Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., Nov. 19, 1998

First Session

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Smith 4035
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1948, Health - Lung Assoc. (N.S.): Work - Recognize,
Hon. J. Smith 4036
Vote - Affirmative 4037
Res. 1949, Agric. - Royal Winter Fair (Toronto):
Farmers/Breeders (N.S.) - Success Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 4037
Vote - Affirmative 4038
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 79, Homes for Special Care Standards Development (1998) Act,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4038
No. 80, Physiotherapy Act, Hon. J. Smith 4038
No. 81, Occupational Therapists Act, Hon. J. Smith 4038
No. 82, Greenwich Fire Protection Act, Hon. R. Harrison 4038
No. 83, Motor Vehicle Act, Dr. J. Hamm 4038
No. 84, Family Division of Supreme Court Statute Amendment
(1998) Act, Hon. J. Smith 4038
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1950, CBC TV - Street Cents: Anniv. 10th - Congrats.,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 4039
Vote - Affirmative 4039
Res. 1951, Health - South Shore Health Serv. Fdn.: Commitment -
Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 4039
Vote - Affirmative 4040
Res. 1952, Fish. - Aquaculture Industry: Richmond Co.
(Commun. Econ. Dev.) - Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 4040
Vote - Affirmative 4041
Res. 1953, Educ. - P3: Evidence (Aud. Gen. [N.B.]) - Abandon,
Ms. E. O'Connell 4041
Res. 1954, Health - Migraine Assoc. (Can.): Efforts - Support,
Mr. J. Muir 4041
Vote - Affirmative 4042
Res. 1955, Sports - Chess: Lloyd Lombard (Middleton) -
Success (N.S.) Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 4042
Vote - Affirmative 4043
Res. 1956, Sports - Skate Yarmouth: Work - Applaud, Mr. John Deveau 4043
Res. 1957, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Consultants Expenditure -
Jobs Lost, Dr. J. Hamm 4044
Res. 1958, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Transplants (Heart [100th]/
Kidney [150th]) - Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4045
Res. 1959, Hfx., Port of - Economy (N.S.): Role Vital - Recognize,
Mr. G. Archibald 4046
Vote - Affirmative 4047
Res. 1960, Environ. - Clean N.S.: Beachsweep - Award Congrats.,
Mr. R. White 4047
Vote - Affirmative 4047
Res. 1961, Econ. Dev. - Commun. Econ. Dev.: Need - Untuned,
Mr. D. Dexter 4047
Res. 1962, Agric. - Royal Winter Fair (Toronto): Wade Dickie
(Lower Truro) - Success Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 4048
Vote - Affirmative 4049
Res. 1963, Leader of Opposition - Indust. Revolution: Party Lost -
Leader Ideal Deem, Mr. Charles MacDonald 4049
Res. 1964, Nat. Res. - Pioneer Coal: Stellarton Council -
Commitment (Premier) Honour, Mr. C. Parker 4049
Res. 1965, Justice - Police Academy (N.S.): Cost - State, Mr. M. Scott 4050
Res. 1966, Agric. - 4-H (Antigonish Co.): Award Winners -
Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 4051
Vote - Affirmative 4052
Res. 1967, Health - Communications (Min.): E-Mail Avoidance -
Commend, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 4052
Res. 1968, Leader of Opposition: Goals - Define, Mr. P. MacEwan 4052
Res. 1969, Liverpool - Incorporation: Anniv. (101st) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 4053
Vote - Affirmative 4053
Res. 1970, Health - Eastern Shore: Medical First Response
(Vol. Fire Depts.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 4053
Vote - Affirmative 4054
Res. 1971, Lun. Mun. & Dist. 1 & 2 Fire Comm'n. - Truck (CAFS):
Purchase - Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 4054
Vote - Affirmative 4055
Res. 1972, Nat. Res. - Sable Offshore Energy Inc.: Production Start -
Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 4055
Vote - Affirmative 4056
Res. 1973, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cobequid Pass:
Communication Links - Improvements Table, Mr. M. Scott 4056
Vote - Affirmative 4056
Res. 1974, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Anna. Royal: Waterfront
Funding (Can./N.S.) - Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 4057
Vote - Affirmative 4057
Res. 1975, Commun. Serv. - Maggie's Place (Amherst): Contribution -
Recognize, Mr. E. Fage 4057
Vote - Affirmative 4058
Res. 1976, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Inverness: Internet Sites -
Provision Recognize, Mr. Charles MacDonald 4058
Res. 1977, Justice - Courthouses: Security - Review, Mr. J. Muir 4059
Res. 1978, Environ. - Recycling & Conservation: Dave Harris (Yar.) -
Recognition Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 4060
Vote - Affirmative 4060
Res. 1979, Hfx. Duncan St. Fire (16/11/98): Effect/Humanitarianism -
Recognize, Dr. J. Hamm 4060
Vote - Affirmative 4061
Res. 1980, Father C-J. d'Entremont - Death of: Acadian History -
Contribution Acknowledge, Mr. N. LeBlanc 4061
Vote - Affirmative 4062
Res. 1981, Environ. - TRACC: Contract - Review, Mr. B. Taylor 4062
Res. 1982, Culture - Music: Kentville Barbershop Quartet (7th Wave) -
Place (3rd-N.Y.) Commend, Mr. G. Archibald 4063
Vote - Affirmative 4064
Res. 1983, Culture - MIANS: Award Winners - Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 4064
Vote - Affirmative 4064
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Lbr. - Cove Guest Home (C.B.): Dispute - Agreement Reached,
Hon. R. MacKinnon 4065
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 539, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Cash Crisis - Plan,
Mr. R Chisholm 4067
No. 540, Health - Breast Cancer: Mammograms - Waiting Period,
Mr. J. Muir 4068
No. 541, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Jobs - Retention,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4068
No. 542, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Nurses - Layoffs, Dr. J. Hamm 4070
No. 543, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Nurses - Layoffs,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4071
No. 544, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Business Plan (06/11/98) -
Update, Dr. J. Hamm 4072
No. 545, Gov't. (N.S.) - Legislation: Future - Outline, Mr. J. Holm 4073
No. 546, Educ. - P3 Schools: Construction - Leases Cost, Mr. E. Fage 4074
No. 547, Justice - Pub. Prosecution Serv.: OH&S Expertise - Add,
Mr. F. Corbett 4075
No. 548, Justice - End of Life: Guidelines - Issue, Mr. Kevin Deveaux 4077
No. 549, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Home Heating - Subsidy
(Gov't. [Can.]), Mr. G. Archibald 4078
No. 550, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Navitrak (Port Hawkesbury):
Jobs - Created, Mr. D. Dexter 4079
No. 551, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Weigh Stn. (Aulds Cove): Exemptions -
Permit, Mr. B. Taylor 4080
No. 552, Fin. - Dollar (Cdn.): Value - Prediction, Mr. H. Epstein 4081
No. 553, Educ. - Autism: Children - Aid, Mr. E. Fage 4082
No. 554, Fin. - Debt Servicing: Currency Loss - Plan, Mr. H. Epstein 4083
No. 555, Nat. Res. - Pipeline (Strait of Canso): Proposal (M&NP) -
Position, Mr. J. Holm 4084
No. 556, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Kejimkujik Adjunct: Entry Road -
Construction, Mr. J. Leefe 4085
No. 557, Fish. - Lobster: Yarmouth - Illegal Fishing, Mr. John Deveau 4085
No. 558, Sports - Rink (Yar. Co.): Proposal - Status, Mr. N. LeBlanc 4086
No. 559, Housing & Mun. Affs.: Waste Mgt. - Cost-Share (Mun.),
Mr. C. Parker 4087
No. 560, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Sheet Hbr.: Pipe Coating
(Shaw Group) - Funding, Mr. B. Taylor 4088
No. 561, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Sydport - Future, Mr. F. Corbett 4089
No. 562, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning -
Announcement, Mr. G. Archibald 4090
No. 563, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Lateral (C.B.) - Proposal (M&NP)
Support, Mr. J. Holm 4091
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 3:55 P.M. 4092
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:57 P.M. 4092
CWH REPORTS 4092
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 77, Sisters of Saint Martha Act 4093
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 24, Wilderness Areas Protection Act 4093
Mr. B. Taylor 4093
Ms. Helen MacDonald 4105
Mr. J. Leefe 4107
Mr. C. Parker 4115
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4119
Adjourned debate 4124
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Smith 4124
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Fish. - Lobster: Illegal Fishing - Seriousness Acknowledge:
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4125
Mr. John Deveau 4129
Hon. K. Colwell 4130
Hon. C. Huskilson 4133
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 20th at 9:00 a.m. 4134

[Page 4035]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we commence with the daily routine, I would advise honourable members that the late debate this evening was submitted by the member for Kings North. It reads:

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia acknowledge the seriousness of the illegal lobster fishery in Nova Scotia and enact the provisions necessary to curb this activity.

We will start the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

4035

[Page 4036]

Bill No. 58 - Cemeteries Protection Act.

and the committee recommends the bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, prior to the government resolution, I would like to call to your attention and all members of the House, in the east gallery, Ms. Nancy Irvine, Director of Communications and Environmental Programs of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and Mr. Bill Vangorder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia. They are accompanied by Megret Yabsley from the Department of Health. I would like to ask them to stand and have the recognition of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1948

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

Whereas the Lung Association of Nova Scotia was founded in 1909 to fight tuberculosis and continues to be committed to the conquest of respiratory diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, lung cancer and to promote clean air and a smoke-free lifestyle; and

Whereas more than 123,000 Nova Scotians suffer from asthma and over 54,000 Nova Scotians suffer from chronic obstructive lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis; and

Whereas the annual Christmas Seal Campaign supports the Lung Association's original efforts to fight tuberculosis and today continues to help the association fight all forms of lung disease;

[Page 4037]

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to recognize the work of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and encourage all Nova Scotians to respond generously to the annual Christmas Seal Campaign to prevent lung disease and promote lung health.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your indulgence in a reasonably long resolution, I realize, but I do ask for waiver 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 Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1949

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

Whereas during the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair held November 4th to November 15th in Toronto, three Nova Scotia producers showed the high calibre of livestock produced in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Wade Dickie of Truro placed first in the Mature Holstein Cow Class, Brian and Linda Yuill of Onslow placed fourth in the Five Year Old Holstein Class, and James Clark of Scotsburn placed first in the Junior Three Year Old Ayrshire Class; and

Whereas these fine showings highlight the excellent breeding stock available in Nova Scotia and help generate sales of our breeding stock around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize these farmers and breeders for their tremendous accomplishment and for being excellent ambassadors for Nova Scotia at the national level.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 4038]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 79 - Entitled an Act to Require the Government to Develop Modern Standards for Homes for Special Care. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 80 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Practice of Physiotherapy. (Hon. James Smith)

Bill No. 81 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Practice of Occupational Therapy. (Hon. James Smith)

Bill No. 82 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 117 of the Acts of 1993. An Act to Enable the Inhabitants of Greenwich to Provide Themselves With a System of Fire Protection. (Hon. Robert Harrison as a private member.)

Bill No. 83 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Dr. John Hamm)

Bill No. 84 - Entitled an Act to Amend Certain Statutes to Provide for the Family Division of the Supreme Court. (Hon. James Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce Cathy Byham from the Physiotherapy Association; Linda Langley from the Physiotherapy Association; and Erin Gorman from the Occupational Therapy Association. I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

[Page 4039]

RESOLUTION NO. 1950

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

Whereas Street Cents is North America's only consumer and financial show produced for young people; and

Whereas Street Cents is the winner of more than 40 national and international awards; and

Whereas Street Cents helps young people make smart consumer choices regarding marketing and advertising;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature extend congratulations to CBC as Street Cents celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

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 Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1951

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 Health Services Foundation of the South Shore finally succeeded in its long battle to acquire a CAT scan machine for the South Shore Regional Hospital; and

Whereas the foundation is committed to raise approximately $300,000 to cover the cost of this essential piece of diagnostic equipment; and

[Page 4040]

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas Ozzie Stiles is the honourable chairman of the CAT Scan Fund and he has learned first-hand, during the illness of a family member, of the value of this technology in treating illness and the importance of having technology available on the South Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulates Ozzie Stiles and the Health Services Foundation of the South Shore on this commitment to health care on the South Shore and wish them well in their campaign.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1952

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

Whereas a recent study by the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance says there is significant growth potential for the industry in Canada; and

Whereas another recent study points to aquaculture in British Columbia being a billion dollar a year business by the year 2010; and

Whereas here in Nova Scotia, aquaculture is already making a significant impact on the rural economy, with 75 people expected to be employed at Scotia Rainbow Incorporated by the new year and the Aquaculture Community Award going to Isle Madame;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the enterprising citizens of Richmond County for their dedication to a community-based plan for economic development and for their initiatives in growing the aquaculture industry.

[Page 4041]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1953

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 today the New Brunswick Auditor General released a report on two construction projects done using the P3 concept; and

Whereas the report indicated that the New Brunswick P3 process cost $1.5 million more than conventional methods; and

Whereas this information confirms that P3 adds costs and patronage without benefit to the public;

Therefore be it resolved that this government, in the face of clear evidence, abandon its time-consuming, money-wasting P3 learning curve.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1954

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

Whereas more than 3 million Canadians suffer from migraines which is an incurable, biological disorder of the central nervous system and is often inherited; and

[Page 4042]

Whereas it is estimated that 5.4 million work days are lost to migraines in Canada every year, costing the economy almost $0.5 billion annually; and

Whereas the Migraine Association of Canada, a charitable organization which has provided service and information to migraine sufferers for almost 25 years, is attempting to focus national attention on the debilitating effects of migraines through Migraine Awareness Week, November 14 to November 21, 1998;

Therefore be it resolved that this Assembly support the efforts of the Migraine Association of Canada and wish it every success in its efforts to find a cure for this very common and debilitating problem.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce in your Speaker's Gallery a long-time friend from Pictou County, helicopter pilot, David Delorey. I would ask the House to recognize him. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1955

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

Whereas chess is a game of skill, strategy and intense concentration; and

Whereas Lloyd Lombard of Middleton demonstrated these qualities when he and Glenn Charlton of Halifax took the top spots in the Nova Scotia Open Chess Championship recently in Bridgewater; and

[Page 4043]

Whereas the tournament featured about 50 chess players from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Lloyd Lombard on his success in the Nova Scotia Open Chess Championship and wish him luck as he proceeds to the national level tournament.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1956

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

Whereas Skate Yarmouth has worked aggressively for three years to secure a multi-purpose sportsplex for the Yarmouth area; and

Whereas this organization was able to unite the community of Yarmouth for this common goal; and

Whereas the community's efforts to secure a multi-purpose sportsplex continue without the support of the minister responsible for sport and recreation;

Therefore be it resolved that this government applaud the work of Skate Yarmouth and the community volunteers and encourage the minister to work with this organization to find the means to begin construction of the multi-purpose sportsplex.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4044]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1957

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 Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre has found millions upon millions of dollars to fund consultants' studies; and

Whereas 106 nursing jobs are being cut at the QE II; and

Whereas 22,000 patient days are also being cut through earlier discharges and allegedly more use of home care which, incidentally, still does not exist in some areas of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health cut through the chaff and come to grips with reality by understanding that the millions of dollars spent on consultants could have easily been used to save jobs at the QE II.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health on an introduction.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and all members of the House, in the east gallery, 26 students from Ellenvale Junior High School, having what is billed today as the gifted program study tour. They are accompanied by their teachers, Ms. McGee and Mrs. Bobbitt. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health on another introduction.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Well, something a little unforeseen did happen there. I had met with these two groups outside. In the other gallery, the west gallery, there are an additional 26 Grade 8 and 9 students, accompanied by three adults and their teachers Mona McPherson and Mrs. Greenfield. They, too, are involved in the gifted program study tour today from

[Page 4045]

Ellenvale Junior High School. I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

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

Whereas the Leader of the socialist Opposition who led his caucus in the support of the Financial Measures (1998) Act is now attempting to use the pages of the Chronicle-Herald to rewrite history; and

Whereas, once again, he is not being forthright, demonstrating as he did to the Leader of the Third Party that while he has an inventive mind, he suffers from severe memory loss; and

Whereas he knew that a vote against the Financial Measures (1998) Act would have brought down the government and now tries to shift the blame to the Third Party, who had the intestinal fortitude to have a free vote;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the socialist Opposition take the responsibility for his decision to support the government, instead of trying to mislead Nova Scotians who will not be distracted by 19 paragraphs of pure fantasy.

MR. SPEAKER: That notice of motion is much too long. It is not being tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1958

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

Whereas recently the QE II Health Sciences Centre successfully completed its 100th heart transplant and 150th kidney transplant; and

Whereas the hospital's survival statistics for transplants are among the best in the world; and

Whereas such transplant successes can be attributed to excellent medical and surgical teams and a good donor program;

[Page 4046]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the QE II Health Sciences Centre transplant teams on reaching those important milestones and encourage all Nova Scotians to support the organ donor program.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1959

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

Whereas the Port of Halifax continues to move aggressively in luring additional shippers and business; and

Whereas the latest initiative announced is the investment of $15 million to $20 million in two post-Panamax cranes and the support equipment that will enhance the port's attractiveness for shipping companies; and

Whereas the new cranes will increase the efficiency of loading and unloading vessels by up to 40 per cent;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature recognize the vital role the Port of Halifax continues to play in the economy of Nova Scotia and wish them every success in their latest venture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4047]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 1960

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

Whereas Clean Nova Scotia's Beachsweep program will be awarded a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award this evening; and

Whereas this program results in dozens of Maritime beaches being cleaned every year; and

Whereas the program was selected for the award as a result of its commitment to advancing the understanding of the Gulf of Maine and its marine environment;

Therefore be it resolved that the House extend congratulations to Clean Nova Scotia and its many dedicated volunteers for their promotion of environmental awareness and wish them every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1961

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

[Page 4048]

Whereas the Volvo plant closed its Halifax operation recently and opened a Mexican operation; and

Whereas yesterday SLC Technologies in Amherst announced it would be laying off 55 employees because one of its major customers was switching to a cheaper Mexican supplier; and

Whereas the Premier's trade trip to Mexico seems to have done little to produce new jobs for Nova Scotians while instead Nova Scotian jobs have been going to Mexico;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier's Mexican hat dance and this government's economic development cha cha cha are not in tune with the need for sustainable community economic development which Nova Scotia desperately needs.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1962

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

Whereas Nova Scotia dairy farmers are proven winners in their field and ensure nutrition is readily available for all Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia dairy industry captured the spotlight at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto recently as Wade Dickie's nine year old Holstein, named Mae, from Lower Truro, took national honours for being the best mature cow as well as having the best udder in her class; and

Whereas Wade's dad said he has been attending livestock shows for 60 years and it was the very first time that a mature cow from Nova Scotia came home with top national honours;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature recognize and commend Wade Dickie of Lower Truro for his exceptional efforts in having his nine year old Holstein, Mae, capture national honours at the Royal Winter Fair, and wish him and the Nova Scotia dairy industry the very best in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

[Page 4049]

MR. SPEAKER: I will agree to waiver of notice but the resolution was too long.

