Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Fri., Oct. 16, 1998

First Session

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 210-Medway River Rd. (Queens Co.):
Conditions - Improve, Mr. J. Leefe 2081
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Millville Hwy. (C.B.Co.) - Repave,
Ms. Helen MacDonald ^Justice: Sunday Shopping - Oppose, Mr. M. Baker ~ 2082 2082
Educ.: Funding - Increase (Gov't. [Can.]), Mr. P. Delefes 2083
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Justice - Sunday Shopping: Request - Denied, The Premier 2083
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1025, Lbr. - Fire Prevention Week: Firefighters - Acknowledge,
Hon. R. MacKinnon 2085
Vote - Affirmative 2086
Res. 1026, Bus. & Cons. Serv.: Atl. Can. Vehicle Extrication Comp. -
Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 2086
Vote - Affirmative 2087
Res. 1027, Fish. - Isle Madame: Aquaculture Commun. Award -
Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 2087
Vote - Affirmative 2088
Res. 1028, Agric. - Role: Importance - Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 2088
Vote - Affirmative 2089
Res. 1029, Women (Cdn./N.S.) - Contributions: Economic/Social -
Recognize, Hon. F. Cosman 2089
Vote - Affirmative 2089
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 29, Canadian Firearms Registration System Act, Mr. M. Scott 2090
No. 30, Road Improvements Act, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2090
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1030, Educ. - Post-Secondary: Fairness Absence -
Apologize (Premier), Ms. Helen MacDonald 2090
Res. 1031, Educ. - Moira Harding (KES, Windsor): Time Mag. Cover -
Congrats., Dr. J. Hamm 2090
Vote - Affirmative 2091
Res. 1032, NDP (N.S.) - Gov'ts. (NDP-Prov.): Compassion -
Demonstrate, Mr. P. MacEwan 2091
Res. 1033, Black Cultural Soc. (N.S.): Anniv. 15th - Congrats.,
Ms. Y. Atwell 2092
Vote - Affirmative 2092
Res. 1034, Health: Breast Health Month (Can.) - Recognize,
Mr. G. Moody 2093
Vote - Affirmative 2093
Res. 1035, NDP - Job Creation (Rural): Opposition - Clarify,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 2093
Res. 1036, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Roads: Building Plan - Table,
Mr. John Deveau 2094
Res. 1037, Fin. - Vol. Firefighters: Tax Credit - Legislation Table,
Dr. J. Hamm 2095
Res. 1038, Health - Camp Hill: Veterans' Mem. Gdn. Vol. Comm. -
Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 2095
Vote - Affirmative 2096
Res. 1039, NDP (N.S.) Leader - NDP (Can.) Leader:
Doctrine Defection - Explanation Demand, Mr. H. Fraser 2096
Res. 1040, MADD (N.S.): Commitment - Acknowledge, Mr. N. LeBlanc 2097
Vote - Affirmative 2097
Res. 1041, Health - Strait-Richmond Hosp.: Physician Serv. (Interim) -
Commun. Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2097
Res. 1042, Justice (Can.) - Firearms Act: Delay - Urge, Mr. Murray Scott 2098
Res. 1043, Sports - Baseball: Dartmouth Senior A -
Hall of Fame (N.S.) - Induct, Mr. D. Dexter 2099
Vote - Affirmative 2099
Res. 1044, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Employment (N.S.) - Support,
Mr. R. White 2100
Res. 1045, Clean N.S. Foundation: Work - Applaud, Mr. J. Muir 2100
Vote - Affirmative 2101
Res. 1046, Commun. Serv. - Hope Cottage (1m Meals): Dedication -
Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 2101
Res. 1047, NDP (N.S.): Sask. Model - Emulation, Mr. P. MacEwan 2102
Res. 1048, Health - Oncologists: Retention Difficulties -
Acknowledge, Mr. J. DeWolfe 2102
Res. 1049, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Pictou Co.: Road Repair -
Undertake, Mr. C. Parker 2103
Res. 1050, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwys.: Rebuilding Plan -
Deliver, Mr. J. Leefe 2104
Res. 1051, Swissair Flight 111 Crash - African N.S. Commun. Choir
(Ms. Dawn Upshaw): Thanks - Extend, Mr. P. Delefes 2104
Vote - Affirmative 2105
Res. 1052, Transport (Can.) - Hfx. Internat. Airport: Control Transfer -
Participants (N.S.) Congrats., M. G. Balser 2106
Vote - Affirmative 2106
Res. 1053, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - C.B.: Soc. & Econ. Dev. -
Plan Table, Mr. F. Corbett 2106
Res. 1054, Agric. - Middleton Grain Centre: Reopening Plans - Provide,
Mr. G. Archibald 2107
Res. 1055, Devco - Continuance: Plan Support - Urge (Gov't. [Can.]),
Mr. J. Holm 2108
Vote - Affirmative 2108
Res. 1056, Fish. - Aboriginal Rights: Paralysis - Condemn,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 2108
Res. 1057, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Roads Secondary: Neglect -
Explain, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2109
Res. 1058, Health - Home Support Workers: Contribution - Recognize,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2110
Res. 1059, Health - Cumb. South: Physician Shortage - Address,
Mr. M. Scott 2111
Res. 1060, PC Leader (N.S.) - Gov't. (N.S.) Defeat: Position - Clarify,
Mr. D. Dexter 2112
Res. 1061, Health - Aberdeen Hospital: Parking Fees - Investigate,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 2112
Res. 1062, Educ. - Moira Harding (KES, Windsor): Time Mag. Cover -
Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 2113
Vote - Affirmative 2114
Res. 1063, Miss Black Canada: Tamara Tynes (Truro) - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Muir 2114
Vote - Affirmative 2115
Res. 1064, Gov't. (N.S.): P3 - Avoid, Mr. P. Delefes 2115
Res. 1065, Nat. Res. - Forest Council (WN.S.): Annual Meeting
(Lun.-17/10/98) - Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 2115
Vote - Affirmative 2116
Res. 1066, DND - NATO Peacekeeping [Yugo.]:
Cp. James Ogilvie Dec'd. - Efforts-Recognize/Sympathy-Extend,
Mr. G. Moody 2116
Vote - Affirmative 2117
Res. 1067, Devco - Silence (Premier): Continuance - Regret,
Mr. F. Corbett 2117
Res. 1068, IODE - Olympic Chapter: Anniv. 80th - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Archibald 2118
Vote - Affirmative 2118
Res. 1069, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Tourism Dept. (Autonomous) -
Create, Mr. G. Balser 2118
Res. 1070, Health - Care: Long-Term - Importance Recognize,
Mr. J. Leefe 2119
Res. 1071, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Truckers Rates Low (Pt. Tupper) -
Intervene, Mr. B. Taylor 2120
Res. 1072, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival -
Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 2121
Vote - Affirmative 2121
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 13, Financial Measures (1998) Act 2122
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 2122
Dr. J. Hamm 2131
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2137
Mr. G. Balser 2143
Mr. C. Parker 2147
Mr. B. Taylor 2153
Mr. P. Delefes 2158
Adjourned debate 2160
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Oct. 19th at 6:00 p.m. 2160

[Page 2081]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Before we start the daily routine, I would just like to bring to your attention that yesterday, during Question Period, I referred to a question put by the honourable Leader of the Opposition and said that I wasn't too sure about that particular question. What caused me some problems was the use of the word deceive. In some Parliaments, it has been ruled that the word deceive is acceptable parliamentary language and others that it is not. In this particular Legislature, it is not. The question also imputed motives. So the question, in reality, was out of order but I recognize the fact that I should have closed the gates immediately, and I did not do so, but I would ask members to perhaps review some of the matters relating to unparliamentary language in Beauchesne.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by 80 residents of Queens County who speak to the condition of Highway No. 210 and the Medway River Road. The petitioners note that:

2081

[Page 2082]

"Due to lack of repairs to these highways they have fallen into a deplorable condition. . . . culverts have cracked and heaved the blacktop to such a degree that vehicles veer from there lane, other areas have gullies which drop the pavement so that vehicles strike with damaging force.

The bushes are so tall and hang into the road so that in some areas it is impossible to detect oncoming traffic, especially at intersections to the highway.".

I fully endorse this petition and I have signed it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the people who travel on and reside on the Millville Highway in the former Cape Breton County. The petition reads as follows:

"We, the people who travel and/or reside on the Millville Highway in the County of Cape Breton, request that the road be given top priority to be repaved. It is in deplorable condition with narrow washed out road shoulders and holes and dips in the pavement causing unsafe conditions for motorists and pedestrians. We have brought this grievance to the attention of the Department several times over the last years and have been completely ignored. We have children awaiting school buses, many walkers and two residents who use electric wheelchairs along this road and we need an immediate response to our request before something drastic happens.".

This petition has 675 signatures and I have affixed my signature to the document.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition entitled, "I Disagree With the Proposed Changes Wanted by Store Owners to Allow Sunday Shopping in Grocery and Department Stores.". The petition indicates that the signatories wish to oppose the Sunday shopping changes. I would ask to table that petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 2083]

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition on behalf of university students in Nova Scotia. The operative part of this petition reads as follows, "We, the undersigned, call on the Government of Nova Scotia to immediately call in the federal government to increase funding to the provinces to immediately reinstate student bursaries, to immediately regulate an immediate tuition fee freeze.".

This petition, Mr. Speaker, contains over 400 signatures and I have affixed my name to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to convey to the House the decision of the government regarding the issue of Sunday shopping.

At the request of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, the government was asked to consider a request that would allow stores to remain open for the six Sundays prior to Christmas. After very careful consideration, government has decided that it is not appropriate to grant this request. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you this was not a decision that was made lightly. There are very strong opinions on both sides of the issue. We have made what we believe to be the appropriate decision for Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, we made this decision for the small retail operators of rural Nova Scotia, for their employees, and for their employees' families. The operators in rural Nova Scotia, in particular, told us that if we allow the bigger chains to open on Sundays their businesses will suffer. Their livelihoods and families will suffer. We are not prepared to allow that to happen.

We also heard from the workers. These people told us that they do not want to work on Sundays. They fear that they will have no choice if we allow stores to remain open. They fear that their employers will have no choice. We did not want to put them in that position. Most importantly though, we made our decision with the families of the employees in mind.

[Page 2084]

I personally believe that Sunday should be a day when parents and other caregivers should not be compelled to work. When we have the choice to spend time with our children, Mr. Speaker, that is what every child in Nova Scotia has the right to expect. I believe this more than ever, given the pace and pressures that we all face in today's society, Nova Scotians have long understood that Sunday is a day when we can choose to spend our time away from the pursuits of the workaday world, when many of us choose to put our families first. Our quality of life in this province reflects that fact. That is what makes Nova Scotia unique. We do not see a reason to change. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise on behalf of the Official Opposition to say to the Premier and to the members of the government that we very much support the decision that has been made. We certainly have also discussed this matter, and we also have been lobbied, and when you weigh it in balance, we believe, and we were of the view that the Sunday shopping hours should not be extended for the reasons that the Premier has extended.

We see no evidence that the retail business law is creating any kind of significant business disadvantage for those large operators. When you are taking a look at what would have happened, for example, had the store hours been allowed to open, given the fact that the Labour Standards Code does not provide any particular protection for part-time workers, we think that that would be inappropriate.

Mr. Speaker, we also take a look at the rural communities and the small business owner, business operator, there is a very real concern that the rural communities and the rural stores and the small business operators would in fact suffer as a consequence of this. Family consideration is also a very important one. We know that many who work in the retail business, who work in the retail trade, have very limited time as it is to be able to spend quality time with their loved ones, with their families. If the Sunday shopping were permitted to be open, especially in this day and age, when you have many members, very often in many homes both family members who leave the household working, then it makes it extremely difficult for the families to come together as a family unit, and Sunday is a very important day for that occasion.

So I say through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier, that this caucus does not always agree with all of the decisions that this government has made, but on this particular occasion, we believe that the government did make the right decision. We are very much in support of the decision that has been reached by Cabinet on this matter. (Applause)

[Page 2085]

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Premier on his announcement today. It is one of the rare occasions that the Premier, on an issue of public policy, has been able to garner applause from all sides of the House. Obviously, the Premier's announcement is being well received by all legislators in this place. I make that remark after watching the support, by way of applause, that the Premier received.

I believe that the Premier's announcement today is a very positive one, because I believe it is a response to asking the question, what do we want this province to be? There are many jurisdictions who have made a different decision in terms of Sunday shopping, but I believe this is one of those questions that we answer individually as a province.

We decide what it is that the people of Nova Scotia want and are we prepared to allow Nova Scotia to be different, to be unique. I believe that is a question that should be asked on many occasions by government. What do we want this province to be? If that question were asked on more frequent occasions, then perhaps some public policy that is present in this province at this time would not be present and the place would, in fact, be that better place that we all want it to be.

[10:15 a.m.]

The unique Retail Business Closing Day Act is one that provides the legislative framework for business activities on Sunday. I believe that we must be vigilant in not allowing end runs around this particular piece of legislation and circumventing what the Premier has announced here today. I congratulate the Premier. I believe it is the right decision and the reason I am saying that, Mr. Speaker, is I personally support the decision but I believe that the majority of people that I represent in Pictou Centre support the decision. I believe this is one of those decisions that should be made by everyone in this House. It is the kind of decision that I believe should be determined on something other than partisan Party lines and it is interesting that it obviously has received such a strong endorsation by members of the House. So I congratulate the Premier on his announcement today. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1025

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

[Page 2086]

Whereas one week in October has been proclaimed as Fire Prevention Week unifying over 8,000 firefighters and 314 fire departments in Nova Scotia, the majority of whom are volunteers; and

Whereas these dedicated men and women respond to over 20,000 emergency alarms each year, dedicating in excess of 60,000 hours in training and countless more in fund-raising; and

Whereas these men and women face constant danger and threat of injury in serving this province, and we are saddened by the deaths of two firefighters in the past year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the efforts of the Fire Officers Association of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Firefighters School, the International Association of Firefighters and the numerous county and regional groups, many of whom will be attending the annual meeting in Valley Kemptown this weekend and thank them for their contribution to the safety and quality of life in Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Business of Consumer Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1026

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

Whereas from October 2nd to October 4th in Halifax, fire departments from across the Maritimes participated in the Atlantic Canada Vehicle Extrication Competition and Learning Symposium, the first of its kind in eastern Canada; and

Whereas this competition provided firefighters and rescue personnel with the unique opportunity to learn new extrication techniques and improve their existing skills, while increasing public awareness of road safety issues; and

[Page 2087]

Whereas the benefits of this competition and symposium are far-reaching, positively impacting on participant safety, public health, impaired driving and highway and road safety;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of the event organizer, Chris Mayne, and congratulate all 400 participants, including the overall competition winner from the Sydney River Volunteer Fire Department, on their outstanding performance and encourage the organizing team in its bid to host the international competition in Halifax in 2002.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: I have some difficulty with that notice of motion, not with the content, but I think it is in the wrong order of business. Government Notices of Motion introduced by ministers refer to their own particular Cabinet responsibilities and I am not too sure that that one falls within yours.

MR. COLWELL: Yes, it does.

