Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-20

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

FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Commun. Serv. - RRSS: Wage Parity - Negotiate, Mr. J. Pye 1475
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Safety - Ensure, Mr. W. Gaudet 1476
Commun. Serv. - RRSS: Wage Parity - Negotiate, Mr. W. Gaudet 1476
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission,
Hon. N. LeBlanc 1476
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 859, Parker St. Food Bank: Efforts - Recognize,^Hon. D. Morse 1477
Vote - Affirmative 1477
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 9:09 A.M. 1478
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 1:10 P.M. 1478
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 36, Financial Measures (2003) Act 1478
Mr. Manning MacDonald 1478
Amendment moved 1489
Hon. R. Russell 1489
Adjournment moved 1489
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 28th at 2:00 p.m. 1490
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 860, MacIvor, Patrick: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. E. Fage 1491
Res. 861, Randel, Mark: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1491
Res. 862, McCarthy, Sarah: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1492
Res. 863, Black, Michael: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 1492
Res. 864, Status of Women Advisory Council (N.S.):
Political Workshops - Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 1493
Res. 865, Den Haan Enterprises Ltd.: Efforts - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 1493
Res. 866, St. George's Songsters - Fraser Mem. Hosp.: Fundraiser -
Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 1494
Res. 867, Veinotte, L.E., & Sons: BBB Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 1494
Res. 868, MacNeil, Joseph: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 1495
Res. 869, Daupheny, Amelia/MacInnis, Jenessa: Youth Entrepreneur
Scholarship - Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 1495
Res. 870, Connors, Leanna: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 1496
Res. 871, Cameron, Christopher: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 1496
Res. 872, Delefes, Michael/Aird, James: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 1497
Res. 873, Quinn, Andrew: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 1497
Res. 874, Murphy, Sean: Youth Entrepreneur Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 1498
Res. 875, Gun Registry - Enforcement: Gov't. (Can.) - Administer,
Mr. K. Deveaux 1498

[Page 1475]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition with 84 names on it. The operative clause is, "Therefore be it resolved that we, the undersigned family members, counsellors and other concerned persons, call on the Hamm government to show that it cares about the residents of the Regional Residential Services Society by giving that agency a mandate and appropriate funding to negotiate wage parity for their residential counsellors as soon as possible." I have affixed my signature to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

1475

[Page 1476]

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of 150 concerned residents living near Highway No. 101 in Digby County between the villages of Conway and Weymouth. The operative clause indicates, "This section of highway contains a school, post offices, several convenience stores and churches in addition to many residences . . . This road is extensively utilized by logging trucks, heavy equipment, large transport vehicles and tourist traffic . . . Our lives are greatly affected by the tragic accidents on this stretch of highway and we fear for the safety of our children as they wait for and travel on school buses . . . We live with this danger on a daily basis." I have affixed my name to that petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition bearing the signatures of 83 family members, counsellors and other concerned persons who are concerned about the ongoing strike at Regional Residential Services Society. The operative clause reads, "Therefore be it resolved that we, the undersigned family members, counsellors and other concerned persons, call on the Hamm government to show that it cares about the residents of the Regional Residential Services Society by giving that agency a mandate and appropriate funding to negotiate wage parity for their residential counsellors as soon as possible." I have affixed my name to that petition as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission for the year 2002.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

[Page 1477]

RESOLUTION NO. 859

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

Whereas sometimes seeing people in need brings the best out in the community; and

Whereas there are many wonderful people who volunteer or work for less than a market wage to assist those people in need; and

Whereas the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank is one such caring community organization located in the HRM inner city;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the excellent work done by the good people at the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank, providing food, furniture, adult education, caring and hope to those precious but more vulnerable members of our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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.

[Page 1478]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[9:09 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[1:10 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in 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. 36.

Bill No. 36 - Financial Measures (2003) Act.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you tell me how much time I have left?

[Page 1479]

MR. SPEAKER: If the honourable member could begin, I will do the tabulation - I am just getting the book - if that's okay.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, once again it is a pleasure for me to stand in my place today and respond to the Financial Measures (2003) Bill on behalf of the Liberal caucus and, I hope, on behalf of Nova Scotians who are interested in hearing our views on what is contained in the Financial Measures (2003) Bill and where we feel the government is heading.

