Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., Nov. 26, 1998

First Session

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Boyd Ave. (Hants East) - Concerns,
Mr. John MacDonell 4447
Educ. - Pictou Co.: High School Closures - Oppose,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4448
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. Manning MacDonald 4448
Report of the Select Committee on the Workers' Compensation Act,
Mr. M. Baker 4448
Interim Report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs,
Mr. M. Scott 4449
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Commun. Serv.: Child Care Spaces (80) - New, Hon. F. Cosman 4449
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2132, Fin. - Expenditure Add.: Health/Labour/Transport./
Tech. & Sc./Restructuring - Approval, Hon. D. Downe 4452
Res. 2133, Nat. Res. - Snowmobilers Assoc. (N.S.):
Safety Promotion - Applaud, Hon. K. MacAskill 4453
Vote - Affirmative 4454
Res. 2134, Agric. - Royal Winter Fair (Toronto): Beef Farmers -
Success Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 4454
Vote - Affirmative 4454
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 90, Workers' Compensation Act, Hon. R. MacKinnon 4455
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2135, Educ. - Sydney Mines Memorial HS (G11): Play (Swissair
Tragedy) - Presentation Congrats., Ms. Helen MacDonald 4456
Vote - Affirmative 4456
Res. 2136, Health - Hepatitis C: Compensation Lead (Gov't. [Ont.]) -
Follow, Dr. J. Hamm 4456
Res. 2137, Samson, Michel (MLA Richmond): Barrister (N.S.) -
Congrats., Mr. R. White 4457
Vote - Affirmative 4458
Res. 2138, Spryfield - Commun. Values/Soc. Justice: Support -
Acknowledge, Mr. R. Chisholm 4458
Vote - Affirmative 4458
Res. 2139, Health - Hepatitis C: Mrs. Connie Lake (Avonport) -
Support Walk Thank, Mr. G. Archibald 4459
Vote - Affirmative 4459
Res. 2140, House of Assembly: Practices Established (LA) - Follow,
Mr. J. Holm 4459
Res. 2141, Justice - RCMP: Crime Unit Cut - Unopposed Explain,
Mr. B. Taylor 4460
Res. 2142, Culture - Music (Acadian): Popularity - Recognize,
Mr. M. Samson 4461
Vote - Affirmative 4461
Res. 2143, DFO - Internat. Oceans Inst. Conf. (Elisabeth
Mann-Borgese): Best Wishes - Offer, Mr. John Deveau 4461
Vote - Affirmative 4462
Res. 2144, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - CED: Showcase (Hfx.) -
Participants Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 4462
Vote - Affirmative 4463
Res. 2145, Educ. - St. F.X./NSAC: Aquatic Res. - Partnership
Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 4463
Vote - Affirmative 4464
Res. 2146, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 103
(Otter Lake-Exit 5): Twinning - Date, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4464
Res. 2147, Vet. Affs. (Comm.) - Merchant Navy Vets.: Contact
(Prem.-PM) - Encourage, Mr. M. Scott 4464
Vote - Affirmative 4465
Res. 2148, Culture - Bob Brooks (Photographer): Book Success -
Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 4465
Vote - Affirmative 4466
Res. 2149, Health - Caregivers Research Project: Recommendations -
Support, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4466
Vote - Affirmative 4466
Res. 2150, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Intertape Polymer (Truro):
Employees' Commitment - Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 4467
Vote - Affirmative 4467
Res. 2151, Sports - Tae Kwon-Do (Bridgewater Club): Success
(Can.[E]) - Congrats., Hon. D. Downe 4467
Vote - Affirmative 4468
Res. 2152, PC (N.S.) MLAs - Election: Dice (Lib.) Play -
Loss Advise, Mr. D. Dexter 4468
Res. 2153, Environ. - Progs.: Road Show (N.S.) - End, Mr. J. DeWolfe 4469
Res. 2154, Sports - Hall of Fame (Military [Cdn.]): Mr. Ken Whitney
(Head of Jeddore) - Induction Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 4469
Vote - Affirmative 4470
Res. 2155, NSLC - Packaging Message (Anti-Drunk Driving):
Teachers/Children - Thank, Mr. G. Archibald 4471
Vote - Affirmative 4471
Res. 2156, Educ. - Inv. Educ. Ctr.: Environ. Video - Congrats.,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 4471
Vote - Affirmative 4472
Res. 2157, St. Margaret's Bay Lions: Christmas Tree Sales - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4472
Vote - Affirmative 4473
Res. 2158, Hotel Hfx.: Humble Lunch (01/12/98) - Recognize,
Mr. J. Muir 4473
Vote - Affirmative 4473
Res. 2159, Sports - Winter Games (Can. 1999): Eastern Shore
Judo Club (Sara Wechsler/Jamie Archibald) - Success Wish,
Hon. K. Colwell 4474
Vote - Affirmative 4474
Res. 2160, Nat. Res. - Cape Chignecto Wilderness Park Comm.:
Work - Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 4474
Vote - Affirmative 4475
Res. 2161, Sports - Basketball (Men [N.S.]): Andrew McNeil
(QEH School) - Selection Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 4475
Vote - Affirmative 4476
Res. 2162, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Funeral Sales: Unlicensed -
Legislation Enforce, Mr. B. Taylor 4476
Res. 2163, NDP (N.S.) - HST: Costs/Benefits - Admit, Mr. P. MacEwan 4476
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 616, Devco - Assistance (Gov't. [Can.]): Pretence - Continuance,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4477
No. 617, Justice - HRM: Murders - Police Cuts Address, Mr. M. Scott 4479
No. 618, Devco - Mines: Closures - Avert, Mr. F. Corbett 4480
No. 619, Health - Krever Report: Recommendation (No-Fault) -
Address, Mr. G. Moody 4481
No. 620, Commun. Serv. - Women's Centres: Budget (1998-99) -
Inform, Mr. R. Chisholm 4482
No. 621, Educ. - P3 Schools: HRM - Construction Status,
Mr. J. Muir 4483
No. 622, Commun. Serv. - Women's Ctrs. (Alice Housing):
Funding - Cut, Mr. J. Pye 4484
No. 623, Lbr. - Tech. Occupations: Women - Representation,
Mr. J. Holm 4485
No. 624, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - P3 Schools: Procurement Policy -
Compliance, Mr. B. Taylor 4486
No. 625, Health - Home Care: Blueprint Recommendations -
Implement, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4488
No. 626, Health: Tele-Medicine - Update, Dr. J. Hamm 4489
No. 627, Commun. Serv. - Women's Centres: Budget -
Balance Delivery, Ms. Y. Atwell 4490
No. 628, Educ. - Digby RHS: Replacement - Status, Mr. G. Balser 4491
No. 629, Justice: Halfway House (Women) - Required, Ms. R. Godin 4492
No. 630, Bus. & Cons. Serv.: Direct Assistance Prog. - Expenditure,
Mr. J. Muir 4493
No. 631, Human Res. - Affirmative Action: Women Employed -
Statistics, Ms. Helen MacDonald 4494
No. 632, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Argyle: Roadwork - Timetable,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4495
No. 633, Agric.: Farm Aid Prog. - Commencement Date,
Mr. John MacDonell 4496
No. 634, Sysco - Sale: Progress - Update, Ms. Helen MacDonald 4497
No. 635, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Secondary Roads - Repave,
Mr. B. Taylor 4498
No. 636, Health - Amherst: Doctor Shortage - Address,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4499
No. 637, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Middle Dyke Rd. (Kings Co.):
Repair - Commitment, Mr. G. Archibald 4500
No. 638, Nat. Res. - Logging (Aboriginal): Mediation/Facilitation -
Accept, Mr. C. Parker 4501
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 1:54 P.M. 4502
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:28 P.M. 4502
CWH REPORTS 4502
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 4:30 P.M. 4503
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:32 P.M. 4503
CWH REPORTS 4504
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 87, Nova Scotia Power Reorganization (1998) Act 4505
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No.86, Real Estate Appraisers Act 4505
Mr. R. White 4505
Mr. J. Holm 4506
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4506
Mr. R. White 4507
Vote - Affirmative 4507
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 43, Public Archives Act 4507
Referred Back to CWH on Bills 4507
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 5:38 P.M. 4507
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:45 P.M. 4508
CWH REPORTS 4508
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 43, Public Archives Act 4509
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 69, Lunenburg Fire Protection Agreement Implementation Act 4509
No. 74, The Halifax Insurance Company Capacity and Powers Act 4509
No. 75, King's College Act 4510
No. 77, Sisters of Saint Martha Act 4510
No. 82, Greenwich Fire Protection Act 4511
No. 88, Upper Stewiacke Fire Protection Act 4511
No. 23, Certified General Accountants Act 4512
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 80, Physiotherapy Act 4512
No. 62, Maintenance Enforcement Act 4512
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Smith 4513
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Educ. - Schools: Sites/Construction Decisions - Commun. Return:
Mr. D. Chard 4514
Ms. Helen MacDonald 4515
Ms. R. Godin 4516
Mr. Charles MacDonald 4516
Mr. P. MacEwan 4517
Mr. E. Fage 4519
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 27th at 9:00 a.m. 4522

[Page 4447]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

12:00 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 members that the late debate this evening will take place at 7:00 p.m. The motion that will be debated was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre and it reads:

Therefore be it resolved that control of school site and school construction decisions should be returned to the community.

We will be debating that this evening at 7:00 p.m.

The daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition in the form of a letter. The heading, on behalf of the tax-paying residents on Boyd Avenue from Shauna Leigh to where the pavement ends at Alderney Drive. They have some concerns. Attached is a list of names and the addresses of the residents on this street and I have affixed my name as well.

4447

[Page 4448]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Pictou County who are, ". . . opposed to the closure of our seven high schools in Pictou County, which are to be replaced by two 'mega schools'.". The petition has 266 signatures and I have affixed my signature to this document.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Bill No. 62 - Maintenance Enforcement Act.

Bill No. 80 - Physiotherapy Act.

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

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendments.

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

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Select Committee on the Workers' Compensation Act, which is composed of myself and the vice-chairman being the honourable member for Antigonish, the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank and on behalf of the members for Pictou East, Inverness, Richmond, Cape Breton Centre and Pictou West, I am pleased to table the Report of the Select Committee on the Workers' Compensation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

[Page 4449]

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the interim report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. I would like to thank the members of the committee who served this summer as well as Darlene Henry from the Committees Office. We met with several groups this summer who brought their concerns to us. In this report we have made several recommendations which we hope the Premier and the government will take action on. So, on behalf of the committee, Mr. Speaker, I present and table this report today.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to provide the House of Assembly with a progress report on our government's efforts to help parents raise healthy children, and to provide as much of this help as possible right from the start.

Mr. Speaker, we are announcing today 80 new subsidized child care spaces in 28 non-profit licensed centres around Nova Scotia. Affordable, quality child care is an investment in our future. We know parents need support in raising their children and this is part of a larger government effort to strengthen and expand our existing programs that promote healthy child development.

Today's announcement is part of this province's reinvestment strategy under the National Child Benefit Program. Nova Scotia has committed $2.2 million annually for a range of Healthy Child Development Initiatives. These are programs that help overburdened families across the province. We are offering expanded centre-based care, expanded family child care, community-based prevention programs and expanded early intervention programs.