MR. SPEAKER: Very well, I will accept your word for it.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1027

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

Whereas this weekend the community of Isle Madame will be honoured by the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture for the first-ever Aquaculture Community Award for their success in developing aquaculture in their area; and

Whereas an Aquaculture Harvest Festival, organized by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture with the assistance of Development Isle Madame, will be held to celebrate this award and will include local entertainment, tours of an aquaculture site and sampling of local aquaculture products; and

[Page 2088]

Whereas the community will also be awarded a $1,000 scholarship to be given to a student selected by the local high school, who is planning to study aquaculture in a post-secondary institution;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the community of Isle Madame for their success in promoting aquaculture development and congratulate it on being the first recipient of the Aquaculture Community Award.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1028

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

Whereas October is Agriculture Awareness Month in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas October is a time to celebrate the contribution producers make to the lives of Nova Scotians as individuals and to the general prosperity of the province's economy and our rural communities; and

Whereas agriculture is a diverse and progressive industry that provides jobs for 12,000 Nova Scotians and contributes more than $1 billion each year to the provincial economy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the important role agriculture plays in the lives of Nova Scotians all year, and celebrate this contribution during Agriculture Awareness Month.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2089]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1029

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

Whereas October marks the observance of the 7th Annual Women's History Month in Canada in recognition of the person case of October 18, 1929, when Canadian women achieved formal legal status as persons; and

Whereas women contribute much to Canada's economy through their unpaid but highly valuable work in the home and with their families and through their increasing role in business where women-owned small businesses create 1.7 million jobs a year in Canada; and

Whereas Women's History Month recognizes these valued economic conditions through this year's theme, The Business of Women: An Evolving Story;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize, salute and support the contributions of Canadian and Nova Scotian women, their contribution to the economic and social well-being of Canada.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2090]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 29 - Entitled an Act to Prohibit Any Participation by the Government of Nova Scotia in Respect of the Operation of the Canadian Firearms Registration System. (Mr. Murray Scott)

Bill No. 30 - Entitled an Act to Set Criteria for Prioritizing Road Improvement Projects. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1030

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

Whereas all members of this House recognize the inherent value of post-secondary education; and

Whereas this government in particular has repeatedly claimed to support the principles of equality and fairness in education; and

Whereas the students who will be standing in front of this House today, organized by the Canadian Federation of Students, bear witness to the miserable failure of this government's record on keeping its education promises;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly urge that the Premier go outside when the students arrive and offer his personal apology and an explanation for his failure to live up to his promises.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1031

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

[Page 2091]

Whereas Pictou Island student Moira Harding who attends Kings-Edgehill School in Windsor is this week on the cover of the international news magazine, Time; and

Whereas Moira is featured beside a headline entitled What Makes a Great Student; and

Whereas Moira is presently enrolled in an international diploma program that takes at least two years to finish and involves a varying degree of courses such as art, math, philosophy and science;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate Moira for her keen interest in her studies, for showcasing Nova Scotia on a world stage, while wishing her every success with her future endeavours.

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 Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1032

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 right-wing NDP Government of Saskatchewan is so tight-fisted it has cut back on painting centre and shoulder lines along the highways so that motorists can drive safely and be able to see at night; and

Whereas the right-wing, anti-labour NDP Government of Saskatchewan is so mean-spirited that it has put balancing the budget as a higher priority than highway safety; and

Whereas the hospital-closing-NDP Government of Saskatchewan is so penny-pinching, it openly boasts of saving $200,000 through halting the painting of lines on the highways and now proposes to save a further $200,000 by using even less paint on the roads;

[Page 2092]

Therefore be it resolved that this House challenge the NDP representatives here to demonstrate a single example anywhere where NDP Governments now in power are able to deliver the kind of even-handed, compassionate and responsive administration we now have here in Nova Scotia thanks to the caring leadership of Premier Russell MacLellan.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1033

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

Whereas the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia will hold their 15th Anniversary dinner on Saturday, October 17th, at the Black Cultural Centre; and

Whereas this anniversary will be held in conjunction with the community to pay tribute to Dr. Senator Calvin W. Ruck, in honouring his appointment to the Senate; and

[10:30 a.m.]

Whereas the Black Cultural Society has been developed to protect, preserve and promote Black culture in Nova Scotia, and to strengthen and support community members, and their many achievements;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia for 15 years of committed service to the Black community of Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 2093]

RESOLUTION NO. 1034

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

Whereas breast cancer remains the number one killer of women between the ages of 35 and 55; and

Whereas October is designated as National Breast Health Month; and

Whereas events such as CIBC's Run for Cure help to promote awareness and raise funds for research, education and treatment of the disease;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize National Breast Health Month and those, who either as health care professionals or volunteers, continue to offer their time and their energy to winning the battle against this disease.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1035

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

Whereas the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism recently demonstrated this government's commitment to workers by investing $9.9 million to train workers for the new supercalendered mill at Stora Port Hawkesbury; and

Whereas at the peak of its restructuring, Stora employed over 2,300 Nova Scotians, and contributed $68 million in taxes to the provincial Treasury, not to mention the benefits to the Strait Region; and

[Page 2094]

Whereas the NDP claimed that the creation of real, secure jobs in rural Nova Scotia is their priority, but continually attach every job creation initiative by this government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the NDP please clarify for this House why the NDP oppose any progress in job creation and criticize companies that make a positive contribution to rural Nova Scotia.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1036

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

Whereas the unspoken policy of this government, with respect to rural roads, has been a secretive process based upon a narrow set of criteria; and

Whereas this has resulted in the unfair development of roads throughout the province; and

Whereas the current government has made no effort to remedy its politically grounded unfair approach to road construction;

Therefore be it resolved that the government table for this House a road building plan which makes the process more open and transparent by outlining for the public a clear list of criteria and by establishing a clear time period for when and where road construction will occur.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[Page 2095]

RESOLUTION NO. 1037

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

Whereas most communities in Nova Scotia rely on volunteers who give freely of their time to train and provide critical life-saving services, such as firefighting; and

Whereas some volunteer firefighters receive remuneration and are able to access the $1,000 federal tax allowance; and

Whereas all firefighters, paid or volunteer, risk their lives, but over 6,000 of the 9,000 volunteer firefighters in Nova Scotia do not receive an honorarium and, therefore, cannot access a portion of the federal tax-free allowance;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance introduce legislation that would provide our volunteer firefighters with a $500 tax credit in recognition of their invaluable service to their communities.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1038

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 Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial Building is dedicated to care for the elderly, and is home to over 175 veterans; and

Whereas we must never forget what these brave women and men sacrificed to protect our liberties; and

[Page 2096]

Whereas the Veterans' Memorial Garden Volunteer Committee hosted an official opening on August 12, 1998;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to the volunteer committee and very best wishes to all veterans who will enjoy this memorial garden.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1039

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

Whereas yesterday the New Democratic Party member for Halifax Atlantic took great pride in introducing his predecessor, federal NDP Leader Alexa McDonough, to the House; and

Whereas together Mr. Chisholm and Ms. McDonough have claimed kinship and solidarity with trade unions; and

Whereas Alexa McDonough recently betrayed the NDP philosophy by starting a courtship with business interests, much to the anger of her beloved brothers and sisters in the Canadian Auto Workers Union and Canadian Labour Congress;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party demand an explanation from his federal mentor for defecting from her socialist doctrine or, barring that, declare that the NDP are philosophically bankrupt.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

[Page 2097]

RESOLUTION NO. 1040

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are holding their annual meeting in Halifax this weekend; and

Whereas MADD is continually working toward ensuring both Nova Scotians and all drivers are not on the road after they have been drinking alcohol; and

Whereas MADD, through their hard work and dedication, are consistently keeping the troubling issue of drunk driving in the forefront of the news media and working tirelessly toward making Nova Scotia's highways a safer place to travel on;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature acknowledge the commitment and hard work being demonstrated by the Nova Scotia Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and work with them on an ongoing basis so families will not be impacted by the death of a loved one because someone had too much to drink before driving home.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1041

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

Whereas residents of the communities served by the Strait-Richmond Hospital rose up in impressive numbers to demand the minimum in physician services to permit that hospital's emergency department to remain open; and

[Page 2098]

Whereas the local recruitment team never relented in their efforts to put together a package that would make the working conditions and pay worthwhile enough to attract a physician;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the thousands of residents, the dedicated volunteers and the community leaders who came together to ensure that the minimal physician services would be available for the Strait-Richmond Hospital to provide emergency care.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1042

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

Whereas Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has announced that his government will appeal the recent Alberta Court of Appeal's decision regarding the Firearms Act to the Supreme Court of Canada; and

Whereas to date more than $130 million has been spent on the Firearms Act without a single firearm having been registered; and

Whereas the federal Minister of Justice has failed to refute published reports that the cost may reach $350 million by the year 2002;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier of Nova Scotia urge the federal government to delay the current December 1st implementation of the Firearms Act until the Supreme Court issues a ruling on the appeal initiated by the Tory Government in the Province of Alberta and the NDP Government in Saskatchewan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2099]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1043

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Senior A Baseball Team has established itself as the greatest team in the history of the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League by winning the title for eight of the last nine years; and

Whereas Dartmouth's gold medal performance at the 1998 National Men's Senior Baseball Championships established it as one of the best in Canada; and

Whereas long-time members of the Dartmouth squad including Jay Washington, Greg Marquis and Todd Parker, retired after this season;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Dartmouth team and urge the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame to consider inducting Dartmouth into the Hall of Fame.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 2100]

RESOLUTION NO. 1044

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

Whereas during a recent caucus tour of the construction site for the gas fractionation plant at Point Tupper, the government caucus was informed that 49 of the 50 construction workers on the site were from Cape Breton; and

Whereas when the caucus visited the Sable site at Goldboro, they were informed that out of a total workforce of 225 workers at the site, 215 workers were from Nova Scotia; and

Whereas 155 members of the Goldboro workforce were from Guysborough County;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature continue to support Premier MacLellan and his efforts to put Nova Scotians first when it comes to employment on the Sable gas projects.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has requested waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1045

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Waste Reduction Week is an annual celebration of Nova Scotia's environment and is organized and coordinated by the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation; and

Whereas Waste Reduction Week begins today with a waste reduction luncheon from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. with Mr. Tony Bebbington, head of Bebbington Industries, as the keynote speaker; and

[Page 2101]

Whereas Mr. Bebbington has led his company to setting high standards in pollution prevention and received recognition from the federal Department of the Environment and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the important work being done by the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation, Mr. Tony Bebbington and Bebbington Industries to highlight Nova Scotia's environment.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1046

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

Whereas government cutbacks have created serious problems by not providing adequate food and shelter allowances to those less fortunate, thereby increasing the number of poor people seeking nutritional meals at soup kitchens; and

Whereas Hope Cottage, a local soup kitchen, has been doing the government's work for approximately 27 years by feeding metro's poor; and

Whereas on Wednesday, September 23, 1998, Hope Cottage served its one millionth meal;

Therefore be it resolved that all Parties of this Legislature congratulate Director Michael Burke and the volunteers at Hope Cottage for a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 2102]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1047

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

Whereas for years the NDP have insisted they do everything right in Saskatchewan, even if Bob Rae's Government made a mess of things in Ontario and even if Glen Clark's tempestuous reign in B.C. is less than idyllic; and

Whereas the right-wing NDP Government of Saskatchewan has closed down one-third of the hospitals in that province, proportionately an even more drastic cut than Mike Harris' Tory Government inflicted on Ontario; and

Whereas the right-wing NDP Government of Saskatchewan is so anti-labour that it has now locked out half the employees of the Saskatchewan Power Corporation;

Therefore be it resolved that if this is the model that the Nova Scotia NDP emulates, then God help Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1048

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

Whereas two more medical oncologists recently left Nova Scotia, creating anxiety for cancer patients and their families; and

[Page 2103]

[10:45 a.m.]

Whereas the critical shortage of medical oncologists is the result of the failure of the Minister of Health to address the concerns and warnings of Dr. Butts; and

Whereas the minister's assurances his government has not failed in its obligation to cancer care patients has a familiar hollow ring to both cancer patients and health care providers as they await the services of one of Nova Scotia's three remaining medical oncologists;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health acknowledge that the reason Nova Scotia faces serious recruitment challenges is because his department has failed in its duties to retain the medical oncologists who recently left.

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

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1049

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

Whereas many rural roads in Pictou County are in very poor condition; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation, during his visit in August, agreed that many of our roads need repair; and

Whereas regular road maintenance is proven to be cost-effective;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation immediately undertake a program of emergency road repair in Pictou County before the onset of winter.

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

[Page 2104]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1050

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

Whereas decent roads are essential to the people of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas decent roads are an essential key to economic opportunity and jobs for Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Liberal Government, under both MacLellan and Savage, has systematically underfunded highway building and maintenance;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government make good on its promise of almost six years ago - that is to establish a politics-free, long-range, properly funded plan for rebuilding the provincial highway system - so it can once again be an instrument for economic opportunity and jobs for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: Are you requesting waiver?

MR. LEEFE: No.

MR. SPEAKER: No. I wasn't sure if you requested waiver when you started that notice of motion.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 1051

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

[Page 2105]

Whereas Ms. Dawn Upshaw, a resident of Halifax Citadel, in the aftermath of the Swissair Flight 111 crash, single-handedly organized a choir which performed at Peggy's Cove to comfort the grieving families and friends of the 220 victims; and

Whereas 350 members of the African-Nova Scotian community volunteered their time and travelled from as far away as Cape Breton in order to respond to Ms. Upshaw's request; and

Whereas Ms. Upshaw was informed that calls of gratitude were received not only from the families of the victims, but also from the members of the military and the RCMP and local members of the Emergency Measures Organization, who were comforted by the singing and the prayers performed by the group;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend, to Ms. Upshaw, our thanks and appreciation for the sensitive expression of sympathy she and the choir made.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is my extreme pleasure, at this time, to introduce, in your gallery sir, one of the most distinguished Canadians it has ever been my pleasure to meet, and to have worked with him has been truly an exceptional experience for me. The Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Honourable Herb Gray, is the dean of the House of Commons. He has been a stalwart in the Government of Canada for many years, serving in various portfolios. He is deeply respected by the people he represents in Windsor, Ontario. He is a man of exceptional character, with an exceptional love of his country. His dedication to the people of his constituency, to the people of all of Canada, and to the people with whom he works, and both sides of the House of Commons, is something that all of us deeply respect.

It is a pleasure that he is able to be with us this morning, to visit us, and I know all members would join with me in thanking him for his service, for the person he is, and in welcoming him to the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

[Page 2106]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1052

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

Whereas the Halifax International Airport Authority and Transport Canada have reached a deal to transfer control of Halifax International Airport to the local community; and

Whereas Halifax airport is the last of Canada's eight major international airports to be transferred to local control; and

Whereas the securing of the arrangements to transfer control of Halifax airport were made possible only through the combined efforts of the Halifax International Airport Authority, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Halifax Regional Municipality and all three political Parties;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their congratulations and best wishes for a job well done to all those individuals and organizations whose fine efforts resulted in the closure of this business transaction.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1053

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

Whereas the Premier stood in this House last night and recognized the problems in Cape Breton go beyond unemployment; and

[Page 2107]

Whereas the Premier also declared that the social and economic problems of Cape Breton must be dealt with immediately; and

Whereas as the head of the government of this Province of Nova Scotia, the Premier is in a uniquely opportune position to really deal with these problems;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government commit to tabling to this House a clear plan for socio-economic development in Cape Breton, including a clear strategy for dealing with the energy sector, the environment and older workers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1054

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

Whereas this Liberal Government consistently ignored the pleas of the farmers in Annapolis County this past summer concerning the closure of the Middleton Grain Centre; and

Whereas a report released by the Western Valley Development Authority, a week ago, stated the closure of the Middleton Grain Centre would cost the local economy $5.7 million; and

Whereas the member for Annapolis, after failing to get the closure discussed around the Liberal caucus table, is now telling local farmers that a partial reopening of the grain centre is in the works, even though East Coast Commodities, after speaking with the member for Annapolis, are saying they haven't seen anything to make them consider reopening the centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing provide the member for Annapolis with specifics on how the Liberal Government plans to reopen the Middleton Grain Centre instead of allowing him to offer pie in the sky solutions which have no credence.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 2108]

RESOLUTION NO. 1055

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

Whereas last year and this year Devco laid off the miners who worked to develop new coal faces so that coal production can continue uninterrupted; and

Whereas a rapid increase in coal imports and job losses are the inevitable result of that decision; and

Whereas the federal government has yet to adopt a plan for Devco or to make clear its policies on the reinvestment necessary to continue coal production;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the federal government to support the continued effective operation of Devco by immediately adopting a plan that includes sufficient investment to develop new coal faces and mines to meet Nova Scotia's domestic coal requirements and resume coal exports.