Mr. Speaker, the Financial Measures (2003) Bill itself is nothing more than a catalogue of great contradictions, a sleight-of-hand if you will, and an exercise in chequebook politics. At the outset, let me say that this is spin city at its finest, this particular document we have before us. It's chequebook politics and I have to remind Nova Scotians again and again that while this government is embarking on an exercise to reduce income tax in this province - and I will get to that in a little while - and also to give a cheque out this month which just happens to be near the date of the election, they're going to try to buy the votes of Nova Scotians with a cheque. It used to be that chocolates or rum, or other such things, were good at election time, now the Tories have gone one step further and they're going to give you a cheque and say, here, we want your vote.

Well, what they're doing is giving Nova Scotians back part of their own money and they're trying to hoodwink Nova Scotians into thinking they're giving them something, when in fact Nova Scotians should know, if they don't already know, that this government is borrowing again this year in excess of $100 million, which will bring the amount of borrowed money, by this government since it took office, to over $500 million. And, Mr. Speaker, I want to refer to Hansard when in response to a question the Honourable Neil LeBlanc, Minister of Finance, said and I quote him: Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that it did take 40 years to accumulate the debt that we have. I will stand here today and say that I was part of a government that added a great deal to that debt. These are the facts. The problem is where we are today and how are we going to face that.

Well, the way this Finance Minister is facing it is to start borrowing all over again, but do you know what, Mr. Speaker? The irony of it is that that Finance Minister won't be around to answer for his government's transgressions when the light of day is seen on the numbers here next March 31st.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to make reference to Hansard, Tuesday, April 17, 2001. I want to quote the Premier in an answer to the honourable Don Downe. The Premier - here's his answer to the question regarding borrowing money - "Mr. Speaker, what I will confirm is that a year from now this government will introduce a balanced budget, and from that day onward the debt of this province will no longer grow." Those are not my words, those are Premier Hamm's words - "the debt of this province will no longer grow" - in a public statement in Hansard, and the same public statement, by the way, given to the Greater

[Page 1480]

Halifax Economic Development Partnership and to other such groups throughout this province. So what happened to that promise?

We took the Premier at his word. That evidently was no good. because we're borrowing money and, not only are we borrowing money in direct contradiction to what he said, we're borrowing it well into the future. Well into the future - it's projected to borrow out to the year 2007, I believe. Borrowing money even though the Premier and his government ran on a promise to stop the debt growing in this province. What happened to that promise? It fell off the radar screen in favour of politics. This government couldn't care less about the long-term debt of this province, what they care about is getting re-elected, and what they care about is getting re-elected by buying people's votes in this province.

[1:15 p.m.]

I want to also talk for a few moments on the Financial Measures (2003) Bill, itself, and how it is the centrepiece of this government's last gasp before it goes to the polls. On March 4, 2002, the Premier told a local newspaper, "To be sure, there are some people who suggest that government should continue borrowing on its debt and spending beyond its means. I don't believe there is merit to this argument." That is the Premier's statement in a local newspaper. What happened to the validity of that statement? There is no merit to the argument that the debt will grow. I didn't say that, members on this side didn't say that, and a lot of members on the government side didn't say that, the Premier said that. The Premier said, there is no merit for the debt of this province to grow, yet, it is growing. It is growing again at an alarming rate and it's projected to grow well into the next four and five years, each and every year. Why? Because it satisfies the insatiable appetite of this government to spend its way back to election; that's exactly why the debt of this province is growing.

I might add, for a Finance Minister to stand in his place in this House and say that he has a balanced budget, when that same government is borrowing in excess of $100 million, and he neglects to tell the taxpayers of this province that interest payments on the outstanding debt of this province are going to soon approach $1 billion a year. One billion dollars a year of public money is going to go up in smoke just to satisfy the debt of this province. In a province of less than 1 million people, we will soon be facing a $12 billion debt. Now that's one heck of a legacy to leave to our children and our grandchildren, simply to put this government back in office.

This government said time and time again they were going to introduce measures to stop the debt growing in this province and instead they are adding to it, a complete misrepresentation of the facts. I could certainly put some other words into place here that would not be acceptable, when I catagorize how this government is dealing with its obligations and with its promises, but I won't do that, Mr. Speaker, because you will rule me out of order.

