Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Mon., June 22, 1998

First Session

MONDAY, JUNE 22, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 217: Ditches - Maintain,
Mr. G. Balser 1605
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 802, Fin. - PAC: Gaming Corp. (Evidence Others) -
Meeting Convene, Hon. D. Downe 1606
Vote - Affirmative 1606
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 20, Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission Sale
of Assets Act, Mr. G. Archibald 1606
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 821, Bill No. 1 (HRM): Passage - Urge, Mr. R. Chisholm 1607
Res. 822, Commun. Serv. - Dartmouth Seniors' Centre:
Connie Wenaus - Service Commend, Dr. J. Hamm 1607
Vote - Affirmative 1608
Res. 823, Culture: Multicultural Festival (Dart.) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Chard 1608
Vote - Affirmative 1609
Res. 824, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Puddle Bridge (Black Point-
Queensland Beach): Preventive Measures - Take,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 1609
Res. 825, Culture - Joshua Slocum Day (Newport, RI): RI Gov't. -
Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 1609
Vote - Affirmative 1610
Res. 826, Educ. - African Heritage Month Essay:
Winner (Tyler Gabriel [Springhill]) - Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 1610
Vote - Affirmative 1611
Res. 827, Royal Can. Mint - Silver Dollar (1999) [Hfx. Anniv. 250th]:
Issue - Commend, Mr. P. Delefes 1611
Vote - Affirmative 1611
Res. 828, Fish. - TAGS 2: Study Impact - Conduct, Mr. N. LeBlanc 1612
Res. 829, Culture - Sackville Patriot Days (1998): Best Wishes -
Extend, Mr. J. Holm 1612
Vote - Affirmative 1613
Res. 830, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning -
Concerns Address, Mr. G. Archibald 1613
Res. 831, Transport (Can.) - Sydney Airport: Flight Services Retention -
MPs (C.B.) Work Commend, Ms. Helen MacDonald 1614
Res. 832, Health/Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Hospitals: Year 2000 -
Report Table, Mr. G. Balser 1614
Res. 833, Educ. - School Construction: Prog. Mgt. - Condemn,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1615
Res. 834, Educ. - John Montgomerie: Educator (35 years) -
Appreciation Extend, Mr. L. Montgomery 1616
Vote - Affirmative 1616
Res. 835, Commun. Serv./HRDC - Musquodoboit Valley:
Employment Dev. Prog. - Success Recognize, Mr. B. Taylor 1617
Vote - Affirmative 1617
Res. 836, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Pictou Shipyards: Sale Completion -
Assist, Mr. C. Parker 1617
Vote - Affirmative 1618
Res. 837, Educ. - Maple Leaf Elem. School (Truro): Service (47 years) -
Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 1618
Vote - Affirmative 1619
Res. 838, Nat. Res. - Coastlines: Review - Undertake, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1619
Res. 839, Educ. - Possibilities Youth Internship Prog. (HRM-G12):
Graduates - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 1619
Vote - Affirmative 1620
Res. 840, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Muns.: Downloading Costs Increase -
Explain, Mr. J. Holm 1620
Res. 841, Educ. - SW Reg. Songwriting Winners: Mill Village
School (1st)/Danny Hatt [Composer] - Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 1621
Vote - Affirmative 1621
Res. 842, Transport (Can.) - Hfx. Internat. Airport: Rights Transfer -
TIANS Support, Mr. P. Delefes 1622
Res. 843, Culture - Black Cultural Soc. (N.S.): No. 2 Construction Bat. -
Significance Recognize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 1622
Vote - Affirmative 1623
Res. 844, Workers' Comp.: Select Comm. - Establish, Dr. J. Hamm 1623
Vote - Affirmative 1624
Res. 845, Gov't. (N.S.): Dictatorship - Status Lost (24/03/98),
Mr. B. Taylor 1625
Res. 846, Health - Organ Transplants: Database (Can.) -
Current Develop, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 1625
Res. 847, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning -
Funding Commit, Mr. G. Archibald 1626
Res. 848, Lbr. - Metro Transit: Strike - Resolution Ensure,
Mr. G. Balser 1626
Res. 849, Culture - AGNS: Expansion Opening -
Warmest Wishes Extend, Mr. E. Fage 1627
Vote - Affirmative 1628
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1628
Mr. B. Taylor 1632
Mr. J. Muir 1634
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:12 P.M. 1638
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 9:57 P.M. 1638
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., June 23rd at 12:00 p.m. 1638

[Page 1605]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, JUNE 22, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

5:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the following petition, "We the undersigned are concerned about the conditions of the ditches on the 217 highway. It is our opinion there is a profound need for preventative maintenance on this highway.". There are 42 names and I have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

1605

[Page 1606]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 802

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

Whereas the former Chairman of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, Mr. Ralph Fiske, recently appeared before the Public Accounts Committee; and

Whereas Mr. Fiske offered his own interpretation of events and made several unsubstantiated claims regarding the signing of an agreement between the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and ITT Sheraton; and

Whereas many individuals have expressed a different view of how government discharges its responsibilities and intervened appropriately thereby guaranteeing a good deal for Nova Scotia taxpayers;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature's Public Accounts Committee, as soon as possible, convene a meeting to hear the other side of the story from people involved in the casino project, including Dara Gordon, David Thompson, Bob MacKay and others.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 20 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Sale of Certain Assets of the Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission to Nova Scotia Power Incorporated. (Mr. George Archibald)