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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 1056

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

Whereas the federal government has initiated a court case concerning the rights of Aboriginals to sell fish products directly instead of harvesting for food products purposes; and

[Page 2109]

Whereas the Province of New Brunswick deems the far-reaching consequences of this court case are of sufficient importance to prepare an intervention putting forward its position; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has ignored the pleas of Nova Scotia fishermen to put forward the province's position, forcing the fishermen to intervene at their own expense;

Therefore be it resolved that the House condemn the Minister of Fisheries for being in a state of paralysis while events are evolving which seriously affect the future of thousands of Nova Scotia fishermen and, indeed, their families.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honorable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1057

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

Whereas road safety must remain a priority in budgetary decisions for the Department of Transportation; and

Whereas numerous secondary roads have been forgotten with such basic services as ditching and brush-cutting; and

Whereas roadside maintenance has been seriously neglected;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to explain why his department has sacrificed the driving safety of Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 2110]

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Christmas tree growers are being negatively impacted from shipping their trees to Europe by trade barriers; and

Whereas the co-ordinator of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia in a recent address noted these trade barriers are only artificial ones to protect the European Christmas tree industry; and

Whereas Nova Scotia balsam fir trees are extremely popular in Europe, especially in Germany because it is of a higher quality than those trees produced in Europe;

Therefore be it resolved that you, Mr. Speaker, write our federal Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Sergio Marchi and demand his immediate attention to this issue and that he work closely with the Canadian lumber industry and Nova Scotia Christmas tree growers to eliminate this artificial trade barrier sooner rather than later.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

I would believe that notice of motion to be out of order or review it, however, I believe it is out of order.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1058

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

Whereas home support workers are an integral part of the home care delivery system in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas there continues to be a serious shortage of home support workers in this province and home support workers continue to face poor working conditions, limited benefits and lack of recognition; and

[Page 2111]

Whereas this government has not moved in an expedient way to address these issues in any meaningful way;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians throughout this province recognize the valuable contribution of home support workers, especially during National Home Support Worker Week, October 12th to October 18th, and that this government quickly resolve, with the full participation of the Home Support Workers Council, the pressing issues of home support workers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

In reference to the notice of motion from the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, it is out of order in that the Speaker cannot be directed to demand from the federal government a specific request. However, there is nothing wrong with the honourable member reworking that notice of motion to whatever.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1059

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

Whereas Cumberland South is facing a shortage of doctors and thousands of residents do not have a family doctor to call their own; and

Whereas this government continues to ignore the concerns of these residents who deserve to have access to medical services for their families in their own areas; and

Whereas this concern has many Cumberland South residents questioning the credibility of Nova Scotia's health care system;

Therefore be it resolved that this House require the Minister of Health to take immediate steps to address the current emergency situation in response to the shortage of physicians in Cumberland South.

[Page 2112]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1060

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

Whereas Conservative MLAs have begun urging those from other Parties to oppose the Financial Measures Act, without attempting to improve it by amendment, to demonstrate that this House has no confidence in the government; and

[11:00 a.m.]

Whereas the road to Government House is straight and short for any Third Party Leader who wishes to tell his Honour the Lieutenant Governor that the majority of the members of this House do not have confidence in the government and wish the government to resign or to be dismissed;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party should make it clear whether the members of his caucus who urge a vote to immediately defeat the government are speaking for their Leader, caucus and Party, or simply engaging in pre-Hallowe'en tricks.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1061

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

[Page 2113]

Whereas regional health boards across Nova Scotia continue to insist on straining people's patience to the bitter end with seemingly bizarre autocratic decisions; and

Whereas the latest autocratic decision imposed by the regional health board is a parking fee soon to be put into place at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow; and

Whereas residents of Pictou County are enraged over this bureaucratic decision and want a stop put to it as soon as possible;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately investigate this situation and put the brakes on it so that an unreasonable financial burden will not be imposed on the people of Pictou County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution I would like to make an introduction, if I could. In our west gallery this morning, second from the right in the front row is my brother, Robert Parker. Robert is a school board member for Pictou County for the past seven years and is presently Vice Chairman of the Chignecto Central Regional School Board. I would ask the House to give him a warm welcome, please. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 1062

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

Whereas Moira Harding of Pictou Island has been chosen as a great example of what makes a great student and is on the front cover of this week's Time Magazine; and

Whereas Moira has shown academic excellence at Kings-Edgehill and is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and is involved in numerous extra-curricular activities; and

[Page 2114]

Whereas Moira credits her success to "a willingness and curiosity and a real desire to learn.";

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulates Moira Harding and her parents of Pictou Island for the recognition that Time Magazine has bestowed upon them.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION 1063

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

Whereas Tamara Tynes, a recent graduate and class valedictorian at the Cobequid Education Centre proudly represented Truro, Nova Scotia and Canada at the Black Miss Canada Pageant held in Toronto in August; and

Whereas Ms. Tynes is now a student at Saint Mary's University; and

Whereas Ms. Tynes was crowned Miss Black Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ms. Tynes on being crowned Miss Black Canada and wish her every success in all her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 2115]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 1064

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

Whereas students are just returning to Horton High School after the Taj Mahal of schools was closed by officials for two weeks because of bad air, the source of which has not been located yet; and

Whereas our famous toll highway suffered a number of shutdowns in its young life and the minister has still not concluded what must be done to solve the problems; and

Whereas it may be pure coincidence that both plagued projects are private-public partnerships which this government touts as our salvation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House states that if these be the cures for our ills, Nova Scotians would rather stay sick.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1065

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

Whereas the Forest Council of Western Nova Scotia is holding its annual meeting in Lunenburg County on October 17, 1998; and

Whereas the Forest Council of Western Nova Scotia wishes to encourage a landowner initiated silviculture program; and

Whereas the Forest Council of Western Nova Scotia has 425 members and is growing;

[Page 2116]

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Forest Council of Western Nova Scotia on its annual meeting, and wishes it every success in fostering forestry in Western Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. EDWARD LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, I want to introduce some people with the Federation of Agriculture who are in the gallery. I think they made a mistake, they should have been over in that gallery, however, the Executive Director is standing in the doorway, and Roger Bacon's son, Doug, with the federation. We had an excellent meeting with the commodity groups this morning, an early morning meeting. The meeting went very well. And I see the past President of the Federation, Jim Austen, just moved over there.

I want to welcome (Interruptions) No rabbit tracks, I am being serious. These are very important people to the economy of this province. I do want to ask them all to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1066

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

Whereas in late August of this year, Corporal James Ogilvie, of Berwick, a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Armoured Unit, based at CFB Petawawa, was tragically killed while serving his country as part of a NATO led peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia; and

Whereas Corporal Ogilvie's armoured unit is part of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group working tirelessly to restore peace in the war torn country; and

[Page 2117]

Whereas Corporal Ogilvie, who joined the Armed Forces in March 1989, and had been stationed at CFB Petawawa since July 1992, was a dedicated soldier, and a caring son, husband and friend;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize the late Corporal James Ogilvie for his efforts to restore peace in the former Yugoslavia, and for his service to his country, and extend deepest sympathies to Corporal Ogilvie's wife, his parents and family.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1067

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

Whereas the former Member of Parliament for Cape Breton The Sydneys, Russell MacLellan, never once mentioned Devco or the Cape Breton coal industry in the House of Commons during his last term as MP from 1993 to 1997; and

Whereas until yesterday, the only Liberal complaint about the performance of two NDP MPs from Cape Breton was that they were speaking too much in support of Devco workers; and

Whereas if the Liberal Government of this province has a plan or a goal for Devco, they have kept it more secret than the true deficit numbers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House regrets the Premier has continued his record of silence and inactivity on Devco, speaking only when forced to by fresh evidence of federal mismanagement of this keystone industry.

[Page 2118]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1068

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

Whereas the IODE is a national volunteer organization working to improve the quality of life for children and youth and those in need; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia the IODE has demonstrated their commitment to others through their numerous contributions of time and resources to children suffering with kidney disease, the visually impaired, the disabled, the elderly and children suffering from abuse; and

Whereas the Olympic Chapter IODE will be hosting their 80th Anniversary Tea on Wednesday, October 21st, marking decades of remarkable service to their community, their province and to their country;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Olympic Chapter IODE on their 80th Anniversary and applaud their contributions and their dedication to helping those in need.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to 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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1069

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

[Page 2119]

Whereas the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has contributed $18.5 million to the first quarter $81 million deficit of this province; and

Whereas tourism as a sector of the provincial economy is currently directed by this department, the Tourism Council Partnership, the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, the Hotel Association, the Innkeeper's Guild of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Bed and Breakfast Association, as well as over 30 regional and local organizations mandated to promote tourism; and

Whereas this structure results in significant duplication of service, increased bureaucracy, confusion, inefficiency and cost overruns;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier introduce legislation to create an autonomous Department of Tourism with a clear mandate to streamline operations and eliminate costly overexpenditures.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1070

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

Whereas the Liberal Government has no trouble in finding tens of millions of dollars for the Irvings, Michelins and Storas; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has, however, belatedly admitted that health care workers in active treatment health care facilities should be paid the same no matter where they work; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has failed to recognize that health care workers in long-term facilities work just as hard, just as long and under just as stressful conditions as acute care workers;

[Page 2120]

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government recognizes that work in long-term care facilities is as important as work in acute care facilities and those who work in them should be compensated justly.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1071

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

Whereas members of the Inverness and Richmond County Truckers Association are presently unable to secure either the Department of Transportation's hauling rate or the established national pipeline oil field trucking rate to work at the Sable Offshore Energy Project fractionation plant in Point Tupper; and

Whereas rates being offered at the present time are 55 per cent or lower than the already established provincial and national rates; and

Whereas insult is only being added to injury at the fractionation site because new equipment is being purchased at the site to do what local Richmond and Inverness truckers are refusing to do for a starvation wage;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, as Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Petroleum Directorate, intervene today in what is becoming an increasingly volatile and explosive situation and put an immediate end to the starvation rates being offered to truckers from Richmond and Inverness Counties at the fractionation plant site in Point Tupper.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

I would think that we had a number of resolutions today. I did not count them up but I think we have just about hit a record probably.

[Page 2121]

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1072

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

Whereas the Town of Mahone Bay held the second annual Scarecrow Festival on the weekend of October 3 to October 4, 1998; and

Whereas the festival is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers; and

Whereas this festival was a huge success, bringing thousands of visitors to the Town of Mahone Bay and all of Lunenburg County;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the organizers of the Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival on the success of the event and wish them the best for the future.

[11:15 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 2122]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 13.

Bill No. 13 - Financial Measures (1998) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The debate on Bill No. 13 was adjourned yesterday by the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage and I believe he spoke for approximately 10 seconds.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 13, an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures is I guess part two of the budget. Usually they go together, usually it is the budget and the financial measures that are passed at relatively the same time. The intent is to make the changes to the various legislation, almost an omnibus bill that way, to ensure that the budget can be passed and the legislative changes can be made to the budget to allow it to pass.

The issues surrounding the Financial Measures Act, as it is better known, are in various parts of this that I will speak on as I go through this today. It is probably no surprise that I will have some criticisms of the Financial Measures Act and maybe a surprise I may actually note a few things that I am happy with.

I want to start first with my colleague, the honourable member for Queens, who spoke just prior to me yesterday before the adjourning of the House. He spoke a lot about challenging the Official Opposition as to how we would be voting in this particular bill. I wanted to take a little time to address that before I got into the substance of the bill if that is okay, Mr. Speaker.

The member for Queens spoke with a lot of bravado, I actually thought, speaking of the need for the Official Opposition to make up its mind, basically stating that this was a choice between supporting the government and going to the polls. I find it quite shocking that a member of the Third Party would speak with such bravado after what we saw on June 29, 1998. In particular, leading up to June 28, 1998 as well, we saw from the Third Party a lot of posturing, a lot of inability to really say where they stood on the budget and an unwillingness to ever come clean as to how they would be voting until they sheepishly stood up, I think 12 of them would be the count, said they would vote for the budget, prop up this Liberal Government and then quickly left to go into hiding for two to three months.

[Page 2123]

For a Third Party to do that and then to agree to adjourn this House when we had such serious business to deal with, to go into hiding and then for one of its members to turn around and challenge us to stand up for our principles is shocking. The member for Queens seems to have been eating his oats lately because he seems to clearly have a desire to try to draw a line in the sand, to try to put forward a position that will force the Official Opposition to have to take a position. I will tell you here today, the Official Opposition has always been clear as to where it stood on the issue of this budget.

This particular budget, when it was first introduced by the Minister of Finance, we had a lot of serious problems with it. We had a lot of problems with the numbers that they had produced, a lot of problems with the cooking of the books, as we like to call it, to get them to the point where they could say they had an approximate $1 million surplus.

MR. SPEAKER: Cooking the books is improper parliamentary language and I would ask the honourable member to please correct that.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I apologize for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is an improper procedure too. It should not be allowed to happen.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I apologize for that, Mr. Speaker, sorry. But we had a lot of concerns even before the vote on June 29th as to how the numbers had been crunched, how this government had come up with a very nominal surplus of $1 million on a $4 billion-plus budget for this province. We made those concerns quite clear, whether it be through a one-time only pension holidays, which is what this bill will address and I will talk about that a little later, or whether it be through the special funds that were passed on from the federal government to the provincial government via the HST deal that the people of Nova Scotia are still paying for and continue to pay. This government was able to find a $1 million surplus and now we find exactly what has happened in the past three months. There were many issues outstanding that this government ought to have known of, if it did not know of, that should have been put forward on June 29th for the budget vote.

I do not blame the members of the Third Party if they have concerns, if they feel they have been jilted at the altar, if they feel that, unfortunately, they voted for something and then found out it was something quite different. You know, I hate to use the words - but I will - we told you so.

The real concern with the budget all along was the way in which they were able to find a surplus, and I think it was particularly identified, and I will give credit to the Finance Critic for the Third Party, the member for Argyle. No matter what might have been the rationale for

[Page 2124]

the vote on June 29th, circumstances have certainly changed drastically since then. It is most unfortunate that the Financial Measures Bill comes forward three months after the fact, because the financial circumstances have changed so drastically within this province. I understand there has been a first quarter report produced but, given the drastic nature of that first quarter report, one would almost assume that there might even be a new budget in order to try and redefine how this government was going to address its problems.

