Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Fri., Oct. 23, 1998

First Session

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Long/Brier Islands: Roads - Improve,
Mr. G. Balser 2547
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1225, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Roadcheck '98: Efforts - Recognize,
Hon. K. Colwell 2548
Vote - Affirmative 2548
Res. 1226, Lbr. - Springhill Mine Disaster (23/10/58): Memories -
Reflect, Hon. R. MacKinnon 2549
Vote - Affirmative 2549
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1227, Educ.: Teachers - Appreciate, Ms. Helen MacDonald 2550
Vote - Affirmative 2550
Res. 1228, Wolfville Baptist Church: Anniv. 220th - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Harrison 2550
Vote - Affirmative 2551
Res. 1229, Commun. Serv. - Seniors' Facilities: Transfer (Ex-Local) -
Reassess, Mr. B. Taylor 2551
Res. 1230, PC Caucus (N.S.) - Mun. Cuts (Ont.): Views - State,
Mr. J. Pye 2552
Res. 1231, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Trade Show and Nova Knowledge
Conf. [Digby]: Organizers - Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 2553
Vote - Affirmative 2553
Res. 1232, Health - Rosedale Home (Special Care): Expansion -
Discuss, Mr. M. Baker 2553
Res. 1233, Agric.: Fall Classic (Poultry Show-Bible Hill) - Congrats.,
Mr. John MacDonell 2554
Vote - Affirmative 2555
Res. 1234, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Trenton Works: TTX Audit -
Congrats., Mr. R. White 2555
Vote - Affirmative 2556
Res. 1235, Lbr. - Springhill Mine Disaster (23/10/58): Heroism
(Carnegie Gold Medal) - Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 2556
Vote - Affirmative 2556
Res. 1236, Commun. Serv. - Phoenix House: Linda Wilson
(Ex-Exec. Dir.) - Congrats., Ms. R. Godin 2556
Vote - Affirmative 2557
Res. 1237, Health - C.B.: Delivery Improvements - Recognize,
Mr. M. Samson 2557
Res. 1238, Women, Status of - Awards (Young Writers):
Recipients - Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 2558
Vote - Affirmative 2559
Res. 1239, Devco - Future: Plan - Engage (Premier), Mr. F. Corbett 2559
Res. 1240, NDP (N.S.) - Devco Crisis: Culpability - Admit,
Mr. P. MacEwan 2559
Res. 1241, Health - Autism: Resources - Commit, Mr. E. Fage 2560
Res. 1242, PC Leader (N.S.)/Premier: Time Lesson - Take,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2561
Res. 1243, Fish.: Role - Define, Mr. N. LeBlanc 2561
Res. 1244, NDP (N.S.) Leader: NDP (Sask.) Arrogance -
Unacceptable (N.S.), Mr. Charles MacDonald 2562
Res. 1245, Devco: PPP - Support, Mr. R. Matheson 2562
Res. 1246, Lib. Caucus (N.S.) - Lobbyists' Registration:
Legislation - Introduce, Mr. H. Epstein 2563
Res. 1247, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101:
Twinning Progress - Info., Mr. G. Archibald 2563
Res. 1248, NDP (N.S.) - Schools Tech. Progress: Criticism -
Explain, Mr. H. Fraser 2564
Res. 1249, BDB (Can.) - Small Bus. Week: Entrepreneurs
(S. Comeau & M.A. Kuttner) - Award Congrats., Ms. Y. Atwell 2565
Vote - Affirmative 2565
Res. 1250, Justice - RCMP: Cuts - Effect Detail, Mr. M. Scott 2566
Res. 1251, Justice - Court Fees: Increase - Mistake Admit,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 2566
Res. 1252, Educ. - Musquodoboit Central Elem. School
(Former Forestry Complex): Usage - Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 2567
Vote - Affirmative 2567
Res. 1253, Devco - Survival: Plan - Funding Ensure, Mr. R. Matheson 2568
Res. 1254, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Route 217 (Long/Brier Islands):
Repair - Address, Mr. G. Balser 2568
Res. 1255, Educ. - Schools: Closure - Review Process Develop,
Mr. John MacDonell 2569
Res. 1256,^Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Women Entrepreneur (Can.) 1998:
Liz Crocker (Hfx.) - Atl. Finalist Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 2569
Vote - Affirmative 2570
Res. 1257, Nat. Res. - Insects New: Warfare - Plans Table,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 2570
Res. 1258, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Golf Courses: Grants Provision -
Refrain, Ms. R. Godin 2571
Res. 1259, NDP (N.S.) - Commun. Econ. Dev. (Yar.): Recognition -
Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 2572
Res. 1260, Health - Molly Moore (Molly Appeal [Dal.]): Death -
Condolences Offer, Mr. G. Moody 2572
Vote - Affirmative 2573
Res. 1261, Lbr. - Volvo Workers: Mediation Serv. - Offer, Mr. D. Dexter 2573
Res. 1262, NDP (N.S.) - Gov't. Alternative: Voters -
Thought Required, Mr. P. MacEwan 2574
Res. 1263, Culture - Cole Harbour HS: Festivities - Applaud,
Mr. J. Muir 2574
Vote - Affirmative 2575
Res. 1264, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Timberlea West Connector:
Completion - Hasten, Mr. W. Estabrooks 2575
Res. 1265, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Greater Hfx. Partnership:
Marketing Awards (Can.) - Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 2576
Vote - Affirmative 2576
Res. 1266, PC Party (Can.) - Leadership Contest: Phone Booth (N.S.) -
Designate, Mr. D. Dexter 2576
Res. 1267, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Women Entrepreneur (Can.) 1998
Ceremony: Janna MacLachlan & Robin Sutherland (Shel. RHS) -
Attendees Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 2577
Vote - Affirmative 2577
Res. 1268, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Sheet Hbr. Opportunities Expo -
Recognize, Mr. B. Taylor 2578
Vote - Affirmative 2578
Res. 1269, Zion Baptist Church (Truro) - Anniv. 102nd: Best Wishes -
Offer, Mr. J. Muir 2578
Vote - Affirmative 2579
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 5, Forests Act 2579
Mr. B. Taylor 2580
Hon.K. Colwell 2587
Mr. H. Epstein 2592
Hon. R. MacKinnon 2600
Mr. M. Scott 2603
Mr. R. White 2605
Mr. G. Balser 2606
Hon. K. MacAskill 2611
Vote - Affirmative 2611
No. 35, Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation Act 2612
Hon. R. Harrison 2612
Ms. E. O'Connell 2613
Mr. J. Muir 2614
Mr. P. Delefes 2616
Mr. W. Estabrooks 2618
Hon. R. Harrison 2621
Vote - Affirmative 2623
No. 22, Health Research Foundation Act 2623
^^Hon. J. Smith 2623
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 2625
Mr. G. Moody 2629
Adjourned debate 2629
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 42, Municipal Amalagamation Review (1998) Act,
Mr. R. Chisholm 2630
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Oct. 26th at 6:00 p.m. 2630
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1270, Agric.: Veterinary Tech. Week - Recognize,
Hon. E. Lorraine 2631

[Page 2547]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Long and Brier Islands. The operative clause reads:

"Please include my name as a solid supporter for getting road improvements made on our Islands . . . Safety is our chief interest and safety is currently being tested each and every day. This cannot be allowed to continue.".

There are 157 names and I have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

2547

[Page 2548]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1225

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

Whereas during the first week of June, motor vehicle safety administrators in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico participated in Roadcheck '98, the annual truck safety initiative organized by the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia, 616 trucks were inspected by the Department of Business and Consumer Services' compliance officers, resulting in 13 per cent being put out of service, the same amount as last year with twice as many inspections; and

Whereas trucks inspected at the Amherst incoming and outgoing stations were among the safest in Canada, earning Nova Scotia a top spot on the country's safety record;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the long hours involved in planning the event, the participation of compliance officers from across Nova Scotia and the cooperation of truckers and the effort to promote safety with drivers and owners of commercial vehicles, an exercise that continues to make roads and highways in the province safer for everyone.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

[Page 2549]

RESOLUTION NO. 1226

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

Whereas today marks the 40th Anniversary of the 1958 Springhill Mine Disaster that claimed the lives of 75 miners; and

Whereas this horrific loss of life and the subsequent eight and one-half days of heroic efforts by draegermen to rescue entombed miners held the world spellbound; and

Whereas the shift in the earth at Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation's No. 2 Colliery at 8:06 p.m. on October 23, 1958, forever changed the lives of the people of Springhill, Cumberland County, and indeed the Province of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House rises for a moment of silence to reflect on the memories of those who died in what has become known as The Bump and to honour those individuals who risked their lives in the rescue attempt.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We will stand for one minute.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

[Page 2550]

RESOLUTION NO. 1227

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

Whereas today is province-wide Professional Development Day for all public school teachers; and

Whereas teachers attempt daily to provide their students with information, knowledge, thinking skills, learning, wisdom, understanding, empathy, behavioural skills, citizenship, comfort and caring; and

Whereas a computer in every corner of every room of every school in every community will never replace the dedicated, devoted Nova Scotian teacher;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take a moment to appreciate Nova Scotia's teachers and wish them well in their professional development today.

I request waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1228

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

Whereas the Wolfville Baptist Church will celebrate its 220th Anniversary on Sunday, October 25, 1998; and

Whereas the Baptist Church of Christ in Horton, convenanted in 1765 and reconvenanted on October 29, 1778, is Canada's oldest continuing Baptist Church; and

[Page 2551]

Whereas the congregation has been ministered to by many dedicated citizens of our province including the first pastor, Nicholas Pierson; the current pastor, Dr. Das J. Sydney; and the Minister Emeritus, Dr. Neil G. Price;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the congregation and staff of the Wolfville Baptist Church for its wonderful and rich history, for its commitment to community and for the strength provided so many citizens throughout its 220 year history.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1229

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

Whereas the Department of Community Services is yanking seniors out of privately run seniors' facilities and placing them in communities far from family and friends; and

Whereas these seniors lived comfortable and safely in these facilities for many years with the approval of the Department of Community Services; and

Whereas the actions of the Department of Community Services are causing anxiety and upset for both the seniors and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Community Services immediately reassess its policies regarding the placement of seniors in residential facilities and further, that it commit to allowing seniors to remain in facilities that are close to their family and friends.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2552]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1230

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

Whereas members of the PC caucus sometimes join the Liberals in suggesting that the alleged sins of any provincial government can be attributed to members of the same Party here; and

Whereas the PC Government of Ontario cut grants to rural municipalities by 48 per cent over two years and imposed $220 per household special tax on rural communities for police service; and

Whereas the PC Government of Ontario cut rural hospital budgets by 18 per cent over three years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Progressive Conservative caucus in the House should state publicly whether they would support the kind of measures imposed by their Ontario cousins so that Nova Scotia rural communities know where the PCs stand.

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. Also, that notice of motion was a little too long.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 2553]

RESOLUTION NO. 1231

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

Whereas this weekend Digby will host a Technology Trade Show and Workshop organized by the Western Valley Regional Development Authority; and

Whereas the show will coincide with the Nova Knowledge Conference taking place at the Digby Pines today and tomorrow; and

Whereas Nova Knowledge is sponsoring the 1998 Smart Enterprise Awards with finalists from all over rural and urban Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers of these events for their vision and initiative in exploring the benefits of information technology in emerging rural economies.

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 member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1232

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 Board of Directors of the Rosedale Home for Special Care in New Germany, Lunenburg County, have been requesting a meeting with the Minister of Health and the minister has failed to meet with them; and

[Page 2554]

Whereas the Rosedale Home for Special Care is a well-run, long-term care facility with a plan for expansion to reduce the shortage of beds in Lunenburg County which forces Nova Scotians to move away from their families and home communities; and

Whereas the Board of Directors of the Rosedale Home for Special Care has tremendous support in the community and is prepared to raise the funds to build the facility.

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly requests the Minister of Health meet immediately with the representatives of the Board of Directors of the Rosedale Home for Special Care to discuss their request for expansion of the facility.

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. Again, I think that notice of motion was a little too long.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1233

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

Whereas the largest poultry show in the province, the Fall Classic, is being held in Bible Hill this coming weekend; and

Whereas the keeping of traditional poultry breeds maintains a gene pool that commercial breeders can rely on for future breed improvements; and

Whereas these traditional breeds represent the hardiest of stock developed by pioneers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers and exhibitors involved in the Fall Classic.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

[Page 2555]

[9:15 a.m.]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 1234

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

Whereas North America's largest railway freight equipment buyer has given Trenton Works high marks for quality; and

Whereas the railcar manufacturer scored 87.6 per cent on a three day audit of all its operations, which is the highest ever scored by a railcar manufacturer on its first evaluation; and

Whereas as a result of this high evaluation, Trenton Works is now filling an order for 1,500 flatbed railcars for TTX;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the management and workers of Trenton Works for their excellent showing on the TTX audit and wish them every success as they seek further railcar business.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 2556]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1235

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

Whereas 40 years ago today in the Town of Springhill a disaster struck in the mines which eventually would lead to the loss of life of 75 miners; and

Whereas six and one-half days later, the first of the Springhill miracles took place when 12 men were found alive; and

Whereas two days later, the second miracle occurred and seven more miners were found alive;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate the miners, their families and the volunteers of Springhill, whose heroism has been recognized by their being awarded the Carnegie Gold Medal, the second group to ever be awarded this medal, along with the victims and survivors of the Titanic disaster.

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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 1236

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

Whereas the number of homeless young people continues to rise in this province; and

[Page 2557]

Whereas Phoenix House for Youth has provided a valuable service to Nova Scotians by welcoming homeless and troubled youth through its doors; and

Whereas Linda Wilson was for many years its executive director and a driving force in the successful operation of the home and has now left that position;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ms. Wilson on the important work she has done in the past and wish her all the best in her future work with yet another youth project, Sullivan House.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1237

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

Whereas recent numbers indicate more Cape Bretoners are receiving the medical treatment they need on the Island, reducing the need for travel to Halifax; and

Whereas the annual report by the College of Physicians and Surgeons indicates the number of doctors in Nova Scotia increased by 37 in the past year, most of whom went to industrial Cape Breton and rural parts of the province, including Springhill; and

Whereas the Strait-Richmond Hospital has benefited from a vigorous recruiting effort by the local community, regional health board, Department of Health and my fellow Strait region MLAs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that the government is moving in the right direction in regard to the delivery of health services in Cape Breton.

[Page 2558]

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1238

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

Whereas in August, the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women presented awards to three young talented writers; and

Whereas the recipients of the awards, chosen from a total of 119 entries, were honoured for their writing skills and insight in addressing the themes of equality, fairness and dignity; and

Whereas Daphne Keevil Harrold of Halifax, a Grade 10 student of the Sacred Heart High; Christy Sutherland, also of Halifax, a Grade 12 student at Queen Elizabeth High; and Carlie Stevens, of Canning, a Grade 11 student at Cornwallis District High School; were selected as recipients of this important award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Daphne Keevil Harrold, Carlie Stevens and Christy Sullivan for their mature insight into women's rights, equality and fairness.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for a 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.

[Page 2559]

The motion is carried.

Again, that last resolution was a little too long.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1239

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 federal government has acted like Pontius Pilate and washed its hands of Devco; and

Whereas this has resulted in a lack of capital infusion needed to develop the coal fields of Cape Breton; and

Whereas yesterday it was announced that Nova Scotia Power and Devco agreed that NSP Inc. could once again purchase offshore coals since Devco has no mine in operation at this time;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier stop with the platitudes and engage in serious negotiation with his federal confreres to develop a realistic long-range plan for Cape Breton coal.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1240

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 news from the Cape Breton Development Corporation is one of catastrophe after catastrophe; and

Whereas the overall picture for Devco has never been worse in its history, for this federal Crown Corporation; and

Whereas while the problems at Devco cannot be oversimplified, it is impossible to believe that if the Honourable David C. Dingwall was still representing Nova Scotia at the federal Cabinet table, things could possibly be as bad as they are today;

[Page 2560]

Therefore be it resolved that the New Democratic Party awaken from its slumber, admit its culpability in the Devco crisis and call upon its elected Cape Breton Members of Parliament to shape up or ship out. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1241

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

Whereas the Ministers of Health, Community Services, and Education have been all talking and very little action when it comes to the desperate need to find new, meaningful approaches for helping children with autism and their families; and

Whereas considerable evidence exists that shows intensive, early intervention can make a world of difference in the quality of life of autistic children and their families and actually reduce the cost in the long term; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's response to the health, educational and social support services of children with autism and pervasive development delay is grossly lacking and among the worst in the country;

Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately commit to securing the resources necessary to provide meaningful intervention and treatment services for children with autism.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 2561]

RESOLUTION NO. 1242

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 Leader of the Third Party impressed this Legislature recently with his ability to accurately tell time; and

Whereas the Premier expressed his admiration for the time-telling talents of the Leader of the Third Party; and

Whereas the Premier yesterday showed his inability to read a clock by not being able to work out the time difference between here and Sweden in order to contact the president of Volvo;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Third Party get together with the Premier for a remedial lesson in telling time.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 1243

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

Whereas yesterday during Question Period the Ministers of Justice and Fisheries confirmed that the Province of Nova Scotia has no intention to intervene in the upcoming Donald Marshall, Jr. Supreme Court appeal; and

Whereas the Minister of Fisheries also confirmed that as far as he is concerned a Supreme Court case with far-reaching implications for resource use in this province is strictly a federal issue; and

Whereas, once again, the Minister of Fisheries is taking a do-nothing approach forcing the fishermen themselves to speak on behalf of Nova Scotia on matters of fishing and harvesting resources;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries take a few seconds and define for the members of this House, and for the rest of Nova Scotia, exactly what he considers his role to be and the role of his department.