Mr. Speaker, we know from scientific research that investing in these programs helps break the cycle of poverty. Subsidized child care is an important form of support to low- income parents, both those who are currently working and those who are looking for work.

We will soon begin a new form of subsidized care in rural Nova Scotia, where it is often hard to find services. We are now developing a program that will offer 70 spaces for family child care in rural Nova Scotia.

[Page 4450]

It is important that we consider the needs of our communities as we move forward with our Healthy Child Development Initiatives. We are now consulting with community groups to direct funds where they are most needed and to set a strategic new direction for the department's child development programs.

Mr. Speaker, today's allocation of new subsidized spaces closely follows the recommendations of the Nova Scotia Round Table on Child Care, a ministerial advisory group that is comprised of parents, child care teachers and operators, and community members. Centres were selected according to location, availability of child care services in each county, needs of special populations and the number of spaces in a centre.

Mr. Speaker, this government has increased the number of subsidized spaces made available to low-income parents by 280 since 1993, bringing the total to 2,380 this year. There are currently over 10,000 licensed child care spaces and more than 370 centre-based child care programs in Nova Scotia. These spaces serve over 11,000 children, either full or part time.

Mr. Speaker, we know parents need support in raising their children, that families of any income level can be overburdened and that the kind of support they need can vary widely with their circumstances. We also know that a small investment in the future of children can make a very large difference in the long run. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge that in fact 80 new subsidized day care spaces is a good start, but this government and the federal government did make promises in the past to introduce universal day care. The need for affordable, accessible day care reaches far beyond the 80 spaces. One has to ask, are these day care spaces meant to be for children of single mothers forced to take minimum wages and continue in poverty as the new social assistance policies dictate?

While I welcome the announcement today, day care in itself will not get people out of poverty. Some people simply cannot work. The fact remains that the best way to get children out of poverty would be to give them that reinvestment, the clawback directly to the families who really need it. Once again, I want to bring to the attention of the minister that key stakeholders, including community groups and families, say they were not asked what programs are needed and how much money should be spent. These are the people who are on the front lines. They have a far better idea of what is needed than most of us bureaucrats. There is still a real need for meaningful consultation with the stakeholders, not just written submissions that may not be included in the decision-making process.

[Page 4451]

Mr. Speaker, the best way to prevent poverty is to get real jobs for real people, not workfare. The minister should be exploring ways to ensure that Nova Scotians who can work earn a decent wage. This announcement is welcome for many people on the waiting lists, and I acknowledge that. Subsidized day care spaces are in fact a need in Nova Scotia, but the minister has a long way to go to really addressing the poverty in Nova Scotia. I would acknowledge these 80 subsidized day care spaces that are announced today, but once again want to emphasize the very importance of universal day care. Thank you.

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

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and to acknowledge the statement by the minister. I am pleased to see that an additional 80 subsidized day care spaces are going to be made available throughout the province. I did take the time to look at the geography of the distribution, and I thought the coverage was good. However, one should not be deluded into thinking that this a major thing. Five or six times that number of subsidized day care spaces would be snapped up immediately in this province. This is simply a very small start in a very pressing problem. It is interesting to see, too, that this initiative, although it is positive, has been supported from the clawback of the Child Tax Credit from the working poor here in this province.

The minister has spoken of starting a program that would see 70 subsidized day care spaces allocated in rural Nova Scotia. I would like to commend the minister for that initiative. One of the things that we have heard as we travelled around the province on the Select Committee on Community Services is that these services are just not available in rural Nova Scotia. I would like to see the specifics of what the minister intends to do. It is great to talk the talk but she should walk the walk and lay that program so we can all see it.

[12:15 p.m.]

I would also like to say that the minister has listed that, "We are offering expanded centre-based child care, expanded family child care, community-based prevention programs and expanded early intervention programs.". I would like to see the details of those. They are all worthy initiatives but I think we should be able to see exactly how they are being implemented.

The provision of affordable, accessible day care spaces is a priority in this province. One of the points that has to made too, is that some operators have said that there won't be subsidized day care spaces if the allocation for a space doesn't go up from the Department of Community Services. I hope the minister will take that into consideration as her department goes forward.

[Page 4452]

One last comment just to put this need into context, in my home community of Truro-Bible Hill, the centre which has the largest numbers of subsidized spaces allocated to it had a waiting list of over 200. The minister's announcement indicates that there will be two or three more spaces going into my constituency and although I welcome them I hope that everybody recognizes it is simply a start and an awful lot more needs to be done.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg on an introduction.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure as Chairman of the Select Committee on Workers' Compensation to recognize a number of people that have been involved with the select committee throughout the process, who are in the Speaker's Gallery. We have: Doug Hadley from Communications Nova Scotia; we have Mr. Michael Power, a legal consultant; Kim Sheppard, Mora Stevens and other folks from the Committees Office. I would like them to stand up for the acknowledgement of the House for their efforts with the committee. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond on an introduction.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point the member's attention to the east gallery where today we are joined by three of my constituents from Richmond County. From my left going to my right, Mr. Lenus Samson, Mr. Charles Paupin and Mr. Gerard Taylor all of whom came up today to hear the announcement on the workers' compensation report. All three have been quite active in seeking changes to the Workers' Compensation Act. I would ask all members to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2132

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

Whereas the Expenditure Control Act was enacted by this House as Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1993 to limit government expenditures to specific pre-determined levels; and

Whereas the net program expenditures and net debt servicing costs that exceeds a level authorized under the Expenditure Control Act may only be made after a resolution has been passed by this House authorizing such expenditures; and

[Page 4453]

Whereas it is necessary to exceed the net program expenditures and net debt servicing costs authorized by the Expenditure Control Act for fiscal 1997-98, in order that this House honour its commitment to fund an appropriate level of service to Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that a sum not exceeding $184,335,000 be granted to the Lieutenant Governor to defray expenses in respect to the following matters: the Department of Health - $140,916,000; the Department of Labour - $13,307,000; the Department of Transportation and Public Works - $7,340,000; Technology and Science Secretariat - $15,000; Restructuring Costs - $22,767,000; total - $184,335,000.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I would like to make an introduction before I read my resolution. Seated in the press gallery we have three members of the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia: the President, Arlene Taylor; the Past-President, Laurie Cranton; and they are accompanied by Arlene's husband, David. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2133

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

Whereas snowmobiling is a popular and healthy wintertime activity in Nova Scotia involving thousands of people; and

Whereas this morning on behalf of the government I signed a three year license agreement with the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia for the use and maintenance of existing snowmobile trails on Crown lands; and

Whereas under this agreement the association will be responsible to maintain, groom and provide signage on these trails;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud and congratulate the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia and its members for promoting safe outdoor recreation and responsible snowmobile use in this manner.

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

[Page 4454]

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. 2134

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 Agricultural Winter Fair held November 4th to November 15th in Toronto three Nova Scotia beef producers showed the excellent quality of beef produced in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Shirley Murphy of Mahone Bay placed third in the shorthorn class; John Dolliver of Kingston placed second in the bull calf class; and John Baker of Amherst placed fourth in the female calf born 1998 class; and

Whereas these 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 beef farmers as great ambassadors for Nova Scotia and for their tremendous accomplishment at the national level.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4455]

The honourable member for Pictou West on an introduction.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to be able to introduce some members of the Pictou County Injured Workers' Association who are here with us to hear the report of the Select Committee on Workers' Compensation. I am going to read out a few of the folks who are here, either in the east or west gallery, and I would ask them to stand. Mary Lloyd, Bob Baudoux, Jackie van Der Meer, Lyla MacGillivray, Steven Nicholson, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Barry Lawrence, Clarence Allard, Myron Marshall, Ernie Stroud and Murray Richardson. There are probably a few others I have forgotten, but I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome here today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre on an introduction.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery today are a couple of gentlemen from Cape Breton who are also here for the report of the Select Committee on Workers' Compensation. They are from the Cape Breton Building Trades Council. They are Gerry Shanahan and Cliff Murphy. I would like them to stand and receive the reception of the Legislature, please. (Applause)

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

MS. ROSEMARY GODIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring your attention also to the west gallery. I would like to introduce some members who are here from a group called the Disenfranchised Widows Group. They are headed by Betty Bowman, and if the members could please stand. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce the President of the Pictou County Injured Workers' Association in the west gallery, Mary Lloyd. (Applause)

AN HON. MEMBER: He just did it.

MR. DEWOLFE: Oh, he just did, I am sorry, I was out.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 90 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Hon. Russell MacKinnon)

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

[Page 4456]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2135

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

Whereas Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board has been a leader in promoting the arts in schools; and

Whereas Memorial High School, Sydney Mines, has continued to lead the way with dedicated fine arts students and teachers; and

Whereas the Grade 11 drama class wrote and presented a play entitled "What a Difference a Day Makes", the story of the Swissair tragedy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Grade 11 Memorial High School students and their instructor, Charles Holmes, on their thoughtful and professional presentation.

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. 2136

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

Whereas one year ago today the federal government released the Krever Commission Report on the Inquiry on the Blood System of Canada; and

[Page 4457]

Whereas the Krever Report recommended that compensation for years of suffering and pain be extended to cover all hepatitis C victims who contracted tainted blood; and

Whereas the Province of Ontario has unilaterally initiated a process to compensate its residents whose contact with tainted blood falls outside of the 1986-1990 time-frame set by the federal Liberals;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia's Premier and Minister of Health follow in the footsteps of the Harris Government and be the next province to undertake a commitment to do the right thing by way of settlement for its residents whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the mismanagement of the blood system.

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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 2137

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

Whereas the honourable member for Richmond will be sworn in as a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society on Saturday, November 28th; and

Whereas the swearing in ceremony will be held at the Arichat Court House with the honourable Mr. Justice Arthur J. LeBlanc, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, presiding; and

Whereas this admission to the Bar of Nova Scotia represents many years of hard work and sacrifice by the honourable member;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Michel Samson on this very significant achievement and wish him success as he pursues his career as a lawmaker.

[Page 4458]

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 Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2138

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

Whereas the riding of Halifax Atlantic includes the community of Spryfield; and

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas the recent use of negative stereotypes by the media doesn't reflect the real community; and

Whereas the residents of Spryfield have a strong sense of community spirit and commitment to their neighbour's well-being;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the long tradition of support for community values and social justice in the community of Spryfield.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to 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.

[Page 4459]

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2139

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

Whereas hepatitis C victims have been suffering due to the mismanagement of the Canadian blood system; and

Whereas many members of the Legislature are wearing black today in support of the hepatitis C victims; and

Whereas Connie Lake is walking through the Annapolis Valley today to heighten awareness of hepatitis C victims;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House thank Connie Lake for her kind and thoughtful method of showing her support for the victims of hepatitis C.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2140

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

Whereas Liberal and Tory members of the Law Amendments Committee appear confused about whether the committee is a proper place for amendments to be made to government bills; and

[Page 4460]

Whereas it seems the title, Standing Committee on Law Amendments is not so subtle a name as to obscure the purpose of the committee; and

Whereas a review of the Legislative Counsel's status of bills of 1997 indicates that five of nine government bills were amended at the Law Amendments stage, indicating this is an established practice of this House;

Therefore be it resolved that the House reminds the Liberal and Tory members that established practices of this House are not to be set aside lightly.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2141

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 fourth murder in five days in the Halifax Regional Municipality happened last night; and

Whereas while not being confirmed by police officers, concern is rampant that a drug war has been launched by rival gangs, resulting in extreme anxiety for residents living in the Halifax Regional Municipality; and

Whereas a recent Angus Reid poll showed that one in every two Canadians believe that organized crime is a serious problem while the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, with an office in Halifax, has confirmed that the growth of organized crime has become a crisis;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice explain to the residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality and all concerned Nova Scotians, what he did to oppose the federal government's $74 million cut to the RCMP's organized crime unit for the fiscal year 1998-99.