We are being asked to vote on a Financial Measures Act which, for all intents and purposes, Mr. Speaker, is obsolete; there is already need to address new budgetary measures. There are questions that need to be answered. How are we going to make up for the $81 million deficit that we currently have? The Premier said yesterday that we will have it fixed within the next six months, before the end of the fiscal year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Trust me.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Trust me, exactly. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, given the past experiences, observing this government and what they did in June to the Third Party, boondoggling them into voting for this particular budget, I would be hardpressed to trust them on this particular issue, the issue of the deficit. I believe, and I want to put on the record, that there is a drastic need to have a detailed plan as to how this government plans to get rid of that deficit. How are they going to do it? We have heard a lot of posturing and a lot of speculation openly in the media - almost sadly so - from this government, identifying various ways in which they think they might be able to and then correcting themselves, and then other members of the Cabinet saying that they do not think that is how they will do it.

That sort of open debate is very nice on some issues that maybe are not as crucial to the finances of this province but, given the nature of the legislation and given the importance of the budget to this province and the debt that we are burdened with, I think it is vital that this government come forward now with a plan for how they plan to address this budget deficit.

Really, when we talk about Bill No. 13, an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, Mr. Speaker, as I say, we are also looking at a bill that I believe in many respects is obsolete; there is already need for new changes. Maybe that is why the member for Queens was so eager yesterday to challenge others, because he knows full well that his vote and that of other members of his caucus of the Third Party clearly was a mistake. That is unfortunate; it really is. But, given the circumstances, they believed - and maybe they held their noses while they believed - that this was a good thing for Nova Scotia. Now they know it was not.

So I think it is important right now, Mr. Speaker, dealing with the member for Queens' comments yesterday, to understand that there is a real need to address the financial situation of this province, and that we will address it, and that this government must address it. But in particular, I feel it is unfortunate that the Tories, the Third Party, believe that they must be

[Page 2125]

drawing lines in the sand to challenge us, almost like a game of double-dare. A game in which they say, we will take one step forward, if you take one step forward. The finances of this province are too precious and too important to this Province of Nova Scotia to allow us to play a game of bravado and double-dare with the debt and with the future of this province.

Mr. Speaker, let me go on and talk a little bit about some of the specific measures in the Financial Measures Act that I do want to address. As I stated earlier, this is a piece of legislation that goes hand in hand with the budget. That means that there are specific measures in here that were announced in the budget that must be passed in order for the budget to pass. This is definitely a financial bill. It is a confidence bill. None of us should take too lightly the voting on it.

In particular, if as a member of this House, I had no confidence in this government and I voted against their budget on June 29th, they have done nothing to improve that status in the last three months. Again, the announcements of a deficit where they originally said there was a surplus, was probably the crushing and most fatal blow to any chance of my believing that they were serious about the finances of this province. At the same time, other things have probably occurred in the past three months to also make me believe that I don't have a lot of faith in how they are operating this province.

As I noted earlier, their sort of open debate, if you want to call it that, in the media, with regard to how they should address the deficit is almost farcical. There is a real need for change, and there is a real need to address the problems in this province. What we have from the Cabinet is open discussions and questioning of how things should be done, without any true leadership.

As I mentioned in my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, earlier in the spring, leadership is what this province desperately needs, and leadership is what this province has desperately lacked for the past 15 years, from successive Tory Governments and from the Liberal Governments. That is a real problem. This Financial Measures Bill does nothing to show vision or leadership that is needed in this province, particularly as we lead into the new millennium.

As we have all noted, and as we said in June, and as now has come true, because of the first quarter report, this budget is not balanced. That was a commitment made by the Premier through the campaign, I think some have quoted 37 times, he quite clearly made a commitment, or maybe he didn't actually, I am not sure. During the debate, the question was asked as to whether he would resign if there was no balanced budget. I can't even remember what his answer was, other than I know there was silence.

All Parties in the past few years have come to recognize the need to stop burdening this province with further debt. That is why we were not able to vote for that budget on June 29th, because we knew it was not balanced. We knew that the books, that the accounting was

[Page 2126]

questionable. Now it has come true. That is probably why the Tories feel so jilted now, as I mentioned earlier.

Some of the specific provisions that I want to address, in particular, there was a commitment during the election from this Liberal regime, to deal with the HST relief, to provide relief to the people of Nova Scotia. That relief, all along it was our understanding, would include relief on heating oil, relief on electricity, and relief on children's clothing. If it wasn't, it should have been. Those are necessities of life for our seniors and for our children, and they must not be taxed to the point where people can't afford them.

What did we have from this government in its budget? Well, we had some very small measure of HST relief on the electricity bill. Of some help to those who might have high electricity bills, but only a half-hearted effort, when you look at the real needs in this province, the other necessities of life and, indeed, may even provide a competitive advantage to electricity over other areas like propane or oil for heating purposes. Any government that is serious about HST relief would not give that kind of competitive advantage to one particular source of energy over another. Any government that is serious about HST relief would not make a promise and then turn around and do something very different and that is inherently the problem with this government, Mr. Speaker.

[11:30 a.m.]

The other aspect is health care. We recall very clearly during the election the Premier came forward, I think he went to Dalhousie actually, Mr. Speaker, and specifically said that there would be a Medical Research Foundation. He said it with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Yet this budget shows nothing about a Medical Research Foundation. There has been a lot of discussion about hepatitis C, something that clearly needs to be addressed, the victims of the heptatitis C scandal. Yet this government has failed to address that as well.

Like Nero, in Rome, Mr. Speaker, we have a government that fiddles while the health care system collapses. As we heard even yesterday from the College of Family Physicians, their grave concern with home care in Canada. As we move forward in health care, as we move forward in reform, there is a desperate need to ensure that reform is done properly, not based on deficit financing and not based on short-term politics. Again, I go back to the words of vision and leadership. This government has shown no vision and it has shown no leadership with regard to health care issues.

Let's go on to another area, of course, which our Party has shown a lot of concern with and it becomes quite personal to my riding, and that is the P3 financing of schools. This government has "balanced" the books, or at least that is what they told us in June, because of the P3 financing which, of course, we have always said was questionable. Schools must be built. There is no doubt and the schools that are needed, in the places that need them, must be built as soon as possible but P3 financing is not the right way.

[Page 2127]

HON. DONALD DOWNE: How would you do it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Explain it again to them again, Kev.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I will get to our position in a minute but the point that I want to make is that, I say it is personal to my riding because there is particularly one school, at least one that is scheduled to be built, and I understand the people in my riding who are quite concerned about wanting a school. Schools are a good thing. Schools are important but let's make it clear in the budget exactly how they are being financed. Let's make it clear exactly how much of a burden this is putting on the budget of this province. There are other options out there.

There are other options out there that deal with addressing financing of the schools but do it in a way that ensures that the government will continue to have ownership of the schools and ensure that the financing is done in a way (Interruption)

The most important aspect of all this I think, Mr. Speaker, is that the Province of Nova Scotia, the government of this province has not been able to address the real concerns of the people of this province. They promised them P3 schools because they needed to balance the books. They promised them health care measures because they knew reform would help balance the books and yet after six years of Liberal Government the books still are not balanced.

So no matter what we talk about as measures, whether it be P3, or health care reform, the fact is this government still cannot balance the books and that is the most shocking thing of all. It is the most shocking thing of all that the Minister of Finance can stand up here in June and openly say, well, we have got a tiny little surplus and then three month's later come here and say it is $81 million in debt. Well, that seems like a huge difference that just cannot be explained by three months. I mean we even noted yesterday, our Finance Critic pointed out that the reports that the Minister of Finance was particularly dealing with on his world trade people, I do not know if it was Marco Polo or Scotiabank, but he clearly had people in mind that he was relying on to deal with the issue of financing and at what rate the dollar should be pegged for purposes of the budget and lo and behold those are February reports.

There were new reports produced later on that he just seems to have forgotten about. Of course, the answer is staff; staff, staff, staff, dammit. Staff is the reason why we should be doing it. Staff is the problem, but the real issue is ministerial responsibility. If the minister is going to stand up here and present a budget, then he must accept responsibility for the basis of the reports which he had.

Those are the issues and that is the problem with this government all along, Mr. Speaker, an inability to see beyond the next day, beyond the next sound bite, beyond the next situation where they will be able to try and manipulate the media, and not looking at it in a

[Page 2128]

way that in the long run balancing the books is best for this province, but doing it in a way that is fair to all Nova Scotians.

I think the other aspect of this, Mr. Speaker, is the Child Benefit Program which, of course, is in the Financial Measures Bill as well. I should say though - just for the Minister of Finance who is across the way addressing me - as I am dealing with the Financial Measures Bill and I have to deal with it directly, the P3 is off-topic, so I want to deal directly with the Financial Measures Bill, the Child Benefit Program is a weak program. A program in which the federal government has provided a very good program - I will give them credit - for the poorer people in our province yet, as the federal government gives with one hand, our provincial government takes away from those on social assistance, the ones who probably need it the most.

Now, I understand that there are services that will be provided - I give the government credit there - but at the same time, if we are talking about our future - I have seen the Minister of Justice come forward with some very good programs. I will give him credit with regard to addressing child poverty early on to prevent crime in the future. I believe wholeheartedly that if you address the causes of crime, you can address crime. But by taking away with one hand what the federal government is trying to improve is really not the right way. If we are going to invest in our province, we must invest in the youngest members of our province because they are the future. If they do not have proper education, if they do not have proper health care, if they do not have a proper start because of their level of poverty, then what are we really doing to them? We are condemning this province to a future that is worse than now. Quite frankly, given the last 15 years of governments that we have seen, and their lack of vision and leadership, I hate to think what will happen in the future if we are not willing to turn this ship around now.

Another area that needs to be addressed, that has not been really directly addressed, is the rural areas. I am actually quite fortunate I think, because I live in a riding that is both urban and rural and I have an opportunity to see both sides of the issues. That gives me an opportunity to see both the suburban issues, the issues of amalgamation and how they have affected the people in my area, but also those rural areas that have a very difference perspective on what they need, and what is really missing from this budget is addressing those issues in the rural areas, whether it be roads, whether it be infrastructure generally, the people in the rural areas of this province feel neglected and this government has done nothing to make them feel any better.

Yet again, a Party with all their seats, I believe almost all their seats - the Third Party - come from rural Nova Scotia, voted for the budget. Well, they will have to explain that come the next election, I guess. They are the ones who will have to explain to the people of this province, and particularly to their constituents, why they voted for a budget that did nothing for rural Nova Scotia, yet they represent those same people and claim that they are the keepers of the flame for rural Nova Scotia.

[Page 2129]

I want to talk a bit about the Public Service Superannuation Fund and how particularly that is involved. I should say that I am personally involved in the superannuation fund as a member of the government, as a civil servant before being elected a member of the Legislature - an honour which I am quite honoured to have - representing the riding of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. As a member of the Department of Labour, I was able to receive some of the pension holiday and because of that I obviously feel quite strongly that pension holiday, if there is an overpayment, if there is a surplus, should be addressed. I have no problem particularly with how it was addressed in this way.

My concern is with the provisions of the Financial Measures Act which allow for ongoing removal of surpluses without having to come back to the Legislature, without having to come back to negotiate with the NSGEU, the union representing those people and there is no role for the Superintendent of Pensions. These are all concerns that I have.

I have no problem with one-time only changes, if the Legislature has an opportunity to debate like we are doing now but to have a carte blanche right to do this on an ongoing basis without really being able to look at it, address it and think thoroughly through it, concerns me. It is too easy a fix, given the nature of government and finances, to dip into what might be a surplus now but as we have seen with the stock market - I believe the member for Argyle, the Finance Critic for the Progressive Conservative Party noted - the stock market can go up and the stock market can go down and pension funds are directly affected by that. It is quite easy to see a surplus now and then see it go away. Unfortunately, to give a carte blanche right to the government to dip into the pension funds, even when it is just a surplus, those surpluses can dry up very quickly. I think it is vital that this legislation allow for the people that have invested in that pension fund to have a say in any future removal of surpluses.

Another aspect that I want to deal with regarding this piece of legislation is the definition of spouse. This is actually a housekeeping matter, and it is a member in my riding, Wilson Hodder, who fought long and hard to address the issue of pensions for spouses and changing the definition. Prior to a Human Rights Commission Tribunal meeting earlier in the spring the government settled the matter and agreed that for purposes of the Superannuation Fund and a definition under the Income Tax Act, that a spouse would include people of the same sex. At that time I congratulated the minister responsible for the Human Rights Act for his and his staff's ability to see forward and to see that it was the right thing to do. Now is the opportunity to come full circle, to finish the job.

What is de facto - the case in this province with regard to the definition of spouse now that the government has settled this - should also become de jure. The province must finish the job by amending the Public Service Superannuation Act to redefine spouse. It is the right thing to do, you have done it, you have gone, you have taken the long road and you have fought hard and you have done what you had to do and I applaud you for it. Now is the time to make it legally binding. Let us change the legislation so that it will always be that way.

[Page 2130]

There are a few good measures in this piece of legislation. There is a small increase in the tobacco tax which I think, as has been noted by other speakers, sin tax is sometimes an easy way to do a tax grab, but given the health nature of some of these things, particularly tobacco, I do not necessarily have a problem with increasing it slightly to help pay for the health care measures and the other measures in this province that go to address it. Again, dealing with rural issues, the restoration of the property tax relief for active farms, I believe, is a great move forward. I believe the Minister of Agriculture said it quite well when the budget was first introduced and I have no qualms with his comments that this is a particularly important measure and I am glad to see it finally returning.

There was also an increase in the film tax credit from 30 per cent to 32.5 per cent which is small but given the competitive nature of the film industry in this country - and I had an opportunity to review The Globe and Mail report on August 14th where they noted the various production levels, that Nova Scotia actually does quite well compared to British Columbia where you may have about half the production. But given the difference in our sizes and the nature of Vancouver as a film centre, I think that comparison is quite favourable to us. Anything that can be done to improve on that, I believe, is vital.

If we talk about this province moving forward in the next century or even in the next 10 years, we are looking at the new industries; those new industries like film and television, ones in which we have already seen that some of the best and brightest in our culture and in our province have been able to be produced. I think we have to build on that. I will give the government credit for seeing that that is an opportunity to continue to be competitive with the other provinces with regard to film production and television production in this country.

[11:45 a.m.]

Hopefully, also, the reduction in the dollar may have a lot to do with the ability for more production to happen in this country. As we have seen with recent films even - I think one was Simon Birch that was made in Lunenburg - it is a lot cheaper to make this province look like Maine and pay 67 cents on the $1.00, than it is to go to Maine and actually film there and pay a lot more. I think a lot of people in Los Angeles and in the film industry generally, in the United States, see that as a benefit. But I think also, there is a real need to note through the film tax credit that there is an opportunity to get our own productions up and running. You see that now, more and more Nova Scotia is the centre for local productions, ones that are getting national exposure.

That is what we really need in this province, an opportunity to have our stories, our voices heard, and if this increase in the tax credit helps, then I will support that. The most important thing though, in all this, is to have an opportunity for the Law Amendments Committee to look at this. I think it is vital that the Law Amendments Committee look at this, make the changes potentially, that can be made to some areas, for example, the Public Service Superannuation Act, that allow for some of these issues to be addressed.

[Page 2131]

At the same time, let us not forget that this is a piece of legislation that goes along with the budget, and the budget, unfortunately, has changed dramatically in the past three months. We must not allow ourselves to forget that. We must begin to address, not only on paper, by passing legislation or defeating legislation, but in fact, by addressing the debt that we have in this province and the deficit we have for the year 1998-99. That is the role of the government, they are still on that side of the House, for now, and while they are on that side of the House, it is their job to produce a plan that will address this issue in a way that will ensure the people of Nova Scotia can build confidence in them again. When they build confidence in this government, then maybe we can begin to build confidence in this government, but we share their disdain right now, for their inability to balance these books, and the Financial Measures Act is part of that process. I think that is the thing every member of this House must consider before voting on this piece of legislation. Thank you.