[Page 1481]

Suffice to say, we do have a problem here. We have a problem with credibility. On the one hand we have a Finance Minister making public statements and a Premier making public statements that the debt won't grow in this province, to be happy, we have everything under control. The debt's not going to grow anymore, you're not going to pay any more interest charges, we're going to look after you. Here is how they have looked after people in the past three years: every single person in this province has had to pay more in the past three years for virtually every government service they need, particularly for licences, particularly for government services that are necessary and people have to use on a daily basis. Every one of them has gone up, pick any page in a government book and look at the service and you will see where the costs have gone up; they call them user fees, not tax increases.

Well, if you're taking money out of my pocket, I don't care what you call it, a user fee or a tax. At the end of the day I have less money in my pocket because the government has taken it and they have been taking it with great regularity.

In addition to that, it's not bad enough that the Premier has misled Nova Scotians on his intentions with the debt, he also made a public statement, Mr. Speaker, that there will be no new tax increases in the province during his mandate. What happened to that promise? Gasoline tax went up 2 cents a litre; gasoline tax went up. He said that he wasn't going to increase any taxes. Not only that, both Opposition Parties have been pressing the government time and time again to do something about the high cost of insurance in this province, to do something about the high cost of home heating fuel in this province, which every single Nova Scotian has to pay.

Those who are most vulnerable in those areas are people with small incomes, people with income that, perhaps, I will use the figure of $30,000 and less, and there's a reason I'm going to use that figure. People in the low-income bracket have to pay the same for home heating oil as the rich. They have to pay the same for car insurance as the rich. They have to pay the same for house insurance - if they're lucky enough to own one - as the rich. Yet, the tax considerations that this government is proposing are very interesting, because not only are they going to buy a certain number of votes this Spring - try to buy them at least, anyway, the cheque is in the mail for $155. But guess what? About 300,000 Nova Scotians aren't going to get that, because they didn't pay provincial income taxes last year. Their incomes were too low. So they're not going to get it. The segment of the population that needs it the most are not going to get it.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to that, if that's not insulting enough, the Government of Nova Scotia, next January 1st, is promising a 10 per cent tax break for Nova Scotians who pay provincial income tax. Well, that's going to include (Interruptions) yes, a segment of the population, but I will tell you what it excludes, senior citizens who are living on pensions only, Old Age Pension and the supplement, are not going to get that 10 per cent tax decrease nor are they going to get the $155 because they're not paying provincial income tax. So they're off the books. People who need it most, seniors, with $1,000 to $1,100 a month

[Page 1482]

coming in are not going to get a dime of this, not a dime, yet they have to pay for licences, they have to pay to heat their homes, if they're lucky enough to still have one. They're going to have to pay all those expenses, but they're not going to get that. I say shame on this government for that.

Also, Mr. Speaker, who is the government playing to here, and who are they trying to fool? Back in the year 2000, when the federal government introduced tax breaks, this government didn't allow them to flow through to the pockets of Nova Scotians. They absconded with it. They put it in general revenue instead of letting it pass through to the consumers of this province. In other words, Nova Scotians were robbed of a tax break in 2000 by this crowd over there. Now they're trying to come back on the eve of an election and they know what the polls are saying, the polls are saying they're in trouble, so they're trotting out (Interruptions) I knew that would get their attention. They're trotting out the rum bottle politics. They're trotting out, I'll buy your vote. They're going back to the days when a bottle of rum bought a vote, or a box of chocolates, only now they're not as discreet about it. It's not nylons or chocolates or rum, it's cash now, on the barrel head, right on the top here. We're not going to try to say we gave you a bottle, we're going to give you money.