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

[Page 1607]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 821

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 Council of Halifax Regional Municipality has passed a resolution requesting the passage of legislation now brought forward as Bill No. 1; and

Whereas citizens of Halifax Regional Municipality came to Province House last Friday to urge members of this House to proceed with Bill No. 1 and thus grant the power to Halifax Regional Municipality to regulate urban pesticide use; and

Whereas concerned citizens have asked what hidden agenda is preventing the House from dealing with Bill No. 1;

Therefore be it resolved that this House once again urge the government to bring forward Bill No. 1 for debate and passage in this House.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 822

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Senior Service Centre has expanded in size and range of services since it has moved to the Ochterloney Street quarters thanks to the leadership of Connie Wenaus, O.C.; and

[Page 1608]

Whereas after serving as the centre's executive director for over 20 years, Connie will officially retire this summer; and

Whereas her departure from the front lines of delivering, not only quality programs and services to Dartmouth seniors but in providing an unmatched spirit and enthusiasm in assisting in the delivery of those services, will be greatly missed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the loyal and dedicated service of Connie Wenaus to the seniors in Dartmouth for over two decades and wish her all the best as she prepares to leave her very busy post as executive director for the Dartmouth Senior Service Centre.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 823

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

Whereas the Multicultural Festival was again held on the beautiful Dartmouth waterfront overlooking Halifax Harbour; and

Whereas more than 25 ethnic groups demonstrated their cultural background through national dress, artistic displays, and allowing all to taste their native cuisine; and

Whereas those in attendance at the festival agree that it continues to go beyond their expectations every year;

Therefore be it resolved that all Parties of this Legislative Assembly congratulate the organizers and participants of the Multicultural Festival for a job well done.

[Page 1609]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 824

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

Whereas Puddle Bridge, linking Black Point and Queensland Beach, is falling down; and

Whereas Puddle Bridge was used by children to jump down into the local swimming hole called The Puddle; and

Whereas this Liberal Government neglected rural Nova Scotia and Puddle Bridge;

Therefore be it resolved that measures be taken to prevent Puddle Bridge but not the government from falling down.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 825

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

Whereas this Saturday, June 27th, will be Captain Joshua Slocum Day in Newport, Rhode Island; and

[Page 1610]

Whereas on that day, one century ago, at 1:00 a.m. Brier Island native, Joshua Slocum reached his final landfall in his three year solo circumnavigation of the globe; and

Whereas we must share the navigational feats of this great Bluenoser with our American neighbours;

Therefore be it resolved that this House send its congratulations to the State Government of Rhode Island for appropriately recognizing the accomplishments of Joshua Slocum.

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 Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 826

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 5th Annual African Heritage Month Essay and Art Contest was recently held for students across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the theme of this year's African Heritage Month was Rhythm of Our Roots and was designed for individual students to write about what the theme meant to them; and

Whereas Tyler Gabriel, a Grade 3 student at West End Memorial School in Springhill, captured this year's first place award with a 600-word essay that he didn't even realize was going to be placed in the competition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature acknowledge the hard work generated by Tyler Gabriel of Springhill, while recognizing the importance of what the annual African Heritage Month Essay and Art Contest means to students across Nova Scotia.

[Page 1611]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 827

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

Whereas the City of Halifax was founded on June 21, 1749; and

Whereas Halifax will celebrate its 250th Anniversary next year, 1999; and

Whereas other Canadian cities have been commemorated on the Royal Canadian Mint's silver dollar issue;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recommend the Royal Canadian Mint issue a 1999 commemorative silver dollar coin in recognition of Halifax's 250th Anniversary of its founding.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

[Page 1612]

RESOLUTION NO. 828

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 federal Liberals announced the long-awaited replacement TAGS program on Friday past, less than 24 hours after the Premier unveiled his position on the matter; and

Whereas the federal program does not provide sufficient funding for retraining and upgrading, economic development, and especially income support for thousands of individuals; and

Whereas in responding to the TAGS 2 announcement, the Premier said, Nova Scotians will have to live with it;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier change his defeatist attitude, and immediately do an impact study on the results of TAGS 2 on our fishermen and fish plant works, and urge his federal cousins to bring forward a more favourable plan.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 829

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

Whereas the non-profit Sackville Community Development Association, which is dedicated to making Sackville a better place to live and raise a family, has a mandate that includes developing a positive community identity and recognizing the spirit of its citizens by holding quality events and festivals; and

[Page 1613]

Whereas in keeping with its mandate and with the assistance of many volunteers, the association will be hosting the 2nd Annual Sackville Patriot Days between June 26th and July 1st; and

Whereas Sackville Patriots Days Celebration 1998 has an ambitious schedule of community activities, that are suitable for all ages, being held throughout the Sackville community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate and thank the organizers and volunteers of Sackville Patriot Days 1998 and extend its best wishes for a successful celebration to all involved.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 830

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

Whereas Kentville residents Joan Tracey and Ann Cameron are distributing a petition that will show the support which exists for the twinning of Highway No. 101; and

Whereas Windsor Fire Chief Fred Fox said on the weekend that he has dealt with more carnage on Highway No. 101 in the past 27 years that is needless; and

Whereas Chief Fox also said the majority of accidents on Highway No. 101 are head-on collisions which could be avoided if this highway were divided or twinned;

[Page 1614]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works pay attention to concerns such as those expressed by fire chiefs in Windsor, Kentville, military personnel at Greenwood; Valley Regional Hospital, Dr. Ian Verryn-Stuart, who recently said, Highway No. 101 is a hazard to public health and safety.

