Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., Dec. 3, 1998

First Session

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ. - Pictou Co.: School Closures - Oppose, Ms. E. O'Connell 4925
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2295, Commun. Serv. - Internat. Day of Persons with
Disabilities (U.N.): Citizens (All Abilities) Artistic Dev. -
Right Recognize, Hon. F. Cosman 4926
Vote - Affirmative 4926
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2296, Educ. - IBM Prog. (Dal. Univ.): Supporters - Commend,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4927
Res. 2297, Fin./Health - Mins.: Full Time - Appoint, Dr. J. Hamm 4927
Res. 2298, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Stora: Commun. Initiatives -
Support Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 4928
Vote - Affirmative 4928
Res. 2299, Health - Breast Cancer (Women [N.S.]): Dragon Boat Team -
Initiative Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 4929
Vote - Affirmative 4929
Res. 2300, Fish. - St. Marys Bay: Lobster Fishery - Inaction Apologize,
Mr. G. Balser 4929
Res. 2301, Justice - Sydney Commun. Police Office: Funding
(Sydney Credit Union) - Congrats., Ms. Helen MacDonald 4930
Vote - Affirmative 4931
Res. 2302, NSLC - Truro Store: Signage (New) - Remove, Mr. J. Muir 4931
Res. 2303, Sports - Guys. Co. Trails Assoc.: Bluenose Achievement
Award - Congrats., Mr. R. White 4932
Vote - Affirmative 4932
Res. 2304, Justice - Correctional Officers (NSGEU [Local 480]):
Wage Parity - Achievement Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 4932
Res. 2305, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Westville (Diamond St.):
Subsidence - Meet (Min.-Council), Mr. J. DeWolfe 4933
Res. 2306, Sports - Coaches/Volunteers: Special Recognition - Extend,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 4934
Vote - Affirmative 4934
Res. 2307, Premier - Job Competency Allegation: Mirror - Consult,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 4935
Res. 2308, Women, Status of - Women's History (Cumb. Co.):
Ms. Renee de Gannes - Gratitude Express, Mr. E. Fage 4935
Vote - Affirmative 4936
Res. 2309, Women - Family Violence Victims: Silence - Observe,
Ms. Y. Atwell 4936
Vote - Affirmative 4936
Res. 2310, Bernard and Lauren Fougere: Rescue
(Hfx. Hbr. [01/12/98]) - Applaud, Mr. N. LeBlanc 4937
Vote - Affirmative 4937
Res. 2311, Educ. - St. F.X. Univ.: X Day - Best Wishes Extend,
Mr. H. Fraser 4937
Vote - Affirmative 4938
Res. 2312, Housing & Mun. Affs. - HRM: Amalgamation -
Costly Failure Acknowledge, Mr. D. Chard 4938
Res. 2313, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Y2K Problem: Speech Writers -
Facts/Conviction Add, Mr. G. Balser 4939
Res. 2314, House of Assembly - Bible (King James): Language Elegant -
Use, Mr. John Deveau 4939
Res. 2315, Educ. - Adult: 'Women Down Prospect' - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4940
Res. 2316, Educ. - Centre Consol. School: Anniv. 40th - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Baker 4941
Vote - Affirmative 4941
Res. 2317, Health: Clinical Therapists - Designate,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4942
Res. 2318, Salvation Army - Contributions (Christmas): Importance -
Recognize, Dr. J. Hamm 4942
Vote - Affirmative 4943
Res. 2319, Nat. Res. - Christmas Trees: Unsprayed - Choose,
Mr. H. Epstein 4943
Res. 2320, Sports - Greenfield Rec. Assoc.: Bluenose Achievement
Award - Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 4943
Vote - Affirmative 4944
Res. 2321, Lbr. - Minimum Wage: Increase - Awaited, Mr. D. Dexter 4944
Res. 2322, Health - Col. Reg. Hosp. Fdn.: Fund-Raiser -
Success Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 4945
Vote - Affirmative 4945
Res. 2323, Commun. Serv. - Children Poor: Measures Addt'l. - Take,
Mr. J. Pye 4946
Res. 2324, Educ. - Junior Achievement Business Game Competition
(Hfx.-04/12/98): Students - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4946
Vote - Affirmative 4947
Res. 2325, Health - Care: Improvement (Pictou Co.) - Address,
Mr. C. Parker 4947
Res. 2326, Nat. Res. - Silviculture: Plan Comprehensive - Ensure,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 4948
Res. 2327, Sports - Figure Skating (Atl. Div. Champs.):
Toni Seguin (Sackville) - Congrats., Ms. R. Godin 4948
Vote - Affirmative 4949
Res. 2328, Commun. Serv. - Disabled Persons: Cause - Advance,
Mr. J. Pye 4949
Res. 2329, Lun. Christmas - Celebration (04-06/12/98): Organizers -
Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 4950
Vote - Affirmative 4950
Res. 2330, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - ITANS: Opportunities Framework -
Congrats., Mr. P. Delefes 4951
Vote - Affirmative 4951
Res. 2331, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Amalgamation (Mun.): Future -
Botchery Avoid, Mr. B. Taylor 4951
Res. 2332, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Fish Plant (Han Beck-Louisbourg):
Owner (Yong Taek Kim) & Commun. - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4952
Res. 2333, Environ. - Gulf of Maine Visionary Awards: Winners (N.S.) -
Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 4953
Vote - Affirmative 4953
Res. 2334, Human Rts. Day - Celebration: Participation (Premier) -
Conditional, Ms. Y. Atwell 4954
Res. 2335, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. Nos. 101 & 103:
Twinning - Funding (Gov't. [Can.]) Use, Mr. B. Taylor 4955
Res. 2336, GG Caring Can. Award: Harold Northrup (Cole Hbr.) -
Congrats., Mr. Kevin Deveaux 4955
Vote - Affirmative 4956
Res. 2337, Educ. - Christmas Examination: Students - Success Wish,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4956
Vote - Affirmative 4957
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Educ.: IBM Prog. (Dal.) - Remarks (Premier [02/12/98]), The Premier 4957
Agric.: Pork Nova Scotia - Loan ($3.5m), The Premier 4958
Agric.: Pork Nova Scotia - Loan ($3.5m), Hon. E. Lorraine 4960
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 697, Educ. - IBM Prog. (Dal.): Graduates - Hiring, Mr. R. Chisholm 4962
No. 698, Educ. - Schools: Construction Costs - New Estimate,
Dr. J. Hamm 4963
No. 699, Fin. - Tendering: Employment Equity - Contract Compliance,
Ms. Y. Atwell 4964
No. 700, Fin. - P3 School (Sydney): Ven-Rez - Unsuccessful Bid,
Mr. B. Taylor 4965
No. 701, Fin. - CHST: Revenues - Decrease, Mr. H. Epstein 4966
No. 702, Fin. - Procurement Policy (Atl.): Cos./Workers (N.S.) -
Support, Mr. B. Taylor 4967
No. 703, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Laterals (C.B.) - Size Inadequate,
Mr. J. Holm 4968
No. 704, Hfx., Port of - Authority: Appts. - Plan (Premier),
Mr. D. Dexter 4969
No. 705, Health - Physicians: New - List Table, Dr. J. Hamm 4970
No. 706, Devco - Coal Industry (C.B.): Phase-Out -
Talks [Gov't. (Can.-N.S.)], Mr. F. Corbett 4971
No. 707, Fish. - St. Marys Bay: Lobster Fishery - Illegal,
Mr. G. Balser 4973
No. 708, Educ. - School Closures (Pictou Co.): Chignecto-Central
Reg. Bd. - Meetings In Camera, Ms. E. O'Connell 4974
No. 709, Fish. - Groundfish: Dumping - Reduce, Mr. N. LeBlanc 4976
No. 710, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Public Housing: Consultants
Engagement - Update, Ms. R. Godin 4977
No. 711, Health - Long-Term Care Facilities: Residents -
Charges Retroactive, Mr. J. DeWolfe 4978
No. 712, Lbr. - Construction (C.B.): Older Workers -
Proposal Action, Mr. F. Corbett 4979
No. 713, Nat. Res. - Forests: Softwood - Harvesting Excessive,
Mr. C. Parker 4980
No. 714, Health - Environmental Illness (Camp Hill):
Compensation Pkg. - Change, Mr. G. Moody 4981
No. 715, Educ.: Schools (Pictou Co.) - Closures, Ms. E. O'Connell 4982
No. 716, Health - Sutherland-Harris Hosp.: Emergency Dept. -
Closure, Dr. J. Hamm 4983
No. 717, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Roads Improvement - Priority List,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4984
No. 718, Health - Physicians: Recruitment (Truro) - Status, Mr. J. Muir 4985
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 86, Real Estate Appraisers Act 4986
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 47, Municipal Government Act 4987
Hon. W. Gaudet 4987
Mr. J. Holm 4987
Mr. J. Leefe 4992
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 4994
Mr. J. Pye 4998
Mr. H. Fraser 4999
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 5000
Hon. W. Gaudet 5001
Vote - Affirmative 5002
No. 52, Business Efficiency (1998) Act 5002
Hon. K. Colwell 5002
Ms. Y. Atwell 5003
Mr. B. Taylor 5003
Hon. K. Colwell 5003
Vote - Affirmative 5004
No. 64, Condominium Act 5004
Hon. K. Colwell 5004
Ms. Y. Atwell 5004
Mr. B. Taylor 5005
Hon. K. Colwell 5006
Vote - Affirmative 5007
No. 89, Medical Act 5007
Hon. J. Smith 5007
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5008
Hon. J. Smith 5008
Vote - Affirmative 5009
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 3:25 P.M. 5010
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:21 P.M. 5010
CWH REPORTS 5010
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 24, Wilderness Areas Protection Act 5011
Hon. D. Downe 5011
Mr. D. Chard 5011
Mr. J. Leefe 5011
Hon. D. Downe 5012
Vote - Affirmative 5012
No. 65, Endangered Species Act 5013
Hon. K. MacAskill 5013
Mr. D. Chard 5013
Mr. J. DeWolfe 5013
Hon. K. MacAskill 5013
Vote - Affirmative 5013
HOUSE RECESSED AT 4:27 P.M. 5014
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:16 P.M. 5014
ARRIVAL OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 5014
BILLS GIVEN ROYAL ASSENT:
Nos. 3 and 4 5014
Nos. 5, 10, 13, 22, 23, 24, 34, 35, 38, 41, 43, 45 and 47 5015
Nos. 51, 52, 57, 58, 60, 62, 64, 65 and 68 5015
Nos. 69, 71, 72, 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82 and 83 5016
Nos. 84, 86, 87, 88 and 89 5016
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again two weeks following
completion of LAC (WCA) hearings 5017
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2338, Natalie Lees (Westville): Courage - Admire, Mr. J. DeWolfe 5018
Review, Mr. E. Fage 5019
No. 17, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Guys. Co.: TCH Access
(Trunk No. 7) - Ensure, Mr. B. Taylor 5019
No. 18, Lbr. - Fire Prevention Act: Introduction - Delay, Mr. M. Baker 5019
No. 19, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Billing: Negative Option - Permissibility,
Dr. J. Hamm 5020

[Page 4925]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition from citizens of Pictou. The operative clause on this petition says, "We, the undersigned, are opposed to the closure of our seven high schools in Pictou County, which are to be replaced by two 'mega schools'.". There are 172 signatures on this petition and I have affixed my name to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

4925

[Page 4926]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, regarding the Statements by Ministers, is it okay with the House if we have Statements by Ministers after the Notices of Motion and prior to Question Period?

MR. SPEAKER: That is agreed, yes. No problem.

So we are going to skip Statements by Ministers.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2295

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

Whereas December 3rd is designated by the United Nations as International Day of Persons With Disabilities; and

Whereas this year the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority and the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission are marking the day with a concert entitled, Art is Ability; and

Whereas the performers in tonight's concert are people with disabilities;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize that citizens of all abilities have a right to develop their artistic potential and congratulate those who have made this concert possible.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4927]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2296

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

Whereas indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq citizens once had little access to higher education and professions such as law; and

Whereas the provincial government, federal government and many members of the legal community joined together to help establish and sustain the IBM Program at the Dalhousie Law School to help overcome long-standing barriers; and

Whereas the IBM students take the same courses, meet the same academic standards and graduate with the same law degree as any other lawyer, thanks to the encouragement of this program;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commends the many supporters of the IBM Program and urges the major law firms to recognize they are denying their clients the services of talented lawyers from the Nova Scotia Black and Mi'kmaq communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2297

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

[Page 4928]

Whereas the Premier continues to defend his Cabinet alignment; and

Whereas the part-time Minister of Finance has failed to control his budget; and

Whereas the part-time Minister of Health has no plan to put health care delivery back on track;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately agree when this House stands that he appoint full-time ministers to the portfolios of Finance and Health.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2298

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

Whereas Stora recently embarked on one of the largest industrial expansions in Nova Scotia's history, thus securing jobs and providing revenue for our province; and

Whereas Stora is not only a vital corporate citizen in rural Nova Scotia but also makes a valuable contribution to their community; and

Whereas Stora recently made a significant donation to GOALS, Guysborough Options for Adaptive Living Society, a training centre for adults with disabilities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the management and staff of Stora for their continued support of community initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4929]

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 2299

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

Whereas 20 Nova Scotia women living with breast cancer have formed a dragon boat team which they are calling Bosom Buddies; and

Whereas they held their first meeting yesterday in Bridgewater; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia team now makes a total of nine teams in Canada for women with breast cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate these women on this important initiative and let them know that they will do Nova Scotia proud in the dragon boat races next summer in Montreal and Vancouver.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2300

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

Whereas the federal and provincial Ministers of Fisheries were repeatedly warned that their failure to take action to address the illegal lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay would have disastrous effects; and

[Page 4930]

Whereas opening week catches are down between 20 per cent and 25 per cent in what has historically been the most productive period of the legal St. Marys Bay lobster fishing season; and

Whereas lobster fishermen working in the inner portions of St. Marys Bay are calling this fishing season a disaster;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, along with his federal counterpart, apologize for their lack of action and admit that the "it's too early to tell" defence in no defence at all.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2301

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

Whereas with the regional amalgamation, the police department was moved from Sydney to the Grand Lake Road; and

Whereas the residents and police have recognized the need for a downtown policing presence; and

Whereas Sydney's first-ever community policing office was officially opened on Charlotte Street this week;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the community and the Sydney Credit Union and its Manager, Rod Munroe, for their commitment to assisting the funding of Sydney's Community Police Office.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4931]

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2302

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission will relocate its main Truro store in January 1999; and

Whereas the new location is hardly a stone's throw from the old location; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has erected a sign which is not only unnecessary at this time, but is so unattractive it can truly be described as contributing to the uglification of the Truro community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act have the sign removed immediately and, when common sense indicates one is needed, replace it with one with a design, size and construction method that is in keeping with aesthetics, common sense and good taste.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 4932]

RESOLUTION NO. 2303

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

Whereas recently the Government of Nova Scotia announced its support for the Trans Canada Trail; and

Whereas the Guysborough County Trails Association is the first organization in Nova Scotia to construct and open the Trans Canada Trail, having so far constructed 26.3 kilometres of trail; and

Whereas the Guyborough County Trails Association was awarded the Bluenose Achievement Award at the recent awards ceremony hosted by Recreation Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Guysborough County Trail Association for their many hours of volunteer work, which resulted in the receipt of this prestigious award, and wish them continued success as they continue the job of forging the Trans Canada Trail in Guysborough County.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2304

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

Whereas the correctional officers for the Province of Nova Scotia fought long and hard for wage parity with youth workers; and

[Page 4933]

Whereas the Liberal Government has postured and baulked at negotiating fairly with the correctional officers; and

Whereas Local 480 of the NSGEU and the Province of Nova Scotia have approved a collective agreement that provides for wage parity;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of Local 480 and President, Ed Foulkes, be congratulated on a successful negotiating process and for achieving their goal of wage parity.

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2305

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

Whereas Town Council and the residents of Westville remain extremely frustrated with the condition of Diamond Street in their town and how it is sinking into old mine workings; and

Whereas Westville Town Council has made it abundantly clear that they simply do not have the necessary funds to repair water mains and sewer lines that were damaged as a result of sinking road conditions on the street; and

Whereas the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs has the responsibility to a town council such as Westville to seek out solutions to infrastructure problems such as the one Westville is experiencing;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs immediately undertake to go to Westville to meet and discuss this serious problem with the council and find solutions once and for all.