[Page 2562]

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 honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1244

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

Whereas the Leader of the NDP claims that his Party is in touch with the concerns and feelings of people in small communities; and

Whereas the NDP look to Saskatchewan as an example of the ideal socialist system in operation; and

Whereas less than one hour after she was appointed last month, the NDP Minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation, Doreen Hamilton, said residents may not be fit to vote on VLTs in their communities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the NDP Leader that the arrogance displayed by his Party in Saskatchewan will not be tolerated by Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1245

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

Whereas it is apparent that the federal government is determined to withdraw from coal mining in Cape Breton; and

[Page 2563]

Whereas it is imperative that any plan for the continued survival of the industry must secure operators for that industry;

Therefore be it resolved that in any discussion leading to a plan for the long-term survival of the coal industry the government support the concept of a private-public partnership between Devco, Donkin Resources Limited, any interested developers and the workforce that eventually could allow for the withdrawal of the Crown Corporation Devco from operations in the Cape Breton coal fields.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 1246

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

Whereas various members of the Liberal caucus have referred to a secret meeting between the NDP Leader and J.D. Irving; and

Whereas the so-called secret meeting took place on April 21st, in Halifax, at Irving's request, included five NDP MLAs and involved no commitment at all by the NDP to the Irving interests; and

Whereas this meeting is exactly the sort of event that lobbyists registration legislation would put on the public record;

Therefore be it resolved that since the Liberal caucus will not support the NDP lobbyists' registration legislation, they bring in their own without delay.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1247

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 Minister of Transportation and Public Works met with his federal counterpart in Ottawa on August 6th to discuss federal funding to continue the twinning of Highway No. 101; and

[Page 2564]

Whereas it has been nearly three months since that meeting and Nova Scotians are asking if Nova Scotia's minister accomplished anything or was this just another infamous meeting of a Nova Scotia Liberal politician going to Ottawa and coming back empty; and

Whereas the twinning of Highway No. 101 must be a priority of this Liberal Government, before any more lives are lost on this heavily travelled stretch of highway;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works inform all members of the Legislature, prior to the closure today, as to the progress being made toward a new highway agreement with Ottawa and funding to continue the twinning of Highway No. 101.

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.

I don't know if it is me this morning or what, but the notices of motion today seem to be inordinately long.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1248

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

Whereas the Technology and Science Secretariat is taking a lead role in community development, by facilitating federal funding for Community Access Program Internet sites; and

Whereas many of these sites are located in schools operated by hundreds of volunteers who welcome this technology in their community; and

Whereas school boards across the province have praised this initiative and are eager to develop new partnerships that will allow their schools access to new technology;

[Page 2565]

[9:30 a.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP, who claim to support rural development, please explain to this House why their Education Critic is critical of any progress in bringing technology to schools.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1249

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

Whereas Halifax graphic designers Steven Comeau and Michael-Andreas Kuttner have been named winners of the Young Entrepreneur Award for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas their company, Collideascope Digital Productions, expects billings to reach $0.5 million this year, more than double 1997 revenues; and

Whereas Collideascope has grown from two part-time employees to five full-time employees in just three short years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Comeau and Mr. Kuttner on their outstanding achievement as this year's recipients of the Business Development Bank of Canada Young Entrepreneur Award for Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

[Page 2566]

RESOLUTION NO. 1250

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

Whereas at a recent national conference of the Police Chiefs of Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service confirmed that the growth of organized crime has become a crisis; and

Whereas a recent International Narcotics Control Strategy Report identified Canada as one of the most attractive locations to launder illegal cash; and

Whereas the federal government cut $74 million this year from the RCMP's organized crime unit at a time when Canada's RCMP Commissioner Phil Murray is seeking additional funds to fight organized crime;

Therefore be it resolved that with the studious work of police in metro Halifax, millions of dollars in illegal drugs have been seized and the profit margins of organized crime dented, Nova Scotia's Minister of Justice provide details as to the what impact the federal budget cut to organized is having upon Nova Scotia.

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

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

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1251

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

Whereas the Supreme Court of Canada ruled yesterday that governments can no longer levy taxes behind closed doors and by the stroke of a pen; and

Whereas this government levied such taxes this fall when it dramatically increased court fees while cutting court administration costs, thereby limiting access to justice; and

[Page 2567]

Whereas the Supreme Court has given provincial governments six months to eliminate any taxes disguised as fees and levied illegally;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government should admit that it was a mistake to impose higher taxes in the guise of court fees being increased by as much as 300 per cent and bring forward to this House any tax increases that it wants this year.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1252

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

Whereas contracts for site excavation and foundations have been awarded for the conversion of the Middle Musquodoboit Forestry Complex into the Musquodoboit Central Elementary School; and

Whereas this new school will serve as the central resource for a new forestry education program being developed for the area schools; and

Whereas through the combination of nature and high technology, Musquodoboit Central Elementary School will meet the current standard for technology in the classroom, while at the same time becoming a focal point for nature studies;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Minister of Education and the members of his department for their foresight in converting this facility, and point out to the Leader of the Opposition that this was all accomplished without raising taxes.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2568]

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1253

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

Whereas the securing of the long-term future for coal will require the outlay of funds sufficient for the capital development and reorganization of the industry; and

Whereas both the provincial and federal governments have a direct stake in the reorganization and long-term survival of that industry;

Therefore be it resolved that in any plans to secure the long-term survival of the Cape Breton coal industry, that both the federal and provincial governments commit the necessary funding to ensure the success of any plan designed to secure the long-range viability of the coal industry of Cape Breton Island.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1254

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

Whereas residents of Long and Brier Islands have requested, through a petition tabled in the House of Assembly, that Route 217 on the islands be deemed a repair priority; and

Whereas this section of highway has had no pavement upgrades since it was constructed in the early 1960's; and

Whereas Route 217 has been placed at the top of the Department of Highways and Public Works Priority Repair and Construction List, annually, for multiple years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works provide the residents of Long and Brier Islands with written assurance that this situation will be addressed during the 1999 construction season.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2569]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1255

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

Whereas schools are the focus for community activity across this province; and

Whereas the impending closure of a school can leave neighbours pitted against one another and communities divided; and

Whereas many parents, teachers and students of schools slated for closure in the wake of the super-school syndrome sweeping this province, have expressed grave concerns over the lack of consultation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education work with his department, school boards, community leaders, teachers, parents and students to develop and implement a process to review any and all proposals for school closures that is inclusive and transparent.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1256

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

Whereas Halifax entrepreneur Liz Crocker has been named a regional finalist in the 1998 Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards; and

Whereas Ms. Crocker is the founder and President of Woozles, the downtown Halifax children's book and toy store that recently marked its 20th Anniversary; and

[Page 2570]

Whereas Ms. Crocker was the Atlantic finalist in the Lifetime Achievement category;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ms. Crocker on her achievement as a regional finalist and wish her every success when the national award winners are announced in Toronto in early November.

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 member Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1257

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

Whereas the European spruce bark beetle has been intercepted both here in Halifax and in Montreal; and

Whereas the European spruce bark beetle is being described as potentially the next spruce budworm for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the spruce bark beetle and the Asian longhorn beetle are the two main topics of conversation at a meeting this week in Halifax of the North American Plant Protection Organization;

Therefore be it resolved that with the spruce bark beetle being intercepted in Halifax, and the Asian longhorn beetle having destroyed millions of dollars of forest land in New York and expected to find its way to Canadian trees in the not-too-distant future, the Minister of Natural Resources table in this Legislature, today, advance plans which are in place to deal with these potentially devastating insects prior to or upon their takeover of Nova Scotia forest land.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice on this motion.

[Page 2571]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 1258

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

Whereas the Department of Economic Development has admitted to not less than an $18 million deficit; and

Whereas every business in Nova Scotia deserves to operate on the basis of the same rules and conditions; and

Whereas the Department of Economic Development is responsible for the security of all business, both big and small;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Economic Development refrain from providing grants for any more golf courses in this province which work to the detriment of our long-established community courses.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 2572]

RESOLUTION NO. 1259

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

Whereas the citizens of Yarmouth recently received a pamphlet from their NDP MLA that outlines his priorities for the area; and

Whereas in an address to the local Rotary Club, the NDP MLA said, all is not doom and gloom in Yarmouth, citing new businesses that set up in the old cotton mill building as examples of growth; and

Whereas the Leader of the NDP toured the 11 new businesses in the former Yarmouth cotton mill with the director of the local development authority and commented on the jobs created in the facility;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the NDP for recognizing the community economic development initiated in Yarmouth under this Liberal Government and ask the NDP to admit they have no cohesive plan to help small communities.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1260

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

Whereas Molly Moore, with an initial $5.00 donation, was the inspiration for the fund-raising campaign that became known as the Molly Appeal; and

Whereas the Molly Appeal has generated more than $3.6 million to date for the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation; and

[Page 2573]

Whereas medical research provides fundamental insights into health issues which affect us all;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly offer condolences to Ms. Moore's family on her recent passing and applaud her legacy of goodwill that has and will continue to touch thousands of lives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1261

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

Whereas frustrated Volvo workers have occupied the Volvo Canada plant in Halifax in protest against the inadequate severance packages offered by Volvo; and

Whereas these packages are considerably less than those offered to any Volvo workers anywhere; and

Whereas yesterday the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board granted Volvo Canada's request for a cease and desist order against the workers;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of supporting the injunction against Volvo workers, the government can make its mediation services available immediately so both sides can work out a fair severance package for workers as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 2574]

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. 1262

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 greatest single asset that Nova Scotia enjoys today is the goodwill Premier Russell MacLellan possesses with the federal government in Ottawa; and

Whereas this much-needed goodwill would be totally lost were there to be an NDP Government in Halifax which would inherently be viewed as alien and sinister by Ottawa; and

Whereas the greatest single liability Nova Scotia struggles under today is the absence of any elected voice in the corridors of power at Ottawa, a calamity created by the NDP;

Therefore be it resolved that the voters of Nova Scotia should think before plunging any further into the NDP abyss, which in British Columbia has caused the poorest economic performance of any province in Canada and in Saskatchewan the highest incidence of child poverty anywhere in the country.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1263

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

Whereas in late September a sweetgrass ceremony marked Cole Harbour District High School's celebration of cultural diversity; and

Whereas the Carson Downey Blues Band of North Preston and Mi'kmaq dancers kicked off five days of assemblies, art displays, speakers and student talent acts; and

[Page 2575]

Whereas celebrating the cultural diversity of this province is important in helping to erase prejudice and in promoting tolerance and understanding;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the students, teachers and participants of Cole Harbour High School's cultural festivities and further that we make a concerted effort to learn from their example.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1264

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

Whereas traffic volume continues to build on the old Highway No. 3 through the communities of Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea; and

Whereas the overpass to metro's dump at Otter Lake is now complete; and

Whereas local residents would much appreciate a speedier and safer way to get to and from work and their place of residence;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation press to have the Timberlea West Connector completed as quickly as possible.

[9:45 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[Page 2576]

RESOLUTION NO. 1265

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 Greater Halifax Partnership has won national recognition; and

Whereas at its annual meeting in Halifax the Economic Developers Association of Canada presented the Partnership with two marketing awards; and

Whereas the awards included a gold medal for its Smart City/Smart Move marketing campaign and a bronze award in the direct mail category;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Greater Halifax Partnership on their awards and applaud their efforts at marketing Halifax as a place with great potential for economic development.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1266

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 Tory Party has for some strange reason decided to virtually hide their contest for a federal Leader; and

Whereas they have even more strangely decided to forego any sort of national convention to pick that Leader this weekend, giving their dwindling number of supporters in this province nowhere to gather and to commiserate about their future; and

[Page 2577]

Whereas the dwindling number of Tories in this province will need somewhere to gather this weekend;

Therefore be it resolved that a phone booth be designated in a central location in the province this weekend as a proper meeting place for the Tory supporters.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1267

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

Whereas two young entrepreneurs have been chosen to attend the 1998 Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award ceremony; and

Whereas Janna MacLachlan and Robin Sutherland, both of Shelburne Regional High School, were the only two student entrepreneurs chosen from the province to attend; and

Whereas this unique program to recognize outstanding women entrepreneurs is an initiative of the University of Toronto to develop and recognize business leaders;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Janna MacLachlan and Robin Sutherland for their entrepreneurial spirit.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 2578]

RESOLUTION NO. 1268

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

Whereas today marks the beginning of a two day session of Sheet Harbour's first annual Opportunities Expo; and

Whereas the show will allow businesses and consumers to exchange ideas and information on everything from business trends to starting a new business; and

Whereas the event, hosted by the local board of trade and the Halifax Regional Development Agency, is anticipating more than two dozen companies and agencies;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize and support the Sheet Harbour community, the local board of trade, and the Halifax Regional Development Agency for their innovation in hosting an Opportunities Expo.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1269

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

Whereas the Zion Baptist Church in Truro will be celebrating its 102nd Anniversary from October 23rd to October 25th; and

Whereas at this time the church will also be honouring Deacon Mary Shepphard for her many years of faithful service to the work of the Lord; and

[Page 2579]

Whereas the anniversary church service will feature special music by the Hallelujah Praise Choir from North Preston and the Gospel Heirs and the guest speaker will be the Rev. John Tymon from Cleveland, Ohio;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer best wishes to Pastor Wallace Smith and congregation of the Zion Baptist Church as it celebrates its 102nd Anniversary and join with the church in recognizing Deacon Mary Sheppard for her outstanding service to her church and community.

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.

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.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 5 for continued debate.

Bill No. 5 - Forests Act.

MR. SPEAKER: I will call Bill No. 5 which was adjourned by the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley but before granting him the floor I would ask the Minister of Labour to take the floor for an introduction.

[Page 2580]

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for yielding the floor for a moment. I would like to introduce to you, Mr. Speaker, and all members of the House, in the east gallery Mr. Ed Davis from the Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board who is here to witness some of our deliberations. He is here in Halifax on some educational business and I think it is only appropriate that we offer him the warm approbation of the House in our usual tradition. (Applause)

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

For the record you have about 30 minutes remaining.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, you will recall just prior to adjourning debate last night on this bill that the honourable Minister of Fisheries and Business and Consumer Services placed a question to me relative to the federal Members of Parliament. We did not have time and we did not want to perhaps take some of the time for the late debate so I did not have the chance to answer that question. With your approval I feel it would be an opportune time this morning to answer the minister's question.

The minister wanted to know what are the federal members are doing about forestry in my provincial riding which is Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and federally that riding is represented by the honourable Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party, Mr. Peter Stoffer and the Colchester portion of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is represented by the honourable Member of Parliament for the Progressive Conservatives, Bill Casey. As I briefly indicated, the member for Cumberland-Colchester, the Member of Parliament, Bill Casey, is very aware of how important forestry is in the Province of Nova Scotia and not only in Nova Scotia. Being a Member of Parliament having a considerable number of years experience, Mr. Casey is also aware of how important forestry is right across this nation. Without a doubt, if the Minister of Fisheries and Business and Consumer Services was to place a call to the honourable member, he probably could not only tell the minister how many sawmills, how many harvesters and how many contractors are in Cumberland-Colchester, he probably could tell that honourable member how many sawmills, how many harvesters, how many contractors, how many chippers, how many feller-bunchers, how many processors are in his own constituency. If the minister would call Mr. Casey, he would get that type of information.

On the other hand, the honourable Member of Parliament, Mr. Peter Stoffer, I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Stoffer on a number of occasions. First, I would like to say that he is a new member of the NDP federal caucus and I have found it a real pleasure to work with the honourable member Peter Stoffer. He is a very fine gentleman and I have to tell you, I was a little bit concerned. As you know, Mr. Stoffer, just to give a little history to the minister because he did place the question, the member and I have had an opportunity to talk about forestry in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. We have discussed a number of issues and I have found that Mr. Stoffer's office in Sackville, his staff have been very courteous,

[Page 2581]

very polite, and usually if I take a concern that is federal in jurisdiction the office usually responds. I am very pleased to work with Mr. Stoffer.

I cannot speak as to what experience the minister might have with Mr. Stoffer's office. As the member would know, all of the Eastern Shore, I believe, is represented by Peter Stoffer so the minister's own riding, more so perhaps than mine, so he probably has a good idea himself of what Mr. Stoffer thinks relative to forestry. I know that the Member of Parliament has a very busy agenda.