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1963

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

Whereas the Leader of the socialist Opposition, purveyors of increased spending supported by increased taxes, voted last week along with his entire caucus in favour of the Financial Measures Bill; and

Whereas he took that action after failing to skate around the issue by pleading for a non-confidence vote on a non-confidence issue; and

Whereas a vote against the Financial Measures Bill would have brought down the wrath of those who financially support the socialists, that being the trade unions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the socialist Opposition, who continues to walk backwards to see where he has been, be deemed the ideal Leader of a Party lost in the Industrial Revolution.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1964

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

[Page 4050]

Whereas the mayor and councillors of the Town of Stellarton recently wrote to the Premier expressing their disappointment that he did not support the town in its attempt to reach an agreement of compensation from the Pioneer Coal Company; and

Whereas the Premier had previously assured the mayor and councillors of the Town of Stellarton that he supported them in their efforts to be compensated for strip mining; and

Whereas the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources brushed off questions about the issue raised in this House by the Leader of the Opposition and myself, answering that this was an issue between the town and Pioneer;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier honour his commitment to the mayor and council of the Town of Stellarton and support them in their struggle for fair compensation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1965

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

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas late last spring, the Minister of Justice reported that Nova Scotia was moving ahead with plans to develop its own police academy; and

Whereas police recruits have been trained at the Atlantic Police Academy in Prince Edward Island for the past 27 years, and the academy has operated under a spirit of cooperation with all provinces in the Atlantic Region, including Nova Scotia; and

Whereas aside from being a good example of Liberal unwillingness to maintain a cooperative atmosphere with other Atlantic Provinces, the move would cost millions of dollars, only to recreate a program that is already operating;

[Page 4051]

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government and the Minister of Justice clearly state the cost of the development of this program and indicate if that is a necessary fiscal expense.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1966

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 Antigonish County 4-H held their 1998 awards program last month in St. Andrews; and

Whereas the Antigonish 4-H Leaders Council has started a new bursary in honour of 80 year old Tommy Landry, who has been associated with 4-H for 51 years; and

Whereas the first winner of the Tommy Landry Bursary is Debbie White, who is currently a student at Dalhousie University;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Debbie White and all winners at the recent Antigonish 4-H award presentations, and give special recognition to Tommy Landry for his many years of service to his community.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 4052]

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1967

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 yesterday the Minister of Health was proud of his good personal relations with the Minister of Justice; and

Whereas he admitted not to avail himself of e-mail when communicating with the Minister of Justice; and

Whereas the Y2K bug will make most electronic equipment, in hospitals under his mismanagement, obsolete anyway;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health be commended for not using e-mail when talking to himself, thus highlighting the kind of leadership Nova Scotians can expect from the Tory-Liberal coalition for the next two years.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1968

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

Whereas to vent his pique with the democratic process, the honourable Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition now pens learned articles in The Chronicle-Herald attempting to suggest that his Party represents a reasonable approach to government; and

Whereas it is high time the Leader of the Opposition came clean with this House and with the people of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas he ought to proclaim that the aim of socialism is the full state ownership and control of all the means of production, distribution and exchange, and that no socialist government will rest content until these aims are achieved;

[Page 4053]

Therefore be it resolved that if the Leader of the Opposition will not truthfully declare his political goals, and pens articles suggesting that he stands for reason, opponents of his are entitled to point out very clearly that anything but this is the reality.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1969

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

Whereas today, November 19th, the Town of Liverpool celebrates the 101st Anniversary of its incorporation as a town; and

Whereas Liverpool was founded in 1759 and has a rich history of shipbuilding, as well as being known for privateers, and as the birthplace of Thomas Raddall and Hank Snow; and

Whereas the 'Port of the Privateers' draws many visitors interested in shipbuilding, history, and country music;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the citizens of Liverpool on this historic anniversary and extend best wishes for the next 101 years.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1970

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

[Page 4054]

Whereas medical first response is very important to the residents of the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas volunteer fire departments from Lake Echo, Lawrencetown, Chezzetcook, Musquodoboit Harbour, Ostrea Lake and Oyster Pond participated in an Eastern Shore First Responder Pilot Project with the Nova Scotia Department of Health; and

Whereas these fire departments were formally recognized by the Department of Health for their participation in this effort at a ceremony held on Monday, November 16th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the volunteer fire departments on receiving this recognition and commend them and the Department of Health for their ongoing participation in this very worthwhile project.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1971

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

Whereas the Lunenburg and District Fire Department has recently acquired a new four wheel drive truck equipped with a compressed air foam system, which is unique in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the new CAF system truck was purchased entirely by the ratepayers of District 1 and District 2 of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg through their Fire Commission; and

Whereas the Lunenburg and District Fire Department and Fire Commission are prime examples of municipal cooperation at its best;

[Page 4055]

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Lunenburg and District Fire Department and the District 1 and District 2 Fire Commission on the purchase of this new piece of equipment.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1972

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

Whereas the Santa Fe Galaxy II jack-up drilling rig started its first production natural gas well Saturday, 10 kilometres southwest of Sable Island; and

Whereas the rig is working on the Thebaud field, one of six in the Sable project; and

Whereas the new rig, with 91 Nova Scotians in the crew, is on a five year contract with Sable Offshore Energy Incorporated to drill the production wells for the natural gas project, as well as exploration wells for others;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Sable Offshore Energy Incorporated on this significant event which will eventually bring natural gas ashore in Nova Scotia and commend the corporation for providing employment for so many Nova Scotians.

I ask for waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4056]

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. 1973

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

Whereas in mid-October Joan Reid from Joggins was transporting her grandson to the IWK-Grace as he was in need of medical attention due to a brain injury he suffered from birth; and

Whereas nearing the toll the infant's condition took a turn for the worse, requiring Mrs. Reid to request assistance from the toll booth operator in getting an ambulance to the scene; and

Whereas Mrs. Reid and her grandson were refused help, requiring her to rush her grandson to the Colchester Regional Hospital in Truro;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Transportation table in the House what steps have been taken to improve communication links along the toll highway to ensure that the safety of those travelling the highway is not compromised.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 4057]

RESOLUTION NO. 1974

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 charming and historic waterfront of Annapolis Royal recently received funding from the federal and provincial governments; and

Whereas the $61,000 in funding will be used to improve the town's lighthouse, farmers' market and boardwalk; and

Whereas pathways to the waterfront will also be made wheelchair-accessible for the enjoyment of all;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Town of Annapolis Royal on receiving this federal-provincial funding and recognize the community for making their waterfront more attractive for local residents and tourists alike.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1975

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

Whereas tomorrow, National Child Day, is a day set aside to honour our most important resource, our children; and

Whereas Maggie's Place in Amherst is an exemplary model of support and encouragement for our children of all circumstances;

[Page 4058]

Whereas the staff and volunteers of Maggie's Place, who contribute countless hours for the benefit of our children, go far beyond the call of duty;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the profound contribution made by Maggie's Place and thank the staff and volunteers for dedicating their time and energy to the most important community resource, our children.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1976

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

Whereas at a recent economic conference in Baddeck, the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation stressed that knowledge-based industries are an area of growth on the Island; and

Whereas a key to taking advantage of this growth is to make computers and information technology available in rural areas like Inverness; and

Whereas in recent months Inverness has seen the opening of Community Access Program Internet sites in the Margaree Forks Library, the Whycocomagh Consolidated School and the LeMoine Development Association Building in St. Joseph du Moine;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat for working with the federal government to provide needed new technology to rural areas like Inverness.

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

[Page 4059]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1977

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

Whereas the security of all court documents contained in courthouses across this province must be a priority of the Department of Justice; and

Whereas court break-ins are becoming more frequent in the metropolitan Halifax area; and

Whereas two break-ins at the Dartmouth Provincial Court have occurred in the past three years while the Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road was broken into overnight Tuesday and a $3,000 computer stolen which contained small claims court data;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice immediately review security measures in place in provincial courthouses and if they are not found to be sufficient, move toward immediately enhancing security measures and ensuring the safety of all court documents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

[Page 4060]

RESOLUTION NO. 1978

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

Whereas Mr. Dave Harris, a Yarmouth businessman and environmentalist, will be honoured this evening with a Gulf of Maine visionary award; and

Whereas Mr. Harris, an excavator turned environmentalist, is honoured for his exemplary work in recycling and conservation; and

Whereas Mr. Harris' firm, which employs dozens of people in Yarmouth and area, is an aggressive recycler finding markets for products like plastics and oil containers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Harris on being recognized for his contribution to keeping Nova Scotia an environmentally clean place in which to live and work.

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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1979

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

Whereas 40 people, mostly students, were left homeless as a result of a Monday morning fire on Duncan Street in Halifax; and

Whereas recognizing that many of the residents lost personal possessions and items of necessity, the community has rallied to provide assistance; and

[Page 4061]

Whereas in the true sense of community spirit, neighbours, local agencies and residents throughout metro have donated food, clothing and other necessities to help meet the immediate needs of those affected by the fire;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the plight of the individuals whose lives have been impacted by this fire and further recognize the contributions of Joanne Cook, key organizer of the effort to help her neighbours, the Chebucto Links for helping to find lodging for the homeless and all individuals, agencies and organizations who provided assistance.

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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 1980

M. NEIL LEBLANC: M. le président, par la présente je désire donner avis, qu'à une date ultérieure, je ferai la proposition suivante:

Attendu que le père Clarence-J. d'Entremont, prêtre catholique et illustre historien, de Pubnico-Ouest, est décédé la semaine dernière à l'âge de 89; et

Attendu que les oeuvres littéraires du père d'Entremont, auteur de 14 livres et 89 articles portant sur l'histoire acadienne, l'ont établis comme grande autorité de tous les temps dans la matière, pour laquelle, nous comme acadiens, lui seront toujours redevable; et

Attendu que le père d'Entremont est le récipiendaire de nombreuses marques de reconnaissance et prix, dont l'Ordre du Canada;

Qu'il soit résolu que l'assemblée législative reconnaisse la contribution du père d'Entremont, assurant que l'histoire des acadiens soit enregistrée pour toujours et offre nos sympathies à sa famille.

[Page 4062]

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

Whereas Father Clarence-J. d'Entremont, a Roman Catholic priest and renowned historian from West Pubnico passed away last week at the age of 89; and

Whereas Father d'Entremont's literary accomplishments of 14 books and 89 articles on Acadian history established him as the all-time leading authority on Acadian history for which we, as Acadians, owe him a great debt; and

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas Father D'Entremont had received many awards, most notably the Order of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly acknowledge the contribution of Father D'Entremont to ensure that the history of the Acadian people will forever be recorded and offer our condolences to the family.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the question be put.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1981

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 Savage and MacLellan Liberal Governments have severely bungled the issue of recycling used tires from the very start; and

[Page 4063]

Whereas the former chair of the Resource Recovery Fund Board told the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee yesterday that he had deep concerns over the government's choice of a recycler and the fact that rules were being changed in midstream; and

Whereas despite opposition from the chair of the Resource Recovery Fund Board, the Liberal Government ignored his concerns and went ahead with their sloppily arranged plans anyway;

Therefore be it resolved that the present Minister of the Environment not take on the mindset of his predecessor and immediately review the contract with TRACC to see if Nova Scotian taxpayers are in fact seeing the most efficient use of their tax dollars.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1982

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

Whereas the Kentville Barbershop Quartet recently accomplished a first for barbershop quartets anywhere in Canada; and

Whereas the quartet known as the Seventh Wave finished third in a district competition of the Society for the Preservation of Barbershop Quartet Singing, in Saratoga, New York; and

Whereas this competition involved barbershop quartets from the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard, Quebec and Atlantic Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature commend the Seventh Wave from Kentville for their third place showing and wish them every success and continued happiness in their adventures.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4064]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1983

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 music industry of Nova Scotia held a five day convention in Halifax from November 4th to the 8th; and

Whereas the theme of the convention was Careers in Music and included performances by young artists, in addition to presentations and seminars conducted by industry professionals; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Music Week '98 concluded with industry awards at the World Trade and Convention Centre, recognizing the best and brightest behind the scenes professionals;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the vibrant music industry that exists in Nova Scotia, congratulate the winners of the industry awards and wish good luck to our young artists working toward a career in the music industry.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 4065]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I rise to inform the members of the House, through you, sir, that an agreement has been reached in the labour dispute at the Cove Guest Home in Sydney. I am pleased to report that the mediator we appointed on Tuesday, Mr. Milton Veniot of New Glasgow, was able to bring the disputing sides together and bring about a resolve of their differences and a tentative agreement was arrived at early this morning. Further, Mr. Veniot went on to mediate a dispute at Victoria Haven Nursing Home in Glace Bay and a tentative agreement was reached, minutes ago.

While no one wants to see a strike, it is important to understand the collective bargaining process and how the system works for the good of both sides. The appointment of a mediator is one of the processes involved. It is one of the dispute-breaking mechanisms that we can employ. It is not something we rush into, because we must respect the collective agreements and the rights of the parties contained within the various contracts. We have done this, and while I share the concerns of all members of this House in this particular dispute, I was confident that we could, by following the proper process, effectively reach an agreement.

Again, Mr. Speaker, the process works, and I would urge all members to allow for this process and to respect and protect collective bargaining agreements. In closing, I want to thank Mr. Veniot for his willingness to serve the province and congratulate him, the representatives of the workers and management teams for resolving this issue so promptly. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to add my voice to congratulating Mr. Veinot for his hard and diligent work in this effort. I must agree that this is a tentative agreement, and I hope that both institutions will get down and ratify these agreements and that they will be able to get back to work in as short a time as possible. But one must understand too, the reason this problem was allowed to fester was because of broken promises by this government, who during the election period said they were going to give parity to all health care workers, but when they were securely ensconced in this building, they said, oh no, that is not what we meant.

[Page 4066]

I must commend the work of the members of the CAW, Mr. Veniot, the management of those buildings to work through the pile of stuff that was put in front of them by this government. I would like to commend the parties and say this is the way to go and appreciate the hard work that those three parties put into it. Thank you. (Applause)

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: I thank the minister for his statement. All of us in this House are happy, as I know the residents in Victoria House and the Cove are happy, as well as their friends and neighbours who have been looking after them so well over these last couple of weeks. It is a happy day, and a good result. I, too, join those who congratulate Mr. Milton Veniot, who very quickly was able to bring the sides together and resolve what was a very unhappy and difficult situation for those who were in those rest homes.

We cannot be too complimentary of government, because government was forced to solve a problem that government created by raising false expectations and not delivering to those in the long-term care sector. While I congratulate the government on making the right step and having this thing go to mediation or arbitration and getting a good result, if government is going to continue to raise the expectations of Nova Scotians and then pull out the rug from under them, then untidy situations such as this will occur over and over again.

My congratulations to the minister for doing the right thing, providing the right gentleman to go and resolve the dispute, and I look forward to a normal situation over the next few days, returning to the Cove and Victoria Haven. (Applause)

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Both Opposition Parties have mentioned the government raising expectations. All I would like, and I think this House deserves this, is some example, something said, something quoted which would indicate that this government in any way raised the expectations of the workers in the homes for special care.

MR. SPEAKER: That is a point of explanation, it is not a point of order.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is now 2:55 p.m., we will terminate at 3:55 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 4067]

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CTR.: CASH CRISIS - PLAN

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Premier. I have here today a copy of the business plan for the QE II Health Sciences Centre, dated November 6, 1998. I will table a copy for all members. The plan calls for deep cuts in front-line health care services. It says that serious cash flow problems will reach "a crisis point" in mid-December when a negative cash flow will exceed the line of credit. I want to ask the Premier - we have been asking for weeks now what their plan is to deal with the crisis in the health care system - what is his plan to deal with the crisis at the QE II?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the plan of this government is to maintain health services, regardless of the cost. (Applause)

If there is not enough money to provide the health care services, the health care services are still going to be provided. We challenge the federal government to give back to the province the money they took away, so we can give proper funding for health care in Nova Scotia.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, they are going to run to papa. Back on March 4th, we released a document that showed that additional staff cuts were taking place at the QE II and that more cuts were anticipated in the next two years.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I urged the Premier to come clean. He said there is no plan to cut anybody, Mr. Speaker . . .

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

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier. He made a commitment during the election campaign that there would be no cuts . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order please. Question. Put your question.

MR. CHISHOLM: What happened to the commitment he made to Nova Scotians about the QE II?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member will take his seat.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

[Page 4068]

HEALTH - BREAST CANCER: MAMMOGRAMS - WAITING PERIOD

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I would like to ask the Minister of Health, what is a reasonable waiting period for somebody to have a mammogram?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the program of awareness that the honourable member refers to is part of a campaign against cancer, and the enrichment of programs that address those persons with malignancies of the breast, particularly. The question, while I know you cannot rule out of order, I think in all fairness is a very difficult question to answer directly. He is asking regarding a test . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill, your first supplementary.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to table a letter, here today, from a person in my constituency who was told by her doctor to have a mammogram, and the earliest opening was Friday, June 11, 1999. Is that an acceptable waiting period?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have expanded our programs of breast cancer detection with mobile units and walk-in services for mammograms. That is not acceptable, what the honourable member is saying, it is at the point of being ridiculous and as a family physician, if that person was a family physician, he should be on the phone and getting an appointment for that person.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, also for the Minister of Health. The Nova Scotia Cancer Society's statistics report there is going to be an estimated 680 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Nova Scotia in 1998. In light of the situation at that Colchester Regional Hospital, a regional hospital, what will the minister do about it?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the attack on cancer is multifaceted. It involves prevention, early detection, patient education, all of those things; it does not depend on any one service. That is what we are looking at with Cancer Care Nova Scotia, under the direction of Dr. Andrew Padmos, and we are making progress. It is very serious, it is a good question in many ways, and it is a difficult one to answer. We are making progress.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CTR.: JOBS - RETENTION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, back in the spring the Premier said that there is no plan to cut anybody - I don't care what anybody says, I can assure you there will be no more job cuts at the QE II - it was in relation to a document we had revealed. It was

[Page 4069]

a budget plan at that time and the Premier said it did not exist. I want to ask the Premier. What happened to the commitment he made to the workers and the people of Nova Scotia that there would be no such cuts at the QE II?

[3:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party's failed attempt to ask his last question, he mentioned that cuts were made prior to March 4th. I would ask him where those cuts were made at the QE II prior to March 4th since I became Leader of the Liberal Party?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier cannot ask a question in Question Period. The honourable Leader of the Opposition, your first supplementary.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, here we are again, six months later, we have got a business plan that was just tabled indicating deep cuts in services at the QE II; 106 nursing jobs gone, serious cash flow problems, a projected deficit of $25 million.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, what happened to the commitment that he made to Nova Scotians in order to get elected last spring?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask him to name one nurse who has been laid off at the QE II in the last few weeks.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I repeat, 106 nursing jobs gone, serious cash flow problems, a projected deficit of $25 million.

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

MR. CHISHOLM: My question to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, can he explain why one single Nova Scotian in this province should have any confidence whatsoever in his ability to manage the health care system in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, why would anybody in this province have any confidence in someone who goes around with scare tactics from homes of special care to QE II, from one thing to another. Back on March 4th he could not even remember how old he was.

[Page 4070]

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

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CTR.: NURSES - LAYOFFS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health by now must have seen the health services business plan for this year, the QE II, and that involves the laying off of 106 nurses. We have lost 1,100 nurses since 1993 in this province.

My question to the minister is, will this minister reassure that the 106 nurses that will be laid off at the QE II are not directly involved in patient care and has he seen and approved of this plan?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the leaking of the plans from the QE II into the hands of the Opposition is getting more up-to-date. They are almost there but they do not have quite the current one. So maybe during Question Period next week the honourable member could bring the current plan. That is not the plan. There are not 106 nurses' jobs being cut from the QE II as he says or he says.