[Page 4934]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2306

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

Whereas in recent weeks, several resolutions have been introduced in this House honouring athletes from Inverness County who have achieved excellence; and

Whereas an outstanding example of this excellence can be found in the achievements of 18 year old Amy Cotton of Judique, who has participated in national and international Judo championships since she was 13; and

Whereas Ms. Cotton can credit much of her success, including winning the Canadian Junior Female Judo Championship, to her coach John Angus Campbell of the Mabou Judo Club;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend special recognition to all coaches and volunteers who work many overtime hours to support our young athletes and whose work has made Nova Scotia famous for producing champions.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4935]

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2307

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

Whereas yesterday, the Premier suggested that indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq students should not receive support or encouragement to pursue a legal education; and

Whereas it was reported today that men are more likely to lie on résumés that they have a history of work problems; and

Whereas the Premier is a man with serious work problems;

Therefore be it resolved that when the Premier alleges that someone may not be competent to do a job, he should take a look in the mirror.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2308

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

Whereas Renee deGannes, a recent graduate of Mount Allison University, was employed this past summer by the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women to research the histories of Cumberland County women who have made significant contributions to their communities; and

Whereas the fruits of her labour include 44 full-length profiles and information on some 340 women from Cumberland County; and

Whereas this fall Ms. deGannes entered a Masters Degree program at Dalhousie University, focusing on the study of welfare and women's history in Atlantic Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House express their gratitude to Ms. deGannes for her important contribution to women's history in Cumberland County and extend their best wishes as she continues to explore this exciting and important field of study.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request waiver of notice.

[Page 4936]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2309

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

Whereas December 6th is the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women; and

Whereas it is estimated that no fewer than 1 in 10 Canadian women are assaulted by their husband or partner; and

Whereas family violence affects all ages and economic groups, as well as all cultures and geographic regions;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House stand in their place and observe one minute of silence in remembrance of all victims of family violence.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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.

We will observe one minute of silence.

[Page 4937]

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2310

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

Whereas on Thursday night four Halifax men were rescued after spending 15 minutes in cold water as a result of their boat stalling and then capsizing due to strong waves; and

Whereas Bernard Fougere went searching for the men after being told by his wife, Lauren, that she had heard cries for help; and

Whereas after rescuing the men, Mr. Fougere and his wife, Lauren, contacted 911 and gave the men warm clothes and food;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the unselfish and heroic actions of Bernard and Lauren Fougere.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 2311

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

[Page 4938]

Whereas today, December 3rd, is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish; and

Whereas St. F.X. was founded in Arichat in 1853 and moved to Antigonish in 1855 and in 1866 by act of this Legislature was granted full university powers; and

Whereas in 1942 the X became the official symbol on the renowned St. F.X. X-ring, and the first ring investiture ceremony was in 1958 and is today regarded by St. F.X. students and alumni as one of the most memorable occasions of their university career;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend to all members of the X family sincere best wishes on this occasion of the feast of St. Francis Xavier, known throughout the world as X day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2312

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

Whereas a recent survey by Corporate Research Associates revealed that two-thirds of people surveyed in HRM feel amalgamation was bad for areas residents; and

Whereas 63 per cent of the 505 people surveyed would support restructuring of the municipality; and

Whereas only 3 per cent of people surveyed agreed that amalgamation has been very good;

[Page 4939]

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge that the amalgamation of HRM has been a costly failure and that the government should bow to the will of the people and undertake a public review of amalgamation.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dibgy-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2313

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

Whereas Peter de Jager, a leading expert in Y2K compliance has indicated that despite our best efforts, January 1, 2000, will see literally tens of thousands of computer failures worldwide; and

Whereas the most worrisome element of the Y2K problem is the unknown; and

Whereas Canadians may be in for more of a millennium problem than government is willing to admit since the government is making plans behind the scenes preparing for worst-case scenarios;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Science and Technology Secretariat advise his speech writers to put down a few more facts and a lot more conviction in his, don't worry the sky isn't falling speech.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 2314

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

[Page 4940]

Whereas Jesus of Nazareth was a wise and learned man and, indeed, is regarded as a God by the dominant religions of this nation; and

Whereas in Matthew 5:19 it is reported that Jesus spoke to Peter and Andrew and said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men"; and

Whereas some honourable members of this House seem to believe that fishermen is the only true term for those who labour at sea;

Therefore be it resolved that the eloquent language of the King James Version of The Bible is good enough for use in this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, we have always been given great latitude in this House with respect to the way in which we offer our notices of motion. I really do feel this member has crossed the line and I would ask him to withdraw that notice of motion.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2315

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

Whereas adult learners throughout our province should be congratulated for overcoming their fears about going back to school; and

Whereas a documentary entitled Never Too Late, a 19 minute video, has been made by the Women Down Prospect video group; and

Whereas Never Too Late is an upbeat and inspirational documentary about adults attaining an upgrading program in the small rural village of Terence Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate and thank the Women Down Prospect and the many adult learners for their initiative.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 4941]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 2316

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

Whereas the Centre Consolidated School celebrated the 40th Anniversary of its opening on December 2, 1998; and

Whereas the school at the time of its opening was one of the finest educational facilities in the province; and

Whereas the Centre Consolidated School continues to be one of the finest schools in the province because of the quality of its student body, staff and School Advisory Council;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Principal Jeff DeWolfe and the entire student body, staff and parents forming the Centre Consolidated School community for their past 40 years of success and wishes them the best for the next 40 years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 4942]

RESOLUTION NO. 2317

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

Whereas the nature and scope of counselling those with addictions has intensified significantly over the past 10 years; and

Whereas clinicians are mandated to provide services, not only to those with alcohol and drug dependencies, but to problem gamblers and those affected by the addictions of others; and

Whereas since 1995 these workers have attempted to be reclassified from their current inappropriate designation as social development rehabilitation officers;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health act immediately to properly recognize these workers as clinical therapists and designate them accordingly.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2318

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

Whereas the Salvation Army has launched its annual Fill a Hamper campaign to help make Christmas more merry for families in need; and

Whereas the organization is looking for donations of food and toys to fill hampers for an expected 2,000 families in metro; and

Whereas last year the Salvation Army contributed to a happy and festive holiday season for approximately 1,700 metro families;

Therefore be it resolved that the member of this House recognize the important contributions of the Salvation Army and support their selfless efforts in every way possible.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 4943]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2319

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

Whereas it is not in the personal cultural tradition of all members of this House to kill a tree every December; and

Whereas it is certainly not in my personal cultural tradition; and

Whereas I nevertheless understand that many people do have this tradition and enjoy it greatly;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge all persons who enjoy this tradition to choose unsprayed, chemical-free trees.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2320

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

Whereas the Greenfield Recreation Association opened its community centre in 1986 and now serves as a focal point for sport, pre-school education, crafts and seniors activities; and

[Page 4944]

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas the association has more recently taken over responsibility for the local ballfield and has opened Hunt's Beach at Ponhook Lodge to the community for public use; and

Whereas in 1997 the association accomplished a $90,000 upgrade of their facility including a new gym floor, new roof and many other improvements and applaudingly, remains debt free and continues to operate in the black;

Therefore be it resolved that the Legislature commends the Greenfield Recreation Association for the splendid contribution it makes to Greenfield and neighbouring communities and congratulates the organization on the occasions of its being awarded the Bluenose Achievement Award by Recreation Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2321

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

Whereas the minimum wage in Nova Scotia is $5.50 an hour and has not been increased in over two years; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's minimum wage now sits 50 cents below the national average; and

Whereas the Minister of Labour stated five months ago in this House that he would within a month give us definitive information concerning whether the minimum wage would be increased;

[Page 4945]

Therefore be it resolved that this House is still waiting for the Minister of Labour to carry through on his broken Liberal promise.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2322

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

Whereas the Colchester Regional Hospital Foundation held its annual Celebration of Trees Dinner and Auction on December 2, 1998; and

Whereas the dinner and auction have been instrumental in providing funding for hospital equipment during the foundation's 10 year history; and

Whereas in response to the increased demands being placed on the hospital, the foundation has increased its commitment for 1999 to $360,000, up 20 per cent over this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Colchester Regional Hospital Foundation for another successful fund-raiser and recognize, with gratitude, the organizers, the major sponsors, those who donated the items auctioned, those who attended, and indeed all who contributed in any way to this special and significant event.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 4946]

RESOLUTION NO. 2323

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

Whereas Campaign 2000's annual report card declares that nearly 1.5 million or one in five Canadian children live in poverty; and

Whereas the report card documents a steady increase in child poverty as we head to the next millennium; and

Whereas the report card blames the increase on a number of factors, including a widening in the income gap between the rich and the poor;

Therefore be it resolved that the House direct the Minister of Community Services to take measures to ease the immediate needs of poor children in addition to the National Child Benefit Program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2324

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

Whereas 16 high school students from across the province are set to compete in the Junior Achievement Business Game Competition tomorrow in Halifax; and

Whereas the contest will bring together 160 students to compete in an industry computer simulation with the winning team taking home a computer for its school; and

Whereas volunteers from the business community will be coaching students on how to read balance sheets, income statements and industry statistics;

[Page 4947]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all students competing in this competition and applaud the efforts of the organizers and volunteers for contributing their time, energy and resources to offering all 16 teams the opportunity to learn such valuable skills.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2325

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

Whereas more than 50 people from Pictou County attended a community health forum held last Friday evening in Stellarton; and

Whereas this forum was organized by the NDP as a way of seeking input from people on how to address the crisis in front-line health care; and

Whereas participants expressed considerable frustration with their efforts to have their local health care concerns acted on at the provincial level;

Therefore be it resolved that this government begin to listen to the people of Pictou County and act to address their community concerns, with the aim of improving front-line health care.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4948]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2326

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

Whereas private woodlot owners in Pictou County are continuing to point out the deficiencies in this Liberal Government's non-monitoring attitude towards forest land across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources believes the new Forests Act will go a long way towards improving the deteriorating condition of Nova Scotia's forest land; and

Whereas the minister will only be correct in his assumptions if the new Act is rigidly enforced, while ensuring a forest management plan is in place that will ensure the sustainability of a hardwood supply in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources ensure that once the amended Forests Act is given Royal Assent in these Chambers, that he ensure a comprehensive silviculture plan is in place providing a prosperous future for the Nova Scotia forest industry.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 2327

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

[Page 4949]

Whereas young people are Nova Scotia's pride and joy; and

Whereas this province delights in congratulating our youth on all their accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Toni Seguin, a Grade 11 student at Millwood High School in Sackville, as she competes with 22 other young Nova Scotians at the Atlantic Divisional Championships of Figure Skating in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2328

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

Whereas December 3rd is International Day of Persons With Disabilities and Nova Scotians have the highest rate of disability in Canada; and

Whereas persons with disabilities continue to face considerable obstacles, including the ongoing pressure to reduce special education services and very limited access to aids for independent living; and

Whereas other obstacles include poverty, the uncertain status of health care services and the high cost of prescription drugs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge specific action and advance the cause of disabled persons with measurable progress towards independent living each and every year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4950]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 2329

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

Whereas the Once Upon a Lunenburg Christmas celebration will commence on Friday, December 4th and continues through to December 6, 1998; and

Whereas the event is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers; and

Whereas the event includes the Christkindlmarkt, or Christ Child Market, which is a traditional market whose objective is to collect money for the support of special families at Christmas;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the organizers of the Once Upon a Lunenburg Christmas for their work on behalf of their 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.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 4951]

RESOLUTION NO. 2330

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

Whereas there has been considerable public debate in Nova Scotia as to how industry and government can capitalize on the economic opportunities available through developing a world-class information technology industry in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Information Technology Industry Alliance of Nova Scotia, ITANS, has developed a framework which lays out the issues and the opportunities that have to be addressed if Nova Scotia is to become the location of choice for global IT companies; and

Whereas the strategic aims of the framework is to present a rough blueprint that can be used to build an IT industry in Nova Scotia that serves the global market place;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of ITANS for their framework document which provides industry and its government partners with a plan for Nova Scotia to stake out its position on the IT map.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2331

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

Whereas a recent metro quarterly survey conducted by Corporate Research Associates, says that two out of three residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality think amalgamation has been a flop; and

[Page 4952]

Whereas survey respondents cited tax increases, loss of municipal services and the high cost of existing services as the reasons for disliking the forced merger; and

Whereas a suggestion to restructure the municipality to include only the urban areas, with the rural areas being governed separately, is supported by 63 per cent of the people surveyed;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, while admitting that forced amalgamation is a failure which has created a negative situation for the residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality, assure Nova Scotians that no other region will have to endure provincial government amalgamation botchery.

MR. SPEAKER: It is very long, but we will table it.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2332

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

Whereas Yong Taek Kim, owner of Han Beck, has shown tenacity and patience in making a considerable personal investment in seeking promised public support for the fish plant in Louisbourg; and

Whereas the support and perseverance of the plant workers and Louisbourg community have kept up the pressure on the provincial and federal governments; and

Whereas yesterday, the provincial government showed the wisdom to change their minds and invest in Han Beck Fishery in Louisbourg;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Yong Taek Kim and the Louisbourg community on this step forward, and urge the federal government to follow through on its commitment.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 4953]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2333

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

Whereas the Gulf of Maine Visionary Awards were recently handed out in a ceremony at the Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax; and

Whereas the awards were presented to individuals and organizations committed to advancing the understanding of the Gulf of Maine and its marine environment; and

Whereas award winners included the Clean Nova Scotia's Beachsweep program, which cleans dozens of beaches each year; and Pam Berman of CBC Information Morning, for her series on lobster conservation in the Gulf of Maine; Arthur Longard, as a founder of the Gulf of Maine Council; and David Harris, for his exemplary work in recycling and conservation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these award winners and thank them for their contributions that help all Nova Scotians develop a better understanding of the importance of the Gulf of Maine and the marine environment.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to my dear late friend, Arthur Longard, this is a posthumous resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 4954]

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction, before I give my resolution. I would like to introduce the students from the Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq program at Dalhousie Law School, the Law Students Association. They are in the west gallery. I am just going to call their names and they can stand. Cora States, Kelvin Gilpin, Thomas Burke, Perry Borden, John Nelson, Veronica Reddick, Derek Edwards, Jeffrey Ollis, Kathleen Smith, Janet Burt-Gerrans, Ayana Ferdinand, Peter Chaffey, Neil Clements and Rickcola Slawter. I hope I got your names right. Could you stand, and would the House welcome them. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2334

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

Whereas on November 25th, this House unanimously approved the Justice Minister's resolution to take on the personal challenge to fight injustice, ignorance and hatred, wherever they are confronted by it; and

Whereas ignorance and injustice towards Black and Mi'kmaq lawyers was displayed in this House one week later on December 2nd; and

Whereas the Premier baselessly attacked the reputation of young lawyers on the basis of their racial background, rather than attacking the discrimination against them at downtown law firms;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier refrain from participating in the December 10th celebration of Human Rights Day, unless he first enrols in a remedial program to correct his own bias against Black and Mi'kmaq graduates. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

Order, please. I must advise the visitors in the gallery that they are not to show their pleasure or displeasure with what is going on on the floor. Thank you.

[Page 4955]

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2335

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

Whereas the one hour meeting in August between the federal Minister of Transport and Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation and Public Works has resulted in next to nothing; and

[12:45 p.m.]

Whereas the federal Auditor General's Report yesterday indicated considerable concern over Transport Canada's inability to properly monitor federal-provincial highway agreements; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation and Public Works has to make the federal Minister of Transport understand that Nova Scotians should not be penalized because the federal Minister of Transport is failing to do his job;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for this province undertake a monitoring process himself and assure his federal counterpart that highway funding will be properly used to continue the twinning of Highway No. 101 and Highway No. 103 and that we not be penalized because the federal minister is unable to properly do his job.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2336

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

Whereas the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award is presented to individuals whose unpaid, voluntary contributions provide extraordinary help to families and groups in their community; and

Whereas Harold Northrup of Cole Harbour has been a long-time volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club, the Air Force Association, Air Cadets, RCMP Auxiliary and the Shearwater Aviation Museum; and

[Page 4956]

Whereas Mr. Northrup has organized the Battle of Britain parade and ceremony for several years and was crucial in the creation of the cenotaph in Cole Harbour;

Therefore be it resolved that the House extends its congratulations and gratitude to Mr. Harold Northrup, a recipient of the Government General's Caring Canadian Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2337

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

Whereas many students are currently preparing for Christmas exams; and

Whereas these results, particularly for Grade 12 students, are of major importance for admission to post-secondary institutions; and

Whereas formal examinations are an important part of the evaluation process;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish all students good luck on their Christmas examinations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4957]

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

The motion is carried.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I have two statements.