I was pleased to receive an invitation from - and it is a very important component of forestry on the Eastern Shore - the Northern Wood Fibre Incorporated plant that is operating down at the Sheet Harbour dock. I know the minister was there, the councillor for the area was there and I had an opportunity to attend that meeting. So, I have to say that both Members of Parliament in my constituency, although they are not Liberals because we all know what happened in 1993, the Liberals won all 11 seats but as a consequence I believe of their inaction none was re-elected and, in fact, the Premier of this province chose not to re-offer and he probably would have suffered the same demise. Now, to get back to the bill, I think I have perhaps answered that question.

Mr. Speaker, the forestry complex in Middle Musquodoboit as the minister alluded to this morning, by way of a resolution, is being converted and in this legislation one would have to question where the funds are going to come from. If you believe the news release that the Liberals put out, it indicates that, "Middle Musquodoboit's former forestry complex will soon become the area's newest elementary school. Contracts for site excavation and foundations have been awarded, and conversion of the complex into Musquodoboit Central Elementary School will begin before the end of the month. The new school . . .", and this is where forestry comes in, ". . . will feature several innovative concepts, including serving as the central resource for a new forestry education program being developed for area schools.".

That tells me that the government recognizes, finally, how important the forest industry is to this province. At present we do have an educational program at the Musquodoboit Valley Nursery Education Complex but the community was concerned and I know staff was concerned as to just what the future of that program would be. So this member is pleased to see that the government is going to enhance that program but we know from the legislation that the minister introduced, the bill before us, that the different clauses in the bill and the provisions included therein do not represent, as far as I am concerned, this new program that will use existing woodland trails and tree planation containing native and exotic trees.

Mr. Speaker, my very learned colleague, the member for Lunenburg Centre, just by way of a brief conversion this morning, I learned that his riding, too, is very much dependent, if you will, upon the forest industry. Something we didn't talk about was Christmas trees and how important the Christmas tree industry is to Nova Scotia.

[Page 2582]

I know the honourable member is going to have something to say about that. My point would be that while this legislation is a small step in the right direction because we see the Forests Act and the wildlife guidelines rolled into legislation, there doesn't seem to be any commitment toward somehow combatting the European spruce bark beetle. As I understand, it has been intercepted both here and in Montreal. The European spruce bark beetle is being described in Nova Scotia as the next spruce budworm for Nova Scotia. I would like the Minister of Natural Resources during his summation of the bill to perhaps explain to the Progressive Conservatives just how the minister plans on combatting the next spruce budworm in Nova Scotia and how the minister is going to finance the undertaking, Mr. Speaker, because his budget has certainly felt the wrath of the Minister of Finance, as has nearly every department, and as we know, this government has an incredible deficit.

There is also a concern with the Asian longhorn beetle, Mr. Speaker. There are two main topics of conversation at a meeting this week in Halifax of the North American Plant Protection Organization. These concerns were raised and Christmas tree growers and producers in Nova Scotia conversely, on sort of the opposite side of the equation, are very concerned that Europe and some of the Asian countries that purchase our balsam fir tree now because of duties and measures that have been taken by the European community, think it is going to be extremely difficult to market the balsam fir tree abroad.

[10:00 a.m.]

Again, I would like to know when the minister makes some comments on this legislation during his summation, what he is doing to fight these artificial trade barriers that the European community is employing. It is a big concern and I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, that the minister is aware of just how serious this concern is. There haven't been any ministerial statements about it; there is nothing in this legislation and I think it should - again, as my colleague the member for Pictou Centre has mentioned this morning, and my colleague the member for Pictou East - with the spruce bark beetle being intercepted in Halifax and the Asian longhorn beetle having destroyed millions of dollars of forest land in New York.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you would know, as a well-travelled veteran and member of this Legislative Assembly, that New York is not all that far away, and this beetle is expected to find its way into Canadian trees in the not-too-distant future. It is something we have to be terribly concerned about. Everybody, and I am sure all members from Cape Breton, irrespective of political stripe, realize what devastation the budworm rained on Cape Breton Island. We have trouble with the tussock moth on the mainland.

I am telling you, forestry is the second or third largest employer in the Province of Nova Scotia and if we are not concerned about the spruce bark beetle and the Asian longhorn beetle and artificial trade barriers and sanctions that the European community has taken against our exports, then we are only fooling ourselves. I trust the Minister of Natural Resources is concerned, and his government is prepared to do something. As I suggested in an earlier

[Page 2583]

contribution to this debate, when the Minister of Natural Resources is in Ottawa - and I suggest that he go to Ottawa as quick as he can, post-haste - I suggest that he explain to his counterpart up there that has this large surplus and is having difficulty deciding what they are going to do with their surplus, that some of that funding should be directed Nova Scotia's way to combat these insects, these beetles, this tussock moth, that has the potential to destroy what is really a valuable resource.

The Minister of Natural Resources tabled in the Legislature advance plans which he feels are in place to deal with these potentially devastating insects. The government has plans but, if you don't have action plans and you don't have the necessary funding to carry out those plans, they are just smoke and mirrors.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are not plans.

MR. TAYLOR: No, absolutely, they are not. They are more or less propaganda and a little bit of political posturing. I wish the minister well, Mr. Speaker.

The legislation before us, as the minister tells us, it is a new direction for forestry. We are all concerned that the resource must be able to sustain itself; we just can't cut more than we can grow. I think there are areas of the province where the annual allowable cut is being exceeded. The minister knows full well that his government and his department has absolutely no idea how much wood fibre is leaving this province and if you asked the minister and he would answer the question sincerely, he would have to tell us now.

The Department of Natural Resources - and it is shame, shame, shame - they failed this province miserably because they don't have any idea how much wood fibre is leaving this province, how much is going to other jurisdictions as a resource that isn't even value added. A lot of people have difficulty with the fact that logs are sawed into lumber and shipped out nearly as fast as they can be cut and marketed. It is sort of a supply-and-demand thing.

Mr. Speaker, a lot of round wood, a lot of wood fibre, a lot of wood chips are leaving Nova Scotia by way truck, by way of train, by way of ship and that minister and his government don't have the necessary resources, they don't have the necessary human resources, nor do they have the necessary financing to monitor it and put devices in place so that can be checked. So how in the world can this legislation have any teeth, if you don't have the necessary funding to back it up? That is the question, we have asked time and time again. If you look at their budget, you see that it is cut, cut, slash and burn, dump the money in another department in the name of being fiscally responsible. That is what they are doing. Slash, slash and clear-cut the budgets. That is what they are doing.

Don't get me wrong, we do support the principle of this legislation, because this is Tory legislation. We gave the minister the ideas, we gave them to Don Downe when he was Minister of Natural Resources, we gave them to Eleanor Norrie when she was Minister of

[Page 2584]

Natural Resources, and finally that government listened to the Tories and brought in legislation that is right out of our book. Right out of the Tory book. We told the different ministers under the Savage Regime and under the MacLellan Regime, look, you roll those guidelines in the Forestry Act into legislation, and you roll those wildlife guidelines into legislation.

Finally that minister, and I commend that minister for taking some action. He introduced the bill during the last tenure, if you will, of the Savage reign, it was introduced. Then as a consequence of the election on March 24th, it was reintroduced, because, as you know, Mr. Speaker, nobody in Nova Scotia knows the rules and procedures in this House like you do, and as you know, because there was a new legislative session, it was reintroduced in the spring when we sat the last time, after the March election. (Interruptions) And a heck of a good Tory. Absolutely. One of the foremost knowledges in Nova Scotia. In fact, I was told by a gentleman last night, a well-renowned political panellist, that there is no Tory like Mr. Speaker. I was told that by a well-renowned political panellist last night. So I have to believe him. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to get back to the principle of the bill.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, one of the key features of the bill is a buyer registry, required to have a wood acquisition plan showing how their supply will be sustainable. I believe in value-added products and when I talked about that little old sawmill in Chaswood yesterday, that little steam-powered mill, I neglected to mention that (Interruptions) No, it is a new point, it is not repetition. Yes, I am on the bill. If you would listen, you would know I am on the bill.

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult in Nova Scotia today to find a lath machine. A machine that makes laths, and in Chaswood, which is about as far removed from the Atlantic Ocean as you can get, we used to make laths. Anybody in the lobster industry would know that laths were extremely difficult to obtain, but now with synthetics and artificial material and things of that nature, it is extremely difficult to market laths, but I wonder how many members in the House can tell me where you could go out and buy a bundle of laths today. I wonder if they could tell me. They are making them somewhere in Bobby's Land, in the honourable member's land.

MR. SPEAKER: I take it the honourable member is going to tie this to the bill somewhere.

MR. TAYLOR: Okay, Mr. Speaker. We all want to see, I believe, improved forest management practices. This legislation does provide, provided that action plans are put in place, for improved forest management practices, regulations based on forest wildlife guidelines for use in Crown land, and the minister indicates on private woodlands. I think the numbers, and the minister can correct me, but the numbers we have are that 70 per cent of

[Page 2585]

the woodland in Nova Scotia is privately owned. I know the minister, and probably ministers previous to the honourable member have had difficulty reaching agreements with private woodlot owners.

However, a code of forest practices for Crown land, and I believe, private lands should be developed, and without infringing on people's rights, if that is doable, and I believe it is, I believe the minister can come up, working with the stakeholders, develop a code of forest practices that will ensure that our resource sustains for future generations. It is very important.

I have some concern about the registration, and the Department of Natural Resources monitoring ability regarding industrial harvesting. How in the world and that is the question that has to be answered? If this legislation is employed, if it is adopted, incorporated, there will be a collection and reporting of forestry data. It is mandatory by way of this legislation, that buyers have to report the wood volumes that they purchase. That is something that is not happening today. Some buyers are, yes, I guess it is just the same as in any business, there is good and bad, if you will and most of the operators that I know are very concerned and very conscious of the resource.

There is nothing that really compels the buyers of Nova Scotia's resource to report the volumes purchased. We have no idea of how much wood fibre is leaving the province. Mr. Speaker, I am extremely concerned about that. I do trust that the minister, when he gets around to making a few comments in summing up this legislation, will answer some of the questions that we have raised here today.

Parks and woodlands are psychologically very good for the general public, although it is hard to measure the value of recreational land, parks and woodlots. We all understand that the wildlife habitat is very important but it is also important that we, as humans, have an opportunity once in a while to stroll through parks, to take walks in the woods and to go out to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. I am pleased to see that wildlife is represented throughout this legislation, I am not sure about setbacks and things of that nature from highways, from watercourses, but once the guidelines become regulations, as the bill indicates they will, then perhaps the appropriate setbacks and provisions will be in place to protect our wildlife.

It should be noted that the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park does reside in the beautiful constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. I know all members have been there probably a half-dozen times or more and they should go back because each year we will see new wildlife, most of it is native to Nova Scotia, but on occasions we do have some animals from other jurisdictions and it is just great. It is almost therapeutic to take a little stroll through the wildlife park. I was disappointed that for some reason the Department of Natural Resources found fit to take the window away from the otter pool. Now when you walk in there you cannot look in and see that otter diving and a lot of people (Interruption) The little kids like to go see the otters. The minister is laughing but I have had a lot of complaints about

[Page 2586]

that. There is nothing in this legislation that tells me that the window will be going back into the otter's pool.

I do not know how callous anybody could be to walk along and say, well we will board that up, there are too many little kids looking in and seeing the otters play and watching them. But if you go out now, anybody who has not been to the wildlife park, the minister should go (Interruptions) Yes, those children up there would like to see the otters but now you cannot see the otters swimming down below the water, you can look and see them dive. I would just quickly like to make a recommendation or perhaps a request would be more appropriate to the Minister of Natural Resources that he will look into that and see why the plexiglass was taken out of that pool. (Interruptions) Well, if it had a hole in it it can be replaced. If we get a hole in our roof we replace it and put shingles on it.

I know we had some problems down in Cape Breton regarding the wildlife park there but the community rallied behind different community leaders and as a consequence - and I know the honourable member for Cape Breton West is very proud of the wildlife park in his constituency. A former member, Alfred MacLeod, worked very, very hard with local committee members there and - they were able to arrive at a partnership with all of the stakeholders. I believe that park - although I have not had recent information - is functioning and providing a valuable service. It is important that we have places like that in Nova Scotia, there have to be places set aside. In the name of progress, if you will, sometimes we neglect to recognize and understand and appreciate how important wildlife parks, parklands and woodlots are.

[10:15 a.m.]

I don't know, Mr. Speaker, another, perhaps, way of getting a question answered, I don't like to digress, as you understand, I was trying to stick right on the bill as much as I can. A number of my colleagues have raised concerns - and this is issued by the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests - and when we are talking about wildlife we have to be concerned about the Nova Scotia Firearm Hunting Certificate. Not to get on Bill C-68 but I wonder, looking at the Financial Measures Act, we don't see any provision put in place to provide for re-issuing the certificate. I had one and I had a few words with the minister and he said, they don't see why they couldn't renew it. I know he made a phone call or two yesterday on my behalf and he will have a written answer and verbal reply to that question.

As I understand it, the now Department of Natural Resources will re-issue new hunting certificates and anybody that has one, and I support this, an old one and can have it somehow confirmed, it will be re-issued without taking the expensive Firearm Acquisition Certificate and also obtaining a new hunting certificate. So, when we are talking about wildlife and things of that nature, we have to be concerned that if we are going out and hunting in our forests that we have the necessary documentation that will permit us to do so.

[Page 2587]

Again, a big major concern, and I see it missing from this bill, and that is reforestation. There is no provision in the legislation, as far as I am concerned, for reforestation. This government is leaving 80 per cent of reforestation up to regeneration, meaning that there is no planting. I would like to know where the 20 per cent replantation is taking place. Where in the world is the replantation, the reforestation taking place? Mr. Speaker, this is a major concern. Some of the harvesters, and I use Irving as an example and Mactara, they do some replanting but this government have closed, if you will - you might as well as say that they closed - the Musquodoboit Valley Forest Education Complex and they used to produce thousands and thousands of little seedlings for replanting. This government, in its wisdom, apparently doesn't value that complex as a centre of excellence for forestry and things of that nature.

Again, I am very concerned that while it is fine and dandy to establish regulations and set up a wood acquisition plan, what are we going to do to ensure that the resource sustains? Is it still going to continue to be a supply and demand or as long as somebody phones up and wants a stick of lumber, go out and cut it? Mr. Speaker, that has got to stop. As much as we support the principles and the key messages in this bill, it is extremely difficult to understand where the government is going to get the necessary funding to support this legislation, once it is in place. That is a concern that I have.

It is a step in the right direction. I am pleased that the minister did bring it forward for second reading. I will be and my caucus will be supporting this legislation moving along to the Law Amendments Committee, Mr. Speaker. I do thank you for your indulgence.

MR. SPEAKER: I am going to recognize the minister for an introduction, this is not to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to bring to the attention of the House this morning, Mr. Speaker, seated in your gallery a member of my constituency, George Fraser is from Pleasant Bay and he is President of the Pleasant Bay Development Association. He is in Halifax to hold meetings today and George is fighting very hard to achieve a whale interpretation centre for the Pleasant Bay area. So I want all members of the House to recognize George today and give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure today to rise and speak on a bill to amend the Forests Act. This bill has many long-reaching impacts on my riding and on the rest of the Province of Nova Scotia. I think it is best summed up by a sustainable forest and sustainable jobs in the forest industry. We have watched years and years of neglect by past governments by not taking this issue to task and it was already mentioned by some of the

[Page 2588]

previous speakers here that there is probably a realization that we don't even know how many trees are leaving the province, in what form, or even how many are being cut down. As Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, I would hate to see the situation go the same as the fishery did and we find it is too late to anything about it.

I feel this bill is a very positive bill and we should help move forward a sustainable forest industry and sustainable jobs in the forest industry. I think for many years we have needed proper forest management and proper forest management to me means long-term sustainable jobs and long-term sustainable employment.

You also look at the other things in the industry. You look at the wildlife and the economic benefit the wildlife has to the province and the importance of the wildlife just for being there. It is so important to have our forests in a healthy condition and not completely destroyed by processes in forestry that eliminate their habitat. I think that is very important.

Also, when you look at tourism, tourism in my area is a major impact on our economy and it is growing all the time. We have one of the fastest growing industries in the province and we continue to try to develop that. However, it has been difficult in some cases. We have had clear-cutting right up to the edge of the road and a total mess left that is indeed an eyesore. It is time, I think, that we encouraged our Department of Natural Resources to take some action on this through regulations that would prevent this kind of mess being left on the side of the road and I am sure during the Law Amendments Committee we are going to have a number of people in from the tourism industry to discuss this very fact.

We have seen some clear-cutting near very scenic locations which has absolutely destroyed that possibility in our economy. I think that is really an unnecessary step. I think there are forest practices that can be used in those locations to selectively cut trees as they have done for 200 years in the Province of Nova Scotia and still leave the beauty of the forest there for people to enjoy for other reasons; not only that, but the people who are harvesting the wood would also have jobs for their young children when they are going to university, in the summertime, possibly in the tourism industry. It is a twofold thing, I really believe.

