Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Mon., June 8, 1998

First Session

MONDAY, JUNE 8, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Doucetteville: Sissiboo Rd. - Pave,
Mr. G. Balser 947
Transport. & Pub Wks.: Whitehill Rd. (Pictou Co.) - Pave,
Mr. C. Parker 948
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 498, Agric. - Agrologists Inst. (N.S.) Outstanding Farmer Award:
Gilbert & Dorothy Allen - Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 948
Vote - Affirmative 949
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 12, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 949
No. 13, Financial Measures (1998) Act, Hon. D. Downe 949
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 499, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage MLA - Megan McKay:
Marriage - Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 949
Vote - Affirmative 950
Res. 500, Health - Blood Dialysis Prog.: Adequate - Implement,
Mr. M. Baker 950
Res. 501, Culture - Gertie Grant: CD Release - Congrats., Mr. R. White 951
Vote - Affirmative 952
Res. 502, Eastern Shore-Lake Echo Lions Club: Anniv. 20th - Congrats.,
Ms. Y. Atwell 952
Vote - Affirmative 952
Res. 503, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Econ. Advisory Council: Potential -
Recognize, Mr. G. Fogarty 953
Res. 504, Citizenship & Immigration - Offshore: Jobs (N.S.) - Ensure,
Mr. R. Chisholm 953
Res. 505, Culture - Carnival of Cultures (New Glasgow 26-30/06/98):
Jim Stewart & Organizers - Congrats., Dr. J. Hamm 954
Vote - Affirmative 955
Res. 506, Environ. - Unimportance: Position Abandon - Urge,
Mr. D. Chard 955
Res. 507, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Computers: Millennium -
Documentation Release, Mr. J. DeWolfe 955
Res. 508, Antigonish Lions Air Cadet Sq.: CO & Cadets - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Fraser 956
Vote - Affirmative 957
Res. 509, Educ. - Student: Loan Debts - Assist, Mr. P. Delefes 957
Res. 510, Environ. - Whitney Pier: Waterway Arsenic - Action,
Dr. J. Hamm 957
Res. 511, Fin. - HST: Oil Heating Promise Unfulfilled - Condemn,
Mr. H. Epstein 958
Res. 512, Fish.: Gulf of Maine Secretariat - Welcome, Hon. K. Colwell 958
Vote - Affirmative 959
Res. 513, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101 (Anna. Valley):
Carnage - Concerns (Doctors) Address, Mr. G. Archibald 959
Res. 514, Fin. - Budget (1998-99): Educ. Priority - Commend,
Mr. L. Montgomery 960
Res. 515, Culture: SS Atlantic Heritage Fund - Support,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 961
Res. 516, Vet. Affs. (Can.) - Yarmouth HS Students:
Performance (Hfx.-06/06/98) - Thanks, Mr. N. LeBlanc 962
Vote - Affirmative 962
Res. 517, Health: St. Anne Centre Ladies Aux. Heliport (Arichat) -
Commend, Mr. M. Samson 962
Vote - Affirmative 963
Res. 518, Marine Atlantic - Workers: Fair Settlement - Urge,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 963
Res. 519, Sysco - Sale: Time Frame - Release, Mr. B. Taylor 964
Res. 520, Educ. - Post-Secondary: Funding Increase - Recognize,
Mr. H. Fraser 964
Res. 521, Health - Cancer Soc. (Can.) Hfx.: Celebration of Hope Service -
Commend, Ms. E. O'Connell 965
Vote - Affirmative 966
Res. 522, Educ. - P3: Options - Detail, Mr. E. Fage 966
Res. 523, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Cooperation (Gov't. [N.S.]-Business):
Optimism - Support, Mr. R. White 966
Res. 524, Sports - Hockey (QMJHL): Draft Successes (N.S.) - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 967
Vote - Affirmative 968
Res. 525, Justice - Crown Prosecutors: Communications - Ensure,
Mr. M. Scott 968
Res. 526, NDP - Coal: Political Contortions - Harry Houdini Award,
Mr. P. MacEwan 969
Res. 527, Pub. Accts. - Liberal Party (Can.): Performance -
Sen. A. Graham & Geoff Regan Call, Mr. J. Pye 969
Res. 528, Econ. Dev. & Tourism/Educ. - Nat. Gas: Training Progs. -
Implement, Mr. N. LeBlanc 970
Res. 529, Fin. - Budget (1998-99): Commitment (Gov't. [N.S.]-Business) -
Recognize, Mr. G. Fogarty 970
Res. 530, Commun. Serv. - Small Options Homes: Regs. - Urge,
Ms. Y. Atwell 971
Res. 531, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Film & Video Industry: Growth -
Ensure, Mr. G. Balser 972
Vote - Affirmative 972
Res. 532, NDP - Michelin: Importance - Recognize, Mr. M. Samson 972
Res. 533, St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club: Seeing Eye Dog Sponsorship -
Thanks, Mr. W. Estabrooks 973
Vote - Affirmative 974
Res. 534, Health - Robert Johnson MD: Grad. (1st Mi'Kmaq [Dal.]) -
Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 974
Vote - Affirmative 974
Res. 535, NDP - Ultramar (Dart.): Jobs Loss - Position State,
Mr. K. Colwell 975
Res. 536, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Pictou Ferry: Promotion - Increase,
Mr. C. Parker 975
Res. 537, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Rural Roads: Maintenance -
Funding Increase, Mr. M. Baker 976
Res. 538, Health: Cops for Cancer (Sackville RCMP) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Holm 976
Vote - Affirmative 977
Res. 539, Health - Bicycle Helmets: Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Assoc./
Neuro Trauma Soc. (N.S.) - Efforts Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 977
Vote - Affirmative 978
Res. 540, Culture - Dartmouth Dance Academy: Jacqueline Wright -
Applaud, Mr. J. Muir 978
Vote - Affirmative 979
Res. 541, Health - Walk of Dreams (Nat.) Hfx.: Success - Wish,
Mr. G. Moody 979
Vote - Affirmative 979
Res. 542, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Wallace: CAP Site Establ. - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Fage 980
Vote - Affirmative 980
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Fin. - Supplement to the Public Accounts, Hon. D. Downe 981
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 347, Comm. of Whole House on Supply, Hon. D. Downe 981
Mr. H. Epstein 982
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Fin. - Supplementary Expenditure Details of the Estimates for 1998-99,
Hon. D. Downe 992
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 347, Comm. of the Whole House on Supply, Hon. D. Downe 992
Mr. N. LeBlanc 993
Referred to CWH on Supply 999
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1000
Mr. M. Scott 1006
Adjourned debate 1016
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., June 9th at 12:00 p.m. 1016

[Page 947]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, JUNE 8, 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 Digby-Annapolis.

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the people of Doucetteville. The operative clause is, "We the undersigned would request that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works take action to ensure that the Sissiboo Road is made a priority for paving during the 1998 summer works season.". There are 34 names and I have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

947

[Page 948]

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Whitehill, Pictou County. It reads as follows, "We the tax paying residents of Whitehill, feel this road is unsafe, and unsatisfactory for motorists, and is in need for immediate attention. We in turn want to see this paved road totally paved or paved in sections to adequate standards.". It is directed to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. It is signed by 57 people from the area and I have affixed my own signature to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 498

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

Whereas Gilbert and Dorothy Allen of Kings County became the first Canadian strawberry plant nursery to produce and export strawberry plants to Florida; and

Whereas the business has grown from one acre of nursery stock in 1975 to 70 acres in 1998, employing as high as 80 workers, with the certified plants being exported all across Canada and to the United States; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists, recognizing the Allens for their outstanding contribution to the agriculture industry, presented them with an Outstanding Farmer Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Gilbert and Dorothy Allen, recipients of the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists Outstanding Farmer Award, for their contributions to the agricultural industry of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 949]

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 12 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1994. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act. (Hon. Manning MacDonald as a private member.)

Bill No. 13 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Donald Downe)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 499

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

Whereas members of this House toil daily in shaping public policy on behalf of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas in the midst of the fray, members find precious little time for friends and family; and

Whereas this past Saturday, the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage entered into a communion of souls with Megan McKay;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage and his partner on the occasion of their marriage and extend best wishes to them when they take their postponed honeymoon.

[Page 950]

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice and passage without debate and for all members to extend their congratulations.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Queens on an introduction.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you and to all members of the House, through you, two guests in the west gallery who are visiting us from the Isle of Man. They are Mr. Wylie McDowell and Mr. David Higgins. I would ask them to stand so that the House can see where they are located and to welcome them here. Among other things, they are here to visit the grave site of Mr. McDowell's six year old sister who lost her life in the Halifax Explosion. We hope that their visit here will be a most pleasant one and I can say, as I know you can, Mr. Speaker, that they come from a very beautiful part of the world, one which I have had the opportunity to visit and would look forward to visiting again. We welcome them here to Nova Scotia. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 500

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

Whereas kidney failure is a life-threatening medical condition affecting thousands of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians who require blood dialysis live long distances from blood dialysis centres; and

Whereas many of our fellow citizens living in rural Nova Scotia spend three days in every week travelling to access the medical care they need to live;

[Page 951]

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recommend to the Minister of Health and Justice that he immediately implement a comprehensive blood dialysis program to ensure that adequate access to blood dialysis exists for all Nova Scotians, no matter where they live.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 501

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

Whereas Gertie Grant of Canso has just released her first CD entitled Let's Hear it for Canso, comprising 10 songs which she wrote and recorded; and

Whereas the CD is a mix of folk, country and easy listening music, inspired by Canso, the water and fishing; and

Whereas Gertie Grant will be one of the performers who will be performing at the Stan Roger's Folk Festival in July;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate Gertie Grant on the release of her CD and wish her every success as she continues to compose and perform her unique compositions.

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.

[Page 952]

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. 502

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

Whereas the Eastern Shore-Lake Echo Chapter of the Lions International celebrated their 20th Anniversary on June 6, 1998; and

Whereas the Eastern Shore-Lake Echo Lions Club has contributed to the betterment of their community by supporting scholarship programs, raising funds for the Lake Echo Recreation Centre, Safe Grad and numerous other worthy causes; and

Whereas the Eastern Shore-Lake Echo Lions Club sponsored a Nova Scotia youth's participation in a worldwide poster competition in which she placed in the top 100 of over 300,000 entrants;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Eastern Shore-Lake Echo Lions Club on their 20th Anniversary and applaud their remarkable contribution to Nova Scotia communities.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am rising on an introduction. I would like to thank the House for their endorsement of the resolution. It is much appreciated. Up in the west gallery, I just want to note a few people who are here from away visiting. Hopefully, we

[Page 953]

can give a good round of applause for them. Marylin McKay, who actually is my mother-in-law and lives here; Paul Lawrence from Toronto; Christen Connelly and Carter Connelly from Toronto; Taida Hambilton from Hamilton, Ontario; and Betsy Masters from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Maybe we can give a nice hand for them. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 503

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

Whereas independent economic forecasters are predicting the strongest growth in our province's economy in more than a decade; and

Whereas following the tabling of Nova Scotia's third consecutive balanced budget, our local newspaper reported that the President of the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jim Mills, agreed that a budget surplus is good news, he said, "Business is not looking for government grants and handouts to grow. We're looking for a strong support structure, which government can and should provide."; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Government, as announced in the provincial budget, will establish the new Economic Advisory Council;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly recognize the potential available to the prosperity of this province as our government draws upon the expertise of members in our business community through the new Economic Advisory Council.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 504

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 federal Liberal Government has changed immigration rules so that Canadians no longer need to be hired on vessels doing seismic work beyond the 12-mile limit; and

Whereas the new rules will make it possible for foreign seismic vessel owners to hire cheap labour abroad and compete unfairly with Canadian offshore companies; and

[Page 954]

Whereas the federal ruling will reduce even further the inadequate spin-off benefits that are coming to Nova Scotians and Canadians from offshore oil and gas development;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demand that the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration take immediate steps to insure that Nova Scotia offshore resources generate jobs for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[7:15 p.m.]

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 505

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

Whereas New Glasgow will be holding a Carnival of Cultures from June 26th to June 30th to celebrate the historical connection between San Fernando, Trinidad, and New Glasgow; and

Whereas the highlight of the carnival will be a Saturday night show at New Glasgow Stadium which will use music, dance and narrative to trace the multicultural past of northern Nova Scotia; and

Whereas up to 60 Trinidadian delegates are expected to attend the festivities that will feature: special guest performer, John Morgan of the Royal Canadian Air Farce; along with the talents of 40 local actors; music groups, Morning Star, Four the Moment, and The Super Steel Band, as well as local singer, Doris Mason; and Acadian singer, Lena Boudreau;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly offer warmest wishes to Jim Stewart and the other Carnival of Cultures' organizers, as well as the many talented performers and visitors for a successful and fun-filled time at the carnival.

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.

