Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Mon., June 1, 1998

First Session

MONDAY, JUNE 1, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: West Caledonia Road - Salt, Mr. J. Leefe 535
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Fire Marshal, Hon. R. MacKinnon 536
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 308, Health - IWK-Grace Foundation: Telethon - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Smith 536
Vote - Affirmative 536
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 7, Crown Attorneys Terms and Conditions of Employment Act,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 537
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 309, Educ. - Harrietsfield School (Grade 5F): Environ. Activism -
Commend, Mr. R. Chisholm 537
Vote - Affirmative 538
Res. 310, Justice - Crown Prosecutors: Needs - Recognize, Mr. M. Scott 538
Res. 311, Guy Brown (MLA 1974-1998): Service - Thank, Mr. J. Holm 539
Vote - Affirmative 539
Res. 312, Human Res. Comm.: Members (Lib.) -
Cooperation Commitment, Dr. J. Hamm 539
Res. 313, NDP (N.S.) - Policies: Dichotomy - Explain, Hon. R. MacKinnon 540
Res. 314, Educ. - Student Debt: Reduce - Commitment Fulfil,
Ms. E. O'Connell 541
Res. 315, Fin. - HST: Reduction Methodology -
Leader of Opposition Reveal, Hon. R. MacKinnon 541
Res. 316, Health - Musquodoboit Valley: Emergency Services -
Improve, Mr. B. Taylor 542
Res. 317, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Sydney Airport: Nav Canada Plans -
Hold, Ms. Helen MacDonald 542
Res. 318, Educ. - School Construction: NDP Line - Candour Lacking,
Mr. P. MacEwan 543
Res. 319, Health - South Shore Hospital: CAT Scan - Funding Provide,
Mr. J. Leefe 544
Res. 320, HRM - Fire Dept.: Fire Chief (Michael Eddy) - Congrats.,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 544
Vote - Affirmative 545
Res. 321, Educ. - Lunenburg Academy: Maintenance - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Baker 545
Vote - Affirmative 546
Res. 322, Health - Women: Drugs (Date Rape) -
Awareness Promotion Support, Ms. Y. Atwell 546
Vote - Affirmative 547
Res. 323, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 102 (Exits 13N & 13S):
Signage - Install, Mr. J. Muir 547
Res. 324, Transport - Roads (Rural): Maintenance - Priority,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 548
Res. 325, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Road (Canaan-Lun. Co.): Min. -
Travel Attempt, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 548
Res. 326, Nat. Res. - Forestry: Progs. Sustainable - Implement,
Mr. C. Parker 549
Res. 327, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101:
Mt. Uniacke -Windsor - Twinning Delay Explain, Mr. G. Archibald 549
Res. 328, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Residential Tenancies Act:
Mobile Home Parks - Amend, Ms. R. Godin 550
Vote - Affirmative 550
Res. 329, Health - Cumb. Co.: Regional Bd. (Separate) - Designate,
Mr. E. Fage 551
Res. 330, Educ. - NSCAD: CCAE Recognition - Commend,
Mr. P. Delefes 551
Vote - Affirmative 552
Res. 331, Fish. - Scallops: Quota - Fairness Ensure, Mr. G. Balser 552
Vote - Affirmative 553
Res. 332, Educ. - Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea: School Construction -
Failure Condemn, Ms. E. O'Connell 553
Res. 333, Educ. - East Pictou RHS: Junior Achievement Prog. -
Commend, Mr. J. DeWolfe 553
Vote - Affirmative 554
Res. 334, Educ. - UCCB: Funding Trade Progs. - Include,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 554
Res. 335, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Queens Co.: Roads Gravel - Maintain,
Mr. J. Leefe 555
Res. 336, Nat. Res. - Lewis Lumber (Weymouth): Chip Plant - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Balser 556
Vote - Affirmative 556
Res. 337, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - N.S. Truckers' Assoc.: Anniv. 30th -
Applaud, Mr. B. Taylor 556
Vote - Affirmative 557
Res. 338, Educ. - Horton DHS (Kings Co.): Reach for the Top Team
(Natl.) - Performance Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 557
Vote - Affirmative 558
Res. 339, Educ. - Reach for the Top Teams (Natl.): Horton DHS &
Cobequid EC/Hans Budgey (Windsor) Coordinator - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Harrison 558
Vote - Affirmative 559
Res. 340, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Ocean Produce Internat. (Shel.):
New Product (Can. GP) Award - Congrats., Mr. N. LeBlanc 559
Vote - Affirmative 559
Res. 341, Youth - Big Cove Camp Site (Pictou Co.): Organization -
Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 559
Vote - Affirmative 560
Res. 342, Culture - Cumb. Co.: Art Show (Intersections) - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Fage 560
Vote - Affirmative 561
Res. 343, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cumb. Co.: Roads - Improve,
Mr. M. Baker 561
Res. 344, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Skills Competition (Can.):
Bronze Medal Winners (N.S. [3]) - Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 562
Res. 345, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 103 (Exit 11):
Signage - Erect, Mr. N. LeBlanc 562
Vote - Affirmative 563
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. P. Delefes 564
Hon. K. Colwell 568
Mr. N. LeBlanc 584
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 347, Estimates - Comm. of Whole House on Suppy, Hon. D. Downe 601
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. F. Corbett 602
Adjourned debate 604
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., June 2nd at 2:00 p.m. 604
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 346, House of Assembly - Members: Election Result (24/03/98) -
Respect, Mr. R. Chisholm 605

[Page 535]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, JUNE 1, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by some 70 residents of the West Caledonia area. They are petitioning that the West Caledonia Road be salted as opposed to sanding during the winter months and I have signed the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

535

[Page 536]

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1997, the Fire Marshal's Report within the Department of Labour.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 308

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

Whereas the 14th Annual IWK-Grace Telethon for Children was held this past weekend; and

Whereas hundreds of volunteers from across Atlantic Canada spent many hours organizing the event and answering telephones; and

Whereas a record of over $3.665 million was pledged from individuals and businesses throughout Atlantic Canada as a result of these efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the volunteers, organizers and ATV for a very successful telethon for the IWK-Grace Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 537]

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Justice, I rise to introduce in the gallery tonight, some members of the Crown Attorneys, Province of Nova Scotia, who you may have recognized earlier today and are here to make a visit to the Legislature and follow, with interest, I am sure, the proceedings. So as Minister of Justice, I would like to welcome them to the Chamber this evening. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Standing Ovation)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 7 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Terms and Conditions of Employment of Crown Attorneys. (Mr. Kevin Deveaux)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 309

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

Whereas the students of Ms. Foley's Grade 5 class from Harrietsfield School visited Province House on Friday bringing with them the results of an environmental issues survey they conducted; and

Whereas the survey results show the many aspects of student learning this project provided, including interviewing, graphing, use of statistics, and increased knowledge of the environment; and

Whereas student Nicole Aucoin's graph results of the student survey have been tabled in the House;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank the students for their work, commend them for their activism and wish them well on future projects that serve to benefit us all.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, before I ask for waiver, show members of the House that I will be tabling this graph. This was done by the Grade 5 students.

MR. SPEAKER: I would suggest to the honourable member that . . .

MR. CHISHOLM: I will table that and ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 538]

MR. SPEAKER: It is inappropriate to show a graph or some other item such as that in the House.

There has been a request for waiver of notice.

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 Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 310

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

Whereas the government was quick to praise itself, as was the Opposition, on the advent of $62-some million in technology infrastructure for education, it is still refusing to recognize the need for even basic computer technology to assist this province's justice system; and

Whereas in the Ghiz-Archibald report of 1994, the government was called upon to provide, "a computerized system for collection, storage, analysis and retrieval of information on the operation of the Public Prosecution Service and its role in the criminal justice system . . ."; and

Whereas this government has commented prior to the Crown Prosecutors strike action that, in fact, the government has moved in four years - the attorneys now have computers - ignoring the fact that prosecutors must still rely on recipe cards for information storage;

Therefore be it resolved that this government recognize that the wheels of justice, already running all too slowly in this province, will continue to run at a snail's pace until this government recognizes the basic needs of the Crown Attorneys to function more efficiently while defending the province in fighting crime.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

[Page 539]

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 311

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

Whereas Guy Brown, former member for Cumberland South, served his constituents in his beloved province very well for 24 years; and

Whereas despite the partisan nature of politics, Guy Brown earned the respect of and was friends to all members of the House regardless of political affiliations; and

Whereas the Springhill Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a dinner in honour of Guy Brown on June 2nd;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank Guy Brown for his long service and friendship and wish him many years of good health and happiness in return.

Mr. Speaker: I would request waiver of notice.

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

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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 312

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

[Page 540]

Whereas any questions about the Liberal Government's continuing addiction to handing out patronage appointments to loyal Party supporters were put to rest with Graham Steele's analysis of recent appointments to agencies, boards and commissions; and

Whereas Mr. Steele's in-depth, time-consuming analysis noted that the government rewarded 11 Liberal donors for every NDP donor, and 13 Liberal donors for every donor to the Progressive Conservative Party; and

Whereas Mr. Steele's analysis showed that despite Liberal claims to the contrary, patronage is alive and well and flourishing under Premier Russel MacLellan, whose government is holding fast to its commitment to patronage;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal members acknowledge that their colleague and the member for Colchester North was bang on when he described the Human Resources Committee as a joke and further that they immediately commit to working with the new members of the Human Resources Committee to make changes to ensure the process is fair, transparent, based on merit and free of political interference.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 313

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

Whereas British Columbia NDP Premier Glen Clark has publicly admitted that a socialist government's forestry and environmental policies have cost that province more than 10,000 jobs; and

Whereas Stora Forest Industries modernization stabilizes much needed, good paying, long-term jobs in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotia New Democrat socialists have constantly attacked companies like Stora while feasting at such companies' expense;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House Nova Scotia's New Democrat socialists explain the dichotomy between their Utopian political philosophy versus their self-serving opportunism.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 541]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 314

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 documents recently released by the Department of Education show student loan delinquency rates of up to 44 per cent at some universities; and

Whereas the delinquency rate at some private institutions is up to 100 per cent and today's average student loan upon graduation totals $25,000; and

Whereas during the election campaign Russell MacLellan promised to freeze tuition fees to stem the ever-growing problem of student debt;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier act immediately to fulfil his campaign promise to the young people of this province and that this government act immediately to reduce the student debt loads.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 315

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

Whereas recently on a radio talk show in Sydney the Leader of the New Democratic socialists was asked how he would reduce the HST, as promised, during the recent provincial election campaign; and

Whereas the Leader of this New Democratic socialist Party responded by saying he would commission an 18 month study of the issue; and

Whereas his comment clearly indicates that the NDP socialists would not reduce the HST in the 1998-99, or in the 1999-2000 fiscal year;

[Page 542]

[7:15 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, that this House demand that the Leader of the socialist Party come clean and tell Nova Scotians how and when he would reduce the HST.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 316

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

Whereas over one year ago the Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit Valley Health Board, with an area three-quarters the size of Prince Edward Island, submitted its health plan, as requested and authorized, to the Central Regional Health Board; and

Whereas because of the present inability to respond to medical emergencies within the acceptable standards set out by the province's Emergency Health Services Plan, one key recommendation of the comprehensive plan was the placement of an ambulance at the Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital; and

Whereas rapid field response is required to minimize morbidity and mortality because services in rural and isolated areas of the province must place emphasis on its rapid response;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health acknowledge that for the majority of citizens living in the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, the nearest hospital with a 24 hour

emergency department is over 45 minutes away and people living at the outer limits are two hours away and that he must follow through quickly with this life and death matter, as recommended by the plan.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 317

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

[Page 543]

Whereas Economic Development and Tourism Minister Manning MacDonald said in a press release May 28th that his department is supporting a community effort to dissuade Nav Canada from shutting down its manned flight service centre at the Sydney Airport; and

Whereas the minister indicated that his department will be making representations to the federal Transport Minister and Nav Canada; and

Whereas the Sydney Airport Authority has expressed its displeasure with the study relating to Nav Canada's withdrawal of flight service and is particularly displeased with not being permitted to view the study;

Therefore be it resolved that this House request, through the honourable minister's representation, that Nav Canada put their plans on hold for a three year period, providing an opportunity for the Sydney Airport Authority to develop and implement a marketing plan.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 318

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

Whereas the New Democratic Party line on schools is publicly expressed as being that Nova Scotia needs new schools but that this process can be speeded up by doing away with the Liberal's P3 plan and financing school construction through the Municipal Finance Corporation; and

Whereas the Municipal Finance Corporation is not a pot of money that can be utilized for capital construction but rather a brokerage agency that attempts to borrow, on commercial markets, financing for capital projects sought by municipalities and with the province as the guarantor of all such borrowings; and

[Page 544]

Whereas the NDP claim to be all for balancing the budget and not driving the province any further into debt, yet simultaneously demand that the innovative P3 process, which would not add to the province's debt load, be replaced by a borrowing spree on the money markets, for which the province could be totally bankrupted;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP line on schools demonstrates once again that the New Democratic Party is not being candid with the people nor telling the truth, when it claims to be against further indebtedness while at the same time advocating a massive increase in provincial debt load.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 319

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 South Shore Regional Hospital requires a CAT scan in order to more effectively serve in a genuine regional capacity; and

Whereas the South Shore Regional Hospital has been told by the Department of Health to acquire the necessary capital funds from the Western Regional Health Board; and

Whereas the Department of Health should know the regional health boards have not been authorized to make capital expenditures;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Health provide sufficient capital funding to the South Shore Regional Hospital to acquire a CAT scan and thereby more effectively fulfil its role as a regional hospital.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 320

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 Halifax Regional Fire Department has recently selected a new chief of the fire department; and

[Page 545]

Whereas Michael Eddy has spent the past number of years providing volunteer fire service to the communities of Eastern Passage and Cow Bay; and

Whereas Mr. Eddy has also provided dedicated service as a member of the Dartmouth Fire Department, as chief of the Sackville area fire stations and most recently as Deputy Fire Chief for the Halifax Regional Municipality;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Michael Eddy on his appointment as Fire Chief for the Halifax Regional Fire Department and extend best wishes as he commences his new position.

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

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

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 Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 321

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 Lunenburg Academy was constructed in the historical Town of Lunenburg in 1895; and

Whereas the Lunenburg Academy has been named a municipal, provincial and federal heritage property, and is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site; and

Whereas the Lunenburg Academy Foundation has promoted the preservation of the Lunenburg Academy and its continued use as a public school;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Lunenburg Academy Foundation, the Town of Lunenburg, the Southwest Regional School Board and the staff of the Lunenburg Academy for their continued effort in maintaining the Academy for future generations of Nova Scotians.

