Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-16

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Third Session

THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. for the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 1175
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 36, Financial Measures (2003) Act, Hon. N. LeBlanc 1176
No. 37, Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial
Assistance (2003) Act, Hon. R. Russell 1176
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 9:07 A.M. 1176
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 1:10 P.M. 1176
HOUSE RECESSED AT 1:10 P.M. 1177
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 1:12 P.M. 1177
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 133, Fin. - Municipal Bylaws: Cabinet - Power, Mr. D. Dexter 1179
No. 134, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Mar. & Northeast: Facilities Assess. -
Status, Mr. Manning MacDonald 1180
No. 135, Econ. Dev. Orenda: Promised Jobs - Status,
Mr. J. MacDonell 1182
No. 136, Environ. & Lbr. - Harrietsfield/Williamswood:
Recycling Facility - Halt, Mr. R. MacKinnon 1183
No. 137, Fin. - Budget: Doubtful Accounts - Omission, Mr. G. Steele 1184
No. 138, Fin. - Budget: Doubtful Accounts - Orenda Inclusion,
Mr. G. Steele 1185
No. 139, Educ. - Barrington Mun. HS: Action - Impetus, Mr. D. Wilson 1187
No. 140, Educ. - Barrington Pass. Students: Transfers - Denial Explain,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1188
No. 141, Health Prom. - Problem Gamblers: Funding - Sufficiency,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1189
No. 142, Health Prom. - Disease Prevention Strategy: Stakeholders -
Involvement Assure, Dr. J. Smith 1190
No. 143, Econ. Dev. - Glace Bay Revitalization Proj.:
Prov. Non-Support - Explain, Mr. F. Corbett 1191
No. 144, Educ. - Transport. & Facilities: Takeover - Cost-Savings,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 1192
No. 145, Energy - Electricity Prices: Residential Customers -
Protection, Mr. H. Epstein 1194
No. 146, Econ. Dev. - NSBI: C.B. Businesses - Funding Proportion,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 1195
No. 147, Nat. Res. - McNabs/Lawlor Islands - Prov. Pk.:
Management Plan - Date, Mr. K. Deveaux 1196
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Fin.: Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement -
Amendments, Hon. N. LeBlanc 1197
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 22nd at 2:00 p.m. 1199
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 737, Parrsboro Crossroads Co-op: Reopening - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1200
Res. 738, Sports - ORHS Jr. B. Bears: Silver Trophy - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1200
Res. 739, Rushton, Chief Darren - Oxford Vol. FD: 10-Yr. Service Bar -
Congrats., The Speaker 1201
Res. 740, Sports - Parrsboro Reg. HS Warriors: Boys Volleyball Champs -
Congrats., The Speaker 1201
Res. 741, Porter, Terry - Springhill FD: 20-Yr. Service Bar - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1202
Res. 742, Patriquin, Harold - Can. Post: 25-Yr. Service - Congrats.,
The Speaker 1202
Res. 743, Sports - Parrsboro Zellers: Bantam Hockey Tournament -
Congrats., The Speaker 1203
Res. 744, Powell, Ronnie - Oxford Town: Service Award (25 Yr.) -
Congrats., The Speaker 1203
Res. 745, MacDonald, Terry: Prov. Rep. Vol. - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 1204
Res. 746, Wolford, Jim: Prov. Rep. Vol. - Congrats., Hon. D. Morse 1204
Res. 747, Kinsman, Catherine: Prov. Rep. Vol. - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 1205
Res. 748, Acadia Univ. - Stud. Entrepreneurial Research Comp.:
Gold Medal Winners - Congrats., Hon. D. Morse 1205
Res. 749, Patriquin, Joseph: Prov. Rep. Vol. - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 1206

[Page 1175]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2003

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Third Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. 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 Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report 2002 for the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

1175

[Page 1176]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 36 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Neil LeBlanc)

Bill No. 37 - Entitled an Act to Authorize the Town of Hantsport to make a Grant to the Hantsport Memorial Community Centre. (Hon. Ronald Russell as a private member.)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[9:07 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[1:10 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.

[Page 1177]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if we could just perhaps hold everything, recess until 1:12 p.m. because we have the other committee still going for another couple of minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: We will recess until 1:12 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

We are recessed until 1:12 p.m.

[1:10 p.m. The House recessed.]

[1:12 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in my place on a point of personal privilege. You will recall that back in 1999, shortly after this government took power, we had an incident where we had a Minister of the Crown, in fact it was the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, who had informed a local reporter in his area of a freedom of information request that had been made and indicated to him that he was aware of the contents of that request and that it had come from him.

Shortly after that, Mr. Speaker, the Premier brought in a code of ethics in which he promised that the Freedom of Information system would be respected and that Ministers of the Crown would not be made aware of who was making freedom of information requests of their government. There were even questions as to whether ministers should even be made aware of what information was being requested in those freedom of information requests.

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon in debate on the Estimates of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Minister of Justice indicated that he was aware of three freedom of information requests which had been made to other government departments requesting information which had nothing to do with his own department. Out of the hundreds of freedom of information requests that are received by this government, ironically, the three

[Page 1178]

requests that the minister gave as examples were three requests that came from the Liberal caucus.

I would submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that based on that and based on how the information was presented, that the Minister of Justice was aware of who those requests had been made by. When the minister was asked who had shared this information with him, considering that it was information sent to other departments, the minister claimed that he had privilege and did not need to divulge that information. I would submit to you that other than Cabinet privilege, the Minister of Justice enjoys no other privilege based on the fact he is not a member of the Bar, nor does he have any of the other traditional privilege relationships which do exist.

I would therefore submit to you, based on that, that our rights as members of this House in knowing that freedom of information requests are being done in the proper fashion, that ministers around the Tory Cabinet Table are not chit-chatting about freedom of information requests that are taking place for other departments and the fact that the minister has made it clear that he was aware of where these requests were coming from, the nature and who sent them,. I would submit to you, it is a breach of the Code of Ethics and it is also an infringement upon the privileges of members of this House based on their own legislation brought forward by this Premier. Based on that, Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to make a ruling in this matter. I would ask you to instruct the Minister of Justice to inform this House as to how he came to know about this information based on the fact that he enjoys no sort of privilege in withholding this information and that you rule on whether there has been a breach of the Freedom of Information Act, a breach of the Code of Ethics and a breach of the personal privileges that each member of this House enjoys. Thank you.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I'll be very brief. I wasn't present at the time when the alleged incident happened. This would be something I think should be quite easy to get to the root of and we do have access to, and you could request that Hansard provide you early this afternoon with a copy of the transcript. I think it is a very serious allegation that is made and if, in fact, as the previous speaker said, if those events are as he reported, I think that it is a very serious matter and one that you should give your very prompt attention to, as well as the Premier. I think the Premier would also have some responsibility in addressing that issue.