[Page 955]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 506

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

Whereas this government clearly showed that Nova Scotia's environment is not among its priorities by excluding it from the Budget Address, and by cutting the Department of the Environment budget by over $1 million; and

Whereas the responsibility of Nova Scotia for its own environment is actually increasing in light of the federal devolution of environmental regulation to the provinces; and

Whereas this government cannot possibly address the environmental concerns of Nova Scotians and live up to its own responsibilities if it refuses to make the department one of its priorities, and if it proceeds to slash the Department of the Environment;

Therefore be it resolved that this House strongly urge the government to abandon its position that the environment is unimportant, and that the government live up to its promise of consulting with Nova Scotians before proceeding to gut the Department of the Environment.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 507

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

Whereas the House of Commons committee examining the millennium computer bug has pinpointed hospitals across the country with critical areas of concern; and

Whereas the Ontario Medical Association has warned that Canada's public health care system is in serious danger because of thousands of pieces of medical equipment that could potentially fail on January 1, 2000, due to embedded computer chips; and

[Page 956]

Whereas Dr. Spencer Barclay, Chief of Staff at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, told the Canadian Press that doctors are concerned about the millennium bug and that patients should be concerned as well, because no one has a direct knowledge of how extensive the problem is;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat release a document presented to Cabinet by his predecessor one week before the provincial general election was called, so that Nova Scotians can have a thorough understanding as to whether the present Liberal Government is even remotely close to solving this problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 508

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

Whereas recently the No. 875 Antigonish Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron held its 19th Annual Ceremonial Review; and

Whereas the Antigonish squadron has 42 cadets ranging in age from 12 to 18 who are involved in community activities; and

Whereas the young people from Antigonish and area who are members of the Air Cadet Squadron receive training in leadership, athletic skills and have the opportunity to qualify for their pilot's licence;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Captain Donnie Oulton, Commanding Officer, and the No. 875 Antigonish Lions Air Cadet Squadron on their recent ceremonial review.

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 957]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 509

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

Whereas post-secondary students in Nova Scotia face an ever-growing student debt load from which many may never escape; and

Whereas the British Columbia Government recognized this and froze tuition fees at its universities for the past three years, in an effort to help students deal with the massive debt; and

Whereas the Ontario Government recently decided to increase undergraduate tuition fees and deregulate fees for professional and graduate programs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House implore the Minister of Education to meet with his fellow Education Ministers and the federal Human Resources Minister and come up with meaningful measures, such as those taken by British Columbia, to help students deal with student loan debt loads.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 510

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

Whereas Environment Canada officials have measured arsenic levels of 222 parts per billion in a local brook in Whitney Pier, almost 20 times above the acceptable level of 12; and

Whereas parents are terrified that their children will be poisoned because the brook is a popular destination for children each and every summer; and

Whereas the best that can seemingly be done at the present time is to have Environment Canada play the lead role by putting up signage and attempting to secure the site so that children and pets will stay away;

[Page 958]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment and the Premier understand the undue stress and hardship being experienced by families in Whitney Pier and move immediately to protect the residents by having senior Nova Scotia environment officials work with their federal counterparts to get rid of the arsenic-laced waterway at Whitney Pier.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 511

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

Whereas while running for the Leadership of the Liberal Party the Premier recognized the unfairness of the BST and promised BST relief on necessities like home heating fuel, children's clothing and electricity; and

Whereas the budget introduced in the House on Thursday promises a BST rebate only on electricity bills and only for a five month period; and

Whereas only those 83,000 homes in Nova Scotia that are heated with electricity will get any significant benefit from the budget while the 227,000 Nova Scotia dwellings heated by oil will get very little;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Premier for breaking his promise to Nova Scotians on the BST and for offering a BST rebate scheme that discriminates against those who consume and market home heating oil.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture

RESOLUTION NO. 512

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

Whereas 1998 is the International Year of the Ocean and today is being recognized around the globe as Oceans Day, a concept which was developed by Judith Swan of Dartmouth; and

[Page 959]

Whereas the Gulf of Maine is the ecosystem in the Atlantic Ocean which extends from Cape Sable Island through the Bay of Fundy to Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the Gulf of Maine Council, consisting of senior government officials from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, endeavour to improve fisheries habitat and the environment in this area; and

Whereas last week the Province of Nova Scotia accepted the honour of hosting the Secretariat to the Gulf of Maine Council for 1998;

Therefore be it resolved that this House welcome the Gulf of Maine Secretariat to Nova Scotia and offer its continued support to the Gulf of Maine Council in 1998 and beyond.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 513

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

Whereas Dr. Ian Verryn-Stuart and the medical staff at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville are urging their counterparts at hospitals in Windsor, Middleton, Annapolis Royal and Digby to demand the government resume twinning of Highway No. 101 through the Annapolis Valley; and

Whereas the Valley Regional Hospital physicians support their call for resumption of twinning with accident statistics released by the Department of Transportation and Public Works showing 637 incidents of property damage, 332 injuries and 27 fatalities between 1992 and 1997; and

[Page 960]

Whereas the physicians contend in a letter to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works that passing lanes in Highway No. 101 are both inadequate and dangerous and that as we approach the 21st Century Highway No. 101 has become obsolete as a major thoroughfare;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works seriously look at the concerns raised by the Valley Regional Hospital physicians and put forth a construction time-frame for twinning Highway No. 101.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 514

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

Whereas the provincial budget which was tabled in the House on Thursday showed an $82.3 million increase in funding for school boards; and

Whereas in addition to the $82.3 million, an additional $1.15 million will be invested to help support African-Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq learners, responding to the Black Learners Advisory Committee Report and the Task Force on Mi'kmaq Education; and

Whereas Marg Forbes, President of Nova Scotia School Boards Association said this budget really goes a long way toward reaffirming the government's commitment to making education in this province a priority;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Minister of Finance who had the foresight to recognize that making education a priority would guarantee a bright and prosperous future for the youth in our schools today.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 961]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 515

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

Whereas a committee of the residents of the community of Terence Bay has shown great initiative in the formation of the S.S. Atlantic Heritage Trust Fund; and

Whereas the mass burial site of the 277 souls who perished on April 1, 1873, in this tragic disaster is now being attacked by the constant pounding of the ocean; and

Whereas this tragedy must be remembered as a significant event in the history of this legendary seafaring community;

Therefore be it resolved that this government take immediate action by supporting the fundraising efforts of the S.S. Atlantic Heritage Trust Fund in order to assist in the building of a critically important seawall to preserve this historic site.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

[Page 962]

RESOLUTION NO. 516

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

Whereas junior high students from Yarmouth were in Halifax on Saturday to perform a special D-Day tribute to veterans; and

Whereas the Memorial Club from Maple Grove Educational Centre invited veterans to presentations featuring the school band and the laying of a wreath at the cenotaph as well as a gift of four portraits to the veterans at the Veterans' Memorial Building; and

Whereas the student musicians also played for the veterans unable to leave the hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the junior high students from Yarmouth for their gifts to the veterans in acknowledgement of their gifts to us, that of freedom.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 517

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

Whereas the official grand opening of the St. Anne Health Centre Ladies' Auxiliary Heliport in Arichat was held on May 27th; and

Whereas the $20,000 cost for the heliport was raised locally by the St. Anne Health Centre Ladies' Auxiliary; and

[Page 963]

Whereas the St. Anne Health Centre which is equipped with telemedicine capability is a shining example of this government's commitment to rural health care;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the ladies' auxiliary of the St. Anne Health Centre and their President, Lorna George; along with Eric Burke, Administrator; and Wayne Boudreau, President of the Board of Directors of the St. Anne Health Centre for their dedication to the health and wellness of their community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 518

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

Whereas workers employed by Marine Atlantic provide a vital public service and deserve fair treatment and respect for their hard work in the public interest; and

Whereas management of Marine Atlantic is refusing to negotiate a fair settlement with those workers; and

Whereas a federal Crown Corporation like Marine Atlantic should be a model employer with progressive labour relations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge Marine Atlantic to set a positive example for other employers by returning to the table and negotiating a fair settlement with its employees.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 964]

RESOLUTION NO. 519

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

Whereas Finance Minister after Finance Minister associated with this Liberal Government has said no more public funds for Sysco; and

[7:30 p.m.]

Whereas despite these claims the Liberal Government will likely pour at least another $5 million into Sysco for the fiscal year 1998-99; and

Whereas the minister responsible for Sysco continues to do his Mexican hat dance with the steelmaker allegedly interested in buying Sysco;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for Sysco, instead of releasing continual time-frame fabrications and hat dancing with the Mexicans about a potential sale, release once and for all a time-frame that will see Sysco removed from the backs of Nova Scotia taxpayers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 520

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

Whereas the Honourable Finance Minister, Don Downe, announced in our province's budget unprecedented investment in our education system, including increased funding for universities; and

Whereas university leaders were reported in the local newspapers, praising the extra $8 million for the coming year, saying it will help mitigate tuition increases and give universities confidence in planning for the future; and

Whereas Saint Mary's University Vice-President, Colin Dodds, is quoted, "We have more stability, and so we know where we are headed.";

[Page 965]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the outstanding contributions by this government in maintaining Nova Scotia's reputation throughout the world for offering the finest post-secondary educational opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 521

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 Sunday, June 7, 1998, was National Cancer Survivors Day; and

Whereas the Halifax unit of the Canadian Cancer Society held its first annual Celebration of Hope service at Edgewood United Church; and

Whereas this service offered hope and strength to those living with cancer and honoured the many people in our community who support and care for their families, neighbours and friends who have cancer as well as those who work to eradicate it;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Halifax unit of the Canadian Cancer Society for holding this service and express its appreciation to the Cancer Society for the work it does throughout the year.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 966]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 522

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

Whereas media reports on the weekend suggest that this government and Premier are reviewing options to its public-private partnership with regard to new school construction; and

Whereas while the Premier has given his word once again to be forthcoming with his government's finding as soon as possible, this is the same Premier that repeatedly promised both signed leases for all schools under construction and a review by the Auditor General; and

Whereas this issue is far too important for too many communities and school children across this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this Premier put forward his options now and not string along all those communities waiting desperately for construction of their new school and lay his cards on the table so that the people of this province know just where this government may be headed on the financing of school construction.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 523

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

[Page 967]

Whereas Nova Scotia offers a better economic climate with stable taxes and a government committed to integrity in public finances; and

Whereas this government looks forward to maintaining and building on that climate with the creation of the new Economic Advisory Council; and

Whereas the Atlantic Regional Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Mr. Peter O'Brien, said he supports the idea of the council by saying, "We think a private sector driven advisory group on economic development is certainly the way to go.";

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly support the growing optimism in the province's business community as government and business leaders work together in spreading economic opportunities across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 524

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is reputed to be the birthplace of hockey; and

Whereas this past weekend saw many Nova Scotian hockey players drafted into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League; and

Whereas two of these young hockey players, Andrew Sim and Breton Berthiaume, played for the Pictou County Week's Triple A Midget Hockey club;

Therefore be it resolved this House congratulate these two young hockey players and all other drafted players as a tribute to the strong minor hockey system present in Nova Scotia.

[Page 968]

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 525

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 Minister of Justice and Health said last week that government is open and has not closed the door to collective bargaining for its Crown Prosecutors and that much progress on collective bargaining has been made; and

Whereas while the Minister of Justice and Health has this in the Hansard record of House proceedings, he has failed to communicate to those most important in this dispute - Crown Prosecutors; and

Whereas the best way to seek a positive resolution to this situation would be to ensure that the government expressed its intentions to the Crowns;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice do less promising in this House and before the media and instead ensure full communications between the province and its public prosecutors, so that this dispute can come to a reasonable and timely settlement and Nova Scotians can be assured their justice system will not again be interrupted.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 969]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 526

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 socialists are 100 per cent for the coal miner but 100 per cent against the leader of the coal miner's union running for public office; and

Whereas the NDP socialists are 100 per cent in support of coal mining but 100 per cent in favour of the Epstein proposals to close all coal mines at once, replacing them with windmills; and

Whereas the NDP socialists are 100 per cent in favour of labour having a political voice but 100 per cent against that voice being provided through any political Party other than their own;

Therefore be it resolved that the Harry Houdini award for political contortionism be awarded 100 per cent to the NDP for we have never before witnessed their likes in all the political history of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 527

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

Whereas the Chretien Liberals appointed Senator Al Graham and Geoff Regan to look after the interests of Nova Scotians, after the Liberal disaster in the June 2, 1997 federal election in which they elected no members in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the good senator and his sidekick succeeded so well they reduced the number of provincial Liberals from 39 to 19 members; and

Whereas the Ottawa Liberals will surely in their own way hold Senator Graham and Mr. Regan accountable for their dazzling performance, but Nova Scotians have yet to offer their gracious thanks nor hear their explanation;

[Page 970]

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon Senator Al Graham and Geoff Regan to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to justify and be accountable for their stellar performance on behalf of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 528

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

Whereas the hopes are high that natural gas distribution will be available across Nova Scotia thereby creating employment opportunities in multiple communities; and

Whereas many people feel they could easily adapt to work in the natural gas industry if there are programs made available to them to further their skills and prepare them for work placements with this new energy source; and

Whereas proper training, assistance and upgrading of present skills must be offered to Nova Scotians so they can benefit from jobs created by the natural gas industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education and the Minister of Economic Development immediately look into the implementation of programs that deal with working in the natural gas industry so Nova Scotians will be prepared to enter this new field of employment.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax-Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 529

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

Whereas last Thursday the Liberal Government brought down its third consecutive balanced budget; and

Whereas reports in one local newspaper on the provincial budget included headlines like, "Budget's Rosy Picture Found to be Believable"; and

[Page 971]

Whereas the newspaper goes on to quote the Atlantic Regional Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Mr. Peter O'Brien, who said, this is a fiscally responsible budget; the projection for HST revenues is up by 2.9 per cent; retail sales are already far beyond that, and that perhaps speaks well for the total document; it is believable, in my view, and I think that is very important;

Therefore be it resolved the members of this House recognize the commitment by this government working with the business community to get more Nova Scotians involved in charting our province's economic future.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 530

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

Whereas the Sheppard family has been requesting an inquiry for more than two years in the death of Warren Edward Sheppard, who was murdered in a small options home; and