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to join in the debate on Bill No. 13, an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, often referred to as the Financial Measures Act. It is a broad Act, it has a number of interesting initiatives that require comment. The very nature of this particular piece of legislation has resulted in an unusual amount of interest in this portion of the debate.

What I would like to do, with the indulgence of members of the House, and that is something that isn't always guaranteed, but I would like to just go through some of the issues that are addressed in this particular piece of legislation. One of the provisions that this bill has is that it reinstitutes the farmland tax rebate. I believe that was in direct response to an initiative of ours in the spring sitting of the Legislature, and I believe it is a demonstration of support for the agricultural community of Nova Scotia.

Those of us who have the opportunity to travel in rural mainland Nova Scotia know that agriculture continues to be a major part of our economy, and contributes so much to the atmosphere that is present in rural Nova Scotia. We cannot lose sight of the fact in this province, that despite our emphasis on manufacturing, on high-tech industries, on information highway issues, that we are still a province that is heavily dependent on our resource industries and I do not see that that situation can be allowed to change. Therefore, public policy in this province must continue to be supportive of industries such as agriculture.

I am pleased that the Minister of Agriculture is with us today because I know he has these concerns on his plate every single day. The reinstitution of the farmland tax rebate is right and it is something that will receive support from all sides of the House. However, we will have an opportunity to bring forward amendments to this bill later on and returning the discretion to change this grant without coming back to the House is something that must be subject to some scrutiny. The unfortunate thing is, while all of us always say we must support basic industries - we talk about the fishery and we talk about agriculture - if this is the extent

[Page 2132]

of the support that we are prepared to give to the agricultural industry in this province, which is simply returning something that was initially theirs, then we are not paying the attention to rural Nova Scotia and agriculture that we should.

There were some other things that we were talking about. When I had an opportunity to visit rural Nova Scotia and visit some farms, I visited hog farms. The minister and all members of this House know that with the current hog price, every single hog that is being slaughtered here in Nova Scotia and shipped out is being done so at a loss despite the subsidy. The minister knows that the subsidy fund will probably run out sometime early next spring if prices do not strengthen over the next number of months.

I look at the state of beef farming. I know that is something that is near and dear to the minister's heart. The beef industry in Nova Scotia, which is a significant part of the agricultural community of this province, is suffering. We should be talking about measures that include a Buy Nova Scotia First Program. By this initiative alone, and I am talking now about the farmland tax rebate, we are not encouraging Nova Scotians to do what I believe they would be willing to do with a little bit of encouragement and that is to support the Nova Scotia beef industry. This province does not support it. This province, and I am not sure if my numbers are absolutely correct, I believe pays for some, I will not use the number but it is many thousands of meals, each and every day, paid for out of the public purse and often we are serving beef at the taxpayers' expense. Are we serving Nova Scotia beef? More often than not we are not. We have got to start a sensible program in this province that supports our own industry.

There is nothing in this bill that talks about a young farmers program. If we do not encourage young people to take over the farms in Nova Scotia, if we do not make it possible for them to take over the farms, then more and more farms will be growing up in spruce and weeds across this province. Farming has changed. It takes a tremendous investment now to get into farming. Some areas of farming are very profitable but even those areas require huge investments for a Nova Scotian to become involved in agriculture. The day of the small family mixed farm is over. The day of the large specialized farm requiring huge investments is here and we are not being supportive enough. We must maintain, I think, a separate Farm Loan Board to make sure that in fact we are focused in our approach to agriculture.

There is nothing here that talks about drought assistance. Drought has been a very, very serious issue with farmers as we have had dry seasons. We need an agricultural policy in this province that goes beyond a farmland tax rebate. This place would be a much different place if agriculture leaves this province.

The Home Ownership Savings Plan is something that I support and I am pleased that the government has decided to extend that plan to the year 2000. That is something that I support, my caucus supports and I believe would also be supported by members of the Official Opposition. One of the great reasons to be a Nova Scotian is the hope, and I believe

[Page 2133]

this should be the vision for all Nova Scotians, that ultimately, Nova Scotians can own their own home. We can choose to live in other areas, which from an economic standpoint are more productive areas of the country but I believe we must hold on to those things that make us uniquely Nova Scotian. I believe one of those is the desire to own one's own home. I believe that the support for homeowners to achieve this is something that is good public policy, perhaps needs to be more aggressive and that is something that we talked about in the election campaign, was an even more aggressive home ownership support program but I am pleased that the government has decided to extend their program.

We talk about how do you support industry and create jobs in Nova Scotia? I think tax credits are a very reasonable thing to do. We have developed a film industry here in Nova Scotia based on what initially was a very aggressive and perhaps somewhat unique tax credit system, encouraging the film industry to employ Nova Scotians. When they do that activity they benefit with tax credits. This piece of legislation increases that tax credit rather minutely from 30 per cent to 32.5 per cent but it is worthwhile. Now there was a strong lobby to have that go to 40 per cent. I know the government was lobbied and we were lobbied and I am sure the members of the Official Opposition were lobbied. Others have looked at what we have done here and they see it is working and they are starting to copy it.

We have to be vigilant in that we are continuing to be competitive because the film industry produces perhaps now $70 million of economic activity in our province and it is invisible so few Nova Scotians realize that all of this is going on, even those of us that spend a lot of time in metro, even those that live in metro do not necessarily in their day to day activities run into the film industry either here or in other parts of the province. Support of this industry has been productive and has helped grow our economy and it is on the basis of tax credits. I believe we have not yet begun to exhaust the capability of tax credits in this province to grow industry and to build our economy.

I think we have to be vigilant of others, including New Brunswick, who is becoming very aggressive in this particular activity because they want a film industry there as well, so we have to keep a careful watch. This is a great place for the movie industry to be. I had an opportunity to talk with a few participants. They see much that they like here and as long as we can be competitive they will continue to be here.

[12:00 p.m.]

Another piece of this particular legislation, this so-called Financial Measures Act, the Minister of Finance can now authorize, out of the Consolidated Fund for travelling or other contingency expenses, he can authorize or designate someone to act on his behalf. Well, that was written back sometime in the spring, I presume, or over the summer, but it kind of flies in the face of what of the minister has been saying recently. The minister has said, one of the ways in which he is going to cut his deficit, is that he is going to put some kind of an embargo on travel. Well, if this is to be the initiative, if this is the way we are going to save a significant

[Page 2134]

amount of money in the budget, bearing in mind that the minister bears total responsibility for having his budget get out of control, then should he, at this point in time, be saying, I am launching this initiative, but I am going to hand over the reins to someone else. I don't believe that has been well thought out. The minister, if anything, should be getting a tighter grip on the reins, rather than passing them off to someone else at this particular time.

Now, there are a number of interesting things that this particular piece of legislation addresses. It addresses the Public Sector Superannuation Pension Fund, and out of that, and in this legislation are some provisions that any of us in this House would be hard-pressed not to support. I am talking about such things as increasing pension benefits to survivors, either in the initial five years of the pension or later on, increasing the benefit from 60 per cent to 66.66 per cent. I believe that is a very worthwhile thing to do.

But you know, the thing that bothers me about all of this, and we will talk about it in general, because that is an initiative that I certainly support, but the reason that we were given by the Minister of Finance and the government that all this was possible, and they could negotiate a payment to themselves, and a payment to current employees, and a holiday for the current year, was that the fund was, in fact, in such good shape.

Now what has happened since all of these deliberations took place? My understanding is that the fund is 40 per cent in Canadian equity, 20 per cent in U.S. equity, and 40 per cent in bonds or other instruments. That means that 60 per cent of this fund, that was overfunded a few months ago by something over 110 per cent, is no doubt, today, worth considerably less than it was just a few short months ago. I am not aware, but I am seeking to find out, what is the current status of the fund? Can the things that we are talking about be done, without crippling the fund?

I don't see, in the next two or three years, that there will be opportunities for the equity market, either in Canada or the United States, to recover to the levels that we saw even six months ago. It is going to be a slow climb back up to those record levels. I haven't been yet provided with, but I hope to be provided with, the actual equities that we are talking about, because I don't think it is a very difficult task to take that portfolio, plug it into today's values, compare it with values six months ago, to get a reasonable appreciation of the strength of that fund today.

Those who spoke against the sizeable withdrawal of funds at that time, were saying that sometime in the future, this downturn which came more quickly than any of us were guessing or estimating at that time, is upon is. It is absolutely the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to indicate to this House what is the current status of that fund and whether or not the draws on that fund that this bill represents are, in fact, doable without doing irreparable harm to that fund.

[Page 2135]

There is another small issue that I believe this piece of legislation does not address, but should address. I believe that there should be a stronger role for the retired public sector workers in the administration of this fund. They have contributed to this fund and the health of this fund really will determine whether or not their pensions will be secure in the decades to come. They have invested in this fund in the same way that current employees in the public sector are investing in this fund and I believe that they have a right to more say in this fund.

I appreciated the remarks of the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour when I believe he made reference to the fact that while we don't necessarily always agree with what is going on, at least when we have an opportunity in the House to debate an issue, there is a certain value to all of that.

This bill makes a provision that further draws on this pension fund would be at the discretion of Cabinet and would not necessarily have to be debated in this House and that is fundamentally wrong, and I cannot imagine why any government would suggest that that kind of clause would go unchallenged. It is absolutely unconscionable that a government that occasionally is being squeezed by the economic realities of the day would have open access to such a huge fund without at least defending itself on the floor of this legislation. That is something that must be looked at later on as this bill proceeds, if, in fact, it does proceed through the House.

The other part of this talks about the excise tax on tobacco. I believe that this is perhaps one of the key clauses in terms of the significance of this particular piece of legislation, but it opens up, I think, a very important topic, and that is tobacco use in this province. We have had many debates in this House as to whether or not taxation is a method to control tobacco use, whether or not we can have a positive impact on tobacco use by altering the taxation of tobacco.

I am extremely discouraged at what I see when I travel in Nova Scotia, and let me give you two short stories. I recently had an opportunity to visit a high school, and it was not when the students were there, it was off-hours. The high school yard was littered with cigarette butts. I would venture that many school yards across this province are in the same state in terms of having smoking going on in the school yard and butting out on school yard property.

I recently, it was a number of months ago, had an opportunity to visit a coffee and donut shop which is halfway between Glace Bay and Sydney. I believe it is in Reserve or Reserve Mines.

AN HON. MEMBER: Reserve.

[Page 2136]

DR. HAMM: In Reserve. It was noontime and we were having the traditional political lunch which, again, is not a strong statement on healthy living. There were 12 empty seats in that coffee/donut outlet. It is near a middle school, right next door is a middle school - we always used the term junior high. I guess they call them middle schools now - at 12:05 p.m., those 12 seats filled up with 12 Cape Breton students from that junior high school. Before they left Tim Hortons, because we were there talking and we stayed beyond the 30 minute limit, before they left not six, not eight, not 10 but 12 of those students had a cigarette, 12 out of 12. Public policy in this province is doing little to dissuade cigarette smoking by young Nova Scotians. The inclusion of the excise tax on tobacco - because I believe it is part in part of a rather blunted policy of governments to control smoking, which is included in this Act - simply is not working.

There are some interesting facts that we, as legislators, must start to become more familiar with. Thirty per cent of Nova Scotians smoke daily and this rate is on the increase; 7 per cent between the ages of 10 and 14 in this province smoke; one-quarter males and females on average between the ages of 15 to 19 smoke. Smokeless tobacco use is on the increase as a way to circumvent no smoking policies in schools. Fourteen hundred Nova Scotians die each year as a result of tobacco use. Nova Scotia has the second highest lung cancer rate in Canada and 90 per cent of lung cancer is caused by smoking. More women die from lung cancer than breast cancer. Lung cancer of this type is essentially a preventable disease.

Talking about second-hand smoke, 150,000 Nova Scotians have some form of respiratory disease exacerbated by exposure to second-hand smoke. Nearly half of non-smokers are exposed to second-hand smoke. We have to take a long hard look at what is happening with tobacco use in this province. It is not my intention here to look upon retail outlets who are subject to the Tobacco Access Act but theirs cannot be the only responsibility in terms of a tobacco control program directed at young people. That tobacco control program is not working and we have got to start putting some responsibility back on our young people and we have got to have a program that starts to get the information out. The longer we delay in a sensible approach to tobacco use in this province, the longer it may be said we are avoiding what should be a very, very strong responsibility on our part.

I would be remiss if I did not make a few remarks in terms of how all of this relates to the budgetary process. The member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage mentioned the delicate balance of the financial position of this province. He talked about being serious about the finances of this province. I believe that we cannot be anything but serious about what we are doing here in terms of controlling the expenditures of this province and relating them to revenues. Part of the approach of the Financial Measures Act, of course, is to legitimize certain things that have a direct impact on our budget. I believe that for us to do anything but be financially responsible would be an abrogation of our responsibilities to the people of this province. I have supported, since 1993, responsible fiscal management. I believe it was on the basis of this message that I was elected in 1993 to represent the people of Pictou Centre. I

[Page 2137]

believe that the kind of approach that we took prior to the election was one that was predicated on the belief of our Party that strong fiscal management must be part and parcel of any government that serves this province, certainly over the next decade while we get the ship back shipshape.

[12:15 p.m.]

I take exception when political comment is directed my way that in any way I support anything other than what I have just enunciated to members of this House. I will remind the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage that it was in an attempt to be fiscally responsible that we provided, in the days leading up to the last election, a doable financial plan and a doable platform that recognized the serious state of the finances of this province.

I could only make a decision and this caucus could only make a decision based on who it felt would have the best chance of leading us through the next few months, bearing in mind that balanced budgeting and fiscal responsibility were foremost in our minds. I will remind the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, and I liked his comment when he said he was serious about the finances of the province and maintaining the delicate balance of the financial position of the province. That is not an exact quote but I believe it is a good paraphrase. With that in mind we supported the government that we believed would be more likely to do that. The member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage must perhaps refresh his memory about the kinds of things they were promising to do prior to the election and whether or not they had any relevance to the financial situation of this province as he understood it at the time.

I have had the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, and I thank you for allowing me to speak. This is a particularly interesting bill, particularly because it has some significance in the deliberations of this House. I do thank the members of the House for their indulgence. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to have an opportunity to enter into the debate on Bill No. 13, entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures or more commonly referred to as the Financial Measures Act. As the previous honourable member has rightly pointed out, this bill is an extraordinarily important bill to be debated in this Legislature as a companion piece of legislation to the budget that we had introduced in this House in the spring session.

Our view, in the Official Opposition, of that budget is certainly known. Our scepticism with respect to that budget and the claims that it was a balanced budget, which we now know to be erroneous, are also, I think, well known. We need to be clear that our scepticism rested on our perception and belief and understanding that this government has in fact been extraordinarily poor managers and poor planners of the human and capital resources of our

[Page 2138]

province. That was our concern in the spring and in many respects it remains our concern, perhaps even a heightened concern today.

To review the spring budget, we need to remind the public that that budget, introduced in this Legislature, had the very slimmest of margins of a surplus. At the time of the introduction of that budget, our Finance Critic raised many questions about what we believed to be, first of all, some fundamental and erroneous assumptions on which the financial calculations of that budget rested. I think probably, one of the largest problems in terms of a poor and erroneous assumption was with respect to the value of our dollar internationally. Yesterday, we heard the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto make reference to reports that this province and this government, this Finance Minister had access to in the planning of that budget, reports from Scotiabank and the CIBC, that laid out quite clearly, the downward spiral and the pressure on our dollar and its value internationally.