You can give money to certain Nova Scotians, but you can't settle that strike out there, put money into that to solve the problems of those working people who are out marching around this place. You can't do that. You can't solve the problems of those people in this province who are paying exorbitant costs for insurance. All you can do is set up a study group that won't report until after the next election is over.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you that this government knows exactly what it's doing. There are two possible scenarios for this government following the election, they win the election and they will come back and explain to Nova Scotians they made a few errors on their budget - now we're not really in a positive position, oops, we've got a big deficit so we have to tighten our belts. So all the things we gave you we're going to have to take back. Or, they're going to lose the election and then it becomes somebody else's problem to explain to Nova Scotians the mess; the mess that Neil LeBlanc had left after he rode off into the sunset. That member knows exactly what he's doing. He's getting out of Dodge before the house of cards comes crumbling down on that government. He knows exactly what he's doing. This will be the second time that minister absconded after the fact. I believe only the first time was under different circumstances because we found out about that minister beforehand and not after. But this time he's getting out before we find out the real truth of what kind of budgetary practices are going on over there.

Mr. Speaker, the day of reckoning is here again. You also have a Premier who stated publicly in this House, in answer to a question, that the economy of this province will grow without oil and gas. Without oil and gas. In other words, we don't need the effect of the offshore to make the economy grow. So, a secondary question was put to the Premier, a supplementary, asking what is going to grow the economy, Mr. Premier, if oil and gas is not

[Page 1483]

a factor in the future? In other words, if you don't care about that - there are two issues here, one is just keep increasing licences and fees until the saturation point and grab as much cash from the people of Nova Scotia as you possibly can. The other one, as my colleague so rightfully says, transfer payments from the federal government.

There's no plan to grow the economy here. The only plan is to get re-elected. The only plan of any consequence on the table over there is a cheque for $155. People aren't going to be fooled by that, they're going to take the $155 and vote against them, because this government has insulted their intelligence. This government has insulted the intelligence of every Nova Scotian by trying to buy their vote on the eve of an election with a cheque for $155. I say shame on that government. Shame on that government when we have problems in health care, problems in underfunding in education, problems in trying to stop borrowing in this province and this government thinks about nothing else except getting re-elected with a cheque.

Here's what is going to happen, Mr. Speaker, and you heard it here first. This is going to backfire on this government because if these cheques go out before the election, one neighbour gets a cheque and the other one doesn't, so the one who doesn't get it is certainly not going to vote for them and the one who does get it is going to think they're being conned and they're going to be angry because their neighbour didn't get it and they're going to vote against them. So this attempt at buying votes in the year 2003 is going to backfire on them.

This government has been luckier than most because they saw revenues grow over the past few years. But what did they do with it? They squandered it. They're still borrowing money. How can any person on that side of the House go back to his constituents and tell them that everything is okay. We're still borrowing money. We're going to be paying $1 billion a year in interest costs in the future, but everything is okay. We're going to be paying more for interest costs than every other departmental budget, except Health and Education, in this province. Money out the window. Money gone, disappeared because of bad management practices and the inability to put a halt to borrowing. The Premier's credibility is certainly waning here on a number of fronts.

Another issue that this government is caving in on is the issue of Sunday shopping. I want to tell you that in the area of Sunday shopping, this government and the current Minister of Transportation, in his place in this House said, we will not discuss this issue until the year 2005. Until the year 2005. Those are not my words, those are the honourable Minister of Transportation's words when he was an important minister at one time, he said that. That minister, who has been relegated to a junior portfolio doesn't speak for the government anymore, but I can tell you that he said the issue with Sunday shopping would not be raised until the year 2005. But guess what happened? The polls suggested they're offside. Public opinion has gone against them on it. So the Premier comes out and says, oh, I think we should revisit this, on the eve of an election. On the eve of an election, this

[Page 1484]

government now has a conversion on the road to Damascus. It has a conversion. Suddenly, this issue is important enough to discuss now and to try it on.

[1:30 p.m.]

Not only are they going to do that, they're still not being honest with Nova Scotians because now they're going to give half a loaf. They're going to say, well, we will try it on in the period prior to Christmas and see how it works. What foolishness. Why doesn't the government come clean and give Nova Scotians what they want, like every other province in this Dominion has done? Put protection for workers in who have to work on the weekends, on Sundays, and then open the stores to the consumers of this province who have demonstrated they want it. But what does this government do? They're going to go halfway now.

Which brings me to another half measure of this government, the fact that municipalities are light-years ahead of this government in determining where they want to go in regard to the hazards of second-hand smoke and smoking in public places. What does this government do? It is trying to exempt the casinos, won't make a strong hard stand against smoking and protecting the workers who work in second-hand smoke environments in the casinos, the same as they're doing in bars and restaurants.