MR. SPEAKER: I will certainly take the matter under advisement and report back to the House.

[Page 1179]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 1:17 p.m. and end at 2:17 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

FIN. - MUNICIPAL BYLAWS: CABINET - POWER

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Only hours ago the Minister of Finance announced this government is giving Cabinet the power to override municipal bylaws. Immediately, the CBRM called our office asking for a copy because they hadn't seen it. It appears the elected mayor and council of CBRM found out about the government's intention to override their two-year-old bylaw through the media. How very typical, Mr. Speaker, of the way that this government operates. Once again, it has a knee-jerk response without consulting the people who are directly affected by their actions. My question is, when did you notify the mayor and council of CBRM that you are giving yourself the power to override their bylaws and why did you wait two years?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): I refer that to the Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I tabled the Financial Measures (2003) Bill in the House this morning. I had a bill briefing with the press prior to that, the member opposite's Finance Critic was present. HRM and CBRM will both be informed. This is the tabling of the bill, the bill isn't being passed today. There will be plenty of time for debate in this House and also for explanations for both CBRM and HRM.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, two years after the fact, this government decides to take a position, a new position I might add, because their position in this matter has been all over the map. In 1999 this Finance Minister tried to take a tough line in this House when he announced that he would sue the casino operators for late construction penalties. Now, they're ready to cave in without even going through the dispute resolution process. Soon, John Hamm's Government will have the dubious honour of being the only government in North America to pass legislation to allow smoking in public places. My question to the Premier is, Mr. Premier, why won't you display the courage of the municipal governments and health advocates in this province instead of caving in to casino operators without a fight?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Finance.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, with regard to the bill that came in today, that's been tabled today, it gives the province the ability to make changes if they are required within 30 days. The reason that is important is that the contract that was signed by the previous Liberal

[Page 1180]

Government in 1995 with the casino operator has a provision in there that if we don't rectify a situation which comes up within 30 days, the province will be on the hook for substantial punitive damages to the extent of well over $100 million.

Mr. Speaker, what we have done today is risk management. We have allowed the Province of Nova Scotia to be able to react within those 30 days. The member may not agree, but I believe the people of Nova Scotia do.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the Minister of Finance is getting advice from the same lawyers who told him the Laurentian basin case was a slam-dunk.

The Premier and the minister are just shadow boxing here, and they're so concerned with just making the former Liberal Government look bad, rather than dealing with the issue. You don't need any help making them look bad. They want to give Cabinet unprecedented power to kill municipal bylaws. They are prepared to make the casino an outlaw oasis. My final question to the Premier is, if today your Cabinet wants the power to nullify municipal bylaws it doesn't like, can you tell the House what's next?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the first question from the New Democratic Party and from the Leader of the Opposition is a suggestion that we have in excess of $110 million to give to the casino, then I would hate to think where he'll be with his last question in Question Period today.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. - MAR. & NORTHEAST:

FACILITIES ASSESS - STATUS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Yesterday the Premier passed off my questions to the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Obviously, the latest Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is either intentionally misleading this House or he doesn't know what is going on in his department. It was really alarming when the minister seemed unaware that the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline doesn't come near Antigonish, even though I never mentioned either Antigonish or the pipeline. My question was related to resolution of property taxes for facilities related to the offshore energy project, the gas plant in Goldboro, and the fractionation plant in Point Tupper. The gas and fractionation plant went into production in 1999.

After four years of Tory bungling, these municipal units are unable to spend money that is rightfully theirs, because this government has not fulfilled its responsibility to determine assessment values. The minister has obviously confused pipeline assessment with

[Page 1181]

facilities assessment. Perhaps he could find someone in his department who knows the difference. Pipeline assessment was resolved because of the leadership of the impact to municipalities, and a deal was reached. My question to the minister is, what is the status of the facilities assessment?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member's question was and as he indicated, the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline has been resolved and that is moving forward. The other issue that he raised regarding the facility, those issues have been discussed at meetings - they met about 11 times. The process right now is in the hands of the SOEP lawyers and we anticipate the response very soon.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary is to the Premier. The minister is not giving a satisfactory answer. As a matter of fact, he gave me an answer to a question I didn't even ask him. I'm asking him about where the facilities are. Offshore opportunity is passing us by because of the ineptitude of this government. Municipalities are being denied tax dollars, the gas plant alone represents $350 million of assessed value. Industry is not being presented with a stable set of rules to facilitate investment, there's no certainty for this industry here in the future. Mr. Premier, my question to you is, when can municipal units expect progress in resolving this issue so they can utilize the taxation to provide services and provide the stability and predictability that's necessary in this industry?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer that to the minister.

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will know that in the Fall of 2000 we introduced a bill to deal with just that, to deal with the ability of assessable property through the oil industry and that is a process that has been going on. Obviously, the SOEP people have had some disagreement with the municipal units and as I indicated earlier, the process is coming to a conclusion very soon.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister just indicted himself and his government. He just told this House that three and a half years ago these negotiations started and they're still not completed, but they're going to get completed, he states, on the eve of an election. For three and a half years these municipalities have been waiting.

My question is for the Premier. Mr. Speaker, we have three rigs in the harbour so one could safely assume they're not drilling anywhere offshore at the present time or one may assume that they're drilling in Halifax Harbour, because they're all out there. Four years under a Hamm Government and no new projects in the offshore, no gas distribution, no petrochemical industry and municipalities that are unable to benefit by Sable taxation, even though the negotiations have been going on for three and a half years. My question for the Premier is, will the Premier and his office take a leadership role and settle this impasse so that the rightful dollars belonging to municipalities will get into their hands?