It is important that we preserve our forest the way it is. I think we are lucky in Nova Scotia in some ways that a large amount of our forests are owned privately. I think a lot of the private woodlot owners are very cognizant of this and are very conscious about the need to preserve the resource that they have. Really, it is their bank account because if they destroy their bank account, they have nothing to leave for their children and their grandchildren. I think this approach is going to be very positive in that regard.

I know that some people in my area are going back to harvesting with a horse which is unique. It is odd to find out that the people they are working for are the people who own the big harvesters that go in the woods and just totally devastate the forest when they are working for someone else but they hire the people with the horses to go in on their own land

[Page 2589]

and harvest. It is a unique situation. So maybe we need more of that type of approach. It gives you a really good product. It means you have a sustainable forest and you put a lot of labour into the system on the way. So I think it is very positive.

I am personally going to request that the Minister of Natural Resources look for sections in the Act or in the regulations that will protect tourism and areas that will ensure that clear-cutting isn't done next to our roads and our scenic locations. It has been a very difficult situation for the tourism industry to develop, and I will give you an example - just before you get to Liscombe Lodge in Guysborough County, the trees are gone and a mess is left. Liscombe Lodge is a beautiful place. It is one of the most beautiful places we have in the province for tourists to go see but just before you get there, you see this mess, this absolute mess that was left by somebody who really didn't care. I think we really have to address that issue and it is so important that we do it and at the same time build for the future, and we can do all those things.

With your permission, Madam Speaker, I would like to digress a little bit. I asked one of my honourable colleagues about what the MPs in his area are doing about the forest industry and I think this is very important. He didn't answer my question. I asked him specifically what they were doing about the forest industry. He said they know all the companies. Well, I know all the companies and I am sure everybody in the communities knows all the companies. They know all the harvesters, and so does everybody else in all the communities, but they really do not have a voice in government, and that is costing Nova Scotia and it is costing Nova Scotia seriously.

We have seen that in my own Department of Fisheries. We have no voice and it makes it extremely difficult to deal with any issue that reflects Nova Scotia's needs and requirements. I am very concerned about that and, as time goes on, we are going to see that concern grow from Nova Scotians. I have talked to many people in the community and they admit we do not have any representation at the government table and that is critical.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The minister is misleading the House. The question he asked (Interruptions) Let's go back, let's be fair. The question he asked was what are the members of Parliament doing from the area of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. He said because they are not on the government side in Ottawa, because they are not with the Chretien Liberals, nothing is being done. The fact is the NDP member for Sackville-Eastern Shore and Tory member for Cumberland-Colchester are more effective than when a member of Parliament on the Liberal side of the House was in Ottawa because they did nothing, and our cooperative arrangement relative to forestry was dissolved when the Liberals went to Ottawa. Let's put it straight. The Liberals did absolutely nothing and Roseanne Skoke did nothing and, as a consequence, she was not re-elected; Mr. Peter MacKay was. Thank you.

[Page 2590]

MADAM SPEAKER: Okay, thank you. Would the honourable member continue, please.

MR. COLWELL: Madam Speaker, I would like to get your ruling on that. Was that a point of order or not?

MADAM SPEAKER: I think he responded to correct you. Yes.

MR. COLWELL: Whatever you say, Madam Speaker. Well, he responded to correct, but I still feel he is incorrect. He did not really address the issue we have been talking about here and it is very unfortunate that that is the case because this is a very serious topic; it is very serious for Nova Scotians. A bunch of rhetoric here that says these people are doing a great job and things are great for Nova Scotia, I believe is totally out of order and it is not acceptable for Nova Scotians.

Back to the bill, Madam Speaker. I think, as we go through this process, it is critical to point out again how important our forests are. When we look at the fishing industry and the collapse in the fishing industry in the 1980's, when people should have been doing something and they didn't do anything, and it just happened to be a Conservative Government in Ottawa and Nova Scotia at the time, they didn't do anything about it and now it is time we do something about the forestry industry.

We have some very distinct advantages in the forest industry in the fact that we can actually physically count the trees. We can physically see what the resource is and where the resource is in the communities; we can also measure and see what kind of economic impact we can have. I think this bill will help to improve our economic impact on our local communities.

We have to change how we are doing business in Nova Scotia - and I have been saying this for years, from running my business myself - we have to really ensure that we get added value out of everything we do. Added value today may be the change from cutting a tree and hauling it out of the province to cutting the tree and cutting it into rough lumber and then hauling it out of the province and then, the next month, planing the lumber and shipping it as a totally finished product and, ultimately, planing the product and turning it into furniture or some other product that we get some really high value on. That is the ultimate goal we have to go for.

It is unfortunate that we send lumber to other parts of the world and we end up, as consumers, going back and buying furniture from the local furniture store. That is not acceptable as far as I am concerned. We have to set the environment to ensure that people have the opportunity to go forward and produce these products in Nova Scotia on a competitive basis.

[Page 2591]

There are a lot of things that make things competitive in Nova Scotia. Our labour costs are relatively high compared to some other countries in the world that manufacture, which is definitely a problem, but we have another advantage in that regard because we have very good workers in Nova Scotia, very skilled people and very hard-working people, so we can overcome the discrepancy in the labour costs. Also, presently, we have an ideal situation in manufacturing where our dollar is a lot lower than the American dollar and some of the other currencies. So that also puts our labour costs on a very equal keel.

[10:30 a.m.]

The other key thing we have to do in Nova Scotia, and our government has started to move in that direction, is lower taxes. We have to lower taxes for individuals and we have to lower taxes for businesses to make them more competitive on the world market. I can tell you from dealing in the world market and selling products in the world market, it is extremely competitive. You have to have the best product at the best price and the best quality and deliver it on time. That is difficult to do. If you are fighting with the tax regime, it is very difficult.

I will give you one example in the province, typically municipalities jack up property taxes on businesses, not realizing that it is putting their opportunity to compete on the world market almost out of reach. It is really making it difficult for them. I can give you all kinds of examples of that here locally in HRM but I am not going to bore the people here today with that or the people in Nova Scotia with that but it is very important that we keep the costs to our businesses and to our taxpayers down so they can reinvest that in our communities.

The forestry industry has a great opportunity to do that. We know the resources we have. We can grow these resources. Although it takes a long time, we can selectively plan for the future. I think this bill is one of the beginning points of this new growth in the industry. We have to really look at sustainable harvesting. This is covered in this. We have to know what we are cutting, where we are cutting and how we are going to replace it as time goes on. It has to be truly sustainable. When we work towards this, I think this bill is the beginning in that direction. I am sure as years go on and times change the bill may have to be changed, like every bill in this Legislature, but if we do not start here and start here quickly, it will be too late and even today is almost too late. We have to move forward. This should have been done 25 or 35 years ago, at least to move forward.

Again, when you look at this whole picture of how this all goes together, it is difficult to see in one quick glance. If you look at somebody cutting a tree, someone else that takes a truck and moves it to a mill, then you take the mill and you process the wood, then you put it into a new home and a new home is built, as one use for the wood and the forests we have, or a person goes into the forest and cuts firewood for themselves, or for a community, processes that and sells it to an individual or uses it themselves, it is all economic input to our community. Just the fact of cutting firewood sounds so stupid to someone that does not

[Page 2592]

realize but that means that we do not have to buy fossil fuel, or we used to have to buy fossil fuel from the Middle East or some other place and help their economy rather than help our own. So it really helps alleviate some imports that we do not need to do any more and helps keep money in Nova Scotia and in Canada. I think that is important.

I want to, again, go back to tourism. I cannot stress strongly enough how negative clear-cutting really is to tourism in this province. Everybody in Nova Scotia has seen the results of clear-cutting where they go through the woods with these big machines, totally destroy the ground, leave a total mess behind to rot, to cause forest fires and all kinds of other things. So I think it is time, and I am going to encourage the tourism industry to come forward and make their views known so we can put some regulations in place to ensure that their concerns are well heard. This is a complaint I hear continuously from the tourism operators whom I work very closely with. I think it is something we can address in this issue and, as I said earlier, while still maintaining a sustainable forest industry.

With that, Madam Speaker, I would like to conclude my remarks and thank you for the opportunity of speaking. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Madam Speaker, this very location in which each of us at the moment go about our day-to-day business was once the site of an Acadian hardwood forest. When Sir Edward Cornwallis arrived 250 years ago, there was forested land throughout what is now HRM. I am always mindful of the fact that any change or transformation or development that has taken place, not only in my district but in any of the districts that are now regarded as urban districts, is in effect a change of something which once in its natural state was forested land.

I am very much aware that the remaining forests that we have in Nova Scotia are what are left after the forces of human development have been brought to bear on the land that we have here. It is crucial that we remember back 250 years ago and further, when we think about forestry issues, because it reminds us that we should be also thinking forward 250 years and more, whenever we are thinking about what is to happen in forestry. Forestry is not something that can be planned for on a very short-term basis. Forestry in North America has to be planned for, not on 3 years, not on 5 years, not on 10 years, not on 25 years, not even on 40 or 70 or 80 years, it has to be planned for on a multiple-generation basis, and that hard fact has not characterized the thinking about forestry in Nova Scotia, and indeed, neither has it characterized thinking about forestry all over North America, much to our detriment now.

The starting point of Bill No. 5, changes to the Forests Act is to attempt to put down on paper the notion of sustainability and how it is to be applied to forestry. I have to say, first, it is about time, but second, that the notion of sustainability, as some members have discussed it in this House and as this legislation embodies it, does not nearly go far enough, and does

[Page 2593]

not meet the needs of something that worries me enormously. When I look at the various economic sectors in our province, it is clear, and several members of this House have also said that forestry is a crucial and important part of the economic activity in Nova Scotia. It really is.

The large number of people who are directly employed, either cutting pulp or cutting for other purposes or working in sawmills or working in pulp and paper plants, that is an enormous number of people. If something serious should happen to that industry, we would be in big trouble in terms of unemployment here. Part of the difficulty, of course, is that many of the people who are engaged in the cutting, which represents the bulk of the activity, much of it seasonal but nonetheless crucial to the activities and livelihoods of many people in Queens County, in Lunenburg County, in Inverness County, all over this province. Many of those people do not have available alternatives. They do not have things, either by nature of the resources that are available in their communities, or because unfortunately, of the level of education that many of them have achieved, they do not have alternatives that they can easily fall back upon.

We have to be seriously worried about what goes on in forestry, because if we make the fundamental mistake of failing to act to promote sustainability in an active and effective way, then the livelihoods of thousands of those people are put at risk. Unfortunately, many of us should be worried about this, and not just those who are immediately engaged in that activity, it is our job as legislators to worry about that. I am seriously worried. I want to explain why it is that I am worried, and why it is that this bill is essentially inadequate in terms of its approach to sustainability and protection of the forest industry.

Here is the problem. We have heard from several speakers that the essence of sustainability so far as it applies to forestry is, you don't cut more than you can grow. Now, on the face of it, this seems to make a certain amount of sense. It begins to nudge the idea of sustainability forward in the right direction, but it is an incomplete statement, and it is hardly at all the full truth. Some members have pointed out that even if that were your conception of what sustainability is, we have no accurate measure of what exactly is grown or cut in this province. As we all know, there are serious problems. It is obvious to anybody who tours the woods that there are serious problems out there.

It isn't just a question of straightforward annual allowable cut. We have to begin to diversify. We have to make sure that, in fact, we are building not just annual allowable cuts, that is the problem with this phrase, do not cut more than you grow, that is an annualized measure. This has nothing to do with planning on a multiple generation basis, or planning for our woods in the future.

The problem that we are running into and are going to run into in Nova Scotia is that we have oriented our forest industry so overwhelmingly toward pulp and paper that we are extremely vulnerable. We have oriented our forestry industry so much toward pulp and paper

[Page 2594]

production that we are exposed to risk in a way that the Province of Newfoundland was exposed to the risk when the fishery collapsed for the groundfish species. If it turns out that there is a serious problem with pulp and paper and if one of the major pulp and paper plants here were to close or seriously reduce its size, we would be in big trouble here. We could not immediately diversify in the forestry because we have not done the long-range planning that is necessary.

Now, is there any reason to think that pulp and paper might be problematic or might have difficulties? There are a whole host of serious reasons and this is the fundamental flaw in what is only tinkering in this legislation. Let me point out some of the problems with being so heavily oriented and reliant on pulp and paper. It is not just that when you are engaged in production for pulp and paper that it leads to straightforward, physical, environmental problems. Members will know that I have a strong background in environmental concerns. Let me assure them that worries that the environmental movement have put forward are not casual worries and have nothing to do with the easy parts of what people sometimes take as being environmentalism, for example, enjoying the view.

I have heard some people say that environmentalism has to do with protecting the forests because it will make the view nice - this is nonsense. Environmentalism is about the hard work of sustainability and achieving sustainability in each and every one of the economic sectors that exist. It is very much about the combination of environmental and economic interests. What is often the case, I have discovered after 25 years of thinking about this, is that what makes sense environmentally makes sense for the economy as well. This is particularly true in forestry.

So when I start out to say that there are problems with being so oriented toward pulp and paper, it is not alone because of what might be regarded as traditional, physical, environmental concerns, although those are certainly there. I will just recite a few of those for you. If we were not so oriented toward pulp and paper we would not be converting our mixed, essentially hardwood, forests that we used to have in Nova Scotia to softwood forests. Essentially what happens is that because it is pulp and paper that we are producing for, the growers and the pulp and paper companies that own and control so much of the lands in our province, do not want hardwoods, what they want are softwoods. So once the hardwoods are cut down they will seek to replace them by two, three, four species of softwoods. So you do not get exactly mono-culture but you sure do not get a forest. What you get are tree farms replacing forests that move away from the true form of a mixed forest dominated by hardwoods that we used to have and that would probably be the better thing to have. The tool of moving in that direction has been clear-cutting.

Clear-cutting is what leads to soil erosion, to siltation of streams, loss of biodiversity, loss of wildlife habitat, all of those things. Those are physical concerns and I have heard other members of this House, including members opposite and quite notedly, the member for Eastern Shore who spoke just before I did quite correctly identified these as problematic.

[Page 2595]

They are seriously problematic concerns, physical concerns. It is the wrong orientation but for those who are not convinced that this is the wrong orientation, think about the economic side of it. Think purely and in a hard-nosed fashion about the economics of pulp and paper and being so heavily dependent. It is 80 per cent in Nova Scotia orientation toward pulp and paper here; 80 per cent by volume and 80 per cent by dollar value is oriented toward pulp and paper here in Nova Scotia.

[10:45 a.m.]

What are the economic vulnerabilities? Let's start first with what this is for. Pulp and paper is obvious. It produces paper products. Most of the nature of the paper products is for newspaper and magazines. That is the target market of our production. You have to look at that industry and say if we are growing trees, cutting them down, sending them to our mills that produce pulp and paper to go into newspapers and magazines, you have to ask yourself how secure that industry is. Here is the hard reality. Newspapers and magazines depend on advertising dollars and they are in competition with television and radio for advertising dollars and they are losing out. The hard reality is that that is an industry that is under attack because the underlying economic point, the dollars that come to support those products are in strong competition. That is only point number one. That is the beginning of a worry that a person has to have when you are so reliant on pulp and paper production. Even as Stora has just done, you become more specialized.

Second is that you look at it and you say where is the competition? Don't we dominate the market? It used to be that because slow growing northern softwoods were of such high quality in terms of pulp and paper production that they were valued. They were valued and really there were no other competitors. When it came to pulp and paper production this was a feature of northern Europe, of Canada, of the northern United States. That was it. That is where the forests were, the softwood forests that had the materials available to produce pulp and paper and it was good, high-quality stuff and that is what the technology of pulp and paper mills had to do with and that is what they knew how to process. They produced a good product and still produce a good product, but competition has been growing because technology has now advanced to the point where pulp and paper mills can be built in other parts of the world where they have different kinds of forests. Trees that were once regarded as trees that would not produce such high-quality pulp and paper are now quite capable of being used to produce very good quality pulp and paper and this is a result of advances in technology and pulp and paper mills.

What it means is that in warm climates where they grow trees like eucalyptus trees and they can bring them to maturity within 10 years instead of 40 or 50 years which it takes us for our softwood trees before they are harvested here, they are strong competitors and we know that places throughout Latin and South America, throughout Indonesia and the warmer climates are now strong competitors and they have pulp and paper mills that are taking trees that will grow in one-quarter of the time of our trees. They can make perfectly good, highly

[Page 2596]

competitive product that is competing with our product and competing with the pulp and paper product all over that comes out of northern Europe as well. This is the second problem. Again, if we are 80 per cent reliant on pulp and paper and there is strong competition from the warmer climates because of these advances in technology and their quick turnaround time in terms of growth, we are exposed and we have to worry. There is good reason to worry.

