Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Thur., May 27, 1999

First Session

THURSDAY, MAY 27, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Sunrise Trail: Tyndal Road - Upgrade,
Mr. E. Fage 6304
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Shore Rd. (Digby): Speed Limit - Reduce,
Mr. G. Balser 6304
Commun. Serv. - PEACHY: Drop-in Centre - Support, Mr. B. Taylor 6304
Educ. - Pugwash District High School: Teachers - Increase, Mr. E. Fage 6304
Fish. - Seniors: Licences - Fees Exempt, Mr. B. Taylor 6305
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3010, Estimates - Comm. of Whole House on Supply,
Hon. D. Downe 6305
Res. 3011, Environ.: Clean Air Day (Can.) (02/06/99) - Recognize,
Hon. M. Samson 6306
Vote - Affirmative 6306
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 107, Tobacco Access Act, Hon. J. Smith 6307
No. 108, Health Council Act, Mr. G. Moody 6307
No. 109, Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, Mr. N. LeBlanc 6307
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3012, Liberal (N.S.) Leadership Race (1997): Promises (Premier) -
Remember, Mr. R. Chisholm 6307
Res. 3013, Sysco - Sale: Companies (Dutch) - Payments Justify,
Dr. J. Hamm 6308
Res. 3014, Educ. - Schools: Construction Prog. - Applaud,
Mr. P. MacEwan 6308
Res. 3015, Educ. - Schools: Privatization - Stop, Ms. E. O'Connell 6310
Res. 3016, Health - Guys. Mem. Hosp.: Site Manager (Full-Time) -
Eliminated, Dr. J. Hamm 6310
Res. 3017, Sports - Hockey (Women's Champs. [Can.]):
C.B. (Mar. 2000) - Congrats., Hon. R. MacKinnon 6311
Vote - Affirmative 6312
Res. 3018, Health - Care: Plan Real - Provide, Mr. R. Chisholm 6312
Res. 3019, Exco - Jail (Bedford): Concerns - Address, Mr. M. Scott 6312
Res. 3020, Culture - Artists (N.S.): Quality High - Recognize,
Mr. L. Montgomery 6313
Vote - Affirmative 6314
Res. 3021, Sports - Capital Area Special Olympics 1999 (Lr. Sackville):
Best Wishes - Extend, Mr. J. Holm 6314
Vote - Affirmative 6314
Res. 3022, Justice - Jail (Bedford): Project - Halt, Mr. J. Leefe 6314
Res. 3023, Gov't. (N.S.-Lib.): Majority - Elect, Mr. P. MacEwan 6315
Res. 3024, Lbr. - Min.: Crime-Fighter - Application Submit,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 6316
Res. 3025, Gaming Corp. - Gaming Foundation: Funds - Use,
Mr. G. Balser 6316
Res. 3026, Culture - Atl. Commun. Newspapers Assoc. Awards:
Lighthouse Publishing - Congrats., Hon. D. Downe 6317
Vote - Affirmative 6318
Res. 3027, Lbr. - Min.: Bldg. & Construction Trades Council (C.B.) -
Remarks Apologize, Mr. F. Corbett 6318
Res. 3028, Health: Huntington Soc. (Cumb. Co.) - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Fage 6319
Vote - Affirmative 6319
Res. 3029, Sports - Lun./Queens Dist. Track & Field Meet: Participants -
Congrats., Hon. D. Downe 6319
Vote - Affirmative 6320
Res. 3030, Health - Expenditure: Future - Differentiate,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6320
Res. 3031, Sports - Dragon Boat Race (Can.): Bosom Buddies (N.S.)/
MMT - Congrats. Extend, Mr. G. Moody 6321
Vote - Affirmative 6321
Res. 3032, NDP Leader - Election Future: Workers (N.S.) - Hire,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 6322
Res. 3033, Devco - Transition Package: Fairer - Secure, Mr. F. Corbett 6323
Res. 3034, Lbr. - OH&S week (N. American): Award Winners/
Organizers - Congrats., Mr. M. Baker 6323
Vote - Affirmative 6324
Res. 3035, Culture: Judique Celtic Music Celebrity Golf Tournament
(6-7/07/99) - Designate, Hon. M. Samson 6324
Vote - Affirmative 6324
Res. 3036, Sports - Badminton: Funding Formula - Review, Mr. M. Scott 6325
Res. 3037, Health - Lea C. Steeves Award 1999: Dr. Michael Brennan
(Antigonish) - Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 6325
Vote - Affirmative 6326
Res. 3038, Lions Club (Truro): Anniv. 53rd - Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 6326
Vote - Affirmative 6327
Res. 3039, Duke of Edinburgh Awards Prog.: Winners/Volunteers -
Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 6327