[Page 1182]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what the preamble had to do with the question. But I can assure the member opposite that I am heartened by the fact that the drilling companies have, in fact, made drilling rigs available for the drilling programs that are going to occur this summer and the following summer. I would be very discouraged if, in fact, there were no drilling rigs out there, nothing to hire for drilling projects in the offshore. I think the confidence that many companies have in our offshore is the reason you see these drilling rigs being made available for our offshore industry.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

ECON. DEV. - ORENDA: PROMISED JOBS - STATUS

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, two months ago our Party said that Orenda Recip was in serious jeopardy of closing its doors. At that time we said that this company was planning on shutting down its fleet plant in Ontario which builds wing tips. It was indicated that they would bring these jobs to Nova Scotia and it appears that they were doing this to break the union there and transfer a handful of low-paying jobs to Debert.

Mr. Speaker, this company has been promising jobs in Debert for six years and has never delivered on its promises. So my question for the troubled Minister of Economic Development is, is he willing to put his shaken reputation on the line and promise that this time Orenda's promised jobs will actually appear?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing shaken about this government's resolve to see positive business development in this province, unlike what the NDP are about, taking down companies, taking down opportunities and harming the future prosperity of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure that member that there are now 12 employees from Nova Scotia in Ontario taking training to work in the future operations at that plant.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, that's the trade word here "future". The question is, is there a future for anybody in that plant? My information is that Orenda's parent company, Magellan, just struck a tentative deal with its union in Ontario. It is my information that the fleet plant is once again producing wing tips. Even this troubled Minister of Economic Development must agree with me that the chances of wing tip jobs coming to Debert now are not terribly likely given the company is doing the work in Ontario again. So my question to the minister is, is it his impression that Magellan's only use right now for the Debert plant is to wring concessions out of its Ontario work force?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to what Magellan's activities are in Ontario. What I can speak about is what their plan and intention is for here in Nova Scotia. That company invested at a minimum $30 million to the $18 million from the federal and

[Page 1183]

provincial. They had a technological success, the market wasn't there, they're moving on, they're putting new jobs in Debert. They expect up to 60 employees. They're starting with 12 trainees now and it is wing components for a Boeing 717.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister if he will table in this House today a guarantee of those jobs from that company?

MR. CLARKE: Well, Mr. Speaker, from the ridiculous to the sublime from the NDP again. What we go on is the fact that the private sector should be out there trying to do what it can with the market forces and they're competing where possible. Nova Scotians have worked at that plant, Nova Scotians will continue to work at that plant but if the NDP had their way, nobody in Nova Scotia would be working, they would be driving them off the shores and that's why we're here.

[1:30 p.m.]

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - HARRIETSFIELD/WILLIAMSWOOD:

RECYCLING FACILITY - HALT

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. The residents, some 900 families, from Harrietsfield and Williamswood met with the minister on April 9th with concerns to this proposed expansion of a recycling facility in their community. Since that time they've supplied me with a report from the State University of Florida, which provides some rather substantive evidence that would conclude that if this C&D disposal site were to be placed in those communities, it would have an adverse effect on the groundwater despite the fact that the clay soils are quite significant - if they are, because the minister hasn't given us that detail - in light of that particular report, and I believe the minister has it, is the minister prepared to reconsider and have this entire process put to a halt?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I met with a group, I think it was on Monday or Tuesday of this week, and I told them - oh, beg your pardon, it was last week, on Friday of last week I met with a group and I informed them that I would advise them as soon as possible as to what our future actions would be, and that letter is now in the possession of those residents.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I have in hand here the legal opinion from M&E Legal Services from Bedford, which effectively states that the decision that was made by HRM in allowing the conversion of this from a salvage yard to a C&D compost area has not met the required regulatory process; I will table that for the minister. In view of this

[Page 1184]

evidence, will the minister again concede that this entire process should be put to a halt and spare the residents, some 900 families, the undue hardship that this has caused?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the HRM held in excess of 60 meetings, as I understand it, with regard to C&D and as a result of that have come up with three sites within HRM for the disposal of construction and demolition debris. The one in Harrietsfield is one of those sites.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, as I've indicated on a previous day, the experts at HRM advised against this site proceeding. I further understand that the minister has had deliberations with his Cabinet colleagues on this very issue and in light of the fact that one of the HRM councillors is now contemplating running for the Conservative Party, the government is trying to find a way out of this particular issue. You now have considerable evidence here before you today, sir. Would you please put this entire process to an end and help the residents of these two communities?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there is a process that the Department of Environment and Labour follows when approving sites such as the one out in Harrietsfield and that will be followed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

FIN. - BUDGET: DOUBTFUL ACCOUNTS - OMISSION

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the Finance Minister was embarrassed last year when a reporter discovered that his budget had underestimated doubtful accounts by millions of dollars. He was so embarrassed that this year he yanked that line item for doubtful accounts from the budget altogether; it's now nowhere to be found anywhere in the budget documents. So my question to the Minister of Finance is, how long has it been government policy to drop embarrassing items out of the budget documents?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, there has been no change.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, that's untrue and the minister knows it, and it gets worse because both that minister and the Premier knew that this line item was understated for more than one budget. I'm going to table a document from an internal meeting from senior staff from the Premier's Office and other senior government officials and this document says, "Provision for doubtful accounts in the estimates is not sufficient". That meeting was attended by, among other people, the Premier's Deputy Minister. Yet, the minister went ahead that year and the year after knowing that item was wrong and stating it anyway. So my question to the Minister of Finance is, how long has it been government policy to know that a line item in the budget is wrong, but to say it anyway?