Whereas the Sheppard family is asking for an open public inquiry into the events that led to the murder of Warren Edward Sheppard; and

Whereas the absence of rules and regulations governing small options homes may have contributed to the death of Warren Edward Sheppard;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to proceed immediately with the regulation of small options homes.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[Page 972]

RESOLUTION NO. 531

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 film and video industry is booming in Nova Scotia with an increase over the last 15 months from $47.5 million to $92.5 million in production; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation has supported the creation of 420 new jobs; and

Whereas these many fine quality films produced in Nova Scotia include Tom Fitzgerald's The Hanging Garden, and Margaret's Musuem;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government do its utmost to ensure the growth of the film and video industry in Nova Scotia continues for years to come with an enhanced film tax credit to encourage production in 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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 532

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

Whereas the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage condemned our Liberal Government for neglecting rural jobs while at the same time condemning the government for assistance to Michelin, even though Michelin has invested $2 billion capital and paid over $2.5 billion in direct wages and salaries since coming to the province; and

[Page 973]

Whereas Michelin provides over 3,500 very well paid jobs to rural Nova Scotia, not including spin-offs to the Counties of Pictou, Lunenburg and Kings, and some $17 million in provincial revenue; and

Whereas the NDP is so out of touch with rural Nova Scotia that the member for Pictou West condemned Michelin, even though a good portion of his constituents rely on Michelin for employment;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP be condemned for their failure to recognize the importance of Michelin jobs to rural Nova Scotia and that this House recognize that a Nova Scotia, under the NDP, would immediately put at risk the 3,500 jobs that Michelin provides for rural Nova Scotia. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 533

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

Whereas Lions Clubs throughout the world are recognized as Helen Keller's "Knights of the Blind"; and

Whereas the sponsorship of seeing eye dogs is an integral part of Lions Clubs' support of work with the blind; and

Whereas the training for each of these dogs and their eventual owners cost approximately $6,000;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its thanks to Tantallon area residents and its congratulations to the St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club who held its annual Seeing Eye Dog Road Toll this past Saturday, raising $2,507 towards the club's goal of sponsoring the fourth seeing eye dog in the 10 year history of this Lions Club.

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.

[Page 974]

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. 534

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

Whereas Robert Johnson of Millbrook First Nation Community started his education in the Nova Scotia Teachers College Head Start Pre-school and then attended Princess Margaret Rose Elementary School, the Truro Junior High School and Cobequid Educational Centre; and

Whereas Robert Johnson graduated from Dalhousie University in May with an MD degree; and

Whereas Robert Johnson is the first Mi'kmaq to graduate from Dalhousie University's Medical School;

[7:45 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the Speaker, on behalf of all members of this Assembly, write and extend congratulations to Robert Johnson, M.D. on his achievement and wish him every success as he does his family practice residency in Prince George, B.C., a city which possesses an excellent Native Health Program.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Minister of Fisheries.

[Page 975]

RESOLUTION NO. 535

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

Whereas in his Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne on Thursday the honourable NDP socialist member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage criticized the Liberal Government of the day for allowing the Ultramar Refinery at Eastern Passage to be closed and dismantled, causing the loss of jobs for Ultramar workers; and

Whereas the honourable NDP socialist member for Halifax Chebucto in 1994 stated with respect to the closure of the Ultramar Refinery and the resultant loss of jobs; "I have to recognize that the closure will be of benefit"; and

Whereas the views of both socialist NDP members concerning the Ultramar Refinery are contradictory;

Therefore be it resolved that this House request the Leader of the socialist NDP to unequivocally state publicly in this House his Party's position with respect to loss of jobs caused by the closure of the Ultramar Refinery.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 536

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

Whereas our neighbouring province of Prince Edward Island continues to serve as an example for aggressive tourism promotion; and

Whereas Prince Edward Island has shown leadership in promoting their tourist destinations by encouraging the use of the Confederation Bridge; and

Whereas it is important to remember that there is another route to get to the Garden of the Gulf, namely the Caribou ferry in Pictou County;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia tourism officials take immediate steps to promote the Pictou ferry as a great way to get to and from our neighbouring province.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 976]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 537

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 public highways in rural Nova Scotia are in an appalling state of repair; and

Whereas the capital allocation of the Department of Transportation and Public Works for highway construction was slashed in the recent budget; and

Whereas it is critical to the welfare of all Nova Scotians in rural areas of the province that the secondary road network be immediately improved;

Therefore be it resolved that the capital allocation of the Department of Transportation and Public Works for highway construction be increased so that much-needed repairs to rural roads can be done immediately.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 538

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

Whereas on June 6, 1998, 14 members of the Sackville RCMP Detachment had their heads shaved as part of the Cops for Cancer event sponsored by the Sackville Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society; and

[Page 977]

Whereas the men and women had their heads shaved to show support for children living with cancer and to raise funds for the Cancer Society's programs and services, like Camp Good Time in Nova Scotia, a summer camp for children between the ages of 7 and 15 with cancer; and

Whereas Sackville's Cancer Society volunteers were assisted by the Sackville Lions and Lionesses and heads were shaved by Great Lengths, The Head Shoppe and Bernie's Barbering, with the special assistance of Haley Firth, a nine and a half year old survivor of leukemia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its congratulations and appreciation to the organizers and participants for making the 1998 Cops for Cancer event held on June 6th in Sackville such a great success.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 539

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

Whereas it is the law in Nova Scotia for bicyclists to use protective headgear; and

Whereas the wearing of properly fitted safety standard approved protective headgear can significantly reduce the risk of brain and spinal cord injury; and

Whereas the Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Association is distributing gift certificates for helmets to children from low income families;

[Page 978]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations and best wishes to the Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Association and the Nova Scotia Neuro Trauma Society for their efforts in providing bicycle helmets to young Nova Scotians.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 540

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

Whereas over 250 dancers participated in the 35th annual dance showcase of the Dartmouth Dance Academy under the leadership of Jacqueline Wright this past weekend; and

Whereas this annual showcase, now held in conjunction with the Dartmouth Sportsplex and Cole Harbour Place, featured dancers aged four to adult, performing numbers in ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop; and

Whereas the showcase is an annual highlight of a year of training for each of the dance pupils;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature applaud the tireless efforts of Jacqueline Wright, who for 35 years has used her endless creative abilities to lead thousands of young children into the world of dance, a pursuit which has trained future dance instructors for this province and also introduced those thousands of young Nova Scotians to the benefits of an active lifestyle and to the beauty of dance.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

[Page 979]

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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 541

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

Whereas the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, Halifax Chapter will host a National Walk for Dreams on June 21st; and

Whereas the foundation is raising money and awareness of its mission to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses or severe disabilities; and

Whereas everyone is encouraged to join in the Walk for Dreams by walking 5 or 10 kilometres in support of the Sunshine Foundation's mission;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly offer warmest wishes for a successful Walk for Dreams and encourage everyone to take part as well as thank the organizers, volunteers and financial supporters for their kind gifts to children with life-threatening illnesses or severe disabilities.

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.

[Page 980]

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 542

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

Whereas Wallace is a community along the Northumberland Strait, situated an hour from any major retail centre; and

Whereas the importance of technology and computer Internet access cannot be under-estimated with children and people of any age as was the case with students and teachers in Wallace who formed a partnership with IBM for a Community Access Project site; and

Whereas community volunteer, Peter Mortensen; Wallace Elementary School Principal, Levi Foley; Wallace and Area Home and School Association; Wallace and Area Development Association; and dedicated individuals all played a significant role in getting the CAP site established in that community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the people of Wallace along Nova Scotia's beautiful Northumberland Strait for their determination and hard work in establishing the CAP site.

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 Minister of Labour on an introduction.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and through you, to all members of the House, a very distinguished member of the Cape Breton- Victoria District School Board, who is a long time member of this board and as well, the previous board, Mr. Dan Hughie McLellan, if you would please rise and receive the approbation of the House. (Applause)

[Page 981]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you return to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request to revert to Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table Supplements to the Public Accounts.

MR. SPEAKER: The Supplements are tabled.

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.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 347.

Res. No. 347, re Estimates - Comm. of Whole House on Supply - notice given June 1/98 - (Hon. D. Downe)

[Page 982]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

I would advise him that he used 16 minutes on Friday, so he has about 44 minutes remaining.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, all members of this House together are about to embark upon a very detailed examination of the budget that was presented to us. We are going to go through, in two rooms, details of departmental estimates and immerse ourselves in the minutiae of what it is that is proposed to be spent by the government this year. It is extremely important that we do that. That is what we are elected for, in part. It is our responsibility to do that, to look at the detail.

But the question before the great majority of Nova Scotians sitting at home is a slightly different question. They will be asking themselves slightly different things. They will be asking themselves more broad-brush questions, and very important questions will be in their minds. They will be looking at this budget and they are asking themselves, are the services that I am paying for in my taxes actually being delivered to me? They will say to themselves, are my taxes going up? They will also say to themselves and to each other, what about taxes? Do we have a fair tax system? The last, and most important thing, that every individual Nova Scotian at home will be saying to themselves and to each other is, what about the credibility of the document and the people who put it together? Can I believe it?

That is a question, not just of the confidence of the House here, that is a question of the confidence that each of us must seek on every occasion on which there is an election. Indeed, we, of course, have just come through a major election in this province. This election focused on exactly the questions that I outlined. What it is that people are asking themselves is were the promises that were made by the government kept, or were those promises broken as we have seen on so many previous occasions? I have already given preliminary comments in which I have shown why it is that my immediate reaction was one of extreme scepticism and disappointment in the document. I am now going to go through in some detail to unfortunately demonstrate exactly why it is that neither I nor our Party nor any member of the public should really have any confidence in the document that came forward.

During this past election, our Party was extremely cautious in what it is we said we thought we could do if we had the opportunity to form a government, and we were cautious because we know that in past years, when this government has claimed that it had a surplus, the Auditor General said it did not. We know that the province's finances overall are precarious. We see, in the documents that have been tabled in front of the House, confirmation of why it is that we should have been cautious and why it was right for us to be cautious. What is needed is a complete audit by the Auditor General so we can, and all Nova Scotians can have a fair, complete picture of the overall finances of this province. (Applause)

[Page 983]

Let me start with the territory that has been gone through now a number of times - but I will go through it again - the problem of the BST. This is the problem of the broken promise right off the bat. During this past election, both Opposition Parties called for an end to the BST, to give notice under the federal-provincial agreement. That is what should have been in this budget if the two Opposition Parties had been consulted about their wishes for this budget.

To the extent that there is anything in this budget, it is not what was promised by the Premier. Let's not forget what the promise was. It was for HST relief that was to be permanent, that was to be targeted, that was to cover electricity, home heating fuels of all sorts, and children's clothing. This is a promise that was made time and again. The record on this is particularly interesting. Not only did the Premier make this promise when he was a leadership candidate, he made it numerous times in the ensuing six and eight months. As soon, however, as he realized that the potential cost of this might be in the order of $45 million, he began to find reasons not to go ahead with it, at the same time promising that something would come. Do you remember the famous fall promise? Oh, there will be relief in January on home heating fuels; wait for it. As soon as the heating season comes, there will be relief. But as soon as we got there, no way.

[8:00 p.m.]

The next step was that the Premier attempted to tie relief on the BST to some kind of tax arrangement that he thought was being worked out between Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Ottawa, the federal Department of National Revenue, based on some old taxes or credits that might or might not have been used. The details of this have never come forward, but the Premier used it as an excuse to postpone coming forward with a detailed credit yet again. This is not satisfactory, this did not give credibility to the Premier or anyone who made this promise.

Now what do we see? We see a proposal in this budget that is purely temporary. Broken promise number one, with respect to what it was that was originally said, it is to cover the period from November 1997 to April 1998 and is estimated to cost about $10 million; temporary. What it said in the budget is that if this is to go on in the future, it will depend entirely on the tax ruling, and still no details about what it is that is involved there have ever been forthcoming, nor has Nova Scotia Power ever been prepared to give details about what it is that is involved.

The other part that this ignores is that even though this might give $10 million in the way of a rebate, it ignores the first $10 million that were taken out of the pockets of taxpayers on the first six months since that tax was in effect before that. There is only one-half of it that is rebated.

[Page 984]

Is it targeted? No, another part of the broken promise. This should have been targeted to low income earners primarily. This is clearly a much better deal for those who are spending most on electricity. That means people who are better off; it means people who are heating their homes with electricity, who own computers, who have electrical appliances in their homes and other gadgets that use electricity. That is not targeted to the lowest income people in our province. Furthermore, we know, of course, that those who are the lowest income will often be living in apartments where they won't be paying their own separate electricity bills. It is just not what it was that was promised, nor was it designed in an appropriate way.

We know what it omits, it omits all other forms of home heating. This is unfair, as we know, to rural residents who will often heat with wood. It is another example of a broken promise. We know that because it is only on electricity, this is in effect a subsidy for electric heat. This is wrong. The only response that has been made is the passing observation that the cost of oil was down this year. This is irrelevant. If the tax were not on it, it would be down even further.

We know that all commodities fluctuate, of course they fluctuate in price. They go up, they go down. People should get the benefit of that. It has nothing to do with the tax. No one is misled, not one single Nova Scotian is misled by that. What they are aware of is the fact that there is another part of the promise that was simply out and out broken.