[Page 546]

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

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

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. 322

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

Whereas evidence has shown that the so-called date rape drugs are present in Nova Scotia and that such drugs have been used to subdue women in order to make it more easy to assault them; and

Whereas such drugs can be totally incapacitating, leaving women completely unable to defend themselves against attack, and yet leave the body with no detectable trace in a very short period of time, making the collection of physical evidence alarmingly difficult; and

Whereas the threat posed by date rape drugs can be significantly reduced through educating women about these drugs, thereby enabling them to act to diminish risks;

Therefore be it resolved that this House support the promotion of awareness to date rape drugs and work to protect the safety of all Nova Scotia women.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 547]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 323

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

Whereas Exits No. 13 North and No. 13 South on Highway No. 102 have a very high traffic count, which includes a large number of commercial vehicles; and

Whereas the signage which would give appropriate direction, once they leave the exit, to drivers not familiar with the area is inadequate; and

Whereas the lack of adequate signage, in addition to being an inconvenience, could be a contributing factor to vehicle accidents and create a danger for pedestrians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works instruct officials from his department to see that adequate signage is installed with all possible haste.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto on an introduction.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, you and all members of the House will be interested to learn that we have present with us in the gallery today, a person who once served as secretary to one of your predecessors in the Chair, the honourable Arthur Donahoe, in his private practice of law. This is a person who subsequently decided that she would like to study law herself and became a member of the Bar of this province. I would ask the House to greet my sister, Linda Epstein. (Applause)

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

[Page 548]

RESOLUTION NO. 324

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

Whereas roads in the rural areas of our province remain vital arteries to the lifeblood of our province; and

Whereas federal NDP Bras d'Or MP, Michelle Dockrill, recently condemned a motion that would see those who use rural roads pay a user fee; and

Whereas our provincial government's ability to deal with the condition of rural roads has been hampered by federal transfer cuts;

Therefore be it resolved that this government join our federal MPs by condemning this user pay system and work closely with our Members of Parliament to make the maintenance of secondary roads in this province a top priority.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 325

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

Whereas the road to Canaan is now safely passable on horseback only; and

Whereas about 300 people depend on that former road, turned trail; and

Whereas this is totally unacceptable;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works attempt to travel to Canaan by car to make up his mind concerning remedial action.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 549]

RESOLUTION NO. 326

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

Whereas a healthy forest industry is vital to both the economy and the environment of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the current mill-sponsored silviculture programs are limited to the encouragement of softwood monoculture forestry; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's native Acadian mixed forests are naturally capable of supporting a diverse biota and economy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia immediately implement programs and policies to encourage and support a broad-based, environmentally and economically sustainable forestry.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 327

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

Whereas Highway No. 101 between Mount Uniacke and Windsor is one of the heaviest-travelled roads anywhere in Nova Scotia, with 13,300 vehicles a day making the trip; and

Whereas the fatalities on this stretch of Highway No. 101 resulting from motor vehicle accidents is far higher than need be; and

Whereas 14.2 kilometres of this 33 kilometre stretch of highway already has three lanes, meaning less money would be involved in the actual twinning of this stretch of highway;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works commit today to explaining why his Liberal Government is so reluctant to begin twinning this section of highway between Mount Uniacke and Windsor that is the busiest road in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 550]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 328

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

Whereas residents of mobile home parks are often largely subject to the rules and regulations set by individual park owners; and

Whereas an amendment enacted in 1997 by the Liberal Government changed the Residential Tenancies Act to the benefit of the mobile home park owner; and

Whereas the current Act is constructed in such a way that it is left open to interpretations which often demonstrate a lack of sensitivity to mobile home park residents and their needs;

Therefore be it resolved that the government consult with tenants' associations and mobile home residents to develop as quickly as possible a separate section of the Residential Tenancies Act, which will fully represent the concerns of all parties involved.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

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 551]

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 329

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

Whereas Cumberland County is an isolated geographic area of Nova Scotia, separated by the Cobequid Mountains from the remainder of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas during storm and blizzard conditions the Cobequid toll highway is frequently closed, as well from time to time the Wentworth Road, along with the Tantramar Marsh which cuts off the exit to New Brunswick; and

Whereas the Highland View Regional Hospital is a regional facility where critical shortages of doctors and specialists, as well as equipment, are prevalent and the control of Cumberland County's health care system is run by a regional board which does not understand the needs of Cumberland County residents;

Therefore be it resolved that it is clearly evident that regional health boards are not working as designed and designate Cumberland County to be a separate regional board.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 330

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

Whereas the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education has awarded the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design two honours in its annual Prix D'Excellence; and

[Page 552]

Whereas NSCAD took the Gold Award in the Best Program Small Shop for its annual program, Hungry Bowls; and

Whereas NSCAD received a Silver Award for Best Student Recruitment Event for its March Break High School Workshops;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commends the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for being recognized by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education for the high calibre of its achievement.

[7:30 p.m.]

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 331

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 1997-98 quota for the offshore scallop fishery has been set at a flexible 6,000 metric tonnes; and

Whereas the 1997-98 quota for the inshore scallop fishery has been set at a firm 620 metric tonnes; and

Whereas the inshore scallop fishermen of this province have requested a more equitable division of this quota;

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial Minister of Fisheries commence discussions with his federal counterpart and the stakeholders in this fishery to ensure a more reasonable distribution of this valuable resource.

[Page 553]

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 332

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 Halifax Regional Council has held two council sessions and one public hearing to seek a solution to overcrowding in Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea School by selling the old Springvale School to the Halifax Christian Academy; and

Whereas this situation has caused strife and discord, pitting school communities against each other; and

Whereas this strife is a direct result of the Liberal Government's failure to build schools;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Liberal Government for its failure to proceed with the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea and other needed schools.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 333

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

Whereas Grade 9 students at East Pictou Rural High School are involved in a Junior Achievement Program, part of which is helping them understand the economics of staying in school; and

[Page 554]

Whereas students, such as 14 year old Peter White and 15 year old Beth Young, get to use a workbook in which they define success, consider jobs and careers, and examine the relationship between the education they receive and the money they will make; and

Whereas as students have averaged that it will cost them close to $3,000 a month to live on their own, they have realized the real cost of leaving home and the benefits of having a university education which gives, on average, a starting salary of $13,000 more a year than if they were to drop out of high school;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend the students of East Pictou Rural High School on their hard work and congratulate this beneficial program for teaching very valuable and life altering decision-making.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 334

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

Whereas UCCB is the first post-secondary university in Canada to combine academic liberal arts with an institute of technology; and

Whereas the university's board of governors have looked at the preliminary budget that outlines a $1.4 million deficit or a 7.5 per cent tuition hike; and

Whereas either option is unacceptable and a stiff hike in tuition would strike another serious blow to accessibility in this low income region;

[Page 555]

Therefore be it resolved that this government recommend funding UCCB in a manner that would include the university's trade programs, as it does in other parts of the province, and such funding that UCCB might receive equitable per student funding.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 335

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

Whereas many Queens rural residents are dependent on gravel roads such as Echo Lodge, Old Port Mouton, LaBelle and Molega to reach paved secondary roads; and

Whereas these roads are also essential to the maintenance of jobs in the forestry sector of the economy; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has chronically underfunded maintenance and capital construction on gravel roads;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government recognize that people working and living on gravel roads are taxpayers too and deserve to have their fair share of highway dollars.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to introduce in the west gallery some members of the Fifth Sackville Scout Troop. The Fifth Sackville come here on a fairly regular basis. They have been here on a number of occasions in the past. We have four Scouts with us this evening, John Goddard, Andrew Jewer, Erin Ackles and James Gray. They are accompanied by Scout Leaders Dave Benischek, Renato Graça, Frank Wilson, parents Carole Gray and Joan Goddard. I would ask them all to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

[Page 556]

RESOLUTION NO. 336

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

Whereas Lewis Lumber is going to begin construction of a $4 million chip plant at the site in Weymouth; and

Whereas the Project Manager, Mike Turnbull, says the new plant will bring several new jobs to the community and allow the plant to process more wood in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Regional Manager, Kevin Hynes, says the sitework will begin this June, with expectations for the finished chip plant project to be up and running by the beginning of December this year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly offer best wishes and congratulations to the organizers and hard workers of Lewis Lumber for the chip plant in Weymouth and thank them for bringing more jobs to the people of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

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. 337

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 Nova Scotia Truckers' Association recently held their annual meeting in Truro, while celebrating their 30th Anniversary as an association; and

Whereas the Truckers' Association of Nova Scotia has nearly 1,000 members and is arguably the largest association of its kind in Canada; and

[Page 557]

Whereas members of the Truckers' Association of Nova Scotia and the executive work diligently to ensure that the trucking industry is a leading player in Nova Scotia's economy;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House recognize and applaud the Nova Scotia Truckers' Association on their 30th Anniversary and wish them another 30 years of success.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

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. 338

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

Whereas for the second consecutive year, the provincial championship team from Horton District High School represented Nova Scotia in the national playoff of the high school quiz game, Reach for the Top, held this past weekend at Dalhousie University; and

Whereas the Horton Team of Robin Bates, Mark Bouter, Rajz Doak of Wolfville, Aaron Long of White Rock, Tim Heerebout of New Minas and Chris Lau of Kentville finished third in the national playoff; and

Whereas Horton District High School was joined in the national top 10 by another Nova Scotian team, Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly extend congratulations to the Horton District High School Reach for the Top Team for their fine performance in the national championship.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

[Page 558]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 339

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

Whereas the national playoff of the high school quiz game, Reach for the Top, was held this past weekend at Dalhousie University, with two Nova Scotian high school teams, Horton District High and Cobequid Educational Centre finishing in the top 10; and

Whereas Windsor Regional High School teacher, Mr. Hans Budgey, this year's national Reach for the Top Coordinator, was, in his student days, a member of the National Championship Team from Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro; and

Whereas the honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill, home of the top 10-finishing Cobequid Educational Centre sportingly agreed to appear tonight in this House clad in a Horton District High School uniform to honour the Kings South-based teams' third place finish;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly extend congratulations to Horton District High and Cobequid Educational Centre Reach for the Top teams for their fine performances in the national championship and to Coordinator, Hans Budgey, for his outstanding job as host for this year's National Reach for the Top playoffs.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 559]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 340

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

Whereas Ocean Produce International of Shelburne was one of only 15 grocery product manufacturers to receive a trophy at a ceremony held on Sunday in Ottawa; and

Whereas this Shelburne-based company has brought home a Canadian Grand Prix New Product Award; and

Whereas the win for Ocean Product International is in the produce category for its hydroponically-grown sea parsley that it harvests;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House extend congratulations to the people of Ocean Produce International of Shelburne for their win and encourage them to continue the excellent work that was rewarded in Ottawa last weekend.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 341

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

[Page 560]

Whereas Big Cove Camp site in Pictou County has opened for another season due in large part to the assistance of volunteers such as committee chairman David Stuewe; and

Whereas the 109 year old camp operated by the Halifax YMCA, which nearly closed down because of funding problems, was able to reopen thanks to a successful fundraising campaign that brought in $500,000; and

Whereas the Big Cove Camp site will once again be a busy place this summer for the close to 800 campers it accommodates each year;

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the more than 40 volunteers of the Big Cove Camp site for their excellent efforts in fund raising and organizing to see that the camp remains open for the youth of this province.

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

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

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 Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 342

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has produced so many renowned artists across the entire art spectrum; and

Whereas Cumberland County is particularly renowned for its theatre, painting and ceramic arts; and

Whereas the artist's talent is enhanced by instruction and encouragement by display at an early age;

[Page 561]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly congratulate the students and the Guild artisans of Cumberland for promoting the visual arts through the successful showing "Intersections" Art Show throughout the month of May at the museum in Cumberland County.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

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 Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 343

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

Whereas a request has been made by the Town of Lunenburg that signage be erected by the Department of Transportation and Public Works to advertise the availability of essential services on public Highway No. 103 near Exit 11; and

Whereas it is in the interest of the travelling public to make information concerning services available on 100-Series Highways; and

Whereas the Department of Transportation and Public Works has not yet erected the signs requested;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recommends that the Department of Transportation and Public Works erect the signage requested by the Town of Lunenburg on public Highway No. 103 near Exit 11.

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

MR. SPEAKER: I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 562]

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 344

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

Whereas the citizens of Cumberland County dedicate many hours of volunteer work to enhance their area; and

Whereas the various groups have worked diligently to maintain their heritage through the Joggins fossil cliffs, Cape D'Or Museum, Age of Sail Museum and the Fundy Geological Museum; and

Whereas many children travel on school buses each day in some of the worst weather conditions in Nova Scotia on the roads in Cumberland South which are in deplorable condition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature encourage the Minister of Transportation to give immediate attention to the roads of Cumberland South so as to ensure the residents, their children and the tourists travelling in the area have good, safe roads and highways on which to travel.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 345

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

Whereas three Nova Scotians recently received medals at the Canadian Skill Competition in Vancouver from a group of more than 1,000 finalists from across the country; and

[Page 563]

[7:45 p.m.]

Whereas Dana McCarthy of Emmie's Plumbing and Heating in Doctor's Cove near Barrington Passage won a bronze for plumbing, Patrick Doucette of Yarmouth won a bronze in the carpentry category and Rebecca Park of Halifax won a bronze medal for ladies' hairdressing; and

Whereas there was a total of 15 people representing Nova Scotia in various fields of expertise who were able to display their many talents;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the three bronze medal winners of the Canadian Skills Competition and to all the participants for their outstanding efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Before we move on to Government Business, I would like to advise members of the House that this coming Wednesday, Arthur Donahoe, long-time Speaker of this House and now Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, will be visiting with us. He has expressed a desire to meet with members, particularly new members, in the Red Chamber around 1:00 p.m. to talk about the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, to answer any questions any members may have. So that is at 1:00 p.m. this coming Wednesday.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 564]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tonight we will continue with the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I believe the honourable member for Halifax Citadel has the floor.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel. You have approximately 45 minutes remaining.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I promise to only take a portion of that time. When the call for Adjournment came on Friday, I was talking about the importance of medical research to Nova Scotia. I had indicated that a few months ago I had met with the dean of the Dalhousie Medical School, the associate dean of Research and Planning at the Medical School and the head of the Department of Immunology, all of whom were emphatic about the need for medical research in this province.