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 831

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

Whereas Nav Canada's plan to close its flight service station at Sydney Airport posed a serious threat to the airport and the whole economy of industrial Cape Breton; and

Whereas the Members of Parliament for Cape Breton, Peter Mancini and Michelle Dockrill, recognized this serious threat and mobilized the community against Nav Canada's plans; and

Whereas Nav Canada has listened to the community and is now withdrawing its plan to shut down its flight service centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the MPs for Cape Breton for their hard work in fighting to retain essential flight services at Sydney Airport.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there a request for waiver?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 832

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

[Page 1615]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat continues to remain silent on the critical issue of the Year 2000 problem and how it relates to Nova Scotia's health care institutions; and

Whereas the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry has identified hospitals across Canada as being one of their major concerns because most have barely started to address their Year 2000 problem; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Auditor General is now planning to broaden his focus and include facilities such as Nova Scotia hospitals because of his concern over the volume of equipment and instruments which could have embedded chips;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health, and the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat immediately move to allay any concern about this potentially devastating impact on Nova Scotia health care by tabling a report in this Legislature by week's end showing the progress made by Nova Scotia hospitals on the Year 2000 problem.

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 Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 833

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 the government is patting itself on the back for signing a lease that may lead to the construction of a much-needed and long-awaited school in Lantz by September 1999; and

Whereas if the school is constructed by September 1999, it would be a welcome development, even if six years late; and

[Page 1616]

Whereas delivery of a school six years late is not grounds for false claims by the Minister of Education that the school would be delivered on time and on budget;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn this government and the previous Liberal Government for a school construction program so badly managed that a six year delay is cause for self-congratulation.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 834

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

Whereas John Montgomerie has been an outstanding educator dedicated to the many students at various schools in Hants County, Annapolis County and Halifax County; and

Whereas John has distinguished himself in these communities by receiving such recognition as the 25th Anniversary Board of Governors Award for track and field work and the Appreciation Award from the Lions Club and nominated this year for the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Teaching; and

Whereas after more than 30 years of loyal service in our education system, John Montgomerie is retiring from the teaching profession;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend our appreciation to John Montgomerie for over 35 years of dedication to the children, schools and communities throughout Nova Scotia.

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.

[Page 1617]

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 835

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

Whereas the Employment Development Program in Middle Musquodoboit started in January 1998 with 27 participants, including 12 who were on social assistance; and

Whereas the 27 were provided with instructional courses on self-esteem, career exploration, résumé writing, life skills and first aid; and

Whereas the Musquodoboit Valley and Area Business Association cooperatively sponsored this program, and as a result, 24 of the 27 participants obtained full-time employment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the success of this employment development program and encourage the Department of Community Services and Human Resources Development Canada to continue with this positive learning experience in the Musquodoboit Valley.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 836

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

Whereas the Pictou Shipyards is a major and vital employer in the Town of Pictou; and

[Page 1618]

Whereas Local 4702 of the United Steel Workers and management of M&M Industra have reached a three year agreement; and

Whereas this government is involved in the arrangements to sell this shipyard to this employer;

Therefore be it resolved that this government assist in all ways possible to complete this sale and have the Pictou Shipyards operating once again.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 837

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

Whereas Maple Leaf School will close at the end of this school year and on June 22nd the celebration will be held to commemorate the school's 47 years of exemplary service to young children; and

Whereas the two room Maple Leaf School was built in 1950 to accommodate the post-war boom of students in Grade Primary to Grade 3 and since 1964 has served Primary students exclusively; and

Whereas the Maple Leaf School experience has proved that there is still considerable merit to a small neighbourhood school, even if it doesn't have all the bells and whistles;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the present and former teachers, principals, janitors, parents, and neighbours, Vivian McNutt who voluntarily cut the grass for 20 years and May MacLean who provided mittens to each student for the past 18 years, for their contribution to the formative school years of so many young people.

[Page 1619]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 838

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

Whereas residents of coastal communities continue to express concerns about the loss of prime coastline to non-residents; and

Whereas this valuable resource must be directly controlled by Nova Scotians; and

Whereas this government seems content to quote a percentage for all lands in Nova Scotia controlled in this province by non-residents when our coastlines must remain our priority;

Therefore be it resolved that the appropriate government departments immediately undertake a review of all coastlines, including islands, owned and leased by non-residents.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 839

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

Whereas nine Grade 12 students recently graduated from the Bank of Montreal's Possibilities, a youth internship program, a program jointly sponsored by the bank, the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre, the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, as well as the Halifax Regional School Board; and

[Page 1620]

Whereas the program is aimed at helping visible minorities, aboriginals and physically challenged high school students in both the academic and working world; and

Whereas the program was sponsored by the Bank of Montreal, the Halifax Regional School Board, the Canadian Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre, the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, which jointly gave each student graduate a $1,000 scholarship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the students graduating from the Possibilities program and wish each of them the best of luck in all their future schooling and career plans.