[Page 4461]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2142

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

Whereas traditional Cape Breton Celtic music has enjoyed great international success over the past number of years; and

Whereas the latest musical style to gain popularity both here in Atlantic Canada and abroad is the distinctive sound of Acadian music; and

Whereas Acadian music is becoming the "next big thing" with great Nova Scotia talent like Michelle Boudreau Samson of Petit-de-Grat, Cape Bretoner J.P. Cormier, and the Clare-based band Blou;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the emerging popularity of Nova Scotian Acadian music and congratulate these gifted performers on being included in this year's Moosetracks CD compilation promotion that will allow them to gain even more exposure in Atlantic Canada.

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. 2143

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

[Page 4462]

Whereas this year is the International Year of the Ocean; and

Whereas next weekend Halifax will host the 26th Pacem in Maribus (Peace in the Oceans) Conference; and

Whereas this conference will be an international forum on the use and protection of ocean resources and will be attended by scientists, politicians, business leaders and academics;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its best wishes to the conference organizers, the International Oceans Institute and its head Elisabeth Mann-Borgese.

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2144

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

Whereas over 30 Community Economic Development organizations have assembled in Halifax to showcase and highlight their accomplishments; and

Whereas community-based economic development projects are the cornerstone of a revitalized rural community-based economy; and

Whereas community-based economic development empowers local communities to take control of their own economic well-being;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their congratulations to the participants in the first annual Nova Scotia Community Economic Development Showcase and Awards.

[Page 4463]

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 member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 2145

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

Whereas last year, St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish became the first university in Canada to offer a comprehensive program on aquatic resources; and

Whereas yesterday, it was announced that St. F.X. will work closely with the aquaculture program at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in an effort that will share research and benefit students; and

Whereas this cooperation is another indication that Nova Scotia is prepared to take full advantage of the growing opportunities presented by the emerging aquaculture industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the students and faculty of St. Francis Xavier University and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College on their new partnership, and wish them luck as they explore together the many facets of our aquatic resources.

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.

[Page 4464]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2146

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

Whereas the twinning of No. 103 Highway has been completed as far as the Otter Lake exit to metro's landfill site; and

Whereas area residents eagerly await the beginning of further construction beyond this point; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation, in this House, has reassured users of this busy highway that the project will continue and will be finished on schedule through to the Tantallon exit;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation immediately inform area residents the date when this work will begin.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2147

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

Whereas today the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, a committee comprised of members of all three Parties in this House, introduced a report of this committee and its work; and

Whereas the Canadian Merchant Marines Navy Veterans Association appeared before this committee seeking assistance in obtaining full rights and retroactive compensation for loss benefits on behalf of Merchant Navy veterans; and

Whereas in this report, it is recommended by the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs to do everything possible to achieve these benefits;

[Page 4465]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature, on behalf of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, encourage the Premier to contact the Prime Minister of Canada to assist remaining survivors, or the dependents of the Merchant Navy veterans, in obtaining full rights and retroactive compensation for benefits.

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 Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 2148

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

Whereas photographer Bob Brooks has spent many years capturing the faces, places and events of Nova Scotia on film; and

Whereas even though Mr. Brooks' work has appeared in Time Magazine, National Geographic and other international publications, his favourite subjects seem to be right here in the Maritimes; and

Whereas Mr. Brooks recently released a book of photographs on Yarmouth County, which has not only become a best-seller in Yarmouth, but right across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Bob Brooks on his recent successful book and wish him luck as he continues to add to an impressive body of work that chronicles life in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4466]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2149

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

Whereas health care reform has shifted health care from institutions to communities; and

Whereas the government is redirecting only a fraction of savings from hospital bed closures to programs that support informal family care; and

Whereas The Caregivers Research Project reports today on the views and experiences of women providing care in rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House support the key recommendations of this report, which include recognizing caregivers' contributions, involving caregivers in the policy-making process and providing support services and information to caregivers.

I seek waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

[Page 4467]

RESOLUTION NO. 2150

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia branch of Intertape Polymer, an international plastics company, beat out 11 other facilities around the world for a $16.6 million expansion; and

Whereas the Truro plant was selected because of its experienced and dedicated employees and its outstanding research and development group; and

Whereas 90 per cent of the products made at the Intertape Truro plant are sold outside the province, and the new products to be produced there will boost Nova Scotia's exports by $20 million a year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate all of the Truro employees of Intertape Polymer for their commitment to excellence which directly led to a major expansion of the Truro plant.

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 Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2151

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

Whereas the Eastern Canada Tae Kwon-Do Championships were recently held in Moncton, New Brunswick; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Tae Kwon-Do Club sent a strong contingent of members; and

[Page 4468]

Whereas Matthew Stewart finished second in forms and in fighting, Kyle Wyman finished first in forms and in fighting, and Bubba Wyman finished first in forms;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Matthew Stewart, Kyle Wyman and Bubba Wyman on representing the Province of Nova Scotia, the Bridgewater Tae Kwon-Do Club and themselves so well.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2152

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

Whereas last spring Tory members of this House voted against a full investigation into this government's casino deal with ITT Sheraton; and

Whereas at Wednesday's meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Tory committee members joined with Liberal counterparts at the hip and voted against issuing a report on the committee's probe into the casino deal; and

Whereas any thought that the Tories want a full and thorough investigation into this government's casino antics should now finally be laid to rest;

Therefore be it resolved that this House advises its Tory members that they will not win the next election playing with loaded Liberal dice.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 4469]

RESOLUTION NO. 2153

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

Whereas the Department of the Environment, at a time when the government is attempting to rein in travel costs, is undertaking a needless roadshow across the province to tell people about programs the department offers; and

Whereas the department has already been informed of what individuals think of this frivolous roadshow; and

Whereas many community groups are being asked to travel distances to hear about program information that should be readily available through a simple phone call to the Environment office;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment immediately put an end to this roadshow which is chewing up travel dollars at a time when the government said it would curtail travel costs in an attempt to bring the projected operating deficit for this year down.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2154

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

Whereas Mr. Ken Whitney of Head of Jeddore is an original member of the Judo Canada Hall of Fame, and was also a member of the 1957 Shearwater Flyers Football Team that has been inducted into the Canadian Military Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame; and

Whereas Mr. Whitney is an active teacher and coach and promoter of Judo on the Eastern Shore and across the province; and

Whereas in a ceremony held in Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa on November 7th, Mr. Whitney was inducted into the Canadian Military Sports Hall of Fame as a builder of Judo in the military in Nova Scotia;

[Page 4470]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Whitney on his induction into the Canadian Military Sports Hall of Fame, and thank him for his ongoing dedication and commitment to sport in Nova Scotia.

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 member for Dartmouth North.

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

Whereas the former Premier convinced himself that Nova Scotians would be well served by foregoing $20 million for a casino we already have and do not want; and

Whereas the current Premier, fresh into office but clearly much more fiscally prudent, proclaimed that we really need only pay $2 million for a casino we already have and do not want; and

Whereas this fiscal policy surely has earned these Premiers prominent pictures in the ITT Sheraton Hall of Stooges;

Therefore be it resolved that only the Premier's words from a former occasion can adequately describe this fiscal madness, "I have heard some stupid things but I have never heard anything that stupid in all my life.".

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[12:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to take a look at that notice of motion before it is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 4471]

RESOLUTION NO. 2155

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

Whereas starting on December 19th, Nova Scotia's 99 liquor commission outlets will be packaging their products to the consumer with a very important message; and

Whereas the new packaging will include 50,000 paper bags decorated with anti-drinking and driving messages as part of a province-wide program aimed at increasing awareness and responsibility of the consumer; and

Whereas the program started last Christmas in Antigonish, with 3,000 bags and has grown to include 188 schools across the province this year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House say a special thank you to the students and teachers who have committed the time and energy to promote the message, please don't drink and drive.

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2156

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

Whereas students of the Inverness Educational Centre recently produced a video depicting the dangers of pollution; and

Whereas this video was entered in a national competition against videos from 9,000 schools across Canada; and

[Page 4472]

Whereas the Inverness Educational Centre placed in the Top 10 for Canada and was named one of two regional winners, gaining a new computer system for the school and a class trip anywhere in Atlantic Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the students of Inverness Educational Centre on their successful video and commend their efforts to highlight important environmental concerns.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2157

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

Whereas the St. Margaret's Bay Lions are about to open their annual Christmas tree lot at the Hubley Centre in Tantallon; and

Whereas Lions throughout the world are known for their acts of generosity; and

Whereas this group of community volunteers, over the last 10 years, has donated thousands of dollars to the needy in the community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the St. Margaret's Bay Lions and wish them the best of luck with their Christmas tree sales during the next month.

Mr. Speaker, I ask waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4473]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2158

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 Hotel Halifax will host its third annual Humble Lunch on December 1st; and

Whereas guests will be served beans and wieners in an atmosphere resembling a soup kitchen; and

Whereas the event has raised nearly $10,000 over the past two years for the Metro Food Bank Society;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize and thank the Director of Operations, Mary Dempster, other management, and staff of the Hotel Halifax for providing time and talent to help those who are living in poverty.

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 Minister of Fisheries.

[Page 4474]

RESOLUTION NO. 2159

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

Whereas Sarah Wechsler and Jamie Archibald of the Eastern Shore Judo Club, both 16 years old, are holders of the blue belt in judo; and

Whereas in February 1999, the Canada Winter Games will be held in Newfoundland; and

Whereas Sarah Wechsler and Jamie Archibald will be the core team members of the Nova Scotia Judo Team at those Canada Winter Games;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish Sarah and Jamie every success in the 1999 Canada Winter Games and congratulate them on their selection to the Nova Scotia Team.