It was apparent at that time that there was a lack of appreciation by our provincial government of the importance of medical research in Nova Scotia. There is no health research foundation in Nova Scotia as exists in other provinces. Federal monies provided to the Medical Research Council have been cut by 13 per cent since 1994. The excellence of our health care system depends upon medical research. The lack of funding is terminating the careers of productive investigators and leading to considerable difficulties in attracting, recruiting and training top minds from across Canada to provide high-quality research. There is also a strong economic argument for investment in medical research which can lead to the development of new products, which can then be manufactured locally by spin-off companies.

I was given a tour of Dr. Tim Lee's lab at the medical building. His work in the area of immunotherapy is on the leading edge of cancer research. In the final weeks of the recent general election campaign, as part of their one-plank platform, the Liberals made a commitment to provide $5 million to create a medical research foundation for Nova Scotia. I listened carefully to the reading of the Speech from the Throne and then read the document thoroughly, but could find no reference to the commitment to establish and fund a medical research foundation. I will anxiously await the budget and hope that the commitment to medical research has not been jettisoned since the election.

Mr. Speaker, when I was a school principal, prior to my retirement from the profession nearly two years ago, I supported many of the innovative approaches introduced into the school system in the few years prior to my retirement. These included the acquisition of new computer technology for classroom use, strategic and site-based planning, community involvement in schools through school councils and efforts to differentiate instruction for students with different interests and ability levels. However, I am concerned that downsizing

[Page 565]

and cost-cutting has taken its toll on the morale of the teaching profession and on the overall quality of educational programs our children are receiving in schools.

Specialist and support services have been reduced and class sizes have been increased at a time when current methodology requires a smaller pupil/teacher ratio. There have been reductions of specialist teachers available to teach in areas such as: special education, French, art, music and physical education. Mr. Speaker, strong emphasis should be given to these important areas of the school curriculum.

Let me comment briefly on the place of art and music in the schools. Unfortunately, these are sometimes the first subjects to be cut when budgets are reduced. These are not fringe subjects, Mr. Speaker; music, drama and visual arts are a powerful educational component when delivered by qualified teachers. These subjects provide students with encouragement, confidence, and skills in artistic and aesthetic expression. As we all know, our cultural industries, our singers, our artists, our film-makers are a powerful growth industry in Nova Scotia. They provide jobs for our economy. Yet the time may soon come when we have no specialist delivery of art and music programs if we do not take action now to stop the erosion of specialist teachers.

When I was an elementary school principal not so long ago, French, music and physical education were delivered at the Primary level by specialist teachers. We have to take a long, hard look at how education is being funded and ensure that the children in all schools in Nova Scotia have an educational system that meets their needs.

With respect to education, Mr. Speaker, I wish to mention that the schools in this area are working hard to ensure that we are provided with the next generation of political Leaders in this province. Queen Elizabeth High School just concluded its 47th consecutive Model Parliament, making it the oldest continuous high school Model Parliament in all of Canada. I also had the honour of being asked by the students of St. Patrick's High School to serve as Governor General of their 16th Annual Model Parliament which they have called the Phillip Wagner Model Parliament, in memory of the late and much respected teacher at that school. I must report that the New Democrats formed the government in that parliament. So there is a precedent for a New Democrat Government in this province.

Last week I had the pleasure of serving on a panel of adjuciators at a public speaking event at Tower Road School for Grades 5 and 6 students who spoke with great eloquence on a variety of subjects. I would also like to mention that the debating team from Gorsebrook Junior High School won the provincial junior high debating championship held this year in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, and sponsored by the Nova Scotia Debating Society.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to speak about the jobs in our province. There are no easy remedies for the serious problem of joblessness in this province. We still face unemployment and underemployment problems. There are thousands of Nova Scotians unemployed. Many

[Page 566]

Nova Scotians and their families are living on the edge financially. I see them every day. I have always believed that if given the opportunity to work at a decent job with a fair wage, people would rather be gainfully employed than to have to rely on unemployment insurance or social assistance.

The Speech from the Throne indicates that economic forecasters like the Bank of Montreal cite that big things are about to happen for Nova Scotia. It then suggests that striving for a 10.8 per cent unemployment level because it is marginally lower than the present unconscionably high unemployment levels can be considered a big improvement for Nova Scotia. The document also confirms that there remain areas of Nova Scotia where unemployment remains far too high. Job creation must be a number one priority. This can be done by initiating a range of job-creation strategies which will include providing support to small business, including worker and producer cooperatives, community-owned enterprises, non-profit enterprises, and self-employment. Enlightened leaders in the business world realize that there must be a link between the broader needs of society and the needs of business.

We look favourably upon small and large corporations coming to Nova Scotia. These corporations can provide employment for thousands of Nova Scotians and help many smaller businesses which benefit from the economic spin-off from these big companies. As our Leader has stated on several occasions during the election campaign, an NDP Government would work with large businesses and corporations but we expect those recording huge profits to pay their own way. The Liberals have squandered millions of taxpayers' dollars in giveaways to many businesses that at worst went into receivership or at best created few jobs. New Democrats recognize that social programs can only be supported on a solid economic basis, rooted in successful small and large businesses. Job creation must be a number one priority.

One area, Mr. Speaker, where there is tremendous potential for employment growth is through the development of the Port of Halifax. I do want to comment briefly on the importance of this issue. The Speech from the Throne made reference to the Port of Halifax as the economic heart of Nova Scotia. A commitment was made in the Speech from the Throne document to attract business and investment to the port. In order to carry out this commitment, the provincial government will have to do everything in its power to prevent the federal government from totally abrogating its financial responsibility to the Port of Halifax and to other Nova Scotia ports, like Canso and Sydney.

Under the provisions of Bill C-9, the Canada Marine Act - a piece of legislation which has just passed into the final stages of review in the Senate - it will no longer be possible for the federal government to give grants or even secure loan guarantees to the new port authorities. Thus, the Port of Halifax will be deprived of an important source of capital at a time when it needs to make preparations for the new generation of post-Panamax container ships. It is obvious that provincial governments can't foot the bill alone for expanding the port facilities here in Halifax. Each of the giant cranes needed to load and unload the containers

[Page 567]

costs $15 million, and up to 60 of these may be required. This is another patent example of federal government downloading on the province.

In a ministerial statement issued last week, our provincial Minister of Transportation and Public Works stated, "there is heightened concern, future capital upgrades and expansions will be compromised without federal interest.". To make matters worse, the federal government still wants to control governance issues by retaining the right to make patronage appointments to the boards of the port authorities. The federal government also sees the ports as cash cows and would require the port authorities to pay them rent as a percentage of gross revenue.

Specifically, the port needs to be retrofitted to service the increasingly larger post-Panamax ships and the larger containers they carry. In this new era of super container ships, there is a move to consolidate container traffic to only two ports on the eastern North American seaboard. Ports like New York and Norfolk in the United States are hoping to be the two ports which will land these lucrative contracts on the east coast.

Halifax has been invited to submit proposals to Sealand-Maersk, a Danish firm which operates these huge post-Panamax ships. Cost estimates for this container facility retrofit range from $300 million to $400 million. U.S. ports are upgrading their infrastructure now; the State of New Jersey has just invested $30 billion in new port infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, it is imperative that everything possible be done to assist the Port of Halifax to be competitive in attracting post-Panamax traffic. The present container facilities are inadequate to handle the increased size and volume of post-Panamax containers and the ships which will transport them.

The first consideration is to determine what sites are available for a new facility in the greater Halifax Harbour area. The provincial government should be ensuring that a feasibility study is being done to determine a suitable location and to determine what the infrastructure needs of the port are and to allocate support for developing a bid for a Sealand-Maersk deal. Maersk is prepared to consider a long-term deal if the terminal facility is in place, Mr. Speaker.

We have had no indication from this government that establishing the Port of Halifax as a post-Panamax player is a priority for them. The consequences of not being competitive would be disastrous for Halifax; we could lose the more than 7,500 port jobs we now have.

On the other hand, if we are a successful bidder in the post-Panamax trade, we could provide, over time, employment for 25,000 people in the Port of Halifax area. Mr. Speaker, we are looking to the provincial government to provide leadership and direction in this matter of port development. If, as they claim, job creation is a top priority; if they want, as they say, a more prosperous, full employment economy; and if they are sincere about attracting

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business and investment to the port, then they must be willing to fight for our port in Ottawa. Our provincial government must not allow the federal government, through Bill C-9, to write-off the Port of Halifax and other Nova Scotia ports.

Now is the time for action, Mr. Speaker. The people of the Halifax region and, indeed, the people of Nova Scotia, expect our provincial government to pull out all the stops to convince their federal counterparts in Ottawa to ensure the viability of our ports.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to end my comments on a philosophic note, if I may. I believe the principles of the New Democratic Party are best summed up in the watchwords "humanity first", a phrase coined by Tommy Douglas many years ago. I made this point on several occasions and do so again today as this human-centred ethic is as central to my own political philosophy as it is to our Party. I am sure that such an ethic also motivates many of those in the other two Parties in this House.

Through our Party's advocacy of issues important to people, such as health care, education, social justice, housing, human rights, arts and culture, full employment, pensions and collective bargaining, we have endeavoured to infuse the quality of life of all of our citizens with a measure of dignity. We deplore waste, extravagance, and inefficiency in government and believe that a government should serve all of its citizens equally.

[8:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I should like to say that however long I have the good fortune to retain the confidence of the people of Halifax Citadel, I will do my utmost to serve the constituents of this riding and to work with my 51 colleagues in this House for the betterment of all Nova Scotians. I give notice that I cannot support the Speech from the Throne and will vote for the amendment. Thank you. (Applause)

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise before the members of the House of Assembly to speak in response to the Speech from the Throne as presented by the Lieutenant Governor. It is an honour and a privilege to serve the fine people of the Eastern Shore.

I would like to congratulate you on your election as the first elected Speaker in the Province of Nova Scotia and look forward to your fair rulings. I know you have a tremendous background as Speaker and we are looking forward to working with you closely. I would like to also congratulate all the new members for joining us in this very historic building to represent their people, represent their constituencies, which I am sure they will all do very well.

[Page 569]

For the past year, I have had a great opportunity to meet with the constituents in my riding at my constituency office where I handled over 20,000 phone calls last year, wrote over 4,000 letters and met with hundreds of people. It was indeed a pleasure to meet with every one of them. I attend many church socials and suppers, volunteer suppers, volunteer functions of all different types and community meetings whenever and wherever possible.

It has also been a pleasure to work with the people in the tourism industry and the people with the boards of trade and the other facilities in my constituency. It is through them that I represent the people of my constituency. I would like to thank the constituents of my riding for showing their continued support and trust in my representation of their concerns in this place and look forward to representing them for some time in the future.

Eastern Shore is a large and very diverse constituency, consisting of rural, truly rural and bedroom communities. It stretches all the way from Lawrencetown to Ecum Secum to the Guysborough County line. In that diversity, there are many challenges and many different approaches one has to take when dealing with the people in the area because their concerns are so much different. It is really a challenge to be an elected member in this House with such a constituency, one I enjoy very much and enjoy dealing with the people, with the different ideas and concerns that they do have.

When I was elected in 1993, there was a great concern in my constituency regarding cellular service. Well, I can tell you, as of about a month ago, we have full cellular coverage on the whole Eastern Shore. That is indeed a significant improvement. It has allowed businesses now to come into the area that otherwise may not have come. When you combine that with the banking machines we have had installed in our constituency over the last couple of years and other initiatives we have taken, that people in the cities take for granted, it has made it a much better place for tourists to come, business to locate and indeed for the residents themselves to have better service, service they deserve and they require.

We made so many improvements in infrastructure over the last five years on the Eastern Shore. We have had installed dry hydrants through the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program and dry hydrants for a rural area are very important. Reliable water supply during a fire is critical and in the wintertime it is even more so, when you may have to chop through a foot or two of ice to try to get water to a pumper. A dry fire hydrant allows immediate access to water and in some cases allows them to pump water directly on a fire, something that has never - well, I shouldn't say never been done - but very seldom done in the rural areas. This has helped all our fire departments provide a better level service and should hopefully help reduce insurance rates for our constituents.

One thing I have been working very hard on over the last five years is economic development in my area. I think we have got an excellent record on the Eastern Shore since 1993. It spawned a new direction, a new spirit for the people of the Eastern Shore. At one time, when you talked economic development, they just thought it was a dream, something

[Page 570]

that wasn't going to happen. Well, I can tell this House and the people of Nova Scotia, it has happened and it has happened in a very positive way.

We have seen over 700 new jobs generated in my constituency without any government grants. I think that is very formidable in an area that has seen almost no economic development for probably 30 years.

The people themselves are responsible. They have come to me with many business ideas and I have given them direction and some assistance, where possible. I have many people come to me monthly looking for new ideas and new approaches in business. Some of them are successful in the initial stages, and some aren't. It is far better not to be successful in the initial part before you have your life savings and all the hard work invested and get the truth about your business. This is something I have done, I work with people based on the business history, that I have after running a small business for many years.

Tourism is another area where a lot of jobs have been created. I estimate probably 100 to 150 new jobs in that area alone. I was elected in 1993; prior to that, politicians would get up and talk about tourism and do nothing. Nothing would happen. When the election was over, they would forget about it and everybody would go away again. As a result of that, we had less than one per cent of the tourism in the total province, as of 1993. Mr. Speaker, today, we have one of the fastest growing tourism areas in the whole province and we have seen our revenues double. It started in 1993 and hit approximately $5 million and today, actually, as of 1997, we had over $13 million. That is a significant growth. I would like to thank the Seaside Tourism Committee, the Board of Trade in Sheet Harbour and other community groups who have made that possible. We have done all kinds of innovative things to try and help tourism grow. One of our biggest customers is in Halifax and Dartmouth. Most of the people in Halifax and Dartmouth didn't know we existed. They sure know now. We have come up with many events, which I will talk about later, that have helped that grow.

I personally worked on a program called Tales of the Eastern Shore with the local cable company, who were kind enough to help us. That has really raised interest in the Eastern Shore, as well. I met with many people in the area and talked with them and there were pretty exciting stories, in some cases and, in other cases, it was just very interesting to talk to people. I have learned a lot, even though I have lived in the area all my life, about the jobs and the things that have happened in the past and the history of the area. I think that is what tourism is based on.