We also had questions at the time of the introduction of the budget in the spring, with respect to the assumptions of economic growth and the projections for economic growth in Nova Scotia. I think, for myself, yesterday, the biggest shock, in some ways, with respect to this budget and the erroneous assumptions, was to have the Minister of Economic Development stand in this Legislature and tell members of this House of Assembly that the government had made the fatal assumption that the federal government of Canada would come through financially in certain ways, for his government.

I sat here, and I thought to myself, where on Earth have these honourable members been? The federal cuts have been deeper and more devastating to Atlantic Canada than to anywhere else. The Prime Minister of this country is on the record, more than once, essentially indicating, he couldn't care less about the impact of his public policy on this region in Canada. And the Finance Minister certainly could not care less about the impact of his budgets in the last four terms. To have made the assumption that the federal government was going to come through has to be, certainly, the best indictor of the inability of the members of the government benches to plan and to manage the economy of this province in the interest of Nova Scotians.

In addition to the sort of birdbrained economics that underpinned that budget, there is a question about the many, many commitments that were made by the Premier and his colleagues throughout the election campaign that we would look for to be reflected in the budget in the spring. For example - and a very important example - was the promise with respect to the blended sales tax and a rebate on the HST. The budget failed to address this matter in any real way. I can tell you that if there is anything that is having a serious, serious impact on people in this province and particularly senior citizens on fixed incomes, and they are a large proportion of constituents in my riding, it has to be the HST.

[Page 2139]

There are other very significant and noted absences in this budget. It failed to address the need for compensation for hepatitis C victims who received, through not fault of their own, tainted blood; it made no provisions whatsoever for reinstating funding to the Provincial Health Council; and no provisions whatsoever to funding a health research foundation. So it fell far short of some basic concerns and some specific promises and commitments that had been made by this government and by this Premier. For that reason, it is very difficult to have confidence in any of the projections I think, and any of the claims now that are being made by government members in terms of the financial health of the province and the ability of this government to develop public policy and fiscal policy that will advance a health economy in Nova Scotia.

I would like to look more specifically at some of the clauses in the legislation. As with all pieces of legislation, there are things that are weak and there are things that have their strengths. In Part I of the Financial Measures Act, there is a clause that will reinstate grants to municipalities so that working farm property can be exempted from property tax. Now yesterday, I followed with considerable interest the debate with respect to restoring tax relief to working farms and farmers in Nova Scotia. This is a measure that is one of the strengths of this Act, but I found the debate yesterday somewhat troubling, and I particularly found it troubling when colleagues in the Progressive Conservative Party had an opportunity to speak to this clause in the bill. I found it troubling because they took this opportunity, during the debate, to advance a claim that members of the New Democratic Party have no knowledge of, no involvement in, no relationship to, no right to speak of rural and agricultural issues.

[12:30 p.m.]

Well, let me tell you, there is no political Party in this House that has the exclusive claim on rural issues. Things have changed in Nova Scotia, the New Democratic Party has a very broad base of representation on this side of the House. The vast majority of people in this Party were born and raised throughout Nova Scotia in many small towns and rural communities, in fishing communities, in farming communities, in mining communities, in communities where forestry is essentially the main economic activity. But notwithstanding that basic truth, the fact that many of our members represent metro and urban areas should not be characterized as an inability to articulate and understand the plight of farmers. After all, where would urban dwellers be without the fishers and the farmers of this province?

One of the things that we need to stress as legislators, I believe, is the absolute need to stop a political practice that has been all too common on the floor of this House of Assembly, and that is one of pitting one region of this province against another. Our future and the prosperity of this province, particularly at this time, depend on cooperation between regions. Moreover, I think it would be an absolute mistake not to recognize the dramatic shift in the rural population, and the number of people in rural Nova Scotia who now, in fact, are urbanites, who commute every day to this city to participate in the economic, political and social life of this province. To sort of attempt to polarize in some way, or segment in some

[Page 2140]

way, what is a much more complicated reality is not a helpful way to engage in political debate and approaches that will strengthen public policy.

Part II of the Financial Measures Act is a provision with respect to the Home Ownership Savings Plan, and although this particular plan has been somewhat limited, the fact that this legislation, if adopted, would in fact extend the life of this plan is probably a good thing. However, we really need to think about what, for many Nova Scotians, are the realities that they will never be homeowners unless we develop more innovative ways of providing housing to people who individually on their own are financially incapable of becoming homeowners even with a plan such as this.

The Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, speaking before me, commented about the film industry and the film industry tax credit, Clause 5. This bill provides for a very small increase in the film tax credit and this is also a measure that is quite worthwhile. The film industry is a growing industry in Nova Scotia as we all know. It is an industry that falls into what is described as the knowledge sector which in a post-industrial age is increasingly the areas where economic prosperity and jobs are likely to be created. Provisions such as this are good provisions if they promote economic activity where people in our community can be employed and can do the kinds of creative work that we have become very proud of I think here in Nova Scotia.

Our cultural industries are second to none in North America and perhaps the world. We are getting quite a reputation as an outstanding place, not only for foreign film producers to come and shoot their films but also in terms of the personnel that exist here to support a film industry that is locally growing, locally operated and here certainly people such as the Donovan brothers with Salter Street Films come to mind. They have through their work certainly put Nova Scotia on the map in many ways but I think it is important to recognize that their creative and entrepreneurial spirit, while very important, is not the only creative entrepreneurial spirit in the film industry in the province. There are many others and, of course, there is the public sector partners, Telefilm Canada and the CBC. CBC Halifax has been extraordinarily supportive in the development of this growing industry.

Perhaps the section of the Financial Measures Act that has garnered the most attention has been the section with respect to the Public Service Superannuation Act but prior to moving to that section, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments with respect to the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Program, Clause 9 of the Financial Measures Act, which is an enabling section allowing for the establishment of regulations with respect to the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Program. I would like to say that it is very difficult to imagine the process of supporting the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Program without knowing what it is that one is supporting. All we have to go on at this point in time is our knowledge that there is a clawback happening of the National Child Benefit to families in this province where there are children in receipt of welfare.

[Page 2141]

I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, I have been going around the province with the Standing Committee on Community Services and we have heard stories that would break your heart. If there is one issue that stands out, it is the manner in which people on social assistance in Nova Scotia, which we will all recognize as an inadequate system in terms of having the financial support to meet one's very most basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, if there is anything that has reflected the injustice of public policy that has failed, it is the injustice of the National Child Benefit Program and the way in which it continues to marginalize, disadvantage and penalize poor kids because their parents or parent is on social assistance. This is wrong.

We have no idea what this government's plan is in terms of the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Program, but they have asked us to give them the go ahead to implement this program, enable it through this piece of legislation, and we do not even know what it is. We do know what they are doing. We do know what the impact and the implications of what they are doing are and we do not agree with that. I cannot imagine, given the reality of their activities right now with respect to families on social assistance and poor kids, that this is a program that is going to promote the well-being of children. From what I am hearing this government does not have the first clue about what the well-being of children might look like.

So I would now like to turn to the Public Service Superannuation Act provisions of the Financial Measures Act. As we all know, there is a surplus in the pension fund and as I understand it the provisions of this Act will in some ways allow for a pension holiday and a way to deal with the surplus, allow the government to deal with the surplus, a certain portion of the surplus being returned to the workers and the employees who made contributions to this fund and a certain portion being returned to the government who made a contribution to this fund. Pension surpluses, although certainly I have no expertise in this area, it is something that I have had some bit of experience with through my own prior employment situation at Dalhousie University where there was a pension surplus and a pension holiday negotiated with the faculty union. These situations are not uncommon. However, the particular provisions laid out here have some very clear . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There are too many conversations going on in the Chamber. If people want to discuss other matters than what is going on on the floor, would they please vacate the Chamber.

The honourable member has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. They have some very clear flaws and weaknesses and I am not sure if the weaknesses reflect a weakness in the drafting of the actual provisions or if they reflect something more complicated than that, shall I say. Provisions in this part of the Act would allow the Governor in Council at any time to access a pension surplus. If that is the case, then that cannot be allowed. Pension funds do not belong to one Party. Pension funds, in fact, are deferred wage plans of employees and any use of

[Page 2142]

pension surplus funds need always to be dealt with through a negotiated process with the recognized bargaining agent for employees.

[12:45 p.m.]

I think another aspect of this part of the provisions that is very troubling for me is the lack of a role that is clearly defined in an ongoing way for retired public servants. I, like I would imagine many of my colleagues here on the floor of the Legislature, have had phone calls from former public servants who are organized now into an association of retirees. They have through their calls and conversations, certainly to me in my office, raised many very interesting points. They ask a lot of good questions and they clearly have an ongoing interest in the management of this fund, in the way in which information is made available to them, and this is not at all reflected in provisions in this Act.

Additionally, there seems not to be a significant role for the Superintendent of Pensions and, in fact, the role of an actuary seems to be quite weak and does not allow for the arm's-length relationship that overseeing and monitoring and making accountable such a fund would require through the Department of Finance. So these are some significant weaknesses in this portion of the Act that, hopefully, will be addressed through the Law Amendments Committee process.

My colleague, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage made the observation that the Public Service Superannuation Act and this particular bill continued to use the outdated and the illegal, I guess one would say, term spouse in the traditional sense where we know quite clearly now, we have legal decisions in this country under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that indicate that this is no longer an acceptable and an entrenched and a systematic form of discrimination in our legislation. If we miss the opportunity, if we fail to address this in the amending of this legislation, this would be most unfortunate, Mr. Speaker. The time has come for us to accept what the courts in this country have clearly said with respect to same-sex couples and benefits, and we need to stop discriminatory practices throughout all of our legislation and we need to be proactive and not engage in a public process, a political process where we force people from affected groups from having to use their own personal resources to take up these issues.

These members of our communities expect us to represent the interests of all of our constituents and they, clearly, are among our constituents. We have an opportunity here to do the right thing, and, again, I am hoping in the Law Amendments Committee process that we will take that opportunity and do the right thing.

Finally, there are provisions in this legislation that will increase the excise tax in a small way on tobacco products. This, Mr. Speaker, is also a good thing in this piece of legislation. The Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party laid out, I think, very clearly the troubling statistics with respect to the high rates of smoking, particularly with our youth. We know that

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the tobacco industry has targetted young people for their product, which we also know is an addictive product, and any measures that this House of Assembly is able to adopt with respect to dealing with that very troubling situation, we should take every opportunity to take up.

The shocking incidents of cancer throughout our province, and other forms of illnesses - asthma, respiratory problems - places an extraordinary financial burden on our health care system; it places, when people become unwell, a financial burden quite often on the family; it results in a loss of productivity in our economy; and it also results in a good deal of personal hardship.

I think the research, in fact, does indicate that the taxing of tobacco products does have some impact - maybe not a huge impact, but it does have some impact - on the numbers of people who will take up smoking or who will continue to smoke, and any opportunity we have to dissuade people is an opportunity we need to take on when we have it. However, I think we would all recognize that that doesn't absolve us of taking other opportunities to deal with this very serious matter.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say that there are strengths and weaknesses in the Financial Measures (1998) Act. The opportunity to participate in this debate has been an opportunity that I have welcomed and I have enjoyed. I sincerely hope that we can improve on any of the problems with this bill in the Law Amendments Committee, and I look forward to seeing what the debate unfolds, around this Act. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Bill No. 13, an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, commonly called the Financial Measures Act, is a very important piece of legislation. Buried in the 20 clauses it contains are items that are good, that people of Nova Scotia want and need, positive items. Items that there is no doubt, every member of this Legislature can support and should support. Equally true, is that in some of the clauses are items that cannot be supported as they are presently worded. Items that must be amended, reviewed closely, considered and waived, and that only through that process can they then be moved forward with support.

This is the difficult nature of developing legislation that meets the needs of the people of Nova Scotia. People in one area have needs, people in another area have needs that are similar but different. It is only through a give and take process that allows for discussion and debate that ultimately good legislation can come forth. All too often, debate degenerates into simply posturing for the sake of posturing.

When one looks at the amendment to the land tax, the tax change that would allow relief for farmers, this is absolutely essential. Over the last weeks, we have heard farmers talking of difficulties with drought, with the closure of the grain centre, with the flooding on

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the marsh in the riding that I represent. Farming is by far one of the most maligned and beleaguered occupations. We all pay lip service to the value that they contribute to the economy, but there is no real understanding of what it means to be a farmer, that is more than occupation, it is a way of life. A way of life that has been passed from generation to generation. They look to their elected representatives to help give them relief.

It is interesting to note that as a teacher with some 20 years experience, you look at the younger grades and the stories invariably centre on life on rural farms in Nova Scotia, but yet, after 20 years, I cannot recall a single student in the senior grades who said, I want to be a farmer, that is the occupation for me. That is sad testimony to the fact that we, as a society, have relegated that particular occupation, an occupation that is a cornerstone to this economy and to much of the economy of Canada, to something that people, young people looking at career opportunities, don't even consider.

This piece of legislation, the amendment is little enough to do. As the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party said, we need to look at legislation that actually promotes and enhances the opportunity for young people, new farmers to enter the occupation. Farmers are fighting nature, they are fighting competitive markets, they are fighting the high cost of equipment, low returns, and on top of that, they have legislation that does little or nothing to help support them. So this piece of legislation is much needed and necessary.

A look too, at the second clause, that which talks about the Home Ownership Savings Plan, for Nova Scotians, owning a home is often a lifelong dream. They save pennies, dimes and dollars until at some point down the road, they can actually go out a buy a home. With the decaying job market, with the uncertainty of job security, for many of them, they have to put that to the side. The very cost of buying clothing, food for their families, paying rent, means that there is little left over for savings plans, and certainly none to allow them to buy a home. Something that we consider a way of life, a fact of life, the opportunity to buy a home, for many, is not possible. This again, is little enough to allow the people of Nova Scotia, the opportunity to save for that dream.

[1:00 p.m.]

Look at the changes to the Income Tax Act and the fact that the Province of Nova Scotia is attempting to address the growing film industry through its tax credit. For a long time the film industry has been centred on the West Coast of Canada. Over the last few years film producers have been looking at the East Coast as an area of opportunity and it is properly so that the government should introduce legislation that supports this. The other thing is that we have had clear indication of the economic spin-off of the filming of the movie Titanic in Halifax, the Scarlet Letter in Shelburne, the fact that they chose that as a location to produce a movie, the economic benefits there. The creation of a sound studio in Halifax and a sound studio in Cape Breton. All of these things will come together to help enhance this industry and bring in new dollars.

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All too often what we do in terms of economic generation is take money out of one pocket and put it in another. When you have money coming in from overseas, from offshore, from the United States, this is new money and it is certainly of benefit. And there is an opportunity for local artists and artisans, people who have been away and come home to make a life in the film industry.

There are though, buried in the income tax clauses issues that need to be reviewed very carefully, sections that are not clearly understood certainly by myself at this point and oftentimes the nuance of the language needs to be clarified so that we understand the underlying intent of the clause. This can only occur when there is an opportunity for debate, there is a need for that debate to occur and for amendments to be introduced so that the clause works as it is intended.

The issue of the changes to the income tax, certainly the flavour is that they are recognizing the need for support for the businesses that want to and are located in this province. All too often, business people that I speak to talk of the difficulty of manoeuvring through the regulations that presently exist in this province with regard to starting or expanding a business. While adjustments to income tax are good if they are supportive of small business and at the same time weigh the needs of these business people against the needs of the citizens of Nova Scotia so that no unfair advantage is created for one over the other. Those things need to be clarified, to be talked about, to ensure that again the intention of the clause comes through.

One glaring problem with this is the clawback of the Child Tax Benefit. As a member of the Community Services Committee reviewing the issues around the restructuring of that department, I have heard time and again from people across Nova Scotia about the difficulty this is creating for them. The money is only part of the issue, it is an insignificant amount for those who have plenty. It is easy to say very cavalierly, well that is okay we are going to use it here where it will do more good. To someone who is on a very limited income and a very tight budget, $10 or $15 makes a significant difference. I think that particular clause needs to be reviewed very carefully after having weighed the concerns of the people it most directly effects.

I have some concern around the clause that deals with the sale of Crown assets. There have been concerns expressed by constituents that not everyone has a clear understanding of how this process occurs and has the opportunity to become involved in it. So I think the fact that it comes to light in the Law Amendments Committee so that it can be discussed and debated is critical. People need to know what is available in order to take advantage of opportunity. All too often, they miss their chance simply because they do not have the opportunity to become informed. The more discussion and dialogue that occurs and the more open that is the better it will be for everyone. Once again, there is a perception on the part of many Nova Scotians that what happens in government happens behind closed doors with no

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real opportunity for average Nova Scotians to take part. Legislation is introduced and oftentimes to the detriment of the very people it is supposed to be helping.

Within the clause there are also issues around the superannuation plan; again, there are many clauses containing many subtle changes, changes that I do believe need to be clearly understood before anyone can say Aye or Nay. Certainly there is some concern about the fact that buried within the clauses will be the opportunity to reach into any surplus from time to time as need arises; this should not be allowed to occur through an Order in Council, but should be able to be debated. There is a need for people to have a chance to say what happens to their money; the money that has accumulated in those pension funds comes as a result of the hard work and efforts of the employees and the employers.

It is trendy to look at sins - as one of the previous speakers said - as a source of revenue. The fact that oftentimes when a government needs some additional tax dollars they will head toward increasing tax on cigarettes or on alcohol is well and good, until such time as it reaches the level where people are forced to look elsewhere for their source of these things. Not too long ago there was a growing black market in the procurement of illegal tobacco products and illegal alcohol. The government must be very aware that sometimes five cents can force away hundreds of dollars in tax revenue, just because it is more traffic than the consumer is willing to bear.

We need to be very aware of what we do and what the long-range implications are. It is well and good to say to put a few more cents tax on tobacco products and a few more cents tax on alcohol, but I think we need to weigh that very carefully against what will happen across Nova Scotia when it is too much tax.

MADAM SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member would mind if we interrupted for an introduction.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am very pleased at this time to introduce to the House my brother Dennis Mackie and his wife Katherine who have travelled here today from the United Kingdom so that they could be in the House today to watch some of the debate. I would ask that the House extend to them a welcome. (Applause)

MR. BALSER: Going back to the whole issue of economic development. Certainly it is on the minds of all Nova Scotians, the fact that much of the other areas that we debate at length in the House, health care, education, drought relief, and so on, are very dependent on Nova Scotia having a vibrant economy, and certainly the Department of Economic Development and Tourism is keenly aware of the need to promote and enhance business opportunities in this province. The problem is that the money they use to do that must be generated on the backs of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, taxpayers who are very cognizant

[Page 2147]

of where that money goes, and are very concerned when they perceive that the money is not being put to the best possible use.

These adjustments and amendments that are being proposed here will certainly bring forth additional revenues; that must be the intent. And we will ensure that those revenues are allocated, one would hope, equitably and fairly, because all too often, as I have said earlier, the money goes in places where the taxpayer is left, by and large, scratching their heads and wondering why that particular company or that particular business opportunity is funded and another is not.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oxford Frozen Foods?

MR. BALSER: Them too, and golf courses, and on it goes, the whole issue of making sure that the Financial Measures Act is implemented in a way that it will bring about the best possible results for the people that it is designed and intended to help.

Unless there is an opportunity for each and every member of the Legislature to talk to their constituents to find out what they think are important needs, to bring that back to the Legislature and to debate each and every clause contained in this particular bill so that there is a clear understanding of what the intention is, so that there is the opportunity for changes to be made so that the end result is fair for everyone, and because it is fair for everyone, will be supportable by each and every member of this House. Again, all too often the debate becomes nothing more than posturing and rhetoric. Unless people speak clearly, distinctly and fairly about these clauses, then nothing positive will come of it. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me this afternoon to be able to rise and talk a little bit about Bill No. 13. Maybe there is some significance in the number 13. Is it lucky or is it unlucky? I am not sure but it is just interesting to note that is the number of our bill.

This bill is certainly one that has an impact in this House. It is a measure of confidence in the government and I guess time is going to tell how that is going to turn out, but it is one that is really implementing many of the measures that are in the spring budget. There are a number of items in there that are good and there are a number in there that are not so good. I guess time is going to tell, through the Law Amendments Committee process, if we can get them all to be good or not.

If I remember, back in the spring the budget was hotly debated and our Party certainly could not support the budget. I, for one, could not support what was in there. I think one of the reasons being that it really affected rural communities a lot. I come from an area of the province in rural Nova Scotia that this budget, I think, was harming our communities. One

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of the items in the budget, as I recall, was over $30 million was cut out of the budget for the Department of Transportation. Our rural roads in this province are in poor shape, all over Nova Scotia. I think we need more dollars, not less, put into transportation, secondary roads in particular, in Pictou County and in other areas of the province. So that is one reason I could not support the budget and, therefore, it is going to make it harder for me to be able to support this Bill No. 13 which is tied directly to the budget.

Another item I can recall in June that was in the budget that is difficult to support was the cutbacks to the Department of Natural Resources. Several million dollars were cut back on silviculture. At one time in this province we had over $25 million of federal and provincial money that went into our woodlots. It was a long-term vision that people could see that it would do some benefit for not only now, but in the future to improve our woodlands. So it is rather short-sighted, I think, not to be putting more dollars into good silviculture practices that create jobs now and it creates jobs in the future. Even our Department of Agriculture budget, there are some items missing there. So all in all there were a lot of items that impacted on our rural communities in the budget that I could not support, and I guess that is one of the reasons I was able to vote against it in clear conscience.

The budget, as we know, showed a surplus at that time of approximately $1.2 million and that dissipated over the summer. I believe our Premier said that in September he thought there might be a deficit. It was looking that way and he thought maybe $8 million or $9 million would be the deficit. Within a week the Minister of Finance announced that we had actually an $82 million deficit and in actual fact, if you count in the hospitals, the regional health boards and the school boards in this province, some of which are running deficits, we may be well over $200 million in total deficit. So I guess I had no problem voting against the budget not only because of the increasing deficit, but because people were perhaps not led to believe that everything was truthful, and in time that was proven to be true.

[1:15 p.m.]

The other thing that is not in the budget, of course, and is not in this Bill No. 13, is any further relief for BST sufferers, I guess. Over and over, in the spring election and in this House leading up to May and June, we heard that the government was going to give some real, meaningful relief for those who have to pay the BST - and I guess that is all of us - but in particular on heating oil and wood fuel and children's clothing and children's school supplies, and that just didn't happen. There was one small bit of relief for those who heat with electricity, but generally the promise was not kept that the BST relief would be coming. I think Nova Scotians are disappointed that that relief was not there, and they are certainly disappointed that the supposed surpluses evaporated and now we have a very large deficit.

Another concern, as mentioned by a previous speaker, is the controversy - I guess, if you want to call it that - around the P3 schools' financing. It is a system that allows our schools to eventually be gobbled up and put into the hands of private corporations and where

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profit is really being made off of our school children. There is no question that schools are needed, we need elementary and high schools in various areas of this province, but for them to be owned by big corporations to make a profit, I think is entirely wrong.

The other aspect of that is that eventually our taxes are going to have to go up as there are increasing costs to finance these schools, and that burden will be passed down to the property tax owner in time. Right now, the split between the municipalities and the province is supposed to be 90/10, but in actual fact it has increased to about 83/17. The municipalities are trying to pay that 17 per cent but when you have increased costs, naturally each part of the equation is going to be larger and there are going to be more people paying the cost directly on their property taxes for these private corporations.

I want to turn now, Mr. Speaker, directly to Bill No. 13. As I mentioned earlier, there is some good in the bill and there are some things that are not so good; it is an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. I am going to go through a few sections of the bill that I think need some changes, and some that are perhaps supportable.

The first item, Part I, Assessment Act, it reads as follows in Clause 2(3), "For the 1998-99 fiscal year the Minister shall pay to the municipality in which the land is situate a grant equal to two dollars and ten cents per acre in respect of all land to which this Section applies.". Mr. Speaker, I think that is good that we are finally getting this back for a benefit to our farmers. I guess I question why it was taken away in the first place.

This government, a few years ago, decided in their wisdom to do away with the tax exemption for farmers, and was passed on directly to municipalities. I can recall, when I was a municipal councillor in the Municipality of Pictou County, that this issue was very large and was hotly debated by councillors. We had a large delegation of farmers come into our council chambers and, naturally, were very concerned that this extra burden was being passed along to them. We decided, at that time, to set up a committee to study the issue and to see whether we, as a municipality, should bear that cost, or if it should be borne by the farmers, or if it should be split.

The committee was made up of farmers and others in the rural communities, and some councillors, and in the end we decided that it was too much of a burden to pass on directly to the farmers, and we as a municipality absorbed that on a year to year basis. But I do know that some municipalities in the province couldn't see their way to do that. I think it was Kings County that passed it on directly to the farmers, and it was quite an extra burden for them. I know some other municipalities, I believe Cumberland County was one, split it 50/50, so part of it was borne by all the taxpayers in the municipality and half of it by the farmers themselves. (Interruptions) There are no farms in the city here, but (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 2150]

MR. PARKER: I am not sure how all the municipalities handled it, but I know those three municipalities did it that way. Anyway, I guess it is a good measure. I am just glad to see the government has brought it back, I am just not sure why, in the first place, they took it away.

Just briefly, I want to speak in support of the farmers in this province, they are a very important part of our rural economy. There are 16,000 Nova Scotians that are employed directly on farms in this province, and it has been a tough old haul for them over the past few years. Between the droughts and insects and other weather-related concerns, low prices that have been experienced, especially in the beef industry and the hog business, and escalating operating costs all the time, it has not been easy for our farmers. Certainly, to bring this back, this agricultural land tax exemption is necessary and a needed step. Like I said, it was a real blow to the farmers when it did occur, and I am certainly glad to see it back in here. So, I can support that part of the legislation.

The part under that Assessment Act though, that I don't like, it relates again to this farm land tax exemption, is Clause 2(5), under Part I, and it says, "The Governor in Council may by regulation change the amount of the grant per acre set out in subsections (3) and (4).". So they have, at will, the ability as a Cabinet to say that we are going to take away that exemption for farmers, and could again pass it back along to them. I don't think that is good. Maybe next month or next year or whenever, it could be rescinded. I think that part of the Assessment Act, Part I here, should be taken out.

I am going to move along quickly, Mr. Speaker, through some other parts of the bill. Part II is the Home Ownership Savings Plan. Again, I can support this part of the bill, it is extending it, though, only for one year, from 1999-2000, and certainly there are a lot of young couples out there that are trying their best to save some money for their first home, and rather than renting for 10 years or 20 years or all their lives, why not find some encouragement for them, so that they can get a down payment and get into their own home, and build up with some equity in their own property. Certainly, I would like to see that extended beyond, more than the year 2000. It is a small step, but I think more needs to be done to legislate it more permanently.

Part III is the Income Tax Act, a section of this Bill No. 13. I pay my taxes every year, and I let my accountant look after my income tax, so I am not going to have a whole lot to say on that. My accountant is my wife, incidentally, she does my income tax, for clarification purposes, you know who that is. I will comment on a couple of sections of this part under the Income Tax Act. Clause 5 is a further tax credit of an additional 2.5 per cent for the film industry. That is good that we are encouraging more film development here in Nova Scotia. We have already had some excellent movies that have been made here in our province. The Scarlet Letter was produced here on the South Shore, and the Pit Pony in Cape Breton, and some other good movies that have been produced. So if there is any encouragement to try to employ more Nova Scotians in the film industry in this province, I think that is a good move.

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Moving down, still under this part under the income tax, I believe it is Clause 9. This is one that I have difficulty with under the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Program. I know this has been mentioned earlier but the federal government in their wisdom has provided a national child tax credit to all families that qualify, poor income families and that is good, that is great that they are getting some extra help. The difficulty is that our government here in Nova Scotia has decided to take it away from those who are on social assistance.

I can relate an incident this summer where I had a lady call me, unfortunately in her case she is on social assistance, a single mother with a young baby. She got notice that her money is going to be clawed back, I forget the amount, it is an extra $50 or $100. Anyway the small, meagre amount that she would have got and she certainly could have used it, is being taken away by Big Brother and they in turn are going to determine if there are some other really poor families that could use this extra money. To me, she is a perfect example of somebody who should be able to keep this small amount that the federal government is providing. I think it is wrong that the clawback is on there for social assistance cases.

I know in other provinces, such as New Brunswick and Newfoundland, that they have not taken the money away from social assistance cases but have allowed them a little extra money per month to work with, perhaps to get an evening out once in a while or to buy an extra gift for a child's birthday or whatever. It is not a lot of money but to that social assistance recipient it really is a lot of money. I think that part of the bill is wrong and from a compassionate point of view I really think we should be looking at that in the Committee on Law Amendments.

I had the opportunity one evening to sit in on the Community Services Committee that is travelling around the province and many, many examples of this type were given from social assistance recipients who felt it was unfair and unjust. I am sure all of us, as MLAs, are hearing from constituents who do not think it is right. So that certainly is a section that has to be changed.

Moving along, Part IV of the bill is the Municipal Grants Act, I have nothing to say on that.

Part VI and Part VII are the Public Service Act the Public Service Superannuation Act and there is some concern here and again it has been previously mentioned. Clause 17, Section 9A(1), there is a section in there about the government and the employees are going to get a rebate for this calendar year and last calendar year. There is a surplus in their funds and they no longer need to pay into the fund because of that major surplus and it is going to be split 50/50, going back to the employees that have paid it and to the government that has paid it. I am not sure but I have some question about it saying, ". . . deemed not to have been made.". I wonder, does that mean that there is a rebate going back to the province if they have not made the contribution during those two calendar years? There is some clarification needed there. I can see if there is a surplus and it is going to be split back to those who paid

[Page 2152]

but as long as they did pay into it. Did the province pay into it during those two years so that they would get a refund? That part has to be looked at.

There are a couple of other items around that section of the bill. I guess the big concern is if this is being set up as a permanent thing where the government can step in at any time and take the pension away from the employees. It is two years but it does not say that it ends and it may continue. Again, Big Brother can step in the take the money at any time. They might feel they have a need for it which is certainly, at this time. I guess it reminds me in some ways of the federal EI surplus that so much was talked about these days. Here is a government making a unilateral decision without consultation of the people that have paid into the fund, the employees and the employers, and they are taking the money for their own general revenues. So there is a danger there. In this legislation the same thing is here that maybe they could dip in and take the money at any time they so wish. I think that aspect has to be tightened up. Really the stakeholders, and in this case it is not only government but the public service workers, should have some say through their union, the NSGEU, before that money is taken away from them.

[1:30 p.m.]

There is no role mentioned in the bill here for the Superintendent of Pensions and really somebody has got to oversee this to make sure it is done fairly and this would certainly be a good role for him or her.

I guess the final part is around retired employees. They are on pension. They are receiving their monthly cheque but they do not have a say, again, and this matter affects their pensions. They either should be protected, either through the Superintendent of Pensions that would represent them, make sure it is done fair, or have somebody directly from the retired pensioners group that could be in on the negotiations so they have some say on how their money is spent if there is a surplus in the future.

Coming back to the Act, I think we were on Clause 9. I guess there is just one final section that I want to talk about for a minute and that is Part VIII, Revenue Act. As has been mentioned by previous speakers, there is going to be an increase on cigarettes, I forget the exact amount, but there is an increase in the revenue anyway. I think that is generally good because the higher the price of cigarettes, the more likely it is going to prevent young people from starting out and then getting addicted to the habit and in the long run there will be fewer and fewer cases of cancer which is prevalent and rampant in our province. So anything we can do to try to prevent young people from getting addicted and the subsequent cancer cases down the road as a result of that I think is a good measure.

So I guess overall, Mr. Speaker, I have looked through the Act and it is sort of an omnibus bill. It has got a variety of different things in it. Some of them I can support off the bat. A number of them I think need changes and I would certainly recommend that it go

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through to the Law Amendments Committee stage and see how it turns out there. Then we will have to make a decision on whether we can support it beyond that stage or not. I thank you for your indulgence and we will listen to further speakers. (Applause)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon and speak for a few moments on Bill No. 13, An Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. Right at the outset I would like to say that I am pleased to see that this government has found fit to reinstate the municipal grant in lieu of taxes on farmland. I am pleased to see that has been reinstated. I am also pleased to see that there is a provision in the legislation that will see the Assessment Act amended to provide for a Consumer Price Index costing adjustment and, of course, the Consumer Price Index of Canada is prepared by Statistics Canada, the price index at least.

I am dismayed to see that the Governor in Council may by regulation, Mr. Speaker, change the grant per acre set out in the earlier clauses, that those provisions are not, if you will, enshrined. The Governor in Council, Cabinet, the Liberal Government have the ability, and subsequent governments will have the ability, to change the amount the grant per acre sets out. I think that is wrong. I know I had an opportunity on behalf of the farmers in the Halifax Regional Municipality and by and large most farmers in the Halifax Regional Municipality reside in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, a provincial constituency. My good friend Mr. John Dillman from the Halifax-East Hants Federation of Agriculture motored in from the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley to HRM council and made a presentation to council asking that council absorb some of the downloading that the provincial government had placed upon their backs. The rural councillors spoke in support of the presentation and unfortunately some of the urban councillors spoke against picking up the cost.

I wonder how many NDP members are in support of this land tax being reinstated. I think there is a good number. From listening to the speakers there is a good number of NDP who support this legislation. All of you? Well, it is interesting how things have changed because when Mr. Dillman and I made our presentation to HRM council one of the members to speak against and one of the members to vote against the municipality picking up that cost for the poor farmer, and I think it amounted to $40,000 from the richest municipality in this province, one of the members of that caucus voted against helping the poor farmer. Now in fact I have the copy of Hansard where that same member has the audacity to say that it was an irritant to the farmers. It was an irritant. That is what he said, Mr. Speaker. That was a financial hardship, a burden and a calamity and this government after listening to the farmers, after listening to the Progressive Conservatives, reinstated that. That is the right thing to do. I commend the government. They made a mistake and they made amends. I am really upset with the NDP trying to be all things to all people. You cannot have it both ways. (Interruptions)

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I don't think it is fair to name names, Mr. Speaker. All I can say is that he is presently the Finance Critic for the NDP caucus. That is all I can say.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, can you imagine that it would only have cost the Halifax Regional Municipality $40,000 to help the hard-pressed farmer out and they would not even do that, yet other municipalities like Colchester picked up half the cost. They realized we were in a time of austerity and the farmer likewise was in a time of belt tightening, but nonetheless some municipalities helped and some did not. Now I question the sincerity of members who say, oh, yes, it should never have been taken away. It was a minor irritant. Well, the government and the Progressive Conservatives heard the message loud and clear. Reinstate it.

I want to say that I am very disappointed that the Governor in Council now has the ability to change the regulation and the amount. I trust, I hope, that the government will ensure that they keep pace with the amount that the municipality will charge. The Minister of Finance is nodding his head. Of course, that is the same Minister of Finance who told us his budget was balanced so you have to take that from where it comes. Yes, Downefeathers, yes.

Unfortunately we do not see any provision in here to reinstate some funding to the Department of Transportation and Public Works. The now Minister of Finance when he was the Minister of Transportation and Public Works had a budget that was nearly $30 million more than the present Minister of Transportation and Public Works. What did he do before he became the Finance Minister? He brought the scalpel in and left the honourable member for Shelburne and now the Minister of Transportation with a little budget. He cut $30 million out of Transportation. Everybody in Nova Scotia knows that the Minister of Finance did it and not the Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

The Minister of Transportation and Public Works, however, has seen fit to purchase equipment from the period of April 1st to the end of August this year. Five months, can you believe that? The Minister of Transportation bought $8 million worth of new equipment at the same time, their own figures. Mr. Speaker, there was no reinstatement in this legislation . . .

MR. SPEAKER: No. I am just trying to get some peace and quiet in the Chamber, so we can hear your remarks.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker. However, in an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, there is no new money. There is no money. We recognize that, and we understand the measures here, what they are trying to do. We find favour with some, and some we don't. What are we going to do? Time will only tell.

[Page 2155]

One point I would like to make to this government, a point that they must understand - and this has to do with economic development - this government has an arrangement with their federal cousins in Ottawa, it is called the Economic Diversification Agreement, and in that agreement - mind you, Mr. Speaker, I know you know a little bit about this - proponents who want to establish a golf course can make application through the Economic Diversification Program to receive funding, and that impacts, if it is approved, the consolidated fund and the Public Accounts of this province, any way you cut it.

What I am suggesting to the Premier, this afternoon, and I am giving the Premier some sound advice this afternoon. (Laughter) Now, Mr. Speaker, here is what the Premier should do, he should get . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, here is a cost-saving move, this is an opportunity for the government to do something positive. The Premier should immediately notify Ottawa that he is substituting roads for golf courses in the Economic Diversification Program. I think you would get unanimity in the House, because what we are doing now, pretty soon we are going to have to start mowing the roads and riding golf carts up and down the grass, because the only people who are filling holes are the people out on the golf courses. We can't even get a teaspoon of asphalt on some of our highways, not even a little teaspoon.

The Minister of Transportation and Public Works mind you, and he will look at an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, no money for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, no reinstatement of funds for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, just deplorable roads in every constituency.

You know, it has gotten so bad now that even in some of the Liberal ridings the people are complaining about roads. It is getting really bad. It is getting really bad. If you look at the budget - we have to go back to the budget; everybody in this House talks about the budget, the vote, so on and so forth, Mr. Speaker - we have a page from the budget, under Transportation and Public Works, and we see where 165 employees of the Department of Transportation were let go.

Mr. Speaker, the point I am making is you can't go out and buy new equipment if you have nobody to operate it, and if you are buying a disproportionate amount of graders, excavators, rollers, half-ton, tandem trucks, salt trucks. You name it, they are buying. What we are asking the government and this minister, in this time of belt-tightening, in this time of fiscal restraint: Why isn't the Minister of Transportation cutting back on equipment purchases and leases? Why isn't he doing it in proportion with the cutbacks that he has made to employees and the cutbacks that have impacted the roads in this province? Let's do things in balance.

[Page 2156]

That government has to get back to prioritizing things, and they are not doing it. They are not doing it, not just in my riding, it is happening all across Nova Scotia. Maybe it might even be happening down in Cape Breton South. Who knows? It could be happening everywhere. There is no new money, but there is no provision . . .

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask if the honourable member would entertain a question.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member entertain a question?

MR. TAYLOR: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

MR. MACKINNON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given the fact that the honourable member is concerned about the financial stability of the province here, I notice that there was a bill introduced a little earlier today, an Act to Set Criteria for Prioritizing Road Improvement Projects in the province, introduced by the member from Timberlea-Prospect which, if you read it quite carefully, creates a new government department and I am wondering if he would support such a concept, expending additional taxpayers' dollars when, at the same time, the same member is asking the government to cut back?

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. TAYLOR: Well, thank you. I appreciate the question, Mr. Speaker. I had an opportunity to look at the NDP legislation that was introduced today, and the legislation, in terms of prioritizing projects is supportable. However, the New Democratic Party and their Transportation Critic, or whoever drafted it up went and blew it because the very last clause gives the minister the right to circumvent the process. If you do not like the priority list consider the road improvements to be urgent in your mind, that is what it says. This is nothing but smoke, mirrors and huff and puff.

Back to the Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, unfortunately, there is no provision again for silviculture projects and they are very, very important, as the honourable member for Pictou West mentioned. This government has cut back on silviculture and there are those in the province that question if our annual allowable cut is being exceeded. It is difficult to say but we must make sure that we have forest programs in place that will enable the resource to sustain. If you cut back on your silviculture then I question the ability of the annual allowable cut to be closely monitored because right now there are not the appropriate designs built in and devices in place to monitor the annual allowable cut. I will move away, Mr. Speaker, and get on to some other very important points.

There is no new money for agriculture in this bill but we do support the Home Ownership Savings Plan. I can speak, I believe, on behalf of our caucus, that we are pleased that the program will be continuing into the next millennium. I think that is a positive move

[Page 2157]

and I think it will help any person out trying to purchase their first home so we do support that. However, there are other areas in the legislation that we do have some difficulty with. I know that presenters at the Law Amendments Committee will raise concerns that are shared with us, concerns perhaps about the Petroleum Directorate, for example. We know that has been taken out of the Natural Resources portfolio and I believe it is now under the Premier's Office. There is a big storm brewing down in Cape Breton relative to the fractionation plant. The Premier and his government promised Nova Scotians would have first opportunity at many of the jobs.

The Progressive Conservatives went to the Petroleum Directorate and asked them to intervene on behalf of the Richmond and Inverness Counties Truckers Association. Essentially, while the Petroleum Directorate's Mr. MacDonald was very helpful, obliging, polite and courteous, he felt that his hands were tied. He believed that the rates in Goldboro were similar to those in Point Tupper and in fact they are not. There is a national pipeline trucking rate that is established and the contractor, who I shall not name at this time, I probably will Monday, is not paying the rate. I don't know how much funding the Petroleum Directorate office has but I hope they have enough for travel for the appropriate person to go down and try to mediate or negotiate some type of a settlement there because if we do not we are going to find that there could be a very volatile situation develop. I know from time to time when the New Democratic Party had no members for Cape Breton and we had one that one of the members . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Is the honourable member rising on a point of order?

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: I would just ask the honourable member if he would entertain a question?

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on behalf of myself and the member for Inverness as to who raised these concerns regarding Point Tupper and if there is a contact person that we could deal with? I know from consulting with my colleague from Inverness that this matter has not been raised with us and I know certainly myself and the member for Inverness are well in touch with our truckers. So I am quite concerned as to who would have raised this concern with you and if you could just advise us of that?

MR. TAYLOR: Would it be okay to answer that, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: It is entirely your prerogative.

[Page 2158]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the Progressive Conservatives were contacted by the president of the Inverness County Truckers Association. We also were contacted by the president of the Richmond County Truckers Association. I would trust that the honourable members would know who those presidents are. If they wish, after we leave the House this afternoon, I can give them the names of those individuals. In fact, they had a meeting I believe in the beautiful constituency of Richmond on Tuesday night of this week, down in St. Peter's. The meeting went quite late. They developed a resolution and I would think that perhaps both MLAs should get in touch with those constituents and just find out what that resolution is, because it would be very helpful to them and probably helpful to the truckers.

Mr. Speaker, did you know that the trucking industry - just to digress a little further - is the largest employer in this province? It is even larger than agriculture. It is even larger than natural resources. It is the biggest employer in this province. I have rambled on here at some length, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your indulgence. I believe it is time to pass it on to somebody else and I thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: I see we just have a few minutes remaining, Mr. Speaker. I do not know if I can conclude my remarks before 2:00 p.m. but I will try to be succinct. I do appreciate the opportunity to be able to speak on Bill No. 13. If I could right at the outset, I would like to rebut one comment made by the MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley just to get the record straight. He was critical of one of our members who, when on the HRM Council, voted against picking up a tax measure which the province had abandoned. As he well knows, because he was there at the time, all the HRM Council members, both Tory and Liberal, voted against the measure not because they opposed farming but because it was a provincial and not a municipal matter. (Interruptions)

I do wish to comment on the bill. This bill is rightly so an omnibus bill. It proposes changes to several Acts. In fact, there are eight Acts involved in this bill: the Assessment Act, the Home Ownership Savings Plan Act, the Municipal Grants Act, the Provincial Finance Act, the Public Service Act, the Revenue Act, the Income Tax Act and the Public Service Superannuation Act. These measures do involve the expenditure of public monies. There is no doubt about that.

Under the Assessment Act the minister pays annual grants to municipalities for farm property exempted for taxation. Under the Income Tax Act there is an increase in tax credits to the film industry. The money is paid out for the Nova Scotia Child Benefit Program and, of course, under the Public Service Superannuation Act, the government receives money from the Public Service Pension Plan.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the member for Halifax Citadel would spare a moment for an introduction?

[Page 2159]

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the honourable member for relinquishing the floor for me to make an introduction through you, Mr. Speaker. In your gallery are great neighbours of mine. They live in the beautiful North River on the Cabot Trail and they run a tourist bed and breakfast area there. I want the House to welcome Bob and Murdena Stephen, accompanied by their daughter, Valerie. We ask that the House give them a nice warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, as I say, these measures do involve the expenditure of public money. So this is a money bill. It is a serious bill and, therefore, it does deserve careful scrutiny. There is a grey area as to whether the defeat of this bill would result in the defeat of the government. An appropriations bill has already been passed by the Legislature and this bill does allocate funds that have already been approved. The bill implements part of the government's budget which, of course, we have rejected. Of course there are several reasons for this rejection, not the least of which is that we knew it was not balanced to begin with. Our Finance Critic, the MLA for Halifax Chebucto said this clearly and unequivocally during the budget debates in June. What has happened since then? A modest $1.2 million budget surplus has changed into an $81 million budget deficit and in four months. Such a dramatic turnaround in the province's finances in such a short period of time must be unprecedented in the fiscal annals of this province.

As a matter of fact there have been two major records in the past few weeks. The first, baseball's home run king Mark McGuire popped 70 over the fence and that was in one baseball season. The present Liberal Government of this province dropped 80 down the drain in four months. Mark McGuire's record is a milestone. Our government's fiscal record is a millstone around the neck of every Nova Scotian. If we had a fiscal hall of shame in this province, a place of dishonour would be reserved for the Liberal Government of 1998 for its financial mismanagement of the province's finances. In the room next to them there would hang a plaque of profligacy for the former Tory Government of Buchanan and Cameron who ran up a deficit of $8 billion in this province, a debt we are going to have to pay back, Mr. Speaker.

The member for Digby-Annapolis has indicated that some members do engage in posturing and it does feel good. Having said that, having engaged in posturing, I do now want to turn my attention to more substantive consideration of Bill No. 13.

I do like Clause 1. It gives the Act a short title so I do like the brevity and I shall seek to be brief. I see in light of the fact that we just have a minute or so, would you mind, sir, if I adjourned at this moment and continued my remarks on Monday.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

[Page 2160]

The motion is to adjourn debate of Bill No. 13.

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, the hours of the House on Monday will be from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and we will continue with Bill No. 13.

I move to adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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

We stand adjourned until Monday evening.

[The House rose at 1:59 p.m.]