nova Scotia depend on where we go in the future with a developmental strategy for the offshore. My final question to the Premier is, will the Premier confirm that his paralysis about appointing a full-time Energy Minister is caused by a political problem, namely using the hope of a Cabinet appointment to try to keep an increasingly unruly caucus in line?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, no.

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

TOURISM & CULTURE - N.S. THEATRE COS.: PARTNERS - CANCELLATIONS PREVENT

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Tourism and Culture. This government brought in an American firm, New Castle Hotels to operate our three provincial resorts. Today we learned that New Castle informed several theatre companies that it would not honour contracts it made to have them perform at these resorts. Mulgrave Road Theatre Company had a $4,000 contract for four shows, but New Castle Hotels cancelled that. Now we're told they've cancelled contracts with Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company, Maritime Marionettes and Alive Theatre Company. My question to the Minister of Tourism and Culture is, what steps are you going to take to ensure that your American partners don't get away with their plan to cancel performance contracts with these Nova Scotia theatre companies?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that any contracts made by this government with respect to those companies will be dealt with in the negotiation process. Indeed, we would continue with those contracts. Other than that, the management of the three resorts is now up to New Castle.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, our caucus received the business plan and contract between the province and New Castle Hotels through, of course, a freedom of information request. These documents detailed cost-saving ideas for the three resorts. It talks about reduced costs in insurance and benefits, centralized accounting, bulk purchasing for oil, but it does not say a word about cancelling contracts with Nova Scotia theatre companies. I want to ask the Minister of Tourism and Culture, why doesn't he call New Castle Hotels today and

[Page 10231]

tell them to respect their contracts with theatre companies, or will he, as the Minister of Tourism and Culture, consider it a breach of contract?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, if the Province of Nova Scotia had contracts with particular companies, we will honour those contracts. Other than that, the management of the three resorts is now under the management of New Castle, and the member can direct his question to New Castle.

MR. ESTABROOKS: You see the point is, you're the Minister of Tourism and Culture; you're the one who has the responsibility to make sure that these resorts are operated in an efficient manner; you're the one in charge. It's your government at this stage. This contract pays New Castle Hotels a handsome management overhead fee and incentives. Those incentive fees amount to 25 per cent of the operating profit in excess of a set amount. So will the minister confirm that cancelling thousands of dollars in contracts with local Nova Scotian theatre companies is likely to mean that the minister's American partners will take home a larger incentive fee paid by the province?

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: What this government has done, it has taken three resorts and put in place a private sector management contract - a management contract which will see $10 million capital investment over the next number of years in those resorts. A management contract will see this province not losing over $1 million a year, making money at the end of five years. That's what this government stands for. That is what makes sense for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC.: DEBT RELIEF PROG. - REINTRODUCE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Nova Scotia student assistance is obviously very important to the future economy and dreams of a better future for Nova Scotian students. However, a number of improvements clearly need to be made to student assistance if it's going to help with these important goals. This government has failed student assistance when it decided to slash the loan remission program two years ago. Coupled with high tuition and residence fees, students in this province are carrying the highest debt loads for undergraduate degrees. My question to the Minister of Education is, will this government commit to reintroducing a debt relief program in the form of needs-based grants to students with the highest level of financial aid before the start of classes this September?

HON. JANE PURVES: The member opposite well knows that we have committed to reintroducing a form of debt relief. He also well knows that that is not in this year's budget.

[Page 10232]

MR. SAMSON: News, news, news for us today. The Minister of Education is now saying it's not in this year's budget, yet the Minister of Finance, in his budget speech, said that they would be providing a new loan remission program within this fiscal year. So now, which one is it? This is quite the revelation today from the Minister of Education.

Millennium Scholarships that come from the federal government are divided across the province based on population and not by the number of students in the province. What that means is that each province gets a certain amount of money under the millennium program based on its own students. For us here in Nova Scotia that places us at a disadvantage because of the amount of out-of-province students who come to study here in Nova Scotia. The Millennium fund is always looking for better ways to meet the needs of students in the country. My question to the minister is, will the minister and her government ask for a change of the Millennium Scholarship formula in order to benefit more students studying in Nova Scotia?

MISS PURVES: Certainly, we are always interested in looking at programs which will benefit students here in Nova Scotia. Certainly, staff can look at the member's suggestion.

MR. SAMSON: Again, just for clarification. It causes me great concern that we've had a minister that last year told us we would have a loan remission program, this year both she and the Minister of Finance told us that we would have a loan remission program and now today we're being told that there is no money in this budget to allow for a loan remission program this fiscal year. Therefore my final supplementary is, minister, is it your statement today that the students of Nova Scotia should not expect a loan remission program before at least April 2003?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we've gone through this subject a number of times in estimates and here. I don't know, the member opposite's reasoning escapes me. It might have escaped him, too, but let me repeat. We are going to be announcing a program. The program is not funded in this year's budget and he knows it is not and every member who was listening in estimates knows there is no funding in this year's budget for a program.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I want to remind all honourable members that there is not to be the use of any laptop or computer equipment during Question Period.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: CONTAMINANT RELEASE -

PUBLIC NOTIFICATION

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Yesterday my colleague, the member for Dartmouth North, brought the Bunker C oil spill at Maritime Paper Products to the attention of the House. The

[Page 10233]

Minister of Environment and Labour took offence, though, when he was asked why he did not inform the public of the spill. The minister said, referring to oil spills, ". . . over the run of the year there are thousands of incidents that happen.", implying there is not enough time to report all of them. The government was notified of the spill but the government did not notify the public. Could the minister inform the House whether his department has written guidelines of when release of a contaminant into the environment justifies public notification?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. There are numerous Acts, regulations and guidelines. I would tell the member opposite that it would not be possible for one person to know each and every one of them but I know he's a lawyer and I'm sure he has asked me for a reason. So I will refer to them and I will answer his question at that time.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I know the answer to the question. The Acts and the regulations just talk about reporting to the government. There's nothing about the government reporting to the public and the government does not. This is another choice the government is making to keep the public in the dark. But the government issues a press release every time it paves a kilometre of road but it doesn't say anything about the thousands of contaminating spills that take place every year. I would like to table a recommendation of this government's own Red Tape Reduction Task Force. It says, "Make public communication a top priority." What I would like to ask the minister is this, why is your government so reluctant to make public these thousands of potential risks?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, there are incidents that happen in Nova Scotia that are handled by the Department of Environment and Labour every day and indeed there are thousands of them. The member opposite says that at some point in time that they are of a certain significance that there should be public notice and I have no problem with his statement but at what point do you make the announcement? This was something that was reported to the department. The appropriate actions were taken and we are satisfied that the remediation plan is going according to plan.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the point is there has to be a standard as to when the public is going to be notified. There is simply no reason for withholding information on oil spills and other contaminants. The public does have a right to know what is happening. It affects their health, perhaps their property, and they should know whether it is a concern for the government or not. What I would like to ask the minister is this, will he at least table a list now of all the oil and other contaminant spills in Nova Scotia in the last 12 months so our caucus can release the information to the public?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has asked for something without giving any guidelines as to what is significant. One of the disturbing things about petroleum hydrocarbon spills is that, indeed, they do happen all the time, particularly in the wintertime

[Page 10234]

during the home heating oil season. These are matters that I would suggest are often quite private and I would suggest that homeowners may not appreciate that kind of information being made public.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - PATHOLOGISTS: RECRUITMENT - DETAILS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. As the minister is well aware, Nova Scotia has suffered . . .

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

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. As the minister is well aware, Nova Scotia has suffered from a critical shortage of pathologists since the year 2000, primarily because salaries offered fall significantly below the national average. These specialists are important because they analyze important test results, results that cancer surgeons and oncologists depend upon every day. If pathology is in a crisis, cancer care could face some very serious roadblocks in the times ahead. My question to the minister is, what is the minister doing to ensure pathologists will want to come here to Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member does bring before the House, certainly an issue that's been around for some time now - the issue of the compensation for pathologists. To be quite frank, I guess as the honourable member knows, they were left behind a bit in some of the ongoing negotiations. I'm pleased to say that there are negotiations currently taking place that should see this remedied.

DR. SMITH: I will thank the minister for that response. Mr. Speaker, we know that the minister has done one thing in these negotiations. He seconded a Medical Society staffer, who was negotiating pathology agreements with the department, to now negotiate agreements for the department. While the Medical Society staffer is a fine person, it's clear that he's been placed in a position of conflict. Will the minister ensure that the package that is negotiated for pathologists will be a fair one, so that the health care system does not become any more destabilized?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to talk about stability of the health system, he may wish to read the note in this morning's Halifax Chronicle-Herald about our success in recruiting nurses this past year.

Mr. Speaker, the gentleman who has been loaned to the department by the Medical Society, yes, we will ensure that the contracts that are concluded are fair and appropriate for Nova Scotia's ability to pay.

[Page 10235]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, what has happened is the minister has cleared out of his department the people with knowledge and had to bring somebody else in who was negotiating for the other side. So pathologists who are working with the Medical Society person were dealing with him in good faith and now he's gone to the other side. Will the minister ensure pathologists today that the information obtained from the Medical Society rep, now a department employee, will be used in the best interests of health care needs of Nova Scotians, not for government's best interests?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I like to think that everything that is done in the Department of Health has been in the best interests of Nova Scotians. That is one of the principles under which I operate as Minister of Health and we will continue to do that as long as I'm minister.

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

PREMIER - OFFICE STAFF: DUPLICATION - EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question through you to the Premier. Now the Premier claims that he runs a lean, mean machine, yet among his personal office staff we find both a director of communications and a manager of communications. According to the office plans, the manager of communications does not report to the director of communications and the director of communications does not manage any communication staff. So, through you to the Premier, I wonder if the Premier will explain why Nova Scotians are paying for the Tweedledum and the Tweedledee of communications at the very same time his government is reducing child protection?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite gives me an excellent opportunity to remind members of the House and others that the administrative costs of this government are in fact lower. We receive monthly reports that indicate that. My office, for example, actually has fewer people in it than my predecessor. There are fewer political appointments in the Treasury and Policy Board. My budget will be reduced 2 per cent this year over last year. We are running a lean machine.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. HOLM: . . . a little bit further, Mr. Speaker. Anybody who is looking to cut the fat would question why such a small office has both a director and manager for communications. The director has lead responsibility for the Premier's events; the manager supervises the Premier's event management. The manager is spokesperson for the Premier; the director speaks for the Premier on selected items. Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, why doesn't the Premier realize what a bad example he is setting when he makes the choice that Nova Scotians must pay for this kind of duplication?

[Page 10236]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, despite the amusing interpretation of the job descriptions in my office, less is less. This is a lean machine.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if it's the director or the manager who says, "And it's time to go, Mr. Premier," all the time. I'm not sure which title applies. Communications Nova Scotia already has an executive director and three managing directors. They already report to the Premier's deputy minister. Yet the Premier is the first one in Nova Scotia's history to have both a personal communications director and a personal communications manager. Of course, we see one in the gallery today; we often see two. My question to the Premier is, why is the Premier forcing Nova Scotians to pay for the obvious featherbedding in his own office?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite again gives me an excellent opportunity to inform members of the House and others that there are actually 11 fewer people now operating in government on communications than there were in 1999 - 11 fewer. Less is less.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - TOUCH ON WOOD: FUNDING - ACTION

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Last November, the members of this House passed a resolution agreeing that the government would look at options for providing long-term, stable funding to Touch On Wood. I will table that resolution with the House. To date, Touch On Wood has not received any long-term funding from this government. It has received only a one-time payment of $45,000 from the Department of Community Services. My question to the minister is, what action has the minister taken in his attempt to provide stable, long-term funding for Touch On Wood?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member did raise the question, and we have had discussions with Touch On Wood. The department, in our budget this year, put in money for Touch On Wood. We will be carrying on with that commitment, as we did last year and as did the Department of Health. We will be continuing to provide funding for them again this year.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary. Touch On Wood is once again on the brink of being forced to close its doors because of no long-term commitments. At the very minimum, the organization is short $80,000 to $90,000 of its budget requirements. The executive director has been forced to rotate staff, opting to bring them in half-days instead of letting them go entirely. The director has had to cut down the amount of wood she purchases while at the same time trying to sell more finished wood products in order to raise funds to keep the doors open. My supplementary to the Minister

[Page 10237]

of Community Services is, is the minister willing to allow this vital organization to close its doors because the government is unwilling to keep its word on long-term funding for Touch On Wood?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, we are supportive of that group. That's why we have been providing them with funds through the Department of Health and the Department of Community Services. I understand one of the issues with them is that they're trying to determine if they are still going to keep receiving the federal support that, to date, has been withdrawn. I think one of the issues they're waiting for is to see if the federal government will keep providing them with support. That's one of the issues that's outstanding.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Once again, we see the provincial government blaming another level of government. I might remind the minister, it was not the federal government in this House that agreed to provide long-term stable funding for Touch on Wood, it was this government and this minister in this House. It wasn't the federal government. My final supplementary to the minister is, if Touch on Wood is forced to shut down, what is the minister's plan to assist the current clients served by this most valuable community organization?

MR. CHRISTIE: It is certainly our hope that Touch on Wood doesn't have to close down. We've provided money for them this year and, indeed, once again as I indicated, once the federal government position is clear whether they're going to provide funding, then we will be able to determine how we proceed with it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COMMUN. SERV. - NAHAUM HOUSE: SUPPORT - LACK EXPLAIN

MR. JERRY PYE: My question is to the Minister of Community Services. Last month I brought the issue of Nahaum House to your attention in this House. Adsum House, an emergency shelter for homeless women, has spent long hours putting together a proposal for a centre to help get these women off the street while providing a safe place to live. They have support from the regional municipality and will likely be approved for federal funding, but they need the province to commit to supporting the program for three years. I ask the Minister of Community Services, why hasn't his department come forward with the support for this worthwhile effort?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: The honourable member did raise that question and I know the honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin has been working with that group extensively. We will have an announcement very shortly on our plans for Nahaum House.

[Page 10238]

MR. PYE: It's interesting to note that that minister knows the application deadline was April 30th, but organizers have been told that they can still proceed with the proposal if they get word from the province by the end of the day tomorrow. It is an investment, saving money from the Justice, Health and Community Services Departments in the long run. I'm asking the Minister of Community Services to indicate his reason for refusing to save the province the money today and put the message in today.

MR. CHRISTIE: We are quite aware of the deadlines. We were working with Nahaum House in terms of the timeline set by their other partners in that program and we have indicated to Nahaum House that we will be meeting with them and that very soon we will be making the announcement.

MR. PYE: That's not good enough, Adsum House needs an answer today. All the work put into the Nahaum House proposal will be wasted by this government's inaction if it's not done today. The minister is very much aware of this as well. So, I'm asking the Minister of Community Services, will he commit to this House and the people of Adsum House that his department will pony up their share of the funding today?

MR. CHRISTIE: The honourable member is absolutely correct in the deadline. What I am committed to do is to communicate with the people from Adsum House and the people concerned with Nahaum House and discuss it with them today. An announcement will be very soon.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

HEALTH - S. SHORE REG. HOSP.:

PEDIATRIC UNIT - NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

MR. DONALD DOWNE: My question is for the Minister of Health. The minister will recall that back on May 9th there was a statement made that the pediatric unit in the South Shore Regional Hospital in fact was going to close. We learned recently that a decision has been postponed until May 31st. Hundreds of residents along the South Shore attended a public meeting and indicated very clearly that they would not accept the pediatric unit being shut down or, in fact, even being merged with the surgical ward. My question to the minister, will the minister inform this House, is there any update with regard to the negotiations that are currently underway between the CEO and the health care providers for the South Shore Regional Hospital pediatric unit?

HON. JAMES MUIR: The honourable member is quite correct in his information that the decision to close the pediatric unit - and it isn't really being closed, it was simply to transfer it to another part of the hospital where the services would be continued and those who needed pediatric services at the South Shore Regional Hospital would continue to get them. This is one of the unfortunate things that got spun out on that thing - you're going to

[Page 10239]

close. It wasn't. It was simply going to be transferred. The service would still stay there. Now, whether the service would continue as a stand-alone unit or integrated with something is really what the subject of discussion was. The discussions are still ongoing and it will probably be the end of the month before a final decision is made.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Minister, being transferred into the surgical unit is not an option for the people of the South Shore and it's not an option for the health providers within the South Shore Regional Hospital. Previously I brought this to the attention of the minister and I indicated to him that I had recommended that a representative of his department, along with the health care professionals and the district health authority, sit down and work out a solution to find options that are acceptable to the health care providers as well as the residents of the South Shore. As I understand it, the only ones who are meeting are the health care providers and the CEO of the district health authority.

My question to the minister is, will the minister tell this House why his department officials were not present during those discussions and negotiation?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, those negotiations and discussions, that's the decision that will be made by the South Shore Regional Health Authority. I can tell the honourable member, on another matter there were representatives from my department who met with the medical advisory committee and board officials there last night, but the pediatric unit was not a topic of discussion.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister is responsible for health care and the well-being of residents throughout all Nova Scotia, including the South Shore and the concerns with regard to the pediatric unit being closed. The loss of the pediatric unit is a terrible blow for the South Shore Regional Hospital and even if it's merged over into the surgical ward, it's unacceptable. Other specialists may very well leave because of that decision and we've already seen an ENT specialist leave because of the fact of the uncertainty with regard to the pediatric unit.

My final question to the minister is, will the minister tell the House and the residents of the South Shore what he will do to protect and maintain all the services provided at the South Shore Regional Hospital or is he planning to simply allow those services to erode and the distinction of the South Shore Regional Hospital to erode along with it?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the South Shore District Health Authority is responsible for the services across the district and that would include the facility at Fishermen's Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg. It also includes the Queens hospital. The issue is, if what people are concerned about is they will have access to quality services, that's the mandate of that district health authority to ensure that people do have access to quality services and the access to quality probably is more important than exactly where they are located.

[Page 10240]

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

EDUC. - OUT-OF-PROV. TEACHER RECRUITMENT:

PROV. REGS. - EFFECTS

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education has failed to recognize a serious problem that was created by her department as I raised last week. Last summer school boards in Nova Scotia recruited eight teachers from outside the province. These teachers were not told until they moved here in September of last year that new provincial regulations would result in them receiving up to $20,000 less per year in salary. I brought this to the minister's attention last week and she said that she would be working to address the issue. So I want to ask the Minister of Education, what has the minister done to resolve this issue since I brought it to her attention last week?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the issue that the member refers to has been an issue almost since we introduced the regulations. I did not need to be told by the member opposite that there was an issue in the department in the matter of out-of-province teachers and teacher certification and we are working to resolve these cases as best we can on a case by case basis.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the teachers in question, and I've spoken to some of them, are fair-minded people and they're good teachers. One has had to cash in RRSPs and RESPs to compensate for the lost income and, as I mentioned last week, another had to declare bankruptcy. When I asked the minister about this, she said her department would be looking into it, but her letters to the teachers involved in this say there's nothing that the minister can do. Those are her own words to those teachers. So why won't the minister simply admit what is obvious, that these teachers were not treated fairly and they deserve to be paid what they were promised?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the teachers in question were recruited by a school board. What the school board said or did not say to the teachers, I do not know. But I do know that the regulations in place require that teachers achieve a certain degree of expertise and part of the reason for that is to protect the expertise of our own teachers. I regret that there have been problems with these regulations for out-of-province teachers but, in essence, we have to resolve problems on an individual case by case basis and it takes time.

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, we're talking about eight case by cases here, eight teachers who are highly trained, have extensive experience and contributed a great deal to our education system. They have the support of their school boards, they have the support of their schools and they even have the support of their classrooms. The minister's answer

[Page 10241]

tells me she honestly does not understand this issue. I want to ask the minister to commit to meet with me and these eight teachers so that they can explain this issue to her.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, yes, there are issues with teacher certification as I said. But the department works with each of the teachers who has a problem. If it were up to me as a person, I would throw those regulations out but those regulations were produced as a result of years of work by the teachers union, by the department and all the partners involved. To change those regulations requires a great deal of work by all those partners, it's not up to me.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - INT'L. PIER:

COAL RESTRICTION - REMOVAL EXPLAIN

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Labour, sitting back there looking comfortable.

Recently, a long-standing restriction placed on the amount of coal that could be on the ground at the former Devco coal pier, known as the International Pier, in Whitney Pier in Sydney was lifted. This was done by the Department of Environment and Labour. The coal pier today is owned by Emera Inc. I have some information on Emera Inc. that I'm going to table, I'm not finished my research on that company yet, so I'm not going to comment on this right now, but that is the company that owns the coal shipping pier and uses the coal that they import from elsewhere around the world to fire their generators at Point Aconi, Trenton and Lingan. Now, the long-standing restriction, which stated that no more than 12,000 tons could be on the ground at one time has been lifted for 90 days. My question to the minister is simply this, why was this restriction lifted for 90 days?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Because we felt that Nova Scotians would continue to appreciate to have electricity, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions)

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, for a Minister of Environment and Labour that is some simplistic answer, because it completely overlooks the responsibility he has as the Minister of Environment and Labour to see that that the environment is protected. I thought that was why he was there.

I want to ask the minister if the safety and well-being of the people who live in that area, as well as the protection of the environment, could be affected by the decision that has been made. What assessments were completed to demonstrate that it was safe to lift that restriction?

[Page 10242]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday with regard to the other pier, there was, in fact, a lot of scrutiny that has taken place before that decision was made by the local office. There are a considerable number of terms and conditions that are put in place to ensure the safety of the community. I went over them yesterday, some of them involved, I will just add a few: the temperature, the wind direction, the velocity of the wind, all these things are taken into consideration and, indeed, there is an inspector that's there when any of this is going on, which is paid for by Emera.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, as I explained yesterday about the other pier, which is right next to it, the former Sysco pier, people who live in that area are concerned about their health and the health of their children and their elderly parents, for that matter. I would like to say that some of the people who live in that area want this government to do a full review, which they feel it has not done. My final supplementary is, is the minister willing to listen to the concerns of the people who live in that area and to undertake a full review of the effects of having more than the restricted amount of coal tonnage on the ground in the pier area, yes or no?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we are following this so closely. That's why we have an inspector there all the time when any activity is going on. That's why the terms and conditions are in place. It's all to make sure that the community is protected from any possible adverse effects that could come from this expanded use of the pier.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

PREMIER - AUTOMOBILE EMISSIONS: REDUCTION - PLANS

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question today for the Premier. It has to do with his commitment to reducing automobile emissions. He recently stood up in this House and stated that this province "is determined that we will be at the forefront of improving the climate but we will do so in concert with other provinces . . ." Yet when asked for further information, what he referred to were environmental changes in public buildings creating less pollution in the future. But since vehicles are a major contributor to greenhouse gasses, could the Premier tell the House how he is going to deal with automobiles and their emissions?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is a thorough researcher and I know full well that he has looked at the energy strategy of the Province of Nova Scotia, the Government of Nova Scotia, which indicates very clearly that we have made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, but we will do so in concert with others because, clearly, unless others work with us, then our efforts will be literally for naught.

[Page 10243]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I think we can only say, phooey. The Premier's energy strategy he speaks so highly of has absolutely no concrete plan in it for reducing emissions. In fact, I will table a section from the document. It deals with energy efficiency and conservation and it states "Transportation is a significant contributor to air pollution, particularly in large urban centres." Personal vehicles contributed up to 50 per cent of the transportation energy use. What I would like to know is the position of the Premier on a commuter rail system for HRM as a means of alleviating the strain of automobiles on the environment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is an intriguing suggestion, one that has been talked about on a number of occasions by the current mayor of HRM. I think it's an initiative that well may come to pass in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, that is a municipal issue. We have municipal issues in 55 different areas of this province and it is not necessarily the role of the provincial government to provide exact direction to all of these municipal units as to how they should conduct their business.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I think that and $1.09 might buy us a cup of coffee somewhere. Look, HRM is moving ahead with their regional plan called Healthy Growth for HRM. One aspect of their plan is to create a commuter rail system that may come in for Beaver Bank - it may even go as far as the Valley - that come into the city. But this plan requires provincial approval and provincial funding. The government has done nothing to support it. What I would like to ask the Premier is, when will he be prepared to put even half as much money into mass transit as he does into secondary roads?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question seems to imply a relationship between HRM and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and I would ask him to respond to the question.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the opportunity to comment on matters relating to HRM. As I indicated previously, one of the benefits of a balanced budget is that it gives you the opportunity to be able to discuss with municipal units, such as HRM, plans that would address needs specific to those municipalities. Certainly, that's something that we would want to do. I want to note with interest that today's news suggests that HRM is prepared to invoke a universal tax increase to augment rural areas. I can tell you that sounds very familiar to me. It sounds very much like a program we had discussed back in February, a year ago. I'm glad to see that the HRM has come full circle and is prepared to use property tax to supplement services for other people.

[Page 10244]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - LEITCHES CREEK BRIDGE:

REPLACEMENT - ABANDONMENT EXPLAIN

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The Tory blue book recognized the importance of rural roads as the lifeblood of the rural economy. Unfortunately, the Tory Government does not seem to be following the blue book. I asked the minister previously whether Leitches Creek Bridge, located on Seaview Drive in my riding, would be replaced this year. I was assured it would be. Now the minister has changed his mind. My question to the minister is, why is the minister abandoning his commitment that the Leitches Creek Bridge would be replaced this year?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't aware that the bridge is not going to be commenced to be replaced this year.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what that reply was. The roads in rural parts of Cape Breton are a mess, and this minister is abandoning them. Nothing is being done. The roads in my riding alone are crumbling. (Interruptions)

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

MR. BOUDREAU: May I start over, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Please. The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes has the floor.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the roads in rural parts of Cape Breton are a mess, and this minister has abandoned them. Nothing is being done. Nothing. The roads in my riding, Cape Breton The Lakes, are crumbling. My question to the minister is, how many roads can residents of the rural areas of Cape Breton expect to have repaved this year?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it's very interesting that that honourable member would bring forward the efforts of this government with regard to transportation needs on the Island of Cape Breton. We have spent more money and we will be spending more money this year on bridges alone than they spent on the entire transportation system in Cape Breton while they were in power.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, through you, I direct my question to the Premier. Rural roads in Cape Breton are being ignored by that minister in your government. Local residents are paying their fair share of your new 2 cents gasoline tax, Mr. Premier. My

[Page 10245]

question to the Premier is, why are you not directing that minister to live up to your blue book promises and ordering the minister to treat Cape Breton fairly in regard to road reconstruction?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has indicated that he would love to answer that question.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, let's just deal with the national highway system first of all in Cape Breton. That is Route No. 4, which actually runs through the Opposition constituencies. There's been a crying need on Trunk No. 4, for instance, for work to be done. We spent more money last year on Trunk No. 4 than we did on any other trunk highway in the province with the exception of Highway No. 101. We are going to spend more this year on Trunk No. 4 than they have spent during their entire time in power on Trunk No. 4.

[1:45 p.m.]

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

TOURISM & CULTURE - THEODORE TUGBOAT: FEES - PAY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday I, along with Nova Scotians, received terrible news. One of Nova Scotia's tourism ambassadors, Theodore Tugboat, is under arrest. He sits across the harbour chained to a decommissioned Coast Guard vessel and, you know, this is a humiliating situation for one of our province's little ships. What's worse, Mr. Speaker, the arrest is over $2,500. So I want to ask the Minister of Tourism and Culture, why he personally hasn't stepped in, released Theodore and seen fit to pay this $2,500 fee?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question obviously and I can assure you that, indeed, Theodore is very important to this province. In fact, we've had the opportunity to utilize Theodore in the past with regard to marketing and parties for our young children. In fact, my own son is very interested in Theodore and I will certainly take the member's question under advisement.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this is not a laughing matter and I know that the minister's children, in particular, and young people across this province religiously watch that particular wonderful piece of entertainment. We don't have to look any further than the Bluenose II to see that this province has shown a willingness to invest in sailing ambassadors. That investment has paid off handsomely for this province and that minister should know it, but the minister obviously doesn't care about Theodore Tugboat and that's a shame that you do not care about this important ambassador for this province. So I'm going to go to the Premier on this matter, I'm going to ask the Premier whether he will step in and order that minister to free Theodore?

[Page 10246]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can reassure the member opposite that his pleas are not nearly as effective as the pleas of my grandson on this issue.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the NDP always has a good idea to volunteer to this government and young people across this province turn to members like me for such ideas. So I would like to propose, would the Premier and the minister agree, but I would like the Premier to respond to this, would he be willing to free Theodore if we paint his smokestack like a cigarette and make him into a sailing ambassador for a smoke-free Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will take that under advisement.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - DIRECTIONAL SIGNS:

CHANGES - CONSIDER

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. As the minister knows, I've had a number of complaints with regard to directional signage over the last number of weeks and the fact is that many of those directional signs are for business, for farm markets and also for church camps. I've tabled petitions in this House with in excess of 1,000 signatures in regard to those concerns. My question to the minister, can the minister inform the House as to whether or not he is prepared to make any changes to the issue of directional signs that are for either local businesses and/or church camps or camps used by youth?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there was a meeting yesterday between my deputy minister and the Real Estate Association of Nova Scotia. I understand that they, I believe, resolved almost all the difficulties that that particular industry had and I believe that that is what the honourable member is referring to.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, I appreciate that and I will be anxious to hear the response to that through the real estate agent. Now we have small market businesses as well as church camps and youth organizations. Clearly, under Sections 48 and 49 of the Public Highways Act, it states advertising signs are not permitted on provincial highways, but directing children to church camps should be okay. I guess my question to you, Mr. Minister is, when is this government going to start obeying that particular part of the law and allowing church camps and Scout camps and youth camps throughout the province to have directional signs, otherwise those children will not be able to go to those camps?

[Page 10247]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of hot button issues connected with the advertising signage policy. It is one that is under constant review. As you know, we have set up a non-governmental agency to handle complaints, et cetera.

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

The honourable member for Victoria on an introduction.

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction through you to the members of the House. We have seated in the west gallery, four individuals from Victoria County who are in Halifax today to meet with the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. I would ask Donny Matheson; John Graham MacInnes, Councillor; Ross MacDonald, Economic Development Officer for Victoria and Dan MacNeil, Councillor for Victoria to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[1:52 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Mr. Chairman, Mr. Brooke Taylor, in the Chair.]

[6:01 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

[Page 10248]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We have reached the moment of interruption.

[Therefore be it resolved WARNING: nothing less than a complete ban on smoking in public places is bad for the health of all Nova Scotians and will prove harmful to the political health of the Premier.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

SMOKING BAN - PREM.: POL. HEALTH - EFFECTS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and begin the debate on this particular subject. The bottom line with this issue is that second-hand smoke kills. Allowing smoking in enclosed glass still subjects workers to the ravages of second-hand smoke. It is vital that government recognizes that nothing short of a full ban on smoking in public places is required to safeguard Nova Scotians. As the Liberal caucus, we remain committed to 100 per cent smoke-free public places, including restaurants and bars.

From a health and wellness perspective, Mr. Speaker, a 100 per cent ban is the only way to go. From a public policy perspective, an outright ban is also the only way to go. In terms of ensuring that enforcement is being met and that inspectors aren't spending all their time ensuring that the correct percentage of available seating is contained within each of these sections, again, a 100 per cent ban is the only way to go. From a strict evidence point of view, with all the statistical data that's available, and it certainly has been presented before the Law Amendments Committee over the last number of days and now available to government, again, a 100 per cent ban is the only way to go. From a fiscal perspective in terms of increased costs to the health care system, an outright ban on smoking in all public places is the only way to go. Finally, in terms of whether Nova Scotians were asking their government for a 100 per cent ban, there's no better opportunity for the Minister of Health and this government to accept nothing less than a 100 per cent ban. We have seen an evolution, if you will, with the general public and their attitudes towards a ban of smoking in public places.

Just a few years ago, Mr. Speaker, government was taking the leadership role in dealing with the issue of tobacco access and smoking and the people followed. Now, government is trying to catch-up with what the public is essentially demanding. The polls themselves show that the overwhelming majority of Nova Scotians support a 100 per cent ban.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is 74 per cent.

[Page 10249]

MR. MACKINNON: That's 74 per cent. Proof of this point would be the leadership role many municipal units have taken with regard to implementing their own 100 per cent ban in public places, including restaurants, taverns and bars. Public opinion is on our side. It is on the side of health and wellness and the Premier should come to realize what is most obvious. Ignoring public opinion in this case will indeed be harmful to the political health of the Premier. Ironically, the government was in the possession of a study by GPI Atlantic, commissioned by their own Department of Health, which, quite frankly, provided overwhelming evidence that showed that exposure to second-hand smoke is a serious health risk.

Exposure to second-hand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer and respiratory ailments in adults, and these are the health risks that non-smokers - I emphasize non-smokers - face. An estimated 200 deaths per year in Nova Scotia are caused by exposure to second-hand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoke is the leading cause of workplace death. Mr. Speaker, if that's not enough to convince this government, or any government, for that matter, that nothing short of a full ban is warranted, then this government certainly does not deserve to govern.

I had occasion earlier today to listen to the presentations that were made by some of the presenters on smoking. Mr. Speaker, even in the jurisdiction where you live, reside, and represent, there was a study conducted by a body, a non-political body in Pictou, Cumberland, East Hants and Colchester Counties. It showed that the overwhelming majority of the people who worked in the workplaces in those four counties were opposed to a smoking environment where they work. They canvassed some 98 workplaces out of a potential 144 that they contacted; they canvassed 935 employees out of a potential 1,089. Of the businesses that were owned, 98 out of 98 owners all responded. It was a rather comprehensive study, and it was very telling. It was too coincidental that those who worked in a smoking environment were the ones with the largest percentage of illnesses, particularly with regard to asthma and other respiratory problems, and were more likely to miss time from work because of the effects of second-hand smoke.

Mr. Speaker, we ask the Minister of Health, the Premier, and that government to reconsider their position on this particular piece of legislation that they have before the House. It's an opportunity to be a leader, not a follower. The evidence should speak for itself, 200 Nova Scotians, every year, dying needlessly. The minister himself, the Minister of Health, and the Premier acknowledge that the cost to the health care system, the cost to the taxpayers, and the loss of loved ones in Nova Scotia are unacceptable.

With that, I would ask the government, in particular the Premier, who should be a champion on this very issue, and the Minister of Health, of all people, don't go with a half measure; go 100 per cent. Respond to what Nova Scotians are asking, a 100 per cent ban. Never mind the tobacco lobbyists or those who only see in the short view, because that will be counterproductive for all stakeholders here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 10250]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the time this evening to talk a little bit about the things that this government is doing to combat smoking in Nova Scotia.

Also, I think at the same time it gives me the opportunity to seek clarification and perhaps get some answers to a few questions that I've had for some time. When we came to government and we made it our priority to reduce the high smoking rates in this province, true to this commitment we introduced an integrated tobacco strategy, part of which was a piece of comprehensive smoke-free places legislation which we hope to have passed, and will have passed this Legislature within the next eight days.

If you're not aware by now, then let me remind the members of the House that we are leading the way in Canada with this legislation. There are only two other jurisdictions that have province-wide smoke-free places legislation, and ours is as strong as any of them. We brought this legislation forward with the very best of intentions and that is to protect Nova Scotians, particularly children and youth, from second-hand tobacco smoke. That being our goal, we also wanted to bring in a piece of legislation we felt would be successful. There have been a couple of examples in other parts of the country where legislation has been introduced and it basically had to be pulled back, and we're aware of those. It happened in the City of Toronto, and it's happened in British Columbia. So, one of the things when you're doing legislation is you have to be concerned about what will work.

This is very strong legislation. I've acknowledged many, many times that, it's not what, as the Minister of Health, obviously from a health perspective I don't dispute the fact that 100 per cent is desirable, and we will get there. Legislation has to be something that will work. So what we've proposed is legislation which has been strongly endorsed by all of the anti-tobacco groups in the province. They all say we want more, but this is a tremendous step forward and we support it. They all say they support it - doesn't mean that they think it's ideal, but they are so satisfied, to an organization and virtually to a person, they say yes we support that legislation because it is such an improvement on what currently exists.

What perplexes me, in light of that, is how this bill, this piece of legislation, which is probably the strongest in the country, is suddenly not good enough for the members opposite. It is suddenly not good enough for the members opposite. I don't know - what was it? Saul had the conversion on the Road to Damascus, or what it was or they're playing politics or wherever you want to go, but you know from 1993-99 most of that caucus was government. Most of it was government. I believe there are two members of that caucus that were not government. They had six years to take a serious stand on the issue of second-hand smoke and to try and curtail the use of tobacco. In that six years they couldn't even get a tobacco strategy organized and put out for this province. We did that, I think, in about a year. They didn't bring forth an integrated tobacco strategy and in the year I was here, I certainly didn't see any legislation.

[Page 10251]

The honourable member for Lunenburg West, the honourable member for Clare, the member for Victoria, the honourable member for Cape Breton South, the honourable member for Cape Breton West, the honourable member for Richmond, and the honourable member for Dartmouth East - you know folks, you were all Cabinet Ministers. You were the ones who had the ability to make the decisions. What was your position on smoking legislation and smoking cessation programs then? Why have you suddenly changed? You know, we knew plenty about the effects of second-hand smoke. How far did they get with anti-smoking legislation? I want to know, did you draft legislation and if you did draft legislation, would you be kind enough to share it with the members of this House?

[6:15 p.m.]

The others who sat on the benches, you know, you were all members of a government. Did you push for a total ban then? Did you push for anything? It would appear that during the six years in government, that certainly taking any minor stand against tobacco - well, I won't count the construction enhancement bill, but clearly the stand against smoking wasn't any type of priority for that government. What has changed? Not only did your government in that six years fail to bring in anti-smoking legislation, you were also the government that passed a bill giving the municipalities the ability to bring in their own bylaws. In other words, folks, what it said is that was a government that didn't want the responsibility and they wanted it so little, Mr. Speaker, that they pushed it off to the municipalities.

Now, while I support municipalities bringing in bylaws, and I do, Mr. Speaker, I do support that, I have to wonder why didn't the provincial government of the day bring in its own legislation if they had any drafted, instead of downloading that responsibility on the municipalities. Talk about irony, the honourable member who was the Minister for Municipal Affairs at the time was the honourable member for Dartmouth East, who wanted, he just wanted to wash his hands of that and here he is today, the champion.

I have to ask these questions because I am really perplexed. We have brought forward very good legislation and perhaps I'm an optimist, but I honestly hope and believe that the members opposite would do what's right and best for Nova Scotians. I hope, Mr. Speaker, they will do what they didn't do while they were in government, and that is this time they will support provincial anti-smoking legislation. The honourable member for Cape Breton West stood up there and challenged, and I want to challenge the members of that Liberal caucus and the members of the NDP, I want you to commit to support provincial anti-smoking legislation which is the strongest in the country.

Mr. Speaker, I said earlier I was glad that I had the opportunity to respond to this resolution. First, again, I want to ask the members of the Third Party why they did not introduce anti-tobacco legislation when they had the chance to do so? The members opposite had the power to introduce that legislation and I don't know why they didn't do it. Again, I would like the honourable members in the Third Party to answer, if they had legislation

[Page 10252]

drafted, would they be prepared to table it so all Nova Scotians could see that, indeed, they did have an agenda to curtail second-hand smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke and to smoking. If they had a bill, did it ever . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health's time has expired.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to rise on behalf of the NDP caucus and speak on why we need a 100 per cent smoke-free ban in public places. I want to start by saying how disappointed I am in what the Minister of Health had to say during what I think is a very important debate and how he frittered away his time addressing the members of the Third Party about what really, essentially, is old news. It's their record in government. Well, yes, we know what that record is, but I don't frankly believe that we need to be dwelling on that at this point.

We have a piece of legislation. We have an historic opportunity here to do something that is the right thing for the health and well-being of Nova Scotians and, frankly, I would have hoped that the Minister of Health would have addressed going forward and not looking backward and would have looked at this unique opportunity, an opportunity that wouldn't add any additional revenue to the Department of Health's bottom line, but in fact would substantially improve the bottom line of the Department of Health over time.

This essentially, Mr. Speaker, is the position of the Canadian Cancer Society that came in front of the Law Amendments Committee earlier today, who said that the Legislation falls far short of the final destination and urged the government to go right to the final destination. You have an opportunity; you need to make this a priority. Do it now. It will have no impact on the Health budget, but it will have a tremendous impact on the wellness and prevention for people in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I've sat in the Law Amendments Committee for the better part of the three days or so that we've been in there listening to presentations. I must say this has been an extremely educational process in terms of learning from people with a tremendous amount of expertise, from a whole diverse vantage point. You have the health advocacy groups who have come here, who have done their research, who have done their homework and they are a wealth of information about what works and what doesn't work. They consistently and uniformly are saying a number of things about this legislation. They are saying that we really need to go to 100 per cent smoke-free legislation in public places and that to do it now is better than waiting to do it later. They're saying that the provisions with respect to youth possession are fundamentally flawed and really need to be rethought as part of this legislation. They're raising questions around enforcement and other features of the tobacco strategy that need to be adequately resourced in order to make this an effective strategy.

[Page 10253]

So I think, pretty well, Mr. Speaker, we know what their perspectives are because their perspectives come from the question of health and wellness. What's been really interesting, I think, is to hear from municipal governments, from leaders at municipal levels who have shown an amazing amount of foresight and initiative and courage and leadership on this area in their municipalities, places like Wolfville, Windsor, Kentville, New Glasgow, Cape Breton and metro. We've had an HRM councillor come here and really plead with government members on the Law Amendments Committee to hear their experience. Their experience is one where they have worked very hard to put in place bylaws; in some cases, bylaws that haven't gone 100 per cent smoke-free, but are moving in that direction, and in other cases where they already have 100 per cent smoke-free.

They're asking this government not to allow this legislation to go forward with the enormous amount of exemptions that are in the bill because what this will mean is that their hard work will be for naught and their bylaws and the outcome of their bylaws will mean that places that have already gone smoke-free will feel somewhat disadvantaged as areas in other municipalities now will consider the provincial legislation the standard and they will have all of these exemptions. So municipal governments who are leaders in this area are saying this bill doesn't go far enough. Their views, frankly, are reflected, Mr. Speaker, in the editorials of every small-town newspaper that I've had an opportunity to read in the last two weeks. It seems to be a point of view that's fairly standard across the province.

The other group of people, of course, we're hearing from, Mr. Speaker, are people in the hospitality industry, bar owners and restaurant owners. I think it's this group that has been the most interesting in many respects in terms of their response to the legislation. Because over and over, it's this group who are talking about the unfairness in terms of the marketplace that this bill creates. Almost all of the owners and operators are people, interestingly enough, who don't smoke themselves. There are people who say when they go out and take their families to a restaurant, they don't go to a smoking establishment. They also say that this legislation introduces a very unfair competitive advantage to places like the casino and the bigger operators.

All of these financially well-off enterprises - often, some of them, like the casino, supported by our tax dollars - are in a situation where they can afford ventilation. They can afford these capital costs to be able to conform to the legislation, but what about the small operator? Those small operators are really disadvantaged by this legislation. Over and over, many of the people from the service sector are asking for a level playing field. They know it's coming; they say, why do this in a piecemeal kind of way? You might as well put in 100 per cent smoke-free now and save us the trouble and the aggravation of having to endure a number of years of an un-level playing field where our customer base goes to the casino, the Legion, or First Nations establishments that are exempted from this bill.

[Page 10254]

Mr. Speaker, you can't help but respond, I think. Any kind of reasonable person would say, obviously they make a good case here. The government has not thought through that aspect of their legislation. I've heard the Premier speak on this; I've heard him say that because he, essentially, hasn't been able to please anybody - the municipalities, the health activists or the hospitality industry - then somehow that makes this a good bill. It must mean that the government has hit a balance.

Mr. Speaker, they haven't hit a balance at all. What they've done is they're trying to weave their way down some imaginary middle line, middle ground, and being in the middle doesn't mean you're doing the right thing. It doesn't mean you're doing a good thing. What you really need to start from is to say, what is the problem here and what is the best way to fix it? The Minister of Health and the Premier have both publicly said that they understand that the right thing to do would be 100 per cent smoke-free. Why is it so difficult for this government to do the right thing? One has to ask, why is it so difficult for them to do the right thing?

Let me tell you, we've already heard a little bit about the research we were just shown from your region, Mr. Speaker. It was fascinating, an excellent little study looking at what is already the situation in workplaces in that particular region. Do you know what they found? They found that probably 70 per cent of workplaces, or maybe slightly more, are already smoke-free. So this idea that there is going to be some sort of a great upheaval and big sea change that people can't accept or adapt to is essentially a myth. People are already onside, and 100 per cent smoke-free is the only alternative. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the late debate has expired.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North on an introduction. (Interruption) Sorry, Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, it is important that we get the location correct. Thank you very much. To you and to all members of the House, I would like to introduce a couple of friends of mine who are in the south gallery. (Interruptions) Yes, I do, actually. A couple of friends, I said. I said they were a couple of friends of mine. They are in the honourable member for Eastern Shore's riding: Bill MacLeod and Mary Fedorchuk. I would like the House to welcome them in their usual fashion. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our special guests to the gallery today. The House will now revert to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

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

[Page 10255]

[7:59 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met, made some 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, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit until no later than 3:00 p.m. The business of the day will be completion of Bill No. 109 through Committee of the Whole House on Bills. We will remain in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills then to do the Private and Local Bills, and I think there are two Private Members' Public Bills. When we have completed that, that will be our day's business.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, to sit until 3:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We are adjourned until 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 7:59 p.m.]

[Page 10256]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3944

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas the robotics competition was held Saturday, May 11, 2002 at the Université de Moncton; and

Whereas the competition was a gruelling test of the abilities of the students and the robots that they invented; and

Whereas the Yarmouth High School robotics team, headed up by Co-Captains Kyle Hill and Grant Tetford, placed first and second in two categories;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Yarmouth High School robotics team for its stellar performance at the recent competition.