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 840

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

Whereas the Premier promised delegates to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Conference last fall that municipalities would not be forced to pick up any more provincial downloading without consultation; and

Whereas the warden and councillors of Antigonish County have written to the Minister of Education and the President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, pointing out that the latest provincial budget will mean an increase in taxes for the ratepayers of Antigonish County; and

Whereas other municipalities, including Cape Breton Regional Municipality, have made a similar complaint about the effects of the new education funding formula on their taxes;

[Page 1621]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier explain to Nova Scotians why, despite his promise of last September, municipalities are being subjected to more provincial downloading of costs.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 841

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

Whereas four schools in the Southwest Regional School Board have been chosen as winners in the songwriting contest Hot School; and

Whereas the goal of the contest was to involve students in creative expression and to heighten school spirit; and

Whereas the contest was generously supported by MT&T, Shore Sound, Towne's End Strings and Things, and Canada Post;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate first place winner Mill Village School and Grade 6 student-composer Danny Hatt who wrote lyrics which were set to a tune on the computer and express thanks for the generosity of the sponsors.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Halifax Citadel.

[Page 1622]

RESOLUTION NO. 842

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

Whereas Halifax International Airport is the last major airport in Canada to be transferred to the community under the National Airport Policy and the only international airport not to be modernized by the federal Department of Transport prior to transfer; and

Whereas after lengthy negotiations the federal Liberal Government still refuses to accept responsibility for upgrading airport infrastructure and wants such costs to be borne by Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia at the June 18th meeting of its board of directors passed a resolution which points out the importance of a fully functional Halifax International Airport to the growth of the Nova Scotian tourism industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join with the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia in calling on the federal Minister of Transport to transfer the rights and responsibilities of the Halifax International Airport to the community in an equitable manner with appropriate financial support.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 843

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 Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia is holding a celebration on July 11th in Pictou to honour the unsung heroes of the No. 2 Construction Battalion; and

[Page 1623]

Whereas the No. 2 Construction Battalion was authorized July 5, 1916, by the Government of Canada in response to a request from Blacks across the country to be allowed into military service; and

Whereas the communities of Windsor, Gibson Woods and Inglewood are being honoured this year by the society for sending their sons to serve and actually being forced to fight for the right to serve their country as loyal Canadian citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the significance of the No. 2 Construction Battalion and wish the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia every success with their upcoming July 11th event in Pictou waterfront.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 844

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

Whereas the Premier has agreed to the establishment of a Committee on Workers' Compensation;

Therefore be it resolved that:

(a) this House declare that a Select Committee on Workers' Compensation be established;

(b) this House declare that the select committee be chaired by the member for Lunenburg and be composed of such members as the striking committee shall determine, an equal number of whom shall be members of the Government Party, an equal number of whom

[Page 1624]

shall be members of the Official Opposition and an equal number of whom shall be members of the Third Recognized Party in the House, including the Chair;

(c ) the mandate of the select committee is to review changes to the Workers' Compensation Act and, in particular, to review recommendations of the Auditor General with respect to his audit of the Workers' Compensation Board, Workers' Advisors Program and Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal;

(d) if this House is not sitting when an interim or final report is completed by the select committee, the select committee shall table the report with the Clerk of the House; and

(e) the House declares, pursuant to Section 36 of the House of Assembly Act, that the select committee shall not be dissolved by prorogation of the House and the select committee is authorized to continue its inquiry after the House is prorogued; and

(f) all the powers and privileges of the House of Assembly Act applicable to committees apply and are in full force and effect during the sittings of the select committee; and

(g) the House requests the Legislature Internal Economy Board, on behalf of the select committee, to employ such members and staff as may be necessary to enable the select committee to carry out its duties; and

(h) the House requests the Legislature Internal Economy Board to provide the select committee, its members and staff, with such facilities and funds as are required to carry out its functions as provided for by Section 80 of the Public Service Act.

[5:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 1625]

RESOLUTION NO. 845

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

Whereas the Departments of Education and Culture, and Transportation and Public Works, tabled a report on June 10, 1998, that recommends the closure of 18 schools in Colchester, Pictou and Cumberland Counties; and

Whereas this Liberal Government commissioned this study without any public consultation; and

Whereas this profound lack of public consultation has left many parents shaking their heads and thinking that the previous undemocratic Liberal Regime is still ruling;

Therefore be it resolved that this minority government recognize that on March 24, 1998, they lost their dictatorship and it is not business as usual anymore.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 846

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

Whereas Canada does not have a national database of patients who need organ transplants; and

Whereas almost one-third of those on provincial waiting lists die before they can get a transplant; and

Whereas brain-dead organ donors in one province are not always considered as potential donors for recipients elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health urge his federal and provincial counterparts to remedy this serious situation and develop an easily accessible and up-to-date national database of patients who need organ transplants.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for waiver.

[Page 1626]

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 847

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

Whereas statistics from the Department of Transportation and Public Works clearly show that over 13,000 vehicles a day travel Highway No. 101; and

Whereas this is the highest traffic count in Nova Scotia for any two-lane highway; and

Whereas this government should pay attention to its own traffic count and place Highway No. 101 at the top of its priority list;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately begin ensuring that estimates in his department's capital budget in future years begin showing funding commitments for the twinning of Highway No. 101.