The first one is that, I would like to rise today to correct any wrong impression or misinformation that I may have conveyed yesterday when speaking about the Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq Program at the Dalhousie Law School. There is one law program, one degree and all students take the same course. I did not, in any way, intend to hurt students or graduates of the IBM Program.

My comments reflect my larger concerns about the rate of hiring of these graduates. This problem must not be neglected. To that end, the government has already begun informal discussions with some of the key players. The government will be working in partnership with the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, Dalhousie Law School and other stakeholders to improve opportunities for students. I welcome again this opportunity to set the record straight and to give the correct information about the IBM Program.

I am sorry for any hurt that my remarks may have caused the graduate students or the program, but I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, I am going to be relentless in my determination to make sure that minorities in this province have the same opportunity and jobs as anybody else. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has apologized for his comments yesterday in this House - inside and outside this House, I guess - and that goes some distance, but not far enough.

We will pursue that a little later on today, but let me remind the Premier and other members of this House that the IBM program was set up as a direct result of the Royal Commission on Donald Marshall Jr. The report on the criminal justice system in Nova Scotia recommended in 1989 that that program be set up because they found that Black and Mi'kmaq Nova Scotians had been denied justice and are prevented from realizing their full potential because of the racism that is pervasive throughout society, in general, and in the legal system, in particular. This disadvantage situation is the result of discriminatory employment practices that intentionally or unintentionally hurt their opportunities.

[Page 4958]

For the Premier of this province to stand up in this House and to feed into what is already a system that is full of discrimination and disadvantage, Mr. Speaker, is truly scandalous. There is a document that has been released by the Dalhousie Law School Program, the IBM program, to deal with myths and there are a number of myths but the number one myth, and I just want to real quickly tell you what that one myth is. It is number one on the hit parade, Mr. Speaker.

It says, myth one, that the education program of the IBM students is inferior to that of other law students. The law faculty pushes unqualified students through and it takes IBM students four years to complete an LL.B and not the required three. It goes on to lay out the fact that that is absolutely fictitious. It is wrong and it is damaging to the lives of the Black and Mi'kmaq students who are trying to get some advantage in order to deal with the problems identified by that Royal Commission.

For the Premier of this province to further damage the reputation of that program is scandalous. It is unfair and it is hurting the students that are now in that program. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Your time has expired.

Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the Premier's words today. All of us in this House are supportive of the IBM program set up to satisfy a real concern that an education opportunity is provided to all Nova Scotians. I am pleased that the members of the Dalhousie Law School who will participate in that program were here today to hear the Premier's words. Certainly what was said, yesterday, was damaging and hurtful to the students, but we have just heard a decent man say he was sorry. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. HAMM: And while there are those in this House that will misinterpret what I have said because they have a penchant to misinterpret to their own ends everything that is said in this House, it is shameful when you hear people making political gain when someone says they are sorry. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: As you know, earlier this week the members of this House had a constructive debate on the dire circumstances of our pork industry. In essence, the industry is on the verge of collapse.

[Page 4959]

Mr. Speaker, this government wasn't going to stand by and let such a vital sector of the economy simply disappear because of a situation that is out of our control. In support of the industry, and its key role in the economic and social fabric of many of our rural communities, I am pleased to announce that the government has just approved a $3.5 million loan for Pork Nova Scotia. (Applause) The loan is being provided through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism to help producers keep their operations running during this very uncertain and difficult time.

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to growing the economy in every corner of Nova Scotia. More than 1,000 people, directly and indirectly, rely on our hog industry for a living. We were not going to let an industry collapse that is so important to keeping our rural communities vital and growing.

The industry needs us now, Mr. Speaker, and today we responded. By supporting the hog industry now, we are supporting its future growth and we are supporting the Nova Scotians who want to continue to live in our rural areas.

On behalf of the government, I want the province's pork producers and the people who rely on the sector for a living to know that we are very pleased to be able to help. We wish them all the best during this very, very difficult time. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I applaud the Premier and the Minister of Agriculture and the government on their effort; it was obvious from the debate the other evening when four of the Government Ministers stood up and acknowledged the need for help for the hog sector. I believe since my conversations with the people from Pork Nova Scotia that this help is what they requested and I certainly applaud the government for their effort.

The Premier is right in his statement that support for rural communities, this is what rural communities need and we would certainly be interested at any time to hear what the government has to say when it comes to the rural communities in this province. These are resource-based communities for the most part and try to ensure some sustainability in these communities for people who have made the long-term, long-time commitment to the industry, pork in particular, but to their communities generally.

I applaud the government again. Certainly, I know that the pork producers will be gratified to hear of the announcement today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

[Page 4960]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the Premier's statement. The Premier made reference to the debate we had and I wish to congratulate the member for Kings North who was instrumental in introducing that debate in the House. (Applause)

The response of the government in terms of a very significant contribution to the hog industry is welcome news. We will have to see whether or not the amount of help that is being provided will, in fact, be enough. With the current prices of hogs in this province, the industry is in dire straits and is getting worse by the day. But I do welcome the announcement by the Premier. It is a step in the right direction. Time will tell if that step is long enough. Thank you. (Applause)

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

HON. EDWARD LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, before I make a statement with regard to the Premier's statement, I want to introduce in our gallery, some of our pork producers, the executive of Pork Nova Scotia. With us today is Hubert LeBlanc, who is the Chairman; Lester Palmer, Director; Terry Beck, Director; and Gerry VanDyk, Director. Accompanying them is our Deputy Minister Alan Steel and my Executive Assistant Arthur Hill. I would ask the House to give them the warm welcome that they deserve. (Applause)

[1:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, as the Premier just announced, the government has demonstrated our commitment to helping the province's hog industry survive what is undoubtedly one of the worst times in its history. This is a tough situation. World hog prices have plummeted. In the last 11 months, the average price per kilogram paid to producers has fallen from $1.28 to 74 cents. Farms cannot operate when prices fall that much, that fast. Families cannot live when prices fall like that. I want to thank the Premier for his support and my honourable colleague Manning MacDonald, as well as all colleagues in Cabinet who were very supportive of this announcement the Premier just made.

This loan will enable Pork Nova Scotia to cover the current deficit in the provincial Pork Risk Management Service, a fund that supplements producers' incomes during periods of low prices. The fund, which is cost-shared by government, producers and processors, has been making substantial payments to producers in an effort to keep their operation open, and is now depleted. Last week the government joined with the producers and processors to double our contribution to the fund from $3.50 to $7.00 per hog. However, even with this increase, it is projected the fund will not show a surplus until probably mid-2000. Obviously, that is too late. The industry needs us now and we are responding. This industry means 250

[Page 4961]

direct jobs and at least 1,000 in total when you add in the feed and equipment suppliers and the processors.

The demise of the pork industry would have a ripple effect. It would impact the economic and social foundation of many of our rural communities. We aren't going to let that happen, Mr. Speaker, and today's announcement will go a long way in ensuring that Nova Scotians who work in the pork industry can continue to do so.

In case the two critics did not receive a copy of my statement, it was to be sent to them. I don't know if they have received it; but if they haven't, I will apologize for that and I will try to make sure that it never happens again in the future. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his words. It is certainly in the role of the minister, I think, to come to the aid of the industry. He has shown his commitment today. Rural communities, no matter where in this province, need to know that agriculture is on the minds of all members of the government, because Nova Scotians have the luxury here of going into their chain stores and being able to get food at a fairly reasonable price. I think that in doing that we tend to forget the people on the front line who are responsible for that. I thank the minister again, and I certainly would appreciate the statement ahead of time, in any case when that is possible. It has not happened yet, but I look forward to it. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus I wish to thank the Premier and the Minister of Agriculture very much for this program. I want to welcome, too, the pork producers who are in the gallery today. The other night at our debate there were several pork producers here showing their support for the government program to help their industry.

Really, why should we help the hog industry? We should help the hog industry because it is $37 million, it is 1,500 jobs, it translates into $100 million contribution to the economy of the province, 220,000 hogs were produced last year. Mr. Speaker, that tells you why the government decided it was time to help the hog industry. The hog farmers were in dire straits, and the industry still is. A month ago the price of a hog was $160 and it is now $58. No industry could survive on that level of return.

So I am really pleased that this government has decided that they cannot wait for any other federal government programs, or any other programs. This government decided the hog industry is so important in Nova Scotia that they would help immediately. I do sincerely hope that this level of assistance is all that it is going to take to keep the hog industry growing and

[Page 4962]

to be vibrant and a contribution to Nova Scotia. Again, I want to thank the Minister of Agriculture, the Premier and the other ministers who sat around the Cabinet table and decided the hog industry was so important they would lend their support. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: It is time for the Oral Question Period, the time being 1:06 p.m., we will terminate at 2:06 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTION PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC. - IBM PROG. (DAL): GRADUATES - HIRING

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier some questions with respect to the Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq Law Program at Dalhousie University. I want to table a copy of a report called Pursuing the Law: the experiences and perceptions of African, East Indian and Caucasian Canadians in becoming lawyers and practice in Nova Scotia. "IBM students write the same exams, do the same work and achieve marks equivalent to their classmates", says the report. The problem isn't the lawyers who graduate, but the system continues to exclude them. I want to ask the Premier what will he do to correct the wrongs that face so many qualified Black and Aboriginal lawyers that are not hired at Halifax law firms?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the problem goes much deeper than just to point fingers at the law firms. We have to coordinate this whole concern among the government, the law firms, the Bar Society and Dalhousie Law School. This is a tremendously important thing, it goes to the whole fibre of Nova Scotia and why we are Nova Scotians and what we want for all people in Nova Scotia. I believe very strongly that we have got to make sure that all Nova Scotians have the same opportunity and are put in the same situation.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in the report - and I will table it as soon as I am through my questions - recommendation 8, says, "The society", regarding the Barrister's Society, "should work with the Minister of Justice to develop guidelines whereby Government legal contracts are only awarded to those law firms which have made a commitment to equality.". I want to ask the Premier, the Department of Justice has been slow in responding to this recommendation, will the Premier ensure that this recommendation that deals clearly with the question of compliance, will he ensure that this is implemented?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the first thing we have to do is get all parties around the table to develop the parameters that have to be put into place. This is not something we can take lightly. This is absolutely vital. It goes to the whole fibre of our society. I want to assure

[Page 4963]

you that regardless of what happens and I am taking the initiative in this, as I mentioned in my statement, to make sure that all university graduates are put on the same footing.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we have had an opportunity to discuss this issue as a result of the Royal Commission Inquiry into the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. I want to ask the Premier, is he saying to us here today that he does not have confidence and does not believe that the IBM Program that was set up as a result of that Royal Commission's recommendation is, in fact, effective and does not have his support?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I do believe very strongly in is the Donald Marshall Report and the recommendations that were put forward. The IBM Program is just one aspect and cannot be taken in isolation. We have to include the Bar Society, the law firms and the government to make sure that nothing is left out, that nothing is left to chance.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: CONSTRUCTION COSTS - NEW ESTIMATE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. A year ago the minister announced a school building program with 93 projects that would cost $360 million. Over the intervening 12 months it is obvious that costs of the individual programs are higher than anticipated and that the program actually will cost considerably more. Will the minister give us his new estimate of the costs of the 93 programs and projects that he announced a year ago?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we would be happy to provide those details but many of those details are already public. The $90 million in renovations covers some 57 projects in the province and the 31 schools, the numbers have already been released in public documents, but I will be happy to make those available to the member opposite.

DR. HAMM: What the minister seems to be saying is that there are no new estimates, that he is still talking $360 million. He has one project in his own community, 8 per cent of the costs; another in the northern part of the province, 6 per cent of the cost.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. HAMM: Two projects, 14 per cent of the costs.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. HAMM: How can that minister stand there and say that $360 million is going to cover 93 projects?

[Page 4964]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite is asking a question about the costs of the Horton project. It will come in under budget at $26 million. All of these costs of the 31 schools have been projected out. In fact, since that meeting, in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, there are suggestions now from them that we could have more schools. But, again, I would be happy to supply the member opposite with the breakdown of those costs.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, this minister, by continuing to hide from reality, continuing to hide from the real costs, is going to end up disadvantaging Nova Scotians. Will this minister not agree that by underestimating the cost of building, that he is going to be taking costs and money out of the Nova Scotia classrooms for the next 20 years?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, that is a very important question and the answer is, absolutely not. While we are catching up with aging infrastructure, we are ensuring as well that we are investing on the operating side. Class sizes are dropping. There are fewer administrators today than there were two years ago. We have looked after the operating side of the budget and with an innovative building program we are going to look after aging infrastructure. We are committed to children. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

FIN. - TENDERING:

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY - CONTRACT COMPLIANCE

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday, your remarks defamed our law school, its students and the Black and aboriginal communities of this province, in an attempt to avoid taking responsibility. The federal government has a contract compliance scheme which requires firms that fall within a certain set of criteria to adhere to the government's employment equity policies. My question to the Premier is, when will he take responsibility and ensure that we have a contract compliance scheme that ensures cultural diversity in the tendering process?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have taken the initiative to put that process in place by getting the people together, by asking the Department of Justice to bring all parties together. It is absolutely vital that we move on this. Far too much time has passed. We cannot go on platitudes, we have to have action. This government is initiating the action.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, in the report of the Race Relations Committee of the Barristers' Society it recommended that the society and the Department of Justice work together to ensure contract compliance for Nova Scotia law firms. My question to the Premier is, what is the Department of Justice doing to follow through on this recommendation?

[Page 4965]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this is a very good question and I want to say to the honourable member that the Department of Justice is following through immediately on this process. We will have more detailed information in a couple of days but I want to assure you, as long as I am Premier, Mr. Speaker, this is not going to rest. We are going to make sure that there is fairness in the system.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Government promised to introduce a contract compliance policy in the Speech from the Throne of 1993. My question to the Premier is, if the feds can do it, why can't he?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the federal program. I was there when it was initiated and the fact of the matter, it is because I know there is a federal program, and I know there is more that we can do in Nova Scotia. That is the reason I initiated this whole dialogue. I am not going to be satisfied until we get to where we should be.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

FIN. - P3 SCHOOL (SYDNEY): VEN-REZ - UNSUCCESSFUL BID

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Finance, responsible for the Atlantic Procurement Agreement. After six months of frustration, cajoling and a lot of arm twisting, the developer of the P3 school in Sydney, the Sherwood-Parkdale School, finally agreed to let Shelburne school furniture manufacturer, Ven-Rez submit a bid, after six months. Ven-Rez' bid was $2.00 per unit cheaper than the successful bidder out of Temple, Texas, U.S.A. My question is, why did Ven-Rez, the only Atlantic Canada school furniture manufacturer have to wait six months to submit a bid, and why was that bid unsuccessful, when it was $2.00 cheaper per unit and offering a quality product?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the House yesterday, and I stand on the statements that I made yesterday, the process was legitimate. Everything met all the qualifications with regards to P3 tendering processes. I checked with senior staff yesterday, I checked with them again last night, and they said, in fact, that they have complied with the standards that are established. In regards to the comments the member had asked for . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: The process wasn't fair, Mr. Speaker. However, New Brunswick has a proviso built into its tendering agreement that the New Brunswick Government can give New Brunswick companies a right, if you will, to supply goods and services, provided they

[Page 4966]

meet a certain criteria. My question is, the New Brunswick Government supports New Brunswick companies, when will this government support Nova Scotia companies?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I believe that the member opposite, I would appreciate it if he would table it, because if he had read the whole story, the whole preamble to it, he would have understood it, because it says that only applies when it is outside the Internal Trade Agreement. It only applies when it is outside the Internal Trade Agreement. I would ask the member opposite if he would not be so selective with his reading.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the final question during this round is again to the Minister of Finance. Newfoundland guarantees that Newfoundland companies and Newfoundland content will be assured when taxpayer-funded projects are involved. My question is, when is this government going to do likewise?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we have an opportunity to work with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia. We have a very strong dialogue in developing procurement policies. Our people in Nova Scotia are saying, don't follow that track that you are talking about. They helped develop the policy of this province, and I will work with the industry to do that, because we are world competitive.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FIN. - CHST: REVENUES -DECREASE

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the honourable Minister of Finance. In his first quarterly statement, he was telling us that he hoped to hold his deficit at $82 million, if his revenues stayed steady. However, the Canada Department of Finance, at its website, tells us with respect to its transfers to the province that equalization will be up $2.5 million, but the Canada Health and Social Transfers will be down $18.6 million. My question is, is the Minister of Finance aware that his revenues are going to be down $16.1 million this year?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we haven't finalized any of the numbers out of Ottawa with regard to the overall transfer payments, but we understand all too well, and as I made it very clear in the House, the concern we have is not that the economy is not doing very well in Nova Scotia, it is, it is doing very well. The problem is what effect it is having because of British Columbia, the socialist Government of British Columbia, going down the tubes and the problems in Ontario.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Finance could help us understand whether he accepts or in any way disputes the federal Department of Finance's figures?