[Page 1185]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, providing for doubtful accounts is a process that estimates what is going to occur in the next year. The fact of the matter is, overall our development strategy as a province has been excellent. Many of the accounts that have come forward, especially handled by NSBI, have done well. The estimates that we have tabled this year make provisions for doubtful accounts - not for doubtful accounts, for write-offs of doubtful accounts. We're pleased with the ones that we put forth.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter because the document that I've tabled shows the Premier's senior staff, including the Deputy Minister to the Premier, knew that the information in at least two budgets was wrong. The Premier and the Minister of Finance must have known this so my question to the Premier is, when did your deputy minister tell you that your government was dramatically understating doubtful accounts in the budget?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question from the member opposite would have some validity if in fact we were not able to meet our targets. I can point out to the member opposite that the budget that we tabled last year had a surplus of just over $1 million. Because the budget and the estimates were so accurate and so conservative, that surplus has grown to over $14 million.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

FIN. - BUDGET: DOUBTFUL ACCOUNTS - ORENDA INCLUSION

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, purposely underestimating doubtful accounts put this government in a position where it knowingly tabled an unbalanced budget last year. But that's last year. What about this year? Well, we don't know because that line item has been completely yanked from the budget. It no longer appears. I would like to ask the Premier, does the provision for doubtful accounts, wherever they're hidden in the government's books, include a $9 million provision for a troubled and underperforming engine manufacturer named Orenda Recip?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, this is more a question for the estimates rather than Question Period, but I do want to say that many of the accounts that the Province of Nova Scotia carries on its books have had receivables written down in previous years and that is a fact. With regard to the specific one that he's talked about, I am sure that it was written off, not written off but devalued in previous years. It's a valid question and without having the information at my fingertips I will endeavour to get the information.

[Page 1186]

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I will read from the summary from the same meeting of August 2001 attended by Gordon Gillis, the Premier's Deputy Minister and Moira MacLeod from the Treasury and Policy Board, among other people. Right after it points out the provisions for doubtful accounts are underestimated, it gives an example and it says, "Currently there is an exposure of approximately $2 - 3 million from the Debert Engine Aircraft Manufacturer, Orenda." So my question to the Premier is, will the Premier confirm that he and his most senior staff knew two years ago that Orenda was a write-off?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I believe the member for Halifax Fairview already tabled that, did he not? (Interruptions)The honourable member for Halifax Fairview, you did table that document you're reading from?

MR. STEELE: I did table one version, this is a slightly different version.

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the member to table that as well.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's a sorry state of affairs when the Opposition Party is concerned about leaked documents and absolutely refuses to discuss results. The government is concerned about results. The people of Nova Scotia are concerned about results. We have known for some time that the Orenda deal has been very, very problematic, but the results are that we have taken the budget last year and delivered, not only the surplus that was called for, but a surplus that is much bigger. The results speak for themselves.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, anything that I could say in response to that answer from the Premier would be unparliamentary, because I would accuse him of something that I'm not allowed to say in this House. The Premier and his senior staff knew the facts and did not state those facts in the budget documents, and I'm not allowed to use the word that describes that kind of action. This is about integrity, Mr. Premier, it's about integrity. Under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles the debt must be written off in the year the government concludes it is no longer collectible. To the Finance Minister I would say that your colleague in Economic Development yesterday called the Orenda loan, a potentially and extremely large write-off. My question to the Premier is, when will this government admit that $9 million has to be written off in this year's accounts and that this year's budget is not balanced?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, just scant moments ago I heard the Minister of Finance say to the member opposite that he would research when, in fact, the government acknowledged on the books of the province, the loss from the Orenda deal - he will provide you with that information. I would certainly caution the member opposite, before he starts hurling innuendoes around the room, that he hears the proper information. He does not seem to be constrained by fact.

[Page 1187]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC. - BARRINGTON MUN. HS: ACTION - IMPETUS

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. There has been no definite solution given to the parents and children of Barrington Municipal High School, and in case the minister has forgotten, the children there are getting sick because of a sick building. The minister has already said in this House that he has received a report on the school and I believe he should table that report. The minister has also said he has approved additional studies to be done on Barrington Municipal High School. My question to the minister is, how many reports does your government need to tell you these children are getting sick; how many studies before your government, Mr. Minister, will finally act?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Our concern, of course, is to ensure that the students are in a healthy and safe environment, and that's our number one priority. With respect to the decisions that need to be taken relative to the future of the Barrington Municipal High School, it is very important that we understand, to the extent possible, the source of the difficulties that are arising in that school. As long as those who we have engaged to assist us in examining that request some time to further study the matter so that they can provide us with more precise information, we believe that it is appropriate for us to enable them to conduct those studies and provide us with as precise information as it is possible for them to gather.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Education Act clearly states that children have the right to a safe learning environment. I understand that the situation can't be solved overnight, but the honourable member has known about this school since he became a minister, over three months ago, and the previous minister knew about this school for some time as well. My question to the Education Minister is, will the minister please tell us when a decision is going to be made with respect to the future of Barrington Municipal High School, so the parents can begin to plan for their children's future?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we will make a decision with respect to the future of that facility when we are satisfied that we have all of the necessary information before us and I can say to the honourable member and to members of the House that we want to have that information much sooner as opposed to later because we understand there is some urgency with respect to proceeding with future decisions.

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my final question will go to the Premier. The Premier is quoted directly from the blue book on Page 24 as saying, "I want our children to learn in a healthy, positive environment . . ." My question to the Premier is, how does your

[Page 1188]

government explain this broken promise to the parents and children of Barrington because obviously they are not learning in a healthy and positive environment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, with the commitment in mind that the member opposite just brought to the attention of the House, that is the very reason that we are going and doing the extensive engineering study of the Barrington school to make sure that this government does keep its commitment to the children of Barrington and they are allowed to be educated in a very healthy environment.

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

EDUC. - BARRINGTON PASS. - STUDENTS:

TRANSFERS - DENIAL EXPLAIN

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, a group of Barrington Passage parents have come to the House today because they are being forced to send their children to a school that is making them sick. This government won't give these parents and these students any answers. Now, even their requests to transfer their sick children are being denied. Last week in this House I brought forward the case of Tyrell Goodwin. The morning after I did that, Tyrell's mother received a call that he could transfer to Drumlin Heights and on Monday he was in that school. My question to the Minister of Education is, why is your department stopping sick children in Barrington Passage from transferring to other nearby schools?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the question of the transferring of students to other schools is a question which is determined by the school board in that particular area or in any other area for that matter. I do know that my deputy minister has been in communication with officials of that school board with respect to this particular question.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, students such as Titus, Alex, Samantha and Seneade have all been denied transfers to the school. I'm going to table a letter from Samantha Frelick to the minister's attention. I would like to quote from it, if I could, just a few lines. " . . . I want to get transferred to Drumlin Heights, because in my other school I can't concentrate on my work and I'm getting really bad severe headaches, not breathing well and when I get home from school I don't want to do anything but lay around." Samantha's mother is here today. It's time for the minister and this government to stop playing politics with this school situation. I have a list of nine students who want an immediate transfer. I am going to table that list of nine students for the minister's attention. Mr. Minister, will you ensure that these students receive the transfers they need or will I have to bring each one of their cases up in this House individually to further embarrass this government?