I ask for waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 848

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

[Page 1627]

Whereas the months of June, July and August are the peak tourist season for the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas over the past weekend metro's Multicultural Festival suffered from a marked decline in attendance which organizers have attributed to the lingering Metro Transit strike; and

Whereas the Metro Transit strike is entering its fourth week with just one item left to be resolved;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour act to ensure a resolution to the transit strike is reached before the peak tourist season arrives.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 849

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

Whereas the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is officially opening its new expansion on Friday, June 26th, at 11:00 a.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony; and

Whereas the opening of the Barbara and Norman Newman Educational Centre, which provides work space for art classes and studio space for an artist in residence, took place on June 21st at noon; and

Whereas the gallery has an official new focus, four brushstrokes swirled surrounding a blue box, that was designed by Steven Slipp to replace the roaring lion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly offer warmest wishes on the opening of the new expansion to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and encourage everyone to come see the wealth of art located at the gallery.

[Page 1628]

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.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to put on record some of the concerns from the voters of Halifax Needham who I am privileged to have the opportunity to represent here. Specifically, I would like to use this limited time to talk about issues that need to be addressed but will not be addressed as a result of the budget.

First of all, I would like to talk a bit about the constituency. Mr. Speaker, Halifax Needham is a constituency of diverse communities arising out of a rich history of working- class and African-Nova Scotian cultures. Northenders, above all else, share an identity resulting from an experience of providing mutual support, of struggle, of caring, of perseverance. Perhaps this explains why it is that we get our backs up when we are unfairly stereotyped as being on the wrong side of the tracks.

[Page 1629]

Quite recently, in fact I think last week when the NATO fleet was in, there was an item on the CBC news that indicated that prior to coming, some of the sailors on those ships were given maps of the City of Halifax, places that they might like to visit. One of the places had been red-lined. The North End of Halifax had a line drawn around it and people were warned that this was an undesirable part of the city, a place that they shouldn't go to because of levels of crime. Well, Mr. Speaker, this image is not deserved, however, it continues to persist and it has disadvantaged our community with respect to economic development. It is a matter requiring immediate attention and one I intend to pursue vigorously on behalf of the people of this constituency. Crime is not a problem in our constituency. Poverty and lack of opportunity for paid work are.

Now Halifax Needham encompasses Seaview Park, the site of the former historic settlement of Africville whose spirit lives on in those who keep its memory alive and whose quest is for an honourable and just conclusion to what surely must be recognized as public policy emanating from all three levels of government that was reinforcing racism and race and class inequality. Mr. Speaker, perhaps some day soon we, collectively, will find the political courage and the grace to publicly apologize to the former residents of Africville and their descendants for the loss of a community that meant so much to them; a gesture that would cost taxpayers not one red cent but which, for many, would be worth more than millions of dollars. This would be the decent thing to do and perhaps we could go so far as to encourage the Halifax Regional Municipality to resume discussions which would bring closure to what continues to be a painful and sorrowful experience for many fine women and men who are represented throughout Nova Scotia's and Canada's Black communities.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to specifically talk about the role of government in working with citizen groups in the voluntary sector because I think the voluntary sector is very little understood and it is often overlooked. Certainly in the constituency of Halifax Needham, the voluntary sector is extraordinarily strong, and it provides many examples of what citizens who are empowered and mobilized to act collectively can do to address issues which will result in stronger and healthier communities for children, for families, and for the elderly.

Mr. Speaker, I would like specifically to mention Northwoodcare Incorporated, the largest non-profit program for senior citizens in Nova Scotia, providing long-term care, providing independent living, providing home care, and providing the province-wide Lifeline program. Northwoodcare Incorporated operates with an annual budget of $25 million, it employs 1,300 employees, and this makes it among one of the largest employers in the Province of Nova Scotia. Northwoodcare Incorporated is a very fine example of the public policy approach an NDP Government would want to promote in both the long-term-care and home-care-provision sectors through non-profit organizations, whose origins are motivated by concern for those whom they serve.

[Page 1630]

I would like to draw your attention to the Wee Care Developmental Centre, which integrates infants and children with special needs with other children. Here children with special needs receive intensive speech therapy, physiotherapy, and many other specialty services they require. Now in 1991, fire tragically destroyed this centre, and if it was not for the good people at Bethany Church, and the dedication of the Wee Care staff, the volunteer members of the board, the support of HMC Iroquois - who adopted this organization as their volunteer project - and many others, this centre would not have risen from the ashes to their modern new premises on Young Street today. But, this centre is far from over the ordeal triggered by this tragic fire six years ago.

The then Minister of Community Services, the honourable Roland Thornhill, committed the province to matching any financial assistance this centre received from the municipalities here in the metropolitan area. In 1997, the former City of Halifax provided a one-time grant of $60,000 to this centre, however, not one cent of provincial government support has been forthcoming. The board of directors had been informed by the honourable member for Dartmouth East, in his capacity as Minister of Community Services, that things had changed, and the current minister has justified her department's ongoing failure to act because of what she considers to be an above-average per diem for daily operation at this centre.

Mr. Speaker, this organization has been treated much better by the banks than it has by its own government, but time is running out on its future. It has a significant capital debt of $200,000 and this service, once again, is in danger of disappearing. It is very difficult to rationalize how the former CEO of the QE II Health Centre received a $330,000 severance package, after one year on the job, when this government claims not to be able to come up with as little as $60,000 for this centre.

Now in light of the Speech from the Throne - which we had earlier, which began on Page 2 and said, ''That future begins with our children.'' - let me say that it is time for this government to pay more than lip-service to children and families and especially to those with special needs. I am ashamed to say that, as a province, we seriously lag behind others with respect to services for children with disabilities. It is time, Mr. Speaker, to keep the commitment that was made to Wee Care because things have not changed for these children and their families; their needs are the same today as they were six years ago.