DR. HAMM: It would seem to me that the Minister of Health has now said that the plan as described by representatives of the QE II is not the plan. Will the minister then stand in his place and tell us what is the plan for the QE II, if that is not the plan that they are talking about up at the hospital?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that the honourable member is disappointed that he has not been leaked the current plan but that is the spring plan and it is worked through and now it has a date of something, November 6th, I think. We are working with the QE II and it is very important. These are very difficult times but there is no question that we have been across this country, we are the second and third highest province that is putting money back into health care and we are doing that after reforming the system.

DR. HAMM: I would like to table for all members of the House to see the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre health services business plan, dated November 6, 1998.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

DR. HAMM: If there was a plan after November 6th, will this minister please give it to us?

DR. SMITH: The answer is clearly and uncategorically, no.

[Page 4071]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CTR.: NURSES - LAYOFFS

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I cannot hear the questions. I am sure the ministers cannot hear the questions. If people wish to have a discussion, please leave the Chamber.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to direct my question through you to the Premier. I want to table a letter that was received from a 47 year old woman who at the time was living in the QE II, in the palliative care unit. I want to ask the Premier this, will the Premier tell this family that he has a plan to ensure that there will be no more cuts to nursing staff at the QE II?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Leader of the Opposition, the QE II comes forward with suggestions. The fact of the matter is there have not been any cuts in nurses, we hope there will not be any cuts in nurses. We are working with them to make sure that the services are going to be there. We are not going to reduce health care at the QE II. When layoffs take place, then we will be prepared to take responsibility but not until. We cannot be based on plans.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, Sandra Smith wrote her letter to us because she was concerned about the effect the cuts have had on the services that were delivered to her. She wrote, "If nurses are cut back there is no way they can meet all of our needs.".

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is improper to read a letter during Question Period. You can make a very brief quote and that is it.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, that is what I am doing. I just started it. It is two very short sentences. "As it stands now these marvellous individuals are running at maximum . . .", that is it, I finished it.

MR. SPEAKER: On your first supplementary would you put your question.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier, now that my question has been thoroughly destroyed, is, what are the Premier and his government going to do to stop the cuts at the QE II?

[Page 4072]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with the writer of that letter of the quality of the nurses at the QE II, they are second to none. There have not been any cuts in nurses at the QE II.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, Sandra Smith and her family agree with many Nova Scotians that cuts at the QE II will affect patient care.

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

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, I want to ensure he hears it first and then I want to ask him when he made the promise in the spring that cuts would not affect patient care, was he just trying to get through the election?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there have not been any cuts in nursing service at the QE II, in no area let alone patient care. We cannot be criticized for something that has not taken place.

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

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CTR.:

BUSINESS PLAN (06/11/98) - UPDATE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday a representative of the QE II described 106 nursing cuts. Today your Minister of Health indicated that the November 6, 1999 report, health services business plan of the QE II, is not the current plan. Mr. Premier, have you seen a more current plan than the one dated November 6th?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health is very supportive of high-quality health care in Nova Scotia. It is quite conceivable that a plan presented by the QE II may not have been satisfactory to the minister or the Department of Health and asked them to go back to the drawing board on their plans for the future of the QE II.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health has had time now to reflect. Does he now acknowledge that the plan that we have in our hands that was tabled, the November 6th plan, is the current plan? Does he or does he not support the plan?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have senior staff in our department that is working very closely with the QE II. The moment that a plan is tabled, as the honourable member said, then it automatically is worked on and changed and it is being reworked. You have to realize that we have a VG site, we have a new Halifax Infirmary, we have four institutions that went together to make one. There are going to be changes.

[Page 4073]

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Premier, Mr. Premier, it is painfully obvious that we need a full-time Minister of Health in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

DR. HAMM: If you needed any other evidence . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

DR. HAMM: It is Question Period today.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

DR. HAMM: Will you relieve Dr. Smith of his Justice responsibilities so he can spend full time looking after the Department of Health and the health care system of this province which is simply . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, how the Minister of Health could possibly be held accountable for a report from the QE II? We don't even know if that is the updated report. That has not been acted upon. The Minister of Health is quite able to deal with the QE II and the recommendations.

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

GOV'T. (N.S.) - LEGISLATION: FUTURE - OUTLINE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism as House Leader. Our caucus is aware of a number of important pieces of legislation that are waiting introduction in this House but instead of introducing them, the government is more interested in trying to flee. My question to the minister is, does the government intend to introduce important legislation like that of Nova Scotia Power which they want to do a reorganization and which they say will bring economic growth into the province?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: Do you plan to deal with that at this sitting of the Legislature?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! That question is out of order. You may rephrase it. You have a supplementary.

[Page 4074]

MR. HOLM: I will then rephrase the question and I will place it to the Premier. Is it the policy of your government not to introduce legislation such as that being requested by Nova Scotia Power when it is in your interest to flee rather than to deal with . . .

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is not the policy of this government or most governments to speculate on what legislation is going to be tabled before in fact it is actually tabled.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia Power and the Securities Commission are both looking for legislation to be introduced that your government has failed to bring forward. My question to the Premier, then, is this, what kind of message is this government trying to send to the business leaders of this province and the would-be investors when you refuse to bring forward legislation that they need so that they can do their jobs?

AN HON. MEMBER: Talk about around the mulberry bush.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: This is classic.

THE PREMIER: This is incredible. Mr. Speaker, we have not refused to bring legislation (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: . . . forward regarding Nova Scotia Power.

MR. HOLM: Where is it?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: CONSTRUCTION - LEASES COST

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education and Culture. There are 31 new schools announced. Mr. Minister, you said $25 million a year in leases. Will those 31 schools be built on a $25 million worth of leases per year cost to the province?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, yes, approximately that amount of money exactly.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education and Culture. We don't have a lease signed on the Horton school. The school is approximately $27 million to $30 million when it is signed. How can the minister stand in his spot today and say, with the

[Page 4075]

example that we have, that he is going to be able to keep it on target? How is that going to happen?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I know the members opposite are quite genuine in their interest in this given the fact that the province has won a national award for public-private partnering, an award of excellence. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HARRISON: I would be happy to explain to the member that the first three schools that were built in advance of leases being signed are being negotiated and will be completed on time and under budget, Mr. Speaker.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education. Mr. Minister, we know there was only one school with a lease signed so it was the only one in the competition so we know the answer to the winning.

MR. SPEAKER: Question!

MR. FAGE: Mr. Minister, can you assure this House that $25 million is going to be the actual cost for those 31 leases when those schools are completed?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, they are reading their questions really fast for you, I can tell. The answer to the question is we will stick to our (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HARRISON: We are building an unprecedented investment in schools but more important than that, investing in the children and the teachers and the classrooms for quality education and will do so within our budget, Mr. Speaker.

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

JUSTICE - PUB. PROSECUTION SERV.: OH&S EXPERTISE - ADD

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. In response to the Westray report, this government promised to put enhanced expertise in the Public Prosecution Service for provincial offences, including occupational health and safety violations. This was to be in place by April 1, 1998.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

MR. CORBETT: Will the minister explain his failure to meet this time line?

[Page 4076]

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there was some noise in the first part of the question. I wonder if the member could repeat that?

MR. SPEAKER: Would you please repeat it? (Interruptions) Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: Including occupational health and safety violations, and this was to be done by April 1, 1998. Will the minister explain his failure to meet the time line?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, on that particular issue, I will have to take it under advisement. As far as I am concerned, any deadline that was to be met has been met but I will have to take that under advisement and get back to the honourable member.

MR. CORBETT: That tells you how much this government puts workers' safety, Mr. Speaker, it tells you where they put it at. Further to this, they did put somebody in there. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: This enhanced expertise (Interruptions)

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: On September 28th and again November 3rd, the Crown plea bargained OH&S cases. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

MR. CORBETT: The later case involving the death of a worker.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CORBETT: The death of a worker!

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CORBETT: Would the minister explain why the Crown Prosecutors involved in both cases were not members of the special prosecution, part of the enhanced expertise he promised to bring to bear on provincial offences?

[Page 4077]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to discuss specific cases on the floor, however, that honourable knows that we have an independent Public Prosecution Service in this province to administer justice and it is there independent because of the interference of politicians and Ministers of Justice previously in the administration of justice. We are not doing that now.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, then my question is to the Minister of Labour. With that question and the case involving the death of Mark Webber, who fell from a roof while working in Lunenburg in November 1997, the guilty party received a fine of $500; $500 for breaching this government's revamped OH&S Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: Is the minister assured that the Minister of Justice's . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Please put your question.

MR. CORBETT: . . . plea for plea bargaining fines down to $500 for the death of a worker (Interruptions) that workplace safety is being promoted in this province?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: I will be honest, Mr. Speaker, with all that garble, I couldn't understand what he was saying. If he would repeat the question. If he is asking the question about the limit of fines that is being imposed by the courts, under the previous legislation the maximum fine limit was $10,000, under the new Occupational Health and Safety Act that has been increased to $0.25 million.

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

JUSTICE - END OF LIFE: GUIDELINES - ISSUE

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is two ministers at the same time, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health. Earlier this afternoon the Nova Scotia Supreme Court closed the book on the Dr. Nancy Morrison case, I hope. One of the tragedies of this case is that it didn't have to happen. There is action that this . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: . . . government could have taken in order to deal with this. My question is, British Columbia has devised guidelines for charging people in end of life situations. Has the Minister of Justice fulfilled his promise of July 2nd and created those end of life guidelines for Nova Scotia?

[Page 4078]

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this is a matter now that still remains before the courts. The honourable member knows that, he is of the legal persuasion. (Interruptions) The process has worked, this demonstrates that the process has worked. There is a matter that I brought before the federal Minister of Justice and other provincial members regarding amendments, possible amendments or reassessment of the Criminal Code of Canada in the matter relative to end of life issues and physicians.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Justice and Health. This has nothing to do with a specific case, this has to do with you doing your job and creating the guidelines that this province needs.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: The medical staff also require particular guidelines as well in end of life situations, Mr. Speaker. My question to the Minister of Health is, are you developing comprehensive, end of life guidelines for medical staff and if not, why not?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, these are matters that in fact, hopefully, we will see legislation on these matters and guidelines and they are being worked with in consultation with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. These are very important that they are done right and properly and that there is a consultation process on that matter.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Again, to the Minister of Justice and Health. We have no guidelines for prosecutors, we have no guidelines for health care professionals, doesn't this minister believe that the people of Nova Scotia deserve these guidelines so this type of tragedy doesn't happen again?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the system of justice works well. There are times that support, for whatever reason, I mean it is not only guidelines at the administrative level within the hospital there is protection, how physicians work together with families, and those people with illnesses, and end of life issues. We take this matter very seriously. We are working on it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS: HOME HEATING - SUBSIDY (GOV'T. [CAN.])

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, on November 6th, this spring, the Province of Manitoba announced a $3.2 million subsidy to help with the distribution of natural gas in their province. The home heat dealers in Nova Scotia are very concerned about a subsidy from the government. Is this government planning to have a subsidy program to expand home heating throughout Nova Scotia?

[Page 4079]

THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker, there is certainly no intention of the province to issue any subsidy for the distribution of natural gas.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, the federal government is contributing to the Manitoba subsidy program. Is the Premier indicating that the federal government will not be asked for a subsidy for heating in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what we would like to see is the federal government contribute to Nova Scotia the way they contributed to other provinces, not so much as a subsidy to lower the price but a subsidy that would allow us to put additional lines, to be able to service more homes in the Province of Nova Scotia, to make natural gas available to even more people in this province.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, between now and 2002, the Province of Manitoba plans to spend about $40 million expanding the gas industry. What is the Premier going to do to encourage the federal government to share with Nova Scotia in a development program so that Nova Scotians can take advantage of the natural gas?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, all we want from the federal government is a pro-rata contribution for distribution of natural gas, so we can give it to more people, on the same basis that they have given a subsidy or assistance to other provinces in this country.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - NAVITRAK (PORT HAWKESBURY):

JOBS - CREATED

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the deeply troubled Minister of Economic Development. In November 1997, he and his counterpart for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury announced, with great fanfare and cutting of ribbons, that the Liberals were creating 35 jobs with a company named Navitrak, with an addition direct seven jobs spin-off. My question for the minister. What happened to those jobs?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, our department is currently working on that particular initiative and, when I have further information, I will be sure to share it with the expert opposite.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in fact the company only employed four people last summer and now I understand there is no one working there. Will the minister tell the House when he expects the 35 jobs, that he and his colleague promised, to arrive in Port Hawkesbury?

[Page 4080]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, our department is working through the problems that we are having with the Navitrak initiative and I am not going to discuss those problems on the floor of this Legislature.

MR. DEXTER: I do not blame him, Mr. Speaker, for not wanting to discuss it. He raised the hope of 440 people who applied for those jobs and he took credit for them in the press release.

My question. The president of Navitrak says he doesn't know when the plant will reopen, will the minister admit to the House and to the people of Port Hawkesbury that he has failed again?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter is that the area of Port Hawkesbury is a complete wasteland for the NDP, so they are trying to curry what little favour they can down in that particular area of Nova Scotia. He went from 35 jobs to 400 in two minutes. That is the track record of the hit-and-run politics of the NDP.

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

BUS. & CONS. SERV. - WEIGH STN. (AULDS COVE):

EXEMPTIONS - PERMIT

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services. The minister knows that there has been a large number of accidents and near-misses near the Aulds Cove weigh station, mainly because of traffic congestion which is a consequence of commercial vehicles being required to cross in front of westbound traffic. When will the minister exempt eastbound truck traffic from reporting to the scale house and empty wood trucks that are returning from the Stora pulp mill?

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, that is an issue we have been looking at for some time. We are hoping to be able to install some technology that will permit the trucks not having to stop at the scale at all, but it is some time away and it is going to be a very significant cost to the province.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, accidents are of extreme to cost to people that are involved in them, too. This government has been procrastinating now for a number of years on this issue. When is the minister going to do something and what specifically is he going to do to stop congestion and traffic accidents down at the Aulds Cove scale?

[Page 4081]

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the member is suggesting that we don't weigh trucks and we don't check trucks at the weigh scales. We might as well close the weigh scales down if we don't do that. We are going to continue to weigh them. We are going to continue to check them for the safety of Nova Scotians.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, perhaps in another area the minister could be more helpful. This province, the only province in Canada . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. TAYLOR: The question is this, this is the only province in Canada that does not have an authorized rest area, not one. When is this government going to put some rest areas in place along our 100-Series Highways like the other provinces are doing?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I think this is a question that would be better answered by the Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as we speak there are plans going on to put in rest stops in the Province of Nova Scotia. We are working with the Department of Tourism on this and the departments are working with planning to go ahead with this. Rest stops are very important for the Province of Nova Scotia to save lives.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FIN. - DOLLAR (CDN.): VALUE - PREDICTION

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. The Premier will recall that when the first quarter financial statements were released we were told that the government could hold the line on our debt servicing losses at $34 million, if the value of the Canadian dollar stayed at 66 cents for the rest of the year. My question is, is the Premier still predicting that the value of the Canadian dollar will be 66 cents throughout the nine months of the fiscal year?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we will, of course, be giving in our second quarter report what we assume the dollar will be doing. That will be coming down within the next few weeks, certainly before the end of the year.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that since these financial statements were issued, the Canadian dollar has been below 66 cents consistently, which has added an additional $4.8 million to our debt servicing losses. I wonder if the Premier is able to tell us what value of the Canadian dollar for the balance of the fiscal year would allow us to recoup our now $39 million of losses?

[Page 4082]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, certainly the value of the Canadian dollar has an impact on our financial statements. There is no question about that, but we would be very pleased to include that information in our second quarter report.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have managed to do the arithmetic myself, and the value is, the Canadian dollar would have to trade at par with the American dollar for the next four months of the fiscal year for us to recoup our losses. The question is, is anyone in the Finance Department predicting that the Canadian dollar is going to trade at par with the American dollar over the next four months?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am sure on this side of the House we are very concerned as is the honourable member in making sure that the Canadian dollar does as well as it possibly can. It is certainly a factor in our financial statements, but we will be pleased to give him that information when we said we would, which is in the second quarter report.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

EDUC. - AUTISM: CHILDREN - AID

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education, on July 7th in the Kentville Advertiser you, Mr. Minister, declared, "We are adopting new approaches to aid children with autism . . .". After five months, what practical approaches have you developed to aid children with autism, and their families? I would like to table this document as well.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we have worked quite extensively, actually, with a number of groups in this province. Our policy in this province on special education is to develop individual programs for children with exceptional needs and we are quite proud of the track record of this province in terms of meeting the needs of those children in the schools throughout this province.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the minister has not spent any money on autism so far. The parents or the groups have told me. My supplementary is to the Minister of Health. I would like to ask the part-time Minister of Health if he would agree that autism is a medical condition and why hasn't his department allocated funds for the treatment of autism?

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think the wording, medical condition, is not one that would be generally favoured by parents and families of people with autism. I think one of the problems has been that it has been stuck in a medical model, and although being a physician myself, having practised and seen children affected by this condition, it really

[Page 4083]

requires the holistic approach. Within our department, we are actively working with families of people with autism. We are developing a plan and a program that will address those needs.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health. That is a pretty sad response to the parents of children with autism that could avail themselves of medical treatment. My question back to the minister is this, what treatments are available through his department to children with autism that he is funding?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have a decentralized mental health program for children and youth throughout this province. There are programs in the northern region, under the Northern Regional Health Board. There are specialists specifically for autism at the IWK-Grace Health Centre. There are educational programs being developed as well. A lot of it, in all fairness though, I would have to say has been developed as needs develop. I think that there needs to be a more comprehensive approach. We have some indication of funding that is very positive, and we are developing programs.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FIN. - DEBT SERVICING: CURRENCY LOSS - PLAN

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, back with the Premier. Of course the Canadian dollar has not traded at par since the time of John Diefenbaker. I wonder if the Premier's Department of Finance has any plan to deal with the $39 million loss in the currency differential attributable to our debt servicing?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we do, and those will be made aware to the honourable member in the second quarter report.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, of course the problem is not just the $39 million in debt servicing, there is an additional, at least, $50 million in overspending from other departments. My question is, is there any remote chance that a plan has been put in place by the Premier, or any department of his government, to deal with the total over expenditures and anticipated deficit this year, and will it be tabled in this House?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we are concerned, as is the honourable member, that there is a projected deficit for the Province of Nova Scotia. We feel we should have, at the very least, a balanced budget. We are working in that direction.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I will remind the Premier that since September 1st, he has been on record with his ministers telling them it is imperative that they keep to their budget guidelines. Is there any remote chance that there has been any progress in any of the departments in meeting those guidelines?

[Page 4084]

THE PREMIER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

NAT. RES. - PIPELINE (STRAIT OF CANSO):

PROPOSAL (M&NP) - POSITION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question, through you, sir, to the Premier. I also want to table a letter, it was written just this past Monday, from Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline to the National Energy Board, in which they are saying that they and their high-priced lawyers goofed, and that they didn't intend to include the pipeline running under the Strait of Canso in the application that is in the NEB hearings beginning next Monday. My question to the Premier is, do you agree with the position being put forward by Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have not had an opportunity to read that letter, so I can't comment on it.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wish I could read it to him. Of course, the minister is the head of the department which is an intervener, so you should have copies of this. My next question to the Premier is simply this, since Maritimes & Northeast obviously considers that it is the Energy Mineral Resources Conservation branch that is regulating that line, are you prepared to use your power to force them to put in a line that is sufficient in size to meet your seven year regulations capacity minimum target?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we certainly agree with the honourable member that there must be a line in place that is suitable to provide the natural gas that is going to be required in that seven year period.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier is simply this, since you agree. What are you prepared to do - since you don't even know what Maritimes & Northeast is saying now - to guarantee that the capacity is there to meet your government's own regulatory requirements for distribution on your home Island of Cape Breton?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what we do know is that there is an obligation of the government to make sure the capacity is there to allow people who want natural gas to be able to receive natural gas, based on the projections of the number of homes that will be served on Cape Breton Island in that seven year period.