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 member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2160

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

Whereas the Cape Chignecto Wilderness Park is the largest Nova Scotia Provincial Park; and

Whereas the local community, citizens and Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association have worked very hard to make Cape Chignecto Wilderness Park a destination of choice; and

[Page 4475]

Whereas Cape Chignecto Wilderness Park is presently being recognized by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism by being nominated for the Community Economic Development Excellence and Cooperation Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Cape Chignecto Wilderness Park and its committee for their hard work to achieve this recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2161

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

Whereas Andrew McNeil, a high school student at Queen Elizabeth High School was chosen as one of the youngest members of the Nova Scotia provincial men's basketball team; and

Whereas Andrew's sportsmanlike behaviour both on and off the basketball court led his coach to state, "Andrew is a credit to his community, his team and his province"; and

Whereas Andrew has been able to balance his pursuit of athletic excellence with high academic achievement;

Therefore be it resolved that the member of this House extend their congratulations and best wishes to Andrew McNeil.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 4476]

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 Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2162

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 illegal operation of casket sales from retail outlets in Nova Scotia is a lively issue with funeral home directors who are presently operating under the law; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia public presently has no protection from unlicensed individuals selling pre-arranged funerals for national and international companies; and

Whereas the Minister of Business and Consumer Services is playing dead when it comes to the enforcement of the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act, which is legislation presently on the books of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that with the illegal sale of caskets already taking place in Sydney and retail operations expected to open soon in metropolitan Halifax and pre-arranged funerals being sold province-wide, the Minister of Business and Consumer Services bury both of these illegal operations and enforce the legislation passed by this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2163

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

Whereas the NDP has introduced a bill to abolish the HST with policy of their Party being to replace the lost revenue with a new sales tax on businesses and consumers; and

[Page 4477]

Whereas organizations such as the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association believe that the HST makes it easier for Nova Scotian businesses to grow and expand; and

Whereas recent statistics show that the cost to the consumer for food services has declined since the introduction of the HST;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon the NDP to admit that the HST has costs, yes, and benefits, also, for consumers and that their policy of simply throwing out the whole tax system and increasing taxes on businesses and consumers is misguided and wrong.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The notice of motion that was submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth North, I am ruling out of order. It was imputing motives and improper use of language.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time being 12:54 p.m., we will terminate at 1:54 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DEVCO - ASSISTANCE (GOV'T. [CAN.]):

PRETENCE - CONTINUANCE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Premier. During special debate in this House six weeks ago on the future of Devco, the Premier said that he was on top of things, that he was in close contact with his federal buddies. It was revealed today that Ottawa is considering major job losses and the sale of Devco. They are already talking, apparently, to American buyers for the Prince Mine. My question to the Premier is, in light of this, why does the Premier continue to pretend that the feds are giving any consideration to plans to secure thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Cape Breton coal industry?

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I think the Leader of the Opposition now knows why I was so concerned on that evening when we had the special debate, because these concerns were ones that I had gathered from what was going on at Devco. I did not know the details but since time has passed, these rumours have become more prevalent.

[Page 4478]

We have initiated a committee of civil servants who met in Sydney. We have a follow-up. We are continuing to meet with them. Our top civil servants are contacting their counterparts in Ottawa. This is going on on a daily basis and I can assure you we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, coal miners, their families and their communities, all these people's lives are at stake and it appears that the federal government is making decisions based on a public opinion poll. My question to the Premier, has the federal government asked him, asked the Premier of Nova Scotia, where he stands and, if not, what has he done to make sure that decisions are not made on the basis of a poll?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that the federal government has not asked me my opinion on what they should be doing with Devco. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are contacting the federal government to get all of the information we possibly can. What we do not want in this province is the federal government to make an adverse decision on Devco, lay it on our laps at the last moment so we do not have time to react. What we want to do is to be part of the dialogue that is taking place if, in fact, there is one taking place.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier should know that there are more jobs at stake here than there are with respect to the super-port here in Halifax.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: And yet the Premier agreed to an all-Party task force.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Your question, your final supplementary.

MR. CHISHOLM: My question to the Premier, he participated, his government participated in an all-Party task force on the super-port, will he agree here, today, to set an all-Party task force up to go to Ottawa to demand fair treatment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Opposition has got to realize in politics you have got to walk and chew gum at the same time. There is no reason we cannot work on the Devco problem and the federal government's plans for Devco and at the same time work with the federal government on the super-port. Those two things are very important and we are working on both of them.

[Page 4479]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

JUSTICE - HRM: MURDERS - POLICE CUTS ADDRESS

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The headline today reads, "Murder Wave Continues". Yesterday, during Question Period, my colleague, the honourable member for Lunenburg, raised concerns regarding the recent murders in HRM and the cuts to the area police force. In response to those questions, the Minister of Housing and the Minister of Justice stated this was strictly a municipal issue. Given that we have seen yet another murder in the Halifax metro area, as recently as last night, will the Minister of Justice admit that operating in isolation is not working and tell us what his plans are to assist HRM in addressing the current police shortage in this area?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that is quite a long preamble, predisposed on budgetary considerations, and he is speaking in terms of police cuts that I am not quite aware of. There may be some delay in placing new graduates. We have a national police force in this country that is working in many areas, organized crime, and there is good coordination of those special services. We saw the response of working together of all those departments in the Swissair disaster, where Nova Scotia led the world, and the admiration of the world. I think the system is working.

MR. SCOTT: Again to the minister, the Police Act of Nova Scotia clearly states that you are responsible to uphold the administration of justice in this province. We have had four murders in HRM in five days, 5 in 10 days, and you say this is a municipal issue. Are you willing to tell this House that you are unwilling to accept the responsibilities you took on when you took the oath of office as Minister of Justice for Nova Scotia?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, at least he got one thing right. He said the Minister of Justice is responsible for the administration of justice. There is a process in place. There are policing issues which that member might remember some of the basics of and he certainly knows that there is a process in place but, yes, I take the responsibility as Minister of Justice for the administration of justice in this province. I want it to be fair and just.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, yes, I remember a few. It is too bad some other people would not remember. I ask the minister, again, in the face of this murder wave, which has left residents feeling fearful in their own neighbourhoods, what are your plans to assist HRM in addressing the current shortage of police officers in this area?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the member has said that he did remember some basic policing skills and he hoped that others did as well. Is he implying that this is a lack of policing skills that is doing that? Is he being critical of the HRM Police Department? (Interruptions)

[Page 4480]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the crime across this country has its roots in many socio-economic issues. (Interruptions)

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

DEVCO - MINES: CLOSURES - AVERT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Every day it seems when we come to this House, we have some more bad news about the economy of Cape Breton and now to have hoisted upon us, this callous act by the federal government of doing a public opinion poll to find out what kind of corn flakes you eat in Cape Breton, what kind of toothpaste you use and, oh, can we close the mines.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier is, what are you doing that this does not happen?

[1:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if there was a public opinion poll done by the federal government, I knew nothing about it, I still don't know anything about it. I take the honourable member at face value. If he says it was done by the federal government, then I accept that, but I don't like it.

MR. CORBETT: Well, Mr. Speaker, it seems like we are getting no answers from this government again. It is back to the Premier. For five years now, the federal government has been just killing Cape Breton. My question is, during our special debate, the Premier said he asked Ralph Goodale to work with him. Since that time, what have Mr. Goodale and himself, the Premier, been able to do to help Cape Breton?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to the Honourable Ralph Goodale, the federal Minister of Natural Resources, on various occasions, told him of my concerns, told him that we wanted to be made aware of any plans that the federal government had with respect to Devco, that we had some ideas that we wanted to work with them on. That is hopefully the way the federal government will proceed. Evidently, they are doing some initiatives on their own. Hopefully they haven't made any decisions contrary to Cape Breton.

[Page 4481]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my last question, again, through you, is to the Premier. As the Premier knows, the UMW recently outlined a five point plan for Devco. Is this plan being considered by the feds or are you just out of the loop and you don't know what is going on in Ottawa?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have no idea whether it is being considered by Ottawa (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: They will have to ask Michelle Dockrill or Peter Mancini, who are not saying very much at all. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - KREVER REPORT:

RECOMMENDATION (NO-FAULT) - ADDRESS

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. One year ago, Justice Horace Krever released his historic report on the Canadian blood system. There has been no action on the number one recommendation, the creation of a no-fault plan to compensate persons injured through the blood system. My question to the minister is, what is the explanation for the Ministers of Health to bury the number one recommendation of Judge Krever?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this matter has been actively dealt with at the minister's level and also with the new executive and members of the new Canadian Blood Services. They are exploring these options as to what that would look like and dealing with companies that would involve large amounts of money, obviously, and this is a matter for the new Canadian Blood Services. I would point out that many of the recommendations of the interim report of the Krever Inquiry were enacted.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, we had a commission that cost millions of dollars and the number one recommendation on the no-fault issue has not been addressed. I would ask the minister if he could clarify today or indicate today whether his Ministers of Health, and he personally is going to address that number one recommendation and if so, when?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I point out to the honourable member that the Ministers of Health across this country are not my ministers. Some of them might be his ministers. In fact, a few of the PC provinces have some representation and some responsibility for that. This is a matter that is certainly being actively pursued by the Canadian Blood Services, up in place.

[Page 4482]

This is addressing the years when the system was not working well and now is in place. There are many issues and that is one of them that is being addressed.

MR. MOODY: My final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. People that have been infected with hepatitis C say politicians have missed the boat, ignoring the number one issue and for the victims it is a slap in the face. I would ask the minister today, will he do the right thing and do what Justice Krever said and treat those people fairly by saying this government will accept that number one recommendation?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, on all of these matters relative to this most important issue, this is not politics playing here, all Parties are involved, with the Health Ministers representing various Parties; this is very serious. The right thing is being done. Canada, again, will have the top-notch health service within the blood system with regulatory bodies in place that it deserves. It will be done.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

COMMUN. SERV. - WOMEN'S CENTRES:

BUDGET (1998-99) - INFORM

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, to the Premier. The week of November 25th to December 6th is a time for all of us to mark our commitment to the elimination of violence against women. Women's shelters across this province provide an invaluable service to women and children trying to leave abusive relationships.

My question to the Premier. Why has your government not informed the 10 women's shelters in Nova Scotia of their budget for this year, with only four months remaining?

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

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, we are in very close dialogue with all of our women's centres and transition houses across Nova Scotia. Their budget letters are going out, I think at the end of this week.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. The Premier should know that Bryony House in Halifax served 450 women last year and 4,500 distressed calls. As a consequence of not having received their budgets from your government, all shelters are having an impossible time planning services and programs for women and their children. My question, to the Premier, what assurances can you give these women's shelters that their budgets for this year will not be cut?

[Page 4483]

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

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable Leader of the Opposition is really trying to create a sense of fear across the women's movement, and he should be ashamed for that. We have not told anyone their budget is going to be cut.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, yes, the minister is right, there is fear out there. To the Premier, women's shelters are strapped for funding as it is, and in rural Nova Scotia the problem is compounded. In Port Hawkesbury this week, we learned that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . Leeside Transition House has cases of children . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . waiting one year . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . to receive counselling services. Question to the Premier. Where is this government's commitment to the women and children of this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable Leader of the Opposition that our commitment is to women and children in this province.

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

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: HRM - CONSTRUCTION STATUS

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education and Culture. The Minister of Education has gone on record on any number of occasions, including yesterday in this House, that the new schools in this province being built through the P3 process will not add to the debt of the province; therefore, he has announced a very ambitious construction program, including 31 new schools, including seven in HRM. He has committed that the seven schools . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MUIR: . . . in HRM will go ahead. The school board, according to this morning's press said, no.

[Page 4484]

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MUIR: Who is right, minister, you or the school board?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I got the full question but if he is asking whether or not the school board is making plans for school construction in their area, not only are they doing that here in metro, they are doing it throughout the province.