[5:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, there are many organizations in my constituency that I could speak about, but I know I have a very limited time. I would like to say that although there are many organizations that have excellent track records and provide very good examples of what an active citizenry working together can do, my constituency is a constituency where there are many serious problems requiring a concerted and thoughtful response from all levels of government. Regretfully, I have to say that I was quite disappointed by the budget and by the Speech from the Throne, which surely lacked vision for the people in my constituency; instead

[Page 1631]

it reflected an amazing degree of timidness on the part of this government in addressing the most pressing public policy issues confronting Nova Scotia today: unemployment, poverty, deteriorating health care, and rising and inequitable taxation.

Mr. Speaker, Halifax economist, Jim Stanford, has characterized this government's radical experiment in redesigning government as a failure which has deepened poverty more significantly, and in a shorter period of time, here than in any other Canadian province over the same five-year period. Child poverty, and poverty more generally, among single people, childless couples, persons with disabilities and the elderly is on the increase in Nova Scotia after years of cuts in federal government transfers, provincial and municipal government cuts, and the failure of the market as a vehicle for the equitable distribution of wealth. The time has come for government to set specific targets for poverty reduction, not vague promises that too frequently pit one poor group against another.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I would like to say that citizens in communities can best deal with their own issues when government understands its role as an active participant and enabler. This government's sole preoccupation has been with creating an investment and export climate that provides opportunities for the accumulation of massive wealth by a privileged few, in hope there will be a trickle-down effect for ordinary folk. While exporting and investment are, indeed, two very important areas for industry, the lessons of history are that an unregulated labour market has profound shortcomings as a vehicle for the equitable distribution of wealth and well-being.

Poverty and unemployment are the natural outcome of labour market weaknesses and failure. No matter how much those on the right would have us believe that social programs are the source of poverty and unemployment, this just isn't so. With unemployment hovering at 10 per cent, this is market failure, pure and simple. This is where government comes in with respect to redistribution of wealth through ensuring a fair tax system and by ensuring equality of opportunity through education, health care and so forth. The result is a social citizenship, an active citizenry. Today, we are in an environment of profound market failure with respect to employment, which clearly requires a responsible and a responsive government prepared to work with grass-roots people at the community level in addressing their expressed needs and aspirations. Sadly, judging from the Speech from the Throne and the budget, this fact has not, beyond a very superficial level, penetrated the consciousness of this government.

Regretfully, Mr. Speaker, if we, the Opposition, in solidarity with our constituents and all the people of Nova Scotia, are unable to penetrate and change this consciousness, it will be the average Nova Scotian who will continue to pay the price for this government's lack of vision and wisdom. Thank you.

[Page 1632]

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday and again today I did a resolution relative to this document. It is a needs assessment which the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board tabled on June 10th. They tabled this down in Pictou. It has caused a lot of consternation and anxiety, quite frankly, in many of the communities that I represent and some of the communities that my colleagues represent.

This document, which I did table the other day, Mr. Speaker, speaks about closing 18 schools and replacing them with 5 technology-advanced schools. On the surface, when you hear that, you may not become alarmed but a lot of parents, in my case in the Upper Stewiacke Valley, are very concerned that they may lose their elementary schools. For example, the Upper Stewiacke Elementary School, according to this document, basically needs a new roof. It needs to be shingled and some other minor repairs. It also speaks to barrier-free access for the Upper Stewiacke Elementary School.

Relative to the Middle Stewiacke Elementary School, again this document makes a recommendation that that school is to close. It says that the school needs some improvements but, Mr. Speaker, if these schools are to close, the parents - and I agree with the parents - have deep concern that they will lose some of their community identity. A lot of these older schools, for example, the Brookfield Memorial School, which is scheduled for some much-needed improvement, is also slated to close if these recommendations are supported by this government and if this government follows through.

Again, the Brookfield Elementary School, the Middle and Upper Stewiacke schools are focal points in a lot of these small villages. A lot of the volunteers give freely of their time, for extra-curricular and co-curricular trips, for example and I can't imagine folks, although they are very kind-hearted, being as inclined to volunteer if they live way up in Burnside or Upper Stewiacke, and, for example, the new school is built down in Brookfield or Pleasant Valley. It is going to mean these elementary students, little children five years old, are going to travel at least one and a half hours one way on a bus.

While I support financial responsibility, this needs assessment did not look at the human cost and the social impact that these types of recommendations would surely carry. So I guess I have to appeal to the Minister of Education, and I do note that the Department of Education and Culture, the Department of Transportation and Public Works, in cooperation, I believe, with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board carried through this study; the Needs Assessment Committee consisted of Ted Keddy from the Department of Education and Culture, Charles R. Ritcey, Department of Transportation and Public Works, Lee Stark, Department of Transportation and Public Works and Charles Clattenburg, Department of Education and Culture.

[Page 1633]

I believe the document, if you looked at it purely with financial eyes, may have some relevance but when you look at some of the schedules attached to the document, some of the addenda, you see that the Needs Assessment Committee conducted the needs assessments during the months of May and June 1998.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this document was tabled on June 10th. If there was a whole lot of evaluation and examination that took place relative to this document, then it was only carried out in May, because it was tabled in early June. I have difficulty with the time-frame behind this document.

