Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., June 17, 1999

First Session

THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ. - P3 School (Canning): Citizens (Kentville) - Oppose,
Ms. E. O'Connell 7396
Transport.: Route 366 (Tyndal Rd.) - Unsafe, Mr. E. Fage 7396
Fish. - Seniors: Licences - Fees Exempt, Mr. M. Baker 7396
Educ. - Pugwash Dist. HS: Teaching Positions - Add, Mr. E. Fage 7397
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mr. P. MacEwan 7397
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Health - Oncologists: Recruitment - Progress, Hon. J. Smith 7398
Commun. Serv. - Mental Health Serv.: Child./Youth - Enhanced,
Hon. F. Cosman 7401
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3506, Lbr. - Labour Federation (N.S.): NDP (N.S.) -
Appreciation Alternative Find, Hon. R. MacKinnon 7405
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 123, Dartmouth Senior Care Society Tax Exemption Act,
Hon. J. Smith 7405
No. 124, Red Tape Reduction Act, Mr. G. Balser 7405
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3507, Gov't. (N.S.-Lib.): People (N.S.) - Hear, Ms. E. O'Connell 7406
Res. 3508, Econ. Dev. & Tourism Composites Atl. (Lun.):
EH-101 Contract - Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 7406
Vote - Affirmative 7407
Res. 3509, Election (N.S.): Time - Arrival, Mr. P. MacEwan 7407
Res. 3510, Abor. Affs. - Eskasoni Powwow (18/06-21/06/99):
Organizers - Congrats., Ms. Helen MacDonald 7408
Res. 3511, Health - Reg. Bd. (W): Employees -
Petition Circulation Allow, Mr. G. Archibald 7408
Res. 3512, Justice - Jail (Bedford): People - Consult, Mr. Kevin Deveaux 7409
Res. 3513, Health - Reg. Bd. (W): Employees -
Freedoms Restricted Action, Mr. J. Leefe 7410
Res. 3514, C.B. Nova MLA - Budget (N.S.-1999-2000): Benefits -
Admission Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 7410
Res. 3515, Educ. - Sc. Fair (Edmonton 1999): New Glasgow HS &
Trenton HS - Students Success Congrats., Dr. J. Hamm 7411
Vote - Affirmative 7412
Res. 3516, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Otter Lake Landfill Site:
Access Routes - Garbage Address, Mr. W. Estabrooks 7412
Res. 3517, Health - Cumb. Co.: Mammography Service -
Consult, Mr. E. Fage 7412
Res. 3518, Premier - Questions: Answers - Options Remind,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7413
Res. 3519, Abor. Affs. - Native Council (N.S.) [Leadership Award 1999]:
Nicole Porter (Springhill) - Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 7414
Vote - Affirmative 7414
Res. 3520, RCMP - Sgt. Ted Upshaw: Cole Hbr. Office -
Command Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 7414
Vote - Affirmative 7415
Res. 3521, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Park Falls Rd. (Pictou East):
Bush - Cut, Mr. J. DeWolfe 7415
Res. 3522, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Horne's Bridge (Pictou Co.):
Repairs - Solve, Mr. C. Parker 7416
Res. 3523, Col-Musquodoboit Valley MLA: Grandfather -
Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 7416
Vote - Affirmative 7417
Res. 3524, Kinsac Vol. Fire Dept. - Long Service Medals:
Recipients - Congrats., Ms. R. Godin 7417
Vote - Affirmative 7418
Res. 3525, Educ. - Funding Formulas: Action - Undertake, Mr. E. Fage 7418
Res. 3526, Can. Corps Commissionnaires - Murdock Fudge &
James Seary: Service (MLAs) - Thank, Mr. D. Dexter 7419
Vote - Affirmative 7419
Res. 3527, Truro-Bible Hill MLA - Secure Treatment Ctr. (Truro):
Pressure - Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 7420
Res. 3528, Educ. - Digby RHS Envirothon Team: Prov. Title -
Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 7420
Vote - Affirmative 7421
Res. 3529, Fin. - Vol. Firefighters: Tax Relief - Commitment,
Mr. M. Baker 7421
Res. 3530, Fish. - Lobster: Illegal Harvesting - Inaction Condemn,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 7422
Res. 3531, Environ. - RRFB: Paul Thompson -
Achievement Award Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 7422
Vote - Affirmative 7423
Res. 3532, Health - Parrsboro, Springhill & Oxford: Services -
Ensure, Mr. M. Scott 7423
Res. 3533, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Secondary Roads: Tenders (1998-1999)
Constituencies (PC) - Absence Acknowledge, Mr. B. Taylor 7424
Res. 3534, Environ. - Safety-Kleen Environ. Mgt. System (Debert):
ISO 14001 Cert. - Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 7425
Vote - Affirmative 7425
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1265, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Techlink: Influence Peddling -
Action (Premier), Mr. R. Chisholm 7426
No. 1266, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Min.: Influence Peddling Allegations -
Resign, Mr. M. Baker 7427
No. 1267, Exco - Conflict of Interest: Guidelines - Adopt,
Mr. R. Chisholm 7428
No. 1268, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Min.: Vacation - Friedman Bros.,
Mr. M. Baker 7429
No. 1269, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Techlink - Loan, Mr. D. Dexter 7430
No. 1270, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Techlink:
Influence Peddling Allegations - Repudiate, Mr. M. Baker 7431
No. 1271, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Min. -
Influence Peddling Allegations, Mr. D. Dexter 7432
No. 1272, Health Care - Mismanagement, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7433
No. 1273, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Class (Primary) Hrs. - Cuts,
Mr. B. Taylor 7434
No. 1274, Health - Bed Closures: Savings - Usage,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7435
No. 1275, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Class (Primary) Hrs. - Cuts.,
Mr. E. Fage 7436
No. 1276, Health - Investment Fund: Reg. Bds. - Funding Promised,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 7436
No. 1277, Educ. - Schools: Graduation - Credits Req'd., Mr. G. Balser 7438
No. 1278, Fin. - Budget (1999-2000) Passage: Debt Direct -
Increase Confirm, Mr. H. Epstein 7438
No. 1279, Justice - Seniors: Home Invasions - Penalties Increase,
Mr. M. Scott 7439
No. 1280, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Cuts - Forced, Mr. J. Holm 7440
No. 1281, Fish. - Aquaculture: St. Margarets Bay (Redmonds Cove) -
Operation Status, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 7441
No. 1282, Fin. - Gaming Corp.: ALC Withdrawal - Reports Table,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 7442
No. 1283, Human Res. - Human Rts. Comm'n.: Inequity Address -
Guidelines (Aug. 1997) Compliance, Ms. Y. Atwell 7443
No. 1284, Commun. Serv. - Secure Treatment Ctr.: Action Plan -
Time Line, Mr. J. Muir 7444
No. 1285, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Influence Peddling: Allegations -
Investigation, Mr. R. Chisholm 7445
No. 1286, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Min.: Influence Peddling Allegations -
Resign, Mr. M. Baker 7447
No. 1287, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Influence Peddling: Allegations -
Investigation, Mr. R. Chisholm 7448
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 107, Tobacco Access Act 7449
Hon. J. Smith 7449
Mr. J. Muir 7449
Mr. B. Taylor 7450
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 7450
Mr. J. Leefe 7450
Mr. G. Moody 7451
Mr. M. Baker 7452
Dr. J. Hamm 7452
Hon. J. Smith 7453
Vote - Affirmative 7456
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEE:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. R. Harrison 7456
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:28 P.M. 7457
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:36 P.M. 7457
CWH REPORTS 7457
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 112, House of Assembly Act 7458
Mr. J. Holm 7458
Vote - Affirmative 7458
No. 101, Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission
Property Tax Exemption Act 7458
No. 110, Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Tax Exemption Act 7458
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:40 P.M. 7459
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:44 P.M. 7459
REPORT OF CWH ON SUPPLY [Rule 62G(1)]:
Motion to Concur [that the Estimates do not pass] 7459
Vote - Affirmative 7459
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 125, Appropriations Act, 1999, Hon. D. Downe 7459
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 125, Appropriations Act, 1999, Hon. D. Downe 7459
Vote - Negative 7461
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to await dissolution 7461
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
H.O. 7, Housing & Mun. Affs.: Pty. Assts. (1998) - Appeals,
Mr. M. Scott 7462

[Page 7395]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1999

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we commence with the daily routine, I would advise honourable members that the late debate for the day was submitted by the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis. It reads:

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government be condemned for a continued health care crisis even though the health care budget has increased by millions of dollars over the past few years.

That debate will take place, barring unforeseen circumstances, at 6:00 p.m. this evening.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise seeking procedural advice because what I have here is not a petition to the provincial Legislature, it is 400 letters from Kentville parents to the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board. Is there a place I could table these?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, right now.

7395

[Page 7396]

MS. O'CONNELL: Do I treat it like a petition and sign it?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, that is quite all right.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table 400 letters from citizens of Kentville who oppose the construction of the new P3 school in Canning.

MR. SPEAKER: The letters are tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the following petition from residents of the Tyndal Road, Route 366, that has arrived at my office:

"This PETITION is to bring to the attention of the Government of Nova Scotia, and in particular to those representatives who the PEOPLE have ELECTED, the utterly deplorable state and unsafe condition of the Tyndal Road (Route 366). This road serves as a main route for hundreds of cottagers, thousands of tourists, and hundreds of local citizens! Travellers on motorbikes have found it to be completely unsafe for travel, and there is a growing fear that the huge splits and drop-offs in the highway will contribute to accidents and quite possibly loss of life. The Government MUST MAKE A COMMITMENT to resolve this problem IMMEDIATELY!".

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature and there are several hundred that I will table.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the following petition:

"We, the undersigned respectfully request of the Minister of Fisheries to eliminate the charge for fishing licenses levied against the senior citizens of the province of Nova Scotia as agreed by resolution in the Nova Scotia Legislature.".

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to that petition.

[Page 7397]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my name to this petition as well, and it is from the citizens of Pugwash:

"Pugwash District High School has been cut a further 70% of a teaching position. This makes for a total 5.9 teaching positions cut for a decline of 56 students - an average of 1 teacher per 9.5 students. As a result, PDHS has lost a number of programs and services including tech education programs, family studies programs, personal guidance services, and now the extended French program. Our children deserve better. We ask you to take the necessary steps to fund 3.5 additional teaching positions so that these services and programs can be restored.".

MR. SPEAKER: That is much too long. The prayer for a petition has to be short, at the maximum of two or three sentences.

The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 101 - Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Property Tax Exemption Act.

Bill No. 110 - Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Tax Exemption Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

[Page 7398]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to report on the progress being made on the recruitment of cancer specialists in Nova Scotia. To fully understand the significance of what we have been able to accomplish to date, I think it is important for us to consider the overall picture. The recruitment and retention of qualified medical and radiation oncologists has been an ongoing challenge in all provinces for some time. In fact, right now in Canada, there are currently more than 30 vacancies in the field of medical oncology alone and less than 10 of these specialists are being trained in the whole country each year.