Mr. Speaker, I asked the Premier that question the other day, I asked him as a former doctor, a practising doctor and also the Premier of this province who should be concerned about the health of Nova Scotians. I asked him what he would do. Why isn't he addressing the problems of second-hand smoke, which are obviously evident in the casinos as it would be in any other place in Nova Scotia? Do you know what he did? He referred my question to the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance gave me a convoluted financial answer to that question I asked, and I asked a health question about people's health. I asked if this government cared about the health of workers who are subject to second-hand smoke in casinos, and all I get is a financial answer saying, well, the previous government did a deal that makes it difficult.

Mr. Speaker, that was then, the circumstances were different then. The circumstances are now that people are becoming acutely aware that cigarette smoking in public places is dangerous to your health, and second-hand smoke kills. This government will not address that question. As I said last evening in this House, in my very spot, I said that this government doesn't care about that. This government is more interested in appeasing their friends down the road here in the casino.

Mr. Speaker, I might also add the ridiculous notion that this casino might somehow walk if they don't give them everything they want, who is kidding who? This is the convention centre of the Maritimes, this is a fast-growing area. There are thousands of people coming through here every day and they make their way to the casino. Do you think the

[Page 1485]

casino is going to give away this cash cow that they have down there to somebody else? (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, there are no Nova Scotians who believe that. I say to you, I say to this government, do the right thing and follow the municipal lead, follow the CBRM's lead, excluding smoking in all public places. Follow that lead. Mirror that legislation, instead of trying to get municipalities to mirror this half-baked legislation that this Premier and this government are foisting on Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, when you borrow $118 million on top of the some $400 million that this government has borrowed since it came to power, and you're looking at borrowing another, perhaps, $300 million or $400 million over the next four years, if they're lucky enough to still be over there, that will be the legacy, after a second term of this government - and heaven forbid there is a second term - in excess of $1 billion new borrowing and by today's interest calculations and by today's projections into the future of what that will cost, you will be looking at a debt of this province probably approaching $14 billion by the end of the second term here.

You know, Mr. Speaker, then it will be time, if it's not time now, it will be time after the next election to throw this gang out, to throw this gang out, throw this gang of thieves out, you know, on the public purse, and a new government will have to come in and answer to Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's very unparliamentary to refer to honourable members as thieves and I would ask the honourable member to withdraw that statement as the honourable member did when he referred to members as scoundrels one time.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Well, yes, I will retract that and call them scoundrels, rogues, how's that?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I suppose rogues may be permissible. (Interruptions)

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Rogues, okay. (Interruptions) This is the only place in history that a Finance Minister can have two cracks at bankrupting a province, two cracks at it.

AN HON. MEMBER: And the Government House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: And the Government House Leader, but I don't want to be too hard on the Government House Leader because he's not in charge of the books. He may be in charge of everything else, but he's not in charge of the books and he probably doesn't have to answer as much as the Finance Minister. When the Finance Minister stands in his place and says that he was part of a government that caused this

[Page 1486]

problem and he's part of it again, when he says that, it tells me that he's just laughing at Nova Scotians, that's all, and he's going down the road. He's riding off into retirement and leaving this mess here. He's not going to have to answer after the next election.

Like I said before, Mr. Speaker, two scenarios, either this government comes back and then has to explain why, oops, instead of a surplus we have a huge deficit - surprise, surprise - or hopefully when they lose the election the new government, a Liberal Government, will have to explain to Nova Scotians the mess we were left with once again. I might remind this crowd that in 1993 we were left with $1.1 billion in deficit, not debt, deficit, in 1993 when we took over. What's this government doing now - adding more money to the debt. They found a more innovative way to spend money and to trick the taxpayers. Now they're borrowing it and calling it long-term debt and what's the difference if the long-term debt grows? They don't have to worry about that. Our children and our grandchildren will have to worry about it.

Mr. Speaker, this province is once again galloping towards bankruptcy. When you have a debt approaching $12 billion, you know, the Transportation and Public Works Minister laughs at that. Here we have a province with less than a million people approaching a $12 billion debt and the Transportation and Public Works Minister laughs. The Transportation and Public Works Minister laughs at that. That's how much he cares.