What else does it omit? It omits children's clothing. Again, another part of the broken promise. It is not responsive to what it was that was said by the two Opposition Parties. The question arises - and this is what Nova Scotians will be asking themselves in each of their homes each time they buy children's clothing and pay the tax, each time they pay their fuel bills and see the tax - who can I trust, they will say. Can I trust the government that said one thing, promised it month after month after month but didn't deliver? This is not our style, this is not what we could do. This, Mr. Speaker, and members of the House, is not good enough for the members of this Party. It is not good enough for Nova Scotians.

I should, just as an appendix on this particular point, note that the Premier, in dealing with the Question Period matter on May 26th, got his facts wrong with respect to his opportunity to give relief on the BST in last fiscal year. At that time, I pointed out that he might have used some of the money that was being used and directed for the benefit of the Michelin Corporation to give relief on the whole range of promises on the BST. He replied by noting that that debt was not due until the year 2000 and, therefore, the money was not available.

However, in the budget documents, there is a line item under the Economic Development and Tourism Department that makes it very specific. Under Lending, that amount went on the line item from $3 million to $15 million, entirely attributable to the write-off in the past fiscal year, that is to say in 1997-98, of the loan to Michelin. You write it off in the year in which you know it is going to be written off. That is the proper accounting

[Page 985]

method. So all of that money could have been available last year to deal with BST relief. Again, it is a problem of credibility. In presenting this provision, the government has not shown itself to be worthy of any credibility or faith.

I would like to move next to the whole area of health care. Again, this is an example of a broken promise. The promise was very clear: An extra $100 million to go into health care last year and an extra $80 million to go into health care in 1998-99. We know, as I pointed out the other day, that this is simply not the case. The total number of extra dollars going into health care province-wide is no more than $37.5 million this year. This is not enough and it is a broken promise and it is not the standard that we would wish to see. It is exactly the kind of thing that every Nova Scotian at home is looking for.

It gets worse when we think about the details of what it is that is going on in health care in this province. The reality is that the problems associated with health care are not exclusively money problems. Reality is that every Nova Scotian knows that health care, the delivery of those services that everyone agreed in the last election campaign was absolutely vital and central to what it is that people want - they pay their taxes, they want to get the services in exchange - what Nova Scotians know is that the system is in a mess.

They know that that mess was created by the Liberal Government over its tenure. They know that what they are dealing with is a botched job. It was a botched job from Dr. Savage, a botched job from Dr. Stewart and we have a botched job from Dr. Smith. That problem has not been addressed by this budget in any way to inspire confidence on the part of Nova Scotians that they are getting the services that they pay taxes for.

Public trust in the health care system is fundamental to what it is that is required by every Nova Scotian here.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is fear-mongering again.

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, the members opposite seem to think that they are delivering a fine system. They are sadly deluded in this. They seem to think they are keeping their promises. What about the promise to Dr. Howard Dixon for the Medical Research Foundation, $5 million? It wasn't so long ago. Perhaps they can remember that.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was a long time ago.

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, there was an election. The point is, they are not going to be rejoicing over at Dalhousie Medical School over the complete abandonment of that promise. (Interruption) The other problem is that when you look at how the money is being allocated, a great many of the dollars that are going into the health care system that represent changes between last year and this year are going into the wage settlements. Now, we have no problem with those wage settlements, but, at the same time, Nova Scotians have to realize

[Page 986]

that the money is not going into increased services to be delivered to them through the health care system. That's simply not the case. So there is erosion of faith in the health care system, further erosion.

We know that nurses who work in the hospitals are stretched to the limit and beyond that limit. We know, because of the administration of the so-called grasp system which details absolutely everything that a nurse is supposed to be doing at a given time, we know that they are well beyond the norms and capacities, it is already being squeezed out of the system.

We also know that it is going to be virtually impossible - I say completely impossible - for the government to implement the loan system on which they based their so-called surplus this past year, through repayments from the hospitals without cutting further positions from those hospitals. This is something that Nova Scotians at home are extremely worried about because they see a system that is already in chaos and they are worried, indeed, about the possibility of seeing further cuts.

Health care was the means by which the government attempted to fiddle the books. The so-called surplus should take account of the reality of the loans that were made, supposedly off books, to the QE II and the other health care entities around this province. Totalling around $90 million, this is borrowed and then showed as money owing to the province. This is not the way we have funded health care in this province, it is not the right way to fund health care and no one is fooled by it. Absolutely no person in Nova Scotia comes out of this budget believing that the health care system has been improved in any way whatsoever.

The next major focus of discussion both in the election and in the budget was on education. What is it that has happened here? Again, the province has attempted to show that there is a balanced budget by use of the P3 school device. Even though we read now in the papers that there may be some consideration to the possibility of backing away from P3, no one should be fooled by that. I think we have to ask ourselves, what is the motive of the government if it should actually move in that direction?

None of us believes that all of a sudden the scales fell from the eyes of the members opposite and they suddenly beheld P3 for the monster it truly is. None of us believes, as a second possibility, that all of a sudden they were convinced by the blandishments of the Opposition, neither Opposition Parties. There is only one thing that seems to reasonably be said to have done it, to have convinced the government that they should do something different respecting P3 schools. That's fear of the Auditor General. Clearly, what happened is they had a little talk with the Auditor General, who pointed out that P3 simply is not going to pass muster. That's the long and the short of it.

[Page 987]

So this device that was supposed to get the cost of schools off the books turns out to be completely inappropriate. Again, the government has not been credible because it came up with a program that the Auditor General does not like. They are not credible, as well, with respect to the funding for education.

On the school side, the language of the budget attempts to convince us that the money is going into the classroom. The main fact, however, is that a great deal of the money that is earmarked for schools this year is going into the early retirement program. I have no problem with that, there should be money going into the early retirement program but this is not money that can be described as going into the classroom.

Most of the education spending is going to be going to pay the wage increases for public sector employees who were without wage increases, or forced to endure wage roll-backs, over a seven year period. Again, we have no problem with that but no one should be fooled into thinking that this is money that is going into the classroom, in the words of the budget. It is important that we recognize this. No Nova Scotian should be fooled into thinking that this is a good news for education budget. It simply is not.

[8:15 p.m.]

The last point I want to make about education is how the other dollars that are going into education, at the elementary level, are to be funded. These are dollars that are to be split 90/10 with the municipalities. What that means is that the municipalities around this province, virtually all of which have now set their budgets for 1998-99, are going to have to pick up the tab for more than $8 million that they have not budgeted for.

Now, the mandatory rate, the mandatory contribution rate that is generated under our education Statutes in the past year was at 36.6 cents per $100 of assessment. It is going to go up. The year before it was 39 cents. It is going to go up this year to 38.5 cents is the latest information I can obtain. This is a big increase and this is contrary to the recommendation of the Education Funding Review Work Group, which in its report said that it should stay at 36.6 cents for the next two years. This is bad news for every municipality and for every property taxpayer around the province. I will have more to say when I deal with the impact of this budget on municipalities.

On post-secondary education, we know that the amount of money is simply inadequate. We heard during the year from the presidents and from the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education that the amount of dollars that was needed to go into the total universities this year - this year not over a three year period - was $22 million to $24 million. Instead, the government is phasing it in over a three year period. This will not deal with the problem of student debt and tuition fees, in no way can it deal with that. Again, a disappointment; taxpayers sitting at home will see that they are not getting the services that they are paying

[Page 988]

for in their taxes and they will likewise see that, again, they are dealing with broken promises from the government and words they simply cannot trust.

Members of the House will know that the area of social services, payment to those who are the neediest in our society, is of a special concern to the members in this Party. There are a number of serious problems with what has been presented in this budget with respect to social services. There is an additional amount of money that will be paid out, let's be clear. Let's also be clear that in no way is this a credit to the goodness of heart of the government.

This is something that is mandated by the federal government to all participating provinces around the country and is payable under the Canada Child Tax Benefit. That money, that $13 million minimum, is money that is generated by the federal government under a program not devised by the province, it is a program devised by the federal government. This, therefore, is not to the credit. That money would have been there in any event. If any other Party were forming the government, that money would be there and would be offered - required to be offered - to social service recipients.

We approve of the healthy child, the community-based programs. They are the right things to do. There are, however, problems about what it is that this government proposes to do with the money that is coming. One is that it is child related only. There are many individuals who are in receipt of social assistance who don't have children, single individuals. This is frequently the case of the disabled, that they will not have children; they will, therefore, not qualify at all for this benefit.

Now, it is fine to give it to families that have children and we are not objecting to that. This is a good thing. But it leaves out people who are at the margins of society economically, and who need that assistance just as much as families with children. This is wrong, this is something that could have been done by this government if they had chosen to do so. They didn't do it.

The programs, as well, that they have chosen to put the money into are essentially all programs that are already in place. There is nothing new here, there is nothing really that is new. The best that can be said is that there is maybe an additional $600,000 of Nova Scotia money that is going in, that is bottom line, under the whole social services. This is not much to the credit of this government and the Minister of Finance who went out of his way to explain to us how caring he was for those at the margins of society.

What about the rural areas? We are very interested to see what it was that was available in this budget for the rural areas. It was fascinating to try to search through this budget to find things that were to the benefit of the rural areas. What we found was the observation that this government wants communities in the rural areas to be, ". . . self-reliant communities.". Now I like that phrase. If I had used that phrase it would mean something different. When the NDP uses the phrase and talks about self-reliant communities, what we mean is that we are

[Page 989]

prepared to put money into local initiatives that are small-scale, sustainable, locally-owned initiatives focused on things like co-ops and credit unions in their community. When self-reliant communities are stated to be the objectives of the Liberals, what they mean is they are fresh out of ideas and you are on your own, that is what it means. The member who represents Canso might want to think about that.

There was virtually nothing for rural areas. We are told that they are different from metro. Fair enough, that is a useful observation. We are told that some money is going to go into dealing with the question of spraying for the tussock moth. Of course, they didn't remind us that the money was being taken out of silviculture. The one thing that is there is reinstatement of the farmland tax exemption. This is probably quite a good measure and amounted to about $4 million, for a modest sum of money in the words of the minister. The main fact to remember is that it is restoration of a program that they took away in the first place.

So when I look at this I am not very convinced that there is a lot for rural areas and I am particularly not convinced, when I look at the budget for the Department of Transportation and Public Works. The area of that department that deals with highways and bridges, their budget is down $6.5 million year over year. We know that what that means is that is money that would otherwise be available in the rural areas because they are not paying that money in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

We also see, in looking in the budget for the Department of Transportation and Public Works, that dealing with snow and ice control this year is down $2 million again according to the budget. That means plowing, sanding and salt on those same highways, secondary highways, roads in the rural areas are going to be that much less safe this coming winter because of the budget. This is not the kind of budget that is going to inspire anyone in rural Nova Scotia to have confidence in the budget.

I am particularly conscious of the state of highways and roads in the rural areas because when I travel to rural Colchester County to visit my rural property, as I did over the weekend, I could not help but notice the severe problems with the roads. I have travelled that road winter and summer and I am worried about these cutbacks.

AN HON. MEMBER: His country home in rural Nova Scotia.

MR. EPSTEIN: Yes, country home in rural Nova Scotia. It is a cabin in the woods. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

AN HON. MEMBER: Balmoral Castle.

[Page 990]

MR. EPSTEIN: Oh yes. Mr. Speaker, the question that I want to turn to next is whether we actually do have a balanced budget as was claimed by the government and has been claimed any number of times by some of their cheering section. Again, the question is the problem of two years; we have been told they have balanced the budget for two years, last year in the budget that they refused to produce and this year.

Mr. Speaker, there are only eight people in the whole province who are applauding and they are over there. No one else in this province is applauding because no one else in this province is fooled into thinking that the budget is balanced. They tried to tell us last year it was balanced. The Auditor General clearly pointed out that an $8.3 million so-called surplus was a $30.1 million deficit. The Auditor General is who the people believe. They do not believe people who simply applaud themselves.

We know the difficulty that the government had in coming up with their so-called balanced budget for 1997-98. What they did was they took money off the books for the hospitals. They tried to pretend that this money is money that was not part of the operating balance sheets of the hospitals like the QE II, like the health care entities. This is absolutely misleading and no one is fooled by it, no one is fooled by it at all.

For this year, the projected $1 million surplus over a $4.2 billion budget is entirely too fine a margin. Nobody believes it and everyone knows, as indeed the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce pointed out, that it is too dependent on one-time payments, the money that is coming from Ottawa for the BST. That you cannot rely on. The money that is to come out of the pension plan surplus; you cannot rely on these one-time payments to balance a budget.

This is a question ultimately of trust. Can we trust the people who come to us and say this is a balanced budget? It was not true when they said it about their 1996-97 budget. We can see that it was not true about the 1997-98 budget and we know, sure as anything, that the end of this coming fiscal year, if we stick with the budget that has been presented in front of us, there will not be a balanced budget. No one believes it.

I said earlier I wanted to focus, briefly again, on municipalities. The problem that has been created for municipalities in this budget is the one of passing off $8.3 million to municipal taxpayers, property taxpayers who cannot afford it, to come up with money for programs the government should itself be paying for. This comes from the 90/10 split on the $83 million that is being paid out with respect to education this year.

We know that the municipalities have already set their budgets and I have figures as to how this is going to impact the different municipalities; $8.3 million, here it is. I talked to HRM today. Do you want to know how much of that $8.3 million is going to be passed on to HRM? It is only $1.4 million. Do you want to know how much it is going to be costing Cape Breton Regional Municipality this year? Eight hundred thousand dollars for Cape

[Page 991]

Breton Regional Municipality. Now, no one in HRM is very happy about being stuck for $1.4 million but they may be able to find it. Cape Breton Regional Municipality is going to be hard put to find $800,000, but these are the two large urban centres. These are the two large urban centres in our province. What about the rest of the money?