[Page 4085]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - KEJIMKUJIK ADJUNCT:

ENTRY ROAD - CONSTRUCTION

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. I wonder if the minister is aware that on St. Catherines River Road, in the west end of Queens County and close to his constituency, Kejimkujik National Park is currently building the major entry point for the Kejimkujik adjunct?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, yes, thank you for the question. I have travelled on the St. Catherines River Road. I have been down in that area and it is very picturesque and also the Port Joli Basin is located there, yes.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the construction now under way, Parks Canada has estimated that the number of vehicles travelling on that road will be something in the order of 30,000 vehicles a year. Is the minister aware of that information?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member. I have had some correspondence also with the Mayor of the Municipality of Queens, Chris Clarke. We have discussed this and, yes, I am aware.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, with the increase in traffic on that dead-end road, 30,000 vehicles which means 60,000 counting going back and forth - there is no other way in and out - will the minister consider, for 1999, the possibility of hard-surfacing that road to accommodate the influx of that traffic and to provide safer travelling for those who live on that road?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member. We will certainly put it on a list and see how it works out for our priority list. We want to encourage tourism in that area, and I know it is a very popular area. I am willing to work with the honourable member and also with the mayor.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

FISH. - LOBSTER: YARMOUTH - ILLEGAL FISHING

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I took one of my many tours of the wharves in Yarmouth and the county and spoke with many lobster fishers. It didn't take very long to get a sense of their desperation and frustration. My question through you to the Minister of Fisheries. Is the minister aware of the ongoing, and increasing, level of illegal lobster fishing in the Yarmouth area?

[Page 4086]

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, yes.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but with answers like that it doesn't give much credibility to the crisis that we are facing.

The issue here is one of enforcement, and increasing the number of enforcement officers may not be the issue, giving a mandate to existing officers is. Will the minister, today, demand that Ottawa untie the hands of their DFO officers and give clear direction to his own to clean up the crisis in our fishery?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, maybe the honourable member misunderstood my first answer. We fully understand the problem. We have increased enforcement by 104 members of the federal department, and our department is fully enforcing this. It is a very serious problem and we are not taking it lightly.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, the lobster industry is the lifeblood for southwestern Nova Scotia. Feel-good ministerial statements about an arrest is doing nothing about addressing this crisis. My question for the minister. What is the minister doing to avert the collapse of our lobster fishery?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, again, this is an extremely important question to Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia fishery. We are taking this very seriously and we are doing everything we possibly can provincially to cure this problem. However, the enforcement lies with the federal government and we have used our jurisdiction to help them resolve this problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

SPORTS - RINK (YAR. CO.): PROPOSAL - STATUS

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission. Mr. Minister, in Yarmouth County, by assessments of your own department, has been the most under-provided county in all of Nova Scotia in regard to ice surface and it has been recommended many times that the new rink be built. There is a proposal, that finally the community has been able to bring together and has put forward to the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. LEBLANC: Can the minister give us a status report as to where that application is?

[Page 4087]

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: The community of Yarmouth has put together an excellent proposal for a recreational facility. That proposal has been put before government, both federal and provincial, for funding. It requires a considerable amount of funding and at this point is moving through the approval process.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that it is a complicated issue but I will say that the community has been working on this for a long period of time. People are getting tired putting efforts into it. Can the minister reassure the people, especially of Skate Yarmouth, that his department will deal with this with immediacy and not down the road?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with this project and many other projects across this province but as both Parties opposite will know, we are in a difficult financial situation. So major projects like this are caught up in a review that is necessary in order to make sure that we address the balanced budget issue.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I will make mention that this request is asking for funds that do not come under this year's spending restraints. So I would ask the minister one last time whether or not he will make a decision and make a commitment to Skate Yarmouth so that they can plan and bring about a needed facility in the Yarmouth County area? I just want to know whether he can give a commitment for future provisions for funding.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, as the members opposite will know, we are into four year budget planning and clearly, as the Finance Critic of the New Democratic Party has raised today, a $34 million hit on just debt service based on the Canadian dollar, is significant to this province. This project has tremendous support, not only in Yarmouth but with the provincial and federal governments. We are anxious to move it forward. We are reviewing funds out, not just one year, but out four years and, hopefully, we will have a decision shortly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS.: WASTE MGT. - COST-SHARE (MUN.)

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Mr. Minister, you know that in this province there is a target that has been set for the diversion of waste from the waste stream of 50 per cent by the year 2000. One of the best ways to do this is through composting. So my question, Mr. Minister, as the province is setting stricter and stricter guidelines for waste management, does your department, or this government, have a program to cost-share with municipalities in developing compost facilities.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I want to thank him for the question that he brings to the floor of the House this afternoon. Presently our department is involved with talking with all 55 municipalities across this province. Technically

[Page 4088]

we are not involved in the funding for the solid waste management plans that are being brought forward. My colleague, the honourable Minister of the Environment, is quickly working on this avenue. However, as I have indicated, our department is always willing to work with the municipalities of this province in one way or another.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I guess because the Minister of the Environment is not here this afternoon, that is why you are getting the question. In Pictou County we have the Pictou County District Planning Commission that is trying to build a compost facility. They have already committed $2.26 million toward a . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. PARKER: My question is, where the province has already committed to help them out, why are they not getting any money at this time?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I will take this question under advisement and certainly discuss it with my colleague, the honourable Minister of the Environment. I will agree to provide the honourable member on a future day with a response to his question.

MR. PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Minister, the Pictou County District Planning Commission has an exemplary record of waste management and waste reduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Could we have the question, please.

MR. PARKER: It shows an improved design. My question to the minister is, what are you going to do to help support composting in Pictou County.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, all municipalities throughout this province receive funding from the Resource Recovery Board, especially to help them deal with the solid management plan that they have brought forward. Exactly how much funding is being provided to each of the units, I don't have that information, but if the honourable member so wishes, we can certainly provide that to him as well.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - SHEET HBR.:

PIPE COATING (SHAW GROUP) - FUNDING

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism a question. The Minister of Economic Development gave the Shaw Group $1 million to develop a pipe-coating facility in Sheet Harbour. I wonder if the

[Page 4089]

minister could tell us what portion, if any, of that money is being returned to the province and what the terms of payment are?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for the question, as usual he has a preoccupation with what is going on down in Sheet Harbour, for some reason known only to him, I guess. But I can tell you that I will get the exact details of that transaction and I will pass them along to him.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister told us in a letter that the recovery of the assistance would be negotiated; he told us that back on August 19, 1997. I wonder if the minister could be a little more specific than telling us he will get the details on the negotiations? I wonder if he could shed a little light on what the actual terms of repayment are?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my department does not discuss details of transactions on the floor of the Legislature. I have said that on numerous occasions. I will tell the member, however, that when this project is finished down there, there will be $4 million worth of infrastructure left on that site.

MR. TAYLOR: Finally, to the Minister of Economic Development. The minister told us in this House time and time again that his government, the Liberal Government, was not subsidizing the Sable Offshore Energy Project. Does the minister not consider a $1 million giveaway, subsidization?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it certainly is not a giveaway, it is an investment in the future, it is creating much-needed jobs in the Sheet Harbour area. (Interruption) We have nothing to apologize, to that particular member and his obsession with what is happening down in that particular port.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM: SYDPORT - FUTURE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Economic Development. Last spring we warned the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism about the fact that Enterprise Cape Breton was going to give away Cape Breton's premier economic development tool, Sydport. NDP MLAs, MPs and the municipality all recognized this as a travesty for Cape Breton. My question to the minister is, what have you done since we warned you about this giveaway to ensure that this giveaway does not take place?

[Page 4090]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: I would like to thank the honourable member for the question. First of all, as I understand it, nothing has been given away down there. The federal government has decided that they do not feel that it is appropriate for them to try to promote Point Edward in the future and they went out for expressions of interest. A group of local businessmen have expressed an interest in taking over that park and promoting that park for the potential offshore benefits that that park will bring to our area in the future.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, we all know of the Laurentian Group and its connection to David Dingwall as its lobbyist and the unrealistic terms for expressions of interest by the municipality. My question is, is this government standing behind what is best for the people of Cape Breton or what is best for the Liberal Party?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: First of all, Mr. Speaker, what he is talking about is the federal government, it has nothing to do with the Province of Nova Scotia. He should be asking that question to the federal government not to me.

MR. CORBETT: That's right, Mr. Speaker, they abdicate their role again. We are left afloat in Cape Breton. The sale will likely take place before the end of the year.

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

MR. CORBETT: My question, will this minister do what is best for Cape Bretoners by doing what he can to ensure the municipality is given control of Sydport?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, to my understanding, the municipality has not expressed any interest to me to take over Sydport and develop it. But I can tell you this, this is another example of the NDP afraid that somebody in Cape Breton is going to make a dollar and employ people. That is totally foreign to their thinking. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 101:

TWINNING - ANNOUNCEMENT

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Last week 12,000 signatures on petitions were received by you and your government concerning Highway No. 101, from Windsor on through to Annapolis. What has the minister done with those 12,000, and how much closer are you to making an announcement that there will be a road twinned?

[Page 4091]

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I think there are two questions there, but I will address the first one. The first one is that we tabled the petitions. Also, I said that there were copies being made of those petitions, and they are being sent to the Honourable David Collenette in Ottawa.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that that is the sum total. There were 12,000 people who are very concerned. There was an accident on the road this week that sent two people to hospital. When is the minister going to do something constructive to get that road going? When are you going to be talking to the federal minister and when are you going to Ottawa to get some money?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I want to assure the honourable member that I am certainly very concerned about this also. I have spoken with the federal minister on this on two different occasions. I met with him and I placed a phone call just yesterday to the minister. We need additional federal funding and this is what we are working towards, to get additional federal funding.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I wish to know, is Highway No. 101 from Mount Uniacke through to Windsor, is that the number one priority that you have on your list?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have stated in the past, Highway No. 101 is a very high priority with our department.

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

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS:

LATERAL (C.B.) - PROPOSAL (M&NP) SUPPORT

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wish to go through you to the Premier. Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Ltd. is telling the National Energy Board that they want them to regulate the front part and the tail end of the lateral going to Cape Breton, but not the centre piece. The Premier has now seen and read that letter, I sent it to him. This is my question, does the Premier support Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline's position?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this letter refers to certain sections of the application. I would have to look at the application and look at the sections that are pertinent in order to get back and give the honourable member a full response.

MR. HOLM: Our very capable Premier, at least literary, would know, because the letter says very clearly that the part it refers to is the part that runs under the Strait of Canso. My question to the Premier, does the Premier support the view of Maritimes & Northeast, that the National Energy Board should not be regulating the portion of the lateral that is running under the Strait of Canso?

[Page 4092]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think what is happening is that Maritimes & Northeast want to more or less pre-build the liquids line under the Strait of Canso and, at the same time, put in the natural gas line. They want to do it at an eight-inch width. They want to be excluded should that not be wide enough. The fact of the matter is, in my opinion, that the National Energy Board cannot give that certainty. If they do that and it is not wide enough, they will have to put a new line in. That is what should happen.

MR. HOLM: My question to the Premier, who keeps ducking it. Will the Premier instruct his legal staff to write to the National Energy Board to say that the Government of Nova Scotia that he leads opposes Maritimes' application?

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

The motion is carried.

[3:55 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[3:57 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 71 - Intercountry Adoption Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4093]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 77.

Bill No. 77 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Antigonish.

MR. HYLAND FRASER: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 77 go to second reading.

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

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 24.

Bill No. 24 - Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

MR. SPEAKER: It was adjourned by the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. You have approximately 40 minutes remaining.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I wonder, through you, if I might make an introduction before I begin.

[Page 4094]

MR. SPEAKER: You may.

MR. TAYLOR: In the west gallery, Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a 26 year old gentleman who happens to be the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona, Rahim Jaffer. He is accompanied by his friend, Clinton Deveau. I ask the gentlemen to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, the leftist Party asked me what Party that Mr. Jaffer represents and I should tell all the House he represents the Reform Party, seeing how they asked. (Interruption) No, I am not a card-carrying Reform, in no way, shape or form.

[4:00 p.m.]

The Minister of the Environment, regarding the bill, asked a question, as you will recall, relative to the previous Minister of Natural Resources and the stand that he took regarding our protected areas. The minister, during his question, asked how we could speak, if you will, to managing the Wilderness Areas Protection Act when, in fact, the previous Minister of the Environment, and he meant the honourable member for Queens, and he indicated he was following his historic moves. The member for Queens indicated he supported the Wilderness Areas Protection Act and I certainly support protecting lands and things of that nature, no question.

Back in those days, I wanted to indicate to the Minister of the Environment that there were federal-provincial forestry agreements in place that did provide for silviculture and very important initiatives that would ensure that the resource sustained. However, the Liberals in Ottawa, the Chretien Liberals decided to basically do away, if you will, with all of our resource-based agreements that we had with Ottawa. At present we don't have a forestry agreement, we don't have an agriculture agreement, we don't have a mining agreement, we don't have a fishing agreement with Ottawa and those types of programs and agreements were very important to the Nova Scotia economy, especially the resource-based sector.

I don't have the exact resolution in front of me but I was somewhat disappointed yesterday when a member for the NDP did a resolution actually contradicting what we have been saying here in the Progressive Conservative caucus, regarding old growth timber and global warming. I suggested to the member that he go back and read Hansard and he can clearly discern that old growth forest, according to a document that has been provided to me and to all members from the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association, one of the main reasons for global warming is the decaying process of old growth timber, it clearly indicates that. (Interruption) It is in rural Nova Scotia and 40 per cent of the protected area is west of the Halifax-Windsor highway.

[Page 4095]

Mr. Speaker, I know you have some knowledge of global warming and things of that nature and perhaps my view doesn't coincide with your opinion on that topic. But nonetheless, a very respected group, the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association indicate that very clearly, and today, just to briefly recapitulate, I think it is very important that we know this, as trees grow older they begin to decay. The decay process uses oxygen and creates carbon dioxide, you can't be any more clear than that. What the foresters are saying, the responsible business people - and I think all Parties are aware that job opportunities and economic benefits are created by Nova Scotia businesses - what the foresters, the harvesters and the saw millers area telling us is that this protected are can be managed in a responsible manner, provided the Department of Natural Resources and the government lay down strict terms and conditions.

People do not understand that the present resource cannot sustain. Nobody has an accurate read on the annual allowable cut or, in other words, the fibre that is leaving this province. There are trucks, there is rail, there are vessels hauling away, if you will, that valuable resource. This government, unfortunately, has no programs in place relative to silviculture, commercial thinning, selective cutting and things of that nature. What we are merely suggesting is that this government sit down with the stakeholders. They made a presentation that was largely ignored. I know that the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, there are numerous groups who don't support managing a protected area and I can appreciate that because as far as I am concerned there is nobody who values our outdoors and our environment any more than I do. But I am saying, we can't just dismiss the ideas that business is putting forward.

I am speaking in support of some type, very restricted mind you, but some type of sound forest management practice. The new Forestry Act, as you well know, does speak to setbacks from water courses, it speaks to our ecosystem, it speaks to our wildlife habitat, it speaks to our wildlife. So I think you can have a healthy forest and you can still protect the areas.

Now before I adjourned debate, Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday I was reading a letter into the record and I have a couple of paragraphs left, a letter signed by Lourie F. Ledwidge, the President of Ledwidge Lumber in Enfield, Halifax County. Lourie and his group have been employing Nova Scotians for a great number of years. Ledwidge Lumber has been providing this province with job opportunities and economic benefits for years.

Mr. Ledwidge states in his letter that we have excellent regeneration in this province and many times it outgrows the plantations. On a recent tour of Stora woodlands, we saw Norway spruce trees planted 16 years ago that are now six inches on the stump. These can be harvested at 35 years. Not all stands need to be clear-cut. We have to be cautious with the merchantable thinning, because of wind damage; Nova Scotia being close to the ocean winds, we have to be very careful of blow-down. We believe if all woodlands could be managed and

[Page 4096]

over-mature stands harvested, it would cure the serious insect problems we now have in our woodlands.

So, there is another concern that Mr. Ledwidge raises, the insect problem. He is pointing it out, and this is a man with experience. Sometimes we come in here as legislators and go by the seat of our pants, quite frankly. We speak against something or we speak for something and we really don't understand the dynamics of the situation at hand. Mr. Ledwidge has a lot of information and knowledge. Anybody will tell you that Laurie Ledwidge Lumber in Enfield, Halifax County, does business in a responsible manner and always have, and if anyone can say otherwise, please take you place and say so, I will gladly yield the floor.

Mr. Ledwidge goes on to state that we believe if all woodlands - as I pointed out - could be managed and over-mature stands harvested, it could or would cure the serious insect problems we have in our woodlands. This can happen only if we get some relief on capital gains tax, so people will sell their stumpage. Nova Scotia is different than any other province in Canada, with small woodlots making up 52 per cent of our forest land. The lumber industry is changing with the market, using smaller diameter trees. He goes on to talk about how the floor joist, called the "I" joist, replaces the 2 x 10 and 2 x 12, and things of that nature. He concludes by saying a young, healthy forest provides better cover and food for wildlife and is not susceptible to insect infestation.

Mr. Speaker, those MLAs who represent western Nova Scotia should, if they have not already, go and talk to the stakeholders, the very people who are interested in our forests. It is fine and dandy to come in with legislation, but I suggest that when the Minister of the Environment brought this - incidentally, this legislation should tell you that there is some question about this legislation when it was introduced, I believe, three times over the past four years - I am suggesting here tonight that perhaps all is not well with this legislation, perhaps we need some more amendments.

Now there are a number of newspaper articles relative to the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. One headline in the Cape Breton Post, November 5, 1998, Inverness Backs Northern Groups Seeking Halt to Park Designation.

AN HON. MEMBER: Good paper.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, a good paper. Another headline, dated Thursday, November 5, 1998, not too long ago, Halifax-Based Wilderness Lobby Won't Drown Out Northerners. So it tells me that people in Cape Breton are still kind of concerned. I know during your comments, Mr. Speaker, regarding either this piece of legislation or the Forests Act, you pointed out the concern that Cape Bretoners have relative to, I believe it is in the Aspy Bay area, the area that is to be protected there.

[Page 4097]

AN HON. MEMBER: Aspy Fault.

MR. TAYLOR: The Aspy Fault, is it? Okay. Pollets Cove, yes.

Some Cape Bretoners are saying that they have not had the appropriate opportunity to address the concerns that they have, and I know that all members from Cape Breton will certainly speak in support of more input on behalf of their constituents. I know they will certainly take the time to make their concerns known.

Here, in the Victoria Standard, November 2. I trust that is another good publication, columnists must get their facts straight. This here is relative to some comments that Parker Barss Donham made, an open letter to Parker Barss Donham. Anybody that has been following the Daily News and the Cape Breton Post, I am sure, is aware of what Mr. Donham has been saying. Some of the points that he made have been singled out in this letter. I am not sure that perhaps while Mr. Donham, I am sure, has the best interests of Cape Bretoners at heart, I am not sure that what he is saying is actually accurate, quite frankly.