[Page 4967]

MR. DOWNE: I don't know the date on which he received that information, and I am not here to debate whether the federal government and their website are being accurate or inaccurate, generally I believe that they are accurate, but we would want to run our own numbers. That is why we have a Department of Finance, to review the numbers that they come forward with.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I understood the minister to say he accepts them as probably accurate and I have tabled them. Now the minister's plan, so far as we understand it, is to save $30 million from odds and ends of administrative expenses and to go for increased revenues. My question is, what is the minister going to do now that his revenue projections are in complete collapse around his ears?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I think what the member opposite should do is simply wait until I bring in the next quarter report which I will be doing later this month.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

FIN. - PROCUREMENT POLICY (ATL.):

COS./WORKERS (N.S.) - SUPPORT

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for the administration of the Atlantic Procurement Policy. The plumbing, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, goods and services contracts, installation, labour, et cetera, for the P3 schools in Hammonds Plains, Eastern Passage, Beechville, Lakeville, Timberlea and Boutilier's Point Elementary School have all gone to a New Brunswick company. My question is this, where all of this work has gone to the New Brunswick company, Key Ventures, when will the government take a stand and support a Nova Scotia company and workers?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we have taken a stand and that is why we work with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia. (Interruption) They obviously don't want to hear the answer to the question. We are working with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia developing policies and guidelines. I will continue to work with the private sector that is giving us direction as government in regard to how those tendering policies should be established in this province.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the ironwork for these schools has gone to a Prince Edward Island company. Again, I appeal to the minister to stand up for Nova Scotia companies and workers. When is he going to do it? When is he going to start doing something?

[Page 4968]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite wants to establish a fence, a wall around Nova Scotia only for Nova Scotians to stay in here, never to export, never to grow the economy, never to realize that Nova Scotia is world-class and is competing around the world, not only in Nova Scotia. He would want to stop that opportunity.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is, simply, is the Minister of Finance aware that not too long ago the unemployment rate for the sheet metal workers in Nova Scotia, workers that pay taxes in Nova Scotia, was at 85 per cent? Is he aware of that?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the bottom line here is that we have always worked to support Nova Scotia firms but if this member opposite is saying that what we should do, notwithstanding the fact that we have an Atlantic Canada Procurement Policy, a Nova Scotia Procurement Policy, is say to Nova Scotia, only Nova Scotian, no matter what the price or the cost . . .

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

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS: LATERALS (C.B.) - SIZE INADEQUATE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to direct a question to the Premier. In the closing submissions at the National Energy Board hearings, the federal government, through the ECBC; the Cape Breton Regional Municipality; the Strait- Highlands RDA; and the Counties of Richmond and Inverness all questioned the adequacy of the eight inch lateral to Cape Breton. Maritimes & Northeast, of course, and the Province of Nova Scotia defended the line. So my question to the Premier is, simply, why is it that your government has refused to listen to and support those who are going to be most affected by this project? Why haven't you listened to those Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we did not exactly defend the line. What we said was, based on the information of Maritimes & Northeast, there is a justification for only an eight inch line. We also said, and it is on the record, that we want to make sure that the National Energy Board takes into consideration industry and opportunities that will be coming and whether that would factor in enough to increase the size of the line.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have a copy of the record here as well. Certainly, the Premier's department issued a permit for that eight inch line before the hearings even began. He has spoken in the House in support of that eight inch line. My question to the Premier is, why did you and your government officials go into those hearings with a closed mind in support of that eight inch line, instead of being open to the arguments of others?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the concern of some people with the presentation that was made before the National Energy Board and the actual markets that would be available on Cape Breton Island, the concern is that there is only justification for a four inch line. That

[Page 4969]

is not nearly enough. The eight inch line is a possibility. If there is more industry, then that should be factored in and have a larger line.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that others have done their homework and have been questioning, but the Government of Nova Scotia is blindly following along, lemming-like with their allies.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. HOLM: My question to the Premier is simply this, why is it that your government has chosen to side with Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline against the interests of Nova Scotians and Nova Scotian municipalities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have sided with Nova Scotians. We put our position before the National Energy Board. We asked them to take into consideration new industry that will be coming. The National Energy Board will make a decision. These are not neophytes, these are people who can make a competent decision.

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

HFX., PORT OF - AUTHORITY: APPTS. - PLAN (PREMIER)

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the federal government has criticized local Port of Halifax stakeholders who want substantive input into the selection of the Halifax Port Authority. I would like to table a letter from Minister Collenette to Mr. Mills and others here in the city. This port is at a critical juncture which requires strong leadership, not interference of Ottawa's patronage-stained appointments. The Premier, too, has written Ottawa with concerns about this process. My question for the Premier, what further steps do you plan, now that Ottawa has ignored you and the port stakeholders and is forging ahead with its appointments?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to Minister Collenette on this question. I firmly believe that Ottawa is giving due consideration to this very important board. We will continue to work with them. We will be making our suggestions to them and we expect to have a good Halifax Port Authority.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier highlights the problem. The question is, after harshly criticizing the longshoremen, the Halifax shippers and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, does the Premier support Mr. Collenette or does he support the local stakeholders?

[Page 4970]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we support the Province of Nova Scotia which includes the local stakeholders. We want the best authority that we possibly can. This is a tremendously important resource, not only for Halifax and Dartmouth, but also for the whole Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: The Premier knows Ottawa is left with the final say on five appointments to the authority. Why is it that he is not acting to stop a selection process for the critical Halifax Port Authority from being made by people in Ottawa over the wishes of the local stakeholders?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is totally ridiculous. We have stated our position. The honourable member mentions the letter. Ottawa makes the final decisions. We will do what we can to do what is best for Nova Scotia, but the fact of the matter is, Ottawa makes the decisions. Talk to his NDP counterparts in Ottawa.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HEALTH - PHYSICIANS: NEW - LIST TABLE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Twenty-one days before the election, the Premier gave a speech, and I have a copy here. That is nine months ago. The Premier said that specifically the Liberal plan will mean 100 new doctors. Will the Premier today give us the list of the 100 new doctors that he was talking about so I can give that list to the people in Stellarton, and Richmond County, Springhill, Glace Bay and Yarmouth, so they will know who will be delivering health care in their communities . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: I would like to refer that to the Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Premier. Mr. Speaker, there has been a commitment of this government and we have been working very hard to stem the outflow of physicians out of this province. We have been much more successful than most other provinces right across this country. There has been a net gain of 40 physicians in the last year. Our goal is to have 100. That is the goal and we are working there. We have several programs that are unique to Nova Scotia, in spite of great odds.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, obviously, hope springs eternal in the breast of the Minister of Health and the Premier. At the same speech, the Premier said . . .

[Page 4971]

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You are on your first supplementary.

DR. HAMM: . . . we will be providing new MRI units, including a mobile MRI unit and DEXA units across the province.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

DR. HAMM: My question to the Premier is, where are those DEXA units, where are those MRI units, so we can tell Nova Scotians who are waiting to get those tests in the current facilities, where are those units?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that to the Minister of Health.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that there have been just recently additions. I am surprised the honourable member left out the CAT scan. His own area has a CAT scan and yet not far away in the next community, in Antigonish, we are putting in a second CAT scanner, one in Bridgewater and now one in Dartmouth. The densitometer will be going into the western unit in the Lunenburg County area and we are working with QE II and new technicians and new programs.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again I go to the Premier, in the same speech the Premier said the Liberal plan will significantly reduce waiting times . . .

MR. SPEAKER: This is your final supplementary. Question, please.

DR. HAMM: . . . and waiting lists across this province. Was the Premier, when he made that statement, talking about waiting times for mammograms which in one hospital is 13 months; another hospital is four months. Is that the list he was talking about?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when we provide needed equipment in this province, which we have been doing, then the waiting times will be reduced. We realize the waiting times are too long but that is something that we have worked on and will continue to work on.

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

DEVCO - COAL INDUSTRY (C.B.):

PHASE-OUT - TALKS [GOV'T. (CAN.-N.S.)]

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Reports, today, say the Premier and a couple of his ministers are going down the road to

[Page 4972]

Ottawa. His buddies cannot go to these meetings. I do not know if they are going to go for a skate on the Rideau Canal, or whatever, while they are there, but they are going to go down. He is supposed to talk to Ottawa about phasing out the coal industry. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: My question to the Premier is, will the Premier explain to this House the nature of those meetings and whether they will involve Ottawa trying to escape its responsibilities in Cape Breton? (Applause)

THE PREMIER: If the honourable member means are we going to talk about Devco, then the answer is yes.

MR. CORBETT: I am truly amazed at the flippant answer there. Mr. Speaker, there are members in my riding who will tell me that this guy and his federal counterparts have gutted that industry.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You are on your first supplementary. Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: They have gutted it.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. CORBETT: My question is, will the Premier tell Ottawa, his brothers in Ottawa, that closing down or privatizing Devco is not up for discussion?

THE PREMIER: Is the honourable member surprised I am going to be talking about Devco? I mean the fact of the matter is this is a very critical situation and the fact also, as the honourable member knows, that the federal government is the one that is going to make the final decision. We are going to do our best to represent the people of Nova Scotia but the federal government has to make the final decision.

MR. CORBETT: We know, Mr. Speaker, as well as the Premier knows, that there is a 20 per cent stake by this province. He knows that.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: Therefore, there is a 20 per cent responsibility. Yes, Mr. Speaker, my question is, as we know the Leader of the Third Party, as Leader of our Party, supports an all-Party Devco committee, why will the Premier not commit to an all-Party delegation so this province can have a united voice in Ottawa fighting for the survival of the Cape Breton coal industry? (Applause)

[Page 4973]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the honourable member that we appoint two members to the board of directors. We are 20 per cent owners but since its inception the federal government has put all the money in.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

FISH. - ST. MARYS BAY: LOBSTER FISHERY - ILLEGAL

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. My colleague, the member for Argyle, and I spent a great deal of time and energy this summer corresponding with his department and with his federal counterpart about the issue of illegal lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

MR. BALSER: Would the minister please explain to the fishermen of St. Marys Bay why, if not for that illegal activity, is the catch in the first week of the season down between 20 per cent and 25 per cent?

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question. As the honourable member knows, there has been a lot of illegal lobster activity in that area, harvesting that should not have been in place, and we are taking really proactive action to eliminate that problem now and in the future, and there are ongoing investigations in that regard.

MR. BALSER: The minister had ample warning. We spoke at length about this issue. What are you going to do to ensure that this problem is addressed?

MR. COLWELL: Well, as the honourable member may not be paying attention, we deputized 104 federal Fisheries officers; we set up an informant's line; we are working with Crimestoppers. We have already told the buyers and the processors in the industry, if they participate in this operation, their licenses will be cancelled and we are going to follow through on it.

MR. BALSER: I really don't think that answer is going to be much comfort to the people who are fishermen and fishers in St. Marys Bay. The question is, what are you going to do? (Interruptions) Yes, I am learning. Yes, indeed, I am learning. (Interruptions) You're welcome.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. BALSER: What are going to do? Will you guarantee today that in the spring of 1999, the illegal fishery issue will be resolved? Are you going to guarantee that?

[Page 4974]

MR. COLWELL: I would like to thank the honourable member for the question. I would like to do a quote here from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and perhaps the member should listen to this very carefully.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. COLWELL: It was said in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald by the honourable member for Argyle, said of poaching, ". . . illegal sales has wreaked havoc on the industry, with lobsters selling for less than $3 a pound . . . on the black market.". He also goes on to say that, "huge profits of $10,000 - $15,000 - $20,000 can be made each day" from selling poached lobsters and crustaceans. I would like to ask . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - SCHOOL CLOSURES (PICTOU CO.):

CHIGNECTO-CENTRAL REG. BD. - MEETINGS IN CAMERA

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. On October 21st, two days before the Chignecto-Central Regional Board was to vote on the closure of seven Pictou County high schools, the board held a secret meeting to discuss the choices that were on the table and these choices included new options never made known to the parents.

So I would like to ask the Minister of Education today, will the minister tell the House how he expects parents in Pictou County to put up with the Chignecto board's idea of debased, fraudulent consultation?

MR. SPEAKER: I think that is out of order. Did you use the word fraudulent?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes.

MS. O'CONNELL: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: But not against the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: I cannot rule because I cannot hear in this House. For the moment we will let the matter stand and I will review Hansard.

[Page 4975]

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: However, Mr. Speaker, we can respond that the words are unacceptable to describe duly elected bodies that govern the children of this province, duly elected officials in regional school boards, elected by their people to be accused of that word is unconscionable.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame. Shame.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that if the word was out of order, I did not know that and I apologize.

MR. SPEAKER: Accepted.

MS. O'CONNELL: Last night, the Chignecto Central Board had another private meeting, this time with the Deputy Minister of Education. So my question for the minister today is, can the minister explain what could possibly be so confidential about a public matter that the board is again reverting to backroom meetings and inviting his deputy along?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the answer can be found in the Education Act, which governs and spells out the responsibilities of school boards. If, in fact, there are meetings that deal with personnel, with salaries or with site selection, then those meetings can be held in camera, for obvious reasons, and that is exactly what happened last night.

MS. O'CONNELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, that's the first time I heard it was a site selection meeting. The minister knows that he has met with parents, over 2,000 signatures of protest have been tabled . . .

MR. SPEAKER: This is your final supplementary, question please.

MS. O'CONNELL: . .. and the majority of municipal officials in Pictou County are publicly . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please!

MS. O'CONNELL: . . . opposed to the closure. Will the minister stop this now?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we talked about a Party that commits to devolving authority to local officials, and then the moment there is an ounce of controversy they want to bring that back and have government take over again. You can't have it both ways.

I would commend the editorial in the Chronicle-Herald to the member opposite. We are trying to achieve a balance between what is best for children in a variety of communities. It is not always easy to arrive at consensus, but boards are trying to do just that.

[Page 4976]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

FISH. - GROUNDFISH: DUMPING - REDUCE

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, yesterday there was a report tabled, Conservation Lost at Sea, with regard to dumping and high-grading of groundfish. As we know, groundfish fishery works under an ITQ program which limits the amounts of different species that you can catch. Is the minister prepared to indicate today whether or not the province is taking a lead in trying to ensure the reduction of dumping and high-grading at sea?

HON. KEITH COLWELL: It is a very important question that the member has raised. We are taking a very proactive part in that regard. It is a very difficult situation, one very costly to the preservation of the cod stocks, in particular.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, we are all aware that it is a very serious problem. The problem is, I am asking the minister and I am asking this province whether or not we are prepared to take the lead and to bring about some actions to bring things to a point whereby the elimination of dumping and high-grading will take place. I am asking him what he will do.

MR. COLWELL: Again I will remind the member that this is totally a federal issue. It is an issue that we have been dealing with. We have been dealing with the federal government to try to get it addressed. It is a fishing activity at sea, and it is clearly under their jurisdiction. We have been working with the Ecology Action Centre and other people to bring attention to this.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, when I was elected an MLA, I said I would speak on federal issues. That minister should be prepared to do so today. I don't care whose issue it is.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You are on your final supplementary.

MR. LEBLANC: I ask the Premier, is he prepared to put the resources, more than is being put now into the Fisheries Department, whereby we have the resources to deal with this problem today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Fisheries.

MR. COLWELL: Again I would like to finish my quotations here . .

MR. SPEAKER: No, you can't. You are reading a newspaper report and that . . .

MR. COLWELL: Yes, which I am going to table.

[Page 4977]

MR. SPEAKER: Table it, but you can't read it.