One of the best things we have in tourism on the Eastern Shore is our pristine and quiet coastline and the very friendly people. Once someone visits the area once, they always want to come back and we are capitalizing on that. We are capitalizing on that by not building big neon signs or anything like that. We are capitalizing on really good quality bed and breakfasts, restaurants and other facilities. We have made substantial improvements to the Taylor's Head Beach Park. We have opened up the Bull beach, which is an extremely beautiful beach. It was

[Page 571]

there, but there was no access to it. I would like to say that I am very thankful that the Department of Natural Resources saw fit, after I encouraged them many times, to do so. It was a project that was undertaken, but didn't require a lot of capital, but just needed to be done. I think that is one thing, if anyone has never been to the Taylor's Head Beach, I would encourage you to go. Take a full day or longer, because it is a beautiful area with two beautiful beaches, Taylor's Head Beach and Bull Beach and about 27 kilometres of hiking trails that are well marked and well maintained.

Taylor's Head Beach is a unique park. It is a natural park. Nothing is disturbed or changed. We have several other parks too. We have Martinique Beach. Martinique Beach is quite a lot different than Taylor's Head but, again, it is a beautiful beach. It used to be the longest and I believe it still is; there was a big storm here a while ago and it took some of the beach away but it was one of the longest sand beaches in North America. It is adjacent to a wildlife sanctuary; many ducks and geese come in there at all times of the year and it makes it a beautiful area.

We also have Clam Harbour Beach which is famous for the Clam Harbour Sand Castle contest which attracts thousands of people every year, with volunteers doing the work and a very small investment from the province helping them, actually less than $1,000. It is a prime location for people to come.

We also have Lawrencetown Beach, a beach that is very close to the city and frequented by hundreds of people on a regular basis. It actually offers the best surfing in Eastern North America, for anybody who hadn't realized that.

During my campaigning I would go around the community and talk to the people that just seemed a little bit different than the regular people there and I came to find out that a lot of these people had moved into Nova Scotia from the United States, Australia and other parts of Canada for the surfing. When they came, they came and stayed, they started businesses and I think they have made a terrific economic impact and an important factor in our social fibre on the Eastern Shore. I am really pleased to see that they did see fit to come to Nova Scotia.

One thing I said earlier about small business is that I worked closely with small business over the last five years. We have had a tremendously successful record of starting businesses, one job at a time, one person at a time and it has paid off. I remember one day a gentleman came in to me who had a financial situation he thought was going to ruin his business. After talking with him for a while and reviewing his financial statement, I came to find out he was actually in a very profitable position but the accountant he hired didn't do the job very well. Basically, working with him we saved his business that didn't need to be saved anyway but if he had gone to his banker with the information supplied by the accountant, he would have been out of business. That is the kind of thing I have been able to do because of my past history in running a small business and working with business.

[Page 572]

We have seen Sheet Harbour as a total success story. Sheet Harbour's economy is the busiest it has been since the early to mid-1960's. We have seen the Shaw Group come in there and develop 190 jobs, although they are going to be short-term. These jobs are really putting a lot of money into the economy, by seeing a chipping plant go in that has employed several people on site, I believe there are 26 people at the present time. They invested $9 million in private money and with approximately 150 jobs supplying the material and everything else for the operation. With other small businesses growing in the area, again, it is an economic boom that we haven't seen since the mid-1960's. It is all because we have worked closely with the community, the board of trade in the area and the local merchants and business people to make it happen. It is a record that I think we can build on now and really make it successful in the future, one that has to be done.

Sheet Harbour is just far enough away from the city that you cannot commute every day back and forth to work so therefore the work must be near at hand. We have an energetic, well-skilled workforce; many people would love to move back to the community when the jobs become available.

We named many of the things that helped both the tourism industry, the local residents and businesses. In the past five years we have had a big section of highway resurfaced on the No. 7 Highway between Musquodoboit Harbour and Salmon River Bridge. I am pleased to see we are now repaving from Salmon River Bridge to Upper Lakeville, another 5.2 kilometres. This will make a tremendous impact on our economy as it is the only road we have and I feel we have to repair this road before we build any new ones.

We have other roads that need repair and I have been diligently working to get those done over the past five years and will continue to do so until they are all repaired. The economy really depends on a good road system and it is a good road system we are starting to get. Even though we cannot get everything repaved, we are getting badly needed repairs done on a regular basis.

Another thing I talked about a little bit was the Sable Island gas project which saw Shaw move coat pipe into Sheet Harbour. I think this project is just in its beginnings and I look forward to Sheet Harbour and other areas of my constituency taking advantage of this billion dollar project and with over 4,000 jobs coming into the economy, this will allow for some of the constituents in my riding, where some have already been employed in this, and there is more to come yet.

I think this Sable Island project will have more of a solid, economic impact on the province than people can imagine. The availability of a cheap, clean fuel source, I think, is essential to economic growth.

[Acting Deputy Speaker, Ms. Helen MacDonald, took the Chair.]

[Page 573]

Economic growth is based on the ability of the government to create an environment for growth. I think one of the ways to do that is projects such as Sable gas. It is nice to see that it is privately funded. We need more and more privately funded projects in the province. The more of those that come along the stronger economy we will get and maintain.

[8:15 p.m.]

I already talked about the Shaw Group venture in Sheet Harbour. We have seen a lot of new jobs in construction. We have seen the industrial park in Sheet Harbour grow. For the first time ever we have difficulty scheduling ships into the harbour because we may not have space at the dock. It is a good problem to have, one that has been tackled very efficiently by the new managers of the wharf, Ceres Corp.

Since Ceres Corp. has taken the wharf over, it has been just a continuous improvement. In the past there were some problems with the people who were managing the wharf not performing as they should have. I was pleased to see when Ceres Corp. won the tender to operate the facility. I am looking forward to them working with the community and myself to ensure that we have more employment in the Sheet Harbour area and all along the Eastern Shore.

Health care; we hear a lot of rhetoric today about the health care system and I am going to tell you a couple of stories about the health care system in my constituency that I have been told by constituents. I have one lady in my riding who, when we were first talking about home care, her brother called me. He called me and he said, look, my sister wants to come home from the hospital. The doctors told her she has to stay there for three months. She had a very serious operation. It was a very life-threatening situation that she had. She insisted that she be sent home. After a week and a half of insisting, with our new Home Care Program just in its infancy, to convince the hospital staff to send her home; this was only a short time after the operation.

Anyway, she went home and in the first week there were some difficulties, of course, scheduling nurses in because she was still on intravenous and many other things that had to be monitored on an ongoing basis. After the first week of getting the new program set up and this was the in-home hospital care, she was pretty well under way. Actually, within a month after that she was off all the support systems that she had. She was at home with her friends and family and had recuperated even much faster than they possibly thought would happen. As a result of that, her recovery was complete about six months ahead of schedule, actually, compared to what the history of this had been in the past. So that is just one success story.

We talk about first responder programs. I was pleased to say that I was involved in the first responder program as a pilot project on the Eastern Shore with some pretty dedicated firemen that made the project what it is today. The Department of Health responded to their requirements by having meetings in the evenings and weekends when they were off work.

[Page 574]

They responded by providing them with expertise that they did not have. They responded by providing them with equipment they did not have. It really worked. They listened to the fire departments and the training they wanted. They provided the training and they worked with the fire department all the way through to ensure they worked and to ensure that when they arrived at the scene that the departments were comfortable, as well as the Department of Health being comfortable, with what was going on.

I can tell you it is one that has been very successful. I am going to relay a story I have told here before about myself having a situation that I needed a first responder and they were to my home in less than two minutes. If you live in a rural area and you have an emergency response team at your home in less than two minutes, that is better than almost any place in the city you can get it.

I would like to give the departments a tremendous round of support. They have grown on the program. They have increased their equipment, improved their training and are continually upgrading the requirements. I can assure you they were very demanding on the Department of Health and demanding as they should have been; and demanding that has really paid off for the residents of my riding. They are presently with the civic census program which was on the radio this morning numbering the houses in our area.

Now, if you have an ambulance and the response time is important, if you cannot find the home, then you cannot respond. We have had many cases of that where people had no numbers on their houses and when they call in they say they live three houses away from Joe. Well, if you do not know where Joe lives, you cannot find the person that has the problem. With 911 and the numbering system, where there was never a numbering system in my area before, people did not know what a number on a house was, and there was no way to put a number on it, but with 911 that has gone away. So if we tie together the 911 program, the first responders program, and the relocation of the ambulance we had into Musquodoboit Harbour at the hospital and a floating ambulance which puts it in different locations which is very positive when you have a big geographic area, it provides us with a service level we have never seen before and a service level that is very positive for my residents.

If we also add to that a 19 minute response time for a helicopter to Sheet Harbour from Shearwater, it is incredible. We have services now that were just not even thought of five years or six years ago. That is part of our new health care system, part of a system that really is working well. We also took part in a pilot project for telemedicine. That has been a tremendous success and I am pleased to see that the province is rolling that out in every hospital in every remote location. Basically what it has allowed to do, is our doctors to come in, diagnose a situation, call a specialist at any time, show them the x-rays, talk to the patient right there, and make a diagnosis without an individual having to be transported, which is very expensive, or have the people have to travel to Halifax, in some cases in my riding it is two to two and one-half hours, for something that could be diagnosed by telemedicine. That has really paid off. It has saved my constituents a lot of money and a lot of grief. It also makes

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it a lot better for the family because they are right on the spot and they know what is happening. I think that is important.

You have also seen the province is committed to a fixed-wing aircraft. Although a fixed-wing aircraft cannot be used in my constituency, it will make sure that the helicopter is available on a more frequent basis, not that we have ever had a problem with it, but it is just good to know that we have continued support in that area. We have seen the level of training for ambulance operators improve and the requirements for them improve and have a standard all over the province that is second to none in North America. We have seen the program and the results of that program in my own constituency with many lives saved and many people suffered less than they would have if they had not been responded to as quickly as they were. I would like to give the whole emergency response unit in my constituency a lot of credit for the hard work that they have done and the training they have taken, and many hours when they could have been doing something with their families.

So we talked about the first responders pilot program and I cannot commend the Department of Health or my fire departments enough for that. I would just like to mention the departments that have really started this first response program in the province. There is the Lake Echo department, Lawrencetown, Chezzetcook, Musquodoboit Harbour, Ostrea Lake and Oyster Pond. When we started the meetings on this, I can recall when I called the first meeting together with the fire departments, there was a big, long discussion about communications and I thought there was going to be quite an interesting and difficult time for me with this, and I remember the Lawrencetown Fire Department discussing with Musquodoboit Fire Department the history that they had with communications systems and how they corrected them. True enough, the Musquodoboit Harbour Department changed their procedure and improved their system, based on what Lawrencetown had done, and that was an idea exchange from all sides. Everybody gained and it really was a positive situation. It has grown from then to now to a very reliable system.

Another thing I want to talk about is education in my area. I have several rural schools, schools that for many years have had a difficult time keeping up, a very difficult time. The school in Sheet Harbour, the Duncan MacMillan school in Sheet Harbour, the high school, over the last couple of years has had a tremendously difficult time with environmental illness in the school. The province has probably spent $0.5 million trying to solve the problem. We think we have it solved now. The school board has worked diligently at it but, in the meantime, children had to be relocated to another facility, with all kinds of busing and other problems that really should not have happened. It is a problem that is ongoing in the different schools. This is a problem that is unacceptable. It is has meant that the province has had to come up with extra cash at a time when we probably should have been spending the money on computers and technology and upgrading libraries and everything else that needs to be done so badly in the schools. However, the money had to be spent and was spent and, as I say, it looks as if the problem is resolved.

[Page 576]

We have had other schools in my area that are just now getting computers; they should have had computers. I will draw your attention to one school, the Lakefront School in Tangier and some very special people there who have worked to improve the technology in that school. Lakefront School is a P-to-Grade 6 school and up until a year ago didn't have one single computer in it, not even for the principal to use or for any of the teachers. Now we have a state-of-the-art computer lab, thanks to some of the parents who got together with myself and the teachers and the community to secure a state-of-the-art lab. I really want to commend them for doing that.

It is the way we have to go in education. In my business, when I run my business I run a high-tech business, and I was one of the innovators in the Province of Nova Scotia bringing computer-aided manufacturing to the province. A lot of people don't like computers and technology but I can assure you that that is the wave of the future. Nova Scotia and, indeed, Canada have higher labour rates than most of the other parts of the world, parts of the world we are competing with. We have higher tax rates and it makes it very difficult to compete on the world market. I know, I was there, I did it and I can tell you how difficult it is.

If you are dealing with a country that has a highly skilled workforce - and it is a myth that the foreign companies don't have a highly trained, skilled workforce; they do and they know what they are doing - we have to automate to the point and train our people. We cannot possibly put our people in a workforce that can't compete internationally. That is why I feel that the P3 school concept, that I have seen in an adjacent constituency that a lot of my children go to, is so critical. That school has set the standard in the world, a standard that can't be forgotten.

Unfortunately, if we don't build schools under this type of an arrangement or similar arrangement, we simply can't do it. I can tell you, by trying to have a roof fixed on a school that cost $50,000 or $60,000 or $100,000, that takes money out of the library. If an independent company owns it, under a lease to keep it maintained, it doesn't cost us anything. It can be repaired and, if it is not repaired, you can stop paying the lease.

On occasion I have received money, after hard work with the Department of Education, for my schools only to have the school board put it in a different school outside my area. This continually goes on. That is why, again, I think the P3 school system is such an excellent way to go.

We have seen the state-of-the-art school that was built in consultation with the teachers in the school, with the community, the school board and the Department of Education. It really makes good sense. I would encourage anybody who has never been there to go to the school. It is really important to go there and see a child in Primary using a computer to learn math in a way that makes it very exciting and very challenging for them, in a way that they want to learn more and more and don't want to go home many days because they would rather be there, learning more. I think that is a very solid environment.

[Page 577]

We have seen the teachers in the school receive an above average of 23 days each, training. This is way beyond anything that is normally seen in the schools. We have seen the teachers trained by the company and given laptop computers to use at home, before the school opened. The list goes on and on.

It has been a real interesting situation to see this develop. There has been a lot of criticism of P3 programs. If you look again at the situation where you have a series of schools that you cannot afford to maintain - and were not properly designed in the first place, probably a lot of them - and then you have to try to come up with the money for that, you have also got to try to come up with money, which I am glad to see the Nova Scotian and Canadian Governments have worked together to get $62 million for 4,000 new computers, which is a start. (Applause) But it is a very small start and we need much more.

[8:30 p.m.]