HON. TIMOTHY OLIVE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I have been sitting here listening to this diatribe and I just cannot believe that the honourable member, who used to be a minister in a previous government, can stand in front of this House and forget - and I might add, the people of Nova Scotia didn't forget in 1999 - that in their six years they added $3.2 billion to the debt, wanted to borrow another $600 million, and they took that to the people of Nova Scotia. We know what the people of Nova Scotia told that honourable gentleman and his government and he talks about this government - my, my, what a short memory he has.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That wouldn't be considered a point of order. However, there seems to be a disagreement between two honourable members.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, considering the source I won't even react to that because anybody who can't get more than a dozen people to a nominating convention has no room to talk, but there is one comment that he has reminded me of, he reminded me about health care.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Points of order do take preference.

[Page 1487]

HON. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. It wasn't serious, it was $3.6 million, not $3.2 million, add $600,000 to that it's $4.2 million. The honourable member makes reference to the nomination convention, I just want to clarify it for him and all members of this House that in fact the people of Dartmouth South-Portland Valley showed up in droves, over 125, at my nomination convention, and I was very pleased to have them all there. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Once again, that is not a point of order, however, it's more a question of mathematics. The honourable member for Cape Breton South does have the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if that member was worth his salt as a Cabinet Minister, there should have been 1,000 people at his nominating convention. I might say to you, on my watch list, he's one of the ones due to be extinct after the next election. He's on the hit list. (Interruptions) As the next week goes on, I will be pointing out other members who are on that list that I've been studying (Interruptions) but he is definitely on it.

I digress, Mr. Speaker, I digress. I want to go back, again, to the fact that this government has done nothing but raise user fees in this province, cut services in this province, and I want to talk about one particular point that this government keeps raising about our $600 million investment fund. When we proposed that, and I don't mind - the minister makes light of that again. The Minister of Transportation and Public Works, the member for Hants, wherever it is, Kings North down there made reference to the great belly laughs of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works in this House, in his paid column in The Daily News. He pokes fun at the ministers, and no wonder, with that minister. Every time we talk about something serious, his only reaction, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, is to laugh. He's the guy who said, we wouldn't talk about the Sunday shopping issue until the year 2005. He said it's a closed book.

But guess what happened, Mr. Speaker? Public opinion turned against that logic. Now it's a subject that's coming back up again for discussion.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The one thing that I didn't laugh at was the $3.6 billion deficit the people of Nova Scotia inherited after six years of that honourable gentleman's misrule, mismanagement and - I think incompetence is maybe unparliamentary so I will say - dereliction of his duties.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That wouldn't be considered a point of order. Once again, it would be an opposing view. The honourable member has until 1:57 p.m.

[Page 1488]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I might remind the honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works that when we took office the debt was close to $8 billion, left by the previous government, and now it's going up to $12 billion under the current government. That's the Tory logic there.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I digress. What I would like to talk about for a few moments is the health care situation in this province, where this government severely chastised our program to inject considerable funds into the health care system to stabilize the system for many years in the future. They rejected that. Instead we have a health care budget now that is over $2 billion, and the system is still not fixed in this province - far from fixed. So where is the logic in that argument? There isn't any.

What Nova Scotians can understand more than anything is this government's pretense, the pretense that they're doing something for the people of Nova Scotia when in fact they're borrowing money. They're borrowing on the future legacy of our children and our grandchildren to get themselves re-elected. They're trying to buy votes with their own money. Gone is the pretense, they're coming right out with the cheque. It wasn't in year three, it's not going to be next year, it's right around the time of the election. Here's your cheque, aren't we good Tories, vote us in. (Interruptions)

I will remind the Minister of Natural Resources that there are a number of people in his constituency who aren't going to get that cheque - a large number. There are a large number in all those constituencies who aren't going to get that cheque, nor are they going to see any benefit from the 10 per cent tax decrease next January 1st, a measure contained in this document. Do you know why? Because it only affects the provincial income tax. The larger your income, the larger amount you're going to get.

[1:45 p.m.]