[8:30 p.m.]

The reality is that the other $6 million is going to have to be found by all the small municipalities around this province that simply cannot afford it. They have already set their tax rates. The property tax owners are going to be put in a very serious position because of this. In effect, the municipalities are going to be forced into a deficit position because of what it is that this government proposes to do in the budget that they are putting in front of us and saying is a credible budget. This is a betrayal of the municipalities and it is a betrayal no less than two weeks after municipalities were promised in the Speech from the Throne, that there would be no more downloading onto municipalities. Do you remember this quote, ". . . signals the end to so-called down-loading on municipal governments."?

That is what was said in the Speech from the Throne two weeks ago. Then two weeks later it comes up in the budget that there is another example of downloading to the tune of more than $8 million onto the municipalities. Again, no one on the government side is winning any credibility with the public because of this.

Let me look next at the whole question of the debt trend of the province. This is something that was also criticized by the metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce. We see that the costs of servicing the debt last year was at 17.7 per cent, a trend down, 17.7 per cent of the budget of the province, but this year, the 1998-99 budget, is showing the cost of servicing the debt as going back up again to 18.2 per cent. This is the wrong way. We have been warned about it by the Chamber of Commerce, that they are worried about the long-term debt of the province as, indeed, everyone should be. The debt as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product in Nova Scotia is way out of line with what it should be and the trend has not been down to the extent that it should be.

Now, what is the conclusion? When everyone looks at this, when the people at home, the great majority of Nova Scotians look at this budget, they are going to ask themselves, are my services being delivered, are my taxes up, and does the government that delivered this budget have any credibility? Are the services being delivered? Not in rural highways, not in health, not in education. Those services are not being delivered. They have not been delivered for the last five years. That is what this election was all about and this budget does nothing to encourage people at home to think that their services for which they pay taxes are going to be delivered.

[Page 992]

They are going to ask themselves, secondly, are my taxes up? Every property taxpayer is going to know that their tax bill is going up because of yet another example of downloading onto the municipalities by this government. The third question they are going to ask themselves is, does the government have credibility? The government has betrayed any number of promises that it has made. Ask yourself, is the budget balanced? No, it is not. Is there an improvement in the problem with physicians? Not at all. Are highways going to be improved? No, they are not. Is there a medical research foundation? No there is not. Is there anything here for fisheries? No there is not. Is there anything here for forestry? No. For mining? No. For environmental protections? No. For hepatitis C? No.

Spending is down. Spending is down in the Departments of Labour; Justice; Natural Resources; Transportation and Public Works; Fisheries and Aquaculture; Environment; Economic Development; Tourism; and Business and Consumer Services. This is not a budget to inspire any confidence on the part of the people at home. This budget may be good enough, Mr. Speaker, for some members in this House opposite. It is not good enough for the members of the Official Opposition. It is not good enough for Nova Scotians. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the honourable member for Argyle, I would like to recognize the honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a document, the Supplementary Expenditure Details of the Estimates for 1998-99.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

[GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

Res. No. 347, re Estimates - Comm. of Whole House on Supply - notice given June 1/98 - (Hon. D. Downe) - Debate resumed.]

[Page 993]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pride to stand here tonight and to give comments on the budget which was tabled last Thursday. There are some positive elements in that budget tabled by the Minister of Finance (Applause). Certainly, the investment in our public school system and our universities deserves special mention.

These two areas were hit particularly hard in previous Liberal budgets in this House. In fact the investment in our educational institutions, as contained in the 1998-99 budget, can be looked upon as a down payment to help to repair some, and I say some, of the damage that they inflicted on our schools and our universities as a result of their previous cuts to education. We want to make sure that the money the government claims it is directing to the classroom gets to the classroom, and that it is distributed fairly across this province.

The government's decision to reinstate the farmland tax rebate reverses a decision that the Minister of Agriculture now acknowledges was a stupid move right from day one. And certainly, the members of my caucus welcome the government's belated acknowledgement that it was stupid to cut the farmland tax rebate, a move that not only hurt farmers, municipal governments, but consumers as well.

Along with education, health care spending is up, and that too is good news. The government maintains that it is up an additional $80 million. In reality, it is up $37 million over the 1997-98 forecast. The $80 million figure is important because it is the amount that the Premier promised during the election campaign. It appears that the Premier once again, went out on a limb with a promise that, unfortunately, he couldn't keep. Something that comes as no surprise to us on this side of the Legislature, and something that comes as no surprise to the majority of Nova Scotians.

Nevertheless, the health budget did get a boost in spending over 1997-98. My caucus colleagues and I were particularly pleased that the government finally relented and agreed to cover the cost of Betaseron for Nova Scotians who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. We sincerely believe that the upfront costs of this program will be more than recovered as Nova Scotians with MS remain or return to their jobs, as their demand for more costly medication interventions is reduced over time. But more important than anything, is that this new drug therapy will improve the quality of life for hundreds of Nova Scotians and also for their families.

The health care budget now stands at almost $1.5 billion. It seems that every time the government issues a new quarterly report, it is increasing the forecast for health care spending. Time and time again, we have watched successive Finance Ministers hold press conferences in which they acknowledge that the Department of Health has once again underestimated the cost of providing health care. Time and time again, the government is

[Page 994]

forced to redirect spending from somewhere else in government to cover shortfalls for health expenditures.

The question is Mr. Speaker, with all the cuts to patient care, why are we spending so much more for so much less? We have fewer doctors, since the Liberals came to power, Nova Scotia has witnessed a net loss of 180 fully registered doctors. Approximately 1,200 nurses were let go. There are fewer ambulances. Four hospitals were closed. Services were de-insured. There were wage roll-backs and unpaid furloughs, and there was a moratorium on new long-term care beds.

The government began charging seniors a new $215 annual Pharmacare premium. It is hard to believe, in light of the current state of health care in our province, that taxpayers are spending $150 million more for health care today than they were five years ago. It is something that begs some very serious analysis. It begs the question of where all our health care dollars are going and why aren't they getting to the patient, as they should.

Mr. Speaker, our caucus has long maintained that regional health boards are a huge part of that problem. They are not working as promised. They are not providing communities with a greater say in health care decision making. They are doing the opposite; they are eroding community input into hospital care. Certainly, by maintaining the status quo with respect to regional health boards, the budget is a major disappointment to the members of my caucus and to thousands of Nova Scotians who realize that regional health boards are not working.

Another area of critical concern is funding for hospitals, down $18 million over forecast for 1997-98. An $18 million reduction in hospital spending means one of two things: either hospitals are going to close, or Nova Scotians are in for a sharp reduction in the hospital services provided in their communities.

Mr. Speaker, we have already had patients lying on gurneys in hospital corridors for hours, sometimes days at a time. We have already had patients turned away at the hospital because no beds are available. We have already had patients who were prematurely discharged, returning to the emergency department a few days later requiring more intensive and, indeed, more costly medical care. An additional $18 million cut in hospital services just means more patients on gurneys, more patients in need of hospital care being turned away, more premature discharges, more emergency room visits, longer waiting lists and, indeed, fewer doctors. When you factor in the cost of wage settlements for hospital workers and take that off the bottom line, you are talking about a lot more than an $18 million cut in hospital services.

Mr. Speaker, non-designated hospitals and regional health boards currently have accumulated debt of $139.6 million. This money isn't accounted for anywhere in the estimates; it is, indeed, nowhere to be seen. The IWK-Grace Health Centre presently has a bank loan that it must pay interest on. The cost to the IWK-Grace, the cost to other non-

[Page 995]

designated hospitals such as the QE II and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, and the cost to our regional health boards isn't suddenly going to go away.

Our hospitals don't make a profit so that they can tuck away dollars for a rainy day. Hospitals get their operating funding from government and they are struggling now to make ends meet, and to meet program demands. By allowing them to accumulate year-over-year debts, the province is trying to make its bottom line look better than it is. Mr. Speaker, you either pay now or you pay later. The government has decided to pay later. The reason? Paying now would mean a deficit of $102 million; not a $37 million surplus, but a deficit of $102 million. By allowing the regional health boards and non-designated hospitals to accumulate debt, the government is simply avoiding the inevitable, that the government will either have to ante up next year or the year after that, or at some point in time in the not-so-distant future, or it means cuts to hospital services in the next few years.

Governments will have to find tens of millions of new dollars to pay off the existing debt, a debt that continues to grow by leaps and bounds, despite the government's year over year so-called one-time allowances for doubtful accounts.

[8:45 p.m.]

In his Budget Address the Minister of Finance stated that the $49.8 million allowance for uncollectible receivables within the health care system, ". . . reflects the very real pressures in the health care system."

It doesn't even come close, Mr. Speaker. In fact in the face of an outstanding debt totalling almost $140 million, the minister's claim is indeed ridiculous. Ignoring this debt is just letting the pressure build and something is eventually going to give and it cannot and it must not affect quality health care in Nova Scotia.

The government is letting the pressure build on the bottom lines of the regional health boards and the non-designated hospitals in order to relieve the pressure on its own bottom line. It is still very much in question as to whether the budget tabled last Thursday is a balanced budget. The failure to account for the accumulated debt of the regional health boards and non-designated hospitals suggests that perhaps it is not. Certainly it is something that we will be examining more closely in the following days and hopefully it is something that the Auditor General will comment on prior to the House having to vote on this budget.

Mr. Speaker, when you examine how the government came to make the claim that it has a surplus of $37 million you quickly see that it is not the result of the skilful management of government or the Minister of Finance. In fact, if it wasn't for the $28 million the province took from the pension fund and if it wasn't for the province's poor economic performance and the resulting $45 million in equalization payments, prior year's adjustments of almost $76

[Page 996]

million and if it wasn't for another $77 million withdrawn from the four year HST transition fund, this province would indeed be drowning in red ink.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Go over that again, that is hard to believe. I want to hear that again, that is important. The government ought to hear that again, by golly.

MR. LEBLANC: They have it in Hansard, Mr. Archibald.

None of the above has anything to do with good fiscal management, Mr. Speaker.

I want to highlight some major disappointments to me and to members of my caucus. The $36 million reduction in the budget of the Department of Transportation and Public Works means that our secondary roads will remain largely impassable. It means that our highways will continue to deteriorate. Indeed, it means that the bridges that link our communities, that enable our ambulances to transfer patients to hospital, that enable our school buses to transport our children to class, will continue to stay on a wait list for major repair or for replacement.

Nova Scotians from one end of this province to the other have complained loud and clear to this government about the deplorable state of our road and highway system and of the unsafe conditions on many of the province's bridges, to no avail, Mr. Speaker. Just this past weekend we had doctors in the Annapolis Valley unanimously call for an end to the carnage on Highway No. 101. It looks as if the carnage will continue. It looks as if Nova Scotians will continue to drive on roads that are, in some cases, barely passable and that our roads, highways and bridges will continue to deteriorate.

The government's failure to address the need to upgrade Nova Scotia's highways and road systems makes a mockery of all this talk about highway safety, it makes a mockery of all this talk about economic development in rural Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, with the exception of the farmland tax rebate, the budget largely ignores the concerns of rural Nova Scotia. Our forests, for example, are near crisis but the government has once again cut funding for silviculture programs. Cuts to the silviculture programs mean less work will be done on the ground, fewer plantations and eventually fewer forestry and forestry-related jobs, jobs that help sustain thousands of Nova Scotian families, jobs that help sustain much of rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has this to say about his government's one-time, 5 per cent HST rebate for electrical consumers; "We are being prudent in promising to deliver only when we know we can do so.".

[Page 997]

The Premier, who time and time again promised a home heating rebate, a rebate on children's clothing and a rebate on school supplies, never felt compelled to be prudent in his promises. The Premier broke his word plain and simple, not once, not twice, but many times over when he continued to promise HST relief that has not yet materialized.

Indeed, another broken promise was the Premier's promise to deliver an additional 170 long-term beds, a promise that he made during the recent election campaign. The budget merely promises to plan for them this year and hopefully deliver them in the year 1999-2000, not what was promised but then again, no big surprise.

One of the big reasons why Nova Scotians who need to be hospitalized are being turned away at the door is because this government has had a moratorium on new nursing care beds for four years. At the same time as our population is aging - and I am one of them, regretfully - the government decides to put a freeze on nursing home beds and cut the number of acute care beds by more than 30 per cent. (Interruption) I will mention that I do have much more grey hair than when I started, I will concur with that. To get back to the point, as a result, long-term care patients are now occupying as much as 20 per cent of Nova Scotia's hospital beds. The result is sick Nova Scotians who need hospital care are being told, I am sorry but there are no beds available. It brings new meaning to the remark, patient heal thyself.

I find it laughable that the Minister of Finance could stand in his place last Thursday and say that the information economy initiative announced just days ago, ". . . is a prime example of the leadership our Premier has shown in being able to negotiate deals and programs with our federal government in a very positive way for the future of this province.". To use the Minister of Finance's own words, it made me want to hurl.

Nova Scotia has been hit harder than any other province in the country when it comes to federal cuts. With just over 3 per cent of the population, we took over 16 per cent of the federal job cuts. Bill C-9 means an end to federal funding for capital upgrades to Canadian Ports. The Port of Halifax is being cut off only after most other ports have had a significant infusion of federal tax dollars. So much for Liberal Ottawa's fairness. So much for this government and this Premier standing up to defend Nova Scotia. Every major airport in the country has had Ottawa foot the bill for capital upgrades, every major airport that is but Halifax. Again, I call that a slap in the face by a Liberal Ottawa.