If you are balancing off fixing the roof, repairing the parking lot or putting books in the classroom, you have to fix the roof or you cannot occupy the school, you are going to have to fix the roof. If you don't fix the roof, you will have a major problem, as was seen in Sheet Harbour, which is one of the causes of the problem there with the mould and mildew. That is why I think the P3 school program is so important.

I am going to put this in a perspective that maybe some of my colleagues on the other side and the Opposition can understand a little bit better, because it doesn't seem like they understand the situation. It is going to be very simple, I think. I am going to draw an analogy here, and it is a very simple analogy, between leasing a car and buying a car. I think everybody here can understand that. But this is going to be a unique lease. This won't be where you lease the car and then the owner of the car goes away. This lease will be that they will maintain the car. They will put new tires on it. They won't put the gas in it, but they will change the oil. They will make sure they change the engine if the engine goes. They will make sure they do a paint job on it if it needs to be done. They will make sure that everything in that car is looked after. All you have to do is put the fuel in it and pay your monthly payment, critical. If you really negotiate a right kind of deal, they will even insure it for you. It would be a rather nice service.

Then you look at buying a car, the same car, which, in today's economy, and, by the way, the lease will be for 20 years, so you have a car for 20 years in really good condition, it might be old, and by the time you are done with it, it probably won't be worth much, but, 20 years later, you have a car and you give it back to them and you don't worry about it any more and you get another one. So that is a start on how it may work.

On the other hand, you go buy a car and three years later it is not worth very much. You have to put new tires on it, but, again, you have got to buy some groceries for your family but you can't do that because you need new tires for your car, unfortunately, and you

[Page 578]

can't put your kids through university because you have to buy another new car three years later. The list goes on and on.

AN HON. MEMBER: You lost them, Keith.

MR. COLWELL: You think I lost them already? Could be. But, anyway, one of the kids might smash it, the whole routine. The point I am really making here is, the P3 program, however it is structured, and there are all kinds of argument about structure, the important thing is that we have got to build schools for our children. We need them desperately. We need them now and we need top quality schools. If we don't produce these schools in a timely manner, our children are going to be lost. If we lose those children, we won't be talking about job creation in your communities, you won't be talking about jobs in your communities. You are going to be trying to figure out how you can pay for people to be on welfare. It is just that simple. Any hold-up in building these schools and renovating and improving the schools we have now is a tragedy and it cannot be tolerated. We have to move forward with new schools.

[Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

Today, when you look at the school on O'Connell Drive, if the roof leaks, you call the

people that own it and they fix it. If they don't fix it, you don't pay the rent. If the school board owns it after you paid all the cash, millions of dollars to build the school, you have to pay to fix the roof. So guaranteed the people who build the building are going to ensure that roof doesn't leak when they build it and design it. They are going to ensure that the heating costs and the energy costs are down to an area that they should be in. Also, you are going to see continuous upgraded technology.

The Opposition Party should look at technological upgrades. I can tell you, after running a business that needed technological upgrades, it is extremely expensive. It is expensive to buy capital equipment. It is expensive to retrain people to teach other people how to use it. Under this new lease program, that is looked after. That is the way it should be. There is always a cost, but it is looked after and it is looked after on an ongoing basis. Basically, what we are going to have at the end of 20 years is a facility that is still as modern as the day it was built, on the technological side. At the end of the time, if we don't want it, as happens with so many schools in Nova Scotia, they're given away for $1 to a community group, then they come back to the province and the municipalities to help them finance it for the next 100 years. So it costs us more money.

Under these lease arrangements, the company gets to keep the school if the province doesn't want it anymore. It does away with all the ongoing liability for it, and ensures that it doesn't cost the taxpayers anymore money when it is of no more use as a learning institution.

[Page 579]

Well, the O'Connell Drive School in Porter's Lake probably is the world leader in technology and innovative approaches to teaching, and I would like to give the teachers and the staff in that school a lot of credit, as well as the parents for the work they have done. When you go into a classroom, it's not unusual to see two and three parents there working with the teacher and the students to ensure that the class goes forward. A lot of the parents have gained also from this school. It is an incredible place. I was at the school today and visited with the Lieutenant Governor, and he was extremely pleased and surprised to see the level of technology that was there, and the way that it is being used to teach the children.

And also, by accident today, we ran into a delegation of 30 teachers from Iceland, who have put together programs in Iceland. They were over specifically to see this school. The gentleman that makes the recommendations on computers and technology in schools and all the other things was there. He had written, before he came to Nova Scotia and viewed this school this morning, a complete proposal for the Icelandic schools. He told us and the principal today, that he is going to completely rewrite the requirements he has when he goes back, after seeing the O'Connell Drive school, and the innovative ways that they are using this technology. Not only is it innovative, but it is innovative to the point that the teachers and the staff and the parents are working together, to change the curriculum so that the children can learn much faster. I think that is key when you are dealing with children of any age today.

And I will go back to the need to train our children for the future. Our children are never, ever trained well enough to hit the international market and to compete in an international market. That is what we have today.

Some of the other things the school has been doing that you would never think of, is they operate a school broadcasting station. They go around with their video camera and they videotape different events in the schools and the Grade 6 students actually have to do a news broadcast every morning. The principal was remarking this morning, how quickly they learn. They go home and watch the national news and they come back the next day or the next week, and say which broadcasters are the sharpest in the business.

He said they learn very quickly. He said also that when it comes to the point of presenting different languages they are going to use, they will argue over a word because a better word may be available. This broadcasting operation that they operate, all the Grade 6 students are doing by themselves. They rotate their crew every three weeks so every student in the school gets a chance to do this. He says they all go get haircuts before they go on. The girls get their hair done, they change their dress. He said it is incredible to see the buy-in the students have and how important it is to them to make this work.

Not only do they videotape this, they also digitize it on a computer and broadcast it all over the school every morning. They can review it at any time, just by calling up the program up again. It's really terrific.

[Page 580]

There has been a lot of discussion in here about the schools not being utilized. Well, I'm going to tell you, for the 452 students in this school, some of them moved to the area before the school was built just specifically so that their children could go to that school, this is very important. They only expected just over 300 students a year ago to come to the school. There are 452 now. That's because the parents realized how important this technological advantage would be for their children. It is also important to note that the school has won a design award for architecture, architecture that was put forward by the consortium that built the school. There are computers in every classroom, incorporated into the curriculum and changing the curriculum on an ongoing basis. It is really a learning experience. Every time I go to the school I see something new, something more innovative than I saw the time before and a lot of it comes from the parents, a lot from the students and a lot from the staff.

Just last week the children teleconferenced with children from Australia. How many people in this room have teleconferenced with anybody anywhere? It is hard to imagine that these are children from Grade 5, Grade 6 and even in Grade 1 who are teleconferencing. I think it sets a tone for what they will do through their lives and how important it is. It is new technology and it is technology they need to learn at a very early age.

The technology is spreading to other schools in our area. Because of this new school, we have an Internet link, an audio-visual link to Lakeview School, West Chezzetcook School and Bell Park School. This is really important to these schools as well, it gives them the opportunity to participate in a program by the way, I believe, at almost no cost.

Earlier I talked about some environmental illness problems. When this school was started there were three teachers and six students that had very serious environmental illness problems. Being well aware of that and the environmental illness problems that have been going on all over Nova Scotia, the private company took very serious steps to ensure this wouldn't happen in this school. As of today's date, almost one year later, with these three teachers and six students who were extremely ill before this, all the symptoms of environmental illness appear to be gone and they have not missed any time from school as a result of environmental illness.

Part of the reason for that was that for three months prior to installing the computers, the private sector partners degassed the computers and operated them to ensure that there were no gasses coming off them. They ran the ventilation system and removed all the dust from the school. It is a unique ventilation system that allows all kinds of operating capabilities that normal ventilation systems do not have. They also degassed all the materials, such as the drapes and other things before they ever went into the school, helping again to eliminate environmental illness, which is so important to so many people in my constituency that suffer from this.

[Page 581]

According to the principal in the school, the technology is definitely benefiting the children's education and I think that is important. The children love the school, the teachers love the school and the parents love the school. I also think that is important and makes for a better education environment. The school has even set up a computer in the main foyer so parents can come in and log in to see what their children are doing any time they wish. This is quite a unique situation and one that the school has done to respond to the needs of the community. It is really a community-based school, more so than I have ever seen.

Recently, the students have also had a peace conference with students in Hawaii on the Internet. It was quite something and it sets the tone for the things, I think, that they can do throughout their lives and I think that is very important. They even discuss the way the school operates with the teachers and their parents and changes have been made to reflect the students' needs. In a Primary to Grade 6 school, I think that is incredible and is a situation I don't think has happened in many other schools in Nova Scotia.

One thing I would like to give you here, as well, is the O'Connell Drive Pledge and I will just read it from my speech here, "I promise to treat others the way I would like to be treated. I promise not to use violence to solve my problems. I promise to show respect to school mates, teachers and all other citizens of my school community. I promise to accept people for who they are. I promise to obey the rules and help make this school a peaceful place for everyone.".

I can tell you that every time I have been in that school, there were no children running in the halls, no children screaming, or no one misbehaving. It is an incredible place to visit. This just shows how proud the children and parents are of their school and they are taking their education very seriously. That is why I am so proud of the children of my constituency that attend this school. All Nova Scotians should be proud of this school, regardless of their political affiliation.

This is probably the best school in the world today. It is built right here in Nova Scotia, by Nova Scotians, for Nova Scotians. I know I am hearing some catcalls from across the way, maybe they do not care about the children's education, but I do. I know I have had some conversations in the school and there are some people on the benches opposite who have plainly and simply told the school they do not believe in the P3 school and are not going to help them with anything.

[8:45 p.m.]

I think that is a disaster. I think once the parents realize that that has been stated, they will come forward and they will show it at the polls the next time around. I think they should take heed of what the parents are saying, parents have been abused many years now, by an insensitive school system that has not responded to the upgrades and needs of the people and

[Page 582]

children in the community. It is a fact that our economy is changing so fast that we need every possible break we can get in education to make things happen.

Turning to some other things in my constituency. As I said earlier, we have had a tremendous improvement in tourism on the Eastern Shore. We have a record second to none in the last five years, a record we have needed for many years. We have seen the growth of many really solid establishments, bed and breakfasts of a world-class nature. When you go in and have a meal at the place, you are dealing with the owner, and if you stay at a bed and breakfast, they will probably sign you in when you come in. It makes it very special. There are many very special bed and breakfasts over the province, special motels and other facilities, but it is the people who really make the difference.

Some of the festivals and things that have transpired on the Eastern Shore since I have been elected are, every year we have the Eastern Shore Lobster Festival; that is on June 26th and 27th. I think that is really important. It is an event that brings the attention of the importance of the lobster industry to our community. It is the only part of the fishery that really has been active on the Eastern Shore for many years. It shows that the tourism industry is really promoting and supporting that industry as well.

We have also the Eastern Shore Coastline Row-a-thon, which I had the honour of participating in last year. This year it will be July 24th to 26th, and anyone who thinks that rowing may be fun should take this trip. It is quite a challenge. We had 43 miles of rowing at sea. The rule is that there are no motors, no assistance of any type. You have to get pledges signed to support the local hospital. Last year we raised a few thousand dollars to help in that event. It was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and, I can tell you, at the end of it I was glad it was over, but I am all set to go again this year and look forward to the event. It is a pretty tough job rowing a dory for all that distance upstream, against the tide, and against the wind and everything else, but it is a lot of fun.

The other thing, even on a more fun basis, is the Festival of Oars at Salmon River Bridge each year. That is basically a few dory races and I think they are going to have some bathtub races or something there this year. I am not quite sure what all the events are going to be, but that is July 10th and 12th.

These are the sort of things that our tourism industry has been working on, to try to get participation from people inside and outside our community. It has been a tremendous success and attracted a lot of people and meant a lot of economic benefit to our community.

Other events have been going on for many years. The Sheet Harbour Music Festival, which will be held July 10th and 11th has always been a tremendous success. That is, again, a volunteer organization that raises money for our community. We also have the Eastern Shore Summer Fair July 12th and 18th; that is a big event and it is hosted by the Lions Club in Sheet Harbour. We have the Sheet Harbour Seaside Festival August 6th to 16th.

[Page 583]

We have the Clam Harbour Sandcastle Contest on August 16th. It is unique to notice that August 16th is a special day; it is the only day this year that event can be held. You have to have a tide at specifically the right time so you can get the use of the full tide from early morning to the evening. There is only one day a year in the summer that this can be held. They keep moving, the date based on the tides, each year. We have had as high as 15,000-plus people attend this one-day event. As I said earlier, the province is one of the few contributors to this program. I think last year the province contributed $900, which was a terrific economic impact when you consider the small investment. All the hardworking volunteers who spent weeks and weeks of preparation, it was well worth it.

We have the Lake Charlotte Village Fair every year, August 28th and 29th. We have the Lawrencetown Kite Festival on July 1st. The Lawrencetown Kite Festival was held last year for the first time. It is a great place, with the high winds and everything that are typically there and the surf. It is a beautiful opportunity for people to come out. These are only a few, there are many more; they are just a few of the things and festivals and events we are trying to have in our community to bring people into our area. Typically, when they come and visit one time, they come over and over again. It really pays off.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I am proud to serve in this government and work with people in this Assembly. I am as proud to work with the Premier, a man in whom I have a great deal of faith and who I know will lead Nova Scotia into economic prosperity like we have never seen before.

I will continue to work with my constituents for the betterment of my constituency and look forward to more economic growth and development in that area. It has been a challenge, it has been fun and they have reacted to the challenge very positively. I look forward to that in the future.

I would like to thank my wife, Elizabeth, for the support she has given me over the last several years. I would also like to thank my family for their ongoing support and the hundreds of dedicated supporters who worked on my campaign. It was really a pleasure to work on my election campaign this time. It was more of a fear to insult somebody that you didn't ask to go with you for the day than it was who was going to go.

I had a tremendous number of people come out and support me, who are still coming to me today, indicating that in the next election they will support me again and work for me, people who have never worked for me before. That is from all Parties. It is nice to see.

Again, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be speaking in support of the Speech from the Throne and I look forward to being here for many years to come.

[Page 584]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle. (Applause)

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to say I feel very fortunate and honoured to be here again to give my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. It has been over five years since I had the privilege to do so. I feel honoured, indeed, that the citizens of Argyle have seen fit to send me back to represent them in Halifax.