People in Cape Breton are also saying that Premier MacLellan, ". . . broke land promise to community, say residents"; "Keep area off protected list, they say"; the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, June 28, 1998. "A group in northern Cape Breton says that Premier Russell MacLellan has broken a promise that their area would not be included in a package of 31 protected wilderness sites.". And here is what they are saying. "'We had a promise from the premier on the 15th of June that he would hold back, . . .'". Now the Premier made a lot of promises, didn't he? But he made a promise on June 15th that he would hold back, take the Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault out of the 31 sites. That is what Kennie MacAskill told a spokesman for the group opposed to legislation that would designate that area as a wilderness area protection site.

I would say that not all stakeholders, if you will, are pleased with the Wilderness Areas Protection bill. The protected areas bill worries neighbours, June 29, 1998. One of the comments that the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Donald Downe made was that the intent is to preserve and protect the 31 sites from industrial development and commercialization but he stressed, they will be for public use. Again, I say to you, because there is some concern about hunting, fishing, trapping and snowmobiling and things of that nature that all of those types of activities, as I understand it, will be allowed.

My honourable colleague for Pictou East raised concerns that people have relative to mineral claims. A lot of the claims were actually made previous to the legislation being introduced. When the list was created one of the Liberal Cabinet Ministers told concerned stakeholders that mineral rights would be honoured. That is what the government told people. Then we had the situation regarding the Jim Campbells Barren that was protected. Then there was a little helicopter ride and it was unprotected and now again it is protected.

[Page 4098]

The Minister of the Environment himself is speaking quite ambiguously when he tells us that protection doesn't mean parkland. For the third time in four years, as I indicated earlier, the Liberal Government has introduced legislation to protect 31 sites around the province, including the controversial Jim Campbells Barrens just outside Cheticamp, Inverness County. He also points out that it doesn't mean that some land will end up inside the historic national park down there. So they are having quite a time down there.

The minister told the people of Cape Breton regarding this protected site that people will be able to continue sport fishing and traditional trapping and hunting. The sites will also be used for nature based tourism, environmental education and scientific research. Again, the Minister of the Environment said in conclusion that he recognizes existing mineral rights. Well, what does that mean? Now you tell me if this isn't ambiguous, then he goes on to say, we recognize existing mineral rights on the sites but the priority will be environmental protection. Somebody should stand in support of the minister and what he is saying because as far as I am concerned, he is speaking in doublespeak, you can't have it both ways.

[4:15 p.m.]

The minister is saying, I'm sorry, that you can't have it both ways. What we are saying is if it can be done - and I believe it can - that you can have the honouring of existing mineral rights, I believe that exploration can be done, quite frankly, and I also believe that the forests can be managed. I am not saying every square inch of the protected area because every square inch, it would not be practical and the resource, of course, is not available in every square inch, but we have to look down the road. We have to look at the big picture. Do you know that in Nova Scotia alone there are approximately 300 sawmills? How many thousands of Nova Scotians do those 300 mills employ? How many? Can anybody stand and tell me? No.

In my riding alone, Mr. Speaker, there are eight sawmills. Those sawmills are creating job opportunities and, as I said before, economic benefits for all of Nova Scotia. Forty per cent of the forest land west of the Halifax-Windsor Highway will be under this Wilderness Areas Protection Act; 70 per cent of Digby County. That is fine but this is a small province. This is only a small province. So we have to be very careful that we give consideration to the concerns that all stakeholders have.

We know the value. I think all MLAs in the Province of Nova Scotia understand the value of protected areas and we are not here to question the psychological value, if you will, the recreational value, Mr. Speaker. There is no question about it. This will put in place a statutory framework that will establish management protection and use of wilderness areas. It is the management that I am trying to speak to. We know what the objectives are and I do not disagree with the minister that the objectives are to, "(a) maintain and restore the integrity . . . and biodiversity; (b) protect representative examples of natural landscapes and eco-systems;", provide ecological bench marks as essential, ". . . reference points for determining the effects of human activity on the . . . environment;", provide opportunities for

[Page 4099]

environmental education and scientific research within the boundaries of the 31 designated sites, outline the measures to allow for public access, wilderness recreation and nature-based tourism while ensuring the protection of representative and unique ecosystems.

The bill, Mr. Speaker, transfers responsibility for wilderness areas to the Minister of the Environment from the Minister of Natural Resources. Let's talk a little bit about that. We are going to transfer the responsibility for wilderness areas to the Department of the Environment. Will, or does, the Department of the Environment have the necessary resources to manage and to not only establish the protected sites but will the Department of the Environment have the necessary resources, be they human, be they financial, to manage the 31 sites? We are designating 31 wilderness areas and we are transferring the responsibility from the Department of Natural Resources over to the Department of the Environment.

I do not know about other MLAs but I have had occasion to call the Department of the Environment on a number of issues, be it on-site septic, be it a concern raised, an environmental concern, and from time to time and, in fact, quite often, it is difficult to get an environment technician, Mr. Speaker. You have to wait. So while it sounds nice and cushy to say we are transferring the responsibilities over to the Department of the Environment, we have to question as to whether or not the department will have the necessary resources to carry out their functions.

The bill provides for the designation of additional areas in the future. Wilderness area designation cannot be revoked without the consent of the Legislature. I think that is fine. Why would you argue with that and how could you? That means that if this government, or any government, gets down in the bunker and decides through an OIC, an Order in Council, that they may want to, if you will, revoke a part or all of the protected areas, they can't do so. It has to be done by the Legislature. The protected sites will permit walking, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, eco-tourism, environmental education and scientific research in wilderness areas. Sport fishing and traditional hunting and trapping, as I stated earlier, will be permitted, will be allowed, will continue in the wilderness area.

There has been a number of comments made about the Wilderness Area Protection Act. In Nova Scotia, we do have a situation where the largest percentage of our woodlands, of our land period, is owned by the private landowner. We have to question as to how lands that are adjacent to the protected areas are going to be impacted. Are the activities, the use of those lands somehow going to be limited? Are they going to be restricted? Do members of the Legislature support putting additional restrictions on private lands? That is something that I have a big concern with.

I indicated that some of the stakeholders, especially the people in the sawmill industry, are especially concerned in western Nova Scotia. Many of them agree that things have changed a great deal since the former Minister of Lands of Forests, now Natural Resources, brought in legislation to protect 31 sites. People indicate that they have seen Bowater and the

[Page 4100]

Shaw Group increase their demand relative to the fibre. As I understand, the Shaw Group, for example, is issuing a lot of pine. Some of the pine in the pine belt, if you will, in western Nova Scotia will come under protection.

People and others are exporting large volumes of wood from this area, the western part of Nova Scotia. They are exporting fibre to Maine, and as every day goes by, we find there is a lot of illegal harvesting taking place. We have concerns, we have raised concerns about that. We have implored the government to negotiate with people irrespective of race, colour, creed or sex. All we are saying is that illegal logging does have to be reined in. We support the minister, quite frankly, but we are saying, let's do it in a peaceful manner. I trust, knowing the minister as I do, that he will do things in harmony with those that are breaking the law.

Mr. Speaker, we have no idea, the point is, how much fibre is leaving the province as a consequence of illegal harvesting. We are told, and the stakeholders are sending us correspondence telling us that large volumes of wood from western Nova Scotia are going to Maine and going to New Brunswick via boats, via barge, and also by our provincial highways. There are problems.

Local sawmillers have a right to be concerned. We have, I believe, a responsibility as legislators, irrespective of colour, regardless of political colour, regardless of what Party you represent, and we have to stand up for business in Nova Scotia. Businesses create jobs, and they create economic benefits. While groups, and some may call them special interest groups, get the ear of government, and sometimes we do things that are a little bit hasty, although that is difficult to say in this case, because this legislation was introduced three times over the past four years.

I still don't think the government got it right. Three times over four years, I don't think they have it right. I will, in fact, commend the government, and I don't know if it was through Voluntary Planning, but hearings nonetheless were held, and they were held to determine what we are going to do with the protected areas. That is why the hearings were held, to determine and decide, what are we going to do with the protected areas?

Some people made presentations that perhaps didn't have, and this will happen regardless of the profession, committees and boards that are conducting hearings sometimes hear presentations that the panel may not agree with, and other times they hear presentations that they do agree with. They have to consider the views of all stakeholders. The point I am making today is that the brief that was submitted by the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association, who happen to represent 1,000 companies - and those 1,000 companies include over 25,000 direct and indirect jobs - what they are telling me and what they are telling the Progressive Conservative caucus and what they have told the Minister of the Environment and probably the Premier, is that they do not believe that their brief, their submission, was given appropriate consideration.

[Page 4101]

It is not reflected in the legislation. Now, I say to a government a minority government, that could be facing an election any day - just to get a little bit political, we don't know, nobody knows for sure - what I am saying is if you have 1,000 companies out there that represent directly and indirectly 25,000 jobs, and they are appealing, they have solicited, they have asked the government, they have done their thing, and the government continues to ignore their pleas, then I would suggest that on the doorsteps, during the next election, politicians who are not supporting sound forest management practices in western Nova Scotia on the protected areas, they are going to face the wrath of the electorate. If you are from the City of Dartmouth, yes, you can moan and groan because you do not have any forest in your constituency, but if you have forestry and if you understand rural Nova Scotia, you understand how important forestry is; you do so.

Other forestry-oriented businesses, such as Bowater, a major employer in western Nova Scotia, claims - and they have told members from western Nova Scotia and they have told others - that their brief, their submission, verbal and written, also received very little consideration. You have sawmillers, you have pulp mills, you have thousands, literally thousands of Nova Scotians, appealing to the government to put in place some type of restricted forest management practice in the Wilderness Areas Protection Act; there is nothing in there at present. Nobody enjoys a walk through the forest any more than I do, Mr. Speaker, but a healthy forest is just as easy to walk through, or perhaps even easier than an old, decaying forest. I know that.

There are approximately 0.5 million acres in western Nova Scotia, and 0.5 million acres in western Nova Scotia have been used; for the most part, responsibly by lumber resource industries; they have done that for centuries. I know the technology has changed, everybody here knows the technology has changed, but it has changed to such a degree, Mr. Speaker, that it is going to be extremely difficult for business to sustain because this government - more so than any government before them - has allowed our valuable, sound, resource management programs to fall by the wayside.

Ottawa boasts about having a $10.5 billion surplus and here in Nova Scotia we do not even have a federal-provincial forestry agreement. It is a shame. The government in Ottawa has failed us, has failed the forestry sector, and this government, by not employing sound, forest management practices in woods outside the protected areas - I am not speaking of the protected areas now - what I am saying is we let our silviculture, we let our commercial thinning, we let sound forest management practices and programs that support them, fall by the wayside. This year alone, not one red cent was spent on silviculture, regarding Crown land.

[Page 4102]

[4:30 p.m.]

Now, how can the government live up to their commitments? I ask you, Mr. Speaker, how can the government live up to their commitments? I believe, and I think most members believe, especially most of the members opposite, that continued economic benefits must be maintained for companies, families and individual Canadians who depend on their forests.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member will accept an introduction.

MR. TAYLOR: Oh, absolutely.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House the Warden for Inverness County, A.J. MacDougall, and the CEO for our county, Ms. Kate Beaton. She came in two years ago and is doing a very strong job in the county. (Applause)

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome the guests in the gallery. It is an honour and a privilege to have them here. I see the honourable MLA for Inverness going up to have a little chat perhaps with them. (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out earlier, all MLAs, especially the Progressive Conservative MLAs, believe that continued economic benefits must be maintained for companies, families and individual Nova Scotians who depend on forests, both for their livelihood and for their way of life. This can be done. You can manage, look how farmers have, over the years, managed their land. They have done it in harmony with nature.

So here we are, we are certainly deviating, if you will, from the norm here by just setting aside some protected area with good, mature timber and going to let it decay and fall down because somebody got the ear of the minister and he thinks this is a popular thing to do. Well, I am telling you, it might be popular with a select few but business interests, stakeholders, Mr. Speaker, responsible people, are asking that they have an opportunity, perhaps, to use some fibre, and it can be done. We have the best, Nova Scotia has the best regeneration relative to new growth in North America. In fact, do you know we leave 80 per cent in this province regarding regrowth and the forest resource regarding planting and things of that nature. In the Province of Nova Scotia we leave 80 per cent to regeneration, natural growth and, I believe, approximately 20 per cent is done through planting.

Our forests must be managed because they support a full range of uses and values. When we talk about timber production, that is only one segment of managing the forests and of managing a protected site. The habitat for wildlife and areas allocated for parks and wilderness, Mr. Speaker, this can be done.

[Page 4103]

What I am asking, how does this government plan on honouring its commitments to those who have licenses and permits to harvest if they don't employ sound silviculture and forest management practices? There has been no social or economic study to determine how the Wilderness Areas Protection bill will affect the people and the industry and the ecosystem in the immediate area. Mr. Speaker, I hear the NDP from time to time talk about socio-economic studies. How come this time they have never requested a social impact study to determine how the Wilderness Areas Protection bill will impact immediate area. There have been no studies done. We have to. (Interruptions) Yes. And we want to make the distinction clearly between a cost-benefit analysis, we are not talking about that, we are talking about a social impact study. None has been conducted.

As far as the environment is concerned, we don't believe that it was given enough consideration. There is lots of information available, but there really wasn't a study done specific to this piece of legislation. If we are going to designate 70 per cent of Digby as a wilderness area protection site, again I say - and I know I am becoming repetitive, but I have to say again - that knowing the sawmillers, knowing the harvesters as I do, they are very responsible individuals, and we can put in place a management plan that will protect the environmental concerns and stand behind environmental principles that we all have. We all have environmental principles, but by just saying that we are going to protect a site, I just don't think it is responsible.

Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you would recall that I introduced a resolution back on November 3, 1998, and it is very important that this resolution be read into the record, perhaps once again. The resolution can be found in Hansard on Page 3193, and again it was back on November 3, 1998. I would caution all members to appreciate that this resolution received unanimous consent when I requested waiver of notice. The resolution went like this, Mr. Speaker, (Interruptions)

Well, the member for Dartmouth North thinks he was asleep at the switch, and I won't argue with him, he made the comment. He may have been asleep at the switch when this resolution went through, maybe he said Nay. Maybe the NDP member for Dartmouth North was the only one to say Nay. I don't believe the member for Cape Breton The Lakes would have ever said Nay to this resolution. It goes:

"Whereas young and middle-aged trees not only produce large quantities of wood, they also help combat global warming by using a lot of carbon dioxide; and

Whereas forests that are not properly managed . . .", and the operative word is properly, ". . . facilitate trees that grow very little and decay a lot . . .;". Forests that are not properly managed, and groups may like that, they may think that is great.

"Whereas the decaying process in our mature timber uses oxygen and creates carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming;

[Page 4104]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature support sound forest management principles on all Crown and private lands and recognize that old-growth forests contribute to global warming.".

Mr. Speaker, everybody that was in the House on November 3, 1998, supported that. What we are saying is, get behind the resolution, get behind the verbal support that you have conveyed, and do something positive for the stakeholders regarding our forestry sector.

Mr. Speaker, in the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, we have a forestry complex that we are converting into a school. Now, that new school is going to feature several innovative concepts including serving as a central resource for a new forestry education program. It is such an important industry, the forestry sector is, that we are going to continue and we are going to enhance the present school programs that we have, and we are going to do that right in the heart of the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, a constituency that has eight sawmills. The program at the new Musquodoboit Elementary School will use existing woodland trails and tree plantations containing native and exotic tree species that the Department of Natural Resources already uses as an education resource.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member would permit an introduction?

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, thank you, honourable member, for yielding the floor. I would like to draw the attention of all the members to the east gallery, where we are now joined by the Chief Administrative Officer of Richmond County, Mr. Louis Digout, a long-time administrative officer for Richmond. Most recently, Mr. Digout is watching his back pocket a bit more with Mayor MacLean in Port Hawkesbury wanting some of our tax money in Richmond. I would like the House to extend a warm welcome to Mr. Digout. (Applause)

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would welcome the guest who was introduced by the honourable member for Richmond. I hope he is enjoying his stay in Halifax, it is our capital city and I would encourage anybody when they have the opportunity to come in and visit the Legislature and meet all honourable members. Back to the complex . . .

MR. SPEAKER: You have about one minute left.

MR. TAYLOR: Only one minute? I will sum up by saying that I personally believe and perhaps I should emphasize personally, especially in western Nova Scotia, our protected areas can be brought under some form of forest management so as to assist our stakeholders, the sawmillers, the harvesters, the responsible individuals who sustain the economy. (Interruption)

[Page 4105]

It really annoys me that the NDP will say, you don't believe that. I do believe that sawmillers are responsible people in rural Nova Scotia and they help this economy sustain. Everybody in the House believes that except the NDP. They say that I don't believe that they are responsible. Well, I do believe they are responsible, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate your indulgence. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak on Bill No. 24, an Act to Protect Wilderness Areas in Nova Scotia. My comments will be short because many members from our caucus have already and will be addressing this bill. So I will address particular areas of interest for Cape Breton.

This bill is one that in reality we should be looking forward to, a bill that would protect natural landscape in our ecosystems, yet, this bill has engendered much concern and disenchantment. One must wonder exactly what it is that has caused communities to express concern. We have been told that this bill, when enacted, will be a magnificent achievement, a long-awaited preservation of wilderness areas, a preservation of parts of our natural beauty.

If we go back a bit to 1992, the provinces made a commitment to complete Canada's network of protected areas. This strategy called for the protection of 12 per cent of our land and water base. In 1993, around February, I believe, the province set aside 31 areas, placing a moratorium on further development of these lands until legislation could be enacted. In their final form, the 31 sites will protect about 293,000 hectares or almost 20 per cent of all provincial Crown lands and this we know is proportionately more than in any other province.

The process since then has been lengthy and not all smooth. The plan underwent a consultation process between 1993 and 1995 and many of my colleagues have already commented on this process. But there are just a couple of points I would like to make about it. The consultations in Cape Breton took place in Sydney, Baddeck and Port Hawkesbury.

[4:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, people in Cape Breton were really puzzled by the choice of venues at that time and also by the choice of the time of year for such events. The people that would be impacted most by this wilderness protection plan live north of Smokey; north, in fact, of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Yet these meetings were held in the dead of winter and they were held in communities that were miles away. Most members here, I am sure, will appreciate the difficulty of living north of the national park and having to travel in winter to Baddeck or Port Hawkesbury for a meeting.

[Page 4106]

Those who did attend the meetings in 1995 indicated quite clearly that they want to protect the wilderness but they also want to protect their way of life. A high percentage of the people at that time who attended wanted nothing to do with the plan that had been proposed. Mr. Speaker, the people north of Smokey, as we know, like most Cape Bretoners, are honest, hard-working people. They have chosen though to live in northern Cape Breton because they love life there.

Mr. Speaker, under these people's stewardship for hundreds of years, the area that we are discussing has been maintained. It has been maintained as close to pristine as one could hope for. They protect and they respect their land. They are truly keepers of the land and we can see that demonstrated by visiting the area. This fall a further series of 10 open houses were scheduled to discuss the latest version of the Wilderness Areas Protection Bill. Nine were to be held in Cape Breton and one in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, the September 1998 meetings were not achieved and we all know the history around that. I guess we can judge the decisions depending on where we place ourselves in the argument but some people feel that an effort could have been made to continue them. That is now history. But what was achieved during that period of time was that the communities continued to clearly indicate that they perceive that the legislation is infringing on their way of life.