We continue to be short-changed in terms of federal funding for highway infrastructure, as my comments said before, with a reduction in spending of $39 million and a reduction in net spending of capital of $20 million. The Minister of Finance knows this all too well, he complained about it to the local paper about two years ago and that was obviously to no avail. The northern shrimp quota went exclusively to the Province of Newfoundland. Nova Scotia didn't get one pound of that increase. Is that fair? There was no help from Liberal Ottawa in terms of providing HST relief, that is obvious and the list goes on and on.

[Page 998]

It blows my mind how the Minister of Finance could stand up and talk about the leadership this Premier has shown in dealing with his former colleagues in Ottawa. It is an indication of how far out of touch this particular minister really is with reality. In fact, the Minister of Finance should tune into CBC Information Morning from time to time and every now and then the Premier is on the air venting his frustrations, complaining how he can't get the Liberals in Ottawa and his former colleagues to do anything for Nova Scotia. I ask the minister to tune in in the morning and he will hear the same comments.

Another mind-boggling statement by the Minister of Finance and I am quoting a lot of things, Mr. Speaker, I hope you don't mind and here is another quote, "It took this administration, it took this Premier, it took this government to bring the reality of the offshore alive in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, you would swear to God it was the Premier himself who found the gas and oil off the coast of Nova Scotia. This government and this Premier have done nothing to secure Nova Scotians' rightful benefits to the offshore. In fact, they have done the opposite. They have been giving it away. Nova Scotia is not getting the jobs, not getting the contracts and not getting the economic spin-offs or the gas that we are entitled to. New Brunswick actually is getting more of the jobs, more of the contracts and more of the economic spin-offs from the construction of the offshore pipeline than is Nova Scotia. The greater Saint John area is getting more gas than all of Nova Scotia combined. That is what this government and this Premier are responsible for.

Let us not forget, Mr. Speaker, it took this Minister of Finance about 30 seconds to give away one of Nova Scotia's most valuable assets as it relates to the offshore. In his previous portfolio the Minister of Finance gave away the back-in provision to the pipeline. It was worth tens of millions of dollars but the guy who today is in charge of Nova Scotia's books did not see it as having any value whatsoever. So he simply gave it away. He simply signed his name to a letter that said here Mobil, take it, it is yours. And despite the minister's claim that it was not worth anything, Mobil somehow refuses to give it back. If it is so worthless, why is Mobil so intent on holding onto it? When they gave away the back-in provision, Mr. Speaker, they surrendered Nova Scotia's control over future offshore development and therein lies the real shame for this Minister of Finance and this government.

We all remember NSRL. It made the minister want to hurl. Today, Mr. Speaker, the same minister who wanted to hurl a few years ago sees it as a valuable investment that will pay long-term benefits to Nova Scotia. (Interruptions)

On a serious note, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say just a couple more points before I conclude my remarks. In the past five years since this government took office Nova Scotia has not had any real kind of economic development strategy; 30-60-90 did not amount to anything and in a real sense nothing has taken place since 30-60-90. A couple of days before the budget was introduced the Minister of Finance wrote to the two Opposition Leaders and

[Page 999]

he asked for their suggestions with respect to the establishment of an Economic Advisory Council. The Budget Address states, ". . . we have already talked about this with the Leaders of the two official parties in the house.".

I would hardly call that in-depth discussion, Mr. Speaker. It was not consultation, perhaps it was a courtesy, but certainly not consultation. But, in fairness, when it comes to this government, even an act of courtesy is a major step forward and I congratulate the minister for that.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said, and again I quote, ". . . consultation works. Ideas emerge when people talk.". This is certainly a new revelation for the government. For more than five years it did as it pleased, to whomever it pleased, and whenever it pleased. Talk of consultation is one thing. Actually doing it and making it meaningful is something altogether different. It will be something both new and strange for this government. While I welcome the Minister of Finance's promises of consultation, like most Nova Scotians I will take them with a grain of salt.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that, as with any budget, this one is no exception. It has items which are both good, I listed those at the beginning of my statements, and some which are bad. This budget is exceptional in one respect. It is one that I have not had any experience with. It very well may determine whether this government stands or whether this government falls. In this I take my responsibilities, as do my caucus colleagues, very seriously. Unlike the Leader of the NDP and his Finance Critic, we came to this House on Budget Day with an open mind. I was astounded to hear the Finance Critic for the NDP say that he would be voting against this budget before he even saw it. I think that is irresponsible.

[9:00 p.m.]

It is becoming increasingly clear to Nova Scotians that winning is everything to the NDP. It is becoming increasingly clear that they will offer rhetoric over reason at every turn and will do and say as they please to justify their own political ends. It certainly points to why Nova Scotians are, indeed, so cynical about politicians and, indeed, political Parties.

It is certainly pause for thought and my caucus colleagues and I will consider our options. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The Estimates are referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, for the rest of the evening, we will continue with the adjourned debate on the Address and Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

[Page 1000]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect. You have about 40 minutes remaining.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, after the levity of the last number of moments, I am sure that you are all looking forward to returning to the unique tour of some parts of this important riding of Timberlea-Prospect. I thank you for your attention. I know that my neighbour from Chester-St. Margaret's is going to continue to note some of my comments. In fact, I hope he picks them up out of Hansard and we can compare notes on some of the entry points.

AN HON. MEMBER: Look for detours on this one.

MR. ESTABROOKS: No detours on this ride. Mr. Speaker, when I last finished, I had just left off at a certain school that meant a great deal to me. I was remiss at that time to neglect to point out that there is a certain young lady by the name of Bronwyn Burke who recently brought recognition to our school by winning the HRM Leadership Award. At this time, I would like to congratulate Bronwyn and also point out to her that in the 1988 election, her father ran against me for the Liberal Party, but, in this last election, Mr. Burke wisely chose to have a NDP sign on his lawn. I congratulate them both at this time.

Perhaps this entrance to Timberlea-Prospect should read, welcome to Timberlea-Prospect, the home of the neglected coastal communities from Terence Bay to East and West Dover. Terence Bay, a unique community, has gone out of its way recently to initiate a CAP site. In fact, when I was there on Sunday, and I introduced a resolution this evening which a certain naysayer turned down, and it will be noted in that community, that that community has gone out of its way to try to protect the SS Atlantic gravesite by looking for fund-raising activities to encourage that particular project. Tonight it was noticed that when I asked for a motion to waiver, it was opposed. That is truly unfortunate.

There are a number of other unique fishing communities at that end of the riding, including Lower Prospect and the beautiful Village of Prospect itself. Then, of course, there is Shad Bay, McGraths Cove and East and West Dover. All of these communities still have, remarkably, a number of active fishers. Remarkable, I say, because of the fact that without doubt, these men and women have survived without the support of the Department of Fisheries as they continue to neglect this important natural resource.

Active and vibrant communities from one end to the other because of numerous volunteers. I would like to mention some of them now, volunteers in recreation, volunteers in our Royal Canadian Legions, in our active school PTAs, in the Guiding and Scouting movement, volunteers in our fire departments in Shad Bay, in Terence Bay, in Hatchet Lake, in Lakeside, who this year will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary of service to that community and fire departments in the Bay Road, the Hammonds Plains area, but also volunteers in the Lions Club of which I am proud to say that I am a member.

[Page 1001]

In particular I would like to draw recognition to the Board of Directors of the St. Margaret's Arena, past and present, for all the good work they have done in that facility. To Dennis Doyle, to Lloyd McRae, to Rennie and Danny Smith, to Brecken Hills and Jim MacFarlane, I congratulate you for your efforts and may it continue.

At this time, I would like to recognize some other volunteers, those winners of the Chris Campbell Community Volunteer Award for the Prospect area. They include Sheila Lamplugh, Wayne Hamilton, John Calder, Betty and Stan Hayden, Reverend Sue Moxley, Wayne Manual, all of the above serving as examples in our community.

These communities will continue to grow and the young people who will follow these older men and women I am sure will grow in stature. Many of them happen to be past students of mine so I challenge the Judi Hilchie's, the Mike Boutilier's, the Dale Ryan's, the Cavicchi's and the DeLeon's, the Blackburn's and the Mcdonald's, and of course those famous Slauenwhite's from downtown beautiful Terence Bay, to pick up the challenge to make our communities better places to live.

I would be remiss at this time if I did not mention a couple of teachers who have served as examples for all of us and, unfortunately I must announce to the House, two of these people have recently passed away. So I point out to the communities, Cathy Smith gave much as did Mike MacSween and we will miss them both. But to Bonnie and Gordon Steeves, to Kevin McNair, to Arla Murrant and Sue Hannem, and of course to Jaime Stewart, we look forward to the continuing commitment to the young people in our community.

Timberlea-Prospect has many challenges ahead of it, challenges that are not dealt with in this Speech from the Throne. I have heard we are going to reduce class size but it will take four years. Reduced class size should take place immediately. Some of these challenges revolve around portable classrooms. I am sure if you checked Hansard and remembered my earlier comments, Timberlea-Prospect has more portable classrooms than any other constituency in this province. But there is more to schools than just bricks and mortar. We have a textbook allocation, Mr. Minister of Education, that needs improvement. We need legislation for a full Primary day.

On the topic of legislation, I believe and I hope that this government will take steps to look at the fact that we need more control over developers. There are developers in my constituency with a conscience. I point to Cameron Sleep as an example and the good work that he has done in Haliburton Hills. But many of the problems that we have in this constituency are the result of developers who come in, fill the place full of houses and then so conveniently leave, leaving us with services that are depleted and schools that are overcrowded.

[Page 1002]

Of course, you have heard me speak of roads before. Roads in the rural ridings, roads are of consequence to every part of this province. That word, roads, of course was not even mentioned in the Speech from the Throne.

An important part of my riding also deals with tourism. There is a need for an immediate tourist plan that will reflect the other communities along Route 333, without the constant reminder of the so-called tourist trap, not the lobster trap, the so-called tourist trap of Peggy's Cove. Along the way, there is a need for scenic look-off spots. There are even some lighthouses that can be used in some great ads.

I would like to bring you to the number one concern in Timberlea-Prospect, amalgamation. Amalgamation has been a public relations disaster. No one asked us. We were the county cousins but now we have the city slickers calling the shots. We are the neglected part of HRM. What does Terence Bay or Ecum Secum have in common with Quinpool Road or Bedford? The answer is really quite nothing. We have a quality of life in the county that we wish to maintain. No one asked us to be part of a super city, with a mayor who would have difficulty telling us the difference between Lower and real Prospect.

I must confess to the members present that like MacKenzie King - but oh no, I did never once ask my dead mother - I keep a diary and, aside from my comments about how the Boston Bruins were going to do in the playoffs, my journal during the election was full of a number of comments. I would like to read them into Hansard now, this diary that I so closely guard from my wife and my children.

I would like to point out one particular incident of an injured worker, whom I met on a doorstep, who basically had reached such frustration with workers' compensation that he actually had mentioned that awful word "suicide". That night when I came home I put that in my diary. I must tell you that the next morning I stopped by the house again, just to see how he was doing, to make sure that every time I walk by or drive by that particular neighbourhood I am aware of the fact that there is a person who is injured and has been waiting for two years with workers' compensation claims.

Also during the election, I met the father who was very worried that his daughter would not get the resource help when she moved on to the next school. What would happen? Would she get the one-on-one that she had in her elementary school? At the local junior high school, there was a cutback in resource help at that very time.

I also met the senior who moved up from Glace Bay to be closer to his family because they had moved to metro to get a job. Aside from his great remembrances of my father playing in the Big Four League and the fact, of course, that Clarie Gillis, the Member of Parliament, was someone he wanted me to know a great deal about, this older gentleman is fighting the system in which he could not get help for a wheelchair. He had to turn, Mr.

[Page 1003]

Speaker, to the local Lions Club because there were no funds available for him to get this specialized wheelchair.

My diary also mentioned, on one particular evening, a young couple who had decided to move to our community from the city; they came out to the county for the quality of life, they said. They asked me, as a school principal, how come there is no early French immersion? If we all belong to HRM, why does my daughter have to wait until she gets to Grade 7 before she gets French immersion? Oh, the benefits of amalgamation. At the same time, that young couple would prefer to have their local library in their school improved - it's just across the road from them - to extend the hours, to have better help right in that school not a part-time librarian, Mr. Speaker, a full-time librarian. That young couple is not interested in whether there is going to be another mausoleum downtown on Spring Garden Road.

Now I suppose there are some special issues which some of the members of my caucus look forward to hearing from me. I know the local member for Yarmouth on many occasions has said to me: Why do I always hear this government talk about computers, computers, and computers? I say to him, well, John Deveau - or is it John Deveaux? I have never gotten that straight - I tell him, John, computers are like overheads. When I first got into teaching they said overheads were going to revolutionize the school system; VCRs were going to change the approach to education. So I said to the honourable member for Yarmouth, take this book home, I want you to read it.

He came back with an important quote and he told me to use this in my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. John Ralston Saul wrote in his book, The Unconscious Civilization: "Concentration on technology - computers for example - will simply produce obsolete graduates. The problem is not to teach skills in a galloping technology, but to teach students to think and to give them the tools of thought so that they can react to the myriad changes, including technological, that will inevitably face them over the next decades.". There must be a real dialogue about bread-and-butter issues in the classroom.

[9:15 p.m.]