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to thank my family for their support in the decision to re-enter politics. It is not an easy life, as many members know. My children have been born and bred in politics. When I first entered this House, during my first campaign, my second child was born during the campaign, eight days before I was elected. At the hospital when they asked me what his name was, I told them it was Tory. Most people didn't catch on until a few minutes later. So he was there, involved in it all the time. My third child was born just before I was defeated in 1992. So they are political animals as much as I am, Mr. Speaker.

I would first like to congratulate the Speaker for reassuming the Chair, as this is your third term. You also have the privilege of being the first elected Speaker, which is quite an honour in itself. I know from my personal experience that you will be a fair arbitrator of this Assembly and I know that all members will respect your decisions, or at least I would hope that they would.

I would also like to congratulate the Deputy Speaker, the honourable member for Dartmouth South, on his election. I am sure he will follow in the same footsteps as the Speaker.

J'aimerai offrir à ce moment ici félicitation à mes collègues de Richmond et de Clare sur leurs victoires électorales et je suis certains que nous allons servir comme acadiens, les besoins de notre peuple à travers la province.

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that since my last opportunity to speak in this House that Mr. Israel Pothier of my home village of Wedgeport, who served as Sergeant-at-Arms in this House from 1950 to 1957, prior to Harold Long, who was here when I became a member, sadly passed away in 1984 at the age of 92. Mr. Pothier was an avid outdoorsman and a naturalist and was heavily involved in the bluefin tuna fishery in my home village. He was a wealth of information for those involved in sport fishing.

Wedgeport was the centre of the International Tuna Cup match, for some of you who are historians, and it was very famous. The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury said that it went to Canso and I guess that is true because, unfortunately, over time, the tuna changed their migratory pattern and moved away from my area. Many people blamed that on the Canso Causeway that when it was built, it changed. That could very well

[Page 585]

be true, Mr. Speaker. When you change nature, there are causes and effects and I think many people are of that opinion, but whether that can be proven or not, time will tell.

I would like to say that when you talk about the bluefin tuna, in my home village there is a new museum that has been built. It is called the Wedgeport Sport Tuna Fishing Museum and Interpretive Centre. It has been open since 1996. I was involved in its design before my demise and it was followed up by the honourable member who took over my job in the past five years. I would like to say that our village is very proud of our involvement in what was a world class event when the Tuna Cup was still in place. We had teams from across the world. We had teams from Spain, U.S.A., France, Monaco, Scandinavia, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, British Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia and, of course, Canada. Many famous people came to our home village and, for ourselves, it is a very heavy source of pride.

That museum is also a catalyst for something that we are hoping will offer some tourist benefits to our village. It is a Wedgeport-Tusket Island boat tour, which will take visitors from my home village to the Tusket Islands, which are just located off of my home village of Wedgeport and, also, little places called Comeau's Hill and Pinkney's Point. They are villages which have a long history, especially in fishing and the reason that they are so important to us is that in the past, many people lived on these islands full time. They were very close to the fishing grounds and due to the fact that a lot of the fishing vessels in the past didn't have the technology that is prevalent today, many people lived on these islands because they were extremely adjacent to the fish and the lobster that they are trying to catch. Many of these islands had canneries on them, big businesses. There was a thriving business on it and many people, the honourable member for Shelburne, it is amazing how many people from your riding lived on these islands or commuted back and forth, especially to Johns Island and Ellenwoods Island. My father has recollections of many people, especially coming from Cape Sable Island, Woods Harbour, Shag Harbour, Doctors Cove, who went there and are still friends with our family and have long memories and happy ones at that time too.

What has happened over the years is that those islands, because of the fact that the fishing vessels are much faster now and have better technology that these islands now are more or less uninhabited, other than a few stalwarts that always stay there. What has happened is that they have also modernized a lot of the buildings that are on them. The businesses have gone. Many people go there to enjoy nature. It is a beautiful sight. Some of you who have never gone, I would invite you to come. It is unique. Most people who go there can't believe that it exists. It is that unique. It is something that you have to see to appreciate.

I remember bringing one of my former colleagues, the honourable member for Pictou West, Donald McInnes. We were down to a funeral and we were flying back because the House was in session. I just asked whether we could take a small look at these islands and he was in a hurry and he really didn't want to but I told him that if he did, he would appreciate it. So we went by the islands and Mr. McInnes insisted that we make two more turns because

[Page 586]

it was so interesting. So I would offer to the members that it would be in your best interests if you have a chance to come down and take a look. It is a very interesting site. It is something that not many Nova Scotians have seen because you have to go by vessel, but it would be well worth your time.

[9:00 p.m.]

Autres structures touristiques en place dans ma circonscription d'Argyle incluent le Musée acadien de Pubnico-Ouest qui donne aux visiteurs l'opportunité de vivre des pages d'histoire et la culture acadienne. Le Musée a aussi récemment ajouté une section portant sur le journal de courrier qui a sa 60ième anniversaire de publication. Le journal hebdomadaire, qui a commencé sous le nom de Le Petit Courrier, fut fondé par monsieur Désiré d'Éon de Pubnico-Ouest. Malheureusement, M. D'Éon et décédé en novembre 1996. Grâce surtout à M. D'Éon, qui se dévoua au journal pendant 35 ans, et aux efforts de son successeur immédiat, Cyrille LeBlanc, de Wedgeport, ainsi que ceux de la Société de la presse acadienne, cet important outil de communication français continue à desservir les acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Other tourism infrastructure which is in place in Argyle includes Le Musée Acadien de Pubnico Ouest which offers visitors a chance to see many historical artifacts pertinent to the Acadian culture. The Musée recently opened an additional exhibit which celebrates the 60th Anniversary of Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse. This newspaper, which began as Le Petit Courrier, was founded by M. Desire D'Eon of West Pubnico who regretfully recently passed away. Thanks in large part to the efforts of M. D'Eon, his immediate successor Mr. Cyrille LeBlanc of Wedgeport and La Société de la Press Acadienne this important medium of the French language has continued to serve the Acadians of Nova Scotia.

Un autre projet de grande importance et intérêt en Argyle est celui du Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse. La construction a commencé à Pubnico-Ouest. Ce projet représent la réalisation du rêve d'une groupe de bénévoles qui maintenant commence à voir le résultat des nombreuses heures dévouées. Lorsque la première phase de projet sera complétée en 1999, les visiteurs pourront apprendre la vie quotidienne des premiers acadiens en Nouvelle-Écosse.

Another exciting project planned for Argyle is Le Village Historique de la Nouvelle- Écosse which is now in the construction stage in the Village of West Pubnico. This project represents the realization of the hard work of a group of dedicated volunteers who had a dream and who have made it a reality. Once completed and opened in 1999, this project will give visitors a first-hand view of what day-to-day life was for the early Acadians who came to Nova Scotia.

[Page 587]

We have other fine tourism attractions such as the Argyle Township Courthouse and Gaol located in Tusket which is Canada's oldest standing courthouse. It opened in 1805 and is still in excellent condition. Mr. Speaker, I would like to report that the gaol, or jail, in the courthouse is still there and could perhaps be used should government members become too unruly. Just for your own information, Sir, I would like to pass that on to you. I will see whether we can lose the key after we put them in.

Mr. Speaker, as you can see, we have been busy developing the tourism potential of my constituency and these facilities and others will hopefully be the catalyst which will make Yarmouth County in concert with the rest of Nova Scotia, a place for tourists to visit. Tourism in Yarmouth County is big news. In fact, it is national news with the inaugural run of the Cat, the Bay Ferries high speed catamaran ferry service which started Tuesday past. I was pleased to see the large turnout the community gave the new ferry. Hopefully, this represents the start of a long and productive relationship between Yarmouth County and Bay Ferries Limited.

As I mentioned at the ceremony which marked the special occasion, we now have a vehicle to bring thousands of additional tourists to our county. Now the challenge is to build up the additional services which will help keep them here longer and that will also benefit the rest of the province. That challenge is not only for Yarmouth County but, indeed, for all of Nova Scotia.

The province has a large role in providing leadership and it has been missing the boat rather badly in this regard. Part of our platform was to refocus the role of government by re-establishing the Department of Tourism as a separate department. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, this would be very beneficial to the important tourism industry of Nova Scotia.

We have been blessed with the natural beauty of our province which offers us many advantages, but we must be visionary with regard to the promotion of tourism. We, of the southwestern region of Nova Scotia, have felt left out of the process and feel that our communities have not been promoted in a fair and equitable manner. That must change for this province to maximize the greatest possible return from tourism.

M. le président, récemment j'ai assisté aux Jeux régionaux de l'Acadie sur l'Isle-Madame au comté de Richmond. L'honorable member de Richmond était là, et disait qu'il était un des plus jeunes membres qu'a jamais été élu. Après de recherche, j'ai appris qu'il était seulement le deuxième plus jeune et que moi j'était le quinzième.

So just for the members who are trying to understand, I was saying that when I went to Richmond the other day, the honourable member from Richmond said that he was one of the youngest, and upon research, I learned that he was the second youngest and the youngest was also from Richmond but a few years prior to him, believe me, Mr. Speaker. I was the

[Page 588]

15th (Interruption) 1870 well, that's a few years ago. I wasn't in the House at that time, so I can't verify that. (Interruptions)

M. le président, plus de 500 athlètes ont participé aux jeux, donc mon fils, Shawn. Ces jeux ont eu le rôle important de promouvoir notre culture auprès de la jeunesse par l'échange entre les régions acadiennes de la Nouvelle-Écosse, tel qu'Argyle on plutôt Par-en-Bas, Clare, Chéticamp, Pomquet, Richmond, Sydney, Dartmouth et Greenwood. Je suis fier de rapporter que ma région de Par-en-Bas s'est classée première et a remporté la bannière provinciale. Cependant, c'est la participation même à ces jeux qui est important. Je veux donc félicité tous les élèves, les entraîneurs, les organisateurs et les nombreux bénévoles pour leurs efforts. Je veux aussi souligner l'appui exceptionnel, pendant les jeux, due CSAP, par l'entremise de son président, M. Yvon Samson.

I recently attended the regional Acadia Games held in Isle Madame in Richmond County, which was my first visit to that county I am sad to say, but I can say after visiting once, it will not be my last. Over 500 athletes participated, including my son, Shawn. These games play an important part in promoting our culture by encouraging un esprit, un esprit sportive, or cultural exchange between the different Acadia regions of Nova Scotia, Argyle, Clare, Cheticamp, Pomquet, Richmond, Sydney, Dartmouth and Greenwood. I am pleased to report that my region of Argyle won the provincial banner. However, it is the participation itself which is important. Therefore, I would like to congratulate all the students, the coaches, the organizers and the volunteers for their efforts. I would like also to thank the CSAP, which is the Acadian school board, Conseil scolaire acadien provinciale, through Yvon Samson, president of the board for their exceptional support during the games.

M. le président, en ce qui concerne le CSAP, un long débat se déroule sur l'école de charte au niveau secondaire dans l'enseignement en français. C'est un débat mettant en opposition deux positions qui se semblent incompatibles. Je crois cependant, M. le président, que le nouveau conseil scolaire et son président, M. Yvon Samson, ont la bonne approche consultative et non celle utilisée par l'ancien conseil. Je crois fermement que cette nouvelle approche produira une solution raisonnable.

While referring to the CSAP, the Acadian school board, and their subject of education, this government initiated these superboards or regional school boards. The ones that encompass my area are quite large. The Southwest Regional School Board runs from Lunenburg County to Annapolis County. It includes six counties and is approximately 280 miles long. The CSAP or the Acadian school board, includes 8 regions and is growing every year as they expand in new areas. To try to speak to someone is not as easy as members are constantly on the go, and I am sure many of the members have tried to do so. This radical change was to achieve efficiencies by reducing administrative personnel and costs. However, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, it has moved government further away from the people that it serves while not achieving savings, but actually costing more. They should

[Page 589]

be reviewed and the people should be allowed actual input into the process and not the tokenism they were given when the initial discussions took place.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the CSAP, there has been considerable debate with respect to the charter school for the high school portion of French education. This indeed is a highly charged issue with both sides relatively entrenched in their positions. However, it is encouraging that the new school board and the President, M. Yvon Samson are proceeding with a consultative approach and not the ones used by the previous board. I feel certain that this new approach will prove beneficial in achieving a reasonable solution. I know that the challenge is an onerous one.

There are many issues with regard to education but the one that continues to receive considerable press coverage is the P3 schools, as well they should, Mr. Speaker. This decision will have a serious impact on what resources will be available in the future to actually run our classrooms. This government has been playing games with this serious issue. They have wasted months ignoring our Party's suggestion that the Auditor General be directed to review the existing leases, so that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia can be given an independent opinion as to whether or not this is the best way to build schools.

This review by the Auditor General will undoubtedly cause a delay in the final approval for many schools which are desperately needed, such as the Hammonds Plains school, Bedford-Fall River and Lantz. The government deserves all the criticism they will get because of their delay in referring this issue to the Auditor General.

I also have concerns with the whole concept, as the experience we have had up to now has shown a total lack of cost control. What we want are good, functional schools and not a legacy to an architect where he can go to the school and point and say, look what I built. The best example we can point to is the Horton school in the Valley. Mr. Speaker, when you have a school that starts off with an estimate at roughly $18 million to $20 million and ends up at $30 million, there is obviously a lack of planning and a lack of vision on the part of the people making the decisions.

Another problem with this approach is that for the developers, in my understanding, the higher the cost of the project, the higher their profits will probably be. Finally, as we learned the other day, when I and many of the members met with the Southwest Regional School Board, they were concerned that the large schools they are building will cost substantially more to run, due to requiring more qualified personnel to operate the environmental equipment, et cetera, as well as the profit the company will want to make on the maintenance component of the lease.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to discuss an issue which was brought to my attention on many occasions during the campaign and since my election. It is the lack of educational opportunities for many young people who are either unable to compete at the

[Page 590]

academic level or have no desire to continue, or those who have finished high school and are competing for limited space against mature students who qualify because they are on EI benefits. This government has not provided for these people and, unfortunately, they are falling through the cracks.

People say that education is an investment and that has not changed. The old vocational schools served those in need by offering them a trade and that need is ever-present. We need more apprenticeship and cooperative programs so that we won't be spending money down the road on social programs to support these people. The challenge is there and, so far, the government has failed to meet it.

Mr. Speaker, as the member who represents the riding which is located in the most southwestern point of this province, I must admit that the government's handling of the offshore gas project has me very concerned. My experience in trying to bring about economic development to our area has shown me that there is an unbelievable amount of competition for new businesses inside Nova Scotia, let alone from outside our province. One important factor has been energy costs. With the development of the Sable Gas field we now have another variable which my area will have to compete against, as potential developers will have to consider whether they will be able to get competitive energy costs in Yarmouth County versus Halifax County or versus New Brunswick.