So, Nova Scotians have figured out already that if you're earning $30,000 or less, you're going to see very little of it - maybe $3 or $4 a month between $25,000 and $30,000, but you're going to pay dearly for it in the future because of continued borrowing; borrowing that the Premier said he wouldn't do. The Premier has misled Nova Scotians in that regard. He said that under no circumstances would he open stores on Sunday in this province - now he's thinking about it because public opinion is offside with that crowd. He's offside on the anti-smoking campaign in this province and the need to cut out smoking in all public places in this province. This government is offside with public opinion in that regard too. This government is offside in every public opinion poll going in the past month and that's why they're changing their strategies. It's called deathbed repentance - that's what it's called.

This government is trying to do everything it possibly can to curry favour or to hoodwink Nova Scotians into thinking they're doing something for them. The people of Nova Scotia are smarter than that. They remember that the Minister of Transportation said

[Page 1489]

they weren't going to discuss the Sunday shopping issue until 2005. They remember the Minister of Finance talking about the smoking issue. They remember the fact that the Premier said there'll be no more borrowing in this province, yet the Finance Minister says we're going to borrow over the next three or four years.

People in Nova Scotia realize all that. Give them credit. No one's going to fool them, they know that the government's done nothing on insurance rates, nothing on home heating oil problems, nothing on car insurance, nothing but platitudes in all those areas that concern the consumers of Nova Scotia. The poor, the middle income and the higher income people in this province all have to pay the same, but are not treated the same. They all pay the same for home heating oil, they all pay the same for gasoline at the pumps and they all pay the same for other commodities they have to get from government on a daily basis.

As I wind down my remarks, I know my time is coming short, but only for today. I plan on coming back on this issue at some point. I do want to move an amendment here today and my amendment to Bill No. 36 is: "That Bill No. 36 be amended by deleting all the words following the phrase 'as follows' and substituting therefor the following: 'that Bill No. 36, the Financial Measures (2003) Act, be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.'"

And I move that, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Relative to the amendment that was just moved by the honourable member for Cape Breton South, the amendment is in order.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I'm just wondering before somebody gets up to speak, did the Government House Leader wish somebody to adjourn the debate for today?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, is he on a point of order, a question?

MR. HOLM: I'm on a point of order for the purpose of getting clarification from the Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I have no objection to the honourable member getting to his feet and adjourning the debate. However, I would accept perhaps those very words before we move into adjournment instead of continuing the debate today. (Interruptions) What I'm saying is I would move adjournment of debate on Bill No. 36.

[Page 1490]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 36.

Is it agreed?

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order on the amendment. You move the adjournment of debate on the amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: It would be on the amendment as the amendment is in order.

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 Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 2:00 p.m. The House will sit until 10:00 p.m. Following the Daily Routine, we will complete the Committee of the Whole House on Supply and then we'll move into Public Bills for Second Reading and we'll start with Bill No. 36 and move the other bills in order. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is the House do now adjourn until Monday which is April 28th and commence at 2:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House does stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 1:51 p.m.]

[Page 1491]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 860

By: Hon. Ernest Fage (Energy)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Patrick MacIvor of Amherst, a student at Saint Mary's University, received one of these awards for Patrick's Lawn Maintenance, a business that looked after lawn care and odd jobs for its clients;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 861

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Education)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Mark Randel of Bayfield, a student at East Antigonish Academy, received one of these awards for Mark's Ice Cream, which provided tourists and residents with delicious ice cream, and also received the 1st Year Entrepreneur Achievement Award;

[Page 1492]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 862

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Education)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Sarah McCarthy of Antigonish, a student at St. F.X. University, received one of these awards for her business, Sundance Juices, which makes smoothies, ice cream and milkshakes;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 863

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 this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Michael Black of Wolfville, an Acadia University student, received one of these awards for his business, Michael Black Painting, where he painted homes around his town;

[Page 1493]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 864

By: Hon. Jane Purves (Health)

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

Whereas April 26th marks the 85th Anniversary of the day in 1918 when women in Nova Scotia achieved the right to vote in provincial elections and May 24th will be the 85th Anniversary of full federal voting rights for Nova Scotian women; and

Whereas the right to full participation in the voting process is one of the basic hallmarks of a democratic society; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women has over the past year held four workshops for women around the province on how they can become more politically involved so that women's voices may be heard throughout the political process;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize these important milestone dates in women's political participation and commend the advisory council in its efforts to encourage women to participate at all levels of political life, especially running for elected office.