[Page 1189]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the honourable member and to members of the House that the actions taken by this government will be in the interest of the students and will have nothing to do with the level of embarrassment the honourable member is able to generate or not generate. I can say to the honourable member that the question of these transfers will be one of the subjects of a meeting that will be held next week with people from that area.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I want to correct what that minister just said. The subject of a meeting of the transfer of those students should be held here at 2:17 p.m. when those people in that gallery meet you and you go out that door because you deserve the opportunity to hear from them first-hand about their sick children. I want a commitment, today; Mr. Minister, at 2:17 p.m., will you meet with those parents?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I would have been available to meet with those parents much earlier in the day had I not been occupied with estimates for a period of four hours and it is expected that I attend here at Question Period. When I'm available, I will be happy to meet with these people.

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

HEALTH PROM. - PROBLEM GAMBLERS:

FUNDING - SUFFICIENCY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this question is to the Minister of Health Promotion, whatever that means. Today the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation released its first annual report. According to the report, the foundation gave $600,000 for projects and $807,000 in grants for 2002. The total since 1998 is $2.4 million in grants and projects and a total of $4 million sitting in the coffers for community projects. My question to the Minister of Health Promotion is, do you honestly think that $2.4 million over five years is going to allow communities to offer meaningful help to problem gamblers?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. Indeed, I have met with the chairman of the foundation just in the past couple of weeks to discuss that very matter. The foundation was quite interested in furthering future dollars to projects around the province. I can assure the honourable member since my time as minister, and I know the previous minister, we want to see those dollars get out to projects, very needed projects, across our province.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, in the same five-year period that I mentioned earlier, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation made over $1 billion in profits. In 2002 the Gaming Corporation invested one-fifth of 1 per cent, 0.2 per cent to projects and grants so communities can help problem gamblers and their families. So my question to the minister

[Page 1190]

is, when will your government start adequately addressing the devastation caused by gaming addiction in this province?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member is confused because there's also Addiction Services which is through the district health authorities across this province which invest millions of dollars in helping those with addictions across our province.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I knew that, that's a given. It's that minister and the dollars available that you're making the decisions on. This Tory Government, like the Liberals before them, are the biggest addicts of all. They like getting the gambling revenue, but they hate to help the people who provide it. The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem and this government has a problem with its addiction to the gambling profits. So I ask the Minister of Health Promotion, whatever that means, why can't you simply admit that this province doesn't care where gambling revenues come from or who it hurts as long as the money keeps rolling on in?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure that honourable member that the dollars which are there currently with the foundation will be used for projects. We are working very closely with the Gaming Foundation. In fact, I met with them, as I mentioned, a couple of short weeks ago. There are many good projects out there to be invested in and I can assure the member that we will continue to invest in those worthwhile projects.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH PROM. - DISEASE PREVENTION STRATEGY:

STAKEHOLDERS - INVOLVEMENT ASSURE

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health Promotion. The minister spoke of his commitment to improving health of Nova Scotians when the chronic disease prevention strategy is released this coming Fall. We know this strategy is being developed by key health stakeholders who want long-range plans and the government to continue consulting with them to bring about necessary changes. These groups understand the crisis in Nova Scotia with the high rates of chronic illnesses, where there is concern that these stakeholders will not be included in the implementation process.

My question to the minister is, will this minister give his assurance these stakeholders will remain actively involved so that the strategy recommendations will not be compromised?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Yes.

[Page 1191]

DR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Minister. Mr. Speaker, we know that the department has ongoing contact with these health groups to address the chronic illnesses in Nova Scotia, 40 per cent of which, we're told, are preventable. We also know that if this strategy that we're looking forward to is properly monitored it will dramatically improve the health of Nova Scotians. The proper implementation must include both funding and political commitment to ensure that the strategy recommendations go a long way in addressing the rates of chronic disease. The question to the minister is, will the minister provide assurances today that his office will provide the necessary funding resources to fully implement the recommendations of the Chronic Disease Prevention Strategy?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Indeed, the Chronic Disease Prevention Strategy will be a very important framework for us to work through at the Office of Health Promotion and for ourselves as a government. I can assure that member, we will be working very closely with those groups involved in putting together that strategy and we will be moving forward on many initiatives with respect to that strategy.

DR. SMITH: That's good to hear, Mr. Speaker, because to build the Office of Health Promotion this government has decided to pull the resources from other departments and only then to claim that this office is properly funded to meet the health needs of Nova Scotians. This government talks about health but the reality is that without the resources for this office this government will fail to address those health needs of Nova Scotians.

My question is, can the minister explain why he said he wants to address smoking rates among Nova Scotians yet he is not doing more to properly fund and support the tobacco control strategy? There seems to have been a deliberate decision to ignore strategies that would reduce the high rates of smoking in Nova Scotia.

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in fact we put an additional $0.25 million towards the strategy in this year's budget. I think that is a significant contribution with respect to the dollars already there. I would have no problem with comparing what we put towards our tobacco strategy with what the previous Minister of Health put towards his strategy.