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that it was absolutely critical for Nova Scotia to be in a position to competitively recruit for these specialists and we have made certain we are. We now offer medical oncologists the best salary range in Canada. Our new alternative funding agreement with the Department of Internal Medicine has improved the academic environment for these and other specialists, making Nova Scotia a more attractive career destination.

The creation of Cancer Care Nova Scotia has given Nova Scotia another attractive quality as well. This is the first time we have ever had a program in place to specifically address cancer concerns throughout the province. We have given them our commitment of $2.5 million in new money this year to help them achieve that goal. We are getting the message out that we are seriously committed to the fight against cancer and we are gaining ground in this battle. Mr. Speaker, our Commissioner of Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Dr. Andrew Padmos, and others have put a great deal of energy into recruiting trained oncology specialists to the province and I am pleased to see their efforts are paying off.

Looking at medical oncology first, earlier this year, we announced that Dr. Mark Dorreen of St. John's, Newfoundland, will be joining the staff of the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre in July. Locum oncologist, Dr. Michael Goodyear, has extended his contract at the centre as well. He will now remain on staff until at least January 2000.

Dr. Leonard Reyno of Hamilton signed on as the new Head of the Division of Medical Oncology last month. He is a native of Herring Cove, Nova Scotia, by the way, Mr. Speaker. He will begin in September and credited his decision to join the centre to the restructuring and the new direction of our cancer care system here in Nova Scotia. One of Dr. Reyno's responsibilities will be to work with Dr. Padmos and other partners to initiate a process to create a training program for medical oncologists in this province. This project will help ensure a constant supply of these trained specialists for years to come.

[Page 7399]

I am also happy to report that we have recently filled the medical oncology vacancy in Cape Breton. Dr. Raj (Rog) Pahil has recently accepted an offer to join the Cape Breton Cancer Treatment Centre.

We also have an agreement in principle with a sixth medical oncologist for the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre at the QE II. This individual's paperwork is moving through the system and his appointment should be finalized this week.

These appointments mean we now have a full complement of two medical oncologists in Cape Breton. We now have on staff and committed to join the Cancer Centre at the QE II, six medical oncologists with one new approved position to be filled, bringing us up to eight medical oncologists in Nova Scotia.

Our recruitment successes are not limited to medical oncology, however. We recently recruited four additional radiation therapists for the QE II centre, in spite of a very competitive national market. We now have a full complement of 30 radiation therapists in the province: 23 in Halifax; and 7 in Cape Breton. (Applause)

In addition, we have some very promising specialists in surgical oncology disciplines who have committed to come to work in Nova Scotia. So you see, Mr. Speaker, we are building a team of cancer specialists in Nova Scotia, the likes of which has never been known in this province. (Applause)

We are also doing very well in radiation oncology. Of the nine radiation oncology positions funded by our department, eight are currently full, seven in Halifax and one in Cape Breton. Recruitment efforts are well underway for the vacancy in Cape Breton and our modern, fully-equipped cancer centre and radiation program at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital is making that region very attractive to radiation oncologists and radiation therapists.

[12:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, we are doing remarkably well in our recruitment and retention of cancer specialists in this province. There are many headlines when one or two leave, and that is the purpose of this statement today. Now that we have filled those vacancies and moved forward, I believe it at least warrants a statement in this House of Assembly, even if we don't get the headlines. This was all read, by the way, at a meeting the other day, which was largely attended by Cancer Care Nova Scotia on the announcement of the launch of that, but it was not fully reported.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I am pleased to report that these appointments mean that we now have more medical and radiation oncologists for Nova Scotia than ever before. I thank you. (Applause)

[Page 7400]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, cancer is a disease that touches each and every one of us. When it does, the fear, the anxiety, the hope, the despair, the profound range of emotions, I don't need to tell members in this House, because I am sure each and every one of us have had that experience as have most, if not all, Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, as a society, we need to respond to this harsh reality through our government and through our institutions. We need to respond well to patients, to cancer survivors, to their advocates, to their families, supporters, communities and to those in the health care system who provide caring services.

Mr. Speaker, indeed, quite recently in this province, we have not responded well to many patients. We have seen a critical situation of the loss of oncologists out of our system, because we did not have a well thought out plan on the part of this government. The pressure that that placed on GPs and on patients and their families was intolerable. We have debated that issue and had questions on that issue many times, on this floor in the last few months.

Dr. Padmos and his colleagues are certainly to be congratulated for the progress that has been reported here today through the minister. This is a very welcome piece of news, in terms of seeing any change at all in the numbers of oncologists who are available to provide services that are so greatly needed. Any progress in this area is to be welcomed.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians deserve the best health care system we can offer, and we must deliver that health care in a sensible and a compassionate fashion. I think those members over there need to be reminded that tampering with these basic principles of compassion and effective management will ultimately mean that they will be judged very harshly by Nova Scotians. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, this announcement today is a welcome announcement. It is good news for Nova Scotians. As was said, cancer touches the lives of a lot of people. It touches many of our family, friends and we know of those people who had to deal with cancer. For some time, we have not had a strategy, we have not been able to get our full complement of medical oncologists. I remember speaking many times in both 1994, 1995, 1996 in this House about what was happening with our cancer treatment centre.

Mr. Speaker, we lost many good people. Unfortunately, up until just recently the government ignored a situation that needed to be dealt with. I will say though that I am pleased that finally the government recognized that what Nova Scotians were saying, and I have heard this over and over, because we all know and it has been said many times and I have talked to medical oncologists and radiation oncologists and many of them say, George,

[Page 7401]

we can be helpful, but early detection and early treatment is so crucial to save people's lives and what we need is the staff to make sure that Nova Scotians who, unfortunately, get cancer, can quickly get treated. That is so important.

I must say what the minister said here today is encouragement that we are going to have enough professional staff to treat those Nova Scotians. My fear is there has got to be a continued commitment, Mr. Speaker, because I remember a time when we did have a full complement, and if this complement is not kept up and any government that does not make a commitment to this plan on a continued basis, Nova Scotians will suffer.

Mr. Speaker, we, as members of the Legislature, should make a commitment to make sure that in the future nothing again happens to affect the complement of our medical oncologists and radiation oncologists in this province. This is a good announcement. Let's work together to make it continue to happen for Nova Scotians. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to announce government's plan to enhance mental health services for children and youth. I make this announcement as part of the partnership within government, and on behalf of the many individuals outside of government who have also helped to shape this plan. The plan I am about to announce results from many months of hard work through a broad-based partnership.

Four government departments and two government agencies worked in collaboration with regional and provincial working groups. Community representatives and associations have also had the opportunity to contribute. This strong partnership, Mr. Speaker, and the strong broad-based community input gives us every confidence that our plan will have a very positive impact on the future of Nova Scotia's children, youth and families.

Mr. Speaker, the actions we are announcing today are in response to the 1998 report, A New Step Forward. This report was prepared by regional and provincial working groups following an intensive study of children and youth mental health services. The study was recommended in the report Too Good to Lose, prepared after the review of residential services for children and youth.

A New Step Forward is being officially released today, Mr. Speaker, and in tabling the report, let me take this opportunity to thank the many dedicated individuals involved in this project. Their hard work has most definitely established the frame-work for us to move forward with a clear direction.

[Page 7402]

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight very briefly the work that brought us to the point where we are today. The Children and Youth Action Committee, better known as CAYAC, is made up of governmental departments and agencies that share responsibility for services to youth and children. Between January and March 1998 CAYAC established a task force of senior officials from the Departments of Health, Community Services, Justice, Education, the Youth Secretariat and the Sport and Recreation Commission. They were tasked with the review of the recommendations contained in the report, A New Step Forward.

The report's recommendations emphasize that government needs to ensure that there is equal access to services across Nova Scotia and there must be a coordinated approach to delivering those services through developing and strengthening interdepartmental partnerships. We could not agree more. What is our response?

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today that this government commits $1 million to establish a Children's Future's Foundation. This foundation is a new and significant step forward to enhance mental health services for Nova Scotia's children and youth.

The foundation is an essential step in making sure that the right services are in the right place to respond to the urgent needs of our young people and their families. The foundation will fund, monitor and oversee the evaluation of demonstration projects that promote healthy child development. The projects will model new methods of service delivery and build on existing systems. Examples of targeted services would be parent education, infant screening, early identification and intervention services, youth health centres and programs serving families with children with special needs.

Our $1 million investment will also grow. The foundation will be used to attract funding from the federal government, foundations and the private sector. This money will be used to support much-needed, community-based mental health initiatives. A multi-sectoral advisory board reporting to the Chair of CAYAC will administer the foundation.

Other important steps forward are also being taken. CAYAC will develop an action plan, by January 2000, to enhance mental health services province-wide, to support regional action plans, and to provide annual reports on goals, outcomes and ongoing plans. The Children and Youth Action Committee will identify opportunities and costs for the Departments of Health, Community Services and Justice to share programming for youth with severely disruptive behaviours.

The Departments of Health, Community Services, Justice and Education will jointly fund regional co-ordination of mental health services over the next two years. The Departments of Health and Community Services will immediately assess the required amount and type of residential and day treatment programs for children and youth and make appropriate recommendations.

[Page 7403]

We still have a lot of work to do and it is work that we are very much committed to getting done right, within a tight time-frame. We already have progress to build on, compatible with the recommendations of this report, and some examples of that progress to build on include: the Eastern Region Child and Youth Services Project which integrates a diverse group of services for children and youth; an innovative program in the western region which incorporates adventure-based school and camp activities for high-risk youth from the community and youth correctional facilities; the just-announced secure treatment facility in Truro for youth with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties; and the establishment of a working group to focus on the needs of children with significant developmental delays.

Enhancing mental health services for our children, youth and their families is a priority of this government. We are committed to ensuring, through ongoing support and significant changes in the way our services are organized, that our younger generation can access the help they need when it is needed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to table these reports. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North. (Applause)

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I really wish the accolades to go to the Minister of Community Services today and I really think they should be justly done so. Our Party wants to go on record as supporting this statement by the minister of enhancing mental health services to children and youth. We also want to be able to thank the government departments and all government agencies, along with the regional and provincial working groups, community representatives and associations for their contribution thus far and for their future involvement, which we know will take place.

There is one very significant factor that we ought to measure out here. I do recall in my 15 minute speech on the Supply just a couple of days ago, where I spoke about the need for a children's commissioner. I want to say the Minister of Community Services has made a major step in the establishment of the Children's Future's Foundation, to which her government has committed $1 million and that we, as the New Democratic Party, are quite pleased to support.

[12:30 p.m.]

A very important sector as well is that a multi-sectoral advisory board, The Children and Youth Action Committee, will be the reporting chair and will administer the foundation. Mr. Speaker, again, an excellent move.

We want to say that each and every segment of the recommendations within this report presented by the minister today are actions in which I like to think that I know our political Party would do if we were in government. On that, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you very much. (Applause)

[Page 7404]

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

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to say a few words about the minister's statement and like my colleague in the New Democratic Party, this is a good news announcement for young people in Nova Scotia and I welcome this initiative by the minister and her department.