All this turmoil and confrontation, Mr. Speaker, is the result of living for decades with the dire stories of the government's activities in respect to their land, a legacy of superstition remaining from the days when land was expropriated for the park in the 1930's and that began some of the difficulties that we are still facing in the north today. The way that the Cape Breton Highlands National Park was created has left this community with a strongly imbedded distrust for government, not only the north of Smokey people and not only the North of Smokey Action Committee that we sometimes hear the most about, but by many of the landowners. We have seen that recently in many of the articles that have been written in some of the local papers.

The Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault area is the area in question, Mr. Speaker. This area stands out as one of the province's 80 natural landscapes. It is unique in many ways, of course, and those who are familiar with the geography and landscape of northern Cape Breton will know all about its uniqueness, its pristine watersheds, its coastal barrens, its wetlands, its significant geological features and, of course, its spectacular scenery. All of this is still in place because these people have been good stewards of the land.

After a continued initiative by a group concerned about the land and about their traditional use and activities on the land, wanting to protect what their communities have been accustomed to, a Memorandum of Understanding was provided to the people living north of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. With this Memorandum of Understanding, the government is committing to work with the residents and other stakeholders and that they

[Page 4107]

would develop a stewardship agreement that would ensure the traditional rights of the community while, at the same time, continuing to protect the environment.

The Memorandum of Understanding also indicates that the designation of Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault will not come into effect until June 30, 1999, so that the stewardship agreement can be developed. Well, Mr. Speaker, the Memorandum of Understanding comes under some controversy as well. The North of Smokey Action Committee, in particular, feel they were not acknowledged in any of the determination around this process, around this part of the bill.

Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 24 has been described as a commendable achievement. That can't be a reality and will not be a reality and will only be a reality if the present custodians of the land, the stewards of the land, are truly heard. I think this is where we are having our difficulty. They have their concerns, they are concerned and we are concerned with the protection of the Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault area. Surely though, this government will see the wisdom in really listening to and working with those who have diligently maintained the beauty and uniqueness of this area of our province. Their passion for their land and their passion for their traditions that make up their lives can't be ignored by this government. Making them true partners in the stewardship agreement will help to bring down barriers that have existed for decades.

Mr. Speaker, these people must be architects in the plan that will ensure that these lands will be an important part of our legacy for generations to come. I am pleading with the government to listen, to communicate with these people. This bill has many excellent components to it but this part has created a lot of unrest in that community. I would plead that the government would truly work with representatives of all groups in that community, to come up with a stewardship agreement so that we can build back some of the faith that we need from those people who are excellent stewards of their land. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon to make a few remarks respecting Bill No. 24, the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. The Endangered Spaces Program, which is what has driven this bill, is an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, an international organization which is well noted for its capacity for not only protecting wildlife and wild areas and wild landscapes, but also for cooperating with governments of all stripes in order to move forward on behalf of humankind. The preservation of special places and the preservation of species that are under stress and, of course, with respect to the latter, we have another bill before us respecting endangered species, but that is not the bill to which I will be speaking this afternoon.

[Page 4108]

It is the intention of the World Wildlife Fund, as my colleague has just reminded us, to endeavour, at least within Canada, to set aside 12 per cent of our land area for our natural heritage. We, of course, are all familiar with the national parks system in Canada, which makes a tremendous base contribution to this goal, but they in themselves are not sufficient to meet this goal. Even when we add in the provincial parks across this vast land of ours, neither do they come up to anything near the 12 per cent figure.

We must as legislators, and indeed as Nova Scotians, pay tribute to Monty Hummell, who is the President of World Wildlife Fund of Canada, who has assiduously worked on behalf of not only his organization but, indeed, on behalf of all Canadians and, indeed, on behalf of all global citizens to drive this very good initiative forward. We also must pay tribute to a Nova Scotian, Colin Stewart, who has managed and nurtured and nursed this program forward here in Nova Scotia, gaining the confidence of legislators and Nova Scotians, and working with both the government of which I was a part and the current government that created the legislation which is before the House this afternoon.

The central management thrust, of course, of this legislation is to place special wilderness areas under non-consumptive management. In other words, we do not extract from them the mineral and the forest wealth or other economic potential, but rather we ensure that they are left for future generations to enjoy as wilderness areas. Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians have been working on this initiative now for almost a decade.

The greatest challenge to all of us has been to define a land base within Crown land which is broadly representative of the natural regions of Nova Scotia. We in Nova Scotia, other than Prince Edward Island, have the smallest amount of land under Crown ownership; 70 per cent of the land in this province is held in private hands. The vast majority of that land is in the hands of small landowners; 27 per cent belongs to the provincial Crown and 3 per cent to the federal Crown. Most of that is tied up in the two national parks and the Kejimkujik adjunct, associated with Kejimkujik National Park in western Nova Scotia, and, of course, in the military installations around the province.

We have a great challenge ahead of us with respect to finding sufficient land which is representative of the natural regions of Nova Scotia within the very limited Crown land base that we have available to us. From the very beginning, the Government of Nova Scotia of which I was part and this government have made it clear that there was no intention on the part of government to expropriate private land in order to accommodate this program and to create these protected wilderness areas across the province.

After a thorough review of Crown land and after establishing criteria for determining what was appropriate for protection, 31 sites were chosen. They total something in the order of 287,000 hectares. For those who live in the urban sprawl of Halifax Regional Municipality, let me explain it this way. If we drew a line down about the middle of the municipality, up Halifax Harbour and up north towards Colchester County, and divided the county in half, it

[Page 4109]

would mean the equivalent of taking about half of all the land base in Halifax Regional Municipality out of production. It is very interesting to think of it in those terms. Imagine if we were to say that from the time the piece of legislation passed in this House, that half of Halifax County could never have any of its resource space used for economic development in perpetuity. That is the kind of commitment that people living in rural Nova Scotia are being asked to make as a consequence of this initiative and the passage of this legislation. What the people in rural Nova Scotia are being asked to commit is a huge commitment, a huge gift on the part of the people of rural Nova Scotia.

[5:00 p.m.]

The largest single wilderness area which is to be encompassed under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act is the Tobeatic, which is situated in Queens, Annapolis, Digby and Shelburne Counties. It is comprised of 99,000 hectares of land, a huge land mass; a land mass more than twice the size of Kejimkujik National Park itself. In fact, to put it into a perspective for my friends who live in the urban area, that represents an area roughly five times the combined area of the old Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth with the old Town of Bedford thrown in to boot; five times the area of those three former municipal units.

The Tobeatic is adjacent to Kejimkujik National Park, which has, as I mentioned a moment ago, an area of just a little less than half the size of the Tobeatic, an additional 40,000 hectares. Together they represent an area, that is Kejimkujik and the Tobeatic which have a common boundary, roughly the size of Richmond County.

I ask members again, and I ask Nova Scotians to bear this in mind, that what we are being asked to contribute in western Nova Scotia is an area which is larger than Richmond County and has the effect of, as though we were saying to the people in Richmond County, you no longer can use the natural resources in your community. This is a tremendous contribution being requested of us.

It is a well-established fact that 48 per cent of all the land listed in the schedule to this bill lies west of the Halifax-Windsor Corridor. In Digby County, the lands which will be encompassed in the protected area account for 70 per cent of all of the Crown land in Digby County. Digby County is being asked to make a very significant contribution to realize this goal of protecting the 31 natural areas of Nova Scotia. In western Nova Scotia, we have to understand that locking up these protected areas removes very significant potential wood fibre from the forest industry, wood fibre that as I will demonstrate in a moment was probably not going to be able to be replaced, at least not in our lifetime.

West of that Windsor-Halifax Corridor, there are, within our forest industry, two pulp mills, Bowater Mersey Mill, in my own constituency, located in Brooklyn, Queens County, and the Canexel Mill, located in eastern Lunenburg County. There are nine major sawmills in western Nova Scotia, including two of the three biggest mills in Nova Scotia. The Lewis

[Page 4110]

Lumber Mill, in Digby County, owned by the Irvings, and the Bowater Sawmill, which is located in Oakland, Lunenburg County. The third of the three largest mills, which is located in eastern Nova Scotia, in fact is buying wood fibre very aggressively from western Nova Scotia. So although the mill is not there, it is competing for wood fibre there and in a very aggressive manner; not that there is anything wrong with that, it is just a fact that I want to point out.

In addition to these mills, there are also a number of smaller mills that may not operate 12 months of the year, but indeed do provide some degree of employment. All of them are competing for wood throughout western Nova Scotia to employ the people who work in these mills. Now the Crown has entered into licence agreements with a number of companies, and by those licence agreements, it commits timber resources from Crown land to those companies. With the exception of the Irving-Lewis Mill, all the licences in Nova Scotia are held by locally-owned companies, many of which have been in operation for generations and have provided good, solid, continuing employment in rural Nova Scotia.

The Department of Natural Resources' own annual report, the most recent one covering the year 1997, names 10 agreements in western Nova Scotia. Eight of those 10 accrue to family-owned, Nova Scotian-owned businesses. One is for the Irving-Lewis Sawmill and the other is for Canexel. Canexel in its licence agreement with the Crown has been given a significant commitment based on hardwood in the Tobeatic, one of the areas to be protected.

The Department of Natural Resources has produced a document, all members will certainly be familiar with it and I suspect many Nova Scotians will be, entitled Toward Sustainable Forestry. On Page 4 of that document, it states that Nova Scotia's forests are capable of sustaining an annual harvest of 3.8 million cubic metres of softwood and 1.5 million cubic metres of hardwood annually; that is a total of 5.3 million cubic metres of softwood and hardwood.

Between 1991 and 1995, the average harvest was 4.7 million cubic metres of all species. So just under the 5.3 million total that is sustainable. Alarmingly, the trend seems to be to exceed that annual sustainable cut. In 1995, it was exceeded by 1 million cubic metres and in 1997, by another 1 million cubic metres. It appears that what we are in danger of doing in our forests in Nova Scotia is what has happened to our fishery in Atlantic Canada and, indeed, has happened to fisheries in so many other parts of the world.

The Director of Forest Management of Crown Lands said in January 1995, "Commitments . . .", that is logging commitments, " . . . are currently at the limits of sustainable yield . . .", this is on Crown Land, " . . . assuming an intensive level of silviculture.". This manager of Crown lands went on to say, "This level of commitment . . .", that is the commitment to the sawmills and to the other licence holders, " . . . existed prior to the announcement . . .", of the parks and protected areas system plan.

[Page 4111]

In other words, even before these areas are taken out of production, the person who is responsible for Crown land forest management had pointed out to government that it was going to be very difficult to meet current commitments, even with intensive silviculture. What strikes me as being particularly poignant is the fact that the person who was the Minister of Natural Resources at the time that the Director of Crown Lands made that statement, was none other than the minister who has presented this bill into this House. So I must assume that he is aware of this disturbing fact.

In their submission to the public hearings on protected spaces, the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association stated, with respect to western Nova Scotia, in the submission that they made in, I think, Bridgewater, Crown land in western Nova Scotia scheduled for protection represents 40 per cent of the sustainable annual cut on all remaining Crown lands in western Nova Scotia; bear that in mind. The land in western Nova Scotia which is going to be put under protection represents 40 per cent of the sustainable annual cut on all remaining Crown lands in western Nova Scotia.

Bear in mind that three areas to be taken out of production, and I will only name three, the Tobeatic, which I have already mentioned, Lake Rossignol and Tidney River again are about equal to the total area of Richmond County. Now the Land Resources Committee of Voluntary Planning had advised that, and here I quote VP, before any further steps toward designation are taken, each candidate site should be subjected to a careful site review including the local community. While there has been some local review by government, this advice was not followed as completely as many believe it should have been. Other presenters at public hearings asked that socio-economic studies be undertaken as part of the necessary research before final decisions on protected areas were taken, and this advice, to the best of my knowledge, has not been taken by this government.

In his opening remarks, the minister who presented this bill to the House, had this to say, that in cases where land is completely surrounded by wilderness area property, we are proposing limited access under certain conditions. It is a priority to ensure unsuitable development is avoided, so criteria have been added that will limit the use of this access provision. The bottom line is that any access must be consistent with an applicable management plan.

Mr. Speaker, what particularly concerns me respecting this statement by this minister is that what we may have here is the potential of a de facto expropriation of the use of an individual's property simply because that individual's property happens to be landlocked within a protected area. We have a law in Nova Scotia, the Expropriation Act, which says that there shall be no expropriation in Nova Scotia without compensation, and I say that that law should apply to any landlocked landowner who finds that the enjoyment of their property is being infringed upon as a consequence of the coming into force of this Act.

[Page 4112]

The minister owes it to Nova Scotians to explain on what objective and balanced criteria he took his decision to select these 31 sites, and how the government plans to ensure that there will be sufficient wood available on the remaining Crown land throughout Nova Scotia, but most especially in western Nova Scotia, to meet current and future needs of the forestry sector, especially the sawmills which are major employers in our rural communities. These are not foreign companies; these are not the huge multinationals; these are not necessarily companies that have large landholdings of their own. These are family-owned, Nova Scotia-based companies which have provided employment in our little communities across this province for generations.

To date, action, or more to the point, inaction, of this Liberal Government demonstrates that in this, as in so many other matters of great public importance, it is asleep at the switch. For five and one-half years, this Liberal Government has been promoting the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, or what we now call the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, and I have applauded them for that. It has been so promotional that, in fact, this is the second version of this bill that has been tabled in the Legislature.

It is a fact - not a fact produced by me, a member of the Opposition, but a fact produced by the statistics of the Department of Natural Resources - that the annual harvest in this province is outstripping the capacity of the forests by one million cubic metres this year and two years ago. It is a fact that the Director of Crown Lands stated only three short years ago that sustainability on Crown lands was stretched to the limit before the commitment to wilderness protection. How is the government going to meet the harvesting commitments it has already made on Crown land once the wilderness areas are removed from production?

Do this minister and this government have different information than that provided by the Director of Crown Lands? If this minister has that information, I invite him to share it with the House. In fact, I believe he has an obligation to share that information with all Nova Scotians when he closes on second reading.

[5:15 p.m.]

Over the past several years investments by this Liberal Government to private woodlot owners with respect to silviculture have declined dramatically. In 1996 it stood at $6.6 million; in 1997 it declined to $4.2 million; in 1998 it declined to $3 million. I think I am correct when I say, Mr. Speaker, that virtually all of that $3 million was spent spraying against the tussock moth infestation. Remember the Crown Lands Manager's observation that in 1995 commitments of wood from Crown land were at their limits, even assuming intensive silviculture. Does a 50 per cent reduction in silviculture dollars flowing to small woodlot owners and private woodlot owners, suggest a commitment to intensive silviculture. Is there any evidence that intensive silviculture has been occurring on Crown lands? I can't find it in the budgets of this government. I invite the minister to share that information with me. If he has it, it would relieve me greatly.

[Page 4113]

During five and a half years in office this Liberal Government has totally failed to negotiate a forestry sub-agreement with the federal Liberal Government. During these five and a half years there has been no economic or socio-economic study to determine the impact of protection on rural communities which are significantly dependent on Crown land wood for employment. We are talking about jobs for the men and women in our communities, so that they can feed and educate their children. That is what we are really talking about here.

During these five and a half years this Liberal Government has failed to ascertain how licensed agreement commitments will be met from the remaining 52 per cent of Crown land in western Nova Scotia. During these five and a half years this Liberal Government has not given the least consideration to how it will meet the most recent Crown land harvesting commitments, including its promise to negotiate agreements with the Mi'kmaq bands of Nova Scotia, something we would all want to see achieved. The question is, is there enough wood there to make this promise good?

During these five and a half years this Liberal Government has made no calculation - and this comes from the Department of Natural Resources itself - of the merchantable timber on the 31 sites designated for protection. The best that the DNR forest industry can provide is the volume of wood in each county. During these five and a half years this Liberal Government has done little or nothing to exchange private land in in-holdings on areas to be protected by this legislation for Crown land outside those areas to be protected.

During these five and a half years this Liberal Government was apparently blind to the militancy of the residents of northern Cape Breton, a blindness to which my colleague who spoke just before me spoke so eloquently, the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes. So it has, as a consequence of being blind for all that period to the special concerns of those people, had to cut a special deal with respect to Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault. That and the MOU, curiously signed only by the minister, not by anybody in the community - perhaps it was a Memorandum of Understanding with himself, signed on June 24, 1998, which states in part that the history of expropriation by the federal government to establish Cape Breton Highlands National Park has created a legacy of suspicion.

Shouldn't the minister who represents a constituency in western Nova Scotia be fully aware that there is a level of suspicion in western Nova Scotia which lingers on as a consequence of the expropriation which occurred to create Kejimkujik National Park and, before that, the expropriation which occurred when the hydroelectric dams were established on the Mersey River and so much of the Lake Rossignol Basin became flowage and was lost forever, or at least certainly for our lifetimes and for many lifetimes before us and probably after us, for the production of wood fibre?

[Page 4114]

Shouldn't the minister who lives in our part of Nova Scotia understand that? Why, if he is prepared to expend special consideration to people in one part of the province, is he not prepared to provide that same level of special consideration to people in another part of the province, a part of the province which he, in fact, represents?

Time and time again, Mr. Speaker, this Liberal Government has proven its incompetence. Time and time again, it proves that it cannot chew gum and walk at the same time. Tragically, this Liberal Government has failed to understand that protection is part of an equation and that for it to benefit the entire community it must have a balancing other side. That other side, which is so clearly missing, is a plan to ensure sufficient wood fibre is available on consumptive Crown land to meet the commitments of the Crown to sustain jobs in our rural communities. I ask the minister, meet your obligation to tell Nova Scotians where that wood will come from.

This Liberal Government and this minister have created for us in this Legislature a terrible conundrum. If we do what we want to do, that is protect special wilderness areas, we run the risk of putting our forest industry and the jobs it creates, and the rural communities they sustain, in jeopardy. It is the smaller family-owned Nova Scotian companies, which have been central to local economies intergenerationally, which are put most at risk. If we do what we want to do, we run the risk of further accelerating the cut on Crown lands well beyond sustainable capacity.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I invite all members to recollect the admonition of the Director of Forests on Crown lands. If we do what we want to do, we run the very real risk of putting further and unrelenting pressure on private lands and at a time when government has been reducing silviculture assistance to private woodlot owners. Many Nova Scotians greatly fear the unintended consequence of this initiative as put forward by this government.

This Liberal Government must immediately, during the course of debate on this bill, respond to those legitimate concerns, concerns of men and women whose livelihoods, whose homes, whose families, whose rural communities are so vitally dependent on the continuing access to sufficient wood resources from private lands in Nova Scotia and, indeed, from our Crown lands.

Through these many years, both in Cabinet and outside, I have personally supported the concept of the World Wildlife Fund's Endangered Spaces Program. I say that the government has a great deal of comforting to do to ensure Nova Scotians that the way that they have approached this will not have an adverse economic impact on rural Nova Scotia, on the people who live and work in our communities. That said, it would be illogical for me to do anything other than support this concept, which I have endeavoured to speak for through these many years, on second reading. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 4115]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to have a few minutes to speak about Bill No. 24, the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. There are a few points I want to make but, overall, I think the bill is very good. It has been several years now that one government or another has been trying to introduce this bill and get it passed in this province, and I think it is certainly past time that we do have a Wilderness Areas Protection Act in this province.

Right in the very first clause it talks about having the protection of wilderness areas in perpetuity, or forever and ever, for future generations, and it is something that can last forever if it is properly legislated and properly protected. So I think that is good that we will have something here that our children, our grandchildren, and all future generations will have a wild area, a wilderness protected area that they can go to and enjoy nature at its finest. There is certainly a lot out there in nature that can help us.