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

ECON. DEV. - GLACE BAY REVITALIZATION PROJ.:

PROV. - NON-SUPPORT EXPLAIN

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. In this House yesterday I asked the minister regarding the Glace Bay Revitalization Project. Now, there are three partners involved in that and there should have been a fourth, which should have been the provincial government. Everyone knows that this

[Page 1192]

is a very worthwhile project. All parties agreed to it. So I want to ask the minister straight out, why haven't you as the lead minister seen fit to support this project?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, when others seem fit and see fit that we are fully engaged in the process, that's when we'll be there. We have been at the table whenever. We have been asked to coordinate and collaborate. As I mentioned yesterday, we are meeting within government to look at all the plans for Cape Breton and elsewhere in the province.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I'll read from this document and then I'll table it. It is a letter to the minister from the Mayor of the CBRM and it's dated September 5th. It says, "Dear Minister Clarke: At its September 3, 2002, meeting, CBRM Municipal Council has directed that I request a meeting with you, myself, and a delegation of Councillors, to discuss possible provincial investment for the Downtown Glace Bay Revitalization Project." Why didn't you answer this letter?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, there has been constant and continuous dialogue with members of the CBRM. There is other history other than one letter from the CBRM relating to any development projects in that area.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, clearly, he says in one breath that I have not been contacted. Now, when we table the hard evidence that he has been contacted, he gives a strange answer as usual. I don't know whether it's the bright lights of the big city that he has forgotten his home area that's been devastated by the closure of the coal mines and whether he doesn't see the effect of what's happening in towns like New Waterford and Glace Bay. I want to ask him, why have you turned your back on Glace Bay?

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I don't need the likes of that member to remind me of my roots. It's my roots that I dedicate here in this House and it's my roots that are seeing Cape Breton moving forward. That man should be ashamed of himself for his actions in this House to question my integrity and my commitment to the people of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. It's solid, it's strong and we're there when we're needed and where we're needed.

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

EDUC. - TRANSPORT. & FACILITIES:

TAKEOVER - COST-SAVINGS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I will not ask the Minister of Economic Development a question because I'm concerned about his blood pressure. My question is for the Minister of Education. Earlier today, during estimates, the Minister of Education apprised members of the committee that the province is contemplating taking over

[Page 1193]

transportation and facilities operations from the school boards in the Province of Nova Scotia. Would the Minister of Education please apprise members of the House as to what cost-efficiencies his government expects to derive by this action?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the premise upon which the honourable member's question is based is not an accurate premise. The honourable member, despite my efforts to indicate to him during estimates that that was only one option being considered, he chose to take that as being, his conclusion, that that, in fact, was where we're going to go. We will consider a number of options relative to this particular question.

MR. MACKINNON: When one reviews Hansard, they will draw their own conclusions. In fact, the minister even indicated that the government is contemplating introducing legislation in the Spring of 2004 to arrive at the objective that the government contemplates. Further, he tabled a letter that was signed by his predecessor in the department which clearly indicates that legislation would be introduced in the Spring of 2004. That letter is tabled. One of the more concerning notes is that, no further consultation on this topic is planned. Would the Minister of Education please apprise members of this House and all the school board members across the province, all the parents, all the teachers, all the students as to why the government is contemplating this very heavy-handed, backroom approach to changing management in Education?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, my predecessor just said, it would hardly be backroom if it's in a letter. We're open and above-board with respect to our intentions and the process of consultation and it only goes to show how desperate that crew is for an issue when they can take one word and twist it into a whole course of action which we have not decided upon. We have looked at a number of different options, they choose to pick something that they hope will be an issue that can stick. I can tell the honourable member he can huff and he can puff and he can blow, but he's not going to influence or alter our intentions with respect to how we govern. The legislation will deal with governance and that has been made necessary as a result of a Financial Measures Act of two years ago.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the Financial Measures Act of two years ago had a very specific clause in there - to force all school boards and all municipalities and all agencies and boards and commissions of the government to go online with the SAP program, which is a financial management system for the Province of Nova Scotia. So two years ago the government set up this process to take over control of the school boards. The minister is effectively admitting to that today. He wants to centralize education in downtown Halifax and take it away from the communities across Nova Scotia. My question to the Premier is, how can you stand with any sense of integrity and allow this type of backroom process to continue, which was never made public until today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite may have a point, but certainly he's not making his point very clear. Perhaps he could write a letter. (Laughter)

[Page 1194]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENERGY - ELECTRICITY PRICES:

RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS - PROTECTION

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to take up with the Minister of Energy the topic that we were cut off with in Question Period yesterday. Yesterday was the day in which the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee released its second interim report. This is the committee that has been set up to look at ways to deregulate the electricity industry and introduce competition into it. Unfortunately, this committee has not been meeting in public. It would be desirable if this process were opened up because, as we all know, deregulation and competition in provinces like Ontario and Alberta and, of course, in California, have led to high volatility in electricity prices. The committee yesterday recommended that competition be opened up on the electricity market to some 26 per cent of the market; essentially the very large electricity consumers, the industrial consumers. But I'm concerned about the rest of us who would remain captive as customers of Nova Scotia Power, that is ordinary residents, and I'm wondering what the minister is proposing to protect the rest of us residential customers should that happen.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question the honourable member raises. I believe he misinterprets the recommendation though. The recommendation is actually to go very slow, a measured, staged process, where it would just be the wholesale market which is 1.6 per cent of the electricity supplied that would be the initial start. The document is a discussion that will occur with Nova Scotians and the industry, and the observation of higher rates would be part of that discussion.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I did read the document and 1.6 per cent is Nova Scotia Power's position. What's being recommended by the committee is that the initial opening up of the market go to 26 per cent.

This question of deregulation and increased competition is a difficult one. It's the predecessor to this government that privatized Nova Scotia Power in 1992 and they do seem very dedicated to increase privatization of the electricity marketplace in a new way. We've seen brownouts in electricity delivery in a province like Ontario under the privatization model. We've seen serious fluctuations in price in many provinces that have tried this, and in the United States. What I would like is an assurance from the minister that he does not equate competition with deregulation; I would like the minister's assurance that even if there is increased competition that there will still be strict regulation of the electricity industry in Nova Scotia.

MR. FAGE: I believe the honourable member, if he examined the document closer, would find it is the wholesale market that not only the interim report but the final report recommends, and certainly it's the position of this government that any opening of the

[Page 1195]

market will be a staged, slow process that will take into account stable prices for as much as possible for Nova Scotia consumers, will also take into consideration opportunities for co-gen as the energy strategy speaks to, and as well a much larger role for wind power and other renewable energy sources that are very valuable to the province and create some entrepreneurship as well.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't want the minister to think that I did not notice that he didn't answer the question. My final point, though, is that the whole process that we are engaged in in these two 50-page reports that we've had from the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee is driven by an energy strategy that should be primarily designed to reduce our greenhouse gases; that is to say it's within the context of our Kyoto commitments. That should be paramount, and I'm wondering, since the minister has established this committee which seems to be focusing almost exclusively on deregulation and increased competition, whether he is prepared to establish a similar committee to deal with how we are going to reduce our greenhouse gases?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the committee made a number of recommendations. They deal with transmission, access for privates and renewables to the grids, efficiency, and marketplace governance. The issues that the member is concerned about are certainly issues addressed in there and the advice given to me by the chairman, Mr. Fournier, certainly are the facts that I've put forward this afternoon.