MR. COLWELL: I will ask a question to the honourable member, if he has information regarding lobsters and the illegal activity involving lobsters, considering he is in that business himself, I would like that information provided to my department so that we can take corrective action to get this thing stopped.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - PUBLIC HOUSING:

CONSULTANTS ENGAGEMENT - UPDATE

MS. ROSEMARY GODIN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. Last May, the minister announced that his department intended to engage consultants to assess the physical condition of its public housing portfolio in Nova Scotia. Could the minister please tell this House what the status of this latest consultant search is?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: I want to thank the member for raising that question. To the honourable member, there has been ongoing work especially in the 22,000 housing units that we have across this province. The fact is that presently the federal government and the province are looking very closely at the sole jurisdiction of the province to administer these units. We are in the process, and I certainly would be . . .

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, I guess, for the minister's information, I believe that Vaughan Engineering has that contract, and the final report for both phases should be available early next summer, according to a letter I have signed by the minister. In it, he says that the final . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, first, if I could, I beg your indulgence to table this letter, it is from the tenants of 26 Tillock Drive in Sydney . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question, please.

MS. GODIN: . . . from the Cape Breton Regional Authority about the rodent problem. Does the minister think these tenants at 26 Tillock Drive in Sydney can wait until next summer just to be told that they have a problem?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member brought that concern to my attention. Actually there is a letter that I signed off this morning, just to provide her with an update. That matter was resolved with the local housing authority some months ago, and we

[Page 4978]

will be providing the honourable member with an updated version on this situation that she is raising.

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is, when will this minister admit that the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs has a reputation of being slum landlords in Cape Breton?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I don't think that question is in order. The honourable member certainly knows that the staff in the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs right throughout this province are in the process of administering over 22,000 housing units for Nova Scotians and are doing a very good job.

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

HEALTH - LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES:

RESIDENTS - CHARGES RETROACTIVE

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. I am wondering is the minister aware that residents in long-term care facilities are being charged retroactive increases that amount to hundreds of dollars and go back to April 1st?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member has some specific information I could address that or check that out. I have met with the council of one community centre group and there were some changes in the private pay side. I was not aware that it was retroactive but if he has specific information I would be happy to respond.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Health. I would ask the minister if he believes that charging residents increases of almost $700, without notice or warning, is acceptable, and if not what is he prepared to do about it?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would need more information. The honourable member said increases of $700 a month in one shot? That is how the question read to me or that is what I heard so if he could be more specific.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, the retroactive increases were almost $700. The minister knows full well why this has happened and why they have received this huge bill. It is because his department has failed to adequately budget the homes in a reasonable time-frame. I would ask the minister if he is prepared to accept responsibility for the retroactive increases that have seniors so incensed?

[Page 4979]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have recently provided adequate funding to reach a three year agreement with the long-term care sector. That honourable member is speaking in terms of private pay. That is another issue and yes, I take that very seriously but there are other issues there. There may be a profit motive as well. If he tables the information then I will respond. I thank him for the question.

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

LBR. - CONSTRUCTION (C.B.):

OLDER WORKERS - PROPOSAL ACTION

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Labour. He will recall the Older Workers Committee of Cape Breton Island's Building, Trades and Construction Council made a proposal to the federal government, an alternative to the now defunct POWA program. In fact, we had a debate in this very House on October 22nd as you well know. At that time the minister agreed to include their proposal in coming to a labour force development strategy and I understand at that time it was coming forward shortly. Has the minister any good news for these older workers or has he pronounced their plan DOA, to quote his former federal colleague?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, no to the first part of the question and, no conclusion to the second part of the question.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary then is to the Minister of Economic Development. The older worker's proposal essentially allows new blood to be infused in the construction industry in Cape Breton. The thrust is that it will have economic benefits for the community. My question is, can the minister tell this House what efforts he has made on behalf of the older workers to the Minister of Labour to have their proposal given serious and quick consideration in developing a labour market strategy?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the labour market strategy in industrial Cape Breton as we are in all of Nova Scotia, particular in areas of Nova Scotia that have high unemployment and we are addressing those concerns.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to either the Minister of Labour or the Minister of Economic Development.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You have to address one minister.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Economic Development. Can either of these prominent Cape Bretoners tell this House and older workers when they intend to get off their cabooses and fight for this sound proposal for economic justice in Cape Breton for these older workers?

[Page 4980]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite said he was addressing it to either minister, so I will address it first by saying I will move it along to the Minister of Labour.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I suppose if you are impetuous, ill-informed and ill-advised, you would continue to ask the type of questions this member asks. The long and the short of it is our department has been working closely with the older workers of Cape Breton, they will certainly be in concert with the efforts that we have made to date, and we are very proud of that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

NAT. RES. - FORESTS: SOFTWOOD - HARVESTING EXCESSIVE

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Natural Resources. Mr. Minister, as you know, there is massive over-harvesting of softwood fibre in this province. In 1997, it is estimated that 4.3 million cubic metres of softwood were cut, and today there is closer to 7 million cubic metres of fibre being harvested. DNR statistics show that the annual allowable cut is only 3.75 million cubic metres. My question. We have massive over-cutting, why has it taken your department so long to do nothing?

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I think the figures that the honourable member is using are somewhat inaccurate. We are working very hard to get a database on what is happening, what has been harvested in Nova Scotia relative to spruce, hardwood and all other species.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, the forest strategy of this province is the quality and the volume of wood needed to satisfy future demand can't be achieved without intensive management in silviculture. In 1994, there was $12 million in silviculture. My question Mr. Speaker. Do you feel the current $3 million available under the stewardship agreements is adequate for silviculture in this province?

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, it may or may not be accurate, but apparently, it is all the money we have and we distribute it to the best of our ability.

MR. PARKER: It is not good enough, Mr. Minister. We have over-harvesting, we have low silviculture levels and no incentives for woodlot owners. My question. Mr. Minister, when is the department going to dedicate enough money to sustain the forests of this province?

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, when we have the money, we will spend it on forestry.

[Page 4981]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - ENVIRONMENTAL ILLNESS (CAMP HILL):

COMPENSATION PKG. - CHANGE

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. The minister is aware of those who were affected by the old Camp Hill Hospital, those who became environmentally ill. There was a package put together for those workers at that time. I would ask the minister, is he aware of the change in package by the QE II recently, for those workers?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, yes. There was a change in the administrative system where they found that an error had been made and it was not conforming to the usual way of dealing with income, particularly of other sources, for those who were receiving benefits. I have learned that there have been changes in that program.

MR. MOODY: I don't think the workers see it as an error. Obviously it was an agreement that they received at the beginning. I would ask the minister, does he agree with the change, of giving those people less money? Did he approve of the plan that the QE II is now using in compensating those victims?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have not approved of the plan directly, that is a plan that is administered by a facility that has a board of its own. We have been working, particularly with people who lost their benefits who moved out of province. Senior staff from our department intervened, and I am pleased to say that has been reinstated.

MR. MOODY: Thank you. I commend the minister for doing that. I would ask the minister, since he already has stated that his department people have been involved and they were originally, I would ask the minister if he would again get his people involved to make sure that those people are treated fairly by any policy change that occurs at the QE II regarding those victims.

DR. SMITH: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, the government and the taxpayers of Nova Scotia have put millions and millions of dollars into this program, as the honourable member would know, and we want to see done what is fair and just, and we will make sure of that. What information I have at this juncture is that it is conforming to the usual practice of long-term disability benefits but we will keep an eye on that and monitor that.

[Page 4982]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC.: SCHOOLS (PICTOU CO.) - CLOSURES

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. A year ago, four schools in Pictou County were slated for renovation in the Department of Education's plans. Now three are being closed and two more P3 schools are replacing them. My question for the minister is, why has the minister engaged in this ad hoc-ery of closing three schools slated for renovation? Is the renovation money all gone?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, no, the renovation money is not all gone and boards work with the province to establish priorities in their area that meet the best interests of the children served by that board.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, in the department's list last year there were 57 upgrades. Last week in this House, there were 60, even though three had been knocked off the list. My question is, why don't the numbers add up?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, it is all part of a commitment this province makes to seven boards. Prior to the renovation list being done, some boards were not sure of all the capital projects that would be approved in terms of new school construction. As they are continually doing, they readjust priorities to suit the best interests of the children in their districts.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, recently the Department of Education's director of finance and operations became the director of facilities, planning and operations and is referred to as the executive director of P3.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MS. O'CONNELL: How can this person impartially and fairly act in the best interests of education if his mandate is strictly P3 schools?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we have a Department of Finance in the Department of Education because there is over $1 billion expended by that department for young people and for training throughout this province. I will remind the members opposite that they introduced a bill in this House which was their plan for construction. Why hasn't that bill been called?

[Page 4983]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HEALTH - SUTHERLAND-HARRIS HOSP.:

EMERGENCY DEPT. - CLOSURE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. There is a growing concern in the Town of Pictou that the Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital Emergency Department is going to close. Would the minister indicate if he has had any discussions with the regional health board as to whether or not that is a possibility?

HON. JAMES SMITH: I thank the honourable member for the question. That would be a concern in the area if that was to be so. I have not had that discussion. I have not been advised of that by staff, but I certainly can make enquiries on that. I would ask that member's assistance in doing what we can to keep it open.

DR. HAMM: I had trouble hearing. Did the minister say he was going to keep it open? By way of supplementary - I cannot get the minister's attention - will the minister make a commitment that he will not allow the emergency department at Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital to close until there has been a proper consultation by the regional board, with hospital authorities, hospital staff and residents of the Town of Pictou?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think that is a fair request under the circumstances. That hospital was a very active hospital. It is like 52 of the hospitals in Saskatchewan that have changed their role. That was the type of change that they made in Saskatchewan and that hospital has gone into a centre that is providing a useful service. I will make a commitment that I will be sure that a proper consultation process takes place, if the status of that facility changes.

DR. HAMM: I do thank the minister for his commitment in answer to my question. By way of final supplementary, the minister must be aware of the concern of people in the northern regions about the lack of accessibility to the regional health boards. Will the minister have conversations with the regional health board to ensure that no more decisions are made that result in monumental changes in health care delivery in that area, before there is reasonable consultation with hospital staff and the public?

[2:00 p.m.]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member has said large changes and that sort of thing. I would hope that with the Task Force on Regionalization in place and the process that is already there of consultation, that there would not be major changes in those particular regions. But I meet on a regular basis with them and will meet with them early in January.

[Page 4984]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

ROADS IMPROVEMENT - PRIORITY LIST

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works on a regular theme we have talked on many times. On November 12th in this House the Minister of Transportation stood and stated that when a road, ". . . reaches a priority list and it passes on the priority list, then that road will be paved or repaved.". My question to the minister is, is every road in Nova Scotia on your department's priority list?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have previously stated we have a priority list that includes several of the roads in Nova Scotia and each different district, the Western District, for example; their coordinator, their supervisor, they bring the roads in and they are placed on the list.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, let's talk about this mythical list. From my understanding, area managers submit their priorities to district managers. These lists are used to compose the final list to the minister. Is every road assessed by area mangers placed on their list to district managers?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, the honourable member seems to be trying to complicate this issue. I have stated there is a list that is prioritized and I went over all the steps on how that list is brought in. We use the ARAN machine to see how rough the highway is, we also see when it was last paved and that list is comprised from all those statistics.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, to the minister, this mythical list we have heard so much about, let's admit it . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ESTABROOKS: . . . and will the minister now admit that this department's process does not work for all Nova Scotians?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the honourable member that yes, it does work for all of Nova Scotia and we treat the whole province of Nova Scotia, from one end of the province to the other, on an equal basis and that list does work. The NDP cannot have it both ways.

[Page 4985]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

HEALTH - PHYSICIANS: RECRUITMENT (TRURO) - STATUS

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Since this House has begun to sit, the Minister of Health has made great claims that this department has made great improvements in bringing doctors to Nova Scotia. I would like him to relate to the House how he has improved the shortage of doctors or made improvements or increased the number of doctors in my constituency, that of Truro-Bible Hill?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I don't have a list for that particular area but we have had a net gain of 40 physicians over the last year in Nova Scotia. That means that more physicians have moved in than 40, that is just the net. The commitment we have made is to have 100 new physicians over the next five years and we are well on the way to that.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Health. I am pleased to hear about his commitments over five years but what I want to know from the minister today is, what should I tell the pregnant women who do not have a family doctor who phone my office and say, please, help me get a family doctor so I can have help through my pregnancy?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question and a very important issue in rural communities, where more and more physicians are giving up doing obstetrics. That is the real concern and it is very difficult, Mr. Speaker, to address some of those issues because those are choices of physicians that we have very little control over, but we are providing a team. Primary care is a priority of this government and we have programs . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill, your final supplementary.

MR. MUIR: Again to the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker. On November 19th the minister said that a seven month waiting period for a mammogram was ridiculous.

MR. SPEAKER: You are on your final supplementary.

MR. MUIR: What steps has he taken to alleviate that situation in the Colchester Regional Hospital?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we are having more mobile units. Some of the mammograms on the waiting list you hear are for diagnostic procedures, but as far as the other screening tests go, it is working very well. We are well under the national average . . .

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

[Page 4986]

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Third Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 86.

Bill No. 86 - Real Estate Appraisers Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I so move third reading of Bill No. 86.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable member it will be to close the debate.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all the Parties who have supported this bill and I move third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 86. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

[Page 4987]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call bill No. 47.

Bill No. 47 - Municipal Government Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I so move third reading of Bill No. 47, the Municipal Government Act.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as our Party's Critic for Municipal Affairs, I want to stand to indicate our support for this bill going forward and to make a few comments on it. I know I have thanked the minister's staff, for example, during the committee stage but none of that appears on the record in a written form. So one of the things that I would like to do is to publicly, in a formal kind of way - where it is actually going to be recorded - to extend my appreciation to the minister's staff for all of their assistance in the several briefings that they have held with us to go over the legislation so that we were clear in our understanding of all the different implications in the Act.

I also would like to thank them very much for their assistance in going over the amendments that we were proposing to this legislation. I believe that they did so in a very professional way and a couple of the things that I had been going to suggest - based on the good advice, and it was good advice that they gave, a couple of things - did not go forward, but they also made it, I believe, much easier for us by evaluating those amendments to persuade the government that it might be wise to accept a number of others that were, in fact, approved. I think that they deserve the appreciation of all for the very professional and very capable way in which they dealt with the legislation.

I certainly also would like to congratulate and thank the municipalities and, particularly, the UNSM for the leadership role that they have provided in this legislation. Let's face it, although this is a provincial Act, it is really for the municipalities and they are the ones who have been a major driving force in trying to get this the legislation dealing with municipalities updated and brought into the current century, Mr. Speaker, as we are moving forward into the next because it was, indeed, really a patchwork of countless amendments as it had existed previously.

[Page 4988]

Also, the legislation that is before us is a consolidation of many Acts; by consolidating a lot of the Acts into this one municipal bill, it is going to make it easier, in many regards, for people to find their way through it. That having been said, there certainly are some things that one would have liked to have had changed in the legislation and there are some things that in future amendments I would like to see go further.

I was pleased, for example, in this legislation to see that there are now going to be major steps forward with regard to giving, particularly in the Halifax Regional Municipality, the ability to have by-law-making powers to address, really, what is a health issue, and that is the use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. I know I speak for all members of our caucus, but I hope also for members of all sides of this House, when I say that we are extremely grateful to those presenters who appeared before the Law Amendments Committee to make their views heard on this issue and who have been, on a regular basis, in attendance at this House to make sure that we do not forget the issue. I know that three of the women who have been leading that charge are with us again this afternoon to see the bill going forward.

While we certainly are pleased that the powers being provided to the Halifax Regional Municipality, are really, in effect, the powers the Halifax Regional Municipality had asked for last spring in Bill No. 1, which is still on the order paper; those issues dealing with the pesticide matters, and insecticides and herbicides, are really now being addressed in this legislation. We would like to have seen those by-law-making powers extended to all municipalities - and, quite possibly, there will be amendments coming forward at later dates - where those powers will be expanded to all.

Mr. Speaker, I was also pleased to see that we were able to get amendments through dealing with in camera sessions. The member for Queens proposed that the wording actually be changed to say - it had said closed session before - in camera which, of course, is well understood and, certainly, we supported him in that amendment. The Third Party supported us, as well, in our suggestion that the rules for in camera committee meetings should be the same as those for a council-at-large.

One of the issues that we heard on another matter, the whole issue of in camera sessions in another government forum, on the floor during Question Period today, municipalities - some of them, not all of them - have also occasionally been accused of being a little bit more secretive than they need to be by having too many in camera meetings. Well, this legislation very clearly lays out when they may, on reasonable grounds, hold in camera sessions. It also now states that committees of council - and of course a whole council can be a committee - can only meet in accordance with those same provisos in camera and that, hopefully, will make government far more open and far more accountable if people know what is going on and how the decisions are being made; that can only lead to much better government.