I will give you another example of why it is we have to worry, just in terms of hard economics. It has to do with the end of the Cold War. This was very simple to see and look forward to because when you look at the geography of the world, I mentioned before and you ask yourself where are these forests? Where are these valuable big forests? Canada, to a certain extent the United States, to a certain extent northern Europe, but you know where the other big forests are? They are in the former Soviet Union. That is where they are. In 1989 with the end of the Cold War and the falling apart of the former Soviet Union, all of a sudden the prospect opened up that Russia would no longer orient its economic activity exclusively toward eastern Europe and would begin to be a player on the international market.

As it happened, I attended a national conference on forestry in December 1989. I talked at that conference with the chief forester for Abitibi-Price. You remember, this was just a couple of months after the falling apart of the Soviet Union. Well, I said to the chief forester for Abitibi-Price, what do you think? Don't you think that in about 10 years, Russia is going to be a dominant player in international markets in terms of pulp and paper and forestry products, and don't you think they are going to be competing with us? Well, he said, we have thought about that. We have thought about that and in fact, we have a team over in Russia looking at it right now. We think, he said, that it will take longer than 10 years, we think it might be 20 or 25 years, but you are absolutely right, that is going to happen. And, he said, you know what we are going to do, we in Abitibi-Price, a Canadian company, we are going to build pulp and paper plants over there. Thank you very much, Abitibi-Price. What they are going to do is they are going to take their technological expertise and they are going to build the pulp and paper plants over there.

That conversation that I had took place in December 1989 with the chief forester for Abitibi-Price. I haven't heard, because I watch this, I have not heard in the intervening years much talk about this particular factor, the end of the Cold War. But about a year and a half ago, in the business pages of the Globe and Mail, the report on business, I saw a small article about two or three inches long, and that article reported on a study that the federal Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce had done. That study was a study of what was going to happen long-range to Canada's pulp and paper industry because of the falling apart of the Soviet Union. The study said that Canada was going to lose 200,000 jobs in the forestry industry in the coming decades because Russia was going to out-compete us with their forest resources in terms of pulp and paper.

[Page 2597]

That is 200,000 jobs that are going to be lost according to an Industry Canada arm'slength study done by one of these economic think tanks in which they told us that is going to be the impact, and anyone who was paying attention to it in December 1989 would have known that it was coming, and it is going to affect us here in Nova Scotia as well as other places in Canada. There is trouble coming in our forestry industry. We have to be prepared for it. Now these are hard-nosed economic facts that you don't have to be environmentalist to be worried about. There are other problems that are economic facts that have nothing to do with whether you have an orientation that comes out of sustainability. You can simply say, if we are in it for the profits, we have to pay attention to these facts. Anybody who is worried about forestry should be paying attention to these facts.

What do we do? There are other factors, I won't continue to set them out, but they go on, there are longer lists of reasons to be worried about being so heavily reliant on one sector. This is a commodity, it is an internationally traded commodity. That is what big rolls of paper are when they come out. The price fluctuates, we know. That price has fluctuated from $400 to $900 a ton over the last four years. That is what it does. Those commodity prices go up and down and that means, when you are so heavily reliant on a commodity that is heavily competitive and that is traded around the world . . .

MADAM SPEAKER: Excuse me, would the honourable member entertain a question?

MR. EPSTEIN: After I finish my sentence. When you are so reliant on a commodity that is traded that way around the world, you have to add that to the factors of exposure to risk. Thank you. I would entertain a question.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Madam Speaker, I thank the honourable member for taking the question. Given the reference to the two different positions on economic development, Russia versus the Canadian position, would the honourable member not agree that the cost of production on a cord of soft wood in Russia, in terms of labour, would be at least somewhere between $3.00 and $4.00 per cord labour, whereas here in Canada, you would be looking at between $20 and $24, depending upon the individual contracting situation? How would he be able to deal with a situation like that?

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. It illustrates exactly my point. My point is, we are going to be out-competed on the international market by pulp and paper product coming out of Russia, precisely because they have vast territories that have not yet been tapped the way ours have been tapped, and because their wage structure is so much lower, compared with ours. That reinforces and is exactly my point.

Now, his question was what is going to happen? What do we do about it? That is the part of my speech I was getting to. That is what sustainability has to do with. That is the problem. The problem is we are so exposed to economic risk because of being overdependent

[Page 2598]

on pulp and paper. We have to find other things to do with forestry here and we had better do it now because the disaster is coming. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, other members very correctly said that the parallel is with what went on in the fishery and that's correct. We have to learn the lesson that you do not wait for the collapse of the underlying resource before you take steps that are going to try to avoid it. There are different ways to bring about change. One way is you can wait for the disaster to come. You wait for it to come and hit you and then you try and pick up the pieces afterwards. We have seen what a mess that leads to in the fishery. We have seen the federal government and the provincial governments, particularly in Newfoundland, falling all over themselves not knowing what to do about the huge problem that hit the Province of Newfoundland and the lesser extent our province as a result of the collapse of the groundfishery.

We do not want to see the same kind of disaster occur when it is predictable in the forestry sector in our province or elsewhere in our country and you have to do long-range planning for this. We have to begin to make sure that we diversify into absolutely everything that we can possibly do with or in the woods that we are not doing now so that we are not so reliant upon an industry that so fluctuates and that has so many pure economic weaknesses.

I will give you examples of other things that we have to do. The simple approach is one that several members have mentioned here - value added. Of course, value added makes sense. It means you take your raw product and you do as much to it as you possibly can to make sure that you create products that add value before you ship it off from your home province. Of course, this makes a certain amount of sense but can we do that? Can we do that with the wood that we have right now?

What are examples of value added? Look about flooring, building materials, what do we do with our wood now? Pulp and paper overwhelmingly and lumber to a certain extent, but this is relatively low value lumber. It is not high value lumber. If you want to buy hardwood flooring, where can you get it? There is only one mill in Nova Scotia that produces hardwood flooring and they export it. Anyone who wants to put hardwood flooring into their house has to buy imported hardwood to build their flooring here. This is not a good idea and let me tell you that this is a missed opportunity. Not only is it a missed opportunity, it is virtually impossible for us to turn that situation around.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member says there is only one mill in Nova Scotia that sells hardwood into the market. I know of three at the present time that are doing it, hardwood flooring.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Does the honourable member have a question?

[Page 2599]

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Hardwood flooring, sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Does the honourable member have a question? Is it a point of order?

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: His information is wrong.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, some members opposite are trying to suggest that there might be a bit more of a market in hardwood flooring domestically in our province. I would be happy to hear the details of it but, even if it is slightly larger than I think it is, it is still too small and it is a missed opportunity. The main point is that if we want to go more aggressively into things like hardwood flooring, we cannot turn that around quickly because it takes multi- generation planning to grow the trees to the quality that is necessary in order to produce that. You cannot turn around one day, once the forests have been converted as they essentially have been here over generations to softwood forests, and suddenly have the quality hardwoods that we need.

What else can we do - musical instruments? Musical instruments would be a wonderful example if we could do that because you could take small volume and add value to them. It gets away from the physical problems of clear-cutting, siltation and loss of habitat because it is the classic example of the smallest volume but the highest value. Are we going to make violins and guitars and things like that? We cannot do it. Guitar makers want particular high quality woods that are 150 years old with good grains. Where do we have these woods in our province? Virtually none at all.

[11:00 a.m.]

We should be getting into sports equipment, musical equipment, furniture, hardwood flooring and coffins. (Interruptions) Many of us in the baby boomer generation are going to be departing the immediate scene in the not-too-distant future and make way for younger and fresher minds. Anyone who follows the economic pages will know that there is great speculation in the funeral business. This is a coming trend, no doubt about it, it is big business. It is an example of something that we should be doing. The whole point is, there should be complete diversification into other aspects of forestry that are low volume, high value added and that do not imply the kind of physical wearing way of what it is that we need in order to sustain everything. This has been completely absent in Nova Scotia from forestry planning and even if this became the hallmark of our planning here now, it would be generations before we can move effectively toward a state in which we will be able to replace all of those jobs.

We had better hope that our pulp and paper industry survives for another 20, 30 or 40 years, to get us through what might be a coming danger. I suspect it is and I am seriously worried about this and sustainability is exactly what this bill begins to think about but thinks about completely inadequately. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

[Page 2600]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make some intervention on this particular bill, Bill No. 5, an Act to Amend Chapter 179 of the Revised Statues, 1989, the Forests Act. I believe this is an excellent piece of legislation, it brings us to the next level of forestry cooperation, control and management with our resources here in Nova Scotia.

As many of the more senior members of the House will certainly remember going back to the days when the Honourable Kenneth Streatch was Minister of then Lands and Forests, significant improvements and steps forward were made toward the planning and the long-term sustainability of forestry and forestry practices in Nova Scotia. I certainly have no hesitation in congratulating the former member and the government of the day on that point.

We will certainly draw back to the issue of the Royal Commission on Forestry from 1984, a rather comprehensive report, Mr. Speaker, as you may very well remember yourself. That brought us to many progressive initiatives and government programs, financial arrangements, both with the private woodlot owners, with the large corporations on Crown land activity and indeed, with the federal government.

Unfortunately, and I feel compelled to draw to the attention of the House that much of the information that the honourable previous speaker has referred to is obsolete, is simply obsolete. I am very disappointed the honourable member did not take time to at least read the position paper that was prepared by the Department of Natural Resources that simply outlines the position of the province toward sustainable forestry. But, however, we will make it available to him so the next time he speaks he will at least talk with some contemporary terminology and reference material.

Mr. Speaker, this is good legislation because it still offers the protection to the small private woodlot owner. As many know, 70 per cent of the woodlot owners in Nova Scotia are private and then we have 30 per cent of the ownership as Crown, my concern would be how this would impact not only on the large producers and exporters of wood fibre, whether it is to the individual pulp and paper mills, whether it is to the hardwood processing industries or indeed the lumber industry.

We will easily recall several years back during the time when the previous administration under the Honourable John Buchanan tried to force the private woodlot owners of Nova Scotia into what became known as this famous draft 7 - we refer to draft 7 because I think that was about the last draft of a policy paper that was designed to force private woodlot owners to do a lot of things with the forestry activities on their property which, if it had been implemented it, would have been to the delight of the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto, because in essence, it was designing socialism on all private ownership in the province.

[Page 2601]

As the honourable Minister of Natural Resources has so aptly and very forthrightly and, I think, with a very strong thought process, recognized the independence of the private woodlot owner to be able to sell to whom he or she or they so desire; I think the fact that we require licenced scalers now here in the province that, up until recent years, was unheard of. There were a lot of imbalances just in doing appraisals on forestry supplies here in Nova Scotia. The fact that we have this categorized into three different categories, we have the first category for the individual woodlot owner who wishes to produce between 0 cords and 250 cords per year, there is no registration required.

There is no compulsion to do as is required in the second and third categories of this particular registration process. The second category being any individual or producer of wood fibre, to the extent of between 250 and 450 cords, who would have to have a buyers' registry certificate so that at least the government can provide a complete inventory of what wood is being taken out of the forests and, at the same time, we are able to measure with certain degrees of accuracy and planning, certainly from a financial point of view because when we take the wood out and obviously the initial forestry programs that were initiated back in the early 1980's right up until 1995 have expired for a variety of reasons, we have to find new and innovative ways to be able to cover the cost of silviculture and this process helps to build on that.

When you get up to anything over 450 cords per year, the individual contractor does require and will require under this legislation, a wood acquisition certificate, and that individual or company or group of individuals would have to provide a silviculture plan so as to be able to ensure that long-term sustainability is provided for forestry in Nova Scotia.

I want to extrapolate on the points that were made by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto in terms of diversification. Diversification is one issue, but the cost of production, whether it be for a cord of pulp, whether it be for x number of board feet of lumber, whether it be for the hardwood chuck strips that are used in hardwood flooring, regardless, the cost of labour production in Canada compared to Russia is a commonality, so his argument about diversification simply does not apply. There are numerous examples that have been drawn on diversification and the base cost factor is still so significantly different between both countries that that argument does not hold.

The honourable member talks about the monoculture or at least the reference to the fact that we are moving towards a monoculture. Mr. Speaker, that was a concern in years past, particularly back in 1974 or 1975 when the then Minister of Natural Resources, Lands and Forests then, the Honourable Vince MacLean took a very strong stand on the spray program because of the intensity and the magnitude and the fiercity of the chemicals that were being used but over a period of time there were modifications between industry, the private sector and government. There was a modified plan and a more moderate approach to be able to deal with that issue of sustainability and thereby allowing, not a monoculture to develop but, indeed, at the same time providing for the need for a wood supply for these continual

[Page 2602]

demands from pulp and paper mills and sawmill operations. It allowed us to move towards this diversification factor.

The honourable member had a major vacuum in his argument with the issue of hardwood supply. The reality is the natural environment here in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, in terms of temperature, soil conditions and numerous other factors in terms of hardwood, put our hardwood species at a disadvantage to other more favourable locations in the world. The honourable member failed to realize that because if he had read some of these position papers and the attempts certainly to a certain degree by some of the vested interests over the years to move towards a monoculture for commercial reasons, he would have certainly realized that this issue was drawn out and dealt with accordingly.

So it goes back to my position, Mr. Speaker, that the honourable member, in trying to attack Bill No. 5, is essentially dealing with obsolete information. So I felt compelled to draw those most important points to the attention of not only all members of the House but for those who would certainly take an interest on this particular issue.

Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, as they always say, you really do not know what it is like unless you walk a mile in somebody else's shoes. Perhaps if the honourable member had worked in the woods (Interruption) Well, there is nothing like the old saying, to experience is to know, but certainly for those who pontificate about things they do not know, it is easy to be enchanted when you talk from an idealistic and an unrealistic position.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to support this particular piece of legislation, particularly as it applies to Clause 4, Section 10A. Indeed, I congratulate the Minister of Natural Resources because in essence what he is saying, he has struck a balance between the government's need to provide a long-term sustainable forestry supply, whether it be hardwood, softwood, whether it be for the pulp and paper industry, whether it be for the saw log industry, hardwood industry, or even merely for aesthetic recreational wildlife purposes, he has struck that balance with the need to respect the rights and the privileges that are afforded to the large number, I believe to the extent of some 30,000 small woodlot owners across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, this is the balance. It is certainly a step forward. It is unfortunate that the previous plan that was put forth by the Honourable Chuck MacNeil, who was then Minister of Lands and Forests, was not able to achieve that. It has taken several years to come to realize this balance but I am very pleased. Certainly, as a small private woodlot owner, myself I am very pleased to see that we are moving here. We are not trying to force people to do something against their will. At the same time, we are still providing some very strong degree of leadership in terms of meeting the long-term sustainable goals in forestry in Nova Scotia.

[Page 2603]

[11:15 a.m.]

I have many other points I could raise, Mr. Speaker, but I think that deals with the essence of the bill, as I see it, and I would end my intervention. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity today to speak about this very important issue. Although I, myself, have never worked in the woods for a living, I am also a small woodlot owner. I know from the people in my area, it is a great concern, what is happening to the forestry industry today. I know we shouldn't look back in history or go back and we can't go back but I think it is an important lesson to be learned from our ancestors. Under this generation, the forestry in this province has suffered greatly. This wasn't the situation that was turned over to us by the previous generation. One time when people worked in the woods, they worked with their hands. They went in and they select-cut the prime logs, the prime timber. It was removed by hand or by logs. It was moved by water.

Today what we see is new machinery, tree farmers, skidders, processors, basically moving in slashing, smashing everything in sight. When we identify virgin timber, no matter where it is, we again use equipment to make roads to get to this timber. Basically, Mr. Speaker, nothing will stop us.

I have seen much over-harvesting in this province by large companies who come here buying thousands of acres, clear-cut most of the wood, and a large portion of that to be trucked elsewhere to be processed outside of this province. The question I have, Mr. Speaker, is, who is monitoring this situation in Nova Scotia today? In Cumberland County, we are very concerned about the cutting of Crown land by out-of-province natives. This past spring, we have seen natives from New Brunswick appear in the Oxford area and begin cutting on Crown land without so much as even notifying the Department of Natural Resources that it was happening. It took the people of the local area to act very quickly, notify the proper authorities to take it upon themselves to go to that area and let it be known that they would not stand by and let this happen to their woods.

People such as Mabel Lowther and Wade Adshade out of Oxford were that concerned about our woodlands that they took it upon themselves to take action. It was through their efforts that this cutting was stopped and these natives left our province and went back to New Brunswick. As you recall, Mr. Speaker, I brought this to the floor of this Assembly, to the Premier of this province for attention and immediate action by the Department of Natural Resources.

[Page 2604]

Mr. Speaker, there are also reports of non-natives who took advantage of that situation and they are involved in this and this is an illegal act, what they did, and it cannot be allowed to happen in this province. Presently, there are non-natives cutting in the Simpson Lake in the Economy area. For the most part, this is going unchecked. In my constituency there are several mills that depend on forestry to survive. These are family owned and operated and provide local jobs to local people. The majority of these people, if not all of them, would not be able to find employment elsewhere if it was not for these sawmills. Sawmills such as Harrison and Sons, Charles Harrison owns this; Hoeg Brothers in Athol; and William J. Brown in Southhampton all provide local jobs to residents in the area, jobs that they could not find anywhere else. These people need support and they need support by this government.