MR. MUIR: It really wasn't the question I asked, Mr. Speaker. The question was, you have said that the schools in metro are going to go ahead and be built and the school board indicated this morning they will not. Who is right, minister, you or the school board?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite was not at the school board meeting the other night. He is not aware of what was discussed at that meeting the other night. In fact, the schools in metro will go forward.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the P3 process, which has led to the announcement of some new schools, in some ways has been like the little fellow who got the new hammer and everything he saw needed pounding. Are there new schools being planned and is the minister going to build schools at the expense of, taking money away from, the students and teachers who are currently in the province?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am going to remind the member opposite that he is part of a government that left us with a debt that causes us to spend more money on debt service than we spend educating all of our children. Is he asking whether we are committed to operating budgets and teachers' budgets? We're reducing class size. Is he asking whether or not we are committed to high-quality facilities at an affordable rate? Absolutely.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COMMUN. SERV. -

WOMEN'S CTRS. (ALICE HOUSING): FUNDING - CUT

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community Services. I would like to remind the Minister of Community Services that yesterday she read a resolution which encouraged Nova Scotians to support the efforts to end violence against women. The minister should take her own advice; her department recently made a $10,000 cut for funding from Alice Housing, a housing program for women leaving abusive situations. My question. Why has this minister cut funding to a very service that she encouraged us all to support yesterday?

[Page 4485]

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I made reference yesterday to the honourable member opposite that he should disclose his sources of erroneous information, and I still make that statement.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister said no agency would receive funding cuts. I don't believe the minister knows what is going on in her department.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. PYE: If the minister isn't spending the money on programs like Alice Housing, just how does she plan to end violence against Nova Scotian women?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member opposite ought to do a little more homework and get very familiar with the initiatives on family violence that this province is conducting.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister that I do do my homework, and I spend countless hours on it. One in four women in this province will experience violence, one in four. Since the . . .

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

MR. PYE: My question. Since the need is so great, will the minister put her money where her mouth is and increase the funding to women in abusive relationships?

MRS. COSMAN: Well, I suppose the honourable member opposite likes using that kind of aggressive tone, put your money where your mouth is, but the simple fact is this province has increased rates to families, we have increased money flowing through to families with the low incomes, and we are doing a substantial amount of work with our client base.

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

LBR. - TECH. OCCUPATIONS: WOMEN - REPRESENTATION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question through you, sir, is going to be to the Premier. Mr. Premier, a recent report on women in technical work in Atlantic Canada outlines the many problems confronting women in the trades, technology operations and blue collar work. My question is, what is the commitment of this government to ensure that there is an improvement in the level of representation of women employed in the technical occupations within Nova Scotia?

[Page 4486]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member makes a very good point. That is something that we are working on. It takes a while to get the results that we would like to have, but we have made a beginning and we hope to see better results in the future.

MR. HOLM: Thank you. I am glad it was a good question. Mr. Speaker, employers who in fact have legislation requiring that they implement employment equity programs show only a very modest increase in the number of women who are working in the technical workforce, and given the number of women who are graduating from training programs and educational facilities, their representation should be much higher. My question to the Premier. What has the government done to assist in the recruitment, training and retention of women in trades, technology and blue collar work within this province?

[1:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is no one answer to that question, it has to be attacked on a lot of fronts. One would be to remove the stereotypes with young women in this province when they are still in school to make sure that they understand that they can do these things and not only men can have these technological jobs, that they are there for women. We have got to do more in encouraging women to get into these types of careers.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, certainly, research shows that women are not a major part of the primary workforce in terms of number. The Premier boasts about the Sable boom so my question to the Premier is this, what is the government doing to guarantee that women are accessing training and jobs for, as he calls it, the great boom that is going to be occurring here in this province in the Sable gas? What are you doing?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in the Petroleum Directorate I have a Deputy Minister, Patricia Ripley who is constantly reminding me and the members of the government that this has got to be done and she is actively working with the department on doing everything we can to make sure it takes place.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - P3 SCHOOLS:

PROCUREMENT POLICY - COMPLIANCE

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The Liberal Government via the P3 concept is building and has built a number of schools and have plans to renovate dozens more. When the leases are signed, Nova Scotia taxpayers are going to be on the hook for millions and millions of dollars. Can the minister tell us why the developers, the private partners do not have to comply with the established procurement policies that are in place in this province?

[Page 4487]

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to pass that question on to the Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the question is why don't private sector companies doing business with the Province of Nova Scotia have to file and follow the procurement practices, I understand that. The answer is that private sector companies doing business with the Government of Nova Scotia, regardless of the business, always follow the procurement practice.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I don't know where the Minister of Education is getting his information. Perhaps the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has a different story to tell. I will go back to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. I want to know why the terms and conditions are not stipulated requiring the private partner to comply? Many Nova Scotians are saying they are not being given an opportunity to bid on supplying goods and services for those P3 schools.

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge the procurement policy is followed to the letter of the law and I will refer this to the Minister of Education.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, again the question is when you become a partner with the Province of Nova Scotia to build a school, a highway, or whatever, do you follow the procurement practice? The procurement policy is followed and that is exactly how we get our partners.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, that member is misleading the House and misleading Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member will withdraw that remark.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will withdraw the remark. All we have to do is look at the Cobequid Pass. The private partner up there was given a free ride and the question is this, if the terms and conditions are included in the P3 concept, will the Minister of Education or the Minister of Transportation and Public Works table the document so all Nova Scotians and all members of this Legislature can see that the procurement policy is incorporated . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to give the member opposite the specifications, the terms of procurement and all of the documents related to the private sector partners that have been chosen to build the schools in this province. I would be happy to supply that because it is a public document, they have gone through the procurement process, and that is how they were selected in the first place.

[Page 4488]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - HOME CARE:

BLUEPRINT RECOMMENDATIONS - IMPLEMENT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. At NDP forums on health care we are being told that home care in rural Nova Scotia isn't working, not for the sick or family caregivers, 80 per cent who are women, who get little support from Home Care Nova Scotia. Since the minister plans to download more health care to family caregivers, my question is when will the minister implement the Blueprint recommendations and give tangible support to unpaid family caregivers, most who are women?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, Home Care Nova Scotia is working. It is working well. We are moving into an acute care phase that I am hearing good reports on. If you are referring to the in-home support, there are accommodations that have been made. I have known people within families, right in the City of Dartmouth, that have received compensation. There are accommodations made within that program.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the in-home support assessments do not account for the financial and emotional strain an unpaid caregiver faces in providing 24-hour care with little respite. My question for the minister is, when will the minister develop assessment tools which consider the needs of both the client and the caregiver?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, families have traditionally been the support of members of that family. That is how we have survived. That is how we survive as a society, how we survive as a nation, and that will always be a component and I hope it will remain because the taxpayers of this province could not afford to pay everyone in a family who supports another member of that family. However, assessments are being done, both sociologically and from the nursing component. Waiting lists have been reduced to zero.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, one of the major changes in our society in this time is women working in the labour force and paid employment. Since the minister expects Nova Scotians to solve the problems his government has created in acute care, will he commit to providing compensation for the family caregivers who have picked up the slack and these are primarily women?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I want to say to that honourable member and to all members of the House, this government did not create the problems in acute care. That is the simple answer to that question. The assessment involves the resources of the family and the person that we are serving and, of course, we will look at those as resources. I agree with her that the women of this province have contributed so much in the care of members of their family and I would like to recognize that today. Thank you.

[Page 4489]

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

HEALTH: TELE-MEDICINE - UPDATE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health had put together a program of tele-medicine which would provide diagnostic consultation service to rural Nova Scotians and educational opportunities to rural Nova Scotian physicians. Will the minister give us an update on the progress in providing that service to rural Nova Scotia patients and doctors?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that is a very important issue and one that I am really pleased to say that Nova Scotia leads the country and perhaps most parts of the world. We have secured funding. I have been advised of that. We will be moving from the eastern region throughout the rest of Nova Scotia and we are back on track on that. It was delayed for a few months while we were working out some wrinkles within that program and securing some funding. I will tell that honourable member that we are back on target and we will see the whole province covered.

DR. HAMM: To the Premier, the Premier participated in a news conference with his Minister of Health on September 23rd, last fall, as he warmed the province up for an election. He made a statement . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. HAMM: . . . that this program would be up and running in all parts of Nova Scotia by the end of the current year.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. HAMM: Will you rationalize that with what your minister just said?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party has said, this is a program that we are fully intending to put forward in all parts of the province. We were delayed a few months, as the Minister of Health has said, because of certain funding arrangements. Those have now been resolved and we are back and will be able to do that when we said we would do it plus a few months because of the delay.

DR. HAMM: The minister last fall said it would be up and running by the end of this year. He now says a few months. What is the Premier's next irrevocable date that this will be up and running?

[Page 4490]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the program is very important, as the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party has said. We are doing everything we can to bring it forward as quickly as we possibly can. I cannot give an exact date, but it is back on track. The funding has been resolved. It will be forthcoming and it will be implemented and finished before too long.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

COMMUN. SERV. - WOMEN'S CENTRES:

BUDGET - BALANCE DELIVERY

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The six women's centres in this province are currently supposed to have a budget of $53,700 each, for a total of $322,200 per year. My question to the Minister of Community Services, why are women's centres in this province not even able to receive the full amount that has been allotted to them?

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, again, this is a very important question because of the 16 days of remembrance that we are observing at this time. As I said, probably 10 minutes ago, the budget figures are going out by letter to our groups at the end of this week. We have been in very close contact with them at meetings in our office and on the telephone, and they know they have an open line of communication with us.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, on November 12th, women's centres representatives met with your department and were told they would be taken care of. Last week, two centres in Lawrencetown and Sheet Harbour had to call the department to say they were going to be forced to close. The New Glasgow and Antigonish centre still has not received any money. My question to the minister is, why are women's centres in this province forced to beg for the puny amount that is rightfully theirs?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I really find it quite remarkable that the honourable member opposite uses words like puny amount, when she knows we are engaged in a meaningful process with our transition houses and with our women's centres. They come into the office regularly. We have engaged in a process of working with them on their budgets. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MRS. COSMAN: The honourable members opposite want to natter and yatter and not listen to the answer.

[Page 4491]

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, my final question is to the Premier. Yesterday the Premier announced the Nova Scotia Millennium Project, making about $500,000 in funding available for trails in the province. My question to the Premier is, when will he be announcing his Nova Scotia Millennium Project to invest in the future of women in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, investing in women and children in this province is not only a millennium project of this government, it is an annual project. We do it every year and we hope to improve and offer more funding each year.

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

EDUC. - DIGBY RHS: REPLACEMENT - STATUS

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education and Culture. As the minister is aware, Digby Regional High School is slated for replacement. It is not one of the P3 projects and the current design calls for the inclusion of a theatre as part of that project. What is the status of the theatre component of that particular project?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated all along, communities are very important, whether it is renovation projects or brand new schools. It is very important in the design of the school. There is considerable work and discussion going on in the Digby community to help cost share a theatre as part of their new school renovation.

MR. BALSER: Should the final plan not include a theatre because of a lack of contribution by any of the partners, how will that affect the long-term project? Will it increase the due date or the completion date? (Interruptions) The question is, what happens if the theatre is not part of the plan?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite is well aware of the discussions going on in his community. It is a real credit to his community and so many others that when communities once again are included in the designs and suggestions for their school, that they are demanding a balance between the arts and the sciences. I hope the people of Digby can come to terms with this decision and can, in fact, see their dreams realized.

MR. BALSER: It is my understanding that they are now quibbling over an amount in the neighbourhood of $100,000. This is a multimillion dollar project. Will the theatre be excluded because of a $100,000 shortfall? Will the minister guarantee that the theatre will be part of this, that it will not die because of a lack of $100,000?