I am going to talk about the forestry aspect of the wilderness areas; certainly, previous speakers have been talking about the importance of forestry in this province and the need for good forest management. We have a lot of areas in Nova Scotia that certainly need to be protected and good silviculture practices carried out but, before I get to that, I just want to talk a little bit about wilderness areas and wild, protected areas because I really feel there is a need for protected spaces in this province.

From time to time, all of us get wrapped up in our jobs and people can feel some stress. You need a chance to get away and get out to enjoy nature in all its beauty and everything that it has to offer. I want to mention a few of those items that are out there in nature that are special, that we can get out and enjoy, and I think of things as simple as looking at a waterfall, or the gurgle of a brook, the patter of rain on the forest floor, maybe even something like the call of the wild when you look up overhead and see a flock of geese going over - and that is truly the call of the wild - or other birds or wildlife. You can see a flock of goldfinches or maybe even the flutter of a butterfly, just something simple like that. It can make your day and take your mind off your everyday work to just get out and relax and enjoy a walk in the woods.

We need wild spaces, and we need wilderness areas not only for the great biodiversity of species that are out there, the birds, the animals, the insects, the amphibians and reptiles, we have to learn to protect all of these species, because some of them, as we see under a different bill before this House, are endangered, and we need areas to make sure that all our biodiversity of species do survive.

As I mentioned, it gives us a chance to get out and enjoy nature and some peace of mind, to get away from things, and it is healthy not only for your mind, but also for you body just to get out and take a stroll through hill and dale. We need an area that is free and wild

[Page 4116]

and left to nature and its own resources, where you can go and maybe enjoy a hobby like photography or just to enjoy nature for its own sake. You never know what you are going to discover out there. It has been proven that there are areas of the world where there are wild parks and nature reserves, where there are rare species and even plants, in particular, that are yet to be discovered, and they can form the basis of medical research and maybe there is something there that is a brand-new wonder drug that can help mankind.

[5:30 p.m.]

I heard earlier, as I mentioned, about old growth forest, and we have very little old growth forest left here in Nova Scotia. In fact, there are very few areas you can turn to in this province and really see what an old growth forest looks like. There are lots of immature trees and lots of middle-aged trees, but there are very few sections of woodland that have been here for 200 years or 300 years or longer, and those areas are getting scarcer and scarcer. It is another reason that we need some wilderness protected so that we can have good old growth forests.

I can remember one time going out, there is a bit of an area, I think it is in Halifax County just out of the Liscomb Game Sanctuary, and there is a park out there that has some old growth forest, that has somehow been left behind. I think the company, Scott Paper at that time, actually did protect it and set it aside so that people could go and enjoy what an old growth forest looks like. There are trees there that one person cannot put their arms around, in fact it takes two or three people to reach around the girth of the tree. That is an old growth forest, and I think those areas are needed.

In spite of what I am hearing from some people, that we need more fibre production on these protected sites, I disagree with that. I think there are lots of areas in Nova Scotia that can provide adequate supplies of wood fibre. Certainly under the present system, where they are just being harvested and cut way beyond capacity, that is not true. If the proper forest management takes place and areas are set aside and looked after with good silviculture practices, we can radically increase the amount of wood fibre that is in this province and not have to go to these wilderness protection areas for wood fibre.

In my opinion, the wilderness protected areas, these 31 sites, need to be set aside and protected for nature and forever and ever for a wild area where people can go and enjoy nature at its finest. Wood fibre production can increase on other Crown lands and on private lands. With proper management there is more than enough wood fibre out there to meet the needs for all industry and all the jobs that go with it.

In fact, I have been told, if you get proper forest management, you can actually quadruple the amount of wood fibre that comes off present lands. Rather than just coming in and grabbing the resource and knocking it down and just letting it grow back up in shrubs or in junk species, you can get a better production, you can get up to four times the yield off our

[Page 4117]

private and Crown lands than what we are getting at the present time. That is where the wood fibre can come from, it does not have to come from our wilderness protection areas. For the reasons I outlined previously, we need these wilderness protection areas for nature itself.

Mr. Speaker, if I can refer to the bill itself, under Clause 2 it mentions some of the reasons why we do need these protected areas, and it mentions such things as under, Clause 2(c), "to protect outstanding, unique, rare and vulnerable natural features and phenomena;". Maybe there are some rare plants or rare amphibians, like the Blandings turtle I know is one that needs to be protected in this province, the Piping Plover or other birds that are unique and special and these are areas that need to be especially looked after.

It mentions also, "to protect and provide opportunities for scientific research, environmental education and wilderness recreation.". I talked earlier about the recreational needs of going out and people having a walk in the woods, and seeing what is there. Schoolchildren, certainly, can have an opportunity to learn with the right teacher and somebody who can guide them and show them what is in our wilderness areas. We can learn a lot, not only about the nature of the woods and the environment that is there, but just learn a lot about values in life. It is a good teacher, a good lesson to learn from nature. Scientific research, as I mentioned earlier, maybe there is some type of species out there that can help in a medical breakthrough or in some type of wonder drug that can be of benefit to society.

It also mentions in this clause that while protecting rare plants and animals and providing opportunities for recreation and scientific research and so on, that we also provide opportunities for public access for sport fishing and traditional patterns of hunting and fishing. That is fine, I think, as long as it is for recreation, of fishing or those traditional patterns of hunting and trapping, as long as it is not thrown wide open to economic development, pursuing hunting for sports, I guess, that come from away.

People who have always trapped there or always hunted on a certain area, then I can agree that they should be allowed to continue that practice. I certainly know it was an issue in the Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault area that some of these folks had lived there for generations, their families before them had hunted or trapped or pastured animals. I certainly would support that those traditional uses be allowed, as long as it is not thrown wide open to economic exploitation of the resource in that case.

A couple of other clauses of the bill talk about mineral rights and, as you know, those who held mineral licences on these wilderness protection areas still continue to hold that privilege and they can explore and see what minerals are there. But no new mineral licences will be granted on these 31 protected sites. Generally, I feel that is good, but those who had their licences before this bill was talked about, and that is fine, they can pursue those interests, but really, if you are going to have a wilderness protection site, it should not be for exploitation of mining or, as I mentioned previously, for exploitation of forestry.

[Page 4118]

Another clause of the bill talks about motorized vehicles like snowmobiles and ATVs and I think it mentions somewhere that ATVs were considered traditional rights, although I question that because ATVs are really a very recent introduction, within the last 10 or 15 years, I guess, they have really come into vogue. I question whether that is really considered a traditional right. Again, I think that as long as it is responsible use of these vehicles that have been used, again, in a traditional way, maybe in connection with hunting or trapping or for recreation, but within limits. I think that is spelled out here somewhere in the bill. It shows that the responsible use of motorized vehicles and the minister has some discretion to determine if that steps over the line. There are some restrictions there, but I think it is good to allow it as long as it doesn't go to exploitation where there are too many and too much use of these motorized vehicles.

Another clause talks about, I think it is Clause 9, where people who own property, private lands, that if they want to donate further property to a wilderness protection area, then they would have the right to do that. Clause 9(2) says, "For the purpose of this Act, the Minister may acquire by exchange, purchase, gift or lease any land or interest in land from any person and may accept the transfer of administration and control of land from the Government of Canada or an agency thereof.". It gives people the option to donate land to a public trust, such as a wilderness protection area, and I guess we do have that now under the Nature Conservancy and I think that is good.

I can think of one example that occurred in Pictou County within the last few years. There was a piece of property that a gentleman owned and he wanted it to be preserved forever and ever, in perpetuity, for nature. I think it was though the Nature Conservancy of Canada he was able to donate a piece of property called Munroes Island. It contained over 100 acres, a unique area, sort of special for wildlife, for birds and animals. People can go there and walk along the beach and look at different aspects of nature. Now it is preserved forever and ever for future generations. So that clause of the bill is good. It spells out how it can be done and certain guidelines that have to be followed.

There is another clause of the bill that I have a little bit of concern with, Clause 10(1), it states, as the minister considers appropriate. Maybe that should be tightened up a little bit because ministers change, governments change and it is really at the discretion of the minister. I wonder if perhaps the whole Legislature should have some say on it and not just at the whim of one Cabinet Minister in the bunker, so-called. I think it would be important to have full discussion on it, public consultation or at least come to this venue here that legislators could discuss it, major changes in the Act, and not just at the whim of one minister.

However, I think there is some protection in other areas where it outlines in Clause 11(4), which says "Notwithstanding any enactment, the designation of a wilderness area shall not be revoked except by an Act of the Legislature." So under that part there is some protection there that it would come here to the full House but, under the previous clause, certain things do not have that protection.

[Page 4119]

Basically, Mr. Speaker, I feel that the bill is good. I would support it. I feel we need wild, protected areas. The major objection was that we don't have enough good forest land and we should have some of this land under forest management or forest fibre production. I disagree with that and I think we have to set aside some wild areas forever and ever, for generations to come. I think this bill basically does that with the few minor changes I have suggested.

I am going to close with a little quote that sort of sums up my feeling on this bill. It goes like this, the quote is by a gentleman called S. Stanley Hawbaker. It goes like this; Go ye to the wild wood, its waters and hills, for it is good to live thus. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, after following that debate and those famous last words, I feel humbled getting up on my feet to speak on this. My remarks will be short on Bill No. 24 - everyone thinks that is great - in regard to the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. I will be the first one to profess that my specialty is in the fishing industry rather than in forestry. However, the fishing industry is the predominant industry in my constituency. However, there are parts of my constituency, especially back in Kempt, an area which is heavily involved in forestry, as well as the areas of Quinan and Belleville and so forth. I have always tried to maintain a balance and recognize that my constituency is not one-dimensional but is many dimensional.

When I look at this bill I have a concern. At the same time I have aspirations for what it stands for. I know from listening to the previous speakers that this bill has evolved over a long period of time. It started its evolution when I was a member back before 1993. The former Minister of Natural Resources, the honourable member for Queens, had aspirations that we would have this type of protected places legislation and places whereby they would be protected in perpetuity so that we in Nova Scotia could always enjoy nature at its best and I guess that we would have in Nova Scotia those spots of beauty and nature that our citizens could enjoy. But I look at it and sometimes I often question as to how things have evolved. Previous speakers have mentioned the fact that a lot of the protected areas are in western Nova Scotia and that has evolved through a multitude of different things.

[5:45 p.m.]

If you look at the Tobeatic, the Tobeatic by far is the largest protected area that is being addressed in this bill. I think it is somewhere around 100,000 hectares which is a huge amount of area. I look at what that means, and along with the other areas, and say, what does that mean for people who are involved in the forestry sector? The thing that concerns me very much is whether or not we have a sustainable forestry here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 4120]

On Tuesday - and some of the members were present at the Resources Committee meeting - we had people coming forward from the Western Valley Forestry Committee, whereby they are saying that they have some very serious concerns as to where we are heading in forestry. You could say this is separate from this bill but it isn't separate from this bill. What it means is that they are displaying concern that the government isn't paying attention to the long-term viability of the resource.

This sounds very familiar to the arguments that we have in the fishery, that we hadn't looked at the long-term repercussions of over-fishing. Because of that, we have 4VsW off of Halifax to the east that is closed for groundfish fishery, except for a few species, and we have quotas in decline in 4X; I could go on and on. We all know that we are suffering with declining stocks and the problem comes in where if you don't plan for the future, you are going to suffer the consequences.

To get back to the point of the forestry aspect of it, they are displaying a lot of concern with the lack of funding or guidance by the Province of Nova Scotia with regard to forestry. So they are saying that, in the past, government funded a lot of these forest management groups or forest cooperatives. I don't know the exact terminology but there was one in my area called the Forchu Forest Management Group.

AN HON. MEMBER: Group ventures.

MR. LEBLANC: The group ventures. What government was trying to do and what we were trying to do at that time was to access federal funds so that we as a province could match it. By doing that, what it allowed us to do, was to bring about certain practices in the forest. What we were trying to do was to achieve the maximum yield from our forests. That is a good objective because I really believe that we are not getting the most out of the wood that we are cutting and there are a lot of trees that if we were to encourage the growth that we could get a lot more value out of them and a lot more individuals would be working the forests.

I think right now we are headed into a situation where we seem to be cutting trees as fast as we can get to them. A lot of times a lot of that happens to be softwood and a lot of that really is going for either pulp or just for logs but I think if we were going to a lot of the trees that were natural to Nova Scotia in the past, that we could get a lot of very high value wood that could be used for further processing and that we, as a province, would prosper.

Their concerns were that the Government of Nova Scotia has done two or three things wrong. Actually, it is probably more than that but I will just try to highlight the two or three that I recall. One of them was the fact that we haven't put money into silviculture. Silviculture is a practice that if we could encourage more and more people to use this forest practice, that we would maximize the growth of trees in those areas. They brought up the fact that there

[Page 4121]

was $6 million a few years ago, which they felt was totally inadequate at that time, and now we are down to $3 million for silviculture this year.

I think the honourable member for Queens was making mention before that because of the tussock moth problem this year, a lot of that money for silviculture was put into that program to try to protect the trees. So I am not really sure how much was spent in silviculture this year. That really concerns me because it basically outlines that unless someone is doing that silviculture on their own, it isn't being done. In the past there were government incentives for people to bring about silviculture and enhance the growth in our forests.

The reason I find that that is very concerning, and I will quote something here from the Director of Crown Lands, it is dated 1995, this has been brought up in the debates before, the sustainability of Crown lands was stretched to the limit before the commitment to the wildlife protection was made, that is before these specific lands were to be set aside.

The fact of the matter is that when this was said at that time in 1995, we were providing money for silviculture. Today, we are not. That means that the Crown lands that we have are being less productive. He was expressing concerns at that time that we can't meet the commitments that we have entered into with many landowners and companies that are producing and are giving jobs to Nova Scotians. When you hear that type of comment, you sort of say, where is the long-term planning.

I have said, in the fishery we have a $1.3 billion, $1.4 billion industry in Nova Scotia and we have, I think, a $3.5 million budget; $3.5 million budget for $1.3 billion industry in Nova Scotia. A lot of people say, geez, does that make a whole lot of sense. But now you look at Natural Resources and I think we have, I am not sure what the amount is, but people say it is $1.3 billion or $1.5 billion altogether in the forestry that is being produced. It begs the question, what are we as Nova Scotians reinvesting into the forest? I don't know what the global budget of the department is, it may be $20 million altogether, but the fact is what we are putting into silviculture is very small when you are looking at $3 million. You could sort of say, are we looking at this in a long-term manner? I believe what we are looking at, really, is that we are looking at this in a knee-jerk reaction.

I know that you have fiscal restraint, and I know you have problems in your budget, but I think the fact of the matter is that we are not putting money into the long-term viability of any forests. The biggest problem, why I believe that you are not doing it, is that you haven't been able, for some reason or other, to get into provincial-federal sharing agreements. I have been back in politics now for about seven or eight months. Some people say I might think it seems like it is longer, but it has only been seven or eight months.

I will be honest with you, one thing I don't understand is why this government hasn't been able to enter into provincial-federal sharing arrangements. When I was in government, we had provincial-federal sharing agreements. Transportation, fisheries, we had it in mining,

[Page 4122]

economic development, forestry. That isn't there now. I would like someone on the other side to get up and show me where they have entered into a provincial-federal sharing arrangement. It hasn't happened. I can quote you examples from other provinces (Interruptions)

I thought I was speaking about something that was very interesting. Obviously, I am not. (Interruption) What I want to say is that other provinces have been able to enter into profit-sharing arrangements, and whether it is New Brunswick or Newfoundland or P.E.I. or other provinces, they have been able to do it. Why haven't you been able to do it?

I can't pinpoint anybody, whether it is the Minister of Agriculture or the Minister of Transportation or something like that, because you know this is being coordinated by the minister of Economic Development, through his department, as a group. That is the way we always used to do it. We used to go to Ottawa as a group and try to find funds so that we would have monies for this. (Interruption) I know it is not easy to do it. Does the member for Richmond have a question? (Laughter)

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Argyle talks to us about his time in government and I am just wondering if he could enlighten us about the offshore oil development agreement that was signed between Nova Scotia and Ottawa while he was a member? Could you tell us some of the benefits this province has seen in the oil development from that agreement?

MR. LEBLANC: I am glad he brings that up. The monies that were invested at that time, that they used to criticize, today has brought about the development of a gas and oil industry. (Applause) I want to thank the honourable member for pointing out that we actually did some things well, because (Interruptions)

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Ever so briefly, I am wondering if the honourable member that asked the question would like to render his comment on why the Province of Nova Scotia decided there was no need for the province to be 50 per cent owner in the offshore pipeline . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. ARCHIBALD: . . . considering that 1/12 of the pipeline on the main land was sold for $200 million. Could he tell me how much he thinks the offshore pipeline, 50 per cent, was worth?

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: I was just wondering if this was Question Period again.

[Page 4123]

MR. SPEAKER: It was a point of order.

MR. LEBLANC: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am trying to be fair. The honourable member brought a point across and I gave him an opportunity. Actually, I thought it was a very good question because it pointed out that we had done some good things in our time in government and he supported that, and that is good. I am just surprised that he did not run as a Progressive Conservative rather than as a Liberal.

Now, if I could remember where I was in my comments, Mr. Speaker. I was trying to bring around the point that we have failed to access federal-provincial cost-sharing dollars, and because of that we have not been able to put the dollars in our forests to maintain the sustainability of our forests. Right now, when people come before our Resource Committee, those people are concerned, they are not coming there and just speaking off the top of their heads; they have thought out their plans; they have thought out their concerns; and they brought them forward and they were very succinct.

The biggest thing that they are talking about is that, at the present rate that we are cutting our forests, there is no way that it can be sustained. If we do not wake up as Nova Scotians, what is going to happen is that we will go the way of the codfish. We will have people in rural Nova Scotia with no jobs, because it cannot be sustained at the rate that it is going. So when I say that, you could get up on the government benches and say that you tell us to cut money and you tell us to do that, and I will sit here and I will make the point that I have said it and I am prepared to say that I had, but I will also tell you that if you do not plan for your future, whether it is as a parent, or as someone in his education, or as a province and its people and its resources, that this province will suffer because of it.

We have not looked at our forests in any responsible manner for the long-term viability of the forests. It is like it is not a problem now, and the forest will take care of itself. Well, if you talk to anybody who knows anything about the forests, they have been saying for a long time that we have been overcutting. The member for Queens mentioned before there has been overcutting. I cannot even remember the number, we are overcutting.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: One million cubic metres.

MR. LEBLANC: One million cubic metres that we are overcutting, right now, per year, and that number has grown because we have not been able to get proper numbers from the Department of Natural Resources as to what level that we have been overcutting. My biggest concern is are we looking at the long-term viability of the forests? I really do not think that we have been honest. I think we have put our heads in the sand and, because of that, I am very much concerned as to whether people in my riding, or people in Richmond, or people in the Valley, or in Digby County, or in Yarmouth County, are going to have their jobs in 5, 10 or 15 years, because forests do not grow in two or three years.

[Page 4124]

So when I say, how does that relate to this bill - because this bill puts aside even more lands that will not be able to be accessed by people in the forestry industry - I look at the point and I ask how do we become responsible? I want to support this bill and I will support it going through second reading but, when I say that, I am also very cognizant of the fact that I might be dooming certain people to losing their jobs, so do we, as a collective Assembly, say we accept the fact that we support the endeavours of this bill and that we want to put lands aside for future generations to be able to enjoy?