It comes to mind of a certain textbook that was assigned this year by the Minister of Education's staff, called Atlantic Canada in a Global Community. Suddenly these new books were worth $26 each and it came down that every Grade 9 should have one. Good book, well received by staff. We did not have the funds. So at a particular junior high school, when a requirement would be that every student have a textbook, the funds are not there. After all, it all comes back to the teacher. You know, young people should want to be teachers. I have a daughter that the House met a couple of days ago, she told me at one time - heaven forbid, no reflection on some members present - she wanted to be a lawyer. I said, a lawyer, goodness.

[Page 1004]

The first time we had that early members' session, I met the member for Richmond and I said, perhaps in the future you should talk to my daughter or talk her out of, please, being a lawyer. My daughter always wanted to be a teacher, but as she said Dad, you're no longer in control, you no longer run your school, somebody else tells you what to do, you don't have enough money for chalk, you don't have enough money for textbooks, and after all, why should I try to get into a business where somebody else tells me what to do. Heaven forbid, she probably will on her graduation from the best undergraduate university in Canada, that happens to be in New Brunswick, sorry to bring that up again, but she hopefully will redecide to be a teacher. (Interruptions)

I hear the honourable member opposite, that sportscaster who once told me, thank God young man, you met Gus MacFarlane. Well, when we went to his funeral, Mr. Fogarty, the member for Halifax Bedford Basin, what a great coach he was. Unfortunately, no fuss, was a Liberal. And, I took him home with a good socialist message, at the end, you would have been proud me.

Let me ask the members present, is big really better? Bigger school boards? Bigger municipality units? Bigger companies after bigger profits? The corporate mentality and the corporate agenda do not have Nova Scotians' best interests at heart. Big pulp and paper companies and big fishing companies are not looking out for the little guy. As political representatives, I hope we know, as J. W. Dafoe wrote, "It will be well to bear in mind that the present of today was the future of yesterday, and that it is what it is because of the human actions, the human decisions from yesterday.". I hope the members opposite look back to the political stripe of J. W. Dafoe and realize that he had much to teach us.

There must be better control of our natural resources. In my visit to Terence Bay on Sunday, I met an elderly lady who said, Gull Island has been sold to those foreigners, and I corrected very quickly, Mrs. Slauenwhite, I believe it has been leased to those foreigners. I used to go over there, and it used to be a place where we could go, have a campfire and a clambake, and now the sign says "Private Property - Keep Off."

Those natural resources, those islands, must remain part of our heritage. I point again to some excellent legislation from the neighbouring Province of Prince Edward Island, that has full and complete control of its shore front, on all foreigners. They decide on Prince Edward Island, if you're not a native of that island, you are a foreigner, whether you are from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or Texas. Complete and utter control with anything more than 100 metres of shorefront needing Cabinet approval.

Our civil servants do not know all. I want to point out to members present, they have not succeeded as we have, and won election to this House, and to the honour which we each have. Yet, there are so many of us who rely on these bean counters, these bureaucrats, to call the shot. Mr. Speaker, I would remind these bureaucrats, they have never been risk-takers. They have never stood for public office. They are not the leaders. We are the ones who must

[Page 1005]

take initiative. Really, the system must work for the benefit of the individuals. Civil servants, in this province, federally, provincially, are not hired to stall, to make excuses. They are hired to make decisions. They are not hired to feather their own nest. They are hired to work with us to make important decisions using the talents that we are given.

Each of us must realize the responsibilities ahead of us. As I have said before, it is important to ask the tough questions and it is also important, fellow members, to make the tougher decisions. We must all believe that we have much to give, as has been said by J.F. Clarke, "If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.". So every one of us (Interruption)

Oh, hold on. I want the Poet Laureate position that is ahead of me. I challenge you each, as Joseph Howe challenged us, to speak the truth and to feel it but, more importantly, to use our limited talents and to make a difference as reflected in the words of this poet and it is not the member for Halifax Fairview. It is the words of a fine writer, Ann Weems, Multiply the Gift.

"Talent is a strange word;

it means a coin

or one's capability

or a gift.

So when we are giving children and

we neglect to tell them the

stories of faith;

we are burying our talents.

When we are given friends

and we neglect to significantly

touch their lives,

we are burying our talents.

And when we are given a song to sing

and we sing it not,

we are burying our talents.

Whatever talent means . . .

Whatever it is we're burying . . .

our money or a song,

The meaning of the story is clear:

Burying talents means

not using God's gifts.

My prayer is that we'll be called

Good and faithful servants!".

[Page 1006]

I remind us all to use our talents as God gave them and I intend to do that, Mr. Speaker, by supporting the amendment of my Leader and by voting against the Speech from the Throne. Thank you and I appreciate your time, (Interruptions) especially yours, Mr. MacEwan, because I will ask questions tomorrow. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South. (Applause)

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in this House for the first time to represent the good people of Cumberland South. It is an honour and a pleasure to be part of this Legislature and I hope that I am able to contribute a positive aspect to this procedure.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Speaker who normally sits in that Chair, not only has he been elected for the third time, but is also the first in the history of this province to be elected to this position. He brings a great deal of honour to the people of Hants West and to the people of Nova Scotia. He is in the Chair now. You bring a great deal of honour to the people of Hants West and to the people of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, in the way you are fulfilling your duties as Speaker of this House. I would also like to congratulate the Deputy Speaker from Dartmouth South.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give credit, first of all, to my wife, Linda, to whom I have been married for 25 years. She is my biggest supporter and she stood by me throughout this campaign. She put her own life on hold so I would be able to achieve this goal, which has been a dream of mine and I thank her for that. (Applause)

She has been a school teacher for 20-some years and her love for her God, her family and her career has never weakened. Also, Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention my son, Jeremy, who has finished his fourth year at university and my daughter Jan, who has finished her second year at university. They stood by me throughout this campaign and they were a great deal of assistance to me.

I would also like to mention the president of our Cumberland South Association and his Executive, Doug Marshall. Without their untiring support we would not have been able to manage. Also, Doug Dobson and Les Nash, who were my campaign co-chairmen, who gave of their lives without hesitation. They travelled with me on many days and for many miles. Also, my brother-in-law, Allan Boss, who spent many hours in the rain and cold replacing and fixing signs. To him I will ever be indebted.

There are several other people too numerous to mention that I would like to thank. They, as far as I am concerned, put together one of the best teams this province has seen during this past campaign. Many of them were without political experience, nevertheless they came through for me, as the numbers at the polls showed.

[Page 1007]

I would like to also acknowledge the member who represented Cumberland South for almost a quarter of a century, Guy Brown. Guy was always known to be the type of member to work on behalf of all constituents, no matter what their political affiliation. (Applause) I want to wish him all the best in his retirement and hope he and his wife June enjoy many years of retirement.

I would like to talk about the communities of Cumberland South. This constituency is one of the largest in the province, geographically stretching from the Wentworth Valley to the shore of the Apple River Bar in the Bay of Fundy. It encompasses the communities of Oxford, Collingwood, Westchester, Springhill, River Hebert, Joggins, Minudie, Lower Cove, Southampton, Parrsborro, Port Greville and Advocate.

We will all remember the community of Wentworth which was bypassed by Highway No. 104 to which this government agreed. These people are fighting a battle which I intend to help them fight. Not only were they ignored in the process but their community is now as if it never existed. This government has failed to assist them by returning the speed for the Wentworth Valley to its previous limit, before Highway No. 104. Also this government has failed the people of Wentworth by refusing to place signs at Exits 7 and 11, advising motorists of the services in the valley and also the fact that it can be travelled free without a toll.

I know of one business which closed placing several people out of work because of this new highway. These people will not be able to find work locally because there is none available to be had. The gentleman who operated this business was the type of person who would never turn down the community when they needed his help, whether it was the children or any other volunteer group in the community, he was always there for them. When they were fund-raising, they could always depend on his assistance. There is also a local hotel here that has lost much of its business because of these and its future now is not near as secure as it once was.

The community of Wentworth will continue to suffer without the assistance of this government which caused the situation. This valley is beautiful and the people are good, honest citizens who deserve better support than they have received. I was disappointed as I attempted on their behalf to pass a resolution in this House last week calling on the government to work with the community to ensure those signs were placed on Highway No. 104 to assist the people of the valley. I was very disappointed and I know they will be also.

The Town of Oxford has a population of approximately 1,100 people. This community is the wild blueberry capital of the world. The community should be congratulated for coming together to make the Wild Blueberry-Maple Syrup Interpretive Centre a reality. This will be a world-class centre, expected to draw thousands of visitors to the area annually. This project will depict the history of the wild blueberry and maple syrup industries in Cumberland County and it will provide much-needed jobs and opportunities to other potential entrepreneurs.

[Page 1008]

I would like to mention a certain lady in Oxford by the name of Reverend Lorraine Lambert. Lorraine is very interested in the community, particularly in the interests of the children. Lorraine has taken it upon herself to bring the community together and try to address the problem of youth in the streets. Her goal at this moment is to form a youth centre in the Town of Oxford. She is doing this on her own, Mr. Speaker. She has brought together different groups, such as the RCMP, the local Lions Club, the parents and the youths themselves, to form a committee. I would like to say at this point that the committee has been very successful. They have identified a parcel of land as a possible location and are presently looking at existing buildings which could be moved onto that location. Lorraine is doing a great job for the community and, indeed, for the children of the Town of Oxford and I would like to commend her for her efforts.

[9:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the Town of Oxford is also home to Oxford Frozen Foods and Gordon's Greenhouses, which are owned by the Bragg family. These two businesses, among others, such as Bragg Communications, provide hundreds of jobs to the residents of Cumberland County. They process many items such as blueberries, onions and carrots grown right here in Cumberland County. More are grown here than anywhere else in North America. This company ships its packaged goods all over the world.

Mr. Speaker, another community I represent is the Town of Springhill. It is the largest community in my constituency with a population of approximately 3,800 people. Springhill Correctional Centre is well known throughout this country for being the home to a federal institution which at times houses 500 inmates. The majority of these offenders are male but recently it was reorganized to house female offenders, moved from Truro's Nova female institution. Springhill has a reputation nationally as being a very secure and well-run institution, one of the best in this country. This institution was initially placed in the area to help with the unemployment numbers but as time goes on we see a different hiring policy nationally. There are more employees from outside the area, many travelling from New Brunswick to this institution on a daily basis.

Other major employers in this community are Surrette Battery Co. Ltd., which manufacture batteries for a market which is reaching across this globe. Their product is being recognized as a leader in this field. This is a company that moved here from the U.S. and at times it employs as many as 50 people.

Another small business that this community relies on, Mr. Speaker, is Benjamin furnaces. It manufactures furnaces and other types of metal products in this community and the community is depending on it very much at this time also. It is making attempts at this point to reach markets in the U.S. With the assistance of this government, it will be recognized across the border, enabling it to provide more employment in the Town of Springhill.

[Page 1009]

Mr. Speaker, another large employer in the community is Ropak Canada. It is a leading injection moulder of containers used in the packaging of dairy, food and industrial products. They also employ in excess of 100 people from the area and they are very community-spirited. Any time in this community that there is any fund-raising going on this company is one of the first to assist and to offer their services in any way they can help.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention the Golden Opportunities Vocational Rehabilitation Centre known in our area as the GOVRC Workshop. This industry offers an opportunity for the mentally challenged to lead productive lives. Here the clients make wooden pallets for local businesses which have been given contracts at competitive prices. They also seek contracts for packaging items such as screws or nails for local businesses. Along with this, Mr. Speaker, they packaged such things for sale as summer savoury, sold on the local market. There is also a greenhouse on the property where these clients grow flowers and bedding plants and, in turn, sell them in the community for residents to transplant onto their properties.

Mr. Speaker, Springhill is well known internationally for its mining history. It was a proud day last week when the province designated the Lamp Cabin Building in Springhill as a Provincial Heritage building. This structure is one of the few remaining original buildings from the mining past. This building housed the miners' individual tags and lamps, a system used to keep a record of which miners were beneath the surface at all times. In too many instances, passing through the line in this building became known as the miners' last walk for many of those who did not return.

Mr. Speaker, Springhill's history is mining but in a plebiscite taken by the town there was a clear indication by 84 per cent of the residents who voted against strip mining that they do not want this type of mining in their community. Again, a resolution I introduced in this House, which received unanimous consent, gives the community faith that if this issue is raised again, that this government will stand behind its decision to support the resolution and not let this take place in Springhill. The residents of Springhill are depending on this and I, for one, will support them in this issue.

Mr. Speaker, the area of River Hebert and Joggins, which were once larger communities but, as a result of the loss of coal mines, among other things, have seen a decline of their population leading to smaller communities. Joggins is the home of the world famous fossil cliffs which is waiting to be declared an international heritage site. Once this happens, we should see this area receive recognition around the globe. There is a lot of history here and the people of Joggins deserve a lot of credit for bringing it to the forefront.

At present, Mr. Speaker, the River Hebert and Joggins Area Development Committee is presently very active. It is working on several projects. This committee represents these two small communities and has been recognized as a leader in development. An example of this is the River Hebert constructed wetland. Many small towns and villages along the coastal and

[Page 1010]

inlet waterways of Atlantic Canada have inadequate or non-existent treatment of domestic sewage. This is a concern for human environmental health. The River Hebert marsh is the first wetland to be constructed in Atlantic Canada for the dual purpose of waste water and wildlife habitat. I would like to congratulate the people of this area for their foresight.