[Page 4989]

I was also pleased to see that really, in effect, the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation has been incorporated into the municipalities so that those important provisions will now apply to municipalities. I would like to see that and other legislation moving forward so that the same will apply to school boards and other such agencies, but that is for a future day because we couldn't address that in this legislation. I am pleased to see that that is now going to apply to municipalities.

We are also pleased that the government agreed to our amendment where now, in effect, this bill states that any future changes to that provincial legislation will also apply to the municipalities. So, if we do finally move on the report, for example - when I say we, I mean the Government of Nova Scotia - move on the recommendations that have been sitting on the government shelves gathering dust now for the past couple of years, which are recommending ways that we can improve the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act here in the province. When those changes are made to the provincial Act, they will also then apply to the municipal Act as well, and I think that is a positive step forward, although we didn't get the Act itself, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act amended, that is a future battle, because the government hasn't agreed to call legislation that is on the order paper that would in fact have done that, but when those provisions are actually changed, we know now, at least, that they will apply to the municipalities. That is good.

[2:15 p.m.]

I am also pleased to see that it is doubtful, it is not impossible, but it is doubtful that the government can impose the kinds of poor decisions on municipalities in the future that they did when this Liberal Government imposed the Tory amalgamation scheme on Halifax Regional Municipality and on the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, because the process for future county amalgamations has been changed. Now an amalgamation can only be made if all municipalities request it. They will not be asking the province to conduct this study, but the government has accepted our recommendation that the request will be made to the Utility and Review Board, and that that now independent review board would be the body that would, if requested by all municipalities, be the one that would be doing this study.

Mr. Speaker, that is good, because they are not being guided by the politics of the government in power and the political agenda of the government in power. Certainly, when we take a look at the Halifax Regional Municipality, as a survey that recently came out in the press showed, the majority of people are still not too happy with what went on there, and they recognize that the debt and the deficit in this municipality is continuing to grow, in significant part because of the amalgamation costs that were imposed upon it through the process imposed by this Liberal Government. That process will be different.

[Page 4990]

Another very significant change that the government has agreed to accept in this one, and oh, if they had only been willing to follow this good advice back a number of years ago, then the citizens in these municipalities and also in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality would have actually had a democratic say. Now in the legislation, if the board believes that there is an economic and a social benefit to result from an amalgamation, they now would be required to conduct a plebiscite amongst those who are living in those areas.

In other words, it is democratizing the process. It is going to give those who live in that county, those municipalities proposed for amalgamation, it is going to give them a direct say, a direct input over their future form of government they have. I say to the minister, I am pleased that he and his department were willing to accept those, and only wish that that advice that they are willing to accept now had been accepted by colleagues from a previous time when they were doing the other amalgamations.

The other thing in that same area, where the amendments have been made, of course, is that now the municipalities themselves will be the ones who will be deciding and directly approving who would be the coordinator, who would be the one overseeing the amalgamation process, if the citizens decide that the amalgamation should go forward in the plebiscite that would be held.

I think that that is a major step forward, and quite honestly, it is really in keeping with the kind of policy that we had argued for as an Opposition Party back in the election campaign of 1993. We are pleased to see that those kinds of recommendations are now being adopted by the government that is still in power. There are a lot of other things in the Act that one could talk about. The legislation, I believe, is a step forward. It undoubtedly will, over the next number of years, be receiving amendments, maybe there could even be a system devised that will be putting spending limits on those who are seeking elected office in campaigns. I don't know exactly what the level should be and it would be a complicated formula to work out, complicated because municipalities have different sizes and different numbers of voters in different districts.

Some can be almost as large as provincial politicians' areas in terms of numbers of voters; others are very small. So you have to devise a scheme that can be fair for all. It is a matter that I believe, or at least I hope, the provincial government is addressing with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. It is not something that at this stage I am prepared to say what a formula should or should not be because, quite frankly, I do not know what would be the fair formula. It is a matter, I think, for some day in the future - hopefully the not-too-distant future - to be addressed with the union in trying to come up with something that would be fair for people right across the province, regardless of where they may be seeking office.

[Page 4991]

There are going to be, as I say, Mr. Speaker, undoubtedly, despite the best efforts of all, some imperfections in this legislation, and those imperfections are going to be in time identified. I know a lot of changes were made. There are still going to be some imperfections, but, hopefully, minor ones that I am sure we will be addressing. Of course, as situations change, then so too do some needs. There will be, from time to time, need for amendments to the legislation.

I believe it is a big step forward, especially in the closing point that I will comment on with regard to the bill, it is finally having the provincial government recognize that municipalities are, indeed, a very mature and responsible form of government. Under the old regime, under the current regime, as it still is, municipalities, if they are adopting by-laws, which are their laws for the municipality, have to receive the approval of the minister and the minister's department. This is going to eliminate that need for almost all of those by-laws, unless there are going to be provisions like guarantees provided by the province in the way of loan guarantees and that kind of thing.

I think that those provisions in there are, in fact, reasonable. If somebody wants to borrow money and you are guaranteeing it, then it is only reasonable and expected that you say yes to that. However, I think that in those areas where municipalities do have the authority, they do have the responsibility, then they should be able and they should be respected by being allowed to make their own by-laws without always having to run to the so-called parent government for approval. I believe that is a very positive advancement in this legislation and one which is long overdue.

So with those brief comments, Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate to the minister that I certainly will be voting in support of this legislation on third reading and I believe it is a long-overdue step forward that has resulted from a lot of hard work from a lot of people, and certainly an awful lot of collaboration by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, firefighters and all kinds of others who came together to try to address the issues that were outstanding, and to ensure that the legislation going forward is as good as it can be. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the honourable member for Queens, I have an introduction.

The honourable member for Preston.

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like the House to welcome a member from the constituency of Preston, Jerry Taylor, who is in the west gallery. Maybe you could give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 4992]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, we are almost at the end of a very long journey, with respect to this legislation. It is a journey that began, in fact, a number of years ago. The result that we all hope we will see today, which is unanimous passage of this bill, is the consequence of long, hard work by the 55 municipal units across Nova Scotia and not only working among themselves, but with the Nova Scotia Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs in order to create the very significant, far-reaching legislation that, as amended, is before the House this afternoon in third reading.

I know that I speak on behalf of all members of the House, not only our own caucus, when I congratulate the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities for the prodigious effort that it has put into this legislation. I am also confident that I speak on behalf of all members when I say that the very conciliatory attitude of the minister with respect to this bill and the very high and constant quality of professionalism demonstrated by his staff, as they worked not only with government members but with Opposition members, has made it possible for us to not only ensure the passage of this bill, but to make reasonable amendments which we all believe the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities would consider to be measures which will strengthen this legislation.

One of the principal focal points of this legislation is to ensure that the municipal level of government is recognized to a much higher degree than it has been before. As a consequence of the passage of this bill, I think it is safe to say that no longer will the municipal units across Nova Scotia be looked upon simply as creatures of the province but, in fact, in a very real way they are recognized, as a consequence of this legislation, as an order of government in its own right. I think that this is probably a modest but, nonetheless, important first step towards the time when a municipal charter will be able to be made available to the municipal units of Nova Scotia and that, indeed, if we are first off the mark, would cause us to be in the forefront of that kind of legislative change and reform right across not only this country but, indeed, all of North America.

The bill also speaks to the absolute essential aspect of openness in government. It lays out very strict limitations with respect to what kinds of matters can be dealt with outside the public purview; that is, in closed session. We all welcome that change. We all look forward to seeing how the municipal units respond to that change and I am sure that every member of this House looks forward to seeing each of these municipal units grab onto this legislation and ensure absolutely that both the spirit and the letter of this new law are adhered to.

That is why, as my good friend the member for Sackville-Cobequid mentioned a few moments ago, we introduced an amendment which moved away from the wording of councils meeting in private to councils meeting in closed session, to ensure that when business is dealt with out of the public purview, it is dealt in a properly constituted forum which has a formal

[Page 4993]

process and where appropriate records are kept of decisions taken. I thank the government and my colleagues in the NDP for supporting us in that amendment.

Another area which is new and which has been long sought after by our caucus, and I thank the union and the government for assuring this was in the legislation, is in the provision that disclosure of political contributions will be required of candidates for municipal elections. This is the first of what I think will eventually be seen to be two necessary steps. A number of the presenters who came to the Law Amendments Committee said that the sister step to disclosure is the provision of tax receipts to those persons who are municipal candidates. I anticipate that as we learn to live with this legislation, that at some future date we will see an amendment of that nature which will, in fact, reflect what has taken place in both the provincial and federal orders of government some time ago.

[2:30 p.m.]

One of the amendments that was carried in this bill and came as a consequence of very reasoned argument put forward by my colleague, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, was the assurance that the Halifax Regional Municipality would be required by law to set three rates within the regional municipality, an urban rate, a suburban rate and a rural rate with respect to taxation. That is absolutely essential, particularly in a municipality such as HRM which is so absolutely diverse between town and city. We welcome that amendment and again I know I can say on behalf of my friend and colleague, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, that we very much appreciate the support given to that amendment by both of the other Parties in the Law Amendments Committee.

We also are very pleased with the steps that were taken with respect to future amalgamations. We all know that there were errors made with respect to the amalgamations in Cape Breton and in HRM. Some of us, I think, probably most if not all of us sitting on this side of the House would say that those errors were substantial. Our friends on the government side of the House, I am sure, may be of a slightly more moderate view. But that said, we now have a situation where we will have plebiscites in place. We have a situation where municipal units who are seeking to give serious consideration to amalgamation, once they have given their consent to look towards amalgamation, will not be forced into an amalgamation which in the final analysis, they believe is not in their best interests. We think that is a very important step forward.

Our caucus is on record, as a consequence of having tabled in this House a bill, which in the vernacular is often referred to as a de-amalgamation bill with respect particularly to HRM, while we have not for a moment lost our verve for seeing such legislation adopted we chose not to use this bill as a vehicle for doing that. This bill has been worked on too long and too hard by too many groups to allow it to fail as a consequence of partisan debate in this place. That is another fight that we will carry forward at another time.

[Page 4994]

I must say too, particularly as a former Minister of the Environment, I enjoyed listening to the presentations that were made by persons who had very specific views with respect to the provision of pesticide by-laws and whether or not that authority should be extended to municipal units, most particularly, the argument that that power should be extended to the Halifax Regional Municipality. Again, we saw as a consequence of three Parties working together collegially, that we were able to come to a reasonable amendment which, while it does not satisfy everyone, certainly, I think is satisfactory and meets the reasonable demand of the reasonable public.

Again, as my friend, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, mentioned a few moments ago, we have friends in the gallery who have become virtually fixtures here during the course of this debate. They are proof positive that this bill is, as has been said in the movie, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get until you bite into one. I think in this case we have found out that the interior was very sweet indeed.

I think that this bill is going to carry us a very long way toward creating a new regime of the provision of municipal government in Nova Scotia over the next 100 years, as the regime we are leaving has provided us for the most part over the past 100 years. There are changes here which affect not only municipal government but also affect school board governance. Of course, as a consequence of us moving to four year terms for municipal councils, we also are moving lock step toward four year terms for school boards as well. This bill is very wide-ranging. It impacts not only municipal units, it impacts the school board governance in the province as well.

Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that as a consequence of the very hard work of all caucuses and those who came forward at the Law Amendments Committee, and the men and the women who provide good solid municipal government to this province, that this bill will receive the unanimous consent when, in a moment, I know the minister will be rising to close the debate for third reading. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a few words on third reading, to put some thoughts on the record. My counterpart from Sackville-Cobequid and the member for Queens have said a lot about the general provisions of the bill, and I don't necessarily want to talk too long on those. There are a few that do directly impact on my riding of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, and I would like the opportunity to put on the record some of the changes that have been implemented that I think will affect my constituents.

Much like my friend from Sackville-Cobequid, I want to start first by giving congratulations to the staff of the Department of Municipal Affairs. I know the minister will speak at more length on that, but having been in the situation where they were, but not for

[Page 4995]

legislation as voluminous or as momentous as this, I do have an appreciation as to the difficult work involved in getting a bill to first reading and having to deal with all the submissions at the Law Amendments Committee and having to deal with the amendments and, quite frankly, having to deal with politicians who probably don't really know what they are talking about. It is a difficult job, and it has probably been a very long month or month and one-half since the bill was introduced. I would like to say congratulations and a thank you for their hard work.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to give congratulations and a thank you to all the people who made presentations at the Law Amendments Committee; there were many. I think the final number was 90 or 100, something like that, and all of them were very eloquent and very powerful in their words. Obviously, I think the ones who stood out the most were those dealing with the issues of pesticides and the issue of providing the municipalities with the power to actually fully regulate pesticides to the best of their ability. I will talk a bit about that in a second.

I want to mention a couple of specific points in the legislation. When the bill came in at first reading and through second reading, it originally stated that any municipality may, discretionary may, create a three-tier tax rate, one urban, one rural and one suburban. That is an issue that I think was hotly contested amongst many of the politicians in this room. I think it is a testament to cooperation on all Parties but, on the part of my Party, I would like to recognize the member for Timberlea-Prospect and myself and some of the others who have ridings that take in two or three of those areas.

In my case, I have an urban tax rate in the Woodside area, I have suburban in Eastern Passage and Cole Harbour, and I have a rural rate in Cow Bay, my home. I think it is very important that we entrench within Halifax Regional Municipality, as the bill was amended, the fact that we will recognize various rates of taxation depending on the services that are provided. It is a crucial matter. It is a matter that I think recognizes that some people do get more services and, therefore, the tax rate should reflect that. I am happy to see that those in the rural areas and suburban areas will have reflected in their tax rates, enshrined through this Act, the ability to have tax rates reflective of their services provided. I think that is important.

I want to talk a bit about pesticides. As we know, there has been a lot of discussion on this issue and the other members who have spoken before me have discussed it. But I want to talk a bit about the personal side of this. We had many people come before the Law Amendments Committee talking about their stories. Some of them were gut-wrenching. I recall particularly one woman - I don't remember her name - she was from the Halifax Fairview riding, who came forward with pictures of her daughter at a very young age with a rash all over her body, because the woman had been exposed while pregnant to some form of pesticide or insecticide, I don't remember which one it was.

[Page 4996]

I recall that I was very choked up by the fact that this woman would come forward with a very personal story, which isn't easy to do, to put something like that on the record in a room full of people. To do that and to do it in a way that sent a clear message to us as to the health effects of pesticides and insecticides, I think is a testament to all those people who testified before the Law Amendments Committee and those who organized their testimony. I think they should be thanked for the work that they did.

I also think, on a more political note, and I think this is something that I hope every member of this House will recognize, this is not just a small amendment that we made to the Municipal Act that now allows the Halifax Regional Municipality to fully regulate pesticide use, including the possibility of prohibition in certain circumstances. This is, I think, an example of the changing politics in Nova Scotia and in this country, maybe in the western world. We had here, at the Law Amendments Committee, lobbyists, highly paid lobbyists from the Pesticide Management Control Association of Canada or some name like that, come forward and basically tell us, much like - well, I will speak to that in a second - tell us pesticides are completely healthy. It reminded me of the tobacco companies, not too long ago, who were completely unwilling to recognize that tobacco caused cancer.

The pesticide companies were willing, in a state of denial, to say that these things are completely healthy and we don't think we should have any changes to this bill. Prohibition should not be considered. On the other side, we had individuals, not organized in any great sense, but individuals, time after time, who came forward with their clear stories as to the effects of pesticides on them. What we saw were lobbyists losing to individual citizens. That is a change, I think, Mr. Speaker, from the way things have been done in the past, and I think it is indicative of how politics in this province will be changed forever, I hope. Individual citizens knowing that they in strong numbers can come forward and can have the ability to impact on legislation, even when lobbyists are able to have the door open to them, unfortunately, in cases when other individuals may not.

In particular, I will say that Maureen Reynolds, who spent many months in this Chamber, outside, talking to all of us - I remember seeing her at the Lieutenant Governor's party - she was there, talking to us as well. It is a testament to her and it is a testament to the others who worked so hard at ensuring that there will be change in Bill No. 47 and it started at Bill No. 1 and it took pressure from her to ensure that it was introduced in Bill No. 47. It took further pressure through the Law Amendments Committee to ensure that there would be the ability for HRM to prohibit pesticides. That is a testament to her and to the people of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

I should say, though, unfortunately we did not go a little further and deal with pesticides and allow every municipality in this province to have the same rights. I say this and I say this for the record, that someday in the not too distant future, someone outside HRM is going to challenge that legislation and say that they do not have the same rights and protections as people in the Halifax Regional Municipality and I do not think there is a court that will

[Page 4997]

recognize that that law is satisfactory. Under the Charter of Rights, I think you will see that legislation will probably somehow be affected in the courts. Unfortunately, that is the way it is going to have to go now because the amendments that we brought forward to try to standardize the process throughout this province were rejected by the other two Parties.