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

ECON. DEV. - NSBI: C.B. BUSINESSES - FUNDING PROPORTION

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, in anticipation the Minister of Economic Development's blood pressure is down, I will ask him a question. Between November 6, 2001, and December 31, 2002, Nova Scotia Business Inc. approved 15 loans for companies across Nova Scotia. Out of that only one was from Cape Breton and that amounted to 0.03 per cent of the total dollars that were loaned out. Ironically, there were 10 companies from Cape Breton that made application. My question to the minister is, why is it that Nova Scotia Business Inc. loaned so little money to Cape Breton businesses - and recognizing that it gave me some leverage positions there earlier in the day?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as I committed to the member previously in Question Period to provide him with some details as a result of a previous question, what we do know of the 198 current files within NSBI for business accounts, 48 of those are from Cape Breton. We have had a total of 71 inquiries of that 10 from Cape Breton up to the end of March 2003. We currently just went through a process where there have been two of the Capital idea road shows in Cape Breton and three businesses in each location participating in that. We expect more inquiries to go up and, obviously, we're working very aggressively and so is NSBI in increasing the number of accounts and investments in the Island.

[Page 1196]

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, Cape Breton businesses received 0.03 per cent of all the dollars that were loaned by Nova Scotia Business Inc. This, at the same time that the Nova Scotia Government, the Department of Economic Development, reduced the staff in the Sydney office from 12 to three, one of which is part-time. Why is the minister not doing more for Cape Breton in light of the fact that he says he has a commitment and deep roots in Cape Breton?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, and to add to the member's statement, we have now three members in the Sydney Office of Economic Development as well as in the Strait area, an employee there. NSBI has an account executive in Port Hawkesbury. There's an account executive being recruited into the Sydney office. We have a representative on the Cape Breton Growth Fund. A $12 million investment in the growth fund has been added by an additional over $8 million in other investments as a result of that. Obviously, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation is very well-known as a first point of contact given the federal government's investment and we've been there as a partner and the outcomes speak for themselves.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, they closed Sydney Steel because they said it was a drain on the taxpayers. That saved them $35 million a year, granted, times four, that's over $140 million and they put back $3 million a year and expect us to be grateful. The minister has indicated earlier in the week that he's not getting along with CBRM officials. He has indicated he's not getting along with the federal officials. When is he going to start getting along with various stakeholders and do something for Cape Breton?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, what the honourable member has highlighted is this government's ability to get greater outcomes with the resources that Nova Scotians provide us, because there's more people working in Cape Breton today than when the Liberals were in government. There are more opportunities being realized today than when the Liberals were there, and that's why we are here to partner and cooperate and the outcomes again speak for themselves.

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

NAT. RES. - MCNABS/LAWLOR ISLANDS - PROV. PK.:

MANAGEMENT PLAN - DATE

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. McNabs Island and Lawlor Islands are an integral part of the community of Eastern Passage, both historically and in the present terms. The Department of Natural Resources is producing a management plan with regard to the development of the new park on those islands. My question to the Minister of Natural Resources is, can he tell us when that management plan will be finished and published for the public?

[Page 1197]

[2:15 p.m.]

HON. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member opposite. He's absolutely right, we did go out with a number of public consultation processes to get the feedback from the community as to what they wanted or didn't want on McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park. We are now going through that information. We had a very good response from the public and it will take some time for our parks division to go through that and balance that with the goals and objectives of the overall provincial park development program.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, as I noted, those islands are an integral part of the community of Eastern Passage and the people in Eastern Passage think it's very important that any management plan reflect the fact that they are an integral part of our community. My question to the Minister of Natural Resources is, can he make a commitment here today that the management plan for the islands will reflect the integral part of the community of Eastern Passage?

MR. OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, again, the honourable member is absolutely right. McNabs and Lawlor Islands are a very integral part of the society in Eastern Passage and it is our plan, once the program is put together and the results of the discussions are carried on, that we will go back to the community and discuss it with them and get their input on the final program.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for Question Period has expired.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the concurrence of the House to revert back to Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable House Leaders for agreeing.

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the amendments to the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement, which governs the Harmonized Sales Tax as set out in a letter from the Minister of Finance of the Government of Canada, dated April 8, 2003.

[Page 1198]

The Province of Nova Scotia, as well as New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have signed and entered into this technical agreement to amend the Comprehensive Integrated Tax Coordination Agreement. It's a technical letter.

The amendments to Annex "A" of the CITCA relate to specific aspects of the HST Revenue Allocation Formula which determines the provincial share of national GST/HST revenues.

With those very short, very clear comments, I will table the documents. As I pointed out, I want to thank again the members for doing that.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I know members probably want to get going, but I beg their indulgence. I'd like to make an introduction. In the east gallery are two gentlemen that are with Pork Nova Scotia, the President Mr. Herman Berfelo and the CEO, Henry Vissers. I would like members of the House to give them the usual warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our guests to the gallery today.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Tuesday at the hour of 2:00 p.m. The House will sit until 10:00 p.m. Following the daily routine, we will go on to Question Period and then into Supply for four hours and following that we will start debate on Bill No. 36, the Financial Measures (2003) Act. We will take the moment of interruption at the normal time of 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1199]

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

[The House rose at 2:19 p.m.]

[Page 1200]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 737

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Crossroads Co-op of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, held its grand reopening on April 7, 2003, after much hard work and effort by Eldon Falkenham and the board of directors for the co-op; and

Whereas a huge crowd of shareholders, dignitaries and shoppers gathered at the Main Street store on Monday, April 7th, to celebrate the completion of the $800,000 expansion/renovation project; and

Whereas with a 2,500 square foot increase in space, a 500- to 600-item addition of product and numerous other renovations and additions created a new and improved store;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Parrsboro Crossroads Co-op on its grand re-opening as they offer a first-class service and line of products to the residents of the Parrsboro and Shore area and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 738

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the ORHS Junior B Bears hosted a four-team tournament at their high school on March 22, 2003; and

Whereas the ORHS Junior B Bears faced Tatamagouche in the championship game and walked away proudly with the second place silver trophy; and

Whereas team member Rachael Brookins from Oxford Regional High School received the Most Sportsmanship Award in the tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the ORHS Junior B Bears on winning the silver trophy and wish them continued success in the future.