Mr. Speaker, there is a young lady in the River Hebert-Joggins area whom I feel should be mentioned tonight. She is 16-year old Jenny Hoeg who was diagnosed some time back with Hodgkin's disease. Most people, when realizing they had been struck with an illness like this, would use the experience to change their priorities and attitude toward life. But I have to say this young girl, whom I have met on occasion at fund-raisers which were held on her behalf, has never given up on her belief that she will some day be better. She has accepted her illness with a great deal of optimism. She continues to live every day of her life as she did before she became aware of her illness. I would also like to say that the community has rallied behind Jenny, to help her with her costs, as have her friends that she attends school with. She is very deserving of being mentioned by myself in this House today.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak a moment about a small community by the name of Advocate. This community, I would say, is one of the more inspiring small communities in the Province of Nova Scotia. When there is an event held at the local high school, the whole community usually turns out to show their support. Whether it is basketball or soccer, the community puts all of their daily routine aside, especially if it is for the children. To attend such an event, parents, grandparents, children alike, will attend at the local high school to show their support. The high school in Advocate and the hospital are examples of what can be achieved when tested. This high school has been rated one of the top high schools academically in this province. Yet this year we will graduate in the very low numbers of students.

Mr. Speaker, Advocate is home to the Lady Coyote provincial champion Division 4 girls basketball team and also home to the Division 4 provincial soccer championship girls team. I feel that for a small community to achieve these provincial titles, it certainly shows the talent that is available in that area.

Along the Fundy Shore, from Joggins to Advocate and to Port Greville, and finally to Parrsboro, is some of the most spectacular scenery in this province.

These communities are working very hard to initiate attractions which draw visitors to their area; such attractions as the Cape D'or Lighthouse in Advocate, the Age of Sail Museum in Port Greville, the Chignecto Wilderness Park in Advocate are just examples of the success these communities have been able to achieve.

[Page 1011]

There are some areas where the people of these communities feel the government is letting them down. I have personally spoken to at least three bed and breakfast owners who will not be opening for this season. Another person was prepared to open for the first time, but they also have decided against opening.

What, Mr. Speaker, is the reason for this? It is because this government felt it necessary to tax these mom-and-pop operations, which for the most part operate out of their homes for two or three months a year. They treat them as if they were year-round businesses making large amounts of money, which they are not. Where is the fairness or the understanding that these small communities rely on these bed and breakfast operations, in order to survive?

For example, along the shore route there is not one single hotel or motel operating, from Amherst to Parrsboro. The only overnight accommodations were bed and breakfasts. Many people told me cases where people would arrive for one night, and after arriving and seeing the scenic beauty and what was available in the area, ended up staying for several days. This meant dollars being spent at the local stores and services, and also trips to the museums which might not have otherwise happened. These areas are dependent upon these dollars, and this government must realize this and remove the commercial tax placed on these type of operations and restore faith in these small communities again.

I would like to talk about the Town of Parrsboro for a few minutes, which is on the Bay of Fundy and has a population of just over 2,000 people. About three years ago, a company closed and left the community by the name of Scott Mill. The effects of that loss with regard to the commercial base and the jobs are just now being felt in that area. Their leaving took over 100 jobs both from the field and on-site. This has greatly affected the schools, stores and other services in the area. Although logs are still being cut in the area, they are being trucked out and processed elsewhere in this province. There is still a feeling in the community that business is there to sustain at least one small mill. I would like to see the support of this government, to see that happen.

In the Town of Parrsboro, one of the largest industries is Parrsboro Metal Fabricators. It is a company which started out as a dream of two gentlemen by the name of Kerwin Davison and Floyd Brown. They made a furnace in their backyard and turned this into a business, which today employs approximately 140 people and is still growing. This is a successful Cumberland County business made here and for the residents of Cumberland County.

But there is an aspect which continues to hurt these people and the residents of Cumberland County, and that is the deplorable conditions of our secondary roads. These companies make many fine products and it is a shame that by the time they reach their destination, they have the chance of becoming an inferior product compared to others, as a result of having to be transported over broken, bumpy, deteriorating roads. This is something which is totally out of the control of these companies. It is just not fair. This could cause these

[Page 1012]

companies to reconsider the present location of their operation, and most certainly could cause any business thinking of locating here, to reconsider their decision. Is this fair? I would say, not, considering taxes paid with regard to, among other things, gasoline.

Mr. Speaker, to compound this problem, we look at the efforts of the communities to attract tourists to the area, we see these road conditions as a deterrent. Also, I question the safety of putting our children on school buses over these roads. We have some of the worst weather conditions in this province, right here in Cumberland County. Compared with the rest of the province, when we combine this with the road conditions, I have to question if we are putting our children at risk.

There are several roads in Cumberland South, such as Route 360 from Parrsboro to Joggins, Route 361 through Leicester, Greenville Road, Highway No. 2, from Springhill to Southampton and Lower Maccan Road. These are just to name a few, these roads have to be addressed and they have to be addressed now. I feel that like any other landowner, once this government has been notified of a particular road or highway that is in a dangerous condition, it is the responsibility of the government to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

I would like to mention the Ship's Company Theatre in Parrsboro. This has been in operation for the past 14 years. It has an established reputation as a leading producer of new and innovative Canadian work. The theatre is located on one of the most scenic areas of the coastline on the Bay of Fundy in Parrsboro. Performances are staged on the historical Minas Basin Ferry vessel, the MV Kipawo, which used to ferry people back and forth across the Bay of Fundy. It is now located permanently in Parrsboro inner harbour.

[9:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak for a few minutes about the seniors of this province. After having spoken to many seniors over the past couple of years, I realize that they feel there is no one looking out for their interests. Introduction of the HST has had a negative effect on them. Many seniors are trying to make ends meet. They are trying to remain in their own homes, but they are finding it very difficult to do so. These people have paved the way for future generations. Many of them are veterans of past wars and they deserve to be treated with respect. If this government will not look after these people, then who will?

I was proud to introduce a resolution in this House last week, in regard to seniors. Although it may seem like a small amount of money to a lot of people, to seniors it is quite a bit, and it was in regard to seniors having to pay a fishing license fee in this province. This government saw fit, several years ago, to introduce this fee, which I and many seniors feel is just another tax grab. It further adds, Mr. Speaker, to the load on seniors and, in another way, shows disrespect to them. After this House passed this resolution unanimously, I will now be encouraging the Minister of Fisheries to adhere with the members' decision and remove the provincial fishing license fee charged to seniors in this province. (Applause)

[Page 1013]

Mr. Speaker, in regard to education, I would like to address a few issues relating to my area particularly. First I would like to congratulate the commitment of the teachers who instruct our children in these difficult times. When we look at the crimes involving the youth and the lack of respect this age group seems to have for society in general today, we should realize how difficult it must be to be responsible for 25 to 30 children in the classroom. Add to this the feeling that there is very little support in the way of supplies given to teachers in the classroom, and one can only imagine how hard it must be to maintain a good attitude.

Mr. Speaker, I spoke to a Grade 12 graduating class and, as I looked around the classroom, I realized there was not one computer in that classroom. This is a small high school in a small village but, to those students, it is everything. I couldn't help but remember a tender I had seen several months ago in a provincial paper calling for the submission of prices for tenders for 177 computers for a new school. Is this fair and equal education? I think not. I have also seen elementary classrooms with one computer in the classroom, and it wasn't the local school board and it wasn't the government that put that computer there; no, it was thanks to the local fire department's fund-raising efforts. Again, this is not fair and equitable education. How can we justify giving laptop computers to teachers in one area of this province and asking teachers to do without necessities in another?

Mr. Speaker, if this government truly wants the respect of the people of this province, then all people have to be treated fairly. It is also discouraging for communities that have older schools, which are in need of repair and under the threat of closure, to see a school being built to the tune of $30 million in another area of this province. I do not think we should be pitting one community against another in this province, but that is exactly what this government is doing by acts such as this. Communities, parents, and especially students, across this province have to feel that they are just as important to this government no matter where they live.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask each member of this House for one moment - especially the members from small rural areas - to imagine what would happen to their communities if the local school were to close and the students were to be bused to another area. I know for my area, this would be devastating. These schools are the heart of the community, where variety concerts are held, school plays are held and many sporting events take place.

Mr. Speaker, think about high school students who are graduating this year and what a great sense of pride, accomplishment and sense of success, and the pride of the community to see these young adults finishing their high school, their high school years ending in their own community and heading out into the world either to further their education or start out in the labour force. I think of my own and I am sure you can think of yours, in their graduation year and how important it is in their lives and in ours as families in the community. I do not think the community would be nearly as closely knit without that sense of achievement in our youth in their graduating year.

[Page 1014]

Some could say that it would probably be cheaper to have larger schools in the larger centres and bus the kids from these small communities to that large centre. What would happen to this country of ours, Mr. Speaker, that was built on the strong looking after the weak, the healthy looking after the sick, and the haves looking after the have-nots. We, as representatives of this province and of all the people of this province, cannot let this happen.

Another concern I have in regard to education is the availability for young adults and single parents who want to better themselves and the lives of their children and have access to the community college system. Unfortunately, there is not a system in place to help particularly young single parents who want to get off the provincial assistance program. The amounts of money they would be allocated for child care would come nowhere near what it would actually cost. We have to decide if we want these people to remain in their situations or do we want to help them become productive and restore their faith in themselves and in our system so they are contributing their fair share.

I had a young single mom who has two young children, write to me and I could tell by her letter that she was sincere and she feels trapped. What do we tell her? The answer is clear but it will take the will of all of us here in this House to make a difference.

With regard to health care we in Cumberland County also have a concern over the ability to retain doctors. I would like to give credit here tonight to a gentleman by the name of Dr. Bruce Filliter who is not only my family physician but is also a personal friend of mine. Bruce has been able to look after his exceptionally large practice which has grown because of the shortage of doctors. At the same time he has worked tirelessly toward attracting new doctors to our area. He came to Springhill 20 years ago and he continues to have faith in our area. I am concerned personally for his own health as he puts his patients and his community first.

All Saints Hospital in Springhill a few years ago realized an expansion in the area of $4.5 million. Much of this money was raised locally, money which people did not have but found it somewhere to donate. Some people gave weekly from their paycheques as this was the only way they could afford to contribute. There was also the hospital foundation which continues to raise funds and give to the cause. This hospital needs help. It has seen the loss of beds over the last number of years along with the loss of several services. Recently I was told by a man the story of his grandchild being in All Saints on intravenous and the requirement to stay overnight. As a result of the five acute care beds being occupied and our regional hospital being unable to accept this child, the child was transferred to Truro. This was not only inconvenient for the family but also expensive as they were required to spend the night in Truro and the child was released from the hospital the next day, enabling them to bring him home.

[Page 1015]

Would it not make sense, both financially and politically to return some of these beds, the beds that were lost, and services to this hospital? All Saints Hospital and the residents in this area deserve better. It is hard for a community to understand when they gave money, money they did not have, to have the loss of services and beds and these items no longer available to them when they need them most.

Again, communities losing confidence in the system and in the politicians who make these decisions. The South Cumberland Memorial Health Centre does not have a single bed in which a doctor can keep a patient overnight for observation. This put the local doctor at a disadvantage as he once recently told me of a young child who was brought to him. The doctor was left with two choices, either send the boy to the regional hospital or send him home. He would have preferred to keep the young boy in his own community, even for overnight observation, but he was not given that option. These small towns in Nova Scotia contribute as much to this province as the larger and they deserve to be offered the same basic services to their residents.

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity today to be in Parrsboro for the sod turning for the new medical clinic, a new medical building that is going to house office space for doctors and dentists. At this point I would like to congratulate the South Cumberland Memorial Health Care Foundation and the people of Parrsboro for making this happen. It wasn't the government of this province, it was the local people who made this a realization in that community.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the ambulance situation, I am sure it is no different throughout this province than it has been for the residents of Cumberland County. Yes, there is no doubt about it, the ambulances on the road today are certainly better equipped and the attendants certainly have more training than their predecessors. I have seen the ambulances sitting on top of the overpasses on the Trans Canada Highway, covering off from the Town of Oxford, through to Amherst, through to Springhill, waiting for a call, sitting there by the hour with two attendants in the ambulance, the vehicle sitting there running. I have heard the calls where the attendants were not sure where to go because the directions they received were not clear and precise and because the people receiving these phone calls were not sure and were not aware of our area. They are not familiar with the roads, the streets, the highways and the numbers.

Mr. Speaker, I worked in the previous system where the person who answered the emergency phone call had the phone in one hand, taking the call from the person, and in the other hand they had a microphone or a phone to that emergency vehicle, giving those people directions to where that emergency vehicle was required. Many times the person answering that call knew the person by name, knew the street and knew exactly where to go and could arrive there in a very short time. Today we have a system where many times the people answering those phones don't even know where Cumberland County is, let alone the local area where the emergency vehicle is going to.

[Page 1016]

I am sure that with a little more training and with these new vehicles that were supplied, the private owners could have provided every bit as good a service as is being provided today. The ambulance owners in our area in Cumberland South provided a system where people felt safe in their communities and in their homes and had confidence in the ambulance system that it would find them in their hour of need.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the people of Parrsboro and their foundation for that sod-turning today. For once there is something positive in the community, something they can look forward to for the next number of years.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member could perhaps take a moment to wind up the debate for tonight, just adjourn the debate and continue tomorrow, or whenever?

MR. SCOTT: I move that we adjourn, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a motion for adjournment of the debate on the Speech from the Throne. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we will sit tomorrow from the hours of 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m. and following the daily routine and Question Period, we will be calling Resolution No. 2, the National Unity Resolution, and following that we will be going into Supply.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready 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.]