I want to talk a bit about the plebiscite and the Utility and Review Board study. We really made, again, a substantive change here, a change that will result in the people of Nova Scotia having a say over the back-room politics. We now will ensure that there will be no more regional municipalities created unless there is a plebiscite. That was something brought forward by our caucus and I think it is something we can stand very proud and say we have made an effort to ensure that what will happen is that the people of an area will have the opportunity to have their vote, have their say, before they will be forced to amalgamate. We have seen in Halifax Regional Municipality and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the drastic impacts that can occur from amalgamation. I think it is vital that we ensure that people walk into amalgamation under the belief that it is something that they want to do. That will be done through a vote. A vote is the battle that ensures that if you lose or if you win, you know that you have had a good fight and you can move forward. Right now, that is not how it is and we are glad to see that when this bill passes on third reading, I hope with unanimous consent, we will have a situation where people will be able to move forward and feel comfortable that no new regional municipalities will be created without them having a say.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about something again that illustrates to me how things can be affected by individuals. Not too long ago, probably about a month and a half ago, just before the House opened, there was a big rainstorm and I had constituents in my riding call me because a pumping station for the sewage in part of my riding had backed up, had failed somehow, and had resulted in sewage back-up into numerous houses. I think it was five, 10, 12 houses. These people ended up having to pay to get the clean-up - obviously some had insurance - but now their insurance rates are higher. This is the second time it happened in three years. What we have is a situation where the municipality clearly had a problem with its pumping station but was not seen to be addressing the core problem to ensure that these people did not have to, on a regular basis, deal with sewage back-up, which I think everyone would agree is a fairly dreadful thought that we would have to deal with.

[2:45 p.m.]

Then I looked at the legislation as introduced, Bill No. 47 and in particular it talked about and even directly dealt with sewage back-up into private premises. To my reading of it, it gave too much leeway to municipalities; it allowed them to say that they would be absolved of any liability except in very specific circumstances. I read that and I thought, well here are people who I have met in my constituency who are directly being impacted by a municipality that wasn't willing to recognize negligence on its part, potentially negligence. This legislation would further protect the municipality and I said, that is not right. If the municipality is going to have problems with sewage and it is going to have development,

[Page 4998]

particularly in areas like mine where development is occurring on the outskirts of the city, if there is going to be development then HRM must recognize that it has to take responsibility when it isn't willing to upgrade its infrastructure along with that development. In this case that is what has happened.

Through some discussion, through our caucus discussing it and through moving it forward, we were able to get an amendment to that section with regard to the liability of municipalities that does allow for a little more leeway with regard to individual citizens again having the opportunity to ensure that the municipalities, when they make mistakes and it results in their houses being backed up with horrible sewage, we will have an opportunity to actually be reimbursed by the municipality. The municipality won't ignore them and say, sorry, we have no liability for that so I am glad to see that again, through cooperation of the other Parties that went through and is in this bill and hopefully, that will address some of the issues that constituents of mine specifically had.

Again, it is an example of an opportunity where individuals have a very specific concern, that concern is brought to their provincial elected official and it is brought forward to this House. Maybe this is a testament to how minority governments can work, that we were able to discuss it, work through it and make changes that were effective for them and I am glad to see that. I hope that in the future the municipalities understand what their responsibility is with regard to individual citizens. I think the pesticide issue, and on a very personal note with regard to my riding, the sewage back-up issue, are ones that clearly will set examples, I hope, for the future as to people being empowered to actually go out and effect change and not just sit back and allow others to define the rules for them.

Mr. Speaker, on those words I will say that I will be voting in favour of Bill No. 47. I hope that others in this House will also do the same and that we will be able to move forward with good legislation - it could be better, but good legislation - that will ensure that people in his province again will have a say in how things are done and will be able to allow not only rights for municipalities but responsibilities for municipalities to their citizens and that is also key in this legislation. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak on Bill No. 47, the municipal bill, however, I will not be taking the length of time that my colleague has taken simply because I have had one hour at least to speak in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills. So I certainly will be brief in my comments.

I just simply want to make the comment that I want to thank all of those people in the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the executive committee who played an active role in bringing Bill No. 47 together. Although I believe there has not been the kind of democratic process that ought to be involved in such an extensive bill of 249 pages long and that

[Page 4999]

participatory democracy was somewhat lost in the overall picture and in fact, we did extend the terms of office for those elected municipal officials and we are in a sense making them career politicians, I do know the minister will be watching or keeping a close eye on that.

I want to particularly make special note of the individuals who brought forward the pesticide issue and their concerns with respect to the dispensing of pesticides on lawns, in gardens and so on in this municipality. It is not the first time that I have had the opportunity to meet with these individuals and the environmental interests that they have demonstrated within this regional municipality are second to none. I have had the opportunity to work with many of the faces who sat here in this public gallery from time to time watching this Legislative Assembly and I want to say once again that I have had the opportunity of them coming forward and looking at the environmental issues within the metropolitan area.

Particularly I want to hearken back to when incineration was going to be located within the municipality of Dartmouth. Some of those very same faces are the individuals who have worked so diligently on behalf of this bill, as well, and for that, as a former municipal official, I want to thank them personally and congratulate them again on their diligent stand in making sure that the legislative changes within this bill came forward.

Mr. Speaker, although you do not always get the kind of legislation you want and the kind that you would like to see, it is, in fact, well known that you can effect legislative change in this Legislature. I think that that in itself reflects a picture of responsible government, one which our predecessors would certainly and truly appreciate and one that I am proud to be part of, as are all the colleagues in this Legislative Assembly on this municipal bill. Although we have not got what we all would like to receive, I want to thank the minister, the UNSM, and all 52 members of this Legislative Assembly for working so diligently on behalf of this bill. Thank you and I truly appreciate that. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Antigonish.

MR. HYLAND FRASER: Mr. Speaker, I am going to be very brief on speaking on Bill No. 47. I was one of the people who, I guess, was lucky enough and fortunate enough to have sat on the committee that was the foundation of the formation of this bill. That was the Legislation Review Committee that was commissioned some years ago to review the Municipal Government Bill and all the pieces of legislation that sat on the books to do with municipalities to try to bring a report together that, hopefully, would be introduced.

I was elected at that time by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities to sit on that committee and to represent rural municipalities in this province and I was pleased to have done that. Little did I anticipate at that time that I would be able to sit in the House of Assembly today and be part of a process where this becomes law in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 5000]

I recognize in our gallery several people who sat on that original committee, John Cameron, who was the chair of the committee, and two staff people who guided us through. I know in this life people move and people's roles change and they come and they go, but Cathleen O'Grady and Dave Darrow from the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs were there through the times and kind of kept us on track as we formulated our committee. As we saw late last week, when legislation is brought to the floor of the Legislature, if there has been consultation throughout the process, I think we can see an example of that and we will see it again today as all 52 members of this House unanimously agree with the final document that is presented to become law.

That process went through. We went around the province. I guess we asked for representations from around the province, from municipal governments, from the big units of HRM, CBRM, to the smallest municipalities. The draft report was taken to a UNSM conference, or at least one and perhaps two, for their input and I think what was brought together in the bill was what most municipalities would want. In fact, earlier today I talked to a municipal official and he asked what the status of the bill was. I said all things being equal, I guess, we could expect Royal Assent on this in the next day or so. So municipalities out there are looking for the type of autonomy that this can provide to them.

When I first was elected in 1984, municipal councillors did a lot more things it seemed than they are doing today because of the switch in responsibilities, but I think what we are doing is giving them back some responsibilities, Mr. Speaker, that they have some things now that they are responsible for and while they may not be 100 per cent on their own, I think they have kind of moved away from the provincial umbrella a little bit and we have given them back some responsibility so when they go door to door, people can say, well, you are responsible for this, what are you doing for your job, more or less.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to take my place now, but I am pleased to be in the House today, to be at the other end, to be able to give an affirmative vote to a bill that has been asked for around the province over a number of years. I will be happy to give my support to this bill. Thank you. (Applause)

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I would just briefly like to speak on Bill No. 47 and congratulate the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs for his teamwork type of bill; voluminous but important.

As I have mentioned at the various stages of this bill going through this House, a particular concern to me has been the section of this bill that deals with the use of pesticides in tight urban areas and in rural Nova Scotia. As a physician and MLA, I seem to have become the clearing house for concerns about the use of pesticides in rural Nova Scotia. Very briefly, just for a few minutes, I want to explain why that is an important issue. It is important

[Page 5001]

because it has not been addressed in this bill the way it should have been. As we know, pesticides and herbicides are man-made, chemically-altered chemicals that may cause birth defects, cancer and environmental illness. The HRM part of the legislation deals succinctly with those problems, and allows citizens to protect themselves if they make submissions to council.

When I questioned the honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs a few days ago why the same type of legislation was not part of this bill regarding rural Nova Scotia, his answer was that the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities did not want it in there. That was not really the point. The point is, had the HRM-type of legislation been part of the rural legislation, it was then still up to the municipalities to avail themselves of that particular legislation. What we now have is a two-tiered system where citizens outside of HRM have at this moment very few or no rights. I just wanted to be on the record saying that that is unsatisfactory. I certainly hope that this particular lack in legislative clearness will be addressed or revisited on a future day. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 47, the Municipal Government Act, represents a new era in provincial-municipal relations. They are based on consultations and partnership. This bill provides municipalities with the scope and ability to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Basically, it will give municipalities better tools to do their jobs.

Mr. Speaker, the Municipal Government Bill is the product of the work of many people over the past four years. This has truly been a team effort. I would like to thank Ernie Bolivar, the President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, and the union membership; also the Municipal Legislation Review Committee; all those who have made submissions during the two rounds of consultations; my caucus colleagues; my colleagues from across the floor, in particular the critics, the member for Sackville-Cobequid and the member for Queens, for everyone's cooperation and contribution.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank all those who took the time to make presentations to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber.

MR. GAUDET: In particular, I would like to thank Maureen Reynolds, Helen Jones and Helen Lofgren. I know they are here. Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 5002]

[3:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, these three ladies certainly have followed the bill through the whole process. I remember speaking with them last spring during the spring session. We had an occasion to do follow-up meetings last summer and again here they are. I want to certainly thank them.

There is a special group that I need to recognize. I want to recognize the work of my staff at the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs. There were many staff involved in various phases over the past four years. In particular, I want to thank our Deputy Minister, Howard Windsor; David Darrow, our municipal director and municipal affairs adviser; Cathleen O'Grady, our solicitor in-house; Brant Wishart that I often make reference to as my pesticide specialist, but he is a lot more than that; and John Cameron, who certainly has been associated with the department in the past, also a member of the team. We have other staff members here this afternoon. Mr. Speaker, with your permission I would ask them to rise and receive our thanks and our warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I think I would be remiss if I did not thank the members from all sides of the House that sat in the Law Amendments Committee. I know that they certainly put in quite a few hours in that committee. I certainly recognize and thank them personally for that.

This legislation reflects an impressive collective effort. It is something we can all be proud of because it will result in more efficient and effective local government and, ultimately, communities which are better places to live and work. With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and honoured to move third reading of Bill No. 47 - Municipal Government Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 47. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 52.

Bill No. 52 - Business Efficiency (1998) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 52.

[Page 5003]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 52.

The honourable member for Preston.

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, I just want to take a minute or so just to go on record by saying that we have supported this bill and that we recognize that this is more or less a housekeeping bill where the government has begun to clean up some of the issues around permits and licensing, which will cut the red tape in terms of doing business with government. I would also just like to say that I am also aware that this is the first step in this process and that I am sure in the very near future there will be even more recommendations and more changes to this Act. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus, I want to say that we, too, support this legislation. We certainly do not think it goes far enough, because red tape and bureaucracy and needless policy is suffocating business in Nova Scotia. It is a small step, some permits and licences and things of that nature have been essentially removed and consolidated to do away with duplication. This bill really is more to do with description and interpretation of words than it is actually removing red tape. We do support the legislation. It speaks of no longer needing to go through a lengthy bureaucratic process to establish a margarine manufacturing plant. With those very few words, we will support the legislation, but we also, in doing so, encourage the government to go further, to delve further into this matter because a lot of businesses, big and small, in Nova Scotia are complaining about the needless and unnecessary red tape.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I rise to close the debate on this important bill. I want to thank, in particular, Peter O'Brien and the task force from our department and other government departments that worked so hard to bring this legislation forward and the staff of my department who have done the same. They really have been dedicated in this regard and through their dedicated effort we have come to the passing of this bill.

I want to also thank the business community for their input and the facts that they brought forward and the fact that they wanted a lot of small things removed off their backs. As a small business owner in the past before I was elected, it is so important that these things move forward as quickly as possible. It is a definite move forward for the business community in Nova Scotia toward making businesses more effective and more competitive on the

[Page 5004]

international market and locally. I think that is very positive. As far as I am concerned, we can never go far enough to help them do that.

There is a lot more to be done. We will be introducing further legislation in the coming months to ensure that this continues. I would like to thank all members of the Legislature for their support with this important piece of legislation and look forward to their continued support as we move forward to help businesses become more competitive in Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 52. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 64.

Bill No. 64 - Condominium Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 64.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to take a few minutes to say a few words about Bill No. 64, the Condominium Act. This bill was introduced at a time when there were some problems with condominium owners and with those people who live in condominiums. I just want to say that I am pleased to have this opportunity though to be able to speak on this bill and to say that the recommendations that we brought forward in terms of the amendments were well received and I am really thankful for that.

I know there are more than 200 units within the Province of Nova Scotia and as we become a more aged society, condominium living may be a way of life. I also recognize that condominium legislation may change from time to time over the years and I am very aware of that. I also want to say thank you to the staff who assisted in bringing those amendments forward as we said and talked about them and worked through the various stages of what the amendments meant, they were very helpful, but more importantly I wanted to say thanks to the residents of Granbury Place who stood very firmly in their positions about what it meant

[Page 5005]

to be a condominium owner, what it meant to be a resident in a unit where they were more or less co-owners with a developer. It was also encouraging to work with that group of people who gave me a clear understanding of what it meant to live in condominiums. I am grateful for their insights and their support.

I also realize that the committee that has been working on the amendments to the Condominium Act over the years and brought their recommendations forward, there were some good recommendations, there were some things in the Act that probably still, at some point in time may need to be changed and tightened. I certainly want to thank my caucus for their support when I brought forth the recommendations, and to thank them for being able to stand firm by those.

I would also like to say that as we move forward within Nova Scotia, and as we look at the kind of legislation that has been brought to the House, and the kind of impact that I believe this New Democratic Party has brought forward, I am proud to say that this has been the first time for me to be able to work on a piece of legislation with staff of Business and Consumer Services, and I have to thank them for their assistance. It has been the first time that I have actually worked with a group of people who had so much involvement in what was affecting their lives, the seniors at Granbury Place who were devastated by what was happening to them at the time, and getting a better understanding in terms of how a condominium developer works in conjunction with the minority unit holders.

I would also like to say that I believe that the majority of people who live in condominiums and people who own condominiums, developers, work together to provide a service to each other that is conducive and healthy to the community. I want to say that my caucus does support this bill, and we will certainly be supporting it on third reading. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a brief introduction before I make a few comments on the bill. I would like to introduce a proud Nova Scotian and a hard-working municipal councillor in the HRM, from Dartmouth, Mr. Clint Schofield. I wonder if Mr. Schofield would rise and receive the usual warm round of applause. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, it has been mentioned that the majority of the condominiums in Nova Scotia are in the metropolitan area, and I, too, like the critic from the Official Opposition would like to thank the Minister of Business and Consumer Services for bringing this legislation forward. I understand that this legislation was in draft form for perhaps a couple of years. Different ministers with the previous Savage Government did not bring it in, and that was most unfortunate. I, too, would like to thank the residents, especially the condominium owners, the unit owners from Granbury Place, because they got the ear of the Progressive

[Page 5006]

Conservatives, and we, like the Official Opposition, and like the government listened to what the people were saying.