[Page 4492]

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member opposite means to demean the members of his community, quibbling over money at this point. There is a consensus in that community, and he is a member of that community, and I would suggest that he go and work with the very people who are trying to make this dream come true. His community is working actively. I would suggest he join that active movement and make sure that this happens.

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

JUSTICE: HALFWAY HOUSE (WOMEN) - REQUIRED

MS. ROSEMARY GODIN: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Justice. Over and over again, this government has been told of the need for an all-women halfway house in the metro area for women in conflict with the law. Women who are in the metro area on passes for counselling or family visitations continue to have no choice but to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MS. GODIN: . . . stay at Carleton House, a halfway house for men. My question. Why is your government providing these women with no alternative but to share a closed environment with men?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think that the issue of the halfway houses and shelters and all the other issues are broad issues that impact on many departments. As far as the Department of Justice providing that, I would have to get information on that specifically because that is not one that I have the budget for nor the exact full jurisdiction over Carleton House.

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, it is something that has been asked for and asked for, for years. Eighty-two per cent of provincially incarcerated women have been sexually abused . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MS. GODIN: These women are trying to heal, Mr. Speaker. My question to the minister. Will your government now commit to supporting the building of an all-women halfway house in the metro area?

[Page 4493]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this is an issue for at least two levels of government. It is not one that I am prepared to make a commitment here today, because although she is focusing on one particular institution or one facility, there are multiple services in the community, and that honourable member knows that.

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, people familiar with women's issues and working with women in conflict with the law must be involved in the development and day-to-day workings of this house.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please. Your final supplementary.

MS. GODIN: My question. Will your government pledge to do whatever it can to ensure this involvement by the public?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have the involvement at two levels of government. We work with programs and we use resources. Resources are shared. Yes, I will make the commitment that we will do what is fair and right for those women who are in trouble with the law, as we are doing now. There are programs in place and they are working.

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

BUS. & CON. SERV.: DIRECT ASSISTANCE PROG. - EXPENDITURE

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Business and Consumer Services. According to the Direct Assistance Program brochure, this program is one that is intended to assist low-income Nova Scotians who wouldn't benefit from any income tax reductions or perhaps another way to look at it, it was intended to be a program of HST relief for people. In 1997-98 fiscal year . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MUIR: . . . the budget was . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MUIR: . . . $7 million. How much was spent?

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this is a very important program to the people of Nova Scotia, especially low-income Nova Scotians. We spent roughly $1.6 million last year on the program.

[Page 4494]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Business and Consumer Services. The difference between $1.6 million and $7 million is a lot of dollars, it is about $5.4 million, I think. Why was so little spent and what happened to the remainder of that money?

MR. COLWELL: We can only spend the money, we can only give the money to the people who apply. We have tried over and over again. We have had TV ads, we have had radio ads, we have had newspaper ads and, only if people apply, can we provide the money.

MR. MUIR: Well, this year, Mr. Speaker, it seems they put a lower priority on that program because there was $2 million budgeted this year.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. MUIR: One of the reasons, I think, Mr. Speaker, . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MUIR: . . . that that program was not used for situations like this, and if I could be permitted to give one case study of . . .

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

MR. MUIR: . . . a person who was supporting his mother, saving the Department of Community Services money, and therefore was not eligible to apply . . .

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

MR. COLWELL: Quite honestly, Mr. Speaker, he didn't ask a question, so I can't answer it.

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

HUMAN RES. - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:

WOMEN EMPLOYED - STATISTICS

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Human Resources. Back in 1994, the Affirmative Action Joint Committee released its report on the 1993 workforce survey. That report showed that nearly half the women working for the Civil Service made less than $30,000, where the figure for men was around 20 per cent. For every man . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

[Page 4495]

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: My question to the minister is, what are the numbers now?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: I want to thank the honourable member for raising that question in the House. To the honourable member, I don't have those numbers available here with me today, but I certainly am ready to provide the honourable member with the information she is looking for.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the report in 1994 was released under great fanfare, and there have been subsequent reports. Will the minister table in this House, this session, the most recent report of the Affirmative Action Joint Committee?

MR. GAUDET: Yes.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Minister in 1997 within your own department for every man who made less than $30,000 - four women. What have you done, what has your department done to address this disparity within your own department?

MR. GAUDET: As the honourable member knows, under our affirmative action policy, we are continuing, of course, to bring women into working for the government. At the same time, not just basically on the front line, because we often make reference to this, but I think when we start looking at the number of women in management positions in government, those numbers have certainly increased. I know for a fact, in our department, in Human Resources, I don't have the exact number, but I would assume that over 80 per cent of the people working in the Department of Human Resources are women.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - ARGYLE: ROADWORK - TIMETABLE

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. I would like to bring to the minister's attention that the roads in my constituency of Argyle are suffering from negligence, and they are literally falling apart. Can the Minister of Transportation and Public Works indicate to the House today when the people from my area can expect to be getting some roadwork in my constituency?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. I would like to inform the honourable member that we do have priority lists and we are working on those now. We have done considerable work to a bridge in your area, the Surettes Island bridge and we will continue to do more work on that bridge.

[Page 4496]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that we did some work on the bridge, and I appreciate that the member has brought that up. The fact of the matter is, in the last four or five years, there has been very little work in my constituency done altogether. Now there are two roads that are a high priority, one of which is the Quinan Road and the Argyle Head Road, which are literally falling apart.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. LEBLANC: I would ask the minister today as to whether or not he would commit to at least taking a look at these roads for consideration for the next fiscal year?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I will certainly look into this matter and see where these two roads fit on the priority list for the western district.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I know where they fit on the list for this year, and they didn't fit in. I appreciate that not every road can be done. I will ask the minister in my final supplementary whether or not he would be prepared to come down to my riding - I live alongside his riding - and meet with the people of these roads, because they are very concerned and I think it would be in the best interests of the province to do some maintenance before they fall apart altogether.

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. Yes, I am prepared to go to the neighbouring constituency, and I would like to tour these roads with the honourable member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC.: FARM AID PROG. - COMMENCEMENT DATE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question through you will be for the Minister of Agriculture. Ottawa is considering a $400 million farm aid program to be split 60/40 with the provinces. Ottawa is talking about making a decision by Christmas. My question for the minister is, should Ottawa commit to such a program earlier than the province has expected, will the minister commit to relief for Nova Scotia farmers before his April 1, 1999 date?

HON. EDWARD LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, our program is in place. Our program was set up to be implemented on April 1st. If federal funding comes through - and we do not know yet what the federal funding will be - we possibly could use some of it for more immediate relief. But we do not know what the program is as it was just going to Cabinet in Ottawa today.

[Page 4497]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he could possibly do something so my question to him is, since last week you said that the help here for Nova Scotia farmers was not connected to the federal program, so I ask you, why can't you give that earlier relief anyway?

MR. LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, he is talking about two different programs. The program we are talking about it within our budget and the $6 million that we set aside for that budget is for a disaster relief program that we can implement or assist the farmers should these problems happen in the future. This program is a different program that is being announced, or may be announced, that is going to Cabinet today in Ottawa.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Agriculture, Ottawa seems to be wavering a bit on this relief as to whether or not it will be provided for more than one year. My question to the minister is, what plan does the minister have to ensure that Ottawa makes a long-term commitment to farmers?

MR. LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, our staff has been negotiating with the Ottawa staff consistently over the last number of months. I hope for the long-term that he is speaking of, that we will have a disaster relief program cost-shared between Ottawa and the Province of Nova Scotia and I hope that will be in effect to look after the problems in the long term.

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

SYSCO - SALE: PROGRESS - UPDATE

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. People in this House would want Sysco to be sold to a viable buyer and today we learn that that might happen, perhaps by Christmas. My question, what information can the Premier provide this House to update us on the progress of that potential sale?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for that question because it is a very important and a very serious question important to all people in Cape Breton. The negotiations are continuing with Hoogovens and with their people that they are hoping will be interested in Sysco. We have not reached any kind of final agreement as yet because after the last 30 years we cannot be assured that it is going to be a sale until we get everything completed, but I remain very hopeful, as I know the honourable member does.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, a previous Liberal Administration had indicated that the deadline for sale of Sysco was January 1, 1999. Will the Premier tell this House whether or not the government would be considering an extension to that deadline if the sale does not occur by January 1st?

[Page 4498]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the forecast for 1999 looks very good. Hoogovens have assured us that they can assure us of about 300,000 tons of sales, but still the deadline we want to impose is the end of December. We are hopeful that that deadline can be met.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my final question to the Premier is, what steps is the province taking to minimize the effect of this uncertainty around a buyer on Sysco's sale and on its employees so that the plant can remain viable and operational until a buyer is selected?

[1:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member and the whole House can understand, this whole problem has been uncertain for 30 years. What we want to do is rid the uncertainty from the minds of the people in Cape Breton. We want to give a definitive solution and we want to do that as soon as possible. That is why we are holding Hoogovens to the end of the year.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: SECONDARY ROADS - REPAVE

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. During this fiscal year, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has expended 80 per cent of his budget, relative to secondary roads in the Liberal ridings. I am wondering what the minister is going to do, if he is still the Minister of Transportation and Public Works next year, to reverse that trend?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I would like the honourable member to look around the province and look at the 100-Series Highways projects that are going on and where one of the biggest ones is in the province. It is right in your Leader's constituency.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, he is not listening. We are talking about secondary roads in rural Nova Scotia. Why hasn't the minister called one tender for secondary repaving in the constituency of Hants West?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question and I want to just remind him again about the priority list and how things work in the province. Since 1993, things have changed a lot in a fair process.

[Page 4499]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary through you to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, when is the Minister of Transportation going to reverse the trend of repaving only secondary roads in Liberal ridings? When is he going to reverse that trend?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the question. The honourable member is not right in what he is saying, that is not correct because it all depends on the priority list and we use that priority list right across Nova Scotia, even in Hants West and all the areas we use that priority list.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - AMHERST: DOCTOR SHORTAGE - ADDRESS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Over 1,000 people in the Amherst area don't have a family doctor and there has been a doctor shortage there for many years. Many people in this area have been going to Sackville, New Brunswick for primary health care and paying $5.00 per visit. But now the doctors in Sackville can't take any patients either. Will the minister explain why his department's efforts to recruit doctors to the Amherst area have been unsuccessful and what he intends to do about it?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the member is quite correct, there is quite a flow of patient traffic from the Amherst and Cumberland area into New Brunswick. Moncton has actually become quite a centre, they are recruiting patients even from Prince Edward Island and those types of areas so there has been movement back and forth. We have dealt with issues regarding medical personnel in Amherst, it has gone through some difficulties. We have had great success in addressing those issues and things are improving in that community.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, every time an Amherst resident has to go to a doctor in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia taxpayers pick up the tab. My question is, why is the minister content to allow health care dollars to flow out of the province and what is he going to do to provide health care for Nova Scotians in Nova Scotia?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have worked actively with that community to recruit physicians. We are replacing one of the oldest and most decrepit hospitals in Nova Scotia, the plans are moving forward and there are announcements practically weekly now. I would just like to ask that honourable member, is she saying we should stop people from going to the Moncton or Sackville, New Brunswick community, is that her goal?