I don't know how many meetings, I don't know what the terms of reference were, relative to the needs assessment, but I am certain that the social and human costs were not given any consideration, or certainly not given enough consideration. Now parents are phoning, coming in to the constituency office and asking, how do we get a copy of this needs assessment? I am reading it in the paper that they are going to close my school, my elementary school in Upper Stewiacke, Brookfield, Middle Stewiacke, and the parents are concerned. They are very concerned.

Some of these schools serve as multi-purpose centres presently. I know in Upper Stewiacke, not too long ago, a family was burned out. The community rallied behind that family, and at the elementary school, they held a fund-raiser. Now if this school is sold and is declared surplus property and the Public Works Department auctions it off to the highest bidder, or whatever the case is, that school will no longer be the property of the community. That's a shame. The Upper Stewiacke Volunteer Fire Department holds some of its fund-raisers and banquets and dances and things of that nature in the elementary school.So, I am imploring the minister to be very careful before he supports the recommendations.

The recommendations may be - and I say this very carefully - economically viable because I am sure the government is looking at the dollars and cents of the projects. The recommendations of the needs assessment study speak of closing Brookfield High and South Colchester High School, and building a new technology-advanced school. If this government does this, obviously, the money going to the board for the operational side of their budget will be a considerable amount less than it is today, but the government has to look at the social impact that such a needs assessment would have on any given community.

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague, the honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill has some comments on this same subject, if it isn't too much to ask, I would like to yield the floor to my honourable colleague.

[Page 1634]

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

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the needs assessment study that was tabled at the school board last week has created considerable anxiety in the Town of Truro, one part of my constituency, and I have received a number of phone calls from constituents expressing some concern. There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, the needs assessment as it was conducted was purely on physical facilities, and it didn't take into account anything about the communities that the schools serve, nor the wishes of the parents.

One of the moves in education today is to try to get the support of the communities and the support of the parents, and clearly this was not done. Now what the school board has proposed is that there be a consultation process about this study, and the consultation would take place in September and October. Written submissions would have to be in by October 15th. One of the difficulties with this is the parents have said to me, it is like everything else, this House shuts down, presumably next week sometime for a sort of a summer recess, and you aren't going to have a whole lot of groups active in the summer, trying to study this document and to provide input to it. So actually, the time- frame, although it does say, you have about four months for your consultation, it is really pretty compressed. It is really a very compressed time-frame, and will not be adequate.

There is an awful lot to be said for small neighbourhood schools. They are still the heart of a community as a small neighbourhood school. I mentioned by resolution tonight, that this is actually a sad night in the community of Salmon River, because one of these sort of small schools, an old two-room school which served Primary students since 1964 has indeed closed. There are some reasons for that, and one of the reasons was, they built a new middle school which took some of the students from the Salmon River school. That was sort of an understandable thing, because there was still a school in that community. This Maple Leaf School was, for all its strengths - and I hate to see it go, because it had a certain atmosphere about it which I really liked, and the parents liked and the students liked - an annex to the Salmon River Elementary School and when they started shuffling the populations around, then there became room in the Salmon River building. So you are going to have a Primary to Six school as opposed to a One to Six school with the P adjacent to it.

[6:00 p.m.]

The idea of technology-enriched schools is what everybody is selling new school construction on these days. I have been through that. I can remember studying education and when the textbook came, that was going to be the be-all and the end-all; we got textbooks and that was going to cure all the ills of education. Then in my day, I can go back and remember the radio school broadcasts; we got the school broadcasts on Friday afternoon, the Red Cross. Then we got into the overhead projectors; they were the big thing when I started my teaching career back in the 1960's. Then we got into teaching machines - how many of you remember these plastic boxes they used to have? You do, very well. Good, Ray, you are

[Page 1635]

with me - these teaching machines were going to cure everything; we take away the teacher and the school and all this, we do away with it.

Then we got into television and we had really good television here in Nova Scotia. We had Ralph Milne doing the math and Kennedy doing the science and these things. Believe it or not, in Nova Scotia, we were internationally known for the excellence of our television programming that went out to schools. It was for the high schools, in the days before there were a lot of teachers, and it was an opportunity. Then we got that television and the VCR were going to be the substitute for the teacher, and now we are in the computer. We are just going through this thing time after time again.

I am really alarmed when I hear that the reason for making all of these great changes in education is that technology is going to save the school system. Well, I have been through that, on a number of occasions, and technology is a very useful tool, but it has to be put in that context. It is not a substitute for a warm, secure, supportive atmosphere and a teacher who really cares and students who can go to school and feel wanted and feel secure. Sometimes the neighbourhood schools can provide that better than any other. I have yet to see any studies that really show that big is much better in elementary schools. The important thing in education is to get the students off to a good start.

In the Town of Truro we are talking about shutting down a school at the west end of town, the Willow Street School and, at the east end of town, Alice Street School, simply because we are concerned that the buildings are old and they are not wired so that every station has a computer. I get a little concerned because I know about those two schools, Mr. Speaker, and they have tremendous parental support in those schools. They may be big old rooms but they are filled with warmth and caring, and the students who are going to those schools are getting a good education, and with parental support. I would hate to see them go ahead and close those two buildings simply because they are old. If you could close them on educational grounds, that is one thing, but if you close them simply because somebody has the idea that bigger is better, then I have a concern about it.