I think the minister recognized what the concern was, and brought in legislation that essentially addresses the concerns. Although it includes other provisions, one of the main provisions in the legislation is that it provides more protection for the condominium owners, and many of those owners . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is getting a little noisy in the Chamber. The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has the floor.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, many of the condominium unit owners are seniors, and a lot of seniors spend a great deal of money in purchasing these units, and they plan on living out their golden years, so to speak, in those units. They don't need to be harassed, if you will, by the big condominium owners. I think this legislation is going to give them the protection they need. For that, I commend the government for coming in with the legislation and the Progressive Conservative caucus supports this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the Minister of Business and Consumer Services, it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this bill, as my honourable colleagues have already stated, is a very important bill for Nova Scotia. I think it represents a fair and balanced approach to how condominiums should work in Nova Scotia. Indeed, it is precedent-setting in some clauses for all of Canada. I think that only through the cooperation from all the Parties involved, including our members in the Legislature here and our staff and the group owners and developers of condominiums, was this possible.

I think we have a good basis that we can move forward into the next century, and some day condominiums may be the housing of choice in the urban areas. That is not the case at the present time, but I know that it is developing.

[3:15 p.m.]

I want to say a very special thanks to the staff in my department who worked through this program. They did service to this bill, to our department and to Nova Scotia up and beyond the call of duty that you would expect from any civil servant. I want to give them very special credit for that, they did an excellent job. It was very difficult because we had the Granbury Place situation that we were dealing with and we had to come up with a fair and balanced program. They did that and I really give them a lot of credit for it.

[Page 5007]

We also want to thank the members of the House who brought recommendations and amendments forward. I think they have really helped the bill be a little bit stronger in some places with a little more fairness and balance in it. I want to thank them for their support of those amendments and the ideas they came forward with. I think it says a lot for how our House has been working this time and hopefully we can continue that vein of cooperation.

I would also like to thank the condominium owners and the developers who came to the Law Amendments Committee and made recommendations to the committee, and our department who had to try to develop this piece of legislation. Their comments were listened to, they were acted on and the legislation reflects that. Only through their comments and the continuous input we have on different pieces of legislation can we get this balance and I feel it is very important that we have that every time we present legislation in this Legislature.

In closing, I want to thank the committee that worked so hard to put all of this information together. One of the members of the committee said to me, I can't believe this is going to go forward, I have worked on this for eight years. I am glad to be able to say today this bill is going to go forward and I would like to thank all members for their support in this regard. I think we have made a definite move forward in making condominiums a more attractive place for Nova Scotians to live. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 64. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 89.

Bill No. 89 - Medical Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 89, the Medical Act for third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 5008]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to just take a moment to thank the minister and staff from his office for the background briefing on these amendments to the Medical Act at an earlier stage. We certainly support this bill which addresses weakness in the current legislation where doctors who had been reprimanded or suspended, or sometimes having a partial removal of hospital privileges, weren't necessarily reported to the College of Physicians and Surgeons because of the wording in the Medical Act.

What this bill will do now is ensure that the public interest will be protected, that physicians and hospital administrators have explicit rules with respect to what needs to be reported to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and it means that the College of Physicians and Surgeons will not be in the dark about the status of physicians with respect to their hospital privileges. These amendments strengthen considerably an area in the Medical Act that was problematic. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, and all members of the House, I am very pleased to rise in the House to close third reading of Bill No. 89, an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Medical Act. I want to say that the Department of Health has worked very closely with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as some work with the Nova Scotia Medical Society on this proposed change to the Medical Act.

Both bodies have been cooperative during ongoing consultations, and we appreciate their valued input. This consultative process was essential in order to have the full support of the proposed amendment. The amendment we proposed is a direct result of a recommendation made in what is known as the Wright Report, which was commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in the wake of the Dr. Nancy Morrison incident. One of the problems identified in the report was a failure by the QE II to inform the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia about a change in Dr. Morrison's privileges. The suggested solution in the report was to require that all limitations on a physician's privilege for a period of two weeks or more be reported to the college.

Our proposed amendment goes even further than the report's recommendations. It requires that suspensions for less than two weeks must be reported, except for explicit exceptions described in the proposed amendment. The College of Physicians and Surgeons needs to have the maximum amount of information with respect to potentially dangerous situations involving physicians. This proposed amendment to the Medical Act would permit the college to receive more information on its physicians.

[Page 5009]

The amendment is simple. The college would require that a hospital report any change or restriction to a physician's privileges. That would include physician's resignations as well, for whatever reason that might be. The exceptions to this amendment would include circumstances where a doctor receives expanded privileges or when a doctor receives a simple automatic suspension of privileges when they fail to complete a health record on time. This proposed amendment to the Medical Act places greater responsibility on hospitals. It acknowledges the hospital's moral and ethical obligation to report changes in a physician's privileges to the college. The amendment should help remove any suggestion, founded or not, of cover-ups at hospitals. If there is a variance or a suspension of privileges or a resignation or lack of renewal of those privileges, that information will go to the college.

This proposal is something that the college wants, not only to be more effective in fulfilling their objective of better monitoring, but also in their objective of quality improvement in relation to physicians. It will also lead to more transparency between the college and the hospital. The amendment we have put forward is consistent with the Wright Report, although it goes somewhat beyond that which was suggested in that report.

We believe that by going beyond the recommendation in the Wright Report, we are looking out for the interests of Nova Scotians. We realize that some physicians may oppose this proposal, but we are happy to have the support of both the college and the Medical Society. The profession will ultimately be strengthened by this proposed amendment, and it will ensure a higher quality of care for Nova Scotians. We must be responsive to the health needs of Nova Scotians and increase public confidence in the safety of the health care system. Through the simple process of notifying the college of changes to a physician's privileges, our proposal is helping to develop a more open and a more accountable health care system.

This amendment builds the system we have and strengthens it even more. I thank you, and I thank all honourable members for the passage of this amendment to this important Act. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 89. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 5010]

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

The motion is carried.

[3:25 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[4:21 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 24 - Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

Bill No. 65 - Endangered Species Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each with certain amendments.

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

When shall these bills be read a third time?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Now.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Any particular bill you want to deal with first?

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in the order that they were presented to the committee.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we start on Bill No. 24, perhaps I would recognize the honourable member for Antigonish on an introduction.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

[Page 5011]

MR. HYLAND FRASER: Mr. Speaker, I didn't want to interrupt the progress as it was going so fast through the House here but, in fact, I did want to introduce someone in the east gallery, my daughter, Jacqueline. Jacqueline is a first year student at Dalhousie University and she finished up her classes today and came over because she suspects it may be the last day of the House in this session. Welcome. (Applause)

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

[Bill No. 24 - Wilderness Areas Protection Act.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 24.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. DONALD CHARD: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief and I know that the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid always promises to be brief when he rises but I will be briefer than he normally is. I would like to pay tribute to the many members of the public who have worked for this legislation, who have put in many hours towards it. I would also like to pay tribute, as the minister has done, and acknowledge the hard work of his staff.

We are very pleased to see this legislation reach this stage, it is a milestone in the history of this province. I am very pleased, along with all the other members of my caucus, to have played a part in bringing this legislation through. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I too want to thank the minister for his cooperation and thank his staff for their diligence and hard work not only with respect to the legislation as it has been brought to the House but indeed over now what amounts to virtually a decade, as we have moved from the very first tentative step we took in this direction under a government of which you and I were a part, through another government and then finally through this government to the point where this legislation is now before us for final approval on third reading.

I also want to say that this passage of time and this journey have given me personally the opportunity to meet some very wonderful Canadians not the least of whom were Colin Stewart and Monty Hummell. Colin, of course, is with us this afternoon and was introduced by the minister. Colin's very gentle persuasion and his persistence have been a constant source of support for all who believe that we are doing the right thing for Nova Scotians today and Nova Scotians tomorrow.

[Page 5012]

I look forward to the passage of this bill and its implementation. I think that future generations will look back upon this House and upon the work done by all who have touched this issue and this matter on its way through and say that we have done well for them. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely historic day for this Legislative Assembly and for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge, with great thanks, the work of the staff and those of the people in the industry who have worked tirelessly, as was indicated before, for many years, almost a decade to bring this to fruition today. I want to publicly acknowledge John Leefe, who in the beginning was the minister responsible who actually brought this process to the start, with his visionary leadership in bringing this to the forefront. (Interruptions) Seriously, I think as was said earlier, give credit where credit is due, and I want to do that here today, publicly. (Applause)

Secondly, I want to thank all the members of this House for realizing what we have been able to do today, and that is to be able to provide an opportunity for future generations that will have the pleasure of living in this province knowing that we have protected land in perpetuity in its natural ecosystem and its natural environment, so that generations to come will say, this Legislative Assembly here today was a Legislature of vision and concern for the environment and a Legislature that had a concern about protecting our natural environment for them to enjoy in its natural state.

In closing - I know everybody wants me to stop - I want to say that this is unique in the fact that as John started the process as a Minister of Natural Resources in a previous government that brought it in, it is my honour to be Minister of the Environment to be able to have it dealt with here today. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 24. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 65.

[Page 5013]

Bill No. 65 - Endangered Species Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 65.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. DONALD CHARD: Mr. Speaker, as in the case of the wilderness bill, I would like to reiterate our pleasure at seeing this bill pass this House, as it will do in a very few moments. I would like to again thank the staff from the department who have worked patiently with members of this House on various changes and amendments. I think we have better legislation as a result of the cooperation we have seen here. I would also like to pay tribute to the members of the public who have made submissions on this measure. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to stand in support of moving this piece of important legislation forward. It certainly was democracy at its best, the cooperation of the three Parties that helped to get this thing through, and I certainly want to thank all involved for their hard work and diligence and for making our world a better place to live. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, indeed it is a pleasure to close debate on this particular piece of legislation. Again, I want to thank the members of the Opposition, particularly the member for Lunenburg who was very helpful when we ran into some stumbling blocks. I really appreciate his patience in coming back to me and my staff for further consultation, it is deeply appreciated. Also I must thank a number of members from the Official Opposition, the member for Halifax Chebucto and the member for Dartmouth South. We worked through this bill and I think we have it right; I think it is a good bill and I appreciate their efforts very much. I am indeed pleased that this bill will soon become law. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 65. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 5014]

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this completes the government's business. I would respectfully request that the House stand in recess until approximately 5:15 p.m. to await the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that we recess at this time, and that is the Speaker's call, so we will recess until 5:15 p.m.

[4:27 p.m. The House recessed.]

[5:16 p.m. The House reconvened.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour the Lieutenant Governor is without.

MR. SPEAKER: Let His Honour be admitted.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable John James Kinley, preceded by his escort, and by Mr. Peter Theriault, Acting Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took his seat on the Throne.

The Acting Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Ronald Russell; Chief Clerk of the House, Roderick MacArthur, Q.C.; and Assistant Clerk, Arthur Fordham, Q.C. They took up their positions at the foot of the Speaker's Table.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of His Honour that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.

MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present session, passed certain bills to which in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent.

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 3 - Nova Scotia Music Teachers' Act.

Bill No. 4 - Mi'kmaq Education Act.

[Page 5015]

Bill No. 5 - Forests Act.

Bill No. 10 - Queens Regional Municipality Act.

Bill No. 13 - Financial Measures (1998) Act.

Bill No. 22 - Health Research Foundation Act.

Bill No. 23 - Certified General Accountants Act.

Bill No. 24 - Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

Bill No. 34 - Teachers' Pension Act.

Bill No. 35 - Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation Act.

Bill No. 38 - Private Career Colleges Regulation Act.

Bill No. 41 - Centennial Arena Commission Act.

Bill No. 43 - Public Archives Act.

Bill No. 45 - Pictou Regional Development Commission Act.

Bill No. 47 - Municipal Government Act.

Bill No. 51 - Queens Regional Municipality Act.

Bill No. 52 - Business Efficiency (1998) Act.

Bill No. 57 - Town of Lunenburg (Linden Avenue) Act.

Bill No. 58 - Cemeteries Protection Act.

Bill No. 60 - Optometry Act.

Bill No. 62 - Maintenance Enforcement Act.

Bill No. 64 - Condominium Act.

Bill No. 65 - Endangered Species Act.

Bill No. 68 - Provincial Court Act.

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THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to these Bills.

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 69 - Lunenburg Fire Protection Agreement Implementation Act.

Bill No. 71 - Intercountry Adoption Act.

Bill No. 72 - Juries Act.

Bill No. 74 - The Halifax Insurance Company Capacity and Powers Act.

Bill No. 75 - King's College Act.

Bill No. 77 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

Bill No. 80 - Physiotherapy Act.

Bill No. 81 - Occupational Therapists Act.

Bill No. 82 - Greenwich Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 83 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 84 - Family Division of the Supreme Court Statute Amendment (1998) Act.

Bill No. 86 - Real Estate Appraisers Act.

Bill No. 87 - Nova Scotia Power Reorganization (1998) Act.

Bill No. 88 - Upper Stewiacke Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 89 - Medical Act.

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to these Bills.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[Page 5017]

[The Lieutenant Governor left the Chamber.]

[The Speaker took the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker and members of the House of Assembly, I move that this General Assembly be adjourned to meet again within two weeks following the completion of the hearings by the Law Amendments Committee dealing with the Workers' Compensation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Would all those in favour of the motion please rise. Will the Clerk please take the count. The Clerk has the count. Please be seated.

Would all those against the motion please rise. Will the Clerk please take the count. The Clerk has the count. Please be seated.

THE CLERK: For, 29. Against, 19.

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned. (Applause)

[The House rose at 5:26 p.m.]

[Page 5018]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2338

By: Mr. James DeWolfe (Pictou East)

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

Whereas nine year old Natalie Lees of Westville, Pictou County was presented with an award of thanks this week by Westville Town Council for her responsible and caring manner in dealing with an emergency crisis last January while vising her grandmother; and

Whereas Natalie, upon entering her grandmother's apartment complex, came across an injured person lying unconscious at the foot of a staircase; and

Whereas instead of becoming excited and not knowing what to do, Natalie called her dad, covered the woman with a blanket and dialled 911;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature admire Natalie for her courageous and caring manner and knowing exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

[Page 5019]

NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

Given on December 3, 1998

(Pursuant to Rule 30)

QUESTION NO. 16

By: Mr. Ernest Fage (Cumberland North)

To: Hon. Clifford Huskilson (Minister of Transportation and Public Works)

A constituent of mine recently contacted my office via e-mail concerning legislation that would protect both drivers and their vehicles when hit by a flying object on the highway. My constituent was very upset over a rock which flew off a truck, smashing into and destroying his windshield. He received absolutely no cooperation from the driver or the owner of the vehicle towards taking responsibility for the incident.

(1) Is your department planning to review certain legislation that would enable Nova Scotians to be better protected in the event of such incidents happening?

QUESTION NO. 17

By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Clifford Huskilson (Minister of Transportation and Public Works)

Considerable discussion has taken place in recent months concerning the twinning of the Trans Canada Highway project near Antigonish. As a result of the many discussions, I recently received a letter from the Community Development Committee of the Bayview Marine Services Co-op, concerned about losing direct access to the Trans Canada Highway via Trunk No. 7 as a result of the twinning project. Tourism is an integral part of the economy in the Sherbrooke and surrounding area and considerable stress has been placed upon residents concerned about losing this direct exit.

(1) Will you provide for me concise details as to what you and officials within your department can do to alleviate the stress and concern being felt by these area residents while ensuring the tourism industry in Guysborough County is not impacted as a result of this twinning?

QUESTION NO. 18

By: Mr. Michael Baker (Lunenburg)

To: Hon. Russell MacKinnon (Minister of Labour)

The deadline for comments from municipal units across Nova Scotia on the proposed new Fire Prevention Act was extended by a month last fall to November 30th. It is now more

[Page 5020]

than a year since that deadline expired, yet the legislation has still not been brought to the House of Assembly.

(1) What is the delay concerning the introduction of this bill, which seemingly has the approval of everyone concerned, in drafting changes to this legislation?

(2) Can we expect to see this finally presented to the Legislature during the spring sitting of 1999?

QUESTION NO. 19

By: Dr. John Hamm (Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

To: Hon. Keith Colwell (Minister of Business and Consumer Services)

Recently, I received correspondence in my office from a resident upset about the practice of negative option billing and how it was used upon him in subscribing to a publication.

(1) Is negative option billing allowed in Nova Scotia because it was clearly my understanding that it is not permitted?

(2) If it is, will you provide for how and exactly when negative option billings are permissible and whether your department presently has any plans to implement changes that would outlaw this practice?