RESOLUTION NO. 865

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas in 1960 patriarch Jack Den Haan incorporated Den Haan Enterprises at Brickton, Annapolis County, expanding the family business in the production of tomatoes, cucumbers, flowers, nursery stock and other products; and

Whereas Den Haan Enterprises Ltd. underwent a major expansion in 2000 utilizing technology from Holland; and

Whereas tomato production has matched and exceeded that of Holland;

[Page 1494]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Darlen, John, Luke, Josh, Reagan, Dick, Helen and Frank Den Haan, and wish them continued success in their growing business.

RESOLUTION NO. 866

By: Mrs. Muriel Baillie (Pictou West)

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

Whereas the St. George's Songsters took home the trophy for the most money raised in pledges during the bowl-a-thon in support of the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital; and

Whereas the group's pledges totalled $2,770 of the $12,000 the event raised for the hospital; and

Whereas the event has grown each year with 21 teams participating in 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the St. George's Songsters on being the top money raisers at the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital bowl-a-thon and express our appreciation to all the teams that participated in this very worthwhile fundraising event.

RESOLUTION NO. 867

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Transportation and Public Works)

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

Whereas the Better Business Bureau annually recognizes companies making contributions to charitable and non-profit organizations in their community; and

Whereas the award winners are chosen based on their long-term commitment to the Better Business Bureau and the level of community activity performed by the company; and

Whereas L.E. Veinotte & Sons Ltd. of Bridgewater has received the Better Business Bureau community achievement award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the owners and staff of L.E. Veinotte & Sons Ltd. on the receipt of their Better Business Bureau award and wish them continued success for the future.

[Page 1495]

RESOLUTION NO. 868

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Joseph MacNeil, a student at Dalhousie University, and Chatham Fricker, a Cabot High School student, both from Ingonish, received one of these awards for their Hot Dogs Best business, making hot dog fans happy last summer;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 869

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Amelia Daupheny and Jenessa MacInnis of Englishtown, both students at Baddeck Academy, received one of these awards for their business, Chirping Chicks, where they made sure that Cape Breton tourists were kept cool with ice cream;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

[Page 1496]

RESOLUTION NO. 870

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Leanna Connors of Sydney, a Riverview High School student, received one of these awards for her work as Sparkles the Clown at birthday parties, face painting and making balloon sculptures, and also received the Creative Effort and Customer Satisfaction Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 871

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Christopher Cameron, a University College of Cape Breton student, and Jeffrey Ellis, both of Sydney, received one of these awards for their business, Summer Blades, which is an organized summer hockey league;

[Page 1497]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 872

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Michael Delefes, a student at the American College of Greece, and James Aird, a student at the University of Western Ontario, both of Halifax, received one of these awards for their odd-job summer work moving furniture, painting and lawn care, to name a few;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 873

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Andrew Quinn of East Bay, a Riverview High School student, received one of these awards for Spot Service, his business that provided lawn care and yardwork services;

[Page 1498]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 874

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas this year 27-$1,000 Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships were awarded to young people between the ages of 16 and 27 across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the young business owners who received the prizes were chosen by regional selection teams who evaluated the participants' end-of-season reports then recommended them for the scholarships; and

Whereas Sean Murphy of Mount Uniacke, a Dalhousie University student, received one of these awards for his work providing lawn care services to local clients;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the initiative of all those who received the Youth Entrepreneur Scholarships and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 875

By: Mr. Kevin Deveaux (Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage)

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

Whereas the Justice Minister tries to talk a tough line on the federal government's gun registry scheme; and

Whereas the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and other members of the Tory backbench have been very outspoken against the gun registry; and

Whereas on April 15th, the NDP Government in Manitoba announced it would not be prosecuting any firearm registration offences issued under either the Firearms Act or the Criminal Code, instead forcing the federal government to do the prosecution;

[Page 1499]

Therefore be it resolved that this government lead, not follow, on the enforcement of the gun registry by forcing federal prosecutors to deal with firearm registration offences and taking any other possible measures to have the federal government administer the Act.