The former Colchester-East Hants School Board had a policy and that policy was that you did not close a school that was open unless the community . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I would interrupt the honourable member for just one moment. The rules are that we have 45 minutes. Are there any other members who wish to speak in the Supply motion? If there are none, you actually have 15 minutes total from the time you started, which provides you another eight minutes, should you so require.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the former Colchester-East Hants District School Board had a policy and that was that they would not close the school unless the parents agreed to close it. What that meant was that the school board would put these schools on a list. I can

[Page 1636]

remember that it happened out in Walton.The had a school out there in Walton. Do any of you remember they used to have a mine at Walton? The barite mine at Walton. Yes, indeed.

When the mine closed down, there were not - that might even have been in your constituency, pretty close to it, wasn't it, Mr. Speaker? Yes. Anyway, they went out to that community - I happened to have some dealing with the school board at that time - and they went to the parents and they said, yes, we do not think the school is going to be viable with 30-odd students or whatever it was and we will move down the shore to Noel. That was done. It closed. There was no ripple. The parents agreed to it. The parent group went down and then they supported the Noel school. There was no difficulty at that time.

I think when these reports come out, it is very important to recognize the role that the parents of the children have. In the case of Truro, what they are proposing is to shut down two neighbourhood schools. They say the school board does have a plot of land up on the south side of town. It is what we would refer to in my community as up the hill. There is nothing the matter with being up the hill because that is an expanding section of town but there are two other elementary schools in relatively close proximity to that. It might even make more sense if they were going to do that to do some shifting around within Willow Street School. There is another school which is probably within a kilometre, Princess Margaret Rose School, which takes kids from the south side of the community. They are talking about combining. A worse case scenario might be that they would combine the schools of Princess Margaret Rose and Willow Street, which might keep it relatively in the community.

One of the difficulties that has happened with the previous Liberal Government is that they got into the kick where everything bigger was better. They consolidated hospitals; we had regional health boards and then they consolidated and we had regional school boards. Some of those school boards are just, in terms of the geography, virtually impossible to manage. I do not think there was one of those school boards last year, I guess basically their first full year in operation, if you went around to the staff and you asked who knows what is going on, everybody would say, they are just running, nobody knows what is going on. If you were lucky and you had a good principal, then the kids got a good education. A good principal and good teachers, then you were in business, but if you were looking for leadership or support or anything else from the people in central office, it really was not there. It is no reflection on the people in there. It just could not be done. Helen, I think you actually worked in one of those a little bit and you would probably even nod your head in agreement. When we got up in that Cape Breton board and got as large as we did up there.

So the idea of bigger necessarily being better is just not the case. This goes back perhaps to our intent here in Canada quite often to follow American models. There was a book written back in about the 1960's called the American High School Today by a very distinguished scholar who used to be the president of Harvard University, James Bryant Conant. He wrote a book called the American High School Today which called for

[Page 1637]

consolidation and minimum sizes of public schools. Unfortunately, that little publication - or perhaps fortunately if you are on the other side - had a tremendous impact on this side of the border as well. Therefore we get into the whole school consolidation process.

I can remember one of the sad things for me when I was an inspector of schools up in Cumberland County, we used to have a marvellous little school in a community called Collingwood which would be in, I guess, Mr. Fage's Cumberland South constituency. That was a school that was really a heart of a community. The parents went in there. They did everything in that school. You could go in and literally eat off the floors. That was a school where they offered French in Primary. It was not mandated until Grade 4. Collingwood is just a little bit of a community outside of Oxford. That school is gone now in Collingwood. I think it was a very sad thing.

The other thing about school boards which have some type of social responsibility and moving schools in and out of communities has some sort of effect on neighbourhoods. If they were to shut down in Truro, without the consent of the parents, the schools, Alice Street Elementary and Willow Street Elementary, it is going to have an effect on the neighbourhoods. It means that people with young children are not going to move into those neighbourhoods. They are going to try to move into neighbourhoods where there are schools. It would have a marked effect on my community.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I really have some degree of alarm about this, not because they have tabled a report which says that this would be done and that might be done, and I think the thing is to keep in mind that this is just a report and people do have the opportunity to react to it. But part of the problem is the compressed time-frame in which this report has come out in is going to prevent many of the community people who might otherwise be interested in reacting to this report, it is going to shut off their opportunity. As I said, releasing one of these reports in June is not real good. Well, it is good for the school board if you do not want reaction.

I should say, as well, Mr. Speaker, that in the constituency of Truro-Bible Hill we have both the big and the small. The high school in my constituency in Truro is the largest Grade 10 to Grade 12 school in the province. I know a little bit about that school because I have had four children go through it and I am not saying that they did not get a good education in that large school, but that was the school that everybody supported when it went there. When you run into difficulty is when schools and these things are done purely on numbers grounds without the support of the parents.

My point, Mr. Speaker, I guess really, with this rather extensive monologue at this particular time is that the parents have to be given the opportunity to provide input if any changes are going to work and I would think, I would hope that the Minister of Education, whose ultimate shoulders this is going to fall on when they come looking for money, would keep that in mind. Thank you.

[Page 1638]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[6:12 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Ms. Helen MacDonald in the Chair.]

[9:57 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, following the daily routine tomorrow we will have Private and Local Bills, Bill No. 20; following that, we will return to the estimates.

I move that the House do now rise to sit between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 9:58 p.m.]

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