[Page 4500]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. I am saying that doctor shortages in this part of the province as in other parts is unacceptable and the minister's recruitment program is not working where it is needed the most. When will the minister develop a new strategy and hire a new recruiter to get the job done?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, perhaps she has some specific issues with Mr. Frank Peters, who is not here today to defend himself. He has done a great deal of work. We are one of the few provinces to have a net gain of physicians in this province, including family doctors. We are doing well.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. -

MIDDLE DYKE RD. (KINGS CO.): REPAIR - COMMITMENT

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Several times in the last several months, you and I have spoken about the Middle Dyke Road, running from Belcher Street to Church Street. The minister has indicated on several occasions that it was in the plan, it is coming soon. I want to know, when are you going to make a firm commitment to repair and fix up that road?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, he is correct, we have had several discussions about this road. I have gone back to staff and I have discussed that with staff. I want to see where that road sits on the priority list and when that road comes to the top of the priority list, then I will make the commitment that that road will be paved.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister sings a different tune in public. In private he has been leading me on, we will do it. We get in here and he tells me he will put it on the priority list. Have you any intention of doing the needed repairs on Middle Dyke Road?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have stated to him in the past and in this Legislature, when it comes to the top of the priority list, it will be paved.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, to the minister, this is the first time this man said, oh, the priority list, before that, he was always leading (Interruption) The Municipality of Kings wants the road paved. It was first on their list. Will you respond to the desire of the Municipality of Kings or have you been stringing them along, too?

[Page 4501]

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, he knows that they have to go through the priority list and it has to come to the top of the priority list before that road will be paved.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

NAT. RES. - LOGGING (ABORIGINAL):

MEDIATION/FACILITATION - ACCEPT

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Natural Resources. Mr. Minister, aboriginal logging is a big issue in this province right now. We in this House have been asking for a mediator-facilitator. The chiefs have been asking for it and it is time that it was held. Are you going to be accepting the mediation and facilitative process the chiefs have been looking for since May of this year?

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his interest in the issue of native harvesting. We have been meeting with the Mi'kmaq Fish and Wildlife Commission for a year now and meetings are ongoing. We had one last night and we will continue to try to reach a resolve to the issue that faces us.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West, your final supplementary. You have 30 seconds.

MR. PARKER: I know you have been meeting with them, but have negotiators been appointed at this stage?

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, following our meeting last night, that was one of the issues that was raised. I have not spoken with anyone in my department since the last hour, but if it happened, it happened within the last hour.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West, you have nine seconds.

MR. PARKER: What am I supposed to do with nine seconds? What is the province's time-frame for coming to a Memorandum of Understanding?

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

[Page 4502]

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.

[1:54 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[4:28 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

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

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

Bill No. 75 - King's College Act.

Bill No. 77 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

Bill No. 82 - Greenwich Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 88 - Upper Stewiacke Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 23 - Certified General Accountants Act.

Bill No. 5 - Forests Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the committee has met and considered the following bill:

[Page 4503]

Bill No. 22 - Health Research Foundation Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would ask that with unanimous consent of the House, Bills No. 62, No. 80 and No. 87 which were reported from the Law Amendments Committee earlier today be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am trying to seek clarification.

MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps we should do them one bill at a time.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, we are putting those into the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, not in third reading? (Interruptions) That is all right.

MR. SPEAKER: 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, 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.

[4:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[5:32 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair]

[Page 4504]

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

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

Bill No. 80 - Physiotherapy Act.

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

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 62 - Maintenance Enforcement Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, with unanimous consent, I would ask for third reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for unanimous consent.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think if the Government House Leader would like to call them one at a time, it is hard to keep them in order but you may want to have also called Bill No. 63. (Interruptions) Which one?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: This one that we just did.

MR. HOLM: Oh, I thought you said all of the bills. Sure, that's fine, we believe in cooperation with the government, Mr. Speaker, so we will allow that bill to be called.

[Page 4505]

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 87

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: I move third reading, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 87. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honorable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 86, the Real Estate Appraisers Act.

Bill No. 86 - Real Estate Appraisers Act.

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

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I move the Real Estate Appraisers Act for second reading.

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

[Page 4506]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this bill briefly, to indicate that certainly I will be supporting the bill going forward. There is a national board or agency for real estate appraisers. It is my understanding that this bill would be setting up a provincial branch of that.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar enough with the bill to know whether or not the provisions dealing with the amount of liability insurance that has to be carried are adequate. That is certainly one of the things that I think has to be addressed in the Law Amendments Committee process. There certainly are also provisions in this bill for a system of appeal so that any appeals that may be necessary to be brought forward against decisions that are being made, there are two or three processes for those appeals to be heard. In addition to that, as I understand it, in the legislation there is to be this board which would also include two representatives, I believe, of the consumer groups and so on. It seems to be similar in content to that of other like type of agencies and I certainly want to indicate my support for this bill going on to the Law Amendments Committee process.

It is one of a number of bills that are certainly important to a segment of the Nova Scotia population who are very hard-working, doing very necessary work. It, like the wilderness protection bill and a number of other pieces of legislation that are before the Law Amendments Committee, we certainly are hopeful that it can be dealt with this fall sitting of the House through the various stages and be reported back so that people do not unnecessarily have to sit there waiting for their legislation that is very important to their organizations to get through. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I just rise to make a few brief comments on Bill No. 86, an Act Respecting Real Estate Appraisers. We have been approached for our support for this bill and putting it through to the Law Amendments Committee, whereby it can have an open discussion. It appears that it is protection for the consumer and also to bring about some control within the industry.

As such, with those brief comments, our caucus will be supporting this bill going on to pass second reading and then on to the Law Amendments Committee, whereby it can have the full discussion that I think it does deserve and, hopefully, will bring about some needed changes in this industry. With those few comments, we will be supporting the bill.

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

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 4507]

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the two Parties for their positive response to this bill. It is indeed considered to be consumer protection legislation. Having said that, I move second reading.

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

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 43 is on the order paper for third reading. I would ask that we refer that bill back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills. There are some amendments on it.

MR. SPEAKER: With the unanimous consent of the House, the bill can be returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Ordered that Bill No. 43 be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

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.

[5:38 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[Page 4508]

[5:45 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 43 - Public Archives Act.

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

MR. SPEAKER: When shall this bill be read a third time?

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that would be read for a third time now.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 43.

Bill No. 43 - Public Archives Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 43.

[Page 4509]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 43. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 69.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the honourable member for Lunenburg, I move third reading of Bill No. 69.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 69. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 74.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 74.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 74. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 4510]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 75.

Bill No. 75 - King's College Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 75.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 75. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Bill No. 77 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Antigonish.

MR. HYLAND FRASER: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 77.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 77. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 82.

[Page 4511]

Bill No. 82 - Greenwich Fire Protection Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 82.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 82. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 88.

Bill No. 88 - Upper Stewiacke Fire Protection Act.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 88 for third reading. I would like to thank all members of the House, especially the Government House Leader, for helping us advance this piece of legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 88. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 23.

Bill No. 23 - Certified General Accountants Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 23.

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MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 23. Would all those in favour please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 80.

Bill No. 80 - Physiotherapy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 80.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 80. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 62.

Bill No. 62 - Maintenance Enforcement Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 62.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 62. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 4513]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert, with the permission of the House, 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 bill:

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

and the committee recommends this 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.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this completes the government's business for today.

I would advise the House that the House will sit tomorrow between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The order paper that we have before us is probably the order paper that we will have tomorrow. We will advise House Leaders early tomorrow morning what we are going to be calling.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4514]

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

The motion is carried.

The time being 5:53 p.m. we will accept this as being the hour for the Adjournment motion and the motion that will be debated this evening was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre:

"Therefore be it resolved that the control of school site and school construction decisions should be returned to the community.".

I would advise those who are remaining for the late debate that there will be three speakers in the initial 10 minutes.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS:

SITES/CONSTRUCTION DECISIONS - COMMUN. RETURN

MR. DONALD CHARD: Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that I think is extremely important and I am sure that most, if not all, members of this House have had experience, direct and indirect, with this . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable members please vacate the Chamber quietly.

MR. CHARD: I am sure many, if not almost all, members of this House have had experience over the years with school issues and realize how crucial it is that communities be involved in decisions of this nature. My own experience stems from having been a member of a local home and school association in Dartmouth, having served on a district council of home and school associations and on the provincial home and school body, as well as having been a member of both the Dartmouth Regional School Board and the amalgamated Halifax Regional School Board.

Issues such as school selection or school closure, consolidation and construction, these issues are vital to the communities and neighbourhoods served by our schools. It is extremely important that communities have as much involvement in these discussions and decisions as possible. Members of the public, particularly parents and other members of the community

[Page 4515]

who are affected by public education, must have the confidence that decisions taken by their boards and by the Department of Education are in their best interests. We have seen considerable efforts made over recent years by the former Minister of Education of this government to ensure that parents and communities can have input into decisions on public education. I would applaud the intent of the former Minister of Education in this area.

I do, Mr. Speaker, have concerns, however, with what we have seen happening in the last couple of years as this government has embarked upon a phase of new school construction and what has happened in our communities where, from one community after another we have had parents express concerns that there has not been due process followed in decisions that have been taken. I think that is the crucial issue here. These are issues that are essential to the well-being of our communities and members of these communities who are affected must have the maximum involvement.

That, indeed, is the intent of a number of changes that have been made in the Education Act in various areas in recent years and this is an issue that must be adhered to and a policy, if not an actual provision of the Education Act, which must be adhered to if the public is going to have confidence in decisions that are being taken relating to public education in this province.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I would defer to other members of my caucus who wish to speak on this matter. (Applause)

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, communities are the heart of our province. They are what defines who we are. We identify as being part of a community and I guess to carry that a step further, we know that schools maintain the spirit of the community.

Mr. Speaker, the whole issue of community schools is something that we could discuss for a lengthy time but since our time is brief tonight, I would just like to make the point that schools and the determination of where a school will be must truly belong to a community and I say must truly belong to a community. The issue here is that we have seen across this province areas where we have heard concerns expressed about whether or not the community, in fact, are the people who are determining the future of their community, in essence, the future of their schools.

I will just speak very briefly about the community of Judique-Creignish and the community leaders for those two rural Cape Breton communities. They want their voices, they want their concerns, they want their beliefs to be heard. They do not want to be told, as they have been, that if you do not agree with the plans that this district has for your community, then do not ask to be on the committee. That is, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, what that community has been told and that is shameful. That is shameful.

[Page 4516]

[6:00 p.m.]

What we want in this province is truly an open process, not a process that someone tells us it is opened. We want truly an open process. We want community involvement. What we see in areas is not community participation, parents have been effectively removed from the decision making and this cannot continue. We want communities, we want local leaders, we want students, we want people to be masters of their destiny. We want people to be the ones who determine, based on the needs of that community, and that is what this resolution is about, community, and people have the right to a full, truly consultative process, the right to be heard. That is what we are asking for in this resolution, and another one of my colleagues would like to speak briefly on this.

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

MS. ROSEMARY GODIN: Mr. Speaker, Hammonds Plains, Bedford, Millwood, all these are areas needing new schools and all in the riding of beautiful, picturesque Sackville-Beaver Bank. I would imagine that few areas were as prepared to launch into a site selection process than Hammonds Plains. The parents there were well-organized, well-educated and well-prepared, because they have been working toward this for years and years. In fact, they already have had, for years, two sites selected. Then, along came the P3 process and those well thought out plans were scuttled in favour of another site in a new subdivision being built by the very company that will build the school. Well, what a coincidence.