It concerns me that the province didn't take the lead in this matter and ignored our Party's recommendations totally. Now that the UNSM and the municipalities have entered the debate, government has suddenly found this issue important and are now saying that gas will be available throughout the province. This lack of vision is hurting our long-term chances at capitalizing on this important project and the losers will be the citizens of Argyle and perhaps, indeed, the province.

In terms of the economy, Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring up another concern with regard to infrastructure so that the businesses of my community will be able to get their products to market. Our major market - and let's not fool ourselves - is the United States of America with the major export item being fish. It is what has made my area what it is. We have shown entrepreneurship and over the years we have been the leaders, especially in the fishery. We have gone not only off our coast but we have gone further abroad. It has brought many jobs to Yarmouth County.

[9:15 p.m.]

I look at the infrastructure available in Yarmouth County and in the past we had roads and we also had two ferries. We now find ourselves having one ferry, that ferry being located in Digby, and we find ourselves with the alternative to that being through Amherst. Now, Mr. Speaker, I realize that we have to look to the future. We have people now who are shipping fish who are very concerned that the Digby ferry may not always be there. What may also

[Page 591]

have some implications upon that service, if one customer would start to ship too much product through it and I will use, for example, the fact that in the pulp industry there is more and more pulp leaving this province and a lot of it goes through the Port of Digby. I ask myself, what will occur if the perishable items that we are shipping from Yarmouth County are unable to gain access to that ferry system?

I would ask here tonight if the Minister of Transportation could keep abreast of these issues and also to consider that the consequences of changes in that ferry service which are currently functional but if the changes come about that would make it more difficult for people from his riding - it is a big fish exporter itself, along with mine - if that becomes affected then that will have an adverse effect on the people that are in the fishing industry, let alone the trucking industry.

The alternative for our economy, for our area means that we will have to truck through Amherst. That will mean increased costs over time with the wear and tear on the trucks and also the strain on the drivers as they have to meet DoT regulations as they travel long distances.

We should be looking ahead to see what are the requirements of the industry and also to make sure that that service is not monopolized. I think the minister agrees with my comments and, hopefully, his department will keep abreast of those issues because if they become effective we will become very much isolated.

I remember when I was in government before, people used to say to me, we have so many advantages in Yarmouth County or southwestern Nova Scotia. We had the train, we had two ferry services from Yarmouth, we had a ferry service from Digby, we also had the plane service and, over time, much of that infrastructure has disappeared. Marine Atlantic has been cut adrift by the federal government and I still stand today by the comments I made in the private sector at that time, that when the federal government made the decision to let go of Marine Atlantic, that the provincial government did not jump into the fray at that time.

I know there is a political liability for jumping into something that is being cut, but it would have been the right thing to do at that time, to get guarantees from Bay Ferries to make sure that all of the concerns that I have addressed would have been entrenched into any agreement that Marine Atlantic would have signed with Bay Ferries or any other operator that would have taken over that service.

We have to be visionaries. If we deal with decisions on a case-by-case basis and not look forward, we will make mistakes. We, as legislators, bear responsibility for being futuristic. I know that the honourable minister was not there at the time but I look back in time and know that we have made mistakes. What I am looking for is that we stay ever careful or ever frugal to make sure we will be able to deal with this if it comes in the future.

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I note with interest because I drive there every week, that the Oak Park bypass is in the process of construction and I would like to thank the government for taking this initiative as the people of that village deserve a break from the daily traffic. The road there is extremely narrow and people sometimes drive a little too fast - I won't say how fast I drive, Mr. Speaker, because I am on tape right now - but I would like to say that the initiative of having a bypass there is very much appreciated.

I hope that the minister will consider upgrading other sections of Highway No. 103 before we twin all the other 100-Series Highways in Nova Scotia. I am sure that he is in agreement because the South Shore is the one that probably has the most sections that are not upgraded. I am looking forward to the South Shore of Nova Scotia receiving more work on the 100-Series Highway.

With regard to secondary roads and I am going to be very localized, I would like to mention that I would be remiss if I didn't mention the sad state of the Quinan Road and the Argyle Head Road which are in my constituency and are both in dire need of repaving.

Also Amirault's Road in East Pubnico, along with several others were sandsealed quite a few years ago and residents were assured by the department that it would be maintained. As such, the residents would have good roads. However, no maintenance whatsoever has taken place on these roads and, unfortunately, that has left them in a very sad state. I suggest that they should be reviewed and, depending on the traffic, be considered for paving, should it be justified. I intend to speak to the minister regarding this, along with other roads that, perhaps, require upgrading.

Another major concern which has been in the forefront in my riding and actually received quite a bit of press is the Indian Sluice Bridge which connects the villages of Sluice Point. I noticed the honourable member for Lunenburg West looking across because I think he was minister at the time, it connects the villages of Sluice Point to two islands, Morris Island and Surettes Island. It is the only bridge off those two islands. About one and one-half years ago, the bridge let go and heavy dump truck just barely made it to the other side. It was a bit of a miracle that the driver didn't drown because the flow of the river is extremely strong. If he had fallen into the river, he would have died for sure. The cause of the accident was faulty replacement parts. I would like to inform the House that since that time, there has been a lot of concern within the village, a lot of stress. People have sold their homes or are trying to sell their homes because they are a very concerned about long-term access to these islands.

I think part of the problem was the handling of it by the government, how they approached it. The people felt they were not consulted on this matter. They have mentioned to me that, supposedly, there was a study that was done in-house about the cost of a replacement bridge, which is a new bridge altogether versus the cost of upgrading and maintaining the current one. I would like for the minister, and I know he is in the House tonight, to make note that if there is such a study, that the residents would like to be kept

[Page 593]

abreast of what is going on and get those details. I will speak to him later on this evening or tomorrow to give him exactly what they are mentioning. The residents have supposedly been informed that this study was being done. They haven't been kept up to date and they would like to know what the situation is.

I think most Nova Scotians, if government talks to them and is reasonable with them, then I think they will work with government. Up to now, that hasn't been the case. I think because of that, it is causing considerable stress on this situation which could have been avoided. I am looking forward to seeing if we can rectify that in the future.

In regards to this bridge, I would like to invite the honourable minister to come and take a look at it, first-hand. It is only a short drive, Mr. Minister, and perhaps when you are down on business, I can take you over. Believe me, I won't push you over the bridge. I will just let you take a look at it. I think, for yourself, it would be very beneficial. Actually, I was just speaking to your father the other night on it. I think he was in total agreement. So there you go. Now that your father has agreed, you are pretty well committed to it. I know how to turn the screws there.

Mr. Speaker, the mainstay of my constituency is the fishery, as I mentioned earlier in my comments. It is part of our being. It is part of the fabric that makes us up. It is part of our heritage. It is an industry that we want government to be responsive to when we ask them to offer leadership. We have various different fisheries such as lobster, groundfish, herring, tuna, bluefin tuna, swordfish, scallop and, of course, aquaculture. The lobster fishery involves the most participants. I would like to say that they are getting very concerned about the long-term viability of their fishery. The best way you can tell that is happening is when fishermen start reporting other fishermen who are breaking the rules. That means that they are really serious because, in the past, it seemed that there was endless supply of fish and lobster and people would sometimes turn a blind eye to something rather than getting involved. But that is no longer the case. Right now they are getting involved if someone is doing something wrong like fishing too many traps or perhaps landing undersized lobsters. They are getting involved and they are calling and people are getting caught and that is what we want to do.

There has been a lot more enforcement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the federal regulator. I think that they are justified in asking so. It wasn't that long ago that through the cost-recovery program the federal government brought through, they said they upped their fees from $30 to $1,800. A local Member of Parliament, Harry Verran, learned very quickly there was a price to be paid for remaining silent; in 1997 he learned that he should have spoken up before the decisions were made. The fact that they are paying $1,800, I think, justifies their call for more involvement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in their fishery.

[Page 594]

In the past, governments used to say, well, you are not paying very much for licenses and we are doing some enforcement. Now they charge them - I don't know - about 4,000 or 6,000 per cent more in license fees and they have started to cut down the enforcement. Mr. Speaker, that does not make a whole lot of sense to people in my area. They say, now you are saying $1,800 or $1,900 is what we should be paying, well, we want something for our money. What they want is to have enforcement to ensure that this fishery will continue to grow and continue to service the people of Nova Scotia. I know the honourable Minister of Fisheries is in agreement with me.

My region is one that includes a portion that is the most lucrative in lobster. We have been very fortunate, we have been blessed. Other areas have had some good fishing over the last few years, but probably none as lucrative as has been in my area that has created a considerable amount of employment. We have been very fortunate and we want it to continue.

I will look at the whole concept of lobster conservation. Some fishermen have been asking me what amount of research is being done by DFO in this regard. I made some enquiries and it appears that there is not that much being invested in research in this aspect. I often ask myself, who directs the budget of DFO? I know it comes out of St. Andrews; actually, I do know the answer.

I ask, who decides? Who decides how much money is put into the study of a lobster fishery which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars? Who decides whether they spend more money on studying some whales or some exotic creature on the bottom of the ocean? That whole process has been unaccounted for up to now.

I remember speaking as a former president of the Independent Seafood Producers of Nova Scotia. When we asked the questions, we never seemed to get any answers. I think that it is time for the fishing industry to get answers when we are asking questions which involve the future of our fisheries. I think that kind of question is one that we deserve no less than an honest answer and, then if the answer is not sufficient, then we as a province and through the Minister of Fisheries and through all members of this House, we can lobby to have research money go to the fisheries where we think the most benefit can accrue to this province.

Right now in the fishery there is another issue that is brewing and it involves the scallop industry. The problem that goes on there - and I am talking specifically with regard to the offshore fishery - is the change in the way that the federal government looks at insurability for crewmen. About 1997 they changed the way that fishermen were being perceived. In the past they were perceived as being self-employed and right now they have changed that concept and they are being viewed as employees of the company. That has caused quite a bit of hardship on some of the companies that are employing them because it means that they have to pay all the employer portions on all the Canada Pension that they would pay - they did not do that in the past - also on the EI.

[Page 595]

It also has some consequences for how they are viewed by the Coast Guard. In the past, these people were fishermen on a boat. Now they are going to be viewed as crewpeople or crewmen and, as such, it changes the rules that they have to fish by. That will create some problems for the employers. In my region that involves especially Comeau Seafoods and Saulnierville's vessels. They employ quite a few people in our area. These are high-paying jobs and these changes may well force Comeau Seafoods to lay off some people. They are talking maybe 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 people, we do not know what the numbers are.

People are very concerned and we are hoping that perhaps the Minister of Fisheries can make some interventions on behalf of these companies to see whether we can find a resolution. I think that whether it is 30 or 40 jobs, if we in Nova Scotia can save those jobs, then we should be doing so. I would call on the minister to become informed on the issue and make sure that whatever representations we can put forward to help resolve this issue, are done in speed.

[9:30 p.m.]

I mentioned before the types of fisheries available in Argyle, one of which is aquaculture. I am here to report that they are experiencing growing pains, and I think that's maybe not exactly the word I would have thought of using, but the oyster industry was encouraged by this government and a lot of it is in my area of Argyle. After a few years, it is becoming apparent that there are problems with some of the assumptions they were using. I won't get into all the specifics, because they are in the process of trying to rectify it. I look at the fact that the province encouraged these people to get into it, they felt there was a future, especially in this one specific component.

Right now, many of the players in this fishery are having some serious difficulties and I know they will be approaching government to work with them to see whether or not they can get over the hump, and I hope that the Minister of EDT and the Minister of Fisheries will have an open ear. These people have been hardworking and through no fault of their own, based on some of the assumptions that they were given by the department when they started this, they just haven't panned out and they find themselves in a difficult state.

The same seems to be in the finfish industry which also has some growing pains, but they have persevered and they have technically gotten over their problems. They seem to be doing very well growing the fish. The problem that they are experiencing is that there is a global glut on steelhead trout. This has been caused by the fact that there are currency problems in the Asian markets and Chile, which is the world's greatest producer of the species, are finding themselves unavailable to ship to that market. So, they are shipping all the product, or virtually all their product, to our market. That is creating a glut and it is very unfortunate, and we are hoping that over time we can find a way to keep these people in the fishery, rather than driving them out into bankruptcy. So that when there is a turnaround, we

[Page 596]

have established people in the industry that can also create jobs and offer a future to aquaculture in this field.

When you are speaking about fishing, another issue which is important, I think, is the process of the review that has been taking place with regard to Georges Bank. They are in the process of holding hearings as we speak or later on this week, and I would like to say that I was part of a government that enacted legislation that protected this important resource about 10 years ago.

Georges Bank is a living and an amazing thing to behold. I don't know if any of you have ever had the chance to be on Georges Bank, but it's a living river going through an area of about 70 to 100 miles off Nova Scotia. Many people say it seems to be something to behold. You can't really describe it unless you have a chance to see it personally. I know that that one Bank has the ability to generate resources which riches are untold. I look at the amount of scallops coming off that Bank every year, the amount of swordfish and tuna coming off that Bank every year, the amount of groundfish coming off of that Bank. It is something that we should hold with extreme pride and also with extreme caution, when people talk about the possibility of having development on that Bank.

I look at the actions that we did 10 years ago, when we enacted legislation to protect it. I would like to say that I haven't changed my mind. I still believe that it should be protected. But I am only one person and I will listen to the hearings that take place. Barring circumstances that would cause me to change my mind, I would like to say that I would be speaking to protect this valuable resource. Because, Mr. Speaker, if something were to occur on that Bank, which would be detrimental to the long-term viability or the ability to regenerate itself, then I would bear responsibility for it.

I look at the whole concept of Georges Bank development. Many people say, well, it's going to create a lot of jobs. I look at that, and I look at it with suspect. I'll tell you why. Most of the jobs that will be there, will be in the development stage, and a lot of them perhaps, probably won't even come from our area. You will get some air support from the Yarmouth Airport, and perhaps Yarmouth Harbour or perhaps Shelburne Harbour being used for facilities, but most of that, when you get right down to it, will probably be coming out of Halifax. So maybe, I'm being parochial in that. I have to look at it, because I have a riding and what kind of spin-offs would we receive.