What we have seen is a threat of logs being cut and moved out of this province and processed elsewhere, whether it be New Brunswick or the U.S., where higher prices are paid for the logs and the operations in Nova Scotia are suffering because of it. Even with the high cost of trucking, it is still more benefit to them to move them out of the province than have them processed here.

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about the way it was done in the past and many people made their livelihood from it, as compared to today where it is done by machines 24 hours a day, seven days a week, mostly by one man operations, it not only is affecting our forest greatly but it is affecting our economy. It has taken away jobs, it has taken away the livelihood of many people who made those livelihoods from the forest.

One only has to come to Cumberland County and go to any high place in the county and look out. A good example is on the top of the Cobequid Mountain and by the way, it will cost you $3.00 in our county to do this, to look across at the beautiful scenery that we had at one time that is now devastated by the way that the cutting has taken place in the County of Cumberland. It is unbelievable, you have to see it before you can realize what effect it has had on our county.

The previous generation turned over to us a natural resource which was cared for and looked after and they made sure it was there for our children. They were responsible and we have to be the same. It is time for this government to show some leadership and put policy in place that will prevent this from happening in the future. We have seen cooperatives that have seen small woodlot owners come together to try to collectively do what they could not do alone and they need the support of government also. They need help in wood lot management, replanting and thinning, to be sure this land of ours will be ready for the next generation.

I would question the minister in regard to this proposed bill. There is a lot of talk in the Act about enforcement measures. I would ask if the minister would clarify how he proposes that we will enforce these measures when we have seen the lack of resources in the department with regard to manpower?

[Page 2605]

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity today to speak on behalf of the residents of Cumberland County and we certainly look forward to further comments with regard to this bill. Again, I would like to reiterate how important the forestry is to my county and my constituents. Thank you.

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

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak briefly on the amendments to the Forests Act, particularly noting the importance of forestry to the constituency of Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury. In talking to many of my constituents there always has been a concern about the long-term viability and sustainability of the forest industry. I believe that the bill the minister has introduced in the House and that we are discussing today is a step in the right direction.

As many of the members know we have some key players in the forest industry located within Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury and in the neighbouring riding of Richmond. I am talking about Stora Forest Industries which impacts on all of Cape Breton Island and Eastern Nova Scotia. We have several sawmills located throughout the County of Guysborough, in Country Harbour and Newtown. Again, they rely on this resource to provide meaningful employment. As many members may know, Christmas trees are one of the main exports from our area and do provide seasonal employment year-round, cultivation activities to ensure that those trees are top quality for export.

It is important to know that one of the objectives of this bill is to obtain a sustainability to our forests and as has been said by many speakers, this will not happen overnight but we have to begin somewhere. One of the important things that we have to know in order to manage any resource is to know what the resource is, how it is to be utilized and what is the impact and long-term growth. This bill will enable us to evaluate the demand on the resource by having those who utilize the forestry resource register the amount of a cut. It will give us an idea of how many trees are being harvested and what type of management regimes will have to be put into place.

Throughout Guysborough County, one of the spin-offs of the forestry is the development of an eco-tourism industry along the Marine Drive, which gives us a multiple use for our forests. Again, how we manage our forests will impact on people who are using the forests other than for the traditional uses for economic growth. So these practices, these regulations, which will manage our woodlands, I believe, are very important for constituencies such as Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury. I believe that the management will provide it with knowledge, the knowledge that we need as a government and province, to make the right decision to ensure that forestry is a long-term, sustainable industry.

[Page 2606]

Because it is so important to my constituency I wanted to agree with what has been said by the previous speakers from our caucus and the efforts being made by the minister to put in a regime which will do as I have said, enable us to evaluate the demands on our industry, on the forestry and to put in a management regime which will enable us to ensure the long-term stability of that industry which is key to employment in our area. Thank you.

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise and speak to Bill No. 5, an Act to Amend Chapter 179 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Forests Act. It is hoped that this is a bill that will address the issues raised by those involved in the forest industry. Forestry is one of the key mainstays of our economy. Gross revenues for forestry in 1997 were estimated to be $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, the provincial government saw fit to invest only $3 million to support silviculture programs during that same year. This just is not enough. (Interruption) No, it is true.

Regeneration of forests in this province requires a long-term multi-year plan that has corresponding funding commitments to correspond with those multi-year plans. The practice of annually allocating funds does not facilitate any strategic plan that will see the requirements carried through for a number of years. The fact that the federal and provincial governments contributed $25 million in funding in the past is a clear indication that over time the commitment has been eroded by a lack of funding.

In order for us to develop a comprehensive management plan, there will have to be increased funding and this has not happened. Experts in the industry suggest that a minimum contribution of $17 million annually will be necessary if they are to put in place forest management plans that will see programs that will allow for sustainable cut.

Nova Scotia's forests are approximately 70 per cent held in private hands and this in itself is problematic. One of the difficulties the Department of Natural Resources has had is the fact that because so much land is privately held it is difficult to get true and accurate figures in order to develop their strategic plan. Natural Resources' figures show that the amount of wood harvested in 1997 overshot the average sustainable cut by almost one million cubic metres. Industry experts estimate that 6.5 million cubic metres were harvested in 1997 and that the sustainable cut should have been in the neighbourhood of 5.5 million cubic metres. The only way to ensure sustainability is to increase the amount of silviculture programs that are currently being funded and taking place in this province. Forestry industry workers are concerned that the funding to silviculture will ultimately be too little too late.

This legislation is by and large a good thing. It will allow us to collect the data necessary to see exactly where we are as a province and where we are as an industry and where we are going. The sustainable development fund that puts money into silviculture and into forest renewal is actually a long-range visionary plan. The registry of buyers will, in fact,

[Page 2607]

show that the land that is being used is being used in a way that will create and enhance sustainability. There is a need to increase accountability. There is a need to put in place a mechanism so that it rewards and enhances woodlot owners to become involved in sustainable forest management plans.

Another component of the bill that would roll forest wildlife regulations into the Act is a positive thing. Forests are multi-use. There is no doubt that the harvesting of wood product is only one aspect of what the Province of Nova Scotia needs to have in place to ensure that its forest land is available for all users. Many speakers previously have spoken about the growing use in tourism as it applies to forestry and that must be taken into consideration when we develop the long-range plan.

For many years it has become increasingly obvious that the forest practices of people who are intense harvesters are somewhat opposed to those who would take the long view that is promoted by people who are in silviculture. Silviculture operators tend to see a multi-year long-range commitment to the forests that will allow it to be harvested over a longer period of time. Harvesters who are involved in intense forest practices seem to look at the dollar value that will be created today and do not necessarily apply the same vision that those people who are involved in sustainable management plans bring to forest practices.

The problem is the lack of long-term funding to support silviculture operations. In my particular area it has become increasingly difficult for those people who are involved in silviculture operations to continue to operate. In fact, because of financial commitments there have been a number of people who have had to abandon the long-range, sustainable plan to become intensive harvesters simply because of the need to meet financial commitments. This is an unfortunate testimony to the lack of vision in terms of what has gone on in the past. It is my true hope that the commitment put forth in this bill will also see a commitment of dollars to allow these people to return to a more sustainable approach to forest harvesting.

[11:30 a.m.]

There is a need of the members of this Legislature, in terms of developing legislation, to take the long view. We are planning for a forest, not for today but for 50 to 100 years from now. What we need to do is look at the life cycle of that forest and anticipate the needs and demands. Do we plan for today's market when we develop our legislation, or do we look to what might be in 50, 75, or 100 years?

Part of the problem is that Nova Scotia's forest products are competing on a global market. The Russian economy and the forest there is poised to disrupt, in terms of Nova Scotia's commitment to forestry, our plan. Once the Russian forest products come on the market, our forestry products will probably be largely uncompetitive. This is something that must be anticipated, and what we must look to is developing a forest that has high quality so

[Page 2608]

that we can compete not so much in volume or on a cost, but in terms of the value of the product we create.

In the riding of Digby-Annapolis, with the downturn of the fishery, there has been an increased demand placed on forest products. A number of people who were involved in the fishing industry have had to abandon that way of life and have turned to another sector of the natural resources-based economy, and that is the forestry. What that has done, because again of the financial commitments and cost outlays associated with becoming involved in a new enterprise, is placed an increased demand on intensive harvesting. That is not the long view. What we need to do is put in place incentives so that these people, who are moving from one resource-based industry to another, can afford to take the time and make the commitment necessary to develop their forests in a manageable way.

In my riding there are a number of small sawmills that employ three, four, or five people, but the indirect employment as a result of that, the fact that when these people are employed and working they spend money in the local stores and local businesses, makes for a strong and vibrant economy. A few years ago one of the largest employers in our area, the Lewis Sawmill, burned, and at that time it devastated the economy of the community of Weymouth. That mill was taken over by a larger corporation, Irving Woodlands, and they put a great deal of money into rebuilding that particular mill. That mill currently employs 300 people directly, and literally thousands in the spin-off industry.

There are those people who say that the Irvings, in terms of their woodlot forest management practices, do not have the long view, and I would disagree most vehemently with that argument. Earlier this year, Irving Woodlands invited every Member of the Legislative Assembly to come and view their mill and their forest management practices. Interestingly enough, only two members of the Legislature - my esteemed colleague, Mr. Archibald, and myself - made use of that invitation. At that time we were able to see that, in fact, they have committed a great deal of their energy to developing a long view in terms of forest management. They have reseeded in excess of 3 million seedlings last year and that is a substantial commitment.

One of the problems with developing a sustainable program is that because so much woodland is privately held, there is no onus on private woodlot owners to necessarily adopt reforestation practices as part of their management plan; in fact, quite the contrary is true. A number of people who, at this point in time, because of demands see an opportunity to take the cash available now and run, are actually selling their woodlands to people who exploit with very dramatic harvesting practices, that woodland that would, under normal circumstances, be available for the long term.

I think what needs to happen is the legislation must not force woodlot owners to adopt better practices but to encourage, enhance and motivate them through tax concessions and through funding commitments that will allow them to know that, if they embark on a

[Page 2609]

sustainable plan in year one, that funding and commitment will be there in year 10 to support that.

Another area of concern is the lack of regulation around the export of raw, round log product. It is estimated, at this present time, enough raw log product is leaving through the Port of Digby for Maine and New Brunswick to allow for the full-time operation of a mill that would employ 300-400 workers. That is just not acceptable. The problem is, because of increased demand, there is a lucrative market. The people I spoke of earlier who are forced to try and maximize profits in the short-term are looking to the markets in Maine and New Brunswick, because of the value that they get for their raw product.

What we need to do is take a view that will enhance and support value-added manufacturing here in this province, and that is not happening now. What has to happen is, there must be mechanisms in place that will ensure that we, as Nova Scotians get maximum dollar value for our raw material. Another problem that has come to light, and it doesn't necessarily fall under the Act itself, is the fact that sawlogs that have been manufactured into wood product now have to be grade stamped before they can be used in houses that will be CMHC mortgaged.

That creates a problem, because in rural Nova Scotia, there are a number of small portable sawmills, smallmills that are fixed sawmills that do not have available to them the opportunity to have their lumber grade stamped. The reality of this is that if an individual wants to go on their own woodland, saw logs to build an addition on their house, perhaps build a barn or a shop to work in, they can literally be shut down by the local building inspector, because the wood that they are using is not grade stamped approved. That is an unfortunate problem that must be addressed. What is happening is that small sawmill operators are literally being forced out of business by this restrictive regulation.

It is a concern that I raise here in the hopes that it can be addressed, so that this will not be a problem for these small operators who do in fact contribute to our local economy by employing one or two or three people. I would like to say that we have been aware of the benefit of small business for some time, and in fact, have worked most aggressively to promote and enhance opportunities for small businesses to grow and expand. Certainly, in terms of woodlot operations, because 70 per cent of the woodland is privately owned, many of these operations do involve a person who is gainfully employed at something else and look to augment their income.

There has been concern that people who own woodland don't necessarily see the visionary aspect of enhancement and long-term sustainable management. That is not necessarily true. What often happens is that there has been a long-standing history in this province of people owning land, and in fact, most people who take advantage of walks in nature, which we spoke of earlier, are actually doing so because, by and large, people who own woodland privately are willing to allow people access to this. It is incumbent on these

[Page 2610]

people who do enjoy walks in nature on privately-owned land that they respect that and are made aware of it.

Overall, I see the content of this bill being a good thing for Nova Scotians, and for the long-term viability of our forest products. There are, of course, many examples where exploitation has occurred, but I think that is one of the difficulties when we have, as I have mentioned earlier, economies that collapse and force people to move to other areas of resource-based businesses to remain viable. What happens is that because they need short-term financial gain, they have to exploit something that they otherwise would not. That is a problem.

So I see a bill that will allow the people to buy into it over the long term, it will be very valuable. Overall in my riding, there are a number, in fact this year I might point out that the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owner of the Year as recognized by the Department of Natural Resources was a gentleman from the riding of Digby-Annapolis. He has been a forester for a number of years, and took over the family forest, and has in fact, seen fit to develop a long-term plan for that particular piece of woodland. A plan that is in fact recognized across the province of what is possible for a small woodlot owner when they do take a visionary stance and try to enhance and develop their woodland in a way that will ensure that it is there for future generations.

I might add too that in my riding, some of you may have had the opportunity to read the book Woodchips and Beans, which speaks very eloquently of the long history this province has with sawmill operation, written I might add by a former resident of Bear River, a community that too has a long history. In terms of (Interruptions) What's that? And he will enjoy it, I am sure. It speaks to a long history of the Clarke brothers who developed the very first pulp and paper mill in the Province of Nova Scotia, located at the head of Bear River. It speaks to the Clarke brothers who developed a clothespin factory in Lake Joli. All across this province we have had a long history of wise use of our natural resources, particularly with forest products. It would be indeed unfortunate if this generation were the generation to bring that to closure simply because of a greed driven by a need to exploit the forests.

As a person who does in fact do some seasonal work in the woods, it is interesting sometimes to cut down a tree and actually look at the number of rings there and to think back to . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You are a woodcutter?

MR. BALSER: Yes, at times I am. Since you now represent rural Nova Scotia, you can appreciate that, I am sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: We finally found out.

[Page 2611]

MR. BALSER: We did find out that, yes.

The point is that when you go into the forest many people do in fact appreciate the aesthetic value of their woodland beyond the economic value and that is critical when people do look at a maple tree and think of the enjoyment of watching the leaves change colour and the buds in the spring; for those who tap the maple trees to draw sap off and make maple sugar. In fact, one of the maple trees in my yard, a young fellow decided that he would tap that tree to see how difficult it was to make maple sugar. He soon learned when he had to boil down a five-gallon pail of sap and wound up with less than a cup of the actual maple syrup. He said, boy; it was more work than he had anticipated. Those are the things that you take away. The walk in nature when you see a deer or an animal and you take that memory back with you long after the walk is finished, all those things are important and necessary and they must become, if not entrenched in the Act, at least part of the discussion around this bill before it is finally drafted and passed into law.

That is what I would like to see. At this point, I would thank the Speaker for the opportunity to stand and speak to the bill. I think that by and large it will be a good thing when it comes to pass and that if the funding commitments are there to allow it to work, it will be a successful and positive addition to the legislative body.

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

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable members for their comments and to make a brief overview of what I heard. Some comments were positive and appreciated and other comments may have been somewhat misleading. I am not sure if they have read the bill or the position paper. Other comments I would consider somewhat silly, but we appreciate them.

I would now move second reading of Bill No. 5.

MR SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 5. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 2612]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is the intention of the government to call Bill No. 35. Mr. Harrison will be introducing that bill and we are just getting him now from the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: He is coming in the door.

The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 35.

Bill No. 35 - Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation Act.

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move second reading of Bill No. 35 and just to say a few words in support of this particular bill.

The Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation, through this legislation, will ensure that the College's trust funds, which were established by alumni, faculty and friends of the College continue to be used in support of students who want to be teachers, and serve as a lasting legacy of the Nova Scotia Teachers College. In many cases these bequests were made by an individual or the family of an individual who spent their lives dedicated to teaching children. Through their bequests they are extending that opportunity to more student teachers who will honour their memory when they enter classrooms as teachers.

Just a few examples of the bequests that have been made. Family members established awards in memory of parents and grandparents. The Elta Harvey Bursary, the Maud E. Roy Bursary and the Archibald Art Award, are just some of those examples. Faculty members also established scholarships for students in a particular program such as the R.L. Danson Scholarship. Awards were established to honour the work of Nova Scotia educators such as Edgar Fortune, L.A. DeWolfe and Hugh Noble and in memory of faculty members of the college including, George Mitchell and Edward Doyle, to name two.

[11:45 a.m.]