Before I sit down, after talking about Hammonds Plains, let me tell you about Fall River. The sites near Beaver Bank were originally planned and they may have been in my riding of Sackville-Beaver Bank, but they were rejected in favour of some other site in a Liberal riding. Despite my calls to the school board, I still cannot find out where it is. It is obvious to me that these decisions are not being made by parents on site selection committees, or even by residents of these communities, but they are made or strongly influenced by outside interests; this is not the way to do it.

I urge that all aspects of school construction be returned to where it rightly belongs, to the community and to a government that is willing to be accountable for its actions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a few words regarding my area which has been talked about a number of times in the House and the school construction process. In Inverness County it has been a long, drawn-out process and I have been involved in it now for 15 or more years. A moratorium was on school construction for a long time.

[Page 4517]

Much of Inverness County's facilities were built back in the 1950's and are totally inadequate for the present day. As well, we have the declining enrolment in the student population, which has presented our area with a great many problems. Two years ago the communities came together to sit and discuss the school options. Over that two year period they held many meetings throughout the county and for me specifically, in the Inverness, Port Hood, Mabou, Judique and Whycocomagh districts. None of us, much like a compensation committee that we had here today, none of us came away totally satisfied with what was in the final analysis or the final program but we all had input into it, or those who wanted input and those who wanted to sit on committee had input. That has gone forward.

Your boards today are totally elected. Our interests were turned over to the board and they were to bring in the final decisions. Now, as an MLA, I still don't' know if there is going to be a school built in Judique, Port Hood, Mabou or where they may be built. They have not given us that decision yet, nor do I know where they are going to be built. I think the communities did have the ability to be involved. We were totally involved.

The one thing that the majority of the people said in the district is that they wanted reorganization, they wanted a facility that would give their children education. They put the children beyond the community interests and they said it is the children who we are here for; we are not here for the community, we are here for the children. I will leave you with that, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, the proposition before the House reads, "Therefore be it resolved that control of school site and school construction decisions should be returned to the community.". With deference to what has been heard from the other honourable members, other than the member for Inverness, I would submit that that very thing has been done by this government and is being done.

AN HON. MEMBER: Come on out to Timberlea.

MR. MACEWAN: I don't need to come out to Timberlea, Mr. Speaker, I represent the community of Whitney Pier, sir. I want to tell you that never, in all my years in politics, and they have been many, I have never seen a process in which the community was more involved, was more consulted and in which there was more solicitation of a community consensus prior to the site selection taking place. I have been around schools and education most of my life, either as a student or as a teacher. In my earlier years when schools were built, I don't recall any public involvement or discussion or asking the people where they wanted the schools. The people were told where the schools would go. They were told by the Board of School Commissioners. They would simply announce that a new school will be built at such and such a place. That is what would have happened 30 or 40 years ago.

[Page 4518]

Under this government, there has been a very widely-based - there has been so much input and so much consultation that I have often thought that the process was impeded because of the very great degree of consultation at every single step. Community meetings have been held and the people have been canvassed from door to door and a Citizens' Liaison Committee was set up in my community, headed by Mr. Drover. He and his committee members have been in regular touch with the community and with the school board. I have never in all my life seen more consultation, more democracy, more grass-roots democracy in action than I have on this matter of site selection for the new elementary school to be built in Whitney Pier.

I know that the NDP are against this process. If you are against the process, you will find fault with it in any way you can. What we are going to be putting to the people is our record of building schools. That is what we are going to put to the people for the approbation when the election comes, Mr. Speaker, that we build schools.

If you don't want the new schools, vote against them. If you don't want the new schools, the opportunity will be there for the people and the ballot box to pass judgement. I am confident that this will be more of a selling point than anything else that this government has done, this tremendous school construction program. It is the greatest school construction program in the history of Nova Scotia. Never before in history have more than 30 new schools been built from the ground up at one time, combined with major renovations and modifications to an additional 60 schools, meaning overall, 90 schools in the next number of months are going to either be built from the ground up or renovated in a very major way.

That is the greatest educational achievement in the history of Nova Scotia and this government has done it and is doing it. Wait until the people pass judgement because they won't go for the guff of the NDP, they will support the government that is building schools and meeting the educational needs of the people and once more, doing it in a democratic way with maximum community involvement and participation. I am very proud to be associated in a very small way with this tremendous program of educational achievement.

If there is nothing else that this government has done, this government is the leader in Canada in school construction. There is no other government anywhere in this country that is doing what this Russell MacLellan Liberal Government is doing here in Nova Scotia. That is as true as the gospel, I will stake my career on it because I am absolutely content to go to the people on the record of what this government is going to do in the field of school construction on the basis of what the people want and where the people want the school and the kind of school the people want. We have even had consultation as to things like the size of the gymnasium or the size of the cafeteria or the dimensions of the music room.

All of these things have been put to the people and still they rest discontented across the way. They wouldn't be satisfied if we paved the streets with gold. All they want to do is find fault, nit-pick, cause trouble, stir up dissent, that is their game. Mr. Speaker, we don't

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need that kind of element in Nova Scotia. What we need is a government that makes good things happen, the Liberal Government of Premier Russell MacLellan. I rest my case.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise tonight and speak on the resolution in front of us and that is, "Therefore be it resolved that control of school site and school construction decisions should be returned to the community.". It is absolutely imperative that control of the site selection be returned to the community. I don't think anybody in this House would disagree with that type of resolve that the community should be in charge of that site selection.

I think there are some fine examples out there where we have to question whether this government believes in that commitment. I would like to point out one such discrepancy. In the County of Inverness a thorough study involving communities, their input, their correlation of what they felt education and school sites should be was undertaken. That report was completed 18 months ago; for 18 months it sat on the shelf. Hopefully, a decision will be made shortly on it.

In that report, when they went to the communities of Judique, Creignish, Inverness, Margaree Forks, Whycocomagh, when they went to those communities, each one of those communities in that report agreed that they wanted a school presence in those communities. If the announcement is made for one or two schools to combine these two schools, then the community has not been listened to. Those communities will not have been listened to if that school presence is not maintained because that is what the citizens of those communities asked for. We will be able to judge shortly when we see the announcement on school site selection in those areas.

We have gone through a process of late where we have heard of areas like Beechville, Timberlea, Hammonds Plains, here in the greater metro area, where we have a private developer, pieces of land that are controlled or owned by that developer, ending up being site selected. Citizens in those communities are very concerned about that and all citizens are. The perception, real or not is that those schools are being privately developed to help that developer promote individual communities that he is working on, construction where he is selling house sites, subdivisions he is developing. In one case the chair of that Site Selection Committee was an employee of that particular company, Municipal Armoyan. Those types of situations, whether it is the best site or not, do not lend themselves to impartiality and community control of the site selection.

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[6:15 p.m.]

In these particular cases, where we have seen bundling of schools, another flaw occurs. If you have won the right, under P3, to construct a number of schools in a bundle, government, such as the minister has announced specifically for Timberlea, that a school would be built and finished by 1999. Well, if you are that private developer, you are in the driver's seat and in control of site selection, because if you say to that minister, I can build you a school by 1999 if you choose my site, but if it has to be somewhere else, we can't meet the deadline. Location and time-frames dictate a leverage to the private developer in those situations that is hardly fair to the situation and certainly not fair to the citizens in those communities, in my view.

Mr. Speaker, on the greater issue of P3, let's be candidly blunt, P3 doesn't build schools, P3 is a financing scheme, a financing regime, how you pay for a school. Schools can be constructed whether they are conventional, whether they are P3, regardless of financing, and this government wants to tie what a school looks like to a financing scheme. The two are completely independent; trying to mislead the people on that particular point, and it is critical. Those schools can be built either way. We see situations where P3 is being sold as the bad guy. Properly run, with proper guidelines and properly developed instead of this hasty situation we have seen over the last four years where the government fails to admit and fails to put proper guidelines in place to control the process, we get political advantage taken place of.

Mr. Speaker, I was in Lantz this spring after the provincial election. I was appalled. We had just gone through a provincial election, the Leader of the New Democratic Party was there that same night. He campaigned through that entire election that P3 would never be a school or a situation he would allow. Well, the temptation was too great that evening. He spoke to the crowd there, and all parents want their school constructed in the community. He got up and said that he didn't care whether it was P3 or not, it was time to build schools. He was in favour of P3. He even signed the declaration that night. It stated on the front of that declaration, regardless whether it was P3 or conventional, sign on and we will construct the school. He signed it. I agreed with him that he should sign it. That is not what I am contending.

What I am contending is the important thing is that school construction is put forward. Whether it is P3 or conventional, that is where the analysis and the proper monetary calculations should occur. If a public developer can build school B cheaper and more efficiently than the conventional method, fine, let that be the school there. But if the proposal in community B, a conventionally built school is better, let's build it that way. The important thing though is that the community decides and is part of and makes the decision of where they should go.

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These recent ones here in the metro area point out that particular flaw. We have heard the communities. The site selection committee has made their recommendation, but the announcement is being made by the minister and by the private developer, not what the community wanted. The process is not clear. The guidelines are not definitive enough, and arm's length maintenance of that site selection is not occurring. Those situations occur routinely with this government. Look at Horton High. We have seen a piece of property that was actually evaluated at approximately $80,000 to $100,000 on the municipal tax legislation bill, sold for $600,000. I won't contend whether it is a friend of the minister's or not, but the school was in his riding, the price was inflated and taxpayers bore the brunt of that. That is not what the process was designed to do.

Mr. Speaker, in the community where I live, I have seen a process occur over the last six months, that I was very proud of the citizens of our community. The school board announced what they called the Needs Study, in which parents teachers, instructors, and the students themselves were asked what is essential to upgrade educational facilities in your community. Remember, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that communities decide.

It was a pleasure to work with those parents, those students and those instructors throughout the summer. They would come with requests for information, whether it was to help them make financial analysis, whether it was student numbers, the whole gamut, Mr. Speaker.

When they reported for the areas in Cumberland County and the greater area of Amherst specifically, this fall it was with pleasure watching the school board accept their recommendations. We had the West Highland School, which the board's Needs Study said to remove that school and move those children. They came up with a financially viable plan, showing that restoration of that school was proper, and that was accepted by the board.

Two other schools that were slated to close are being amalgamated and one left open. Mr. Speaker, parents in those groups decided that a new site with a new school, where existing Amherst Regional High is, would be ideal. The community was happy, and the board accepted that.

In the outlying areas there are three elementary schools: one in Brookdale, one in Nappan, and one in Warren. Those parents sat down and decided what they wanted for their children was one central school, built in the central community outside of Amherst, that would replace those three aging schools and that is what they desired, and that was accepted. Three different solutions in the same community, three different educational needs for a physical structure. That is what happens when the community is consulted and the parents and the students and the instructors design it.

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Now it is up to the government and this minister to make sure they honour their part of that bond, and trust what the parents and the board have accepted, that that becomes reality and there are schools built there in the future that serve those students, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allocated for late debate having expired, we are finished until 9:00 o'clock tomorrow morning.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:22 p.m.]