When all of us speak on this bill and we say that we want to support it, we have to be cognizant of the fact that it is a two-sided coin. It means we have to be responsible and put the money into forest management so that we will be able to sustain the forests. It is not a simple I do; it is a two-sided coin. Two people have to say . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member would adjourn the debate at this time?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I was just in full flight but I will adjourn debate tonight and I will pick up on a future day.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate on Bill No. 24. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The debate on Bill No. 24 is adjourned.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we are waiting for a couple of bills to come back from the Law Amendments Committee that have been passed there. They are just coming now, so we would ask you to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

[Page 4125]

Bill No. 72 - Juries Act.

Bill No. 60 - Optometry Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be calling the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, Bill No. 60 and Bill No. 72. Also, on completion of that we will be calling second reading of Bill No. 80 and also we will continue with Bill No. 24.

The hours tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, will be from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. I would like to advise the House that next week we will probably be in extended hours on Monday 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and also extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and probably Friday we will be at least 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., perhaps 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., perhaps 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., depending on what the bills come back from the Law Amendments Committee, later next week.

[6:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: We are at the moment of interruption and as I indicated earlier there was a draw for a debate on the Adjournment motion. The draw was won by the honourable member for Kings North. The honourable member for Argyle is going to open the debate and he may wish to read the motion.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

FISH. - LOBSTER: ILLEGAL FISHING -

SERIOUSNESS ACKNOWLEDGE

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this late show debate:

[Page 4126]

"Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia acknowledge the seriousness of the illegal lobster fishery in Nova Scotia and enact the provisions necessary to curb this activity.".

I rise tonight to speak on this motion because people in my area and, I guess, indeed in all of southwestern Nova Scotia - and when I say southwestern Nova Scotia, that is not altogether true. It involves all areas of Nova Scotia but at this point in time it is predominantly in my area - have been very concerned with regard to the long-term viability of their fishery. When I say that, Mr. Speaker, I have to say that people who live in my riding are law-abiding and over many years have developed conservation measures which they feel will sustain their fishery. I made mention in the debate today with regard to forestry that I am very concerned as to whether we can maintain our forest because we seem to be overcutting them at an alarming rate. When I say that, I realize that the fishery is the same way. If we do not tend our garden or tend to our fishery in a responsible way and have the cooperation of fishermen themselves, then I cannot see how we will be successful in maintaining the fishery.

I live in the small rural community of Wedgeport, 2,000 people approximately. It is no different from other villages in my riding and I am sure it is no different from a lot of villages in most of rural Nova Scotia in that we are very much dependent on our natural resource. Our natural resource is the fishery. People in my village used to have a strong history in other types of fishery, bluefin tuna and other things, but today our dependence is almost entirely on lobster. That is very prevalent among all our rural communities. As things have changed in groundfish and we have gone into ITQs and so forth, people who used to have a multi-dimensional type of fishery are getting very much dependent on one source and that happens to be lobster.

So when I look at that, that concerns me because it means we have to be even more guarded to ensure that we can maintain and provide for the fishermen in my area. I am sure the members who speak on this debate will feel as passionately as me that they have to protect the people they serve and also the people who live in other areas of Nova Scotia.

When I say that, the way we have been able to do that is that they have brought about different conservation measures; trap limits and size limits and seasons and different sorts of gear you can fish with and so on. Believe me, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of people who sometimes try to abuse the system. There are people who fish more traps than they were allowed to. What they did in the past was they fought DFO's curbing of trying to cut down on overfishing and they fought this and they fought that. But most people believed in the conservation measures and in the plan. So when they put it in, they worked together as a community. When someone tried to abuse it, a lot of times what they did was they did the buddy system, and they told on one another. The fishery officers would target those people who were abusing the system.

[Page 4127]

After a while, the overfishing got a little worse and a lot more people got involved in it. For a while it seemed to be backing down. For the last five or six years, I think fishermen have sat down and been very much concerned about the fishery. They have worked as a unit. When some illegal activities were going on in my area and people were poaching in the middle of the night or whatever, the lobstermen knew. They were giving tips to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and telling them where they were landing. They were working as a community. That is what I want to see, our fishermen working together. If they do that, they are strong and when they are strong they can accomplish the goal.

What bothers me about illegal fishing is that it divides the community. People are mad. You go down to Yarmouth Bar or to my home village, Wedgeport, and go down to Tuna Wharf where the breakwater is and you see somebody coming in with lobsters in the middle of the day and they have 2,000 or 3,000 pounds and they are gloating, or they have people fishing in the middle of the night on their own and they know it is going on, they get upset. When it isn't addressed, they get mad.

They are saying things like, why am I protecting the resource? Why am I not taking in undersized lobsters? Or, why am I throwing back the seeded lobsters? These types of things. When they start thinking like that then, if the fishing goes on in the summer, maybe I am just going to leave my traps in the water and keep fishing. When I hear that, I become alarmed.

I know that certain areas are worse than others. I look at St. Marys Bay, that area has taken a real pounding this summer. Those people are concerned. When I say they are concerned, I can't impress on this House of Assembly how concerned those people are. A lot of them are hardly sleeping any more. They are waiting for the fall with dread. They don't know if there are going to be any lobsters left in the bay. That is where they have always fished, that is their livelihood. Now they are sitting there saying, what is going to come. They don't know, and that is not a good feeling. If I was them, I would be concerned; I would be saying, where are we going.

So the federal government has a role to play in this. I have pushed this Minister of Fisheries many times to be more active and to push and push. We all agree with that. Whether you succeed or whether you don't, the federal government will bear the responsibility. You will bear a responsibility as to whether you were effective in negotiating or putting the points forward.

What do we do as a province? Now you have powers as a provincial politician. You are the Minister of Fisheries and you have an Act called An Act to Revise and Consolidate the Laws of the Province Respecting the Fishery and to Encourage and Promote Programs that Sustain and Improve the Fishery. In this there are provisions that if you want to use, you can bring about strong laws and strong penalties and strong sanctions to people who are involved.

[Page 4128]

The ones you can touch are the buyers. I have said this many times; if you want to exercise your power - the ones that you can control - then you can be very tough on people who participate. I have bought lobsters before and I stand here today and I say, if I was to buy illegal lobsters and you were not putting the hammer down on me in whatever way you can, with whatever sanctions you can, then you are not doing your job. Other buyers in my riding are saying to me, I am prepared to stand up and be counted, I am not doing these illegal activities, I am not buying these illegal lobsters. If someone doesn't do something about it pretty soon, there will not be any lobsters to buy. So when I say that, it takes leadership and it takes someone to say, I am going to do it. Unless you have the resolve to be strong on this side of it, the one thing that you control, then you fail. We have been doing our best, both myself and the member for Digby-Annapolis, to make sure that you are aware of every avenue that you have.

Lately you have been making some statements, and I am glad for it. Yesterday you made some statements that a prosecution took place yesterday. That had nothing to do with you, that was all DFO. I want to know what you are going to do when the buyers get caught; how much are you monitoring the buyers? I am sure if you ask some of the fishermen in our area, they could tell you who the buyers are that are buying all of these lobsters. Are you auditing their books? Are you going through every purchase slip that they have?

Where are they selling them? I will tell you where they are selling them. They are selling them in the United States, Upper Canada and they are selling them locally; they just keep going right through the winter, to the spring, to the summer and to the fall. That is where the lobsters are going. Unless we are going to be putting pressure on those people, they are going to keep buying.

You don't sell 3,000 or 4,000 pounds of lobsters on the corner of Starrs Road and Main Street. You have a net distribution chain and these guys are buying 40, 50, 100 crates of lobster a day; that is 10,000 pounds. I hear they are paying $3.00 a pound for them, and they are selling for $5.00 or $6.00. Do you know how much money that is a day? Now there are some days they don't buy that much but that is not the point. We are talking big, big money. You sort of wonder if it is like the Mafia, they run big money. To me this sometimes has the same type of signals around it and we have got to be doing something about it. Otherwise, the fishermen will lose faith and once they lose faith we have anarchy. I don't think anybody in this House wants that.

I would like to have the other members speak and I would appreciate their comments. Thank you.

[Page 4129]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to compliment the Third Party member for submitting such an important resolution. This resolution deals with the very survival and existence of our coastal communities. I feel obligated though to mention that the issue of the illegal fishery, well, it didn't happen yesterday. As a matter of fact it has been an ongoing issue in our fishing communities for decades.

One needs only to visit the wharves in our fishing communities and take the time to talk with the lobster fishermen to get a strong sense of their anger and frustration. Recently, when I was doing the tours of the wharves I was talking to older lobster fishermen who had been in the industry for 30 or 35 years, and there was a feeling of helplessness. I mean, watching these strong, burly men, whose faces have been weathered and watching their eyes fill up with tears because they don't know what is going to happen, they are scared.

I personally take every opportunity I have to speak and listen to the concerns of our fishermen. Their message is always the same. The problem, as they identify it to me, is one of enforcement. Hearing that more enforcement officers are coming, in their opinion, will not address the problem. But as I have mentioned before, untying the hands of the existing officers that we have and giving them a clearer mandate, many of the lobster fishers feel that a huge dent would be dealt to that illegal fishery. What this government needs to do is to dry up the black market of sales for lobster. If this government eliminates the market, then in theory it eliminates the illegal fishery.

Recently, there have been a few arrests, and not to misunderstand, I applaud any action that is taken, but when speaking with fishers they claim, and rightfully so, the fines are not strong enough. It is more of a slap on the wrist, actually, not a deterrent, and that is what is needed, a deterrent. We need to be able to prosecute these criminals - because that is what they are, these guys are crooks - to the fullest extent of the law, not by slapping them on the wrist; in my opinion, that is like rewarding bad behaviour.

[6:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, our fishers and our coastal communities demand tougher action. They demand tougher laws, huge fines, prison sentences and, more importantly, they want their resource protected. They want the commitment from this government that their way of life will not be ignored.

I represent the riding of Yarmouth, and in Yarmouth we have been able to weather many an economic storm: the tin mine closure; the cotton mill closure; and huge cuts to the groundfish fishery. The reason why we have, is because of the lobster fishery, the jobs and money that that industry pumps into the Yarmouth economy. Well, it is like having a blood transfusion, a life-saving transfusion.

[Page 4130]

Mr. Speaker, there are very few families in the Yarmouth area not directly or indirectly involved with the lobster fishery. Yarmouthians are very passionate around the issue of the lobster fishery, because we recognize that if the lobster goes the way of the cod, coastal communities such as Yarmouth will collapse and with that there will be a loss of culture and a way of life.

Mr. Speaker, it says, in the Third Party member's resolution, "Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia acknowledge the seriousness of the illegal lobster fishery in Nova Scotia and enact the provisions necessary to curb this activity.". This House, I feel, is slowly recognizing the negative impact and ramifications of the illegal fishery, but I caution there is more work to do to address it, but the resolution also says, and if I may quote, "to curb this activity".

Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. We do not want to curb this activity, we want to eliminate it. We should settle for nothing less. Our communities expect nothing less. My Party and I, we are more than willing to work with the government to address the seriousness of the illegal lobster fishery and do whatever we can and whatever is necessary to address this ongoing crisis. Thank you.

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this indeed is an extremely important topic and one that our government is not taking lightly. Fortunately or unfortunately, an enforcement of the catching and a lot of the process with the lobster problem lies with DFO, and I have personally spoken with the federal Minister of DFO, his deputy minister and assistant deputy minister on this very important topic.

As we speak, there is a series of investigations continuing that will net results in the long term; unfortunately, it will not be fast enough as far as I am concerned. I have spoken several times in this House of the action that the provincial government has taken and it's unprecedented action from what I understand. I have personally written to every fish buyer, every fish plant owner in this province and told them, outright, if they are involved in this type of activity, their licence will either be suspended or permanently cancelled; in other words, we will put them out of business for good.

There is a bit of a risk in doing that because, when you put them out of business, it means the people who are working for them go out of business, but this issue is so important to the fishery of this province that we cannot allow this illegal lobster activity to go on. It is the only thing left in the fishing industry in Nova Scotia that is really sustainable and can really put a lot of economic benefit into the province. These people that are doing this, as the honourable member just mentioned, are criminals. There is no other way to describe them. They are absolutely criminals. The millions of dollars they are getting out of this is not

[Page 4131]

acceptable, it is coming directly out of the pockets of the people in rural Nova Scotia. We cannot accept it.

One other action we have taken, which I have spoken about before in the House, we have sort of deputized, I guess, if that is the best way to say it, 104 federal officers that are out enforcing in the fishing industry today, and given them permission and the authority to enforce the provincial fisheries Act. Now, this has never happened before in the history of the Province of Nova Scotia, as far as I know. What this will do is it will give us more eyes and more ears and more ability to collect information and ultimately give us more convictions in this regard.

We intend to do everything we possibly can to the full extent of the law that we have in Nova Scotia to stop this activity and stop it permanently. We are looking at other activities that we can do in my Department of Fisheries and other departments of government to see if we can't stop this permanently, and looking at all the avenues we can. Over the next few weeks, we will announce what those activities are, as we progress. Unfortunately, some of the activities we are involved in, we don't want to make public for obvious reasons, because we want to track people down and get them charged, rather than make a lot of rhetoric about it.

We are going to continue along in this line. But we do need, as the honourable member for the Third Party indicated, assistance from the fishing industry itself. Now the fishing industry are the people who are going to suffer initially. Our communities are going to suffer long term, if the industry suffers. We really need assistance from the fishing industry. We need the fishermen to come forward, either provide us or the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans with information on details of who is catching the lobsters, who is moving them, who is selling them, who is processing them, all the details we can possibly get. Then we will let the enforcement people go in and do their job to ensure that we can get this thing stopped once and for all.

The members in the Legislature here indicate that they would like to cooperate on this, and indicate that they have a lot of knowledge on the industry. I would like to confidentially talk to them about that, and if they have any information that we can use to do enforcement, I can assure them confidentiality with it, and we will move forward to shut down anybody that we can identify.

The buyers who are working within the law must continue their important work in our communities. The people who are outside the law that we can catch and convict, their licence will be suspended or cancelled permanently. In other words, we are going to take their livelihood away for good. I think that is the only step that we can take at this time. That is going to be the toughest one.

[Page 4132]

I have been talking to some people in the lobster fishery recently and they said, the impact of the letter I sent to them, letting them be aware that we are going to take these steps, I am not messing around anymore, I am not fooling around with these things, is having an impact. They are starting to question now when lobster comes in from another buyer, where did it come from, can you verify that that is where it came from; show us receipts and so on, to make sure that they have an audit trail to protect themselves. That is a first step.

There is a larger problem too. We know that some of the lobsters are simply being trucked out of the province. That is an issue that we have to address. We are working on ways to do that, but that is a little more complex to attack. If they are not a buyer but they are still selling lobster, like the person and the company that was charged in Yarmouth the other day, as a provincial Fisheries Department we have no recourse against that company. Thank goodness DFO caught them, convicted them and hit them with a $25,000 fine. It probably should have been a $250,000 fine or bigger, but at least it was a fine and someone has been caught. This has been going on too long.

The real losers in this whole thing are the communities, the rural communities. They are at risk. There is no other way to describe it. We have seen the groundfish die and the industry die. Now there is a few people who control the whole industry; some people are making good money and good livelihoods for their families, but the majority of fishermen in Nova Scotia aren't. They are really having a hard time. If a lobster fishery is taken away by people who are illegally fishing, whether they be fishermen or non-fishermen, we lose. The whole community loses. It means the local hardware store will close. It means the local grocery store will close, and all the economic impact that goes on year-round from that. Everybody loses. It is a real tragedy.

It is one industry we had where conservation was really working. It was really working. I know DFO has gone to great lengths to try to get the carapace size increases and the egg production doubled and other things. You know, the industry has bought into that. They have had all different ideas and approaches on it, and that is fine, that is why we live in a democratic society, but all the fishermen agree that we have to double the egg production so in the next 5, 10, 20 or 30 years we are going to have a sustainable industry. I think that is very positive. If you mix this illegal fishing in, all of a sudden the conservation doesn't work anymore because it doesn't matter what you do, they will just gather up all the lobsters and sell them illegally and they gain and everybody else in the province loses, so it is not a good situation at all.

There is another issue, too, that Nova Scotians may not realize. Lobster fishermen pay a lot in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Well, if we don't get the tax revenue in from their legal activities of catching lobster and doing the things they do and add to the economy in the province, where are we going to get the money to pay for health care and education and transportation and the other services we need so badly? So if someone sitting in Halifax thinks, so what, I am going to buy a cheap lobster, they don't realize they

[Page 4133]

are taking the potential away from income that will come in and pay for health care and education and the other things they need for themselves and their families. This issue is that big, it is a real serious issue.

People have to realize they have to get behind this. We have to get information so we can shut down these people, not over five or six years because we can't wait that long, we have to do this now, we have to have results now. We really need help from everybody to do that.

You are going to have businesses supplying the industry shut down, people who supply the lobster traps and the rope and the buoys and all the other things, the people who build the boats and repair them, those industries are going to shut down. A lot of people who don't understand the industry would hear me say this and say, well, that can't be true. It is true, if a legitimate lobster fisherman cannot buy the equipment he needs to fish next year because his catch was not good enough last year, it basically shuts down all the industries around him. That has a tremendous significant negative impact on our economy in Nova Scotia.

The issue goes beyond politics, it really does. We have heard a lot of things going on, a lot of people trying to make political brownie points out of this and I am disappointed with that, really, because our industry is really suffering because of this. This is something we have to do. We have to work cooperatively with DFO, provincial Fisheries, the fishermen themselves and Nova Scotia itself and the people in Nova Scotia. If we can accomplish that, we will stop it for good and our economy will grow in the fishing industry. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I stand in my place this evening and I certainly am privileged to speak to this. First of all, Shelburne County is known as the lobster capital of Canada. I am not trying to bother the honourable member for Argyle in any way but it is listed as the lobster capital of Canada. I have been to the Tusket Islands in the Argyle area and they are beautiful. I have been out on the different boats and down through there and it is very picturesque and I know it is very profitable out in that area with the amount of lobsters they catch.

Mr. Speaker, in Shelburne County there are several ports where lobster fishermen fish out of; there are several coastal communities. As was said earlier, if the lobsters disappear, this is going to have total devastation on the coastal communities in Shelburne County and along the whole southwest, Yarmouth, Argyle, the whole area, it is going to be very devastating. As was previously stated by the Minister of Fisheries, it is the ripple effect through the communities, it is where the wire traps are made, that is an industry in itself. It is where they get the ropes, it is the grocery stores, it is the gasoline stores and also the boat shops. The ripple effect will go through the whole community.

[Page 4134]

Just for example, Mr. Speaker - I know I have not got a lot of time but I just want to list off a few of the communities that this would affect in the Shelburne County area. You have Lockeport, Little Harbour, Jones Harbour, West Green Harbour, East Green Harbour, Jordan Bay, Jordan Ferry, Sandy Point, Shelburne, Gunning Cove, Ingemar, Baccaro, Port La Tour, North West Harbour, North East Harbour, South Side, Clark's Harbour, Newellton, Cape Sable Island, Shag Harbour, Doctors Cove, Woods Harbour, Charlesville, that is most of the fishing communities in Shelburne County. As I have stated, I feel that we must have strong enforcement in dealing with people who are poaching lobster and what is going on with the lobster fishery. I support strong enforcement in this industry. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the late debate has now expired.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:30 p.m.]