These funds share a common purpose, to assist Nova Scotian students who want to be teachers. The establishment of the foundation will ensure that the funds continue to be dispersed consistent with the wishes of the benefactors. This Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation will be able to maintain an ongoing link with benefactors or their families and consult with them regarding their wishes. If the benefactor or benefactor's family express specific conditions such as using the scholarship for students from a particular area or region of our province, the foundation will take these wishes into account. At the moment all of

[Page 2613]

these funds are protected under the responsibility of the Department of Finance. With those few brief remarks, Mr. Speaker, I would again move second reading of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise with pleasure to say a word or two about what might be termed unfinished business around the closing of the Nova Scotia Teachers College and the creation of the foundation. Every school that I know of has over its years of life accumulated benefactors who want to encourage and reward students. It is clear from this that the same has happened with the Nova Scotia Teachers College. This bit of unfinished business is, in a sense, the closing of the books on one aspect of it is important and it needs to be done. Obviously, all of us want students to go on and on receiving the benefits of these donations and contributions that people have made to the Teachers College.

I do have a couple of concerns and to be fair to the minister, I asked him a day or so ago what the conditions were for these trusts because it seemed to me that if there are not some kind of clear conditions, that the way this bill is structured it looked, at least to me, as if it would simply be in the hands of the government to give out scholarships not randomly but in a way that had no built-in protections based upon good guidance and advice from the education departments, for example, at the universities. So I did, in fairness to the minister, ask him and he said he would get them to us and he did allude today to following the guidelines that each of these fellowships and trusts (Interruption) The minister says he gave them to me yesterday and he may have and that is my responsibility because I have not seen them.

In any case, if the protections are there, if there is a good, solid grounding and basis for how to award these foundation scholarships and if those who are involved in the teaching of education students in this province have some voice in how they are dispersed so that students are encouraged and rewarded in their endeavours as student teachers, then I cannot see why we would have any particular objection to this bill, tidying up the affairs of the Teachers College.

I do feel though that it might be wise to have some kind of input from the universities in the province that do still have education departments or another possible way to do it would be to have the hand of the alumni association, which I presume still exists for the Teachers College, involved in guiding the government in the disbursement of these awards and scholarships. In any case, it is clearly something that needs to be done. I am sure that my caucus colleagues would say the same as I would, that we hoped that we continue for many years to award and reward students who are studying for what has certainly become a very challenging profession in this province. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

[Page 2614]

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

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak, on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus, to Bill No. 35, an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation. I rise with two types of emotions: one is sadness, and the other is recognizing that there is some unfinished business which has to be cleaned up. It is sadness because it reminds me of one of the worst educational decisions that was ever taken in the history of this province, and some of the promulgators of it are still sitting here in this House today and, not only that, the manner in which that decision was made - as I said in this House last spring - was reprehensible and should not be done by any government.

Mr. Speaker, it also saddens me because it has taken the government five years to deal with this issue, when it was drawn to their attention when they made that horrendous and terrible decision back in 1984 to close the Teachers College . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: It was 1994.

MR. MUIR: I am sorry, 1994. Thank you. It seems like 10 years, 14 years. The intent of the bill is to distribute the money that was given to the college for scholarships and awards. Some of that money still lies with the Department of Finance. I am glad that the government finally found the money because it appeared to be among the missing for three or four years.

The issue of disbursing this money is one of significant importance and, in general, we will be supporting the principle of the bill; however, there are a number of items that I would like to go through in relationship to the bill which, I think, the government would need to be concerned about at the next stage, assuming it gets passed on the second reading.

First of all, looking at the board of governors, there is a board of governors to be appointed. The bill does not indicate how many governors would be appointed or where they are to come from. This is a very loose area of the bill and clearly needs to be tightened up. Speaking of governors, as the colleague for Halifax Fairview pointed out just a minute ago, there is no mention of the Alumni Association in this document and the Alumni Association of the Nova Scotia Teachers College is still alive and active. Actually it had another annual meeting this summer and I suspect that a good many of the contributors to the educational trust fund, the NSTC Educational Trust, are members of that organization and, therefore, I think it well that they be consulted.

Mr. Speaker, I should indicate as well to you because I - and you can pick me up on a point of order - do not know whether I am in a position of conflict because I had contributed to that NSTC Educational Trust myself, does that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: No, you are not . . .

[Page 2615]

MR. MUIR: That is no problem, okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: Above reproach.

MR. MUIR: Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: A good member to bring it up though.

MR. MUIR: So . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . be careful with your money.

MR. MUIR: Yes, I do that. True.

Continuing on with the board of governors, Mr. Speaker, I notice that it is going to be incumbent upon the Governor in Council to select the chair of that board. I am not sure why this is the case, that the chair would not be elected from the members who are appointed as opposed to being appointed, and I think perhaps the minister at another point may wish to respond to that. It did not seem to me to be a particularly good thing.

Another thing that it is silent about, in reference to the board of governors, is whether these board members will be paid. Will there be some type of remuneration paid to board members? We know that this government is particularly good about paying substantial sums to good Party faithful and some boards. Will there be some remuneration or will the board members simply operate for expenses? I think this is another thing that perhaps the minister may wish to address as this bill goes forward. In terms of expenses, which are referred to in the bill, what type of expenses are going to be deemed to be, basically, eligible for reimbursement? The expenses of operating the trust? This has not really been clarified. Another point Mr. Speaker, which I think would be helpful as this bill goes forward to get some answers to.

There is no provision for this particular bill and the foundation, its operation to be subject to Freedom of Information laws, and they probably should apply in this case. It would be a useful thing. It mentions as well, an annual report, and I think the legislation should require that the annual report be tabled every year. As the Speaker and the members of this House well know, annual reports are not necessarily circulated every year. Sometimes they come two or three years after the fact. I note too, from the minister's comments, that his intention would be that this trust would continue to solicit funds. I would think that it probably might be more appropriate, if that is the case, to solicit funds, rather than calling it the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation, it might call it the Nova Scotia Teachers College Memorial Fund.

[Page 2616]

I do not believe that the intent of the minister is probably to go around and solicit funds, and I hope he will clarify that for us at some point, or the foundation continues soliciting funds. One of the reasons I make that comment is, a number of the scholarships which are listed in Schedule "A", as the minister knows very well, have very small dollar amounts connected to them, and the amounts of the awards that were given away each year, the intent was very good and people appreciated them, but the actual dollar amount is indeed small, perhaps $175. Some of these were for fairly small amounts.

Therefore, I expect what the true intent of this bill may be is that which is stated in Clauses 1 and 2 of Article 8, that the minister may indeed be using this bill not to collect more funds to establish or continue with the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation, but it was simply enabling legislation so that the money could be transferred to other institutions so that the foundation indeed may not have to operate. I would like some clarification on that from the minister too. I am not sure if the full intent of the minister and his department may have come out in his initial briefing notes.

It does provide for the transfer of this money to other institutions, and if that is the intention, not to operate the foundation, and he would be introducing a piece of legislation in six months or something like that to do away with the foundation. I think maybe we could amend this legislation so that that can be reflected. As I read it, I don't see any provision for closing it out. I am new, it may not be appropriate to put it in this type of legislation, but if that is the intent, that indeed this money will be given away to these other universities, then probably, maybe this legislation should be amended to reflect that.

Mr. Speaker, this just about concludes my remarks, but as I say, it is a piece of unfinished business, one that should have been dealt with a long time ago by the government and they didn't do it. Therefore, if this helps resolve that, we will certainly support it through second reading and hope that certain amendments will be made that, if the minister wishes to, will be clarifying his intent for the foundation.

[12:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: I know the member for Timberlea-Prospect wanted to speak on this bill as well. However, I think he is detained in the Law Amendments Committee so I would like to take the opportunity to say a few words. I am pleased to speak on Bill No. 35, an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation.

As we know, the Teachers College closed in 1997 after nearly 150 years of operation in this province. It was one of the principal teacher training institutions in the province for many years. It used to be known as the Normal College, I think, until about 1958. I think that designation had something to do with the certificate that was actually provided. I think it was

[Page 2617]

a normal certificate. The member for Truro-Bible Hill would be able to provide additional information on that.

Having taught in the school system myself for 30 years, I encountered along the way many of my colleagues who had received their training at the Normal College. The Normal College, of course, left us with an important educational legacy through the thousands of Nova Scotians taught by graduates of the Normal College cum Teachers College.

This bill would continue the legacy of the Nova Scotia Teachers College in contributing to the support of student teachers in the province. We do support it in principle. The College had a number of trust funds used for bursaries, scholarships and awards. These range, I think, in value from some $1,200 to $24,000. The largest fund was the Nova Scotia Teachers College Education Trust and that was comprised of all donations that went to the Teachers College. The last awards from the trust fund were made in 1997, the last year of the College. Legislation is required to enable the funds to once again be allocated to scholarships and awards for student teachers.

The proposed foundation will administer the funds in accordance with their terms insofar as that is possible. The basic change from the original intent is that the funds will be used to support students in teacher educational programs at all Nova Scotia universities and not just the Teachers College, which, of course, no longer exists. I hope that all the teacher training institutions will receive some of the funds that are available.

The intent of the bill is also to enable the foundation to solicit money from public and private sources. That would be necessary, of course, to maintain and to build the scholarships and trust funds. It would be necessary to sustain the foundation in the years to come. Most of the existing funds, the separate funds, are relatively small, anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 so that would be very quickly expended, Mr. Speaker. The Governor in Council, according to the bill, is responsible for appointing members to the board. It would seem to me that a number of the board members should have had some association with the Teachers College, former students, staff members, scholarship recipients. If persons such as these were on the board, it would ensure that they were certainly more energetic and more committed to soliciting funds for the foundation and, of course, for making it sustainable.

When I was a student teacher many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I received a bursary from the Province of Nova Scotia for my B.Ed. program. In those days, all students enrolled in a B.Ed. program could receive a bursary to cover the tuition of that year. It was a one year program in those days. It was available, as I say, to all student teachers. I do not think we lived in more affluent times then, but I think the government realized the importance in attracting qualified people to the profession. That funding, of course, is no longer available.

[Page 2618]

I am pleased that the teaching profession is attracting very talented people these days. In fact, the profession is competing with those considering medical school, law school and other professional schools. As a school principal I met many practice teachers who were doing their teaching practicum in the school. I can assure you that they were of a very high quality, particularly in my latter years.

As we all know, student indebtedness is a serious problem these days. Many students, including students who want to enter teacher training programs, are carrying very high debt loads. Administrative arrangements for the allocation of these funds in the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation should ensure that students experiencing financial need are given consideration for some of these monies. As we all know part of the Millennium Scholarship funds provided by the federal government commencing in the year 2000, will be awarded to students experiencing financial need. Similarly, some of the funds in the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation should be set aside or designated for students in need of financial assistance.

In closing, I do wish to add a word of congratulations to my colleague, the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, whose efforts, I believe, encouraged the government to introduce this bill. He has been persistent in petitioning members of the government to clarify the status of the Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, after that introduction there is nothing more to say, correct? Although I have some comments. I want to talk a little about Rhodes Scholarships and how perhaps they should have been awarded in the past. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to this piece of legislation that in my opinion has been sorely missed over the past year, year and one-half, academic school years, as compared to the current years.

I would like to point out that there is some personal background here of which I have been made aware of. A certain constituent of mine who at a summer event in my community turned to me out of frustration because of her ongoing concern with funds that had been allocated from her deceased husband's will that had been left in the name of the Nova Scotia Teachers College, I believe in response to a campaign that was coordinated by a past administrator who was, in the education business, held in high regard, who established through the initiative of the time an important foundation to collect money for that institution. That particular gentleman, I bring to the attention of the House, is now the current MLA for Truro-Bible Hill. In response to the correspondence that was sent by that particular principal at the time, various graduates, relatives of graduates of the Nova Scotia Teachers College, responded with gifts of varying amounts. My constituent's husband's mother was a graduate of the NSTC and in addition, was a practising teacher for a number of years. There was

[Page 2619]

money set aside in the will and the will designated that this money, of course, was to go to the NSTC in the name of this particular constituent's mother who had passed on.

I congratulate the member for Truro-Bible Hill, it must have been a very frustrating and disappointing time for him for what he went through. (Interruptions) Yes and I am aware of the fact, of course, that there are many graduates of that institution. I truly do believe that it was a sad day for education training in this province. However, that is water under the bridge and although I was just in the Committee on Law Amendments, I assume that the member for Truro-Bible Hill spoke eloquently and passionately on this topic.

However, I want to go back to the frustrations of what was happening at this time. This was in the summer and on that particular evening I was then invited to have a look at that correspondence, the telephone calls that had been placed, the various other enquiries that had been made by this constituent in terms of, I understand the NSTC is now closed but where is the money that was left to that institution by my husband in his will, where was that money? Prior to the actual closing of the Teachers College, this particular constituent actually visited the principal of the school at the time, who succeeded the member for Truro-Bible Hill, and at that time the principal, who is currently working in the Department of Education, it is my understanding, he said to her, I have no idea what is going to happen to the funds.

She followed up with correspondence, asking well, could someone please find out what is going to happen. The intent, as you well know, past principal and current MLA, was that this particular donation of a sizeable amount, that estate, they wanted the monies passed on. Since TC was closing, they wanted the monies passed on to another education training institution in this province. Out of frustration, that particular constituent turned to her MLA. I suppose she could say wisely in some ways, because I initially followed the rules, contacted the staff and did not reach much satisfaction. It was however, to the compliment I must pass on to the past school principal, who hired me in his wisdom many years ago, the Deputy Minister of Education did take personal attention to the matter and got back to me in writing to the fact that this would be looked into. I thank Mr. Lloyd Gillis for his diligence on that matter.

However, more time elapsed, and finally, out of frustration, it was decided that we would go to those members of the fourth estate or the fifth estate, whoever was going to reply, and we went to the media. A particular member of one of the daily papers did a Sunday feature on this constituent and her frustrations. Out of that report from the press, action then did follow. That frustration finally had to reach the stage that they were not getting the answers needed from the particular people in the Department of Education.

However, we are now at the stage of this legislation, and to the minister's credit, there are some very good parts to this legislation. My concern is, and I will point out those positive things in a moment, in the interim, there are many students education bound as future teachers who have not had access to these funds. There are students in other degree granting

[Page 2620]

institutions in this province who are aspiring to be teachers. This money was recruited for that very fact. Why is the bureaucracy, why is it the department, whom in their foresight would not address this matter. Surely when TC closed their doors, some little light should have gone on and said, we have money here that was put in good faith, in good trust by how many donors over how many years and how can we get it in the hands of the young people that need it? (Applause)

This is no time, Mr. Speaker, to score political points. The correspondence was sent, the phone calls were made by one particular constituent, and I am sure, since that article ran in that Sunday newspaper a number of weeks ago, there have been calls placed to this particular woman in terms of, I am in the same boat. Where were those funds? And more importantly, where are they now? So we are finally going to have some legislation put forth.

[12:15 p.m.]

I believe that the compliments for this legislation - to correct my fellow member, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel - in no way can be donated to the press or to a politician, but to a person who finally had to say, I am not getting any answers and I have to get political about it. I want this pointed out to the members present that this woman reluctantly turned to the media. We talked about it a number of times and she handled the media in a way of, I am frustrated; where do I turn? As the MLA, I said, if I cannot get the answers for you, if the past principal of the school who was wise enough to hire me is not giving us the speedy answers, then you have no choice, ma'am, you should turn to the media. And she did.

Is it a coincidence, I ask you as members, that this member then after making that context for that number of months, followed up by something in the media, that we then receive new legislation that is going to be brought in to correct this problem? Mr. Speaker, that is a question that I asked, whether it is a coincidence or not.

I want to point out, however - and this is the major concern that I have with the legislation - I believe that it is of some consequence that there is a lasting tribute to the Nova Scotia Teachers College. I believe that there must be a provision in terms, with funds continuing to be collected, if I understand, is this not just an opportunity to get rid of in a manner which hopefully will be in light with the requests of these donors are, or is this an ongoing attempt - which I hope it is - to raise funds, to continue to encourage graduates, friends of graduates, and teachers, who want to contribute to this Nova Scotia Teachers College Fund. I can tell you that of the people I have worked with in this profession for years, the best trained, practising teachers are from the Nova Scotia Teachers College. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I know that after the illustrious undergraduate education that I received at that university across the marsh in New Brunswick, that when it came to picking an education school - and I will say it quite candidly to members present who are not of this

[Page 2621]

profession - I went to Dalhousie University for one year and wasted my time listening to frustrated university professors who had not been in the classroom for years, and thank God I had teacher training at Halifax West and at J.L. Ilsley from practising educators who assisted me with becoming a better teacher. The Teachers College always gave those skills to those young people. When you graduated from the Teachers College, you were ready, you knew you were going to be a teacher because of the program they had there over the three - and eventually the four - years at that fine institution.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to the minister, I truly do congratulate the department for finally responding and I ask for the support of moving this on to second reading because I will be very interested to see what other people come forward with who have shared the frustrations of that wise person from Timberlea-Prospect who approached her MLA and who requested a sign in the next election for this particular MLA. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, it does a great disservice to people in this province to use, for political advantage, the forum of this House to discuss an issue of gifts and legacies in memory of those who have departed and in memory of those who have served, to turn that into a political charade, to suggest at the end of the member opposite's debate that he now has a sign on his lawn as a result of intervening to assist a constituent, when just moments before he was suggesting that this is no time to score political points.