One of the things that it does, Mr. Speaker, in many ways, is reinforce the lack of services that our young people have had for a number of years and the lack of government inaction in this regard. The mental health services for children and youth, a few years ago, in 1993, when the government came along there were a number of opportunities and institutions or organizations which were there for children and youth who needed some mental health services. The government came along and shut them down in one fell swoop and they shut them down for good reason but there was nothing to replace them. So what the minister has announced here today is probably about four years too late. Nevertheless I commend the minister for making the announcement.

I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that I am pleased with the consultation that took place with the other government departments. It is something our Party has advocated for the past year, trying to get government departments to work more closely together when a problem needs a collective perspective. As we do know and as the minister has pointed out, that when we are dealing with problems of mental health, there are a lot of departments that really should be involved in that. So I am pleased to see that that consultation took place.

I look forward to reading the report, A New Step Forward. I am pleased with the Children's Future's Foundation and the $1 million that has been committed to it.

One of the reservations that I would have is that this government over the past number of years has provided a lot of talk and not a whole lot of action. We have had recommendations before and I notice that the minister did mention a secure treatment centre in here and in Truro as something to be built upon. I hope that will happen, Mr. Speaker, as you know very well that that centre has been promised for a number of years and the government has failed to deliver. It has only been in the last week or so where some concrete announcements have been made.

Taking everything into perspective, Mr. Speaker, my Party, my caucus colleagues and myself, welcome this announcement. It is a good thing for mental health services for youth and children in this province and I hope, indeed, this will be implemented immediately. Thank you. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

[Page 7405]

RESOLUTION NO. 3506

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

Whereas the member for Cape Breton Centre yesterday in debate indicated that a New Democratic Party Government would ensure that the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour would make all labour appointments to the Occupational Health and Safety Council; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour only represents 20 per cent of all Nova Scotia's workforce; and

Whereas this closed-shop methodology would shut out over 80 per cent of Nova Scotia's workforce, including a number of unions not associated with the Federation of Labour, from the democratic process;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the NDP find another way to appreciate the Federation of Labour for their financial support.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 123 - An Act to Exempt Dartmouth Senior Care Society and Certain Property of the Dartmouth Senior Care Society from Municipal Taxation. (Hon. James Smith as a private member.)

Bill No. 124 - Entitled an Act to Eliminate Obsolete, Unnecessary or Confusing Government Requirements in Nova Scotia (Mr. Gordon Balser)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 7406]

RESOLUTION NO. 3507

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

Whereas last night over 300 parents turned up at the Halifax Regional School Board offices to protest the proposed $2.6 million cut to the Primary program; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has the second-lowest education funding of any Canadian province; and

Whereas not a single member of this Liberal Government was there last night to address parents' concerns and explain why funding to education is so low;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government recognize that the people of this province deserve to be listened to, deserve answers and deserve to have their elected representatives in government talk to them directly, instead of through public opinion polls.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to rise on an introduction. I would like to introduce, in the gallery opposite, two of my constituents that I have known for the longest time. My mother and father, Gilbert and Barbara Baker are here today. I would like to ask them to rise. (Applause) Stand up. Stand up. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 3508

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

Whereas Composites Atlantic, a Lunenburg-based aerospace firm, has been awarded a $2 million contract to produce undercarriage components for Canada's new Cormorant search and rescue helicopter; and

Whereas this contract will allow the firm to create 10 direct new jobs as well as 20 additional indirect jobs through subcontracting work within Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7407]

Whereas this contract was awarded because of the hard work of the management and staff of this innovative company which is a national leader in the aerospace industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Composites Atlantic and extend to them best wishes for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3509

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

Whereas this good Liberal Government has demonstrated compassion and radiated commitment to meeting the needs of the people of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Opposition has done nothing but natter and nit-pick, exacerbate whatever tensions could be found and do its level best to ensure that minority government could not possibly work; and

Whereas the people of Nova Scotia have the final say on the performance of all politicians, whether government or Opposition;

Therefore be it resolved that the time has come to cease procrastination, to get on with the business of fighting for a better Nova Scotia and to ensure that the nattering nabobs of negativism opposite are put out to pasture once and for all.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Page 7408]

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3510

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

Whereas the powwow is an important social, cultural and spiritual event for the Mi'kmaq people; and

Whereas the powwow uses drumming, dancing and singing to heighten spiritual awareness; and

Whereas the 8th Annual Eskasoni Powwow will be held June 18th through June 21st;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers of the powwow and thank them for providing Mi'kmaq communities the opportunity to both share their culture and to recognize their elders.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3511

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

Whereas Victor Maddalena has instructed staff of the Valley Regional Hospital not to circulate Highway No. 101 support petitions at the hospital; and

[Page 7409]

Whereas doctors, nurses and other emergency room workers know the tragedy associated with car accidents on Highway No. 101; and

Whereas since Joe Howe's 1835 trial, Nova Scotia is regarded as the birthplace of free speech;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature instruct the regional health board to allow the employees the freedom to circulate petitions in their capacity as health care providers.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3512

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

Whereas this Liberal Government is trying to impose a jail on the community of Bedford; and

Whereas this Liberal Government has avoided community consultation and even municipal development guidelines; and

Whereas Bedford residents are now taking their fight to court;

Therefore be it resolved that the people of Nova Scotia are tired of banging their heads against this thick Liberal wall and that this government start listening and consulting with the very people they have a responsibility to serve.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

[Page 7410]

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 3513

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

Whereas Grit toady and Western Regional Health Board czar, Victor Maddalena, has dictated that health care workers not circulate a petition calling for twinning of killer Highway No. 101; and

Whereas Victor Maddalena seems not to understand that even in his debt-burdened western regional fiefdom, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms prevails; and

Whereas Victor Maddalena is clearly known to be the minion of the Minister of Health in the western region;

Therefore be it resolved that Victor Maddalena be brought to book by the Minister of Health for suborning Canadian freedoms to personal imperial ambition.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3514

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

Whereas one Liberal MLA is honest enough to admit that, "the budget was chock-full of goodies"; and

Whereas that Liberal MLA is honest enough to repeat the old Liberal claim that Liberals have "solidified many facilities and services" in health care instead of the new claim that the Liberals put health care at risk; and

[Page 7411]

Whereas that one honest man has written: "I would be very confident about the outcome of such an election and, personally would welcome it.";

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the MLA for Cape Breton Nova for honestly admitting, in writing, that the budget was a bag of goodies designed as a desperate attempt to keep the Liberals alive through one more election.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3515

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

Whereas four high school students from Pictou County recently received top honours from the Canada-wide science fair in Alberta; and

Whereas Denise Kyte and Natalie Robinson, both of New Glasgow High, and Jason Kay and Lisa Kay, both from Trenton High, were among the more than 600 students across the country who competed at the science fair;

Whereas all four students received prizes and awards for their projects which were competitive in the divisions of the environment as well as engineering;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to Denise, Natalie, Jason and Lisa for their outstanding achievements and wish them great success in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 7412]

[12:45 p.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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 3516

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 residents of Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea continue to see excessive garbage in the community along the routes to the Otter Lake landfill site; and

Whereas motorists travelling on Highway No. 103 have had to play the game of dodge ball with bags of garbage on this busy stretch of road; and

Whereas this garbage is not only unsightly, but also dangerous;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation meet with HRM officials and the operators of the landfill site to address this continuing problem for area residents and the motoring public.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3517

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 Highland View Regional Hospital in Amherst has been providing full quality mammography service since 1988; and

[Page 7413]

Whereas qualified technologists, in addition to a surgeon and radiologist, are currently on staff to perform core testing and biopsies; and

Whereas this Minister of Health has concluded that it will be in the best interests of the women in Cumberland County to terminate this full mammogram diagnostic and core procedure;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health undertake to consult with the women of Cumberland County to see whether they feel it is in their best interests to travel to Truro or beyond to have these necessary live-saving services performed.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3518

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

Whereas the Premier was at the Holiday Inn on Tuesday, Antigonish on Wednesday, and Yarmouth today; and

Whereas this settles any doubt about the Liberal Party's confidence in their Leader's ability to answer tough questions about his government's decisions; and

Whereas people in Yarmouth, Antigonish, and the Halifax Rotary can smell burnt toast just as easily as people in this House can smell burnt toast;

Therefore be it resolved that this House respectfully remind the Premier that he can run, but he can't hide.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Page 7414]

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3519

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

Whereas the Native Council of Nova Scotia accepted applications for an award from young people across Nova Scotia who have shown leadership in their communities; and

Whereas Nicole Porter of Springhill had her name submitted for this prestigious award; and

Whereas on Saturday night, Nicole Porter will be awarded the 1999 Native Council of Nova Scotia Leadership Award at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Nicole on her hard work and efforts in putting others first in her life and wish her all the best in the future.

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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3520

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 RCMP has a long and proud history serving Nova Scotians; and

Whereas a Nova Scotian, Sergeant Ted Upshaw, is the first Black member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to enter the commissioned ranks; and

[Page 7415]

Whereas Sergeant Upshaw will assume the command of the RCMP Cole Harbour office and, at that time, he will be appointed to the rank of Inspector;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Sergeant Upshaw and wish him well in him upcoming promotion.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3521

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

Whereas much-needed roadwork is required on Pictou East secondary roads; and

Whereas a sharp turn on the Parks Falls Road is considered by not only local residents, but also Department of Transportation and Public Works' supervisors to be among the most dangerous in the province; and

Whereas a local couple and their four year old daughter have witnessed many roll-overs and vehicles cutting across their lawn at high speeds;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Public Works at the very least cut back the bush on this very dangerous curve and perhaps even pay for signage before this little girl starts school this fall.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

[Page 7416]

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3522

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

Whereas Michelin Tire, Kimberly-Clark and Canso Chemicals are important industries in Pictou County and are located in the Granton-Abercrombie area; and

Whereas these industries are served by a rail line that contains Horne's Bridge that cannot carry full-capacity rail cars; and

Whereas transportation costs are increased for these industries because of less-than-full capacity boxcars;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation work with these industries and Central Nova and Cape Breton Railway to find a workable solution for repairing Horne's Bridge.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3523

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

[Page 7417]

Whereas the member of the Legislature for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has a well-deserved reputation for shooting from the lip when it comes to issues of road maintenance and repair; and

Whereas the gear-jamming cowboy trucker is well known for speaking his mind on issues of concern to his constituents; and

Whereas the Tuesday, June 15th birth of his very first grandchild, a beautiful seven pound baby girl, left the gruff cowpoke teary-eyed and speechless;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge that the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley will abandon the moniker Road Rage Taylor for the more affectionate and appropriate Gramps. (Applause)

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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 3524

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

Whereas volunteer fire departments are a key element in protecting life and property in Nova Scotian communities; and

Whereas volunteer firefighters who have devoted many years of service should be recognized;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Peter Sheen, Laurie Hartlen and Vaughn McNeil of the Beaver Bank-Kinsac Volunteer Fire Department who received 25 year Long Service Medals from the provincial fire marshal on June 12, 1999.