[Page 1201]

RESOLUTION NO. 739

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Chief Darren Rushton of the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department was presented a service bar for 10 years of service on November 16, 2002; and

Whereas Chief Rushton has given unselfishly of his time and dedication to the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas Chief Darren Rushton along with several other members were honoured at a banquet in Oxford for their years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Chief Darren Rushton on receiving his 10-year service bar and thank him for volunteering for such an important position and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 740

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas in December 2002, the Parrsboro Warriors boys volleyball team captured their first Northumberland regional banner; and

Whereas the 10-player team consisting of Bradley Allen, Codey Hebb, Mark Schoene, Matt Gamblin, Dan Uttaro, Brad Siddall, Alex Knakiewicz, Stanley Rector, Terry Neves, and Jeremy Webb with their coach Don Gamblin gave it their all to bring home the title; and

Whereas the team defeated opponents from Canso and Cheticamp to advance to provincial championships which they will host.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Parrsboro Regional High School Warriors boys volleyball team on capturing the regional championships and wish them continued success in the future.

[Page 1202]

RESOLUTION NO. 741

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Mr. Terry Porter of Springhill, Nova Scotia, was honoured in January for his 20 years of service with the Springhill Fire Department; and

Whereas Terry Porter was honoured to be recognized as the town and department presented him with his 20-year service pin; and

Whereas Terry Porter was thanked by the town and fire department for his dedication and service for the years that he has given to the department;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Terry Porter on receiving his 20-year service bar and thank him for his years of service and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 742

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Harold Patriquin of Oxford, Nova Scotia, was presented a watch and a certificate from Canada Post for 25 years of service; and

Whereas Mr. Patriquin started as a full-time assistant at the Oxford Post Office in 1977; and

Whereas Mr. Patriquin has served as the Oxford postmaster since 1988 and is proud of receiving the watch and certificate for 25 years of service presented to him by André Ouellet, President and CEO of Canada Post;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Harold Patriquin on his 25 years of dedicated service to the Oxford branch of Canada Post and wish him continued success and best of luck in the future.

[Page 1203]

RESOLUTION NO. 743

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Parrsboro Zellers Bantam hockey team won the Hartley Weatherby Tournament in Truro, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the team defeated the Truro Legion 4-2 in the final to earn them this honour; and

Whereas the following team members and coaches were all instrumental in wining the tournament: Chris Melanson, Ben Forrest, Drew Gerrity, Brandon Erb, Shaun Tupper, Brad Wood, Julian McCulley, Tyler Fulton, Josh Guilderson, Cole Pickard, Kevin St. Peter, Alex Matthews, Shayne St. Peter, Luke Welton, Ryan Sequin, Chris Rowe, Drew Doiron, Ryan Matthews, JO-D MacDonald, Cory Robichaud and Coach Dean Brown;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Parrsboro Zellers Bantam team for winning the Hartley Weatherby Tournament and wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 744

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on December 5, 2002, the Town of Oxford held a banquet where it honoured some of its citizens; and

Whereas each honoured citizen was presented with a plaque thanking him for his 25 years of service to the Town of Oxford;

Whereas Ronnie Powell was presented with a plaque thanking him for his 25 years of service to the Town of Oxford;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ronnie Powell on receiving his honour and wish him the best of luck in the future.

[Page 1204]

RESOLUTION NO. 745

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Energy)

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week runs from April 27th to May 3rd and communities all over Canada are honouring citizens who contribute to the community through active volunteerism; and

Whereas the 2003 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards recognize the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Terry MacDonald of Amherst is one of these exemplary citizens being recognized for their significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Terry MacDonald of Amherst for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2003 in recognition of tremendous service given selflessly to our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 746

By: Hon. David Morse ( Community Services)

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week runs from April 27th to May 3rd and communities all over Canada are honouring citizens who contribute to the community through active volunteerism; and

Whereas the 2003 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards recognize the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Jim Wolford of Wolfville is one of these exemplary citizens being recognized for their significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jim Wolford of Wolfville for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2003 in recognition of tremendous service given selflessly to our community.

[Page 1205]

RESOLUTION NO. 747

By: Hon. David Morse (Community Services)

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

Whereas International Volunteer Week runs from April 27th to May 3rd and communities all over Canada are honouring citizens who contribute to the community through active volunteerism; and

Whereas the 2003 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards recognize the thousands of Nova Scotians whose generosity, determination and compassion help to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas Catherine Kinsman of Cambridge Station is one of these exemplary citizens being recognized for their significant community volunteer work and contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Catherine Kinsman of Cambridge Station for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2003 in recognition of tremendous service given selflessly to our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 748

By: Hon. David Morse (Community Services)

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

Whereas Acadia University recently held its ninth annual student entrepreneurial research competition; and

Whereas this year's research projects - which are judged against an established standard, not against one another - saw four projects taking the top honours; and

Whereas the gold medal winners were Roland Stevenson, Harrison Wright, Gudmunder Gudmundson, David Verhuist and Kathryn Wagner;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the four gold medal winners and wish them all success in their future endeavours.

[Page 1206]

RESOLUTION NO. 749

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Energy)

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

Whereas in honour of volunteers all over the world, International Volunteer Week was created - running from April 27th to May 3rd in 2003 - to honour those volunteers who are actively giving to their community; and

Whereas Nova Scotia recognizes these selfless individuals at the 2003 Provincial Representative Volunteer Awards and applauds the thousands whose generosity, determination and compassion helps to create a better future for us all; and

Whereas one of those being honoured at this year's ceremony will be Wentworth's Joseph Patriquin whose volunteerism in his community is second to none;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Joseph Patriquin for being named a Provincial Representative Volunteer for 2003 for Cumberland County and thank him for his significant community involvement and contributions.