But I also say this. The jobs will be short-term. Then they say, well, after that there will be development. If there is natural gas on Georges Bank, do you think that they are going to pipe natural gas to Yarmouth or are you going to pipe natural gas to the New England market which is a shorter distance than it is to Yarmouth? My opinion at that time, and it has not changed, if natural gas is found on Georges Bank, it is not coming ashore in Nova Scotia. You do not go 1,000 miles out of the way to end up somewhere you can go in 70 miles. So I look at the subsequent development of Georges Bank and that will not have that much

[Page 597]

benefit to this province. (Interruption) Also with royalty agreement that was signed, there are very few benefits that come on and a lot of times that is offset by equalization payments to the province.

So, you ask yourself, Mr. Speaker, what benefits are there? I think they are extremely limited. On the other side of the coin, you have a viable, renewable resource that is there year after year after year. We in Nova Scotia, especially in southwestern Nova Scotia, have been relatively independent and we want to stay that way. We have a resource there that benefits many of the counties in southwestern Nova Scotia and I think, barring my hearing something to the opposite of what I have just said, that I will be in opposition to drilling on that point and I would encourage all members to consider that seriously when they are asked their opinion in this regard.

I would like to mention a very localized issue, one which is a process that has been going on for a long time and I feel should be discussed this evening in the House. I speak of the fight by seven fishermen from my home village who were in possession of Bluefin licenses when there used to be the International Tuna Cup in my village. When things started to slow down and they had the tuna cup tournament, things were very difficult. They were not catching very many tuna, like I mentioned in my earlier comments. The tuna seemed to have changed their migratory patterns and the fishermen became disillusioned.

One year when they went just to renew their licenses, to keep them, they were informed by the DFO personnel that they should, rather than pay their license, why do you not just keep it and whenever you want it, I will re-issue the license. Well, they believed in him and they believed in what he said. When the fishery restarted in southwestern Nova Scotia and they went to reinstate their licenses, lo and behold, Mr. Speaker, he had a change of memory. I think the change of memory came from his superiors who told him to say something different.

Mr. Speaker, when I give my word, I keep to it and this gentleman did not in that case. That is unfortunate. He could say he forgot and I guess he will be judged by his words because there is only person who can really judge you and he will be judged on that day. But these people who have a just right to have the licenses renewed were not. They did not have them renewed. People from the Clare region, who also participated in these tuna cup tournaments, had theirs. Is it not strange that a different fishery officer, and somehow he was beholden to them and he kept his word and they got theirs.

So for the last, I would say, 7 to 10 years these fishermen have been waging a fight to get these licenses renewed and actually they went through the appeal process of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and they were recommended for a reinstatement. The minister put it on hold and it has been put on hold ever since. I know that the minister has said that a decision is imminent but he has said that for the last five or six months.

[Page 598]

I would like to call on the Minister of Fisheries, if he could speak to his staff, as to maybe trying to get a status on this. Your predecessor, the Honourable James Barkhouse, was in support of these fishermen's applications and I would like to speak to you perhaps in a little more detail. If you could put forward the request, I think these seven fishermen deserve the right to participate in the Bluefin tuna fishery and I would call on members to help them in their efforts. I think they deserve no less.

Also I would like at this time to address concerns which were brought to my attention by seniors during the campaign. When you go door to door and people mention things to you, you sometimes wonder whether they are altogether well informed. I went to this house and these people said that they had applied for the property tax rebate and that they were told they did not qualify but Harry down the road qualified. I am thinking to myself, well, you know, sure. So I told them I would look into it. I said I am busy right now.

The election was going to be in 10 days. After the election, I promise you, I will get back. So lo and behold, I looked it up and it said it is true. I can't believe how a government can suddenly decide that after the year 1996, if you become a senior, you no longer qualify for property tax rebate, and if you had it before, you qualify. Now I used to believe in things such as fairness and equity but there is something going on when a government can refuse that. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, if these senior citizens had the money to bring this to court, they would win. There is no way, constitutionally, that they could be denied this.

I call on the government to review this. I have talked to many seniors who do have it, who have talked to their neighbours who can't get it and their opinion is, if I have to take less for them to have their share, that would seem reasonable. Now, Mr. Speaker, it goes on to a whole matter of fairness and being reasonable. Up until now this government has not seen fit to do that. I hope that maybe after they bring their budget in that they will listen to the Opposition benches and relent on this issue. It isn't much to ask to be fair to everybody. I ask the government just to think about this one. I am sure that if you do, you will come up with the right decision.

Another issue, of course, was the Seniors' Pharmacare Program about which I had so many inquiries. (Interruption)

AN HON. MEMBER: Come and talk to my constituents some time. (Interruptions)

MR. LEBLANC: Well, Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Community Services thinks that the Pharmacare Program is being looked at as being fair across this province, she has to be the most misinformed person in this House because I have spoken to many people and they do not feel that this system is fair. When I look to seniors who had private plans, who were told that if they didn't get on the government plan that they would have to pay double in the future if they had to abandon their plan, and these people were intimidated into giving up their private plan that they were paying for, so that the minister could pay the cost.

[Page 599]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I consider myself a businessperson. When I heard that it amazed me as to who comes up with these plans. There has to be a fairy up on the hill somewhere that is coming up with these plans and saying this is fair. We had a co-pay program before and there was a maximum that they could pay.

Mr. Speaker, when we left office here there was a system that was fair. This isn't fair and don't tell me that it is (Interruptions)

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

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I see I have the government's attention. (Interruption)

Oh, I have my facts very right.

Mr. Speaker, I talked to people who are getting money back. I always wonder, how do people get money back when other people pay? As an example, earlier this week a senior, he and his wife are paying $215 each. They are taking care of their grandson because of difficulties with their daughter, so they have to take care of another person and they have considerable costs with that. That doesn't bear in any calculations for this Pharmacare, that is outside of it. So they are saying that they are making too much money, they have to pay $215. Next door we have three senior citizens, two brothers and a sister and because they make under a certain amount each, they all get money back. So how can they get money back and these people don't? They tell me they are very rarely sick, so they are putting that money in their pockets and these people are paying out. This is beyond me that people can believe this is a fair system. I would like to ask the government to really ask seniors what they believe because they don't believe this is fair.

Mr. Speaker, the major issue in my election, and I think in many ridings in the past election, was health care. At the centre in my riding was the regional health boards. In my area we are served by the Southwestern Regional Health Board, which encompasses Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis and Kings. This is another shining example of how you lost touch with the people you serve. Meetings are held in secret so that no one knows what goes on. I don't think that promotes public confidence.

[9:45 p.m.]

We in Yarmouth County and, indeed, in Shelburne and Digby Counties worked hard over the years to make sure we had a regional hospital, a facility where we could receive most medical procedures without having to drive to Halifax or to Kentville or to Bridgewater and where we could be treated and comforted by the people we love at times of stress. Since this huge regional hospital board has been formed, we have virtually lost all local input into the decision-making process of the board; in other words, we are being dictated to, rather than leading.

[Page 600]

We have seen a steady decline of medical services since its inception: a decrease in beds at the Yarmouth Hospital; a reduction in staffing positions; the buyout of senior nurses, only to try to hire them back as casuals in a few months; - there was an example here a few days ago where the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's mentioned there were five OR nurses who were being laid off and asked to be hired back as casuals - and there has been a decline in GPs and specialists in the local area due to the stress levels that they are under because of being overworked, and the depressed state of health care generally.

We have this government that continues to deny that there is a problem with health care. They denied it during the election campaign, until the second or the third week of the campaign and then they said, we have changed our mind, there is a problem with health care and we are going to throw $80 million at it. They deny that there is a doctor shortage, and they have the gall to announce in the Speech from the Throne that they have attracted 100 doctors to this province, but they unfortunately omitted how many doctors left during the same time, or how many retired.

We have a serious problem in Yarmouth County. We have two different circumstances in Yarmouth County. We have the Pubnico/Argyle area - I will be very specific - we have in that area, fortunately, enough doctors to service the area and people can see a doctor almost the same day if they so wish. Then we have the rest of Yarmouth County, which encompasses my home village and many of the other ones and especially the Town of Yarmouth and surrounding areas where we have a serious shortage and many thousands of people have no doctor whatsoever. In my own instance, to see my doctor I have to go on Mondays and that means I have to wait three or four hours. That is the only day I can see him. Other than that, I go to outpatients and I wait four or five hours if it is unfortunate, maybe three or four if things are lucky.

That is totally unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. That is not getting any better. When I hear the government saying that they have drawn to this province 100 doctors and that we should be happy with it, if that is the status quo that they want us to believe is prevalent in Yarmouth County and that we should be happy, I do not believe it. The people in my riding do not believe it and if you do not believe me, you go there and you ask them yourselves.

We are experiencing a shortage of long-term care beds, which is placing an unbelievable strain on our hospital. This spring it was terrible and I could not believe the number of very sick people who could not get a bed, and those who did were often left in the outpatients' ward. I went there to visit one of my constituents. There were 12 people in the outpatients' ward; they were piled up. It was unbelievable, Mr. Speaker. I do not think anyone who is that sick should have to suffer under those conditions. As long as we continue to fail to address these concerns, problems will continue.

While on the subject of long-term care, there is still to be resolved the issue of wage parity for nurses who work at long-term care homes versus the ones who work at hospitals.

[Page 601]

Our Party put forward their own Speech from the Throne during the recent campaign by releasing our platform called, Putting People First. Though some may find some issues which we did not address to their satisfaction, at least we had the fortitude to put forward a vision, one that I felt started to address the real concerns that Nova Scotians wanted dealt with. I was proud to be part of a team that put it forward and I am also proud of what it stands for. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 347

HON. DONALD DOWNE: I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall

(1) read and table the message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor transmitting the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the Province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1998, for the consideration of this House;

(2) table the Estimate Books;

(3) table the Crown Corporation business plans;

(4) table the Estimate and Crown Corporation business plans resolutions;

(5) deliver my Budget Speech; and

(6) move that the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the Province, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1999, being Supply to be granted to Her Majesty, and the Crown corporation business plans be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

Mr. Speaker, this will be done on Thursday, June 4, 1998. (Applause)

[Page 602]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, actually that was a Statement by Minister but it was also a Government Notice of Motion, if you could take it as read as a Government Notice of Motion.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Is that agreed?

MR. SPEAKER: It is agreed.

[GOVERNMENT MOTIONS]

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to start tonight by thanking you and giving you congratulations on your election to the Chair of Speaker and also congratulate the member for Dartmouth South and his election. I would like to tell you in general terms what an honour it is for someone like me to be in this House amongst all these honourable people and I mean that sincerely, that from both sides of the House, since I have been here, how well I have been treated. It certainly is a learning curve for someone who comes from such a background as mine, I am just in awe of the help and cooperation I have been getting and I would like to convey that through you now.

Since my time is limited tonight I would like to talk in general terms about the riding of Cape Breton Centre and some of the people that certainly were instrumental in getting me here. In no short way, I would like to thank Norma Tomiczek and Clifford Dornig, co-chairs of my election campaign, who worked tirelessly on my behalf and I appreciate that. With those things always comes your family. My wife, who doesn't like to be mentioned very often in public, was just a mountain of strength for me during my campaign. She certainly was there every step of the way and I applaud her for that.

I will now move on to my children, my son Steven, who probably knocked on more doors than I did and a lot of people probably voted for me because of his good demeanor, not my good common sense. To my daughter Erin and her friends that worked tirelessly dropping leaflets and various other things, I say to them thank you very much. With that said, I would like to talk about areas of my riding.

I would like to start with Reserve and probably start my comments on a sad note. It was less than one year ago that a former member, Micky the Bull, Michael MacDonald as a lot of you would know him passed away and the member for Cape Breton Nova was one of his pall bearers and another former member for Cape Breton Centre for the Tory Party. It was very

[Page 603]

sad passing to see the passing of Mr. MacDonald, he was certainly a great Nova Scotian, he had the respect of everybody in this House and he was the first Leader of our Party. I would like to convey my condolences, albeit they are late, to his wife. We all say we are very sorry.

As some of you may know, Reserve is the home of the first co-operative housing project in this country. It was the home of Jimmy Tompkins and these people worked tirelessly for the good of the common Nova Scotian. They went out and got people together in hard times. These people, as they so often say, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and went out and worked hard for that community, a community that was based on coal, a community not unlike the rest of my constituency, that is based on coal; coal is the lifeblood, truly, that runs through the veins of the people in my constituency. It is their history and I hope it is their future, Mr. Speaker.

This small community, Mr. Speaker, is amazing when you look at it and go door to door. You go to the Reserve Rows and you go to Tompkinsville. These people just treat you with so much love and admiration when you come in. There was even one older gentleman, when asked would he support me during the campaign, said, son, I can't. I am a lifelong Liberal. Anytime my Leader is right, I back him, and the other 95 per cent of the time, I keep my mouth shut.

There are stories like that all through the riding, Mr. Speaker, and I can't say too much about the people from Reserve. They were excellent to me. We move through there and we go to Gardiner, through Centreville. Those people, also mining people, were with us all the way through this campaign. They supported us, incidentally I have won every poll in this riding. Truly, they came back to their New Democratic roots. We walked the length and breadth of that riding with people like Eric Funari and people like that who knew the concerns. Eric is a UMW member and he works at the coal wash preparation plant when it is working. It is through people like that, when we talked to laid-off miners, who were saying, what is our future. The government has let us down. They are not doing anything for us. They were looking for some kind of hope - a hope that was not forthcoming from this group across the way from you. They were let down by their federal counterparts and they felt now like they were being let down by the provincial.

We have Donkin Mine. We asked the provincial government for support, there was no support forthcoming. They were content to follow in the footsteps of their federal cousins, let's privatize Donkin. Mr. Speaker, it is clear, coming out of that area, these people want a three mine operation for Devco.

MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps the honourable member might like to adjourn the debate at this time.

MR. CORBETT: I move adjournment, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 604]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the hours of sitting will be from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and following the orders of the day and Question Period, we will resume the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

I move that we adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 9:59 p.m.]

[Page 605]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 346

By: Mr. Robert Chisholm (Leader of the Opposition)

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

Whereas in the March 24th election the people of Nova Scotia decided to elect three Parties to the Legislature, none with a majority; and

Whereas despite the passage of more than 60 days the Liberals have changed not a single policy and show no signs that they understand the meaning of the March 24th election; and

Whereas the voters clearly decided on March 24th that no one Party should try to dictate its policies to the Legislature but should listen to the views of the electorate as expressed through the ballot box;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House respect the results of March 24th and work together on policies and programs that implement the wishes of the voters of Nova Scotia.