[Page 7418]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3525

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 Minister of Education and this Liberal Government have failed to adequately address the needs of students, parents, teachers, and staff of schools throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas to highlight their failure we need look no further than the current funding formulas which are simply unfair to rural communities in the province; and

Whereas this Liberal Government is long on talk and short on worthwhile and effective action;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education undertake immediate action on the funding formulas in an effort to extend fairness and equity to the education system in Nova Scotia's rural communities.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled. (Interruptions)

[Page 7419]

Oh, you didn't ask for waiver. Well, in that case you haven't got it. (Laughter)

Order, please. It is very difficult to hear. Please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3526

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 members of this House are assisted daily by members of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires; and

Whereas recent changes to the retirement policies of the corps mean that two familiar faces will be gone from this detail; and

Whereas Murdock Fudge and James Seary have both served as commissionaires for over 10 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank Mr. Fudge and Mr. Seary for their services, and offer best wishes for their retirement later this year.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, I would like to make an introduction. Through you to all members of the House, I would like to introduce a former colleague of mine on the old Halifax County Council, now the District 2 Halifax Regional Municipality Councillor and Progressive Conservative candidate for the riding of Preston. He is splendidly dressed today. Please rise Mr. David Hendsbee and receive the applause from the members of the House. (Applause)

[Page 7420]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3527

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

Whereas there was a three Party political forum/debate on Truro AM radio station CKCL last evening; and

Whereas the Liberal Party was represented by its caucus chair; and

Whereas, in responding to a question about the proposed secure treatment centre for Truro, the Liberal caucus chair praised the effort of Truro-Bible Hill MLA, Jamie Muir, in pressing the government for a precise timetable for its establishment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and congratulate the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill for pressing the government to follow through with the construction of the secure treatment facility in Truro.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3528

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 Digby Regional High School Envirothon Team, consisting of student members Ryan Black, Jennifer Durkee, Carrie Jefferson, Craig Lutz and Christa Specht, as well as advisors, Greg Turner and Anne Littlewood, have captured the provincial envirothon title; and

Whereas their victory in the provincial championship means the winners will represent Nova Scotia at the Canon National Envirothon in Arcata, California; and

Whereas this is the second year in a row that the Digby Regional High School Envirothon Team will represent Nova Scotia in national competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations and best wishes to the team and their advisors as they prepare to represent Nova Scotia.

[Page 7421]

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 3529

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 contribution made to communities throughout Nova Scotia by volunteer firefighters is invaluable; and

Whereas the Minister of Labour and this government have failed to follow through with a commitment to support volunteer firefighters through a tax credit; and

Whereas the Progressive Conservative caucus fully supports the efforts of volunteer firefighters and have taken steps to do what this Liberal Government would not;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government be condemned for failing to fulfill their commitment regarding tax relief to volunteer firefighters and immediately move to support the legislation introduced by the Progressive Conservative caucus.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 7422]

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 3530

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

Whereas illegal lobster harvesting has once again reared its ugly head in southwest Nova Scotia; and

Whereas our caucus has been pressing the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for more than 10 months to make representations to Ottawa to convince DFO to clarify its position on the Native fishery; and

Whereas despite these repeated warnings, the minister has failed to take the leadership role expected of him by Nova Scotia fishermen;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture be condemned for its failure to once again address this ongoing issue that will, inevitably, have serious consequences for this valuable industry.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3531

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

Whereas Paul Thompson was recently recognized by the Nova Scotia Resource Recovery Fund Board for his concerns and vision about waste reduction; and

Whereas Mr. Thompson, who is Chairman of the Valley Waste Resource Management Authority, received an achievement award at a ceremony in Dartmouth; and

[Page 7423]

Whereas Mr. Thompson clearly has a vision for a better environmental future for Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Paul Thompson on his recent honour and thank him for his dedication to ensuring Nova Scotia's environment is preserved for future generations.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3532

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

Whereas this Liberal Government has closed the Parrsboro Hospital, which was a very credible and needed facility; and

Whereas All Saints Hospital in Springhill has seen the loss of beds and services over the last number of years, much to the opposition of the community; and

Whereas hospital foundations and auxiliaries of both communities have contributed many hours of dedicated service and dollars to their respective hospitals;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health and this Liberal Government commit to ensuring the communities of Parrsboro, Springhill and Oxford will have health services, which meet the needs of these communities, in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

[Page 7424]

[1:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East on an introduction.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to all members of the House, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery and the introduction of a young man, Mr. Philip Godin, the youngest son of the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank. Would the House please give him a warm applause. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3533

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

Whereas last Friday, with much fanfare, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works announced highway projects, including 1.5 kilometres of new asphalt for Kings County roads; and

Whereas since this minority government was formed, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has never called a tender in a Tory riding that would see new asphalt placed on a secondary road, and that is the truth; and (Interruptions)

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

MR. TAYLOR: Whereas in yesterday's Chronicle Herald, the Kings County tenders were the only ones not advertised from Friday's list;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government acknowledge and admit that their blatant political patronage has contributed to their demise and undoing.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Page 7425]

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 3534

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

Whereas on June 21, 1999, the Safety-Kleen Debert facility will celebrate its certification according to the ISO 14001 International Environmental Standard; and

Whereas the Safety-Kleen Debert facility is the first hazardous waste management facility in Atlantic Canada to be certified according to ISO 14001; and

Whereas Safety-Kleen Environment Management System provides for recycling, transfer and transport of hazardous materials;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the achievement of Safety-Kleen (Atlantic) Limited in gaining ISO 14001 certification at its Debert facility and congratulate all those who contributed to its attainment.

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

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is 1:03 p.m., we will terminate at 2:03 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 7426]

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - TECHLINK:

INFLUENCE PEDDLING - ACTION (PREMIER)

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Premier, my question is to the Deputy Premier. Nova Scotians have heard that prominent friends and supporters of the Liberal Party sought payment for their influence over decisions of this government. Yesterday, I wrote to the Premier, calling on him to launch an immediate investigation into these allegations. My question is to the Deputy Premier. I want to ask him what the Premier has done to investigate the serious evidence of influence peddling?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the Premier will be back later this afternoon. I would simply ask him to wait until the Premier gets back.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, when the Premier is not in the House, the responsibility falls to the Deputy Premier. Is he saying he doesn't know? My question is to the Deputy Premier. There is serious evidence of supporters of this government saying, pay up . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . or no deal. That is what is going on here.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Deputy Premier, when did the Premier first know about these activities and what did he do about it?

MR. DOWNE: It seems to me, in listening to the Question Period yesterday, this member over here is the one who wanted to put $1.5 million on behalf of the New Democratic Party into this deal. The Premier will be back, but if he wants further information, I will ask the minister responsible to respond.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it is working this way, one who paid got a deal; one who didn't pay did not get a deal.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: My question to the Deputy Premier is, will this government stop stonewalling, answer questions about what is happening in the very integrity of this government, will you answer those questions?

[Page 7427]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, one thing is very clear. This government did not support this initiative. I will ask the minister responsible to respond to that allegation by the Leader of the New Democratic Party.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in response, all I can say again, as I stated here yesterday, this government is not interested in supporting a gambling operation with taxpayers' money.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - MIN.:

INFLUENCE PEDDLING ALLEGATIONS - RESIGN

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Yesterday Nova Scotians heard an appalling story of influence peddling and extortion. Nova Scotians were appalled. The confidence of Nova Scotians dealing with the Department of Economic Development is at stake. Will the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism do the honourable thing and step aside until an investigation can be made into these corruption charges?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the short answer to the question is no.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to fluff over these things by saying we didn't give the money to this company. My question to the minister is, does he understand that the issue is not that he didn't give the money to the company but that the issue is that he didn't give the money to the company because friends of the government influenced his decision?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: As I stated yesterday, Mr. Speaker, nobody approached me on behalf of a rejection position of this particular project. What I had was extensive lobbying on behalf of the chief Tory bagman in Cape Breton for a go-forward position to a gambling operation in Cape Breton. That's what I had.

MR. BAKER: The minister is very good at diverting attention off himself. The issue isn't his credibility. Will he do the honourable thing and step aside in the interests of Nova Scotians? Will he do the right thing?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am standing here telling this House that this government has rejected an offer to get involved in the gambling business in Nova Scotia. I am standing here defending the fact that I am not putting taxpayers' money into a gambling operation. I will defend that any day.

[Page 7428]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EXCO - CONFLICT OF INTEREST: GUIDELINES - ADOPT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, again in the absence of the Premier, I want to return to the Deputy Premier. I want to return to the issue of the power and influence of friends and supporters of this government. I want to ask the Deputy Premier if he will advise this House whether the Premier has adopted conflict of interest guidelines and ethical standards for his Cabinet at any time since he became Premier?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: I can say, Mr. Speaker, that the ethical conduct of this government is without approach. We have been here since 1993, not unlike other governments in British Columbia or other parts of this country that have shown that ministers have been wrong. We haven't been wrong and we have lived up to an ethical code not like what that member's Party does in the rest of this country.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Premier has refused to investigate these serious allegations that put into question the very integrity of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Deputy Premier, Mr. Speaker, virtually every other Cabinet in this country . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . has conflict of interest guidelines. Why did the Premier not adopt standards for his own Cabinet, especially considering the history of the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia?

MR. DOWNE: We are talking about integrity, Mr. Speaker. The integrity of that individual sits over in that corner. Ask him the integrity question when it comes to that member sitting in that corner. Where is his integrity, Mr. Speaker? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. Order, please!

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Deputy Premier, how can he be so arrogant to suggest that the Cabinet of which he is a part will not require any ethical guidelines when we have seen the way they operate?

MR. DOWNE: We have ethical guidelines. There is an interesting comment, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, if that member had realized what is involved with the Employees Disclosure Act, which is a conflict, provisions built in, for every member of this House and

[Page 7429]

all employees, he would know all too well that he has no right to even ask that question. He is incompetent because he does not even understand the Act, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - MIN.: VACATION - FRIEDMAN BROS.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, a very simple question. Would the minister confirm to the House today that he spent an extended winter vacation this year with one of the Friedman brothers in Florida?

MR. SPEAKER: I am not too sure that that question is in order. It has got nothing to do with his . . .

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Does this have anything to do with my department?

MR. SPEAKER: It has nothing to do with his department.

MR. BAKER: I think, Mr. Speaker, we got the answer.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. BAKER: The answer is that the minister spent an extended winter vacation with the Friedmans on a project that he admitted every Cape Breton businessman was asking about. Is he expecting the House to believe that he did not discuss that project when he was on vacation in Florida?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I was on a vacation in Florida in January and the gentleman he speaks of is a friend of mine. He has been a friend of mine for years. I was there with him and, by the way, I was there with Marty Chernin as well.

MR. BAKER: The minister is doing a masterful job of not answering the question so I will ask the question again. Is he expecting the House to believe that at no time during that entire vacation that he never discussed that project, the Techlink's project, with Mr. Friedman?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I would have no reason to discuss that project at that time.

[Page 7430]

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM: TECHLINK - LOAN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, once upon a time, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism had two very interesting friends named Louie and Benny Friedman. Those friends are on tape attempting to get one million shares from John Xidos' company in exchange for economic development funding.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. DEXTER: My question, Mr. Speaker, is what conversations has the Minister of Economic Development had with his friends, the Friedmans, in an attempt to find out why they are running around Cape Breton saying they have him in their pocket?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of people running around Cape Breton saying they have me in their pocket, including friends of those two Parties as well. This deal did not go ahead. There are no taxpayers' dollars involved in this deal. This government has turned this deal down. That is a fact, Mr. Speaker.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, another prominent Cape Breton businessman, Jim Inch of PLI, is on tape saying, I put personal money out to these fellows. That is what I did. Jim Inch says he paid the minister's friends $250,000 for . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. DEXTER: . . . a provincial government contract for Sysco cleanup. My question is, will the minister explain why Jim Inch says he paid off the minister's good friends - the Friedmans - in order to obtain millions of dollars from his department?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the project he refers to is a federal government project, not a provincial government. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Do they want me to answer the question or not?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Secondly, the conversation he refers to was a conversation between Jim Inch and John Xidos. One of them taped the conversation to each other, said what they wanted to say. Both of these gentlemen are partners in Techlink.

[Page 7431]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism has gotten himself into an awful mess in this sad tale. Will the minister explain why he did not take action to shut down the Friedmans back in February when he was told what they were doing?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: First of all, I was not told in February what anybody was doing. Mr. Speaker, the Government of Nova Scotia turned this project down through the Business Development Corporation because it simply is not a good deal for the taxpayers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - TECHLINK:

INFLUENCE PEDDLING ALLEGATIONS - REPUDIATE

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. The minister has heard the tapes, I am sure, in which there was an obvious attempt to influence peddle and extort money. The minister has heard those tapes. I am asking the minister a very serious question. As a Minister of the Crown, does he repudiate what he heard on those tapes, what all Nova Scotians heard on those tapes, as an attempt to extort money out of a business trying to do government business?

[1:15 p.m.]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: The tapes he is referring to, I have heard a couple of them on CBC, yes. I don't know why those tapes were there. I can only surmise that the group, Techlink, is upset with the Government of Nova Scotia and is trying to embarrass this government because they couldn't get $1.5 million for a gambling operation out of this government.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable minister just doesn't get it. The problem is that the conduct involved here is reprehensible. Will the minister condemn that conduct, so that all Nova Scotians can see that their government is in favour of clean and open dealings?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, I am standing here defending the fact that we are protecting taxpayers' dollars by not allowing a gambling operation to go forward; an operation that John Xidos told me that he spoke to the Leader of the NDP and to the Tory Party, who both agreed that he should get the money from the taxpayers of Nova Scotia for a gambling operation.

MR. BAKER: The minister, obviously, doesn't get the problem. My final question to the minister is, will the minister please reconsider and step aside so that Nova Scotians can be satisfied, while an investigation is going on, that there is no further funny business?

[Page 7432]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think Nova Scotians are quite satisfied that we are not putting $1.5 million into a gambling operation.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM: MIN - INFLUENCE PEDDLING ALLEGATIONS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this troubled Minister of Economic Development has refused, for almost two years, to release any information on the Dynatek audit. He is hiding behind a mock investigation into how he allowed the Minister of Agriculture to influence a loan to Mac Timber Ltd. and now he says, just trust him in the face of evidence of influence peddling.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question please.

MR. DEXTER: My question to the minister is, why would anybody trust you?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what we have here is one businessman calling another businessman on the phone and telling him that for a part of an operation he can exert influence with the minister. I get that every day of the week from our department. There are people, every day of the week, telling other people that they have influence with this minister. It is called lobbying.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this minister has overseen some of the worst economic development decisions this province has ever seen. He can't stay within his budget and now people are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in hopes of currying favour with him.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. DEXTER: What is the minister's answer to those who would suggest his terrible record reflects the fact that contracts were awarded to people who bought the most influence over the government?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there were no contracts awarded to people because of the fact that they have influence with this government.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question, now, is to the Deputy Premier. What investigation has this government undertaken to make sure that this is not the Liberal's 1990 version of tollgating?

[Page 7433]

HON. DONALD DOWNE: I can't believe it. This Opposition Party is making allegations and they are totally unfounded. This government did not invest one cent into gambling in Cape Breton. They are upset because they would have done it, only to find out how bad they really are.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: CARE - MISMANAGEMENT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Health. In November 1995, the present Minister of Health, who was then the Minister of Community Services, rose in this House to speak about health care. I would like to table Hansard from November 30th of that year. He said, at that time, "What has been lacking . . . is any kind of an evaluated and a managed health care system . . . this government inherited an open-ended and institutional-based . . . health care system.". My question is, will the minister admit that this Liberal Government's legacy to health care is a continuation of Tory mismanagement?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for bringing forward my comments that were so insightful even back then when I was much younger. That is exactly what we have done, we have brought forward not a managed health care system but an information health management system that will be involved. But I am asking for support in this particular budget for this Health Investment Fund. How is that honourable member going to defend doing away with 400 new nurses this summer? All of those initiatives, more nurses and more funding for health care.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, three and one-half years ago the minister also told the House and I quote, "We inherited a legacy of borrowing money to fund our programs . . . We are no longer living in that kind of an era . . .". My question is when did this government decide that adding to the Tory's legacy of debt wasn't such a bad idea after all.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there is no question we inherited a major debt, $742 million last year to service that debt. That government that did leave us that legacy had opportunities in 1980, they had a select committee on health regarding home care and all the other initiatives. They had the Royal Commission in 1986 and they did nothing. So the socialists are right but they are no better. We have taken control of the system. We are stabilizing the acute care system.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my last question to the minister is when Nova Scotians have written proof that this government does not keep its promises, why should we trust you now?

[Page 7434]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the major decision makers and care providers in health care in this province have said we are on the right track. What is that group over there going to do? Are they going to cut education? Are they going to raise taxes? Are they going to slash hospital beds?

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

EDUC. - HFX. REG. SCH. BD.: CLASS (PRIMARY) HRS. - CUTS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Education and Culture. Once again, last night a large number of parents, teachers and students met with the Halifax Regional School Board and met over concerns that Primary class time will be cut. My question to the minister is simply this, what leading role is the minister and this government taking to address the concerns that hundreds of Halifax Regional Municipality parents, teachers and students have, about this worry?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague. Currently our staff is talking with the staff of the Halifax Regional School Board and those discussions will continue. I anticipate at a later time we should be in a position to reply to that call.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is this, will he and his Cabinet colleagues who are on a pre-election borrowing and spending binge provide Halifax Regional School Board with additional funding, rather than risk the future of five year olds who cannot afford a private school?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague, as I have indicated earlier, with the budget that is before the House that I anticipate will be voted upon very shortly, we are actually providing the Halifax Regional School Board with an additional $12 million this year.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, will the minister intervene on behalf of the students and parents by establishing minimum requirements for Primary class time across the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as probably the honourable member is aware, in the regulations under the Act there is a specific requirement for Primary education in the province. As I have indicated, our staff is continuing to work with the staff from the Halifax Regional School Board and we will continue to do so at this time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 7435]

HEALTH - BED CLOSURES: SAVINGS - USAGE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Figures compiled by the Department of Health show that over 1,600 hospital beds have been closed in this province since the Liberals came to power. The figure also shows that the annual cost of a hospital bed is about $220,000 a year. That means we should have saved $300 million . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: . . . in the past six years. My question to the minister is, where did the money go?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the health care system is very complex and we brought a plan forward supported by all the major stakeholders. We are not using the Saskatchewan socialist plan of closing 52 hospitals. Is that what that honourable member wants to do, close that many hospitals and that many beds?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, this money was supposed to be reinvested in long-term care and home care, but this government's lack of a plan has meant that those areas are still underfunded and underdeveloped. My question is, if $300 million didn't make any noticeable improvement in health care, why does the minister think he can make a difference with $600 million and still no plan now?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am sure you are not going to allow me the time in Question Period to list all of the many successes that we have had. Emergency health services; parity within the long-term care sector; the major increase in home care programs; Pharmacare, sustainable, second best program. Those are just some of them. That's where it has gone. We haven't raised taxes.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: This really truly is a fairy tale day today isn't it, Mr. Speaker? Since this government couldn't manage the money it supposedly saved by closing beds, why should Nova Scotians trust them with another $600 million now?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians have said that they want access into their health system through primary care, the team building. They want less waiting times. I am sorry to disappoint the socialists this afternoon with the announcement on medical oncologists. That is where our initiatives are going. We are making a comprehensive continuum of care in Nova Scotia that is going to address the needs of Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

[Page 7436]

EDUC. - HFX. REG. SCH. BD.: CLASS (PRIMARY) HRS. - CUTS

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Education. I received numerous phone calls and I received hundreds of faxes and e-mail concerning the situation of Primary and French immersion and the consequences of what the HRM is doing on Primary cuts. Is the minister prepared to state in the House today, for those parents and teachers, that he will intervene and ensure that province-wide Primary education is enforced?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have indicated earlier, our department staff is currently working with the staff from the Halifax Regional School Board and those discussions are ongoing and will continue. I anticipate at some point in time that we should be in a position to provide the honourable member with an answer.

MR. FAGE: To the minister again. Words do not console the fears, do not console the frustration shown by the parents over the last week. What needs to happen is concrete action. Is the minister prepared to intervene at this point and ensure that Primary education becomes a standard policy full time across this province?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague. As we have seen in the past, last year our government invested $82 million in additional funding to education. This year, again, one of the top priorities of our government is reinvesting more into education. We are proposing, with this budget, to invest $60 million of additional funding . . .

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Cumberland North, your final supplementary.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, the minister evades the question. The question is, is the minister prepared to take immediate action and institute a province-wide five day Primary education requirement in this province?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again to my honourable colleague, as he surely knows, under the Education Act, the regulations, certainly, describe very clearly what the responsibilities of delivering a Primary education across this province are.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - INVESTMENT FUND: REG. BDS. - FUNDING PROMISED

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, again, is to the Minister of Health. The health mortgage fund proposes to spend $5 million to hire nurses and other

[Page 7437]

health professionals this year. The minister has said he will study the matter some more, or again, or whatever, and nurses will be hired where they are needed most. I would like to ask the minister, has the minister made promises to regional health boards about the amount of funding they will each get to hire full-time nurses?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, for the first time in this province, we have a commitment from the regional health boards and the NDOs that they will come to the table and they will share each other's budgets and together they will plan. Some of the money is targeted for specific programs, and some will be decided by that group. That is progress, and that is the management of the health care system that we were speaking of earlier in Question Period.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the May 14th minutes of the Western Regional Health Board, which show that they have appropriated $4 million to address the critical nursing shortage in that region. My question is, if just one regional board requires $4 million of the $5 million to avoid a real crisis, how exactly is the $5 million quick fix going to be divided up?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that is why we are asking to have this budget fulfilled. This is the phase in and this is the start of a program. We will work with them. That is a list that has come forward, obviously, and I am sure there are others that have that. I suspect if there happens to be an election campaign, that we will be in the numbers. I am sure these socialists are going to come and promise 600 or 1,000 or maybe 1,600 nurses, but I am saying, how are they going to do that? Are they going to cut education? Are they going to cut home care?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the only jobs this budget is trying to save are the jobs of the members opposite. (Interruptions) Since the bulk of this fund will be spent on meeting day-to-day operating costs . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Why should we believe you have any long-term plans for nurses and other health care providers?

DR. SMITH: Nurses are an integral part of the backbone of the health care system, and that is why we have targeted nurses to support them in the venture. These will be decisions made at the local level. We will phase in our commitment to nurses, and not only that but in the nursing programs as well, in the universities and schools.

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

[Page 7438]

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: GRADUATION - CREDITS REQ'D.

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education. The public school program for Nova Scotia currently establishes the number of and types of credits that are required by students to graduate from Grade 12. At the present time, what are the minimum number of courses required to be a Grade 12 graduate in this province, the senior high level?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague, I don't have those numbers and the exact courses that are actually required in order to graduate. I will certainly provide my honourable colleague with those details.

MR. BALSER: The answer is 18 senior high level courses. At the present time, do you have any idea the number of classroom teaching positions that will be cut by regional boards across this province in an effort to balance their 1999-2000 budget?

MR. GAUDET: Again to my honourable colleague, as I have indicated earlier, in the budget that is before the House, we are proposing to provide seven school boards across this province with an additional $60 million in helping them to provide with the educational needs that they have.

MR. BALSER: To the Minister of Education, how do you intend to address the reality that there are high schools in this province, such as the Islands Consolidated School, that if the present proposed classroom teaching cuts occur, will not have staff numbers sufficient to be able to offer the courses required in the PSP program to provide them with graduation certificates?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague, this past Monday morning I had the opportunity to meet with the principal and a representative from that community. Basically, as I indicated to the group, I would be reviewing their proposal and, hopefully, by the end of the month I would be getting back to them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FIN. - BUDGET (1999-2000) PASSAGE: DEBT DIRECT - INCREASE CONFIRM

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance. There is one budget item that has not received as much attention as it deserves and that is the total amount of Nova Scotia's debt. My question is to the Minister of Finance, will the minister confirm that if this budget is passed, don't hold your breath, Nova Scotia's net direct debt will increase by $1.2 billion?

[Page 7439]

HON. DONALD DOWNE: I think the member opposite is doing what he did in the last budget, he is saying he is not going to support a budget no matter what we do as the Liberal Government in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is the typical way the NDP does it. They just do not want to support the Liberal budget.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I always thought I looked fairly good with a shotgun in my hand. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the budget documents show an increase in debt this year of $625.4 million and that is without taking into account the discredited Liberal mortgage fund. My question to the Minister of Finance is, why will you not admit on the record and before the people of Nova Scotia that this budget is massively unbalanced?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, this is not only the right budget for Nova Scotia, I can tell you honestly this is the most transparent budget that they have seen; secondly, that we are fiscally accountable. We are prepared to go and talk to any Nova Scotian, anywhere in this province, at any time about the fiscal responsibility that this government has done. I would like to see their plan and I would like to see little, sweet Bobby stand up once and for all and tell the truth to Nova Scotians what they are going to do - increase taxes, balance a budget or cut education. (Applause)

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, transparent is certainly the word. Since we cannot believe the minister's financial statements and since we cannot believe the minister's spin, Mr. Minister, why should the people of Nova Scotia trust you with another penny of our money?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is so typical of the NDP to talk about it this way. Why should anybody trust that member who gets taken out of a Medical Society, for whatever reasons they are - talk about integrity. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to see those individuals stand up to us any day of the week on integrity. Just listen to what they are saying - legalizing prostitution, all sorts of reasons why Nova Scotians should not trust that group. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

JUSTICE - SENIORS: HOME INVASIONS - PENALTIES INCREASE

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. To the minister, the minister was the Attorney General for this province, senior citizens and all Nova Scotia looking to you for support. My question to you is this, are you opposed to stiffer

[Page 7440]

penalties for criminals who dare to terrorize senior citizens in their own homes in this province?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, not at all.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the Attorney General, are you opposed to assisting police forces to enable them to bring to justice those who dare to jeopardize the safety of seniors and Nova Scotians in their own homes?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General of this province does not interfere in police matters, but if the question's heart is, do we expect stiffer penalties for those who invade seniors' homes, the answer is yes.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the minister, through you, Mr. Minister, you and your weak-kneed colleagues are afraid to get tough on crime in this province. Yesterday you failed to support the youth of this province when you had the opportunity to support them. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. SCOTT: Why?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, don't you love the Tory rhetoric on law and order. In fact, the so-called weak-kneed colleagues he describes are Crown Prosecutors in this province who have used the laws of Canada to come up with the stiffest penalties for home invasion in any province in the country. I dare that member to step outside and call those prosecutors weak-kneed, they are leading the nation.

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

EDUC. - HFX. REG. SCH. BD.: CUTS - FORCED

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, a major reason why the Halifax Regional School Board is in such dire financial straits is because of the horrendous costs that were imposed upon them by this government's ill-conceived and poorly-planned amalgamation. My question to the Minister of Education is simply this, why has the government chosen to force the board to make the devastating cuts that will bring chaos to education in this area, instead of living up to the obligations and address the amalgamation costs that your government created?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague, he certainly has probably heard from all the school boards across this province. We have seen the Halifax Regional School Board as being the only one that has finished the year with a significant

[Page 7441]

deficit. In the last year, we provided the Halifax Regional School Board with close to $5 million, helping them with their deficit reduction.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, last night at the rally where parents were gathered to protest the major cuts, one young child carried a sign that said, I'm too young for shift work. Now nobody from the Liberal benches or the Tory benches would have known that because none of them were there with our caucus colleagues who were. My question to the minister is quite simply this, why is it that the Liberal Government has chosen to support shift work or shift school for Primary-aged children who are the youngest and most vulnerable, instead of living up . . .

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

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I will tell the honourable member across the floor that this government has chosen to invest in education. Last year our government had education as one of our top priorities. We invested $82 million and again this year, we are investing in education. That is what our priority is.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, well we have seen where this government's priorities are and we have seen the consequences and our children are going to pay for it. I want to ask this minister, what do you say to the mother who spoke to me last night and said that the teacher assistant for her special needs child is going to be removed because that board doesn't have the money because your government took it away? What do you say to that mother . . .

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

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can tell my honourable colleague from across the floor that education will continue to be a priority of our Liberal Government; has been and will be.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

FISH. - AQUACULTURE:

ST. MARGARETS BAY (REDMONDS COVE) - OPERATION STATUS

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, on June 1st on the floor of this House, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture announced an order for the removal of illegal cages in Redmonds Cove in St. Margarets Bay. He stated, ". . . we have rules in the industry and they must be followed . . .". My question to the Minister of Fisheries is, why are the pens still in Redmonds Cove?

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the question is a good question. The thing is, within 24 hours of finding these cages were illegally placed, an order was issued by myself to have them removed. Unfortunately, under the Act there is a 30 day period in which the person

[Page 7442]

that moved them there has the right to appeal to the court system and we cannot move the cages until that time expires.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, Ms. Westhaver-Stevens, the principal owner of a controversial aquaculture site at Franks George Island is employed by you, as is Leo Muise, your Director for Aquaculture and his cousin, Brian, is on the board of directors for Nova Scotia's Aquaculture Association.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: My question to you is, are you comfortable with the fact that there is the appearance of an unacceptable conflict of interest in your department?

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. COLWELL: I am glad that the honourable member brought that forward. First of all, the Mr. Muise that he is talking about on the Aquaculture Board is the actual independent Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia. It has nothing to do with the Province of Nova Scotia. On the matter of Ms. Westhaver, she is operating outside the department. It is a private business and we actually had the Conflict of Interest Commissioner in the Province of Nova Scotia review the case and indicate that there is no conflict of interest.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, in a letter dated May 13, 1999, to concerned citizens, you promised that if Ms. Westhaver-Stevens is found to be in a conflict of interest, you would take action. I will table this letter.

My final question to the minister is, with your government's credibility in tatters, would you not agree that the perception of cronyism and nepotism smells like rotten Liberal fish?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I can tell there is an election campaign going on and the honourable member doesn't have an understanding of what is going on with aquaculture. We have a very good system in aquaculture in Nova Scotia. It is growing and it is one of the most prosperous businesses in Nova Scotia and there is no conflict of interest.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

FIN. - GAMING CORP.: ALC WITHDRAWAL - REPORTS TABLE

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Finance, in his capacity in charge of the Gaming Corporation. The minister announced, with great fanfare, that the decision had been finalized to set up the Atlantic Lottery Corporation equivalent here in Nova Scotia and the fact that we are withdrawing from the ALC. In the past, this same minister has indicated that the two consultants' reports - one was done in 1996

[Page 7443]

and one done in 1999 - couldn't be released because of the fact that there were ongoing negotiations with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Corporation. Can the minister stand here today and table those reports or can he explain to the House as to why he refuses to do so?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is the Vice-Chairman of the Gaming Corporation, Ms. Gordon, who, in fact, is the one who is going forward and doing the negotiations, on behalf of the province, with ALC. It is a very positive transition that we are going forward with and what we announced yesterday was some 110 jobs for Nova Scotia going along with the plan that we have indicated in the past.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the minister didn't come within a country mile of answering the question. You said you wouldn't release the information because you were having negotiations. Negotiations aren't going on. Why don't you table those reports so people can judge this government by your actions? Table the reports.

MR. DOWNE: I think he is upset because he didn't get to ask the fish question. The reality is, Mr. Speaker, negotiations, as I have indicated to my colleague already, are ongoing and will be ongoing for some time.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, there is something fishy about this and it is the minister. How can you stand in your place and be so arrogant that you would deny the people of Nova Scotia the chance to judge you. Are you afraid - come clean?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am not afraid and we have been open about all the information on the study that was done showing that there is savings and there is opportunity. The reality here is, the Province of Nova Scotia was subsidizing the other partners. We didn't want to leave. We asked them to be a part of this and find a solution, for two years, negotiating, two years of honest negotiations. The reality was, they agreed not to accept Nova Scotia's position and that is why we are in a situation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

HUMAN RES. - HUMAN RTS. COMM'N.:

INEQUITY ADDRESS - GUIDELINES (AUG. 1997) COMPLIANCE

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for Human Resources. Under the mandatory agreement between the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the Nova Scotia Department of Human Resources, signed in August 1997, policy guidelines were developed to ensure that each department of government will develop an action plan to address existing inequities. My question to the minister is, what sanctions will departments face for not complying with the mandatory plan?

[Page 7444]

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that accountability is a process that begins at the top, both from the minister, the deputy minister, on downward and in terms of evaluation of performance for meeting targets and goals. That is the standard that the Department of Human Resources will expect of all its senior people, right from the minister on down - the accountability. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will add an additional minute to Question Period.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, the action plan identifies accountability and responsibility as key to implementing this plan. My question to the minister is, what reporting mechanism and time lines has the minister's department established with the other departments in order to carry out and follow up on an effective plan?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, obviously, when we spoke about this yesterday, and we have spoken about it again today, we have described that we are engaging in a pilot project across two departments of government. We have models that we are following that will give us the best affirmative action plans in the country. We are working with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union. We are working with our senior managers. I can tell the honourable member opposite that I think this is the best thing that has happened in the field of affirmative action in a decade.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, whenever we talk about programs surrounding equity, diversity, it is always pilot programs. My question to the minister is, if you don't have a reporting mechanism in place, you don't have time lines, you don't have a commitment, then what is this government committed to in terms of employment equity and diversity management?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member opposite thinks there has been a void in action here, and she is obviously missing the point. There has been a work force survey; there has been an affirmative action agreement; there have been resources committed to the pilot projects; there has been an affirmative action casual hiring program; there is self-identification on the employees program and employment papers that they get. There is a whole host of activities ongoing.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - SECURE TREATMENT CTR.:

ACTION PLAN - TIME LINE

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will have the minister back on her feet in a minute. The Premier said earlier this week that the secure treatment centre would be completed in this fiscal year. This was confirmed by the Liberal caucus chair last night in Truro. Is the minister

[Page 7445]

prepared, have you a time line, an action plan with time lines available that you could table in this House?

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to just remind the honourable member opposite that the words used by the honourable Premier were started this year, and I hope we get to budget estimates in the next 24 hours for my department so we can identify those elements that this member is wanting to hear.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I believe, just for clarification that the caucus chair did indicate, last night, completion in this fiscal year. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MUIR: Would you be kind enough, minister, to tell me how much money is allocated for the new secure treatment centre in your budget this year?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, it is not our government that pulled the plug today I would remind that member opposite. If we get to budget, he will get his answer. (Applause)

MR. MUIR: That is probably the answer I expected, totally nothing. I will now go to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Mr. Minister, how much money has your department allocated in this fiscal year for the development of the new secure treatment centre in Truro?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to forward this question on to the honourable Minister of Community Services.

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, it is like playing roulette with this member over here, because he keeps wanting to take a hit at his foot. I want to say again the same answer, if we get to my estimates, you will get a full, big answer, and it isn't zero.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - INFLUENCE PEDDLING:

ALLEGATIONS - INVESTIGATION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question to the Premier. Nova Scotians have heard that prominent friends and supporters of the Liberal Party sought payment for their influence over decisions of this government. I wrote you a letter yesterday, Mr. Minister, asking that an immediate investigation be done.

I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, what has he done to investigate this serious evidence of influence peddling?

[Page 7446]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition smells an election so the character assassinations start. I would like to refer this question to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again the Leader of the Opposition makes allegations that are unsubstantiated, because, I can tell you, there has been no influence exerted here. The government has not listened to any influence peddlers and we never will listen to any influence peddlers. We make decisions in the interests of Nova Scotians.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the budget was balanced, too. I ask the Premier. There is very serious evidence of supporters of this government saying pay us or no deal for . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I ask the Premier. When did the Premier first know about these activities and what did he do about it?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that question the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the other day, I made reference to the fact why the Business Development Corporation turned this deal down. I want to quote briefly from some advice that I had from my staff and then I will table this. My staff gave me advice in February 1999. They said, "There is still legal uncertainty as to whether this project, . . . would violate the Nova Scotia Gaming Act. . . . Based on an informal note from one lawyer, electronic gambling may be illegal in the United States. . . . Along with the gambling aspect, the project would allow pay-per-view movies", in hotels - as well as gambling - and they advised that they would also allow adult movies, and that is the reason why the Business Development Corporation turned this deal down.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the Premier and I want to agree with him that something does smell in this province, and it is coming from his government. That is what is wrong here. I ask the Premier. Why has he failed to adopt conflict of interest guidelines and ethical standards for his Cabinet, like every other Cabinet in this country?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if there is a problem, then I am sure the proper authorities will be looking at it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

[Page 7447]

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - MIN.:

INFLUENCE PEDDLING ALLEGATIONS - RESIGN

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: My question is to the Premier. Earlier today, I asked the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism to stand aside in this House, because this scandal is tainting the entire confidence of Nova Scotians in dealing with his government.

Will the Premier indicate in the House today whether he will ask the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism to stand aside until this matter can be investigated?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the honourable member. Theoretically, if someone had a phone call with somebody else and used the honourable member's name, would he consider that a scandal?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, what we have is not hypothetical. We have a situation where people in this province have used the minister's name in situations where a deal has been turned down. The question is a practical question. Will the Premier please indicate whether or not he feels it is a appropriate for the minister to continue when this investigation continues?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of misinformation being spouted by members on the other side of the House. I would say that, quite frankly, even for the Opposition, I am very disappointed that they would want to start a campaign on the basis of character assassination.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this is not about character assassination; it is about confidence in the government. What I am asking the Premier is to clear the air until the investigation can be completed. So my question to the Premier. Would he please clear the air until the investigation is completed?

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Your question.

MR. BAKER: If the minister is cleared of any wrongdoing then everyone is satisfied.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the air is clear, this is Nova Scotia and I would say to the honourable member that we turned down that proposal. It just wasn't a good proposal. We did not want the money of the people of Nova Scotia being spent on financing gaming machines. The honourable member, surely, can understand that.

[Page 7448]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - INFLUENCE PEDDLING:

ALLEGATIONS - INVESTIGATION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go to the Premier, the Premier doesn't seem to get it, as usual. There is serious evidence afoot that suggests friends of the Liberal Party are out there trying to say that you won't get a deal in the Province of Nova Scotia unless you pay me money.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, does he not agree that these are very serious allegations and that he should make sure that there is an investigation done in the role of his government?

THE PREMIER: I would say to the honourable Leader of the Opposition that there is a good case of stupidity on the part of people using that telephone.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the very integrity of the Minister of Economic Development has been put in question by these allegations, therefore the very integrity of this Premier's government.

MR. SPEAKER: Can we have your question please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, in the interests of trying to assure Nova Scotians that his government's decision making has not been tainted, will he ensure that an investigation commences immediately and clarifies once and for all the role of his minister?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on the question of the integrity of the minister, the voters in Cape Breton South will pass judgement on that.

MR. CHISHOLM: Clearly, Mr. Speaker, the Premier of this province doesn't care what Nova Scotians are perceiving as happened here. I want to ask the Premier why in his time at the helm of this province has he not brought in conflict of interests guidelines and ethical standards to make sure it doesn't happen?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to make sure what doesn't happen?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. I added some time for the time taken up when the Premier came into the House and I announced that to all members at that time.

[Page 7449]

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Earlier on in Question Period the member for Sackville-Cobequid stated that no member from the Liberal caucus or PC caucus attended last night's meetings over at the Halifax Regional School Board offices. I don't know whether that member did a head count or took a roll call but if he can produce confirmation that no Tory member was present, let's have him do it.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

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 Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 107.

Bill No. 107 - Tobacco Access Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: I move third reading, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I rose earlier to say a few words about this and I would like to do it again. I can understand the spirit perhaps of the bill but looking at the concrete aspects of it, I am not convinced that it does one earthly thing to diminish smoking by young people in this province. If the bill is intended to do that, it is an utter failure. It is simply moving the commercial aspect of tobacco sales from one segment of the retail trade to others. It was introduced by the Minister of Health, obviously with a health connotation, but I do not believe it has anything to do with health. It just does not fit that way. It is intended and certainly any action that this government would like to take to help in a serious way to curtail smoking, I would certainly support, but this is not part of it. Thank you.

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

[Page 7450]

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with my colleague, the honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill, that this legislation is merely symbolic. It will do nothing to cut the consumption of tobacco in our youth. I think the government, if it wants to do something constructive that could be supported by the Progressive Conservative caucus, it should have brought in legislation that had some teeth. I just wanted to say that I see this as nothing more than symbolism. Thank you.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand and speak on Bill No. 107, addressing the issue of the sale of tobacco in pharmacies. Our caucus will be voting in favour of Bill No. 107, but I think it is important to put on the record some of the things that were heard at the Law Amendments Committee with regard to this and some of the issues that have arisen around this.

I think it is important, Mr. Speaker, to recognize that if we are serious about dealing with the issue of smoking, particularly smoking among young people, that there are many measures that must be addressed. We heard that from the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, we heard that from the Pharmaceutical Society, many concerns about whether this is a bill that goes far enough in dealing with the issue.

I would hope that this government, or any government that we are going to have in the next few years, will look at smoking and look at how it affects young people, and will ensure that it will be addressed more fully, more comprehensively, because, personally, and having observed at the Law Amendments Committee, there are serious concerns about whether this goes far enough to address the issue and whether this is the appropriate way, but it is the first step. It is moving in that direction and, hopefully, we can begin to see this issue being addressed more fully, more comprehensively, and having a full debate in this House about how we can really get into the issue of stopping smoking, reducing it, because of the dangers it causes.

I do not think anyone disagrees with that, but there is a need to ensure that we just do not take this one first baby step, that we go much further, Mr. Speaker, in addressing the issue of smoking and its causes because this bill, as a first step, does not go as far as many of us would want, to ensure that we can, indeed, say that we are doing something proactive to prevent smoking in this province. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the substance of this bill is not substantial at all. This bill, in fact, in my view, is nothing more than window-dressing. I do not believe for a moment that this bill, should it pass, will cause one young person who is currently smoking to stop smoking nor do I believe for one moment that it will cause a young person who is considering

[Page 7451]

beginning to smoke to decide that that is an inappropriate thing for that young person to do any more than banning the sale of tobacco products from pharmacies will have any kind of impact whatsoever on adults who are smokers or who may be considering becoming smokers.

Mr. Speaker, if the government really wanted to do something with respect to encouraging people who are smokers to stop and discouraging those who may be influenced by tobacco manufacturers and their peers to commence smoking, I think that it could go about it in a very substantial way. This bill will not do that. I am convinced it will not do that. Children and, indeed, I think probably adults too, learn by example. The best example that can be set for these young people is for those who do influence them and who do smoke to stop doing so and thereby provide good influence by way of their own actions. That would be far more substantial than the passage of a meaningless piece of legislation through this Legislature.

If the minister truly wants to improve the quality of human health in this province as a consequence of reducing smoking, then the government should have brought in legislation which would at least allow the opportunity in this House for debate on the places in Nova Scotia in which smoking should or should not be allowed. Then we could have a debate about legislation which would be meaningful. The views may vary substantially but nonetheless it would be an initiative which would be of substance and one into which we could clearly sink our teeth and come to a decision, which once taken, could well have meaningful benefit not only to the young people of this province but to people of all ages, not only to those who may currently be smokers and who need the encouragement to quit and to those who may be considering smoking and who need to be discouraged from it, but indeed, for the thousands of Nova Scotians who have to sit in restaurants and in public places in this province and be afflicted by side smoke from persons who are sitting there smoking tobacco products. This bill will do nothing to save those people from that affliction and I will not support it. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I will not delay the House but I want to rise in support of this legislation. I believe this is a first step. This isn't the answer to what we look for with our young people but I think if you talk to Nova Scotians they will recognize this is a first step in recognizing that we have to, in some way, eliminate access of tobacco to young people as much as possible.

We think of pharmacies as a place to cure us when we are ill, not a place to go to get ill. You know, it is a mindset and it isn't the answer that is going to maybe stop a lot of people from smoking by gosh, it is the mindset and we have got to change people's way of thinking if we are ever going to make progress in dealing with the smoking issue. It is not something you can force people to do, it is something you have to educate and have people understand the effects that smoking has on the health of individuals.

[Page 7452]

I stand here today, I believe this is a good step and I support this bill. It is only a small step but by gosh, if we can do a little bit at a time, at the end of the road we have done something good. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise on this bill too. I agree with the last speaker, the honourable member for Kings West. I am the father of two young children and one of the things that most concerns me is that those children may end up smoking and it should concern every parent in this province about that. This bill may be window-dressing but at least it is window-dressing that looks in the right direction.

It is very important that we send a message out to young people all across Nova Scotia that smoking is not healthy. Now that sounds pretty stupid but unfortunately, people are not born knowing that innately, that is something that they have to learn. We have to send the message to our young people. I know when you talk to young people who come home from school, the teachers are teaching them the importance of a clean environment and the importance of civic responsibility. Those are values that we are trying to instill in young people. Another value, obviously, that we are trying to instill in young people is that smoking is bad for them, it hurts them, it hurts their health and it endangers their lives. The only way we can do that is by approaching the anti-smoking movement in as broad as possible a way that we can.

I would agree with other members, however, that this bill doesn't go far enough. We are not doing enough in this province to discourage smoking. I think there would be unanimous consent in this House for the proposition that this government and the Governments of Nova Scotia have not done enough to discourage smoking among young people in particular. Statistics have shown that young people are the ones that when they get hooked on smoking, they have a hard time getting off. We have to do something about that. We have to ensure that we send a message out. Pharmacies are places where people go to make themselves better, and we have to make sure that that is the case. We have gone a long way in this province by ending smoking in hospitals. The reason we ended smoking in hospitals is because it sends a message. I would be voting in favour of the bill.

[2:15 p.m.]

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill No. 107, the Tobacco Access Act. The bill is brought forward by the government, it is a bill that I will be supporting, but it is only a very small step on the road to curb the use of tobacco among Nova Scotians, particularly our young people. I will be pleased to support the government bill. I have indicated to the members of my caucus that they are free to vote on this particular bill

[Page 7453]

as their conscience sees fit. We will be following that procedure. Personally, I will be supporting the bill. I believe that while it is a small step, it is a right step in a direction that must eventually lead to restriction of tobacco use in our province that has a real beneficial effect, particularly on the tobacco habit of young people.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Health, it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I will just take a moment of the House's time to comment on Bill No. 107, which does add amendments to a more comprehensive Act. Some of the response of this bill is to the request of judges to strengthen the enforcement part of this Act, that was not mentioned very much in the comments but I did want to outline that. Regarding pharmacies, I do appreciate the comments, particularly those of the member for Kings West and also the member for Lunenburg on their support. I think it does really speak of an attitude of change needed and the conflict of messages from a pharmacy selling cigarettes.

Mr. Speaker, the overall goal or mission of such a comprehensive strategy that we are moving toward, which this is a part of as well, is a strategy to reduce tobacco use in Nova Scotia. It is well recognized that an ad hoc approach to tobacco control will not work. Action must be taken and all key areas identified. The seriousness of the tobacco issue in this province demands nothing less. Over 1,400 Nova Scotians die each and every year in our province due to smoke-related illnesses. One in three Nova Scotians, age 15 or older, smoke. Nova Scotia is very close to Quebec, with the highest overall smoking rates in the country.

Since the establishment of the Tobacco Control Unit in 1995, by this government, the unit has implemented key province-wide programs to address this important issue. Number one, education, Smoke-Free for Life is a program within our schools and education program. Number two, there has been enforcement staff of the Tobacco Control Unit, they have done over 1,000 compliance checks.

Mr. Speaker, combined with the broad base . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is much too much noise in the Chamber.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, thank you. Combined with the broad-based province-wide school tobacco education initiative, tobacco control inspectors also visited some 2,800 tobacco vendors in the province to provide retail education on the youth smoking program. I am just making one last point, there was misinformation in the Law Amendments Committee that had to do with a study, the Nova Scotia Student Drug Survey, that reported smoking increased by 40 per cent in youth from 1991 to 1996.

[Page 7454]

What was not stated in the Law Amendments Committee, that after the onset of the program that I mentioned, the education programs on the one hand, the enforcement programs on the other, in 1995-1996. During that time, the following two years of the study, the study went from 1991 to 1998, a 40 per cent increase from 1991 to 1996, however, after the introduction of the programs and ensuring the programs do work, from 1996 to 1998, there was no significant increase in smoking in our youth in this province and I think that speaks well, Mr. Speaker, that programs are working, the government is taking an initiative and we are seeing results.

To conclude, Mr. Speaker, the amendments to the Tobacco Access Act would prohibit the sale of tobacco in pharmacies and countertop displays. That is another issue, as well. These amendments are important steps toward sending a positive health message and strengthening the legislation around tobacco enforcement.

I want to thank members for their support. We are all committed to a healthy, comprehensive tobacco control strategy for all of Nova Scotia. I want to thank all of those for the commitment and their support. Mr. Speaker, I would move third reading of Bill No. 107 and ask for a recorded vote.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 107 and there has been a request for a recorded vote.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[2:21 p.m.]

[The Division Bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[2:22 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. MacKinnon Mr. Muir

Mr. MacAskill Mr. Taylor

Mr. Gaudet Mr. Leefe

[Page 7455]

Dr. Smith Mr. Balser

Mr. Manning MacDonald Mr. Scott

Mr. MacLellan

Mr. Downe

Mr. Harrison

Mrs. Cosman

Mr. Charles MacDonald

Mr. Montgomery

Mr. Samson

Mr. Huskilson

Mr. MacEwan

Mr. White

Mr. Colwell

Mr. Fraser

Mr. Fogarty

Ms. Atwell

Mr. Holm

Mr. Chisholm

Ms. Helen MacDonald

Ms. O'Connell

Mr. LeBlanc

Dr. Hamm

Mr. Archibald

Mr. Moody

Mr. Baker

Mr. Fage

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Dexter

Mr. Epstein

Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Corbett

Mr. Chard

Dr. Bitter-Suermann

Mr. Delefes

Ms. Godin

Mr. MacDonell

Mr. Parker

Mr. Pye

THE CLERK: For, 42. Against, 5.

[Page 7456]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order, of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments I ask that we have the unanimous consent of the House to bring Bill No. 112, after I have reported to the House, to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 112 - House of Assembly Act.

and the committee recommends the bill to the favourable consideration of the House without amendment.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

[Page 7457]

The motion is carried.

[2:28 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[2:36 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 101 - Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Property Tax Exemption Act.

Bill No. 110 - Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Tax Exemption Act.

Bill No. 112 - House of Assembly Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

MR. SPEAKER: When shall these bills be read a third time?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Now.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

With the total consent of the House, the motion is to move the bills considered in the Committee of the Whole House today through third reading en bloc.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I so move.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 7458]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, will you please call Bill No. 112 for third reading.

Bill No. 112 - House of Assembly Act.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I just want to indicate that our caucus is very pleased to support this bill and are very pleased that the amendment brought forward in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills was adopted so we are quite pleased to support this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 112. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 101.

Bill No. 101 - Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Property Tax Exemption Act.

Bill No. 110 - Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission Tax Exemption Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motions are carried.

Ordered that these bills do pass. Ordered that the titles be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bills be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7459]

[2:40 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[2:44 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and terminated its deliberations of the Estimates and it has failed to come to agreement on all the Estimates before it.

MR. SPEAKER: The recommendation to the House is that the Estimates do not pass. Does everybody understand the question? Does the House concur with the recommendation from the Committee of the Whole House on Supply?

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

I believe the Ayes have it. (Applause)

[The motion is carried.]

I would call on the Minister of Finance to introduce the Appropriations Act.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 125 - An Act to Provide for Defraying Certain Charges and Expenses of the Public Service of the Province. (Hon. Donald Downe)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time now.

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 125, the Appropriations Act, 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of the Appropriations Act which is Bill No. 125. Is there a request for a recorded vote?

[Page 7460]

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[2:45 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[3:06 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. MacKinnon Mr. Matheson

Mr. Lorraine Ms. Atwell

Mr. MacAskill Mr. Kevin Deveaux

Mr. Gaudet Mr. Holm

Dr. Smith Mr. Chisholm

Mr. Manning MacDonald Ms. Helen MacDonald

Mr. MacLellan Ms. O'Connell

Mr. Downe Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. Harrison Dr. Hamm

Mrs. Cosman Mr. Muir

Mr. Charles MacDonald Mr. Archibald

Mr. Montgomery Mr. Moody

Mr. Samson Mr. Baker

Mr. Huskilson Mr. Taylor

Mr. MacEwan Mr. Fage

Mr. White Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Colwell Mr. Dexter

Mr. Fraser Mr. Epstein

Mr. Fogarty Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Corbett

Mr. Chard

Dr. Bitter-Suermann

Mr. Delefes

Ms. Godin

[Page 7461]

Mr. MacDonell

Mr. Parker

Mr. Pye

Mr. Leefe

Mr. Balser

Mr. Scott

THE CLERK: For, 19. Against, 31.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare that Bill No. 125 is defeated on second reading. (Applause)

The honourable Premier. (Applause)

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I respect the vote of the House on this motion. I would move that the proceedings of the House be adjourned to allow me an opportunity to visit with the Lieutenant Governor to seek a date for a provincial election.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[3:11 p.m. The House adjourned.]

[Page 7462]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

HOUSE ORDER NO. 7

By: Mr. Murray Scott (Cumberland South)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs:

(1) The number of appeals to property assessments in Nova Scotia for 1998;

(2) The number of these appeals for 1998 which were settled outside of an appeal process;

(3) The number of appeals for 1998 which were lowered at the conclusion of the appeal process and the number which were maintained at the same level;

(4) The total percentage of assessments in 1998 for the Province of Nova Scotia where the assessed value is higher than the benchmark sales data; and

(5) The percentage of assessments in 1998 where the assessed value was higher than the benchmark sales data outlined by municipal units across Nova Scotia.