Vote - Affirmative 6327
Res. 3040, Culture - Novel: Fran Doty (Author) - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Balser 6328
Vote - Affirmative 6328
Res. 3041, Sports - Volleyball (Midget Boys [N.S.] 1999):
Truro Tide Club - Champs Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 6328
Vote - Affirmative 6329
Res. 3042, Fish. - Lighthouses (N.S.): Heritage Presentation -
Review (Gov't. [Can.]) Urge, Hon. K. Colwell 6329
Vote - Affirmative 6330
Res. 3043, Educ. - Joseph Giles Elem. Sch. (Dart.): CREATE Prog. -
Users/Creator (Robert Angel [Amherst]) Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 6330
Vote - Affirmative 6331
Res. 3044, Culture - Andrew Cochran [Theodore Tugboat (TV Show)]:
Success/Construction (Snyder's [Lun. Co.]) - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Baker 6331
Vote - Affirmative 6331
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1029, Educ. - Schools: Tech. Support - Inequality, Mr. R. Chisholm 6332
No. 1030, Health - Care: Funding ($1 B.) - Commitment Confirm,
Dr. J. Hamm 6333
No. 1031, Educ. - Commun. Schools: Commitment - Unfulfilled,
Mr. R. Chisholm 6334
No. 1032, Justice: Jail (Bedford) - Concerns, Mr. M. Scott 6335
No. 1033, Educ. - Schools: Renovation/Upgrades - Promises Unfulfilled,
Ms. E. O'Connell 6336
No. 1034, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Jack Lake: Location (Bedford Jail) -
Planning Strategy Contravention, Mr. J. Leefe 6337
No. 1035, Justice - Jail (Bedford): Site - Finalization, Mr. Kevin Deveaux 6338
No. 1036, Justice - Labour Org. (C.B.): Investigation - Status,
Mr. F. Corbett 6339
No. 1037, Health - Care: Funding ($1 B.) - Commitment Confirm,
Mr. M. Baker 6340
No. 1038, Educ. - Schools: Technology - Awaited, Mr. P. Delefes 6340
No. 1039, Educ.: Teachers - Shortage, Mr. E. Fage 6341
No. 1040, Educ. - Schools: Construction - Equal Access,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 6342
No. 1041, Educ. - Schools: Construction (Fall River-Beaver Bank) -
Water Testing, Mr. B. Taylor 6343
No. 1042, Lbr. - Bldg. and Construction Trades Council (C.B.):
Allegations - Evidence, Mr. F. Corbett 6344
No. 1043, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Cormorant Helicopters: Contract -
Share (N.S.), Mr. G. Balser 6345
No. 1044, Educ. - Pictou Schools: Site Report - Status, Mr. C. Parker 6346
No. 1045, Educ. - Hfx. West HS: Air Quality - Address,
Ms. E. O'Connell 6347
No. 1046, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Mentor Networks: Investment -
Sound, Mr. G. Balser 6348
No. 1047, Health: South Shore Reg. Hosp. (Bridgewater) -
Paediatrics Care, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 6349
No. 1048, DND - Army Reservists: Cuts (N.S.) - Action (Premier),
Dr. J. Hamm 6350
No. 1049, Educ. - Schools: Funding Formula - Inequality,
Ms. E. O'Connell 6351
No. 1050, Health - Lab Techs.: Shortage - Concern, Mr. G. Moody 6352
No. 1051, Lbr. - Bldg. and Construction Trades Council (C.B.):
Investigation - Re-Opening, Mr. F. Corbett 6353
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 102, Petroleum Resources Removal Permit Act 6354
Hon. Manning MacDonald 6354
Mr. J. Holm 6356
Mr. G. Archibald 6365
Hon. Manning MacDonald 6368
Vote - Affirmative 6369
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 103, Gaelic College Foundation Act 6369
Hon. K. MacAskill 6369
Mr. J. Holm 6370
Vote - Affirmative 6370
No. 106, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act 6370
Hon. R. White 6370
Mr. J. Holm 6370
Mr. N. LeBlanc 6371
Vote - Affirmative 6371
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Devco - Transition Package: Fairer - Secure:
Ms. Helen MacDonald 6371
Mr. F. Corbett 6373
Mr. P. MacEwan 6374
Mr. G. Archibald 6376
Mr. R. Matheson 6378
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 28th at 10:00 a.m. 6379
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3045, Health - Orthopaedic Fdn. (Cdn.): Hip Hip Hooray Comm.
(Dr. Grogono) - Walk Fund-Raiser Congrats., Hon. J. Smith 6380

[Page 6303]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 27, 1999

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

Therefore be it resolved that the time for re-thinking Ottawa's package was five months ago when it was proposed, and that the Premier take immediate action to secure a fairer transition package for Devco workers.

That will be the subject of the late debate at 6:00 p.m. this evening.

We will commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

6303

[Page 6304]

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from a number of people, residents and visitors on the Tyndal Road. The petition reads, "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).", the scenic coastal route of the Sunrise Trail. "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 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!". I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The prayer for a petition - for the benefit of all - should be short.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Shore Road in the Municipality of Digby, "We the undersigned request that the Department of Highways take action to ensure that the traffic situation on the Shore Road of the Municipality of Digby, be reviewed with the objective of reducing the posted speed limit and installing signs to indicate to drivers that there are children playing and that there is a hearing impaired person living on the road.". There are 67 names and I have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition today and I am pleased to table this petition on behalf of 106 youth in the Truro and Colchester area. The petition is in support of a youth drop-in centre and the acronym is PEACHY, Positive Encouragement and Community Help-4-Youth, Society.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of a number of residents of Pugwash. It reads, "Pugwash District High School has been cut a further 70% of a teaching positions. 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

[Page 6305]

programs, personal guidance services, and now the extended French program. Our children deserve better. We ask you to take the necessary steps to find 3.5 additional teaching positions so that these services and programs can be restored.". I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table on behalf of several Nova Scotians. Again, they are petitioning the government, and more especially the Minister of Finance, to eliminate the charge for fishing licences levied against the senior citizens of the Province of Nova Scotia as agreed by resolution in this Chamber.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3010

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall

(1) read and table the message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor transmitting the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the Province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2000, for the consideration of this House;

(2) table the Estimate Books;

(3) table the Crown Corporation business plans;

(4) table the Estimate and Crown Corporation business plans resolutions;

(5) deliver my Budget Speech; and

[Page 6306]

(6) move that the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the Province, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2000, being Supply to be granted to Her Majesty, and the Crown Corporation business plans to be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

Mr. Speaker, the budget date will be Tuesday, June 1, 1999. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 3011

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

Whereas the 1999 Canadian Environment Week is to be held from May 30th to June 5th; and

Whereas Clean Air Day Canada is to be celebrated each year on the Wednesday of Environment Week; and

Whereas Clean Air Day Canada provides a unique opportunity to engage individual citizens to make choices that will result in cleaner air for all;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Wednesday, June 2nd as the first annual Clean Air Day Canada and endorse the theme of Community Action on Clean Air and Climate Change.

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.

[Page 6307]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, before introducing a bill today, with your permission, I would like to introduce guests in our gallery who have come out of interest in the legislation. I would introduce Rene Gallant, Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division; Joan Fraser, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia; Nancy Irvine, Lung Association of Nova Scotia; Cid Chedrawe, Chairman of the Board of Independent Food Stores Association and accompanied by Dave Yehia; and Susan Wedlake, Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society. I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 107 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 14 of the Acts of 1993. The Tobacco Access Act. (Hon. James Smith)

Bill No. 108 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 13 of the Acts of 1990. The Health Council Act. (Mr. George Moody)

Bill No. 109 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 1996. The Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act. (Mr. Neil LeBlanc)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3012

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

Whereas the Premier won the Liberal leadership with a promise to support community schools, respect community wishes and introduce a new system to review school consolidation and school closures; and

Whereas once he was chosen by Liberal delegates, the Premier quickly forgot those promises; and

Whereas the Premier has instead pursued the unacceptable Liberal plan of building a two-tiered education system with the extra costs and problems of private ownership;

[Page 6308]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should seek assistance for the selective amnesia that is blocking his memories of Liberal promises, starting with a new community-based approach to public education.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3013

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

Whereas on Tuesday the Premier said Hoogovens was no longer charged with selling Sysco because of a conflict of interest; and

Whereas minutes later the Premier admitted his government did not amend Hoogovens original contract to reflect the fact it was no longer responsible for selling Sysco; and

Whereas the Premier explained that the contract was not amended because Hoogovens was still very much involved in selling the plant;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier tell taxpayers why they are paying two Dutch companies for trying to sell Sysco and his government has still not resolved the issue of Hoogovens' conflict of interest.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3014

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

Whereas this government's greatest achievements, next to health care accomplishments, have been in the field of education and specifically new school construction; and

Whereas those who organize and agitate against this new school construction program are enemies of learning in that they do not want the best possible education for our young people; and

[Page 6309]

Whereas these enemies label our new schools as P3 when in actual fact they are A1 and will be the A1-est new schools ever built in this province's history when completed;

Therefore be it resolved that this House unanimously applaud this government and the Minister of Education for the commitment to education this Herculean new school construction program demonstrates.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness on an introduction.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you and to the House, I want to make an introduction in the Assembly. I believe there are some of them in the gallery in front of you and some in this gallery behind me. They are a group of students and parents from Inverness, Margaree and Judique, that do come with great concerns. We have to recognize that concern and I think we should.

The names are Paulie Davis, Brian Peters, Moira Peters, Karly Kehoe, Pam Forsyth, Marilyn MacDonnell, Linda Cameron, Roy Yipp, Chrissie Boucher, Betty Bennett, Chris MacIsaac, A.J. Aucoin, Janet Harper, Annie Hanley, Catherine Graham and Christine Deveaux. They may not all be in the House. Some had some difficulty in that they did not have all the identification with them, but I would like the House to extend to them the usual introduction. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask our guests in the gallery to observe, but not to take part in anything that is going on on the floor. Thank you.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would like to ask you to review the resolution that was introduced by the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova. I ask you to do that on the basis that it appears to be condemning people for exercising their democratic right to oppose by calling them enemies of learning - those who disagreed with the position advanced by the member for Cape Breton Nova. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: I would just ask you to review the resolution to see if it is in itself offensive.

MR. SPEAKER: I will do that.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I might note that Your Honour has already tabled that resolution and that the time for the honourable member to raise his objection was prior to that having taken place rather than after the fact.

[Page 6310]

MR. SPEAKER: I will examine that notice of motion. I must confess that I did not hear all of that resolution because of the noise from whatever side of the House it was coming from.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 3015

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 the Canadian Teachers Federation Report on National Issues in Education is one of the largest studies of public education across Canada; and

Whereas the study found that 7 in 10 Canadians surveyed oppose private management of public schools; and

Whereas private ownership of public schools in Nova Scotia is piling on costs, undermining community wishes, while delaying the most needed construction and renovation;

Therefore be it resolved this Liberal Government stop treating an entire generation like guinea pigs in a privatization experiment with public education that so clearly defies public wishes and public principles.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

That was also a little long.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3016

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

Whereas Guysborough Memorial Hospital has streamlined services and endured severe budget cuts under this Liberal Government in order to operate a deficit-free institution; and

Whereas without any public notification the hospital's foundation discovered plans were underway to cut the site manager's position to three days a week; and

Whereas the Guysborough Memorial Hospital Foundation has expressed deep concern about saying further cuts will compromise the efficiency of a well-run hospital;

[Page 6311]

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government and the Eastern Regional Health Board explain why they eliminated the position of the full-time site manager for Guysborough Memorial Hospital, without any consultation with the community.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

HON. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I have advised the site manager that she will be staying at the Guysborough Memorial Hospital and they will be promoting someone from the St. Mary's Hospital to the same position.

MR. SPEAKER: That is not really a point of order, that is a point of clarification, however, we will accept it.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 3017

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

Whereas hockey is recognized as Canada's national sport and growth in the game, especially at the women's level, is at an all-time high; and

Whereas Canada's national team recently won the Canadian Women's World Championship, after an exciting national tournament in Brantford, Ontario; and

Whereas Cape Breton, thanks mainly to the untiring efforts of Stewart Setchell, will host the next Canadian Women's National Championships beginning March 15, 2000;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Assembly congratulate Stewart Setchell, his committee members and the community and wish then well as they host this most prestigious event.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 6312]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3018

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

Whereas in May 1993, Dr. John Savage, Dr. Ron Stewart and the doctor who is currently Health Minister unveiled the Liberal plan to solve Nova Scotia's health care mismanagement; and

Whereas yesterday, in May 1999, the last member of that trio announced, "Now it's time to do what's right,"; and

Whereas this marked the sixth annual Liberal promise to get health care back on track and the second annual promise to address problems that the government created in nursing education;

Therefore be it resolved that after six years of this government's failure to ensure reliable health care, Nova Scotians want a real plan, not the same old Liberal promises and prescriptions.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3019

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 community of Bedford is strongly opposed to the Liberal Government's choice of location for the proposed correctional and forensic facility; and

Whereas community members have used petitions, resolutions, questions, and letters to bend the ear of the Premier and his Cabinet; and

Whereas it has become painfully obvious that the tools of democracy are well used by Nova Scotians yet fundamentally discounted by the Liberal Government;

[Page 6313]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Cabinet immediately address the concerns of Bedford residents over the proposed new correctional facility.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3020

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

Whereas works of art by eight Annapolis Valley area artists were recently purchased by the Nova Scotia Art Bank; and

Whereas these works of these artists were selected from over 100 applicants from across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Art Bank supports Nova Scotia artists by purchasing their work for display in government departments and on loan to exhibits;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the high quality of work produced by the active artistic community in Nova Scotia and encourage the support of local artists and craftspeople whenever possible.

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.

[Page 6314]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 3021

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

Whereas the 1999 Capital Area Special Olympics will be held this Saturday, May 29th, at the Met Field in Lower Sackville; and

Whereas the Regional Track and Field meet is being sponsored again by the Knights of Columbus Council No. 7077 of Saint John Vianney Parish of Lower Sackville, with the assistance of many community minded volunteers; and

Whereas all participants, athletes and volunteers are winners in the fun-filled Capital Area Special Olympics;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extends best wishes for a day filled with fun and success to all athletes and express its appreciation to the Knights of Columbus and all volunteers whose efforts are making this important event a success.

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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 3022

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

[Page 6315]

Whereas residents of Bedford have made it quite clear to this Liberal Government that they are opposed to the location of the proposed correctional and forensic facility in their community; and

Whereas not only has the Liberal Government completely ignored community concerns, it has also chosen to completely ignore the community planning strategy; and

Whereas the spirit and intent of any community planning strategy formally reflects the short-term and long-term vision as to how area residents see their community growing;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government halt the project and start listening to those who will be most affected by the location of this facility and immediately move to halt construction of this project altogether.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 3023

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

Whereas the benefits of this government's new school construction program will stand as a monument for generations to come to the courage and foresight of this Liberal Government; and

Whereas these new schools, when they rise from the ground, will show that Russell MacLellan had the will to persevere in spite of all the vain noises from the ranks of the Opposition; and

Whereas this government has displayed great courage to overcome the odds, considering its minority position and thin ranks in this House;

[Page 6316]

Therefore be it resolved that the people of Nova Scotia will recognize in increasing numbers the merits of this government, which will accomplish much more when re-elected with a strong majority.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 3024

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

Whereas on the floor of this House, the Labour Minister said that he and his department are dealing with alleged extortion and forgery; and

Whereas investigation of serious crime is a police responsibility; and

Whereas the Premier and Justice Minister are responsible for dealing with any such allegations and with a Minister of Labour who wanders far afield from his own obligations;

Therefore be it resolved that the Labour Minister should consider submitting his application to the RCMP if he wants a new career as a crime fighter, unless he is concerned that he might be asked to submit to a 30 day assessment of his capacity to perceive reality.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3025

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 Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation was established to receive, maintain and disburse funds for education, research, treatment and remediation of problem gambling; and

Whereas information recently received through a Freedom of Information request shows the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation Fund has a surplus of well over $2.5 million; and

[Page 6317]

Whereas New Vision Addiction Services Society, an incorporated charitable organization has put together an extensive proposal that would provide a cost-effective, process-oriented environment where children, youth and families can overcome addictions resulting from either substance abuse and/or gambling addiction;

Therefore be it resolved that rather than hoarding the money set aside to support Nova Scotians suffering from addiction, this Liberal Government use the funds for which they were intended and begin funding worthwhile programs such as those being promoted by the New Vision Addiction Services Society.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3026

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

Whereas Lighthouse Publishing of Bridgewater won first place for best news story for its continuing coverage of the Swissair disaster at the recent Atlantic Community Newspapers Association's Annual Convention; and

Whereas this was the third consecutive year Lighthouse Publishing was honoured with this award; and

Whereas Lighthouse Publishing publications, The Bulletin and Progress Enterprise, each received second place awards for best overall newspaper in their circulation classes;

[2:30 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate President and General Manager Lynn Hennigar; Editors Vernon Oickle and Susan Corkum-Greek; reporters and staff at Lighthouse Publishing for their dedication to their community and profession.

[Page 6318]

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 3027

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

Whereas yesterday in the House the Minister of Labour made some very serious allegations against the Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trades Council; and

Whereas the minister's inappropriate remarks were made in response to a question relating to a council paper on a possible labour market framework; and

Whereas the Minister of Labour has a responsibility to act in a responsible manner toward workers in this province and organizations which represent them;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour apologize to the Cape Breton Building and Construction Trades Council and its members for his inappropriate behaviour and remarks in this Legislature yesterday.

I seek waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

[Page 6319]

RESOLUTION NO. 3028

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

Whereas Huntington is a hereditary condition that slowly robs life and dignity from its victims; and

Whereas May is Huntington Month; and

Whereas the annual Huntington fund-raising walk from Wallace to Amherst will take place on Saturday, May 29th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of the Cumberland County Huntington Society and wish them every success in helping defeat this slow killer disease.

I respectfully request waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 3029

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

Whereas the Lunenburg/Queens District Track and Field Meet took place at the Kinsmen's Field in Bridgewater; and

Whereas over 525 students from schools in Lunenburg and Queens Counties participated; and

[Page 6320]

Whereas Hebbville Academy captured the junior overall title, Bridgewater Junior/Senior High won the intermediate overall and Park View Education Centre finished first overall in the senior division;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate students