Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD

01-19



HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed
by the Queen's Printer.
Available on INTERNET at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legi/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2001




TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:

Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education,



Hon. J. Purves
1273
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:

Res. 528, Saint Mary's Univ. - Donahoe, Terry: Honorary Degree Conferral
-


Congrats., Hon. J. Purves
1274




Vote - Affirmative
1274
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:

No. 35, Restoration of the Legal and Environmental Rights of the


People of Sydney Act, Mr. G. Steele
1275


No. 36, Bras d'Or Lakes Conservation Act, Mr. K. MacAskill
1275
NOTICES OF MOTION:

Res. 529, Morgan, Gordon - Prov. Volunteer Awards: Recognition -


Congrats., Mr. J. Holm
1275




Vote - Affirmative
1276

Res. 530, Bras d'Or Stewardship Soc. - Preservation: Efforts - Congrats.,


Mr. K. MacAskill
1276




Vote - Affirmative
1276

Res. 531, Cole Hbr.-East. Passage - MLA: Comments -


Apologize, Mr. B. Barnet
1276


Res. 532, Deveaux, Marshall - C.B. Sport Hall of Fame: Induction -


Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett
1277



Vote - Affirmative
1278


Res. 533, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Bayers Lake Bus. Pk.: Traffic -


HRM Action Co-operate, Mr. R. MacKinnon
1278

Res. 534, Sports - Basketball (Girls): Truro Tigers/Bible Hill Knights -



Commitment Recognize, Hon. J. Muir
1279



Vote - Affirmative
1279

Res. 535, MacKay-Lyons, Brian - American Institute of Architects:



College of Fellows - Inclusion Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein
1279



Vote - Affirmative
1280

Res. 536, Miles, Johnny - Boston Marathon Victory: Anniv. (75th) -



Congrats., Mr. B. Boudreau
1280



Vote - Affirmative
1281

Res. 537, Fraser, Scott - Stock Car Racing: Best Wishes - Convey,



Mr. B. Taylor
1281



Vote - Affirmative
1282

Res. 538, Nat. Res. - Land Control: Legislation - Introduce,



Mr. W. Estabrooks
1282

Res. 539, Kingsport Wharf - Reclamation Proj.: Participants - Congrats.,


Mr. M. Parent
1282




Vote - Affirmative
1283

Res. 540, Community Links - Rural Volunteers Proj.: Participants -


Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter
1283




Vote - Affirmative
1284

Res. 541, Lunenburg West MLA - Fmr. Fin. Min.: Track Record -


Remember, Mr. F. Chipman
1284


Res. 542, Desjardins, Michelle/George, Shawn - UCCB:


Athletes of the Year - Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett
1285



Vote - Affirmative
1285


Res. 543, Fougere, Rose Marie - Richmond Co.: Volunteer of the Year -


Congrats., Mr. M. Samson
1285



Vote - Affirmative
1286


Res. 544, Cameron, June - Gov't. (N.S.): Volunteer of the Year (2001) -


Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe
1286



Vote - Affirmative
1287


Res. 545, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hatchet Lake: Paving -


Residents Inform, Mr. W. Estabrooks
1287

Res. 546, Keddy, Charles, Doris, Treasure, Phillip & Amber:



Farm Family of the Year - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent
1287



Vote - Affirmative
1288

Res. 547, Campbell, Gordon/B.C. Liberal Party - Election: Best Wishes -



Convey, (by Mr. M. Samson), Mr. P. MacEwan
1288

Res. 548, Health - CBRM: Smoke-Free Status - Applaud, Mr. T. Olive
1289


Vote - Affirmative
1290


Res. 549, Volunteers: Congrats./Appreciation - Extend, Dr. J. Smith
1290


Vote - Affirmative
1290

Res. 550, Can.-N.S. Offshore Accord (1986) - N.S. Liberals/



Hon. P. Martin: Contact - Lack Explain, Mr. C. Clarke
1290
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:

No. 192, Health - Cochlear Implants: Referrals - Alternative Plans,


Mr. D. Dexter
1291

No. 193, Health - Family Caregivers: Tax Incentives -



Commitment Honour, Mr. D. Downe
1292

No. 194, Environ. & Lbr. - OH&S: Offshore - Status, Mr. F.
Corbett
1294

No. 195, Commun. Serv. - Secure Treatment Facility: Truro - Details,



Mr. D. Wilson
1295

No. 196, Health - Cigarette Tax: Smoking Rates - Address, Mr. D. Dexter
1296

No. 197, Nat. Res. - Hunting Licences: Fee Increases - Justification,



Mr. K. MacAskill
1297

No. 198, Commun. Serv. - Kendrick Report: Draft - Objections Explain,


Mr. J. Pye
1298

No. 199, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Closures - Min. Involvement,



Mr. M. Samson
1299

No. 200, Agric. & Fish. - ADI: User Fees - Confirmation,


Mr. J. MacDonell
1301


No. 201, Environ. & Lbr. - Boiler Rooms: Yarmouth Reg. Hosp./


Valley Reg. Hosp. - Orders Confirm, Mr. R. MacKinnon
1302

No. 202, Econ. Dev. - Sysco Port Facilities: Negotiations (CBRM) -



Confirm, Mr. F. Corbett
1303

No. 203, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Equalization: UNSM - Proposal,


Mr. B. Boudreau
1304


No. 204, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - VIA Rail Derailment (Stewiacke):


Safety Measures - Details, Mr. W. Estabrooks
1305

No. 205, Health - Tobacco Control Strategy: Report Tabling -



Delay Explain, Dr. J. Smith
1306

No. 206, Agric. & Fish. - Prod. Tech. Branch: ADI Replacement -


Cost-Effectiveness, Mr. J. MacDonell
1308


No. 207, Nat. Res. - Energy Strategy: Consultations - Adequacy,


Mr. Manning MacDonald
1309

No. 208, Health - Hep. C: Fed. Funding - Specifics, Mr. D. Dexter
1310
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:

Res. 554, Holocaust Memorial Day: Significance - Recognize,



The Premier
1312



Vote - Affirmative
1313
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:


GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:


ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:



Mr. G. Steele
1313




Mr. R. MacKinnon
1316



Mr. B. Barnet
1320




Mr. T. Olive
1325
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:24 P.M.
1326
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M.
1326
ADJOURNMENT:

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):



Agric. - Food: Taxes - Min. Cease:



Mr. D. Downe
1327




Mr. J. MacDonell
1330



Mr. J. Chataway
1332




Hon. E. Fage
1332
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M.
1335
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:54 P.M.
1335
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:

No. 30, Financial Measures (2001) Act
1335



Ms. Maureen MacDonald
1335


Mr. Manning MacDonald
1343




Adjourned debate
1350
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Apr. 20th at 9:00
a.m.
1350
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):

Res. 551, Yar. Co. Museum - Staff/Volunteers: Efforts - Congrats.,


Mr. R. Hurlburt
1351


Res. 552, Fossils of Fundy - Web Site: Participants - Applaud,


The Speaker
1351

Res. 553, Brown, Art - Shipping News: Acting Debut - Congrats.,


The Speaker
1352





[Page 1273]













HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2001





Fifty-eighth General Assembly





Second Session





12:00 P.M.





SPEAKER





Hon. Murray Scott





DEPUTY SPEAKERS





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







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



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture start representing the farm
community
by taking the lead in ending the Hamm Government's many new taxes on food.



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



We will begin the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS




MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.



HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the
Nova Scotia
Council on Higher Education.



1273







[Page 1274]

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.



RESOLUTION NO. 528





HON. JANE PURVES: 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 has decided to confer an honorary degree on Terry
Donahoe
during convocation ceremonies May 15th; and



Whereas Mr. Donahoe has had a long and distinguished political career in Nova
Scotia dating
back to 1978, serving eight years as Education Minister and then going on to serve as
Minister of
Tourism, Attorney General, Labour, Environment and others; and



Whereas Mr. Donahoe went on to serve our Party as interim Leader and to have a
distinguished
record as Leader of the Official Opposition;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate both Saint Mary's University for
conferring
this honour on a man who spent many years of his life capably serving Nova Scotians and
Terry
Donahoe for his many contributions to his Party, his constituency and his province.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried. (Applause)









[Page 1275]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



Bill No. 35 - Entitled an Act to Restore the Legal and Environmental Rights of the
People
of Sydney. (Mr. Graham Steele)



Bill No. 36 - Entitled an Act to Conserve the Bras d'Or Lakes. (Mr. Kenneth
MacAskill)



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



NOTICES OF MOTION



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



RESOLUTION NO. 529




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



Whereas 2001 is the International Year of Volunteers and the week of April 22nd to
28th is
National Volunteer Week, a week dedicated to honouring the many volunteers from across
the
province; and



Whereas volunteers who give so generously of their energies, skills and family time
are the
unsung heroes and backbone of our communities; and



Whereas Gordon Morgan of Sackville, was recognized at today's Provincial
Volunteer Awards
Day ceremony for his many efforts, including the creation of the Sackville Community
Development Association, co-chairing and organizing the Sackville Millennium Committee,
working with youth, historic displays and concerts to name a few;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the important role
volunteers
play in our lives and pay tribute to Gordon Morgan as an outstanding volunteer who has
contributed greatly to the well-being of the Sackville community.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.







[Page 1276]

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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Victoria.



RESOLUTION NO. 530




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



Whereas the Bras d'Or Stewardship Society is a voluntary organization whose
members help
preserve and protect the Bras d'Or Lakes; and



Whereas all Nova Scotians benefit from the work of this society in protecting the
ecological
integrity of Nova Scotia's inland sea; and



Whereas legislation introduced today in this House will complement the fine work
of this
organization;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its thanks to the Bras d'Or
Stewardship Society
for their efforts to preserve, protect and enhance the environmental quality of the Bras d'Or
Lakes.



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. 531




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







[Page 1277]

Whereas in his usual fury and with considerable bluster the member for Dartmouth-
Cole
Harbour yesterday accused the government of reducing the credit limit for the spousal
allowance;
and



Whereas the same member slammed the government, saying this change was going
to take more
than $9 million from some of Nova Scotia's poorest citizens; and



Whereas, as is usually the case, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour didn't have
his facts
straight as there was no change in the credit limit and no increase in the amount of provincial
taxes Nova Scotians will be paying; (Interruptions)



Therefore be it resolved that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage admit
that he was
wrong and further that he apologize to Nova Scotians for wrongly causing them concern.




MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. On two points, one is I
will admit
that there were some errors, but it was based on a Web page that the government had on its
Web
site. It was an official Web page and it had the errors, but I believe the government has
already
admitted the errors. Second, I would hope that if a member is going to stand up and say that
another member has made mistakes, they wouldn't make mistakes in their own resolution
with
regard to the riding that the member represents.



MR. SPEAKER: It is not a point of order but it certainly cleared up any
misconception of the
facts.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 532




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



Whereas Cape Breton's Sport Hall of Fame is inducting 10 new members during the
4th annual
Cape Breton Sport Heritage Awards dinner on Saturday, April 21st; and



Whereas one of the 10 deserving inductees is Marshall Deveaux, whose name is
synonymous
with the Strands basketball team and with basketball overall; and



Whereas Marshall Deveaux has also been an active baseball player, coach and
umpire;







[Page 1278]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Marshall Deveaux on his
outstanding
contributions to sports in Cape Breton and on his induction into the Cape Breton Sport Hall
of
Fame.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



[12:15 p.m.]



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



RESOLUTION NO. 533





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



Whereas traffic chaos at Bayers Lake results in what business owners call "absolute
gridlock;"
and



Whereas the failure of the province to reach an agreement with the HRM over traffic
light
jurisdiction means temporary lights have yet to be replaced; and



Whereas lingering inaction now leads some to park their cars on the shoulder of the
Bicentennial
Highway rather than enter the park in their vehicles;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works take
immediate
action to co-operate with the Halifax Regional Municipality in alleviating traffic woes at
Bayers
Lake Business Park.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?







[Page 1279]

I hear a No.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Health.



RESOLUTION NO. 534





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



Whereas the Sports Experts Truro Tigers girls basketball team recently captured the
gold medal
at the Nova Scotia Basketball Association Division 6 bantam championship; and



Whereas on the strength of a solid team effort, the Truro Tigers completed
round-robin play with
a perfect 4 and 0 record; and



Whereas in a highly-contested and hard-fought championship game, the Tigers edged
the Bible
Hill Knights 43 to 39;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the players and
coaches of the
Truro Tigers and the Bible Hill Knights for their hard work and commitment to team play
and
athletic excellence, and congratulate the Truro Tigers on capturing the championship banner.




Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.



RESOLUTION NO. 535





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







[Page 1280]

Whereas Halifax architect Brian MacKay-Lyons has been named an honorary fellow
of the
American Institute of Architects' College of Fellows; and



Whereas Mr. MacKay-Lyons is a native of Arcadia, Yarmouth County and studied
at Nova
Scotia Technical College, as well as having studied and worked in the U.S.A., Italy and
Japan;
and



Whereas he has received this distinguished honour for his skill in creating buildings
of true form
and innovation based on structures found throughout the Province of Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Brian
MacKay-Lyons for
receiving this honorary fellowship for his outstanding accomplishments and thank him for
the
honour he brings to us as a Nova Scotian.



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. 536





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



Whereas on this date 75 years ago Johnny Miles of Sydney Mines competed in the
Boston
Marathon; and



Whereas Johnny Miles not only completed the marathon, he won it, establishing a
new record;
and



Whereas in 1929, Johnny Miles once again competed in and won, for a second time,
the Boston
Marathon;







[Page 1281]

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to Johnny Miles on
this, the 75th
Anniversary of this truly outstanding athletic accomplishment.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 537





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



Whereas Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia's own Scott Fraser is building speed in the
fast-paced life of
stock car racing, climbing to the top spot in pursuit of rookie of the year in the American
Speed
Association short track series; and



Whereas with four top-ten finishes in six ASA races last year and seventh place
overall, Scott
Fraser has proved he is on the winning track; and



Whereas by finishing up front every week, King Freight Lines teams, headed by
Pictou owner
Rollie MacDonald, has show they can successfully put a race team together;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and cheer on
driver Scott
Fraser and the King Freight Lines team as they race to success and wish them all the best in
this
series and the many more to follow. I invite all members of the House to meet Scott Fraser
tonight at Forbes Chev Olds in the Dartmouth South riding represented by Tim Olive, where
this
outstanding, upstanding fine young man will answer questions and sign autographs.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.









[Page 1282]

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. 538





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



Whereas our coastline remains a valuable resource in this province; and



Whereas access to this precious part of Nova Scotia heritage is gradually being
restricted due to
the private sale of this land to non-residents; and



Whereas an example of strict land control for non-residents exists in our
neighbouring province
of Prince Edward Island, whose government maintains strict control over its shoreline;



Therefore be it resolved that this government show some immediate leadership on
the issue of
control of our shore-front properties by reviewing the legislation entitled The Prince Edward
Island Land Protection Act and bring forth legislation to this House before Nova Scotians
lose
complete control of our coastline.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 539





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



Whereas abandoned wharves are located throughout the Province of Nova Scotia; and








[Page 1283]

Whereas the community of Kingsport has worked hard on an innovative project to
reclaim the
Kingsport wharf and surrounding area for community and tourist use; and



Whereas Barry Schaffner, President of the Kingsport Community Association, has
personally
provided strong leadership in this exciting project;



Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Kingsport
Community
Centre and its President, Barry Schaffner, for their vision and hard work, and wish them great
success in this worthwhile project.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.



RESOLUTION NO. 540





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



Whereas Community Links is a provincial non-profit association helping community
groups and
organizations across Nova Scotia share effective ways of meeting the needs and priorities of
their
older residents; and



Whereas by building on the strengths of rural communities and the experience and
caring of
senior volunteers and organizations, Community Links promotes the principles of
community
development, shared leadership and lifelong learning; and



Whereas Community Links provides the day-to-day management for the Rural
Volunteers
Project and is a representative on the International Year of Volunteers, Nova Scotia Working
Group;









[Page 1284]

Therefore be it resolved that in this the International Year of Volunteers, members
of this House
commend Marilyn Worth More, Co-ordinator; Hugh Faulkner, Program Assistant; and Susan
Sanford, Co-ordinator of the Rural Volunteers Project for their hard work and dedication in
linking together community groups and volunteer organizations across the province.



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 Annapolis.



RESOLUTION NO. 541




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



Whereas as Finance Minister for one year, the member for Lunenburg West increased
the size of
the debt by a whopping $1.207 billion; and



Whereas this same member is horrified that the debt is expected to increase by $175
million this
year, less than one-fifth the amount it increased under his watch; and



Whereas unlike the dismal track record of the member for Lunenburg West, this
government has
dramatically slowed the increase in the debt;



Therefore be it resolved the former Minister of Finance acknowledge that he either
has a poor
memory, can't count or has no shame.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.










[Page 1285]

RESOLUTION NO. 542





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



Whereas Michelle Desjardins of Ottawa and Shawn George of Pictou were named
UCCB's
Athletes of the Year on Friday, April 6th; and



Whereas both students have shown to be outstanding on the soccer field; and



Whereas Michelle Desjardins also won the Rookie of the Year Award and Shawn
George won
the Most Valuable Player Award;



Therefore be it resolved that Michelle Desjardins and Shawn George receive the
congratulations
of this House on their awards.



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. 543





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



Whereas volunteers play a major role in the social and economic development of our
communities by freely giving of their time and efforts; and



Whereas Rose Marie Fougere will be honoured today at the 2001 Provincial
Volunteer Awards
Day ceremony and luncheon as the Volunteer of the Year from Richmond County; and







[Page 1286]

Whereas Rose Marie has been a volunteer for over 40 years including serving as the
President of
St. Francis de Sales Parish Council, Treasurer of the Island View Health Services Auxiliary,
Secretary-Treasurer of the Strait-Richmond Hospital Gift Shop, member of the Catholic
Women's League, and a past canvasser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian
Cancer Society;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their sincere thanks
to Rose
Marie Fougere for her over 40 years of dedication to her community and for being selected
as
Volunteer of the Year for Richmond County.



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 Pictou East.



RESOLUTION NO. 544





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



Whereas the people of Nova Scotia are renowned for their generous donation of their
time and
energy to volunteer and charity activities; and



Whereas in this spirit, June Cameron of Westville received a 2001 Volunteer of the
Year Award
from the Nova Scotia Government today for long-standing voluntary service to her
community;
and



Whereas receiving this annual award is of special significance this year as 2001 is
designated by
the United Nations as the International Year of Volunteers;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and congratulate
this
exemplary Nova Scotian for her special care, time and talents and wish her all the best in the
years to come.







[Page 1287]

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. 545





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



Whereas area residents throughout the growing constituency of Timberlea-Prospect
have
conscientiously collected signatures of homeowners on petitions requesting paving; and



Whereas the residents of MacDonald Lake Road in the community of Hatchet Lake
have
submitted these petitions for attention to their roads; and



Whereas these taxpayers have agreed to pay their share of this road paving;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works state
clearly for the
residents of MacDonald Lake Road when their road will be paved.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 546





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



Whereas Charles and Doris Keddy of Lakeville started their first full-time farm in
1979; and







[Page 1288]

Whereas today their farm operation consists of 500 acres with 90 beef cattle, along
with certified
strawberry and blueberry nursery stock; and



Whereas in recognition of their hard work and commitment, Charles and Doris Keddy
and their
three children have been named Farm Family of the Year by the Nova Scotia Institute of
Agrologists;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Charles, Doris, Treasure, Philip
and Amber
Keddy and wish them success and good fortune as they provide leadership in the important
agricultural sector.



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. 547





MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the my colleague, the
honourable member
for Cape Breton Nova, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of
the
following resolution:



Whereas yesterday, British Columbia's socialist Premier Ujjal Dosanjh finally called
a provincial
election for May 16th; and



Whereas the history of NDP rule in B.C. is very sad, including their fudge-it budget
of 1996, the
over budgeted, technically flawed, fast ferry and the disgraceful resignation of former NDP
Premier Glen Clarke; and



Whereas the NDP in British Columbia, like their friends in Ontario, managed to take
a healthy,
booming provincial economy and turn it on the brink of bankruptcy in record speed;







[Page 1289]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House wish Gordon Campbell and
the British
Columbia Liberal Party well as they bravely start their quest to (Interruptions)



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




MR. SAMSON: Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House wish
Gordon Campbell
and the British Columbia Liberal Party well as they bravely start their quest to free British
Columbians from the disgraceful socialist oppression of the New Democratic Party.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Dartmouth South.



RESOLUTION NO. 548





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



[12:30 p.m.]



Whereas each year smoking kills 400 Cape Bretoners directly with more than 40
Cape Bretoners
dying each year from second-hand cigarette smoke; and



Whereas 5,300 Cape Breton students aged 15 to 19 smoke and of those young people,
1,400 of
them are expected to die by middle age; and



Whereas the Cape Breton Regional Municipal Council has taken a leadership role in
the fight
against tobacco and is going smoke free with an immediate ban in places of public assembly
and
plans to phase in a ban for restaurants, halls and drinking establishments over the next two
years;



Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the leadership of the Cape Breton
Regional
Municipality for this progressive move and for acting to protect the health of the citizens,
young
and old, of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.







[Page 1290]

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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Dartmouth East.



RESOLUTION NO. 549





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



Whereas today is Volunteer Appreciation Day in our province; and



Whereas 1 in 3 Nova Scotians volunteer their services to their community and their
fellow
citizens; and



Whereas these volunteers are being honoured today at a special volunteer
appreciation luncheon;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and sincere
appreciation to all
volunteers who give so generously of their time to assist their fellow citizens.



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 North.



RESOLUTION NO. 550





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







[Page 1291]

Whereas on March 23rd the members of the Liberal caucus unanimously passed a
resolution
endorsing Premier John Hamm's Campaign for Fairness; and



Whereas yesterday the Liberal caucus unanimously endorsed numerous resolutions
thanking
Nova Scotia's municipalities, universities, businesses and community-based organizations
for
their support of the Premier's efforts to secure Nova Scotia's full and fair share of benefits
from
offshore development; and



Whereas yesterday the Liberal caucus refused to endorse a resolution calling on the
Acting
Liberal Leader to bring Nova Scotia's concerns to the attention of the federal Finance
Minister at
this weekend's Liberal Party gathering;



Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal members explain to Nova Scotians why,
despite their
agreement that Ottawa is not treating Nova Scotia fairly, they are not prepared to publicly
call on
federal Finance Minister Paul Martin to do what is both right and fair by honouring the
commitments made to Nova Scotians in the 1986 Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Accord.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The notice is too long. (Applause) (Interruptions)




[The notice is tabled.]



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS




MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:33 p.m. and end at 1:33 p.m.



The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.



HEALTH - COCHLEAR IMPLANTS:

REFERRALS - ALTERNATIVE PLANS





MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.
The minister
may recall an issue we raised in the House last fall regarding the struggles faced by members
of
the deaf community who want cochlear implants. Deaf Nova Scotians who want this miracle
device have to go to Ontario because of the lack of services here. We have just learned that
two
hospitals in Ontario, Sunnybrook and London, are refusing to take any more referrals because
they have their own work to do. My question for the minister is this. There are children and
adults who have been waiting for months already to get referred. Where do you expect them
to
go now?







[Page 1292]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member raises a concern which
I am very
much aware of. There is still opportunity and space in Ontario institutions to do this work.
I am
optimistic that before too long that service will be delivered in Nova Scotia.



MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, right now there are 34 patients on the wait list at the
Nova Scotia
Hearing and Speech Clinic, waiting to be assessed and waiting for a referral in Ontario.
Surely
this seems untenable to the minister. They wait almost a year here in Nova Scotia and
another six
months in Ontario. Everything is in place for these wait periods to end . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please



MR. DEXTER: . . . and the minister can make it happen. My question for him is this,
when will
the minister commit that he will make sure this project goes ahead so that deaf Nova Scotians
can have the choice to hear?



MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I hope that we are in a position to announce that in the near
future. I
can tell the honourable member that it was a topic of discussion with senior staff yesterday
morning, and also it was one of the topics I discussed with representatives from the hearing
and
speech clinic last night.



MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Clinic told us this
morning
that there are two Ontario hospitals that are refusing any further referrals. The clinic in
Ottawa
has also said they will soon refuse these patients. The minister told us six months ago that
he was
working on this; today he says he is still working on it. My question is simple, are there
dollars
specifically allocated to the Capital District Health Authority and the Nova Scotia Hearing
and
Speech Clinic to fully fund this service in Nova Scotia, and when will it go ahead?



MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I hope to be able to make an announcement on that
sometime before
too long. Obviously I haven't see the business plan from the Capital District Health Authority
yet, so I can't answer the first part of his question. It, indeed, would be a program
administered
through them.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.



HEALTH - FAMILY CAREGIVERS:

TAX INCENTIVES - COMMITMENT HONOUR





MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In
the Tory
blue book, it promised generous tax incentives would be provided to family caregivers who
stay
at home to provide care for people who would normally be provided long-term care in
facilities.
This is year two of that commitment; it said it would be done in



[Page 1293]

year two and this is year two. My question to the minister is, why has the minister failed to
live
up to this blue book commitment that would assist families and, in the long term, save money
to
the health care system?



HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the House on Tuesday, we are
in the process
of reviewing the in-home support program. Of course, the issue of care by family members
is one
of the things that is included in that review.



MR. DOWNE: Well, that is not good enough, Mr. Minister; that is not good enough.
You have
been in power for over 600 days, and you have had a long time to plan for this. In fact, it was
in
your Tory blue book that it would be completed in year two. We haven't seen a thing done
yet. It
is bad enough we are charging seniors $50 a day for hospital care. The bottom line, Mr.
Minister,
why won't you live up to your commitment and provide the much-needed respite care for
family
caregivers immediately, not next year? Do it now as you promised.



MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the government has already made a commitment in this
regard. As the
honourable member would know, I believe it was a doubling of the amount of respite care
hours
that are available to a family each week.



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, this minister and this government have broken yet
another promise.
It is an example of wasting valuable long-term care resources that could be used. The blue
book
promise to Nova Scotians has not been fulfilled; they have misled Nova Scotians on yet
another
promise. My question to the minister is, will the minister do the honourable thing and help
families give long-term care at home by providing tax relief, as they promised, and announce
that
procedure now?



MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, what I can tell the honourable member is that we are
reviewing the
whole issue of in-home support and, indeed, have doubled the amount of respite hours that
are
available to family caregivers. I think that was a pretty strong indication of our support for
it.
Furthermore, as a former Finance Minister, he should probably understand . . .



MR. DOWNE: You said it would be done by savings . . .



MR. MUIR: . . . that the Health Minister does not talk about taxes, that would be a
matter . . .



MR. DOWNE: . . . Mr. Minister, no extra cost.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.







[Page 1294]

ENVIRON. & LBR. - OH&S: OFFSHORE - STATUS





MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, on April 14, 1999, a young Newfoundland
man by the
name of Shawn Hatcher died in a terrible accident in our offshore. In the aftermath of that
death,
my colleagues brought to light a big secret being kept by the government and the federal
Department of Natural Resources. It turns out that we had no health and safety legislation
covering the offshore because Ottawa, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland couldn't come to an
agreement. At the time, the officials from this government and from Ottawa said regulations
will
be in place by the fall of 2000. My question to the Minister of Labour is simple. Where are
those
regulations?



HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, that is a good question and one that is of
concern to this
government and, I would suggest, also of concern to the federal and the Newfoundland
Governments. We have been pursuing this vigorously. We have made staff available to assist
our
federal and provincial counterparts into moving this ahead and we look forward to hopefully
having those in place by the fall.



MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, so at best we can wait, they are a year late. Shawn
Hatcher was
crushed by a water-tight door almost two years ago this very day. Charges could not be laid
in
that accident. They could not be laid in a similar accident today because we have no safety
regulations. This minister and his counterparts in Ottawa better have their fingers crossed
that no
one else gets seriously hurt as they continue . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.



MR. CORBETT: . . . to bicker over regulations and jurisdictions.



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.



MR. CORBETT: My question is, will the Minister of Environment and Labour
explain why he
thinks so little of workers' safety that he hasn't been able to come up with an agreement on
regulations protecting offshore workers?



MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question.
I would like
to say that we have been working vigorously on this matter. It requires mirror legislation to
be in
place, both by the federal and the provincial government. The legislation in place now does
not
cover all the areas that we would like to see covered so that we can ensure the same level of
protection to the workers in the offshore as what is presently experienced by those on the
onshore.



MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister should speak to his predecessor
because when
his predecessor was asked about this, he said they were just waiting for the feds to dot the
i's and
cross the t's. This government recognized the serious nature of this



[Page 1295]

problem when my colleagues brought this matter to their attention almost two years ago yet
nothing has been done.



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.



MR. CORBETT: I want to ask the minister to tell this House when we can expect to
see the new
regulations, a specific date, protecting offshore workers, regulations that are now eight years
too
late.



MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for being able to
clarify that in
fact there are regulations in place. They are just not, in our opinion, sufficient and we want
to
toughen them up and that is why we are going through this, so that we can make the
regulations
that apply to the offshore just as comprehensive as those that apply to Nova Scotia workers
on
the onshore.



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



COMMUN. SERV. - SECURE TREATMENT FACILITY:

TRURO - DETAILS





MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community
Services.
Last fall the minister announced the construction of a secure treatment facility in Truro.
During
that announcement there was a rather skeptical crowd on hand. The reason they were
skeptical is
because many of them had hands-on experience dealing with children who had behavioural
and
emotional problems and they were also skeptical of a 90 day treatment program, that it would
not
be enough. My question to the minister is, would he please indicate for all members of the
House
what kind of secure treatment facility is being planned for Truro?



HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, the secure
treatment facility
is being planned. We have had the opportunity over the last several months to have several
meetings with the Town of Truro and their town council. We had an opportunity just back
a
couple of months or so ago to show them the final design. We have picked the final location
and
indicated to them that we will be bringing children there. There will be a staff of
approximately
30 trained specialists and we will be bringing people there for stabilization over the 90 day
period as part of our ongoing program for children's services.



MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I am looking for some more details and I am sure the
parents are
looking for more details as well. Concrete walls are just concrete walls, Mr. Minister. What
we
are looking for are programs and highly qualified staff to handle these challenging children
and
youth. That will determine whether the program will be successful.



[Page 1296]

Could the minister please confirm which department is going to be responsible for the overall
programming and staffing of that secure treatment facility?



MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, that will be the Department of Community Services.




MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my final question to the Minister of Community
Services is, the
staff that is required at a secure treatment facility needs to do more than just to control
children
and youth during violent outrages, they need to be able to treat children. You need the proper
staff at that facility. Will the minister confirm here today that a complete children's mental
health
team, including child psychiatrists, will be available on-site in Truro so that our most
vulnerable
children and youth will actually get the treatment that they require, Mr. Minister?



[12:45 p.m.]



MR. CHRISTIE: As I indicated to the honourable member, we will have nursing
staff, teaching
staff, clinical treatment staff and people to help them with development. The staff that will
be
there will be staff that need to help the people that are there. If a psychiatrist is needed, a
psychiatrist will be available as people need one.



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



HEALTH - CIGARETTE TAX: SMOKING RATES - ADDRESS




MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Nova Scotia has the second highest cancer rates in the
country. Our
case rate is 5 per cent higher for women and a staggering 11 per cent higher for men than the
national average. Lung cancer continues to be the biggest cancer killer regardless of gender.
Despite this, the Minister of Health says he doesn't know how much of the increase in
cigarette
tax revenues will go to programs and services designed to help smokers quit. He says he still
hasn't discussed it with the Finance Minister. My question for the Minister of Health is, why
won't he commit the full $20 million increase in cigarette tax revenues to cut smoking rates?




HON. JAMES MUIR: I thank the honourable member for his comments. Just for the
information
of the House, before I came here we made an announcement with regard to the
implementation
of an information technology system for the acute care here in Nova Scotia. One of the
people
who was down to do that was John Malcolm, who is the CEO of the Cape Breton Health
Care
Complex as well as being the CEO of District 8. He chose to start by talking about the
initiative
that was taken, the public places legislation or by-law that has been put in place by CBRM,
before he began that. Now, I just tell you that for your information because it is a step . . .










[Page 1297]

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



MR. DEXTER: More needs to be done to decrease the number of smokers. For
example,
investing in sports and recreation would contribute to healthier lifestyles. The extra revenues
can
also be invested in cancer research and smoking cessation programs. My question is, why has
your government chosen to hoard the cigarette tax revenues instead of using it to reduce the
obscene levels of cancer in this province?



MR. MUIR: The difference between the amount of money that is spent on treating
tobacco-related illnesses here in Nova Scotia and the amount of money that is collected, it
is roughly,
with the increase, about $90 million, I am told. Part of that money goes into general revenue
- it
all goes into general revenue - and obviously some of that money is being committed to
cancer
programs. In terms of the additional monies that will be available through the additional
cigarette
taxes, I will be talking with the Minister of Finance and encouraging him to do what you had
suggested in terms of allocating more funds for smoking cessation programs.



MR. DEXTER: The government has displayed a consistent effort to talk out of both
sides of its
mouth. On the one hand, they tell us they have raised cigarette taxes in an effort to decrease
the
number of smokers and on the other hand, they just can't decide how much, if any, of the $20
million will be used for actual smoking cessation programs. So, once again I am going to ask
the
Minister of Health, if you really care about the health of smokers in this province, why
haven't
you committed the tax windfall to smoking cessation programs that will reduce the rates of
lung
cancer?



MR. MUIR: As the honourable member knows, the decision about the tax increase
was made by
the federal government and, of course, we had to wait for the federal government's
announcement on it. He knows very well that I was a supporter of actually increasing the
price of
tobacco more. I will be discussing this with the Minister of Finance and announcements will
be
made in due course.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.



NAT. RES. - HUNTING LICENCES:

FEE INCREASES - JUSTIFICATION





MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister
of Natural
Resources. The department offers phone-in applications for the moose licence draw. This
electronic application system charges the user $6.90 per call and the fee for handling
applications
is $10. The fee for phone-in applications for deer licences has risen over $1.00 since last
year, yet
the cost to government for operating the system hasn't gone up. There should also be a saving
with the phone-in systems because Natural Resources staff



[Page 1298]

no longer have to go to rural communities in Cape Breton for the moose draw. My question
to
the minister is, how does the minister justify the fee increase?



HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his
question. I think the
honourable member's question highlights prudent management within the Department of
Natural
Resources as well as providing a service to the hunters of Nova Scotia who wish to
participate in
the moose draw with a much easier and accessible way to conduct their chances of winning
the
draw.



MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary. The application fee used
to be the
same, no matter how you applied, now there are two different fees with about a $5.00
difference.
Again, the real cost to government has not changed, so it is hard to figure out why the fee
would
change. Can the minister explain to the House why there are two separate fee amounts?



MR. FAGE: I thank the honourable member for his question. During the former
government's
time at the helm with Natural Resources, a system was developed to hire an outside company
to
expend taxpayers' dollars for the draw. What we have prudently done is gone to the 1-800
number, which is the same as the deer draw, Mr. Speaker, which allows greater access
service to
the clientele in Nova Scotia; the hunters are used to that system, and it saves taxpayers'
dollars. I
would say it was a prudent move.



MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his answers but he
is not
answering the questions that I am looking for. The Auditor General has said that the fee
increases
are not about real costs. That is what the Auditor General is saying, so my final question is,
can
the minister today table any information to show that hunting application fee increases are
not
just another money grab?



MR. FAGE: I thank the honourable member for the question. I think his questions
certainly allow
one to point out that the Auditor General's Report was based on all services of cost recovery.
In
the Department of Natural Resources, whether it is fire protection, whether it is enforcement,
whether it is a licence fee, none of those fees are designed for cost recovery, they are
designed to
help offset the cost of delivering this service, not to fully pay for it.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.



COMMUN. SERV. - KENDRICK REPORT:

DRAFT - OBJECTIONS EXPLAIN





MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, in October 2000, the original draft of the Kendrick
report was
submitted to the Department of Community Services. Dr. Kendrick was seeking input of
minor
editorial matters such as cross-checking of the terms of reference. The input



[Page 1299]

that Dr. Kendrick actually received resulted in quite an extensive final edit, so extensive that
it
took another two months to complete the report. My question is to the Minister of
Community
Services. I ask the Minister of Community Services, what was it about the original draft of
the
Kendrick report that your department so objected to?



HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the original draft submission was made by
Dr. Kendrick
in a rough form. As the honourable member knows, Dr. Kendrick, after that, took an
extensive
tour, he had some other work to do in the United States. When he came back in the early part
of
the year he came to Halifax, and with the department they went over and finalized the report.




MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, it becomes a bit different on this side of the floor. Dr.
Kendrick is a
highly-respected expert in his field. His opinions and insight are requested by organizations
all
over the world, yet this government insisted on extensive changes to Dr. Kendrick's report.
Speculation in the disabled community is such that the original draft contained information
that
would have been embarrassing to the department. I ask the minister, was there anything in
the
Kendrick report that was ordered removed to avoid embarrassment of this government?



MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite right, Dr. Kendrick
is a renowned
and respected expert in his field, which was the very reason we went to get him to do the
report.
He did have extensive consultation, as the member indicated, with groups. There was nothing
in
the report. The report he had sent in was in draft form. He indicated when he started the
report
that he would come up and finalize it, and he did just that.



MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that he is misspeaking in this
House today.
The minister would have us believe that this matter has nothing to do with the original draft
of
the Kendrick report that his government has to hide. If this is true, then I ask the Minister of
Community Services, will he table today a copy of the original draft submitted to his
department
by Dr. Kendrick in October 2000?



MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows from his information,
that Dr.
Kendrick's report was sent by e-mail. He sent up a whole variety of papers. What his
anticipation
was when he came to Halifax was he would be looking at some of those and making his final
recommendations. We don't have a final report from him because he didn't do it until the
final
draft.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.



EDUC. - HFX. REG. SCH. BD.: CLOSURES - MIN. INVOLVEMENT





MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, getting information from the Minister of
Education is
almost like Alice's trip down the rabbit hole, it gets curiouser and curiouser.



[Page 1300]

Yesterday in the House when asked about school closures and the suspicion of political
interference, the minister pleaded complete ignorance. Outside the House, in front of the
press, it
appeared to be a different story. The minister indicated to the press that, in fact, there were
more
schools that were going to close throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. My question to the
minister is, will the minister tell the House which one it is, does she play a role in school
closures
or does she not?



HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I am tempted to ask the honourable member to
go ask
Alice, but I won't. (Laughter) When I was talking to the press, we were having a general
discussion. I said that in a province where student enrolment is declining and is predicted to
continue to decline, there are bound to be more school closures. I was not referring to
specific
schools or specific areas of the province.



MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I think I might have gotten a better answer out of Alice
than what I
got from this minister. In response to the question yesterday, the minister said, ". . . the
minister
is not involved in the school closure process."; no qualifier, no question, she simply was not
involved in the school closure process. If the minister is involved in the process, the fact that
she
says there are more schools closing, then that certainly leaves open the possibility of political
interference, let's say possibly on behalf of the member for Dartmouth South. My question
to the
minister is, will she clarify for the House what she meant, both inside and outside of the
House?
Is she involved in the process or is she not?



MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I just did clarify that but I would be pleased to clarify
it again. The
minister is not involved in school closures. The statement I made was a general statement
regarding schools in Nova Scotia and the declining population.



[1:00 p.m.]



MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, everyone in this House knows the issue of school
closures causes a
great deal of difficulty for parents and students throughout this entire province. The minister
is
sending out two different messages. On one hand she says she has nothing to do with school
closures, and on the other hand she says she is aware there are more school closures coming.
She
said politics had nothing to do with the four schools recently closed in the Halifax Regional
Municipality yet ironically, through some miracle of God, Alderney School in the riding of
the
MLA for Dartmouth South was saved at the last minute. My final supplementary is, if the
minister is aware that there are more schools which will close, will she table today in the
House
the number of schools that will close and which ones they are?



MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there is no such list. I was making a general statement
about
demographic trends in Nova Scotia.









[Page 1301]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



AGRIC. & FISH. - ADI: USER FEES - CONFIRMATION




MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned more about the role
of the new
Agricultural Development Institute. Executive Director Dale Kelly announced yesterday that
ADI
would eventually charge user fees to farmers for some services. Will the Minister of
Agriculture
and Fisheries confirm that he has given the new ADI the power to charge user fees to farmers
and
those user fees are a tax on food?



HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his very
prudent
question. Again, ADI is a farmer-controlled and run service delivery agency which has the
full
power to implement, with consultation, in the industry, what services they want and if the
industry is prepared to pay a fee, then they have that power to do it.



MR. MACDONELL: I guess from that, Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes. This question,
I think,
will be simpler. Will the minister tell the people at ADI not to impose user fees?



MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly I, as minister, will not be imposing upon a
producer-controlled board what limitations they can do in supplying services and how they
can achieve it.
That would not serve the purposes of the agricultural industry in this province or the farmers
of
Nova Scotia.



MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I am amazed at the lack of role that the minister
feels that he
has in this regard considering that he has given ADI $2.2 million of taxpayers' money. The
minister has given this $2.2 million to deliver $5.4 million in services that used to be
delivered
by the department. The minister may say what he likes about the agricultural community
needing
those services and how they are going to have to pay through the nose to get them but why
won't
the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries admit that he just offloaded $3.2 million onto the
backs
of the farmers of Nova Scotia?



MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member certainly knows and has looked
at the
estimates last year and this year, there are more program dollars for the farmers in Nova
Scotia in
last year's budget and this year's budget than there was in previous years. The member also
knows that the industry is in charge of delivering its own services and certainly the member
speaks from both sides of his mouth when on one hand he wants the minister to curtail the
farm
industry's right to provide services by hanging . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



The honourable member for Cape Breton West.









[Page 1302]

ENVIRON. & LBR. - BOILER ROOMS:

YARMOUTH REG. HOSP./VALLEY REG. HOSP. - ORDERS CONFIRM





MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of
Environment
and Labour. My understanding is that on or about April 2000 the Public Safety Division of
his
department issued several orders under the Stationary Engineers Act to the Yarmouth
Regional
Hospital and the Valley Regional Hospital respecting the facilities' boiler rooms. Will the
minister please confirm this fact?



HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, once again the honourable member asks most
interesting
questions here in this House. There are just hundreds and thousands of transactions that
happen
on a regular basis within the department and I am very flattered that he would think that I
would
be aware of each and every one. I will undertake to get him that answer.



MR. MACKINNON: Disappointing but not surprising, Mr. Speaker. I apprised the
Minister of
Environment and Labour the other day in the House that I would raise matters concerning
this
division of his department. I guess he is once again unprepared. These orders were later
rescinded
and eventually spawned an investigation by the professional governing body into the actions
of
officials in that division. Will the minister now explain why these orders were rescinded?




MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the honourable member would want
me to first of
all verify that this has taken place before I started to try to explain why a subsequent action
was
taken. I think that would be prudent under the circumstances.



MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, this minister is hopeless. I will quote a letter dated
September
7, 2000, addressed to the Public Safety Division of the Department of Environment and
Labour.
It is to the director and it is signed by the Chair of the Stationary Engineers Board. "Your
response to the board's letter does not provide the board with a satisfactory explanation. The
board will be taking further action. An appointment has been made with the Minister of
Labour
and, depending upon the outcome of that meeting, the board will be requesting the
Department of
Justice to undertake a prosecution for a breach of the Stationary Engineers Act."



My question to the minister is, given the circumstances of this particular case, will
the minister
explain why his office interfered with this case - because there is clear evidence of that - and
why
safety standards have been compromised, against the directive of the senior safety officials
in his
department?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, there are two
questions
there, if you would like to answer one.







[Page 1303]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for giving me
the
opportunity to assure the House and Nova Scotians that safety is always of paramount
concern to
our department, and all decisions are taken in accordance with maintaining that standard.




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



ECON. DEV. - SYSCO PORT FACILITIES:

NEGOTIATIONS (CBRM) - CONFIRM





MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible
for the
dismantling of Sysco. CBRM says that they will buy the Sysco wharves for $250,000. They
have
developed a long-term economic strategy that includes transportation infrastructure such as
port
development, including Sysco and the federal port facilities linked with road, rail and air
facilities; this plan gives them an excellent chance to grow their economy. Can the minister
advise us whether he is negotiating with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality on this offer
to
purchase the Sysco port facilities?



HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated to a number of previous
questions,
there are 27 proposals that Ernst & Young are reviewing and one of them does in fact
come from
CBRM, and involves the acquisition of the port facility. I met with the mayor and
representatives
of the Economic Development Committee from the council. We discussed what their plan
entails, and no final decision has been made yet.



MR. CORBETT: Again to the minister responsible for the divesting of Sysco. The
government
has given up all hope of divesting of Sysco, and it is an ongoing concern. In fact, the minister
is
so intent on selling off Sysco in a piecemeal fashion it seems he doesn't realize that selling
those
port facilities to a private interest may cut the legs out from under CBRM for its long-term
economic health. Will the minister, in the interest of fairness, agree today to keep Sysco port
facilities and those lands included in the CBRM proposal out of the liquidation of Sysco?




MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly concerned with the economic future
of Cape
Breton, and that facility can potentially play a large part in that. The question is, what kind
of
plan comes forward that has long-term sustainability without continued provincial
involvement?



MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, he seems to be more worried about protecting the
interests of
private operators than of the municipality. Cape Breton certainly deserves its share of the
offshore boom, when it happens. This government has declared in its budget that
transportation
infrastructure is a critical link to our communities and the health of our economy. Will the
minister please abandon this desperate strategy of selling off Sysco's



[Page 1304]

assets piecemeal and develop a divestment strategy that recognizes the best use of these
assets,
such as selling the Sysco port facilities directly to CBRM?



MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as we move through the process, the decommission and
liquidation,
we are going to carefully weigh the proposals to determine what is in the best interests of the
taxpayers of Nova Scotia, whether they be in Cape Breton or in Yarmouth.



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



SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. - EQUALIZATION: UNSM -
PROPOSAL





MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: My question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia
and
Municipal Relations. Yesterday the government welcomed a new proposal for municipal
equalization from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. The minister says there is
universal
support for equalization. My question to the minister is simple, if his equalization proposal
is so
universally supported, why did the UNSM have to make a proposal of their own?



HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I want to thank the honourable member for raising the
question
because he brings forward a matter which we have brought to Nova Scotians and municipal
units
in this province for consultation. We have extended the period of that consultation based on
the
representations that were made to us by municipal units throughout the province and of
course,
the UNSM. The fact that his group doesn't understand the concept of consultation should not
interfere with the process.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. BOUDREAU: It is obvious the jury is still out on equalization. The plan is to
take property
tax dollars from one area and ship them to another. Will the minister confirm the plan is still
to
transfer property tax dollars between municipal units?



MR. MACISAAC: Again, I want to thank the honourable member for the opportunity
to address
this and for the opportunity to share with the honourable member exactly what is happening
and
that is that the UNSM has agreed and sought the opportunity to bring forward a proposal
which
would address the concerns relative to roles and responsibilities and equalization. I indicated
that
I welcomed their involvement, I welcomed the fact that they indicated they wanted to be able
to
have an opportunity to address this important topic and we look forward to their
deliberations.



MR. BOUDREAU: It is obvious the UNSM deserves much credit for its efforts to
improve this
plan of the minister's, the UNSM certainly deserves a lot of credit. Many are now concerned
the
90 day consultation period means the minister will not have to face this House with the final
proposal. My question is, will the minister now assure members of this



[Page 1305]

House that any equalization proposal will be tabled in this House before it is adopted by this
government?



MR. MACISAAC: Again, I thank the honourable member for the opportunity to
address this
topic and I note with interest that he indicated his full support for the concept that was
brought
forward by us for consultation and it would be interesting to know whether he still has full
support for that.



Any program that would be brought forward would require some changes to
regulations, perhaps
changes to legislation and inasmuch as those matters would be required, of course, the House
would be consulted and made aware . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.



TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - VIA RAIL DERAILMENT
(STEWIACKE): SAFETY
MEASURES - DETAILS





MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Last Thursday, one short week ago, a horrific
accident
occurred in Stewiacke. We have a responsibility in the aftermath to try to learn something
from
this accident, to do everything we can to make sure it does not happen again. In part, that
means
taking a look at things that are within our control. The province regulates two short-line
railways,
the Windsor-Hantsport line and the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia line.



[1:15 p.m.]



I want to ask the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, what measures have
you put in
place in the light of the tragedy - or near tragedy - in Stewiacke to ensure the tracks
controlled by
this province are safe?



HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is absolutely
correct. The two
short-lines do fall under the jurisdiction of the Province of Nova Scotia; the line, of course,
through Stewiacke where the ensuing accident took place last week comes under the federal
Department of Transport.



At the present time, Mr. Speaker, we have a piece of legislation before this House
which will
provide us with the safety side of administration of those two short-lines. At the time of the
passage of that piece of legislation, I would assume that there will be some regulations
coming
forth with respect to safety.



MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, that legislation aside, the immediacy is crucial
with regard to
safety on these rail lines. One of the identified factors in the Stewiacke accident seems to be
that
the switch was not protected by a so-called Greenleaf lock, which



[Page 1306]

is highly resistant to tampering. I want to ask the minister responsible for Nova Scotia's
short-line railways, can you tell the House how many switches there are on those two lines
and what
security features are in place to ensure that they are not tampered with?



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that the honourable member opposite has
already
decided how the accident came about with regard to the switch. I understand from the
investigation that is ongoing with the federal Department of Transport that they have not as
yet
determined whether or not that switch was functioning correctly.



MR. ESTABROOKS: When incidents such as Stewiacke and the rail incident occur,
people
need reassurances that such things are not going to likely happen again. So I ask the minister,
can
you assure Nova Scotians that rail tracks that this province controls and that this minister is
responsible for are safe by undertaking to table in this House a full safety audit of these two
short-lines in this province?



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member for
Timberlea-Prospect that
the Department of Transportation and Public Works and myself share his concern with
regard to
safety on our rail lines. I can assure him that we will take every measure that is required to
ensure
that that safety is maintained.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.



HEALTH - TOBACCO CONTROL STRATEGY:

REPORT TABLING - DELAY EXPLAIN





DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Today
I would like
to table for the House a copy of a report that the Minister of Health has been sitting on since
October 2000, last year. That report is entitled, A Comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy
for
Nova Scotians. Not long ago the minister told the House that Nova Scotians would have to
wait
until October 2001 to see this report. Well, there it is today. Will the minister tell Nova
Scotians
what watering down he had to do that required this report to gather dust for a year?



HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the government is moving forward with a
comprehensive
tobacco strategy and, indeed, there are some things that have been implemented already
including
allocating money in this year's budget for smoking cessation programs. We will be
introducing
(Interruptions) It is our intention to be introducing some smoke-free legislation in the fall.
We
have the report; obviously we are studying the thing. Just to refresh the honourable member's
memory, I am told that a government of which he was part had legislation prepared and ready
to
go and wouldn't do it back in (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.







[Page 1307]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the minister again identifies . . .



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



DR. SMITH: . . . government when the other Parties wouldn't support that kind of
legislation.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: That's right! That's right! (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. Everything was going so well too.
(Laughter)



The honourable member for Dartmouth East on your first supplementary.



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, Page 19 of this report recommends raising tobacco taxes
by $8.00 a
carton, the report that has gone to the minister. Last month the minister's government raised
the
taxes only $4.00 a carton. The question to the minister is, will he tell Nova Scotians why his
government caved in to external pressures and went against his own report, raising tobacco
prices
by only $4.00 a carton?



MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, when asked, following the
announcement of
that price increase of tobacco, I indicated that given my druthers as Health Minister, I would
like
to have seen it go up $8.00 a carton. So my feelings are consistent with that report. I can tell
the
honourable member that that decision was made by the federal government and I continue
to
lobby with my colleagues and the Minister of Finance for a further increase.



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the honourable minister that they
have a
majority government and they have a lot of jurisdiction in this area. The report from the
minister's own Tobacco Control Unit was too harsh for that government to be politically
palatable; the minister wimped out. Will the minister tell the House why he is endangering
the
lives of Nova Scotians by leaving the report to simmer on the back burner for an entire year?




MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it was Minister Stewart, I believe, who did chicken out. We
had
indicated that we would have a comprehensive tobacco strategy in place by the end of this
year
and indeed, we will.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.









[Page 1308]

AGRIC. & FISH. - PROD. TECH. BRANCH:

ADI REPLACEMENT - COST-EFFECTIVENESS





MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will be directing my question to the
Minister of
Agriculture and Fisheries. The Agricultural Development Institute will be operating on a
budget
of $2.2 million from this government. I want to ask the minister, can he advise if a
cost-benefit
analysis has been done to ensure Nova Scotians that Bev Connell's ADI is a cost-effective
replacement for the production technology branch of the Department of Agriculture, that the
minister gutted last spring?



HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear a question in that but I really think
the
honourable member, when he calls into question the integrity of the agricultural industry and
their ability to hire the best individuals possible in this province, it smacks of a person who
doesn't understand quality hiring.



MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I think farmers in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians
generally,
would think that when the government is dealing with their tax dollars that they have the
expertise to hire the best people and keep them in the department, rather than let them go.
Again
to the minister, ADI is the fruit of a proposal by the agricultural community in response to
last
year's cuts in his department. I am not clear and I think Nova Scotians are unclear actually
as to
whether or not ADI is a Crown Corporation or quite what it is. Can the minister tell us if ADI
will be required to make an annual public report and if it will be subject to the scrutiny of the
Auditor General and Freedom of Information Act?



MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. I would
remind the
honourable member that ADI is a producer-controlled board and ADI does the hiring, assigns
the
service, in consultation with the industry. Dollars expended by ADI certainly will be
accounted
for to the department at the end of the year.



MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, it seems that ADI, with the message the minister
is giving us,
will be having its own identity problems. I am told ADI is now finalizing its mission
statement
and business plan, that is trying to figure out exactly what it is to do. My final supplementary
to
the minister is, can the minister tell us what criteria he used in the absence of a mission
statement
and a business plan to justify putting $2.2 million into ADI, or is he simply too busy making
jobs
for his friends?



MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member does a disservice to the
agricultural
community when they are in charge of the services and the programs that will be delivered.
These individuals certainly know, through consultation with every commodity group, what
services they want and how they want to deliver them.









[Page 1309]

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



NAT. RES. - ENERGY STRATEGY: CONSULTATIONS - ADEQUACY





MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister
responsible for
the energy strategy. As part of the development of a new energy strategy for Nova Scotia, the
government has promised it will consult widely with the public stakeholders and energy
experts.
A series of public meetings are being held across the province at the following locations:
Bible
Hill, Yarmouth, Middleton, Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, Halifax and Bridgewater. My
question to
the minister is, given the importance of the energy strategy to the future of the province, does
the
minister believe that this consultation is adequately widespread?



HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question
because it
is a very good question. Seven public meetings offered an opportunity for people who would
like
to make an oral presentation on how they see the energy strategy of this province unfolding.
I
would also like to add, there is the Web site and e-mail, as well as written submissions, plus
the
group will be meeting with concerned groups or citizens individually as well.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the one glaring omission here is that
there are no
meetings scheduled for Cumberland County, and Pictou County is also omitted from the
public
meeting process. Surprisingly, Guysborough County is also omitted, even though Sable gas
comes ashore at that location. My question to the minister, my first supplementary is, will
the
minister commit to adding meetings so the widest possible public input can be accessed?




MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly, in the names of the communities that were listed
Port
Hawkesbury is deemed to be central. On the issue of public meetings and various forms of
contact, there will be more than ample opportunity for Nova Scotians and, I have to
emphasize,
this is for all Nova Scotians to put forward their suggestions on how they see energy strategy,
usage and consumption unfolding around this province for the coming decade.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the short answer to my
supplementary was no,
from the minister. I find it strange that the minister feels there is no more need for wider
consultation in the province and, in effect, can justify that his own area is not even being
consulted by these public hearings. My final supplementary to the minister is, remote rural
areas
of the province and provincial centres of traditional energy production are being omitted
from
this public consultation process, will the minister consult more widely with Nova Scotians
on
this important issue?







[Page 1310]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member raises the proper concern that wide
consultations need to be held. Certainly there is the public forum, with the locations
announced
which are central to a number of regions of the province, but there are also, and I have to
emphasize, a number of other forums, the committee will be meeting with and consulting
with
Nova Scotians. E-mail, the phone, private meetings, consultations, all of those are available
. . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.



HEALTH - HEP. C: FED. FUNDING - SPECIFICS




MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.
This
province's failures with respect to those suffering from hepatitis C is a stain on the reputation
of
the province, one that has deepened with the election of this government because of their
failure
to live up to the commitments they made before they were elected. Dr. Peltekian, the only
hepatologist in Atlantic Canada, released a report card last week which gave this province
a lot of
failing grades. I am not surprised. We have learned that this province was given an extra
$300,000 this year in extra federal dollars earmarked for hepatitis C services. I want to ask
the
minister this, what services, over and above what is already being offered to hepatitis C
patients
in this province will you be spending this money on?



[1:30 p.m.]



HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, referring to the report card, if I am not mistaken,
I don't
think I saw a failing grade on it. That does not imply that there isn't more work to do and we
do
recognize that, and I can tell you that that money will be targeted for what it was intended.
The
agreement between the provincial government, which I signed off on a couple of days ago,
was
for services that will support people who have hepatitis C and that money will be used for
that,
and we have to report that to the federal government.



MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question was with respect to those services that are
over and
above those already being offered. We met with the Atlantic Hepatitis C Coalition. The
Health
Department told them it doesn't want to be responsible for developing a strategy to deal with
a
hepatitis C strategy. They told the coalition that this was their responsibility. The coalition
developed a proposal to do a strategy and this government responded by giving them
$20,000,
not only to develop a strategy . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.







[Page 1311]

MR. DEXTER: . . . but to fund six community support centres as well. This is a
disgrace. If the
Department of Health . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.



MR. DEXTER: . . . won't develop a strategy, will you at least commit to adequately
funding the
coalition and Dr. Peltekian to develop one?



MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member, I think, knows that Nova Scotia
was one of
the very first provinces in Canada to recognize hepatitis C outside of the window, and one
of the
reasons for that was the Department of Health, through its public health office, wrote letters
to
something like 3,200 Nova Scotians who had received blood transfusions. As a result of that,
this
province was among the very first in the country to provide support and services for people
who
were infected outside the window.



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



The honourable member for Dartmouth South on an introduction.



MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you
and to all
members of the House a guest of the Legislature in the Speaker's Gallery, Lori Mosher. Lori
Mosher used to be employed in the PC caucus office, now the Government caucus office,
and
moved to Holland and is now happily married and known as Lori Duin. It gives me great
pleasure to introduce her to the House and I would ask the House to give her a warm
welcome in
her visit back to Nova Scotia. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's on an
introduction.



MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the moment and I really don't
have that
much to say but I would just like to introduce somebody in our east gallery, Mr. Andrew
Johnson, who has worked in many parts of Canada but, wisely, in semi-retirement - I know
he is
very busy at home, et cetera, fixing up a beautiful lot - settled in the lodge, which is very
close to
Hubbards. Welcome to our gallery today. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North on an introduction.




MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today and make an
introduction. We
have a couple of guests in the Speaker's Gallery from Cape Breton, from the community of
Sydney, John and Barbara Shaw, and I would like to extend our appreciation for their being
able
to be here today. (Applause)







[Page 1312]

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege. On
Tuesday, after
estimates, I spoke to the Minister of Human Resources regarding a question on a certain
funding
paid by his department to Thompson Associates. On a question on Wednesday, the minister,
once
again, did not have the information, but indicated that that information would be brought to
this
House. To date, it is now 1:35 p.m., that information has not been provided. The minister
indicated clearly that he would do so to this House and he has not lived up to that. I would
ask
you to make a ruling on that and order the minister to make that information available to this
House.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, actually, I did have the information for
the member,
however, I thought he would probably ask me a question, and failing asking me a question,
I
thought he would go across to the Red Chamber and join us at the estimates for the
Department
of Human Resources.



MR. SPEAKER: Order please. The providing of information by the minister, as I
recall, he did
mention he would provide it however, I didn't hear him say a specific time. It is clearly not
a
point of privilege.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the permission of the House
to revert to
the order of business, Government Notices of Motion.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



RESOLUTION NO. 554




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 just last year the members of this House passed legislation which recognizes
Yom
haShoah as Holocaust Memorial Day in Nova Scotia; and







[Page 1313]

Whereas haShoah, (the Holocaust) refers to the state-sponsored, systematic
persecution and
annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945;
and



Whereas 6 million Jewish men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis and
their
collaborators;



Therefore be it resolved that all members recognize the significance of this day which
stands
both as a symbol of one of history's most treacherous incidents of man's inhumanity to man
and,
therefore, as a time to honour those victims of the Holocaust and its survivors and those who
lost
their lives fighting to end the tyranny of the Nazis and their collaborators.



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.



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



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



GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



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



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise
today to
address another subject that has come to my attention from my constituents; my constituents
from whom I learn a great deal about the real issues faced by Nova Scotians. I



[Page 1314]

want to talk about a group of people who offer an incalculable service to Nova Scotia but do
so
under a great deal of strain and stress. I am talking about family caregivers, people who
provide
medical care and support to members of their family in their own homes.



What my constituents are telling me is that the promise is very different from the
reality when it
comes to home care. As one person put it to me, home care is very much over-sold to
families
when a loved one is about to be released from the hospital. So I want to talk a little bit about
that
today. To put it into context I would like to talk about three particular cases who are, in some
ways, in different parts of the continuum.



One case, which came up during the recent by-election, was of a woman who lived
next door to
her sister, her sister became ill and was taken to the hospital. Much to the family's surprise
one
day, the sick woman's daughter got a call saying come and get your mother, she is being
discharged. Neither the mother nor the family were ready, it came as a great surprise to them
given what they knew about the woman's health; nevertheless, they had no choice but to take
their mother home. Under circumstances of already very great stress, this woman was taken
back
to her home and collapsed on the doorstep. My constituent, who was speaking to me, said
that
she will never forget the look on her sister's face as she lay there on her own doorstep. The
family had to call an ambulance and the woman was readmitted to the hospital through the
emergency department and she passed away a few weeks later.



I think this story is a symptom of one part of the reality of home care in Nova Scotia
and that is
that people are being asked to leave hospitals before they are ready, before their families are
ready.



The second case is of a 63 year old woman who is currently looking after her disabled
husband
who needs a constant supply of oxygen. She has been looking after him in their home for a
number of years and she does receive some home care, but she was telling me about all the
problems that she is experiencing and she is very articulate about exactly what those
problems
are.



They are very similar to the third case that I want to talk about, that of a 54 year old
man who is
himself disabled, looking after his 87 year old mother in their home. They also live with
another
disabled brother. The mother has Alzheimer's and is not able to care for herself and so the
care
falls to this 54 year old man. He is in a different place in the home care continuum because
his
home care has been withdrawn. No care at all has been provided since about the middle of
February. It is a very difficult case, factually, Mr. Speaker. I am not going to pretend
otherwise.
But it is difficult to get to the heart of the case because right now I, as this family's MLA, am
embroiled in issues about just trying to get information about this case. Getting home care
to
speak to me as the MLA - and we went through a bit of a rigmarole to get consent which
home
care then decided was not necessary in the first place - now that I would like to get a look at
the
file itself, I am being told no, I cannot see the file



[Page 1315]

without applying under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which as
we
all know can take a month or more.



So, it is a difficult case factually which we are still trying to get to the bottom of, but
the issues in
that case are exactly the same as the issues raised by other family caregivers. The issues in
a
nutshell are a lack of consistency, lack of continuity and a desperate need for standards that
are
adhered to.



Let me talk very briefly about some of the issues that my constituents are raising with
me. These
are people who are experiencing home care, they know what it is like in their home, they
know
what the reality is.



First of all, there is a problem simply with finding staff. This could be a function of
low wages, a
shortage of trained people - whatever the reason is, the fact is that there is a shortage of
trained
home care workers. This problem shows itself when the government announces that there
is
going to be more hours provided for respite care. Well, the 63 year old woman that I talked
about
earlier told me that she has been allocated those additional hours but the home care agency
does
not have the staff to actually provide it. So, although in theory she gets an increase in respite,
her
reality is that it is simply not available because the agencies do not have the staff to provide
the
service. That is a big problem. I hope the government is listening when I say that it is one
thing to
announce an improvement in service, it is quite another thing to actually deliver it.



One of the recurring problems in the home care business is low wages. Home care
workers are
not paid a great deal of money, close to minimum wage. This results in a high turnover of
staff
and high turnover is at the root of many of the problems my constituents are telling me about.




The high turnover means that there is a relatively inexperienced staff base. It means
there is an
inconsistency in care. It means there is a lack of continuity in care and this is something that
comes up with every person I speak to. When you keep having to have a new person come
in, it
is hard on the patients who need someone that they know and can trust. It is hard on the
family
caregivers who also need someone they know and can trust, but because the new people keep
having to be trained and retrained and retrained, so the actual time available for respite
shrinks
and shrinks, pretty soon the caregivers say, no more of this, we cannot keep training new
people.



[1:45 p.m.]



The high turnover and the low wages also have another pernicious effect and that is
the opening
that it leaves for private-for-profit agencies who pay their workers more to step in. There is
no
question, Mr. Speaker, that in Nova Scotia today there are two tiers of home care. There is
one
level for people who can afford to pay for their own care and there is another



[Page 1316]

quite different level for those who cannot. This leads to a great deal of stress. As one person
put
it to me, the problem with the way things work now, is that the system generates very quickly
two patients: the one who is ill, and the family caregiver or caregivers who are very quickly
stressed out by the enormous physical and emotional demands of caring for a loved one in
their
own home without the necessary supports.



So the bottom line, Mr. Speaker, there are three points I want to make. First of all,
Nova Scotians
are being made to leave hospitals before they and, just as importantly, before their families
are
ready. Caring for a loved one at home is a difficult task at the best of times, never mind when
there aren't adequate supports.



Secondly, Home Care Nova Scotia is not being given the resources that it needs to
deliver the
services that are needed. They are doing their best with their limited resources but with the
resources they have they cannot afford to pay home care workers the kind of wages that
would
keep them. This is another form of downloading. What it is is downloading medical care to
families, so that inside the homes of Halifax Fairview, inside the homes of every single
member
in this House there are private dramas happening every day and every night of people
struggling
to do what they can to keep their sanity, to keep their own health as they care for their loved
ones.
That is part of the downloading that this government is doing in the health care system. They
are
starving home care of the resources they need and the result is this stress and strain on the
family
caregivers.



The third and last point I want to make, Mr. Speaker, is that there is a group of Nova
Scotians
who are offering an incalculable service to the province by caring for their loved ones but
they
are suffering in silence, behind closed doors, inside the four walls of their homes, isolated,
feeling cut off and alone, they do not know how many people there are that share their
anguish at
what is happening to them and their families. These people need support and they deserve
support. And my question to this government is, are you listening to these people?



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



MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and make a
number of
interventions going into Supply today. I couldn't help but pay attention to the noise that was
generated outside Province House on Granville Street. It is a sharp reminder that we, as
legislators, have an obligation to be sensitive to the issues that confront us here on a daily
basis
and that is certainly true of the issue that is happening at the Halifax Regional School Board.
Obviously, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health and, indeed, the Minister
of
Environment and Labour would certainly have been welcome to go out and speak to the
striking
workers at the Halifax Regional School Board.









[Page 1317]

Mr. Speaker, I am quite confident that if these three elected officials were sitting in
Opposition, I
don't think you could get the doors open fast enough, they would be rushing out to greet the
crowds and pound away at the government for being negligent in its duties, as it has in the
past.
The members of the Conservative caucus, it was almost like they were standing at the
windows
waiting for crowds to show up so they could run out and greet the crowds, but here today we
can't even get them to leave their seats. They are scared to death to leave the Chamber for
fear
that the crowds may elicit a little bit of an emotional response and, God forbid, actually get
through to these ministers and make them realize what is happening at the Halifax Regional
School Board.



Yesterday, the Minister of Environment and Labour, during debates on occupational
health and
safety - a major component of his department, representing 75 per cent of the budget within
the
Labour Division of the Department of Environment and Labour - wouldn't even stand in his
place and defend his own department. He had a number of backbenchers get up and read
from a
written text, written scripts that were prepared by some spin doctor within the department
or
within the bureaucratic level. I find that absolutely shameful that the Minister of
Environment
and Labour would sit there quietly and not even address one of the most pressing issues of
the
day in his department.



We have hundreds of very well-meaning, hard-working Nova Scotians who are on
the picket
line, and the Minister of Environment and Labour doesn't even want to hear what they have
to
say. I think that is absolutely deplorable, absolutely deplorable that the Minister of
Environment
and Labour won't even sensitize himself to the real issues that are before his department.




Yes, the conciliator from his department is meeting with both parties upon request,
Mr. Speaker,
it is far more complex and serious than just that. We have occupational health and safety
issues
in this province. We tabled item after item yesterday, clear evidence of violations. I would
ask
the minister if, in fact, he has those 152 reports from the JOSH Committees. We requested
that of
the minister yesterday, to provide that within 24 hours and to give a report. Yes, the minister
will
have ample opportunity, he will have 15 minutes to speak on this issue when I am finished.
Oh,
he doesn't like that, he is waving his hands like it is a big bother.



Well, I am sorry. It is about time the minister started to listen to the people of Nova
Scotia, listen
to what is happening at the Halifax Regional School Board. It is an absolute disgrace. When
we
have children who are afraid to go to the washrooms because of replacement workers; that
is the
term we always had in my community, and other communities have other terminologies,
some
refer to them as scab workers, some refer to them as 100 and other different names.









[Page 1318]

But the fact of the matter is we have children who are afraid to move around in their
own school
environment because this minister, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health have
failed to ensure security checks on these individuals travelling through the schools. Why
would
an individual, a stranger, a man spend an extensive amount of time in a girls' washroom,
during
the day? That is totally unwarranted and unacceptable. This was brought to the ministers'
attention, it was brought up to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health. What
are
they doing? They are doing nothing.



Mr. Speaker, they say everything is under control. All these workers are being
accompanied by
supervisors. Well, where were the supervisors when over $20,000 worth of equipment was
stolen
from one school? Six computers stolen out of one school and not a whisper, and the other
report
of a replacement worker mixing floor stripper and Javex. Can you just imagine the toxic
reaction
on that alone in a school and exposing our children to that. There is no evidence that these
air
filters have been properly maintained. There is no evidence that the chlorination filtration
systems have been properly maintained.



Expecting the principals and administrators in schools to look after something of such
a technical
nature, Mr. Speaker, just does not cut it. It does not cut it and the Minister of Education has
an
absolute responsibility to ensure that our children, the children in the Halifax Regional
School
Board, are in the most pleasant, pleasing and conducive environment for learning. All the
extracurricular programs are cut out, except for that one replacement worker who decides to
go
in, dress up, stick a cigarette in his mouth, smoking a cigarette and play with the children's
band
equipment. Where was the supervisor on that? Where was the Minister of Education, the
Minister of Health and, God forbid, the Minister of Environment and Labour?



Mr. Speaker, in all my years in the House he has to be the minister, in my view, who
knows the
least amount of his department. We saw today, when I raised the issue of political
interference in
the Public Safety Division of his department, when inspectors go out and they issue what is
equivalent to a court order and what happens - they are called to the mat - and they are saying
rescind those orders or else.



Do you know what, Mr. Speaker, for fear of their jobs, they tried to fight that for
months and
months. This government puts money ahead of the safety of the people of Nova Scotia. That
is
clearly documented evidence and the minister knows it. On Tuesday I alerted the minister
to the
fact that I would be raising political improprieties in that division of his department and that
is a
very pronounced one but, in fairness to him, he inherited that mess from his predecessor, his
seatmate, who was the chief architect of political interference, but we know how he feels
about
safety issues. He brought in a law last year to bring in sunset clauses and to do away with the
safety laws of this province. Little did we know when he brought in the Stationary Engineers
Act,
that was to cover up the political chicanery in his department.







[Page 1319]

Now we have the safety and well-being of the children within the Halifax Regional
School Board
being compromised because of politics and mean-spiritedness coupled with such an
autocratic,
single-minded, dictatorial, God forbid if I should use that term and I don't believe it is
permissible in this House, Mr. Speaker, but I would say overpowering individual on all his
superiors and that being one Mr. David Reid who is out of control and is forcing this very
unpleasant, unnecessary situation on the children, the parents, the teachers, and indeed the
taxpayers of the Halifax Regional Municipality and indeed the taxpayers of Nova Scotia.
Where
are the ministers who are ultimately responsible?



Mr. Speaker, this is an absolute disgrace, using cheerleaders from the backbenches
to read from
prepared scripts for which they are not even fully abreast of the facts. As the member for
Queens
read his prepared text yesterday, raising the spectre about the Halifax school board taking the
union to court, well, that sounds pretty strong and good public relations and we're on the side
of
right and those bad workers there are on the side of wrong. What he forgot to read because
he
wasn't aware, I am sure, was that the Labour Relations Board threw that out twice already
as
being bogus. So they are wasting taxpayers' money to continue to beat up on these workers
for
no reason at all because Mr. Reid is out of control and nobody is holding him accountable.




[2:00 p.m.]



These ministers, one even had the decency to go out and speak to the stakeholders
that put them
in here, the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. It's an absolute disgrace, it's the first time I have ever
seen
a crowd of ministers that will not address individuals who have come here, well-meaning
Nova
Scotians, to express their concerns. Hiding in the bunker. Well, let's not get too excited about
the
member for Halifax Bedford Basin. The best we got from her is milk and cookies. That's
about
the best we've got on this issue.



Mr. Speaker, we don't (Interruptions) Off the rails, indeed. She is off the rails. This
is a very
serious and major responsibility that's on our shoulders and that's to protect the interests of
these
children. Make sure that they are given the best environment, the best opportunities for their
education, their future. That government is sitting idly by, hiding behind bureaucratic
wrangling,
red tape and spin doctors.



It's easy to go out and get an inspection and get a clean bill of health when they know
you're
coming. Put an announcement on your PA system, the Department of Labour is coming.
Well,
that's some independent assessment. That's exactly what they did at Westray. In fact, if you
read
the report of the Westray Inquiry, that's what was happening. The company officials knew
the
day before that the Department of Labour officials were coming and they would go out and
spread coal dust suppressant around. (Interruption) That's right. They took the bubble gum
out.







[Page 1320]

Well, this is not a time for the Minster of Environment and Labour to be sitting over
there idly
while the children's health, well-being and their educational opportunities go down the drain.
Not
acceptable. Mr. Speaker, he won't even answer a question in this House. He refers it to
everybody. It's an absolute disgrace. And where is the Minister of Education? Where did all
this
problem come from? The slashing and burning.



We have some good news for the people of Nova Scotia. Yes. The Public Accounts
Committee
has invited Mr. Reid and other senior officials from the Halifax school board to Public
Accounts
for an accountability session. We'll find out what's going on. They may not give it to the
Auditor
General, but we'll find out one way or the other. He's not going to be left uncontrolled too
much
longer.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honorable member's time has expired.



The honourable member for Dartmouth North on an introduction.



MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me the introduction and I
thank the
member for Sackville-Beaver Bank for giving me the opportunity. I want you to know that
in the
east gallery there are a number of individuals who in fact are some of the striking janitors
who
are in here listening to the debate today. I think that this House should offer them a warm
welcome. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed. I would echo those sentiments, welcome to our guests
in the
gallery and welcome to all our guests.



The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.



MR. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin where I left off last night
during late
debate. Unfortunately, late debate isn't always an opportunity to express enough during
debate on
particular issues.



Mr. Speaker, the resolution that I spoke about last night was the opportunity that we
need to take
as Members of this Legislative Assembly and as Nova Scotians to recognize the hard work
of
volunteers. Frankly, today is probably a better day to do that because today is the day in Nova
Scotia that we recognize people from right across this province. I want to point out to
members
of this House and to all Nova Scotians the fact that we have had a number of people in my
constituency who have contributed greatly to the health, the well-being and the betterment
of life
in Nova Scotia. Today, across the road, at a ceremony, one particular constituent of
Sackville-Cobequid, the member for . . .









[Page 1321]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I was given the
nod from the
Minister of Environment and Labour that he was going to speak on this issue this afternoon,
just
when I was doing my dissertation. Where is he? Now we are talking about volunteers, when
we
have an important . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. The honourable
member has been
around this Legislature long enough to know full well that the Speaker in this House has to
recognize an honourable member who is on his feet. I recognize the member for
Sackville-Beaver Bank.



MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, the issue that I was speaking about last night, and will
continue on
today, is the issue about the support of volunteers through our community. I was about to say
that
an individual, a constituent of the member for Sackville-Cobequid, Mr. Gordon Morgan was
recognized today by the province with respect to his efforts and his energies around the
community of Sackville. I want to congratulate Mr. Morgan for what he has done.



Mr. Speaker, quite often, people like Gordon Morgan don't get the kind of recognition
that they
so rightfully deserve. There are three people that I want to take an extra bit of time and
express a
sincere thank you, not to these people but to their families. Although it is a difficult thing to
say,
the three people I am talking about are people who have passed away over the last year. All
three
of them, I consider people who have contributed greatly to the Province of Nova Scotia and
particularly our community.



The first person that I want bring to the attention of this House and Nova Scotians is
a personal
friend of mine and a friend of the member for Sackville-Cobequid, and his name is Paul
Theriault. Paul fought a courageous battle with leukemia. Paul, during his fight with
leukemia,
actually continued volunteering in various capacities throughout the community. I want to
point
out that Paul's efforts and energies that he put forward on behalf of the environment that he
lived
in, particularly the area of Upper Sackville where he was so greatly concerned about the
Sackville landfill, will have a lasting legacy with the people who live in that area, because
Paul's
efforts and energies were part of the effort and the process to move forward to close what
was
considered the worst-run landfill in Nova Scotia.



Paul was more than just a person who was concerned about his environment, he was
concerned
greatly about the young people of his community. He contributed in a fantastic way to sport
and
recreation, leisure activities. He was the president of Springfield Lake Recreation
Association, he
coached minor baseball, he contributed in many ways to the well-being of young people in
our
community. Paul's loss, to his family and to our community will be greatly missed. I certainly
know that it will be difficult to fill the shoes that Paul has left behind, but I am hoping that
someone will come along and do that.







[Page 1322]

Mr. Speaker, the second person that I wanted to address and speak about was Foster
Burke.
Foster Burke was the principal at Sackville Heights Junior High School when I was a student
at
that school. Foster was known by the students as a firm-fist type of principal. He ruled the
school
with authority. Many of us, as students, not only respected Mr. Burke but we feared him to
some
extent.



It turns out that his fist had a heart inside of it. He contributed greatly to the
development of the
young people of Sackville, over and above his work as a principal. He contributed to the
River
Lake Development Association, where he was the president. This River Lake group operated
a
number of sports fields and recreation facilities. He also coached, umpired and managed
minor
baseball organizations in Sackville for numbers of years, even though his children had since
moved out of the system. He continued on as a mentor, as a guide, as a person who would
help
the young people of our community. Foster's family will be well remembered by the people
of
Sackville, and Foster will be well remembered by the people of Sackville for the hard work
that
he did.



As well, just a few short months ago another friend, Mr. John Sperdakes, who
contributed to
sport and recreation to young people in our community, passed away. John was a small man
with
a big heart who showed what community spirit is all about. He guided and coached young
people
through many sporting activities. He drove them where they needed to go. He helped them
with
their young lives and he moulded many people in Sackville who have gone on to great things.
John actually was a constituent of the member for Sackville-Cobequid, and I am sure he
would
agree that John's passing will be greatly missed by a large number of people in our
community.



Mr. Speaker, I spoke yesterday to some extent about the volunteer fire service in our
community.
Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to talk about the hard work of those volunteer
chiefs
and those volunteer firefighters who put so much time, effort and energy into protecting us
and to
making sure that we sleep safely at night. I want to say that the Hammonds Plains Fire
Department, which has been in existence for a number of years, they handle over 200 calls
a year,
and is a growing fire department in a growing community. This month they will be
welcoming in
10 new volunteers. The Chief has been in the role of Chief for just over a year. He has done
a
great job. His name is Rob Cohoon. Rob has certainly taken on the role of leadership in that
department at a time when the community is going through some very tenuous growing pains
where there is a lot of development in terms of new people moving in. He also was Chief
during
the time of the great fire in Kingswood. As I said yesterday, the work of Rob and others
needs to
be commended.



Mr. Speaker, yesterday I also spoke about the work of someone like Ken Margeson,
who
experienced 75 years in the scouting movement. Ken's commitment to scouting is something
that
obviously the people in Beaver Bank are aware of, but the people in the Province of Nova
Scotia,
quite frankly, aren't aware, particularly of the hard work that Ken



[Page 1323]

Margeson has done. He has been involved in scouting for 75 years, but he is just one of a
number
of people.



Mr. Speaker, there are other people like John and Cathy Peach, a family who
contributes greatly
to the young people of Sackville-Beaver Bank. I think of Edie Crooks and Brian and Pam
Johnson and others who have done such a great job to further the scouting movement and to
make sure that the young people of Sackville-Beaver Bank particularly, are well looked after
in
terms of activities.



Mr. Speaker, I want to go on and talk about Springfield Lake Recreation Association.
It is a
group that provides a service in the community of Middle and Upper Sackville. They operate
two
community halls, a number of baseball fields, and have filled in where Halifax Regional
Municipality has left off in terms of field maintenance, scheduling and the overall
programming
of recreation programs in Middle and Upper Sackville. It is a group of volunteers who work
hard,
who were led by their leader, Mr. Paul Theriault, who passed away and those people have
. . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton West on
a point of
order.



MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: No, would the honourable member be kind enough
to accept a
question?



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank entertain
a question
from the honourable member for Cape Breton West?



MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, at this point in time, no, I do have a lot that I would like
to say on
this particular subject matter. At some future time maybe I would, but right now I do have
lots to
participate.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, perhaps to clarify just a bit, this is . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Is the honourable member on a point of order?



MR. MACKINNON: Well, with regard to the question, if I were to . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member knows full well that the
honourable
member for Sackville-Beaver Bank said he would not entertain a question at this time. So
is there
intervention on a point of order?



MR. MACKINNON: Yes.







[Page 1324]

MR. MACKINNON: The point being, Mr. Speaker, is with regard to constituents of
his who are
involved with the strike situation and students. Perhaps clarifying that, the honourable
member
would reconsider?



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That is not a point of order. The honourable member
is certainly
welcome, but not obliged, to reply to that question.



MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, I do have a fair amount of issues
that I would
like to address with respect to this. If time permits, certainly at the end I will be more than
happy
to do that but, unfortunately, I didn't have the time yesterday to complete what it was I had
to
say, and if the member continues to stand up and interrupt me, I am not going to have the
time to
do it today, but I would like to, Mr. Speaker. So, if I would be able to at least continue on
where I
left off, I would like to get the - at least for the constituents that I represent in
Sackville-Beaver
Bank - balance, the end of this debate put forward so that I can at least recognize some of the
hard work of those people.



[2:15 p.m.]



I left off, I was talking about the Springfield Lake Recreation Association and I spoke
about the
hard work of those people. What I spoke about then was the hard work of people like Ward
Dicks. Ward Dicks is a parent, he's a hard-working person who lives in Middle Sackville
who
puts in tremendous hours, particularly during baseball season and all year long operating
baseball
programs and helping with facilities in Upper Sackville in terms of development and
operation.



I would also like to point out that there are people like Brian Bailey who has taken
over the role
of President of the Springfield Lake Recreation Association. Brian Bailey stepped in at a time
when the association needed someone to fill the big shoes of Paul Theriault after his untimely
demise.



As well, we have people like Joanne Pashkoshi who is the ever energy behind that
particular
facility and Joanne and Brian and Ward and others have put in a tremendous effort on behalf
of
the people of Nova Scotia and it's unfortunate that at times like this, during the International
Year
of the Volunteer, and during the month that we recognize volunteers in the Province of Nova
Scotia, that we're not able to recognize each and every one of these people in a special way.
That's why I am taking some time in the House through this debate to talk about this tonight.




There is another group in my constituency that work very hard providing a vital
service and that
is the Upper Hammonds Plains-Lucasville Development Association. That group does a
tremendous job in trying to develop their communities. Over the past couple of years, or
three or
four years, under the guidance of their director, they have moved forward with



[Page 1325]

education and redevelopment and helping the people of Lucasville and Upper Hammonds
Plains,
and I want to thank all those people who have done such a great job.



As well, all communities have service clubs and the community of Sackville is no
different than
communities across this province. I want to talk about some of the service clubs in our
community. The first one that I would like to speak about is the Sackville Lions Club. The
Sackville Lions Club has put a tremendous amount of effort into our community. I want to
mention three people: Laurie Campbell, Perry Oliver and Bill MacDonald. Bill MacDonald
is a
former member of this Legislative Assembly. They work hard to raise money on behalf of
the
community. Laurie Campbell is a hard-working individual who has put in a great effort - he
has
organized a milk carton boat race for next summer, he organized it last summer. The member
for
Dartmouth East was there last summer and I appreciate him visiting our community.
Hopefully,
there will be an opportunity for members to participate in that in the near future.



As well, the Sackville Kinsmen Club under the leadership of people like Andy Hoar,
and with
the hard work of people like Bob Taylor, have contributed greatly to fundraising and
community
fairs and events and participation. I want to also - I know time is wrapping up - talk about
the St.
John Vianney Knights of Columbus. That group has helped other non-profit groups. The
particular thing that I want to . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time is up.



The honourable member for Dartmouth South has approximately four minutes.



MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in this
House and
speak on an appropriate issue. Many, many years ago, I am not as young as I look, in the high
school that I attended, they changed the classification of the janitor to school custodian. That
was
many, many years ago, but I must tell you, I think that decision at that time was quite
appropriate.
The reason I say that is, if you take the word custodian versus janitor, there's been a number
of
comments made during this work stoppage and this situation with the custodians of our
schools.
One of the issues was what do these people, these men and women who keep our schools in
the
excellent condition that they do, what is their job? When I go back many years ago to the
change
of the word custodian, it reminds me of a meeting that I had on the weekend with one of the
custodians of our system, and I must tell you it was quite a meaningful discussion.



This individual who spoke to me, came to my home and talked about what he does
in his job. His
job is not just cleaning the schools, his job is being a friend and an advisor to the students.
He is
in an elementary school, which he really likes; he really enjoys that environment. He
explained to
me that he was quite concerned about some of the comments made during the strike, about
what
he does, what he is able to do, and what he should be doing. He explained to me the things
he
does and how the kids in his school rely on him for



[Page 1326]

advice, they rely on him for help, they rely on him to do all kinds of things that certainly
come
under the word, and are much more appropriate to the word custodian than they are to the
word
janitor.



AN HON. MEMBER: You are babbling.



MR. OLIVE: No, I am not babbling at all. The honourable member says that I am
babbling. The
point that I am trying to make here is (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, order, honourable members, order. The
honourable
member has half a minute.



MR. OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, maybe the honourable member should think about the
value of these
custodians to our organization. Everybody on this side of the House fully appreciates the
value of
the custodians to our school system. We are allowing the system to take the role that it is
supposed to.



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



Just before we go into debate on Supply, I would like to recognize the honourable
member for
Timberlea-Prospect on an introduction.



MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, we have friends in the gallery today.
Three of
them are personal friends of mine, and constituents. They are going through a tough, time of
strife, and I know they, rather interestingly, are listening to some of the productive
democracy in
this House. I would like to ask Rick Gallivan, Chris Morrone and Ron Harrie to stand and
be
recognized in the House. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Welcome to our guests in the gallery. I couldn't help but observe
some
constituents from the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley also in here in support of
the
cause, and I would like to welcome them.



AN HON. MEMBER: The Eastern Shore.



MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The Eastern Shore and elsewhere. (Applause)



[The motion is carried.]



[2:24 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy
Speaker Mr.
William Dooks in the Chair.]



[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr.
Brooke
Taylor in the Chair.]







[Page 1327]

ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.



AGRIC. - FOOD: TAXES - MIN. CEASE





MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in my
place here in
the debate this evening with regard to the resolution that was presented by Mr. Graham
Steele,
MLA for Halifax Fairview:



"Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture start representing the farm
community
by taking the lead in ending the Hamm Government's many new taxes on food."



It is a sad day when we are seeing the amount of tax that our Premier is levelling on
the farm
community. He seems to be doing it at a point in time, with no regard for the fact that this
is, at
the end of the day, putting more pressure on the COP, cost of production of food in the
Province
of Nova Scotia. I think it is appropriate that we debate this tonight because of the fact that
farmers in this province are getting frustrated. What they are doing and saying to me is they
want
the minister to start fighting his colleagues in Cabinet and to say, enough is enough is
enough.



Just recently the $25 a year on marked fuel tax, on marked fuel, this has historically
been done,
and basically absorbed by the fuel manufacturers. They have been paying for the
administrative
side of this, but all of a sudden they are charging the individual farmer $25. I want you to
know,
it is not just the $25 that really gets the farmers upset, it is the principle. Why, all of a
sudden, am
I going to be paying $25 to be able to get marked fuel, when I have been able to do it all
along. I
have lived up to the obligations and the restrictions that are in the covenants that we have to
sign,
they are controlled by the retailers themselves, they are the ones who actually go through the
process with them.



It is hard to get marked fuel. As a farmer myself, you just cannot get it unless it is 100
per cent
totally used for the production of food. Some people, even if they have to drive from one
farm to
another and drive on the highway are not eligible for that product. It is a very restrictive
clause. It
is controlled and it has been controlled, I think, very well. But now, the farmers are forced
to pay
$25 to be able to do that.



It is going to affect forestry as well. It is going to affect a lot of different sectors. To
me, it is
unfair, and the farmers are saying it is unfair. They are saying to the Minister of Agriculture
and
Fisheries, stand up and fight on that issue. Recently we heard about the fact that if you have
a
farm and an ambulance comes to your farm, you are going to pay $500. You are going to pay
$500 whether you like it or not, if you have a problem. I noted with



[Page 1328]

interest Mr. Greg Webster, from the Cambridge area. He is a farmer. Under the Health
Department's ambulance policy, if a farmer chose not to cover his employees under the
Workers'
Compensation Act, he would pay $85, but because the farmer has workers' compensation to
protect his employees, he is going to be dinged $500. Gosh, darn it, that doesn't seem fair to
me,
that a farmer who has gone out and bought compensation for their employees, just because
they
have an accident on their farm, they should be treated any different or be treated to the tune
of
$500, when it could be and should be a lot less.



I hope that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries looks into that matter, and sees
whether or
not we can find a solution. We heard just recently that the mink industry is going to be
charged
35 cents for a certain test they have on the mink. Another user fee, another tax, whatever you
want to call it, it is going to be there. Underground fuel tank inspections, $75. Now that is
going
to affect principally poultry farms or hog operations or any agricultural commodity that uses
a lot
of fuel and has buried tanks; $75 a year to do the tank inspection. Again, another cost to
farmers.



User fees for water. Permits, now you have a permit for your water. How many
people in
horticulture have multiple sources of use for water? They have to irrigate umpteen acres of
land,
and they are not all located in their backyard. They might have to have two, three, four, five
permits for their irrigation processes. Well, at $200 a pop, if you had five permits, that is
$1,000
that they have never had to pay before and for some of those individuals, that is a lot of
money. It
is bad enough having to buy the diesel fuel and to irrigate. I don't know how many members
-
maybe one - who has irrigated before, in this House, but there are not too many people who
had
to go through the irrigation cost of setting up an irrigation system. Just to go through the
work of
irrigating is a lot of work. I have friends who do it all the time, and I have spent some time
with
them; I helped move some pipe and so on and so forth. It is a lot of work and it is a lot of
aggravation to keep the crop alive. Now they are going to be forced to pay $1,000 in some
cases,
or $200 per permit to do that, and I think that is wrong.



Even under the department and the Quality Evaluation Branch, and I noted last year
they had
$400,000, if I am correct on that, that they had allocated for additional revenue because of
user
fees or taxation. Under the changeover and the departments lumped together, the recoveries
that
they are projecting this year are about $1 million. Those numbers show about $1 million; it
is a
100 per cent increase. That $1 million is coming from one source; it is coming from farmers.
One
million dollars, that is what they project. I don't know how else to understand it, but if that
is
what they are projecting in recovery for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, maybe
some of that is Fisheries, I don't know what the breakdown is, but it seems like every time
we
turn around it is just one more fee, one more tax.









[Page 1329]

The farmers are saying, Mr. Minister, we understand tough times. We understand we
have to take
our share of the pain. We understand all that. They have told me that, but they are saying
enough
is enough, we want you to start saying to the guys on the front bench, stop this because you
are
downloading to the point where we cannot control it and we are not having fun having to pay
it
because it affects our bottom line. It is all about cash flow.



Recently we have been doing a lot of talk and we have been concerned about ADI and
the fees
that could be charged for that, and whether or not they are looking at changes in that, and the
simple history of that is clear. When the department was gutted from the Extension Branch
of the
Department of Agriculture, I stood in this House and said to the minister one year ago that
that is
the education or the Technology Transfer Division that provided the tools for the farmers of
this
province to compete. They helped the big farmers; they helped the little farmers; and they
helped
the mixed farmers. They helped the new entries into agriculture, but no, we have to get rid
of
that, and we got rid of it.



Then, the minister came back and listened to the farmers and brought in ADI. ADI
should be a
program that is there to help those farmers that need that help and they should not have to
pay for
it. In the private sector farmer board that runs ADI, the minister is still the shareholder of
ADI. It
is taxpayers' dollars that is running ADI, the $2.2 million going into it. I would hope that the
minister would say to those board members, you can do your thing but, boy, I don't think user
fees should be there.



As a private farmer myself, I can hire somebody in the private sector. There are three
choices: I
can go to a private sector now and get expertise to come to my farm; or through my feed
company, or processor - I spend a fair amount of money buying feed each year - that service
is
provided. But that isn't the way it is for every farmer in this province. There are a lot of
farmers
that maybe are just starting out in agriculture, or maybe they have a mixed farm, or maybe
they
are a part-time farmer and they drive a school bus or something else and they don't have the
cash
to be able to go out and hire those individuals. I believe there is a responsibility of
government to
be able to provide that service and to provide the tools so that individual can be competitive.
This
is a cost to the farmer, as it increases the cost of production in agriculture and it affects the
competitiveness.



If you can't afford the cash flow to bring in those specialists, then you are going to
be
uncompetitive. So it is incumbent upon the minister to do whatever he can to encourage his
ministers to leave the farm community alone for awhile. They took a 20-some per cent hit
last
year in the budget and I think they have done more than their share, but, my gosh, enough is
enough. I ask the minister, today, in regard to this resolution, to say to his colleagues, listen
boys,
let's let these farmers get over that big hit that they have already had. I encourage the minister
to
do just that. Thank you.









[Page 1330]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, actually, if I appear reluctant to get to my
feet, it was
because I was reluctant to get to my feet. I was hoping that the minister would speak and I
thought the order was that he would because I am quite positive he will say something I
would
want to rebut and now there will be no rebuts about it.



I do want to quote the resolution before us this evening:



"Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture start representing the farm
community
by taking the lead in ending the Hamm Government's many new taxes on food."



I guess if ever there was an appropriate time for a resolution, this certainly is the time
and before
I get into addressing some of the user fees that the department has dumped on the agricultural
community, I want to raise some points to the members of the House who are present. I will
table
the information that I am going to be reading from, but I want to try to drive the message
home.



Mr. Deputy Speaker, although there are a lot of members who have a farming
communities as
part of their constituency, there is probably none that can speak to it more than you could,
if you
were in a position to speak, but certainly the Musquodoboit River Valley is known as one of
the
areas, like the Shubenacadie River Valley, which is one of the best forage growing areas in
this
province. The impact of agriculture on your community I am well aware of, but I don't think
that
all members are at all aware of exactly what it is that farmers do and what they get for what
they
do.



I will table this when I am done with it, Mr. Speaker, but I have here, "A Drop in the
Bucket The
Farmer's Share", and it is actually a menu. It is sponsored by Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg
Marketing Agency, Canadian Egg Marketing Agency, Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency,
Chicken Farmers of Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada, and actually I received it from the
Federation of Agriculture. But what it does is list the menu of items that if you went into a
restaurant, it tells you what you would pay in the restaurant and it tells you what a farmer
would
get as a percentage of that item.



If you had as an appetizer a devilled egg, in a restaurant that would be $1.60, but the
farmer
would get 10 cents. The main course, a medium all-dressed pizza with five ounces of
mozzarella,
$11.21 is what you would pay in the restaurant and the farmer would get 61 cents. Quiche
Lorraine, three eggs, two ounces of cheese, 16 ounces of milk, would be $12.50 and the
farmer
would get 92 cents. A roast turkey breast dinner, 6 ounces of turkey, would be $8.99 in the
restaurant and the farmer would get 32 cents. Grilled breast of chicken with fine herbs, 6
ounces
of chicken again, $8.20 and the farmer would get 29 cents. Desserts, crème caramel,
one egg and
four ounces of milk, would be $4.95 in a restaurant and a farmer would get 18 cents of that.
A
slice of apple pie topped with cheese, that is one ounce



[Page 1331]

of cheddar, that would be $3.50 at the restaurant and the farmer would get 15 cents of that.
For
beverages, milk would be $1.50 and the farmer would get 16 cents and I will table that.



Mr. Speaker, I also have another similar publication by the Dairy Farmers of Canada
and the
members can see that glass, but a total value of $1.50 for this glass of milk and I am
assuming an
eight ounce glass. The restaurant would charge $1.25. The processor would get eight-tenths
of
one cent, or eight cents, excuse me, and the producer would get 16 cents for that.



[6:15 p.m.]



When we look at those kinds of numbers and we think about the records of
production for
producers in this province in a variety of commodity groups, and when we talk about the
dairy
sector, egg production or poultry production, those are supply-managed and there's a
relationship
between the cost of production and the selling price of those for what the farmer would get.
They
are recognized as being relatively stable. We can see from the prices that I have mentioned
here,
there were a lot of eggs and dairy products in those, and these we regard as the most stable
and,
yet, we can see the relationship between what the farmer would get and what the restaurant
would get.



What about all those other commodity groups that are not under supply management,
and they
don't have as much control of price in relationship to their cost of production. For them, the
situation may be far more dire. I think that when the department puts extra costs onto
whatever
else it is that the farmer has to face, then that only tends to whittle away at those numbers we
just
saw. I think that farming is not like any other profession or any other occupation, it is one
where
the commitment, in some cases, in lots of cases in this province, would be generational. The
building of an operation would be done over a very long period of time and there would be
few
that can be raised from the ground up in a lifetime or in a matter of a few years. Maybe when
the
minister speaks he will correct me. Actually I understand that is almost what the minister was
able to do, and I think to his credit or his family's credit, on their operations.



To add extra costs to a sector that is contending daily with the rigours of poor
economies, the
rigours of trade disputes with our trading partners and, in particular, the Americans, as we
have
seen with the battle over - which I would say was protectionist - the potato wart in Prince
Edward
Island. This was not like taking an item, sticking it on the shelf and thinking that in six
months it
will be as good as it was when I put it there and we will just wait until the market is better
and
sell it then. This is not the case when it comes to agricultural production. We're dealing with
organic products, their lifespan is limited, even when we consider all we can do with
refrigeration and vacuum packs and whatever, but there is nobody who tries to capitalize on
value added more then farmers do.







[Page 1332]

There is a real need in this country - and this is something I think that politicians all
the way
across the country don't consider and I think it's because of the limited number of votes in
the
rural community and that is that there is a real need for food security in this country and in
this
province. The things that we should be looking at are how we can sustain the agricultural
level
that we have, how we can promote it to a higher level. In other words, attract new people to
the
industry so we can grow the industry and secure a stable livelihood for those who choose to
go
into agriculture. Adding more costs to their sometimes already uncontrollable costs, is not
something that the government should be doing because it turns out to be a tax on food. With
that, I rest my case. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.



MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the 10 minutes to
say some
thoughts, and I really have not had great experience with this and I understand, of course, that
what we are discussing tonight, ". . . that the Minister of Agriculture start representing the
farm
community by taking the lead in ending the Hamm Government's many new taxes on food."




Basically, from what I have seen in this government, not only the Minister of
Agriculture but all
members - the Cabinet especially - but also the Party members, are very concerned about a
balanced budget. We have said right from the word go what we are going to do in the way
of a
budget. This year it is $91 million overdrawn but we are going to where we are going. To
carry
this out, you have had to collect very accurate figures and we have done a great job of
improving
the accuracy of the figures that we are dealing with. This, of course, gives us a far greater
appreciation of the actual costs that people have when this happens.



I, of course, realize that many things, when we are trying to improve a situation we
go and see the
people that are using the situation. In many cases we have got a proposal out and then we
have
said to the people that are using the service, well, how would you collect these fees?
Sometimes
it has gone ahead and we have certainly improved in that regard. I also remember of course
that
the member for Halifax Fairview was going to - brought this resolution in - and I know he
appreciates that it certainly takes more than 10 minutes, even as inarticulate as I may be. It
doesn't matter how articulate you are, you can't solve this in 10 minutes.



I certainly would like to give the minister, I know he wanted to say a few words and
I would be
more than glad to give up my time for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.



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



HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague, the honourable
member for
Chester-St. Margaret's, for his insight and comments.







[Page 1333]

Tonight's resolution is one that is absolutely critical to the farming community and
farmers and
farm communities across this province have been a traditional backbone of this province, Mr.
Speaker, for generations. They are hard-working people who want to do their job and,
certainly,
regulations at times and user fees don't meet with their approval.



I would like to talk a little bit about user fees in general and I would like to maybe
list a couple.
Ones like the lab fees, as my honoured colleagues know and as the member for Lunenburg
West
rightly pointed out, it was his government that implemented the increase in laboratory fees
in
1998. That was the start of cost recovery and laboratory fees and that was brought in by the
previous government. The Livestock Health Services fees again were brought in by the
previous
government in 1996. As well, the meat inspection fees and increases were brought in again
by the
honourable member for Lunenburg West's government in 1998. As well, in 1996 the fuel
permit
fee was brought in, again by the government of the honourable member for Lunenburg West.




The story goes on when we look at food establishment fees. Again in 1996, the
former Liberal
Government was responsible for instituting those fees and putting the fee structure in place.
That
is not to say that fees are unreasonable and, certainly, many members of the farm community
when they attend a farming conference are prepared to pay a registration fee in some
circumstances. But certainly there are a number of fees out there currently that the farming
community certainly have strong disapproval of.



In my discussions with the federation and certainly individual farmers, they have
strongly pointed
that out me over the last number of months. That is why a fee like the one for the fuel tax
exemption is on hold and we are investigating the legitimacy of their claim with the Minister
of
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and we will deal with that situation as they
come
and as they are pointed out.



I would like to strongly say on the record, there were no user fee increases in the
Department of
Agriculture and Fisheries' budget this year. There were no fee increases whatsoever. The
Agricultural College is considering, as any institution, possible fee increases there, and the
4-H
Program decided on a $10 increase in their registration fee for their camp. They run their own
programs and, certainly, we don't comment or recommend for them to do that. Those are the
realities of the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' budget. There were no
service fee increases contemplated in those particular areas. That is what took place in this
year's
budget to date.



I also want to strongly correct the record, there is no question that we downsized the
amount of
staff at the Department of Agriculture last year. In conjunction with the industry as well as
in
conjunction with research institutions, we are offering Agricultural Development Institute
services. They are a body at arm's length from government, majority membership by farmers.
I
will allow them to do what is right and best, and they will make those decisions. That is the
proper thing to allow.







[Page 1334]

I want to strongly emphasize, in last year's budget there was an increase in program
spending on
the farms. There were five new programs instituted, the new farmers program, beef loan
programs, two new development programs, that put major amounts of new dollars into
programs
for the farming community. Again, this year we were able to achieve an increase in the
budget,
all programs were maintained from last year, with increased funding in a number of programs
to
be offered to the agricultural community this year.



On July 1st last year, it was my privilege to negotiate a new deal with the federal
government,
which the previous government was unable to achieve in their mandate, which doubled the
amount of income support coming to the farmers in Nova Scotia. Those are major increases
and
major accomplishments and a major infusion of new dollars into the provincial coffers. The
provincial government pays 40 per cent of those programs, with the federal government
paying
60 per cent.



As well, I have made the commitment on the recent announcement of the $500
million in new
aid, that we will be matching and supporting that program. Once the federal government gets
their dollars and their program in place, and no other agreements have been signed in any
province - we are sitting here waiting for the federal government - we will be ensuring that
our
money is there, and those dollars will go out in programs to our farmers here in Nova Scotia.




On the issue of user fees, user fees are a necessary tool in helping to cover the cost
of programs
and services. Many user fees are in place for registration for short courses in the farming
community, in the fishing community and every other community. People in those
communities
deem them as reasonable and acceptable. Certainly the two fees that have caused the most
consternation and concern in the agricultural community this year are fees concerning water
structure that are associated with the Department of Environment and Labour, and we are
having
discussions with Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations which did not originate out
of the
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' budget.



Certainly, they are issues that need to be discussed, explored, there is no question
about that, but
they are issues that the federation brings forward. I, on their behalf, intervened with my
colleagues and have had discussions with them, direct discussions to help promote an
understanding, to come to an agreement, and to see if we can come to a solution that works
not
only for the agricultural industry but for a government that is working extremely hard to
balance
the books of this province. If we cannot balance the books in this province, there will be no
new
money for new program spending or money to maintain the programs we have.



If we don't achieve that, there is no way that we can protect Health budgets,
Education budgets
or the Agriculture budgets in this province. It is necessary, we have to do it. Nobody said it
was
going to be easy. Nobody said that it was going to be enjoyable. Those tenets of making sure
we
balance the budget in this province so that new dollars generated by the industry . . .







[Page 1335]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable minister's time has expired.



The motion is carried.



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



[6:54 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon.
Murray Scott,
resumed the Chair.]



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



THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering
Supply and
asks leave to sit again.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



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



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 30.



Bill No. 30 - Financial Measures (2001) Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.



MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a bit of time to
speak to Bill
No. 30, the Financial Measures (2001) Act, on behalf of the people I represent in the
constituency
of Halifax Needham. This bill is a companion piece to the budget, as we all know. It is the
piece
of legislation that ensures that various new measures in the budget will be authorized in a
proper
manner.









[Page 1336]

Mr. Speaker, this bill might have been better titled the user fee and hidden tax
deception Act. If
we had an opportunity to call a bill what it really is, that in fact is what it really is, as the
Minister
of Health, who is babbling over there, knows full well. Most members of this House have
had an
opportunity to review at some considerable length the Tory blue book of promises from the
election in 1999 and nowhere in that blue book was there any mention to Nova Scotians that
if
you vote for the John Hamm Government, we will increase revenue by taxing and putting
user
fees on just about everything that moves in this province and, quite literally, that appears to
be
precisely what this government is intent on doing.



Mr. Speaker, we look at a variety of important services that are provided by
government; for
example, the Child Abuse Registry, a place where people have the ability to go and find out
if
someone they are about to hire has any record in terms of child abuse, having been convicted
or
accused of child abuse in a civil proceeding. Now to do searches of the Child Abuse Registry
will
in fact cost money and I know that the government maintains that those fees will be waived
for
particular categories of users of the Child Abuse Registry, such as non-profit organizations,
maybe Boys and Girls Clubs, or church-based organizations, and I say to the government,
how
long will that be your position? When you start looking for more revenue to feed what
appears to
be your insatiable desire to raise funds in a deceptive manner, then you obviously will go
looking
at the Child Abuse Registry and those protections that you give us today for non-profit
organizations will disappear tomorrow.



Mr. Speaker, there is ample evidence, both at a federal and provincial level, in this
country to
suggest that that is exactly what occurs when new taxes and user fees are introduced. Rarely
do
these fees and taxes stay at the level at which they are introduced. They increasingly become
the
source of greater and greater tax and revenue grabs on the part of government.



Mr. Speaker, today I had an opportunity to speak just briefly with some of the people
outside
who came down to try to inform members of the Legislature about why it is they are on a
picket
line. These are workers who work in the Halifax Regional School Board and are, without a
doubt, on the low end of the wage scale, in terms of people who are working in our
educational
system. One of the people I spoke with said, it seems very clear to me that what this
government's approach is is to perpetuate a growing divide between rich and poor people in
our
society, and this divide will lead only one place, it will lead to increased conflict and social
instability as people attempt to maintain a standard of living that they see declining as they
are
surrounded by opulence and plenty in the context of our developed and high-tech society.
Not
everybody gets to participate equally.









[Page 1337]

[7:00 p.m.]



Herein, I think, lies the problem with this government's approach to the finances of
this province
and to, indeed, the use of resources in the Province of Nova Scotia for the equal benefit of
everyone. Our Finance Critic, the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour has had
an
opportunity to look at the budget and the measures that have been introduced to increase
revenue
to this government in hidden fees. He has been able to conclude that there is at least and
additional $115 million being hidden in new fees and taxes. Fees and taxes that extend to
places
like Point Pleasant Lodge where cancer care and other patients who are there while they are
getting treatment at the QE II have to now pay for meals. When this was discussed earlier on
the
floor of this House, the Minister of Health said, well, you know, the people who can't afford
to
pay, we will take care of. What I hear in that idea, Mr. Speaker, is the old idea of means
testing.



There is a lot of historical information that we can look at that demonstrates very
clearly how
demeaning means testing has been, how means testings, in fact, results in many people going
without because they simply do not meet the criteria. The ceiling is generally set so low, Mr.
Speaker, that most people could not even qualify for any form of assistance or for any kind
of
discretionary arrangements that would allow them to continue to receive things that are so
basic,
like meals. This is wrong. This will disadvantage people who are already struggling, in many
cases, with overwhelming financial pressures as they are dealing with illness, as they are
dealing
with family requirements.



Mr. Speaker, we see this government with one agenda, an agenda that is looking at
how to
download, how to pass on their responsibilities to whoever else they can get to take them.
We see
a government that has a poorly thought out plan on municipal equalization, a plan that would
see
those who are least able to pay having to support people who are in maybe better
circumstances
because property taxes, after all, as the basis for equalization, is a very regressive way to do
equalization. Our caucus has had an opportunity to go on record here in the Legislature as
being
in favour of a provincial equalization plan, but definitely not the plan that has been trotted
out as
what is required by municipalities that, clearly, are suffering.



Mr. Speaker, when you look at all of this new revenue that is being generated, $115
million-plus
in new revenue, you have to ask yourself, what is the problem with this government when
they
can't provide $8,900 to the transition house on the Shore Shore in Bridgewater so that they
can
maintain a childcare worker and outreach services to women, who in those communities
around
Bridgewater are unable, for whatever reason, to go to the transition house. You have to ask
yourself, with this kind of revenue, $115 million, new dollars in fees and taxes, how do you
explain that this government is unprepared to provide cochlear implants here in Nova Scotia
for
those deaf persons who desperately want an opportunity to be able to hear and have access
to the
technology that will allow them to hear?







[Page 1338]

How can we explain to people at Point Pleasant Lodge why they have to pay for
meals now when
you have this revenue being raked in on higher fees for speeding? Mr. Speaker, the graduated
fees for speeders is not a bad idea. It's done in many provinces, but let's come clean with
what it
is that this government is really doing and when we generate these revenues, let's ensure that
we're using them in ways that will most benefit people who are the least likely to be able to
participate fully in our society right now. Let's make sure that people who are unable to pay
for
particular services - surely food, when you're in treatment in tertiary care or an acute care
setting,
is not an add-on. It is part of the core program needs. Let's get our priorities straight in this
province. That, I think, is a very big concern.



In my constituency, I have a constituent whose mother has been in a nursing home
and after
being in the nursing home, was ill and was in hospital for a period of time. While in hospital,
she
contracted one of these viruses that they call superbugs - and it has an acronym that I can't
quite
remember at the moment, but it is a superbug - which is resistant to any form of antibiotic
and it's
highly contagious. It means that there are no nursing homes in the province that will have
this
lady back.



She is currently back in hospital, she's in an acute care bed and she and her son are
very worried
about what's going to become of her. Is the $50 per day user fee going to apply for her? She's
one
of these people who is absolutely caught in a set of circumstances not of her making. This
$50
per day user fee for being in a hospital bed when what you require is a long-term care bed,
is
ludicrous. It's absolutely ludicrous.



In this situation, this woman is unable to secure a long-term care bed even if there
was one
waiting for her. Her care needs are far more extensive than can be provided at home. Her son,
in
fact, was quite prepared to have her home and do a lot of the care himself. He's a school
teacher
though, he works, he can't be there all the time and he was unable to secure home care for
the
other period of time that she required care and supervision. So, what is going to happen to
this
individual? Is she going to be penalized, by this heartless government, $50 a day for taking
up an
acute care bed? This is totally unacceptable and we see this over and over again.



I have numerous examples of the home care system and my colleague, the member
for Halifax
Fairview, spoke about this earlier today. He talked about some of the patterns he is seeing
in the
Home Care Program, where what the government is leading Nova Scotians to believe is
available
isn't available at all. Why is it not available? We have $115 million in new fees and taxes;
we
have more than $115 million in new fees and taxes actually.



In addition to the additional $115 million we have $20 million in tobacco taxes, Mr.
Speaker, yet
we don't have a comprehensive smoking cessation plan ready to be implemented, and a
commitment from this government that they will use this additional tax revenue to help
people
stop smoking and to prevent young people from smoking.







[Page 1339]

This is very important, Mr. Speaker, young people, especially young women, are
among the
highest number of new smokers each day in our province. We need to be very aggressive in
our
approach to try to prevent and deter young people from taking up the practice of tobacco
smoking. If we had any common sense in this government we would immediately earmark
money allocated under the Financial Measures (2001) Act through the new tobacco taxes,
the
arrangement with the federal government, we would ensure that that money will in fact be
used
and be used immediately for tobacco smoking cessation programs.



This government has a peculiar habit, I think, of taking federal dollars and using them
for means
that aren't necessarily what the federal government has allocated revenue for. I think this is
a
practice we have some responsibility, as legislators, to challenge and to question here. This
province, I think it is safe to say, has been punished in previous years by the federal
government.
We took more than our fair share of the financial hit during the initial years of the
Chretien-Martin deficit reduction plan. We saw the Canada health and social transfer
introduced, taking
money away from our universities and from our health care system and from our social
services
programs and we also saw infrastructure money disappear and dry up.



Part of the politics of that situation is the reality that the federal government feels that
they
provide money to the provinces - and a province like Nova Scotia - that isn't invested in the
area
that it was intended for, and that the federal government doesn't get adequate credit for,
because
of that and because of the way past governments in Nova Scotia, both Liberal and Tory
Governments in Nova Scotia, had squandered their political capital in terms of the federal
government, we end up taking a huge hit here in Nova Scotia.



It would be very foolhardy for this government to go down that path again because
the kind of
punishment that the federal government can bring to bear on people in Atlantic Canada, and
here
in Nova Scotia in particular - which is our immediate concern - has been demonstrated and
it is
profound. We have universities whose infrastructure is in a disastrous situation, where their
immediate need for deferred funding is in the vicinity of $302 million. Those figures I don't
pull
from the air, those figures result from a respected accounting firm having been brought in by
university administrators to do an independent evaluation on what is required to maintain the
basic capital infrastructure in the universities. What does this government do? There was
$115
million in new fees and taxation raised in revenue this year, and how much of that has been
allocated to deal with the extensive deferred maintenance in the university system? Not one
penny. Not one penny has been set aside for deferred maintenance in the universities.



[7:15 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, we hear the Minister of Economic Development and others talk about
the
knowledge-based economy. Well, the universities are a critical piece of a knowledge-based
economy, they are at the core of whether or not we are going to have a highly-trained, highly-




[Page 1340]

skilled workforce. Along with our community college system, they should be the area in
which
we are most prepared to invest some of these new, hidden taxes and user fees, but yet, what
have
we done? We haven't given the universities one cent for deferred maintenance.



Mr. Speaker, this is not really in keeping with the rhetoric of this government's
commitment to
the knowledge-based economy. It shows that there is actually very little commitment to the
knowledge-based economy. I think we need to point these things out, and we need to ask,
where
is the vision in this government? Yesterday the Minister of Education, in talking about the
closing of the schools, the three schools in Dartmouth and the B.C. Silver School in
Spryfield,
was asked outside the Chamber about whether other schools would close, and she said, in
response to a question with respect to the inner-city schools, three of the four inner-city
schools
which are located in Halifax Needham, my community, she said that inner-city schools
would
close.



Mr. Speaker, this is unacceptable. A program review hasn't even occurred yet. We
are left to
question, where is the information on which the minister comes to this conclusion? We are
seeing a government that is bringing in new revenue. There is no plan. There doesn't appear
to be
any plan for the investment of these additional revenues in areas that clearly require
investments.
Sometimes the investments that are required aren't large investments, they are small. Very
small
pieces of financial investment would make a significant difference in terms of maintaining
infrastructure, programs and strong communities that come from this.



The Auditor General had some serious questions about whether or not the Hamm
Government
had any kind of real handle on what it was doing with respect to user fees. If I remember
correctly what he had to say, he basically said there were no criteria, there was no rationale,
there
wasn't a kind of business case for the imposition of user fees. The administration of particular
programs for which user fees were being collected wasn't necessarily the criteria used to
establish the actual amounts of fees that were being charged.



Mr. Speaker, it makes you wonder if they don't just sit around the Cabinet Table with
straws, and
they pick straws and they have little numbers inside them, they allocate the number according
to
the particular program that they are looking at at any particular time. The evidence that is
being
used to arrive at the basic fees that are being charged seems to be no better than that kind of
random haphazard, thoughtless, hare-brained kind of process. I say that it is a wrong
approach to
take. It may generate revenue for the government, but they haven't been able to demonstrate
that
they are able to allocate and target that revenue wisely to those organizations and those
concerns
in our communities that most need that money. This appears to be a government that is very
capable of harming the people who most need the benefit of any additional revenue that
government is able to generate. This will no doubt come back to haunt them.









[Page 1341]

People will see that they are not better off. The quality of their lives, the level of
public services
have not improved. In fact, they have gotten worse. The waiting lists are longer. The
bureaucracy
that they have to go through, in fact, is as bad as it was under the former government, if not
worse. There are going to be just as many answering machines and voice mails that they are
going to have leave messages on before anybody gets back to them to provide the important
information they require or the kinds of services that they are looking for than under the past
government.



So, Mr. Speaker, in the end Nova Scotians won't be fooled and, certainly, I can speak
for the
good people of Halifax Needham on this, they are definitely not fooled, especially the
seniors.
Seniors are a very wise group of people. One of the things that I find the most interesting
about
people in their senior years is that they can look back over a very long period and they can
see all
of the things that have occurred over a long period of time. They can go back and they can
look
at when there wasn't a public health care system. They can tell you what means testing was
like
when every time you needed something that was desperately needed, you only could get it
if you
could put the cash on the desk. They can tell you about that. They can tell you about how
members of their communities and members of their families had to do without necessities
of
life. They can tell you what resulted from having to do without. They can tell you that
families
broke apart. They can tell you that people's illnesses got worse. They can tell you these
things.
They can tell you that the experience of having to go to a church or having to go to a relative
to
borrow money for basic services was a humiliating experience, because these are good
people
who are used to being independent and self-sufficient and caring and giving and, all of a
sudden,
they are dependent. They will tell you that the means test, as a way to secure basic services,
was
humiliating, it was demeaning and it was damaging.



Then they will talk about when government finally, because of people like Tommy
Douglas,
because of social movements like the labour movement that fought very hard for public
services,
things improved for working people, that it was no longer only the rich who could afford
access
to university or people of means who could get health care services. They see that we are
going
backwards instead of going forward, Mr. Speaker. They see how we are now forgetting all
of that
history that many of these seniors have been through and we are going back to a much
meaner
time when the only thing that mattered was whether or not you could pay cash on the
barrelhead
or not.



They don't like it, Mr. Speaker, and do you know why they don't like it? They don't
like it
because their taxes haven't gone down, in fact they have gone up. They see a contradiction
here.
They see that the services aren't improving and they are seeing that they are paying more.
They
are paying in user fees and they are paying in ways that this government has ensured that the
good people of Nova Scotia aren't getting the benefit of the federal tax cuts, for example. So
people will not be fooled and they are not fooled.







[Page 1342]

Those people are very disappointed, and in my riding there are not a lot of them, but
those few
people who decided to support the Hamm Government in the election of 1999 are
disappointed.
In fact, they are a little ashamed sometimes to admit that they believed the kind of glitzy blue
book propaganda that was out there that didn't really tell people what the end result was
going to
be. People who are the neediest people and people who have been good, hard-working people
all
their lives are now going to lose assets that they have set aside for family members, these
things
are going to be taken from them if their health deteriorates, if they need to go into a
long-term
care facility, if they can't get a bed, to move from a hospital into a long-term care facility and
they are certainly not all that impressed by this.



Mr. Speaker, seniors aren't the only people in Halifax Needham who are disappointed
in this
government. I think that it is fair to say that many of the working men and women are very
disappointed in this government and the approach of this government. They see that they are
working harder. They see that they are paying many more new fees. They see that they are
not
getting any income tax breaks. They see that this government is thinking about taking the
municipal property taxes that they pay for services in their communities and transferring
them
into other parts of the province without the province assuming the responsibility that
rightfully
should rest with the province in terms of general revenues and a fair and equitable
equalization
plan.



Mr. Speaker, in particular, many of these people see the underfunding of public
education as
being a serious problem. I know that quite often the Minister of Education justifies this
government's approach to spending in public education by saying, well, there is declining
enrolment so we can allow schools to close, but it is really a shame that the minister and this
government can't see the demographic shift as an opportunity to improve public education.




If we have declining enrolment, then the obvious approach should be to say, wow,
this is an
opportunity to reduce class sizes, not to increase class sizes, but to reduce class sizes. We
would
have an opportunity to make sure that students in our classrooms would have more
individualized attention and, for some kids, individual attention would make the difference
between finishing with a very strong and very fully developed academic potential to go on
and
dropping out and then being in a situation where we have lots of ongoing problems, income
problems and maybe other problems because we know that many of our social problems, in
fact,
are connected to early school leaving and a lack of opportunity in the labour market.



[7:30 p.m.]



Has this government taken the opportunity to invest some of this $115 million in new
fees and
taxes into improving our standing provincially, in terms of per capita education funding in
the
country? No, that hasn't changed. We are still on the bottom of the heap. That is a very sad
comment, when you consider that this is a province that has a heritage, I think



[Page 1343]

it is fair to say, of considering education as a very important part of our cultural makeup.
Education has always been something that Nova Scotians have held in very great esteem,
they
see it as being an important part of what it is that you have to provide people, and it is only
the
community that can benefit from a strong education system.



Yet, we really haven't seen, from this government, a commitment to do the kind of
investment in
education that would really make any kind of substantial difference. Instead, what we see is
a
fairly mean-spirited approach, which puts the janitors and the cleaners and the custodial
workers
on the street fighting for their very livelihood, fighting so that their jobs won't be contracted
out,
fighting so that they will be able to maintain a benefits plan, fighting so that there is some
form
of job security for them.



Mr. Speaker, I am going to wrap up by saying that there is very little in this Financial
Measures
(2001) Bill and its companion, the budget, that working people in my constituency can feel
good
about, can take any sustenance from, can feel any hope around, in terms of their futures and
the
quality of lives that they feel they work so hard to assure that they will have in this province.
What this is is more user fees, more hidden taxes, a downloading from the provincial
government
onto municipalities and onto individuals as much as possible, and the lack of attention to the
real,
important issues, where there needed to be a strategic re-investment of additional fees.



Mr. Speaker, as Bill No. 30 moves through this House, I am sure many people will
have quite a
few things to say, and I will listen carefully to what they have to say. I will probably learn
some
new things about Bill No. 30 as I listen to the debate, and perhaps I will have an opportunity
to
speak further on Bill No. 30 as it moves forward. Perhaps there will be some amendments
that
would see this bill go the way that it should.



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



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, it is a pleasure to get up and
say a few
words about Bill No. 30, for the second time. The first bill died quite quickly on the order
paper,
but not before some of us had a chance to respond to it in second reading. Now, lo and
behold,
we get another crack at second reading to speak to this bill because it has been reintroduced
in a
much larger form, I guess. I don't know where the architects of the first bill are but, certainly,
if I
was the minister responsible for this bill, I would be a little bit more more than upset that this
bill
had to be reintroduced a second time.



Having said that, I think I could perhaps correctly refer to the bill as an omnibus bill
or more to
the point, an ominous bill because there are a number of issues in this particular bill that I
and
members of our caucus - and I am sure that my friends to the right here, the right wingers I
call
them now - feel as I do that there's room for much discussion with this particular bill.







[Page 1344]

A number of sections of this bill deal with tax grabs, or as the Premier so often states,
they're not
tax grabs, they're user fees; it is yet to be determined what the difference is between a tax
grab
and a user fee. No matter how you cut it, it's coming out of the taxpayers' pocket, one way
or the
other. So, call it what they will, the government is introducing in this particular bill a number
of
tax grab measures.



There are a number of clauses here that bear some scrutiny and much discussion and
perhaps
over the course of the debate on second reading of this bill, we will come to many
conclusions,
some of which will be in the form of amendments to the bill, others will be motions to delay
the
bill or to set the bill aside for further thought by government, further determinations by
members
of government as to the error of their ways in terms of this bill being presented to the House
as it
is. I believe that members of the government caucus who are not sitting on the Treasury
benches
are going to have to explain to their constituents the difference between user fees and tax
grabs as
they are individually affected as we move through the next weeks and months.



As surely as I am standing here in my place tonight, almost virtually every Nova
Scotian is going
to be affected one way or the other by this particular bill, and all of them negatively affected,
I
might add, by provisions in this bill. I think that there are a number of particular issues that
I
want to highlight in the few minutes that are available to me this evening. An issue that was
brought to my attention by people in my area who were involved with the child abuse registry
for
employment purposes, I believe somebody told the government that there was some money
to be
made here, so they are going to charge a fee for that. It's expected to generate $75,000 in
revenue,
but it is a fee that no one has costed out, no one - not even the Auditor General - feels that
there's
evidence enough to support that particular grab.



I think it's fundamentally wrong what they're doing here. The majority of what they
call
businesses that are doing a child abuse search are non-profit organizations like Big Brothers,
YMCA and others. I think it's a sad day when the government tries to grab some cash on the
backs of those hard-pressed organizations who are literally fighting for their very survival.
I had a
call from one of the people on the board of Big Brothers who was very upset about this and
with
justification.



The government has had a history of punishing non-profit organizations. A lot of
non-profit
organizations in my particular area are hurting because of the way the government is treating
them. They're cutting back on any form of help to keep these organizations going and
because of
that, these organizations were looking forward to the day when they could keep their
operations
viable by receiving the profits from the Sydney Casino. That was supposed to be a windfall
that
would keep these organizations going and they could build their programs on the backs of
that
particular windfall that was generated by the Sydney Casino. What happened?







[Page 1345]

The government wasn't intent on taking the programs that are in place now and
forcing them to
downsize because of the lack of government support. They went further than that. Not only
do
they not care about the charities and non-profit organizations throughout Nova Scotia but,
in this
particular case in my area, because of the Sydney Casino, not only are they not supporting
them,
but they have taken away the lifeline that was put in place for them. That lifeline was the
expected revenue from the Sydney Casino, which would have the effect of making these
organizations stronger in order for them to fulfil their community mandate. Heavens knows
the
government is not fulfilling the community mandate, so it was the casino profits that were
going
to do it, Mr. Speaker.



It is ironic that on the one hand the government states that it is reorganizing
government. They
say they are doing something for people in the community to make the community stronger.
Well, I can't point to any single thing they are doing to do that. The only thing that is
happening
here is there is a lot of rhetoric in this place, rhetoric earlier from the Minister of Community
Services, who has got everybody uncertain in Nova Scotia as to where they are going with
that
particular department. Every non-profit organization in my area and, I am sure, in
everybody's
area throughout this great province, is concerned about where they are heading - with due
justification, I might add.



I would suggest, and I said this before in this House, that the members who are not
members of
the government over there, but are elected to this place to represent their constituents, should
tell
their constituents why their government, their front benches, their Finance Minister, their
Premier, their Minister of Community Services, why these people are cutting back on the
very
people in this province that can't fight back - the people who are disadvantaged and the
people
who need assistance in one form or another.



You know what? There is a feeling, Mr. Speaker, in some quarters on that side of the
House that
there is nobody fitting that category anymore, that they should not concern themselves
because
everybody is doing wonderful in this province and there is no need for social safety nets
anymore. Everybody is doing fine, thank you, very much. That is not the case. There are
people
out there who are hurting in this province. You heard my colleague, the member for Cape
Breton
East, talk about that earlier. You have heard other people in our Party talk about that and you
have heard people in the Official Opposition talking about that. You don't hear any
government
members talking about that. They think everything is fine because they have been told
everything
is fine from their front benches. What they have been told is to stay put, follow the plan and
you
will all get re-elected. I am going to tell you, as I said here before, there are a number of faces
over there that won't be here after the next election because of that very theory. If they think
they
can sit here and toe the government line without being responsible to their constituents, then
they
will not be here after the next election.









[Page 1346]

Mr. Speaker, I will give you a local example, the member for Cape Breton North is
going to be
asked if he supports his government taking money from the casino in Sydney that was
earmarked
to go to charity. It is a difficult situation for him to be in. While he is on the backbench, he
can
express an opinion on that but when he gets to the front benches - which I understand will
be
soon - he is not going to have that luxury. So I suggest he has an opportunity, the member
for
Cape Breton North, to go down there and tell his people how he really feels.



Does he want these programs for his people or is he going to toe the government line,
which he
does not have to do now, unless he risks incurring the wrath of the Premier or the Minister
of
Finance. That may slow down his ascension to the Cabinet. So he has to wrestle with his
conscience. Does he stand up for his constituents now or does he toe the Party line in the
hopes
of getting to the front benches? It is an interesting question that would be put.



I think, also, that member for Cape Breton North and all members on that side of the
House, I
suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, are going to have a difficult time telling their constituents why
they
are aiding and abetting the smuggling of cigarettes in this province. I would like to see the
explanation, and I hope it is a better explanation to their constituents than the explanation the
Minister of Finance gave by blaming the courts. The Minister of Finance says, oh, we are
going
to reduce the fines for smugglers in Nova Scotia, because the courts won't enforce it anyway.
What a cop-out. The people I talked to tell me that people tell them that the Government of
Nova
Scotia is doing nothing here but aiding and abetting smugglers in this province. I think that
is a
shame. I think that is tragic.



[7:45 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, you have to wonder who is driving that agenda. It is unheard of that any
government in power in this country would take a fine down to the level that this government
wants to take it for the benefit of cigarette smugglers to make it easier for the underground
economy to flourish in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotians want to know who is driving that agenda,
who has gotten to the government on that particular issue. I haven't heard one rational reason
why the government would allow that fine to be reduced for the benefit of smugglers in this
province. If anybody can give me a logical reason, other than blaming the courts of this
province,
then I am willing to listen, but the government has been silent on that. The government has
been
extremely silent on that, because somebody has gotten to the government on that issue.



We are certainly going to be researching this issue more thoroughly over the next
couple of
weeks, to try to find out why a majority government in this province would allow the fines
for
smuggling cigarettes in this province, to be reduced, to make it easier for criminals to do
business
in Nova Scotia. That is what is happening here. I believe that Nova Scotians are owed an
answer
to that particular question. I am sorry that I can't abide by the Finance Minister's explanation.
I
can't believe that he would stand in this House and say, we



[Page 1347]

are reducing the fines because the courts won't impose them if they are any larger, the courts
won't do their job.



The gall of the Finance Minister and the Minister of Justice, who backed him up, to
stand in their
places in this House and blame the courts for a reduction in fines. I can't believe this is
happening here in Nova Scotia. Not only that, I can't believe that the government is serious
in
going through with that. But we are going to have to wait and see, because I can certainly tell
you
that we are going to have something further to say about that issue in the coming days and
weeks.
It could be weeks or it could be months, but we are going to, certainly, take a long, hard look
at
this particular bill, and also, more importantly, that particular section.



The Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations has given an extension
of 90 days
for the equalization plan. We want to know what is going to be the end result of that and
when it
is going to come into effect. We also want to know where the costs are going to end up, who
is
going to do what in the swap. We want to know, eventually, what the Union of Nova Scotia
Municipalities is going to support and what it is not going to support.



Mr. Speaker, another thing that this government is doing in hoodwinking Nova
Scotians, Nova
Scotia taxpayers, in taking the money right out of their pockets, is not allowing the federal
tax
break to flow through in Nova Scotia. This government, this Finance Minister, this Premier,
and
that front bench got very innovative when they found another way to grab some money here.
They are going to have an independent tax system. They are going to have another tax system
in
Nova Scotia that enables them not to flow through the generous tax break from the federal
government, rather the province stopped it at the gate, and said, Nova Scotia taxpayers, you
are
not going to get a tax break here, not now.



But in the election year, they are going to give them back their own money, and they
are going to
say, we are reducing taxes. What they have done is they have kept the reduction in taxes that
was
supposed to flow through from the federal government, and they are going to give taxpayers
back
their own money. Does any Nova Scotian think that this government is doing them a favour?
I
doubt it.



The polls will tell you that increasingly Nova Scotians are not being fooled by this
government.
The numbers speak; I am not saying that, the numbers are saying that. The numbers are
saying
that there is a dissatisfaction with this government, is it any wonder there is a dissatisfaction
when people are expecting a tax break that every other province in Canada receives and they
don't get it. They don't get it because this government grabbed the money, took it right out
of
their pocket, lifted it and put it into general revenues - the same place they put the profits
from
the Sydney Casino instead of giving it to the charities in the Cape Breton area for the purpose
for
which it was intended in the first place. They did not do that. They



[Page 1348]

couldn't even do that to support a weak economy in industrial Cape Breton. They couldn't
even
do that.



Mr. Speaker, I think the second time this bill was introduced gave us yet another
opportunity, as I
stated before, to have another go at it at second reading because I think we need time to make
Nova Scotians aware of exactly what is happening in this omnibus bill, or this ominous bill
as I
like to refer to it . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Or obnoxious.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Or obnoxious bill because it is all of those things,
but
taxpayers and the people of this province have to know where this government is going and
how
this government is deceiving them when it comes to delivering services and collecting taxes.
I
understand that that is a pretty harsh word, but how else would you describe the way the
Finance
Minister is coming to this House with non-tax items that are going to cost people money
because
they are not calling them tax items anymore, they are calling them user fees.



The end result is that there is $29 million in user fees from last year's budget. Seniors'
Pharmacare co-pay is $8.4 million per year total. The 911 tax, the tax they said would never
be a
tax, you remember that. Remember when the Finance Minister said that won't be a tax, it
won't
impact on your telephone bill? Look at your telephone bill. Hospital user fees, preferred
rooms,
fibreglass casts, TVs, all charged now, $5 million revenue; those aren't taxes, Mr. Speaker,
they
are only user fees. It is imaginary money they have to pay. They pay $50 out of their pocket,
but
it is not money, it is just imaginary money. It really does not count because it is not a tax.




I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that if you are taking money out of people's pockets,
it is a tax no
matter how you cut it, or no matter what you call it. They are even charging for driver testing
handbooks - $950,000. That is a user fee. In other words, if you read the driver's handbook
to get
a license, that is a user fee so you have to pay for that. Prescription drugs, we are having
increasing difficulties with people on community services accessing drugs for various
prescriptions and I talked about one of those last week, about the lady who couldn't get the
lifesaving drugs. Shame on the government for even proposing something like that in the
form of
a policy statement to their field workers who were embarrassed to talk to me about it back
in
Cape Breton, embarrassed. They told me they did not believe it. They didn't believe it was
coming. When they got it, they told me they didn't want to enforce it, but had no choice. How
petty can a government get when they start taking lifesaving drugs away from people who
need
them?



Ferry increases, I don't have to talk about those, $300,000 worth of new - of course,
that is not a
tax, Mr. Speaker, don't get me wrong, that is a user fee. That is a user fee and there is a
difference. The money still comes out of the pocket. The taxpayer is still poorer,



[Page 1349]

but it is not a tax, it is now called a user fee. You still get the money lifted from you, but it
is a
different category now so it doesn't count. You just lose the money.



Insurance agents' licences, $200,000; environmental approvals, $200,000; a teacher's
certificate
renewal - they couldn't think of any more ingenuous ways to get some money, so if you want
to
renew your licence, you have got to pay for that. It is not bad enough you pay $50,000 to
$60,000
to get your degree in the first place and then you go into teaching and you have to pay hefty
dues
while you are teaching. Now, to get your licence renewed, you have to pay for that too. I
don't
know whether the member for Sackville-Cobequid paid his new licence fee . . .



MR. JOHN HOLM: I have never renewed it.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: If and when you do, you will have to pay a fee.




Mr. Speaker, as I stated, 2001-02 user fees, here are some new ones. Now, $50 for
the seniors in
hospitals. If there was ever something that was draconian it is this. I can't believe that the
government would even consider that; I can't believe it. I can't believe what kind of heart that
crowd has over there, to force people out of hospitals by suggesting to them that they are
going to
have to pay $50 a day. I wouldn't want to be the person on a particular ward of a hospital who
tells somebody they have to get out of that bed because they can't afford $50 a day.



Mr. Speaker, you and I both know that that is not enforceable, but it is in there in case
they can
suck some people into paying it, and then if they can't do that they will charge it to the
municipality where the hospital is located. That is what is going to happen there. That is a
user
fee. You use the hospital bed because you are sick, it is a user fee; it is not a tax, it is a user
fee. It
just comes out of the poor, sick person's pocket, but it doesn't make any difference, it is a
user
fee, so it is okay in the minds of this government.



The Premier stated when he was running his election that there would be no tax
increases in
Nova Scotia save one, an increase on tobacco. Well, what he did, instead of that they put no
less
than, well, dozens of new user fees, taxed just about everything except the telephone poles
in this
province and called it all user fees. So technically he is right, there are no new taxes except
the
tax on tobacco, but what did they do then? They dropped the ball there because they put a
tax on
cigarettes and then lowered the fines for smugglers.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member like to move
adjournment on
debate?



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I certainly would like to move adjournment. I wish
I could
keep going for another hour, but (Applause) I realize that the members have other things to
do, so
I will move adjournment of the debate.







[Page 1350]

MR. SPEAKER: We will certainly look forward to the honourable member for Cape
Breton
South coming back.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet on
the morrow
at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit from 9:00 a.m. until we have concluded the
estimates
of the province and the vote thereon. I move the House do now rise.



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



The motion is carried.



We are adjourned until 9:00 a.m.



[The House rose at 7:58 p.m.]







[Page 1351]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



RESOLUTION NO. 551




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 successful Yarmouth County Museum Expansion Project (2000) has
now received
significant national recognition for its recently completed $2.4 million Preservation Wing
Expansion; and



Whereas the Yarmouth County Museum earned the Canadian Museum Association's
Outstanding Achievement Award in the Management Category for meeting all the CMA's
criteria in terms of its national significance, by exceeding the current standards of practice,
by
showing leadership and creativity, and for the effective use of resources; and



Whereas the CMA also honoured Yarmouth County Museum curator Eric Ruff, by
naming him a
Fellow of the Canadian Museum Association for his 25 year dedication to the preservation
of the
area's heritage;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the tremendous
efforts of the
Yarmouth County Museum's staff and volunteer corps and congratulate them for standing
out
from such strong national competition.



RESOLUTION NO. 552





By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)



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



Whereas the story of the fossils of Fundy is about to be universally accessible through
a Web
site; and



Whereas the Web site project is the brainchild of Sylvia McKoy who works with
local economic
development and community computer access programs; and



Whereas also instrumental in this innovative project were Don
Hannah, Brian Hebert, Trevor
Proctor, Dwayne McEachern, as well as River Hebert High School students Trevor Reid,
Rachel
Glennie, Justin LeBlanc and Nicholas Frail;







[Page 1352]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate everyone who
worked on
the fossils of Fundy Web site project as they strive to increase and widen interest in the fossil
treasures of Cumberland County.



RESOLUTION NO. 553





By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)



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



Whereas the flourishing film industry in our province is creating exciting
opportunities at home
for Nova Scotians; and



Whereas Williamsdale resident Art Brown recently seized one of those opportunities
when he
made his acting debut in the Shipping News; and



Whereas Mr. Brown, in the Shipping News, will be seen in theatres next Christmas;




Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Art Brown on
his acting
debut and wish him further success in his new career.