Mr. Speaker, the former principal of the Nova Scotia Teachers College, in his remarks, said I cannot understand where these funds have been for three or four years. Those funds have been in the same safeguarded position during his entire tenure as principal, with the Minister of Finance under the Department of Finance to protect the assets of a fund that is meant to support teacher education, exactly where they had been while he served as principal of the school.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear to me, when we talk about the ethics of debate on this floor and we talk about the ethics of the Leader of the Opposition the other day in front of all the people of this province suggesting that the Leader of the Third Party was totally dishonest in his recollection of a meeting that discussed taxation initiatives by the NDP should they form a government, there is no excuse for creating out of nothing, arguments or facts that are so far from any representation of actual reality for political purpose. I think the people of Nova Scotia are in the best position to judge the level of debate to which we have sunk today.

This bill is designed to protect gifts that have been left by people of this province for future teachers of this province. This bill will, in fact, ensure that the wishes of those families are redirected to institutions that now are given the responsibility of preparing the teachers

[Page 2622]

of Nova Scotia. There is approximately $60,000 in the funds. The reason that there is a clause in there for attracting new funds is that it is not inconceivable that many alumni of the Teachers College - in fact, many Nova Scotians - may wish to add to the fund that has been created in the name of Dr. Hugh Noble, for example, and so that foundation will continue to receive funds in those names.

It has the ability to redistribute those funds to present teacher-training institutions in accordance with the precise wishes of the family members who created those funds in the first place. There has been no loss of the funds. They are right where they always were - well safeguarded by the Department of Finance - and a mechanism is now in place to ensure that every single family who made contributions can rest assured that those contributions will now be directed in accordance with their wishes to student teachers of the future.

Let me go back again to the ethics of the debate. We are talking about legacy, about gifts in the name of, about wills and testaments that leave funds for future generations. When the member opposite, who is now the Finance Critic of this province and a member of the Opposition Party, in an all-candidates' debate in Halifax suggested that when he was elected, if he was elected and formed a government, that he would intervene in the endowment funds of Dalhousie University and when we compound that with the statement of the member opposite, who just indicated that his time at Dalhousie was a waste of time and that a process . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Stick to the bill.

MR. HARRISON: Stick to the bill says the member opposite, the members opposite who have spent their time in second reading discussing the principle of the bill and who, over and over again, said this is a non-partisan, non-political issue, and then turned the legacy and gifts of Nova Scotians into nothing but pure politics and would in a cavalier way interfere with the endowment of those gifts for Dalhousie and then, this afternoon, suggest that a rationalization process endorsed by all members of the university community, that concluded that certain schools would be designated as schools responsible for teacher education, that because he had had an experience at Dal that he felt was a waste of his time, that Dalhousie University was a waste of his time, Mr. Speaker, to me, is illuminating. I hope many in this province will see the measure of debate today. It is most illuminating. It is cavalier in the extreme. It is unethical in the extreme, to be taking a subject like this and turning it into cheap political shots for the sake of some kind of future for the NDP.

Mr. Speaker, we on the government side will take this bill seriously. It is our attempt to make sure that the wishes of those who have since passed on will be respected by the Government of Nova Scotia, and we will do that. I am honoured to move this to Law Amendments, and into second reading. (Applause)

[Page 2623]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 35. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 22.

Bill No. 22 - Health Research Foundation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to rise to move second reading of Bill No. 22 for the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. Before I begin, I want to say that the Department of Health worked very closely with the Health Research Task Force and Dalhousie Medical School to establish the foundation's legislation. The task force consisted of representatives from the regional health boards, the registered nurses association, the Nova Scotia Medical Society, Dalhousie Medical School and the School of Health Professions.

We were advised by the task force and others to be sure that we got the job done right. We wanted the legislation to clearly establish a solid framework for a broad-based provincial research initiative to provide infrastructure funding for those Nova Scotians involved in such activities. I believe we are on the right track, judging by the many positive comments received in response to our plans for the foundation. In fact, the Health Charity Network, comprised of representatives from a variety of organizations including the Cancer Society of Nova Scotia, the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, congratulated the government on this initiative soon after it was announced in March of this year.

They said that the initiation of this coordinated health research strategy for Nova Scotia has great potential for enhancing assistance for established investigators and in attracting new researchers. Right now, the province is at a competitive disadvantage in attracting specialists and research dollars. Our medical school is the only one in the country without the support of a provincial research foundation. That leaves our scientists at a disadvantage when they apply for funds from national bodies and it leaves our hospitals at a disadvantage when they want to attract and keep specialists.

[Page 2624]

Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation will stop the brain drain. It will help to keep the best and the brightest right here at home. We are confident that the foundation will generate both health and economic benefits for this province. It will help this province to attract specialists and improve the quality of care delivered to Nova Scotians, as well as to assert our position as a major skills centre of excellence in both research and clinical health care.

The Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation will be an economic tool. It is expected that $3.00 to $5.00 of economic activity will be generated for every $1.00 from the foundation. High-tech, high-paying jobs for our university graduates in this province will also be created. It is estimated that for every $1 million generated in research money, 34 jobs will be created in this province. These many positive results generated from the foundation are sure to benefit each and every Nova Scotian well into the next century.

[12:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the foundation will fund worthy applicants in the fields of health outcome research and evaluation, medical research, health public policy research, and health utilization research. It will provide the infrastructure needed to help Nova Scotian researchers attract funds from national and international research bodies. Additional key objectives will include: identify research priorities through consultation and communication with government, health boards, organizations, institutions and individuals; allocate funds to support the province's health research priorities and capacity development, including the retention of skilled personnel; establish a peer review system including, where appropriate, peers who reside outside of the province to ensure that scientific and ethical standards are maintained in awarding all grants; communicate research findings; establish a forum for interaction among health care researchers and those who could apply the findings and; actively seek both private and public money for the working of the foundation.

This government will initially provide $5 million in annual funds to the foundation. The foundation will in turn follow proper accounting procedures for all sums of money it receives and expends as well as its assets and its liabilities. As the foundation is not yet up and running, this year's budget shows an allocation of $500,000 toward the foundation for what is left of this fiscal year. Once legislation is passed we will move as quickly as possible to appoint members of the foundation. A group comprised of 10 Nova Scotians will be responsible for the operation and management of the foundation. It will be chosen by the Governor in Council and operate at arm's length from the government. These will be volunteer positions.

The members will be asked to declare if they have a direct or indirect interest in specific areas of research application to avoid conflict of interest situations. In such a situation they will not be part of any discussion or approval of the applications or awarding of specific grants. The foundation will be required to present a three year plan of its proposed activities

[Page 2625]

including budget estimates for its financial support programs and administrative support. It will also be responsible for preparing an annual report to be tabled in this Legislature.

Establishing the foundation will restore and enhance Nova Scotia's reputation as an Atlantic Canadian centre of excellence in health research, while ensuring our competitive edge. More importantly, the foundation will help with our efforts to attract specialists to the province who can give direct patient care and impart their skills to doctors throughout all of the province. The overall result will be to improve the quality of health care delivered in Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, thank you and I move second reading of Bill No. 22. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister. Our caucus is very much in favour of this bill. I am speaking in support of Bill No. 22 and hoping that we can move it into the Law Amendments Committee process for any improvements that can be made on it. I feel some sense of personal and professional satisfaction in being able to stand here today to speak in support of this bill and indeed, I feel a sense of political and very partisan satisfaction in being able to stand here and speak in support of this bill.

We know very well that this bill, in fact, is in front of us today because in the spring session of the Legislature we were the Party to question what had happened to the Liberal promise of a health research foundation, when the Speech from the Throne and the budget failed to provide any information that that campaign promise was going to be realized in this session of the House. We were the Party who mounted a very strong campaign in the spring during the budget debate and during the debate on this Speech from the Throne with respect to this very important initiative. We were the Party who, with the introduction of our own bill, Bill No. 21, an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, that was introduced prior to the minister introducing this bill that is before us today. It is a great sense of satisfaction today I have that this bill is in front of us today and I think this is a very good indication of what a strong and effective Opposition, in fact, can do for Nova Scotia.

With the establishment of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation this will place us as the eighth province in Canada to have such a research foundation. This is a very important development for the Province of Nova Scotia. As the minister indicated, for some period of time now there has been a process engaged in by quite a few persons, researchers and members of health organizations around Nova Scotia concerned that we really required a health research strategy for Nova Scotia. In October 1995 the Deputy Minister of Health appointed a Health Research Task Force to develop our health research strategy, to make recommendations to government. One of the foremost recommendations that came out of the report of the committee, chaired by Dr. Lynn MacIntyre, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Professions at Dalhousie, was that a health research foundation be established.

[Page 2626]

The report of this particular task force is quite an interesting and far-reaching report in terms of the recommendations that it brought forward. It is a report that indicates the necessity to broaden the definition of health research and I would like to bring that definition here onto the floor so that we are clear about the parameters in which this very important foundation will be operating. The working definition of health research set out by the task force is as follows: Health research covers a broad spectrum of inquiry, analysis and dissemination, including basic biomedical research, clinical, environmental and epidemiological studies, psychological, social and behavioural research, and research in population health, health promotion, evaluation, health economics and health systems. It is an excellent definition and one that I believe will be captured by the objects of the foundation in terms of Clause 4 as outlined in this legislation.

The benefit of a health research foundation to Nova Scotia is both in terms of the possibility for improving the health outcomes for Nova Scotians, improving our health as a population, but there are very many economic benefits that could occur from the establishment of a health research foundation. Some of these benefits would include the better management of health care resources, the enhancement of health professional education programs and, because the health care system is one of the principal drivers of our economy, health research can play a major role in its overall economic success.

Health research benefits our economy because it creates jobs. For every $1 million that is spent on research, 34 high paying, highly skilled jobs can be created directly. In addition, there are indirect benefits and jobs to be had. This could generate more than $100,000 in provincial government revenues assuming all funding was spent on research. We are potentially looking at many jobs being created by the expenditures that could occur out of a health research foundation.

The current situation in Nova Scotia is that as a province we are greatly disadvantaged at present with respect to health research. The lack of provincial funding has limited our capacity to compete nationally and to build a strong support system for decision making. Although we have many excellent and significant researchers throughout the province - for example, Dr. Guernsey, whose report has recently come out on the rates of cancer in the Sydney area - there is no coordinated mechanism to support health research, so funding of health research in the province has been significantly below the other provinces of similar size. Our universities have had difficulty gaining access to provincial funds for direct research.

With relatively small grants, researchers in other provinces have been able to develop their ideas, their research proposals and their methods of doing research. On the basis of this preliminary work, they have been able to go on and successfully compete in national competitions. This has been very difficult for researchers here in Nova Scotia to do because of the lack of seed money out of a provincial health research foundation. So this foundation would correct that inequity and that disadvantaged situation for health researchers in Nova Scotia. It would contribute to establishing some basic infrastructure to support research.

[Page 2627]

In Canada annually, approximately $10 billion is spent on research. It represents 1.5 per cent of the Gross National Product in this country, approximately $316 per person. However, Nova Scotia's investment on research and development is less than any other province outside of the Atlantic Region. The gross expenditure on research and development in Nova Scotia was $198 million in 1992 or about 1 per cent of the Gross National Product, $214 per person. So a health research strategy is necessary for Nova Scotia and so is a health research foundation.

I think that in the days leading up to the introduction of this bill, there is no clearer example of the need for a health research foundation than the situation that presents itself in terms of Dr. Guernsey's study on the rates of cancer in the Sydney area. I would like to use this example to look at what it is that is required in terms of a health research foundation and the absolute importance of an arm's-length relationship between government as a funding source and as the legal definer of such a research foundation, and the actual research that is being done.

It was in 1996 that Dr. Guernsey's study was initially funded by the provincial government. The funding was withdrawn and this was ostensibly because there were methodological problems in her study. However, she has gone on to secure funding elsewhere, externally, outside of the country and has gone on to produce a very credible piece of research of great importance and great significance not only for people in this area but no doubt for the research community generally.

[12:45 p.m.]

The thing about the predicament that she found herself in was here she had a project that would have cost $300 million, that would have lasted until 1998, which would not only have provided an epidemiological study, but a community health promotion as part of the project. This research would have allowed the examination of whether or not there was a link, what the linkages might be between the extremely high rates of cancer in the Sydney area with employment in the coke ovens. However, in 1996, she was not allowed to complete that important piece of research, that important piece of trying to build on our knowledge of what is the impact of working in these kinds of industrial settings and what does that mean for the individual's health, for our health care system and how that kind of knowledge could inform our public policy.

She was not allowed to do that because we do not have a health research foundation to fund that kind of research at an arm's length from government when political forces can be brought to bear to deny researchers the integrity of their research, their ability to behave as scientists interrogating these issues in an independent and objective manner without political forces interfering in a research process.

[Page 2628]

The importance of an arm's length relationship between a research foundation and Cabinet, for example, or the government of the day, is extremely important. As we here on the Official Opposition are able to force the provincial government to introduce this legislation, one thing that has been lacking in this process is any allocation of funds for the foundation. I think that this is something that we will need to continually probably raise to make sure that this legislation actually has the results of moving us toward a health research strategy for Nova Scotia. It is not enough to put a foundation on the books. It will only achieve the ends that are desired when it is adequately supported in terms of an allocation of financial resources.

There is one particular part of the minister's bill that differs from our own legislation which we will be speaking to in the Law Amendments Committee process. That is the absence of a scientific advisory committee that we felt fairly strongly about in terms of the necessity to establish such an advisory committee to sit essentially in the role of advising the directors of the foundation with respect to the overall prioritizing of research objectives and directions.

We felt that the scientific advisory committee should constitute part of the legislation. It was one of the significant recommendations by the Health Research Task Force. It is an attempt to maintain that very important arm's length relationship that I have been speaking about and, without that particular mechanism in the legislation, there is the potential that the minister would have more opportunity, shall we say, to set the agenda of the Health Research Foundation and that I believe needs to be thought through much more carefully and critically than it seems to have been so far in Bill No. 22.

The other piece of Bill No. 22 which we believe could stand some more interrogation debate and probably adjustment, is to more clearly articulate in the legislation the involvement, the importance of involving and cooperating and building partnerships among researchers across many sectors, and the absolute importance of recognizing the need to cooperate in research endeavours with community based organizations concerned about the general health of communities in the province. We think that there is a role for the involvement of community health boards, for example, and regional health boards, and the Health Charity Network and such groups in the process of informing and setting priorities for research around healthy public policy, health promotion, outcome research, and health services research.

I believe that we will have an opportunity to strengthen Bill No. 22 in the Law Amendments Committee process in this way and, no doubt, we will be hearing from some of those community organizations and health charities with respect to their views on Bill No. 22, how this bill can most reflect their needs as people who have invested in organizations that have an invested and extraordinary amount of time in thinking through what is required in Nova Scotia today to improve our health care system, to improve our knowledge base around health, and to ensure that the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation will result in the kind of quality research that we know that researchers in Nova Scotia are fully capable of

[Page 2629]

producing, given the support and given the environment, the research environment, that will allow people to do the work that they are trained for and they are committed and dedicated to.

Mr. Speaker, I support this bill going forward and look forward to the Law Amendments Committee process where we can improve on it and see that a Health Research Foundation is finally here in Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I do have a number of comments regarding this legislation, Bill No. 22, An Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. I want to say, I do support this bill, but I do have some concerns and I do have some positive things to say about the bill but because of the lateness of the day, I would move that we adjourn second reading of Bill No. 22.

MR. SPEAKER: This motion is to adjourn second reading of Bill No. 22. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I had the understanding that I was allowed to speak a few minutes on Bill No. 22. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The bill is simply adjourned for today.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government business for the day.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I discussed, as Acting House Leader for our Party, with the member for government and for the House Leader for the Third Party that we would be reverting to Introduction of Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the House agree with the reversion to the Order of Business, Introduction of Bills?

It is agreed.

[Page 2630]

[INTRODUCTION OF BILLS]

Bill 42 - An Act to Review the Recent Municipal Amalgamations in the Counties of Cape Breton and Halifax. (Mr. Robert Chisholm)

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the business for the day. On Monday, we will sit between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Following the daily routine, we will continue with Bill No. 22, and if time permits, we will deal with Bill No. 24, Bill No. 34, and Bill No. 38. I do move that we now adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 12:58 p.m.]

[Page 2631]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1270

By: Hon. Edward Lorraine (Minister of Agriculture and Marketing)

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

Whereas October 11th to October 17th is now Veterinary Technician Week in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this is the first year such a week is being held in Nova Scotia as a means to heighten awareness of the profession; and

Whereas veterinary technicians play a vital role in the fields of animal health and veterinary medicine in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the province's first Veterinary Technician Week and the valuable contribution the profession makes to the health of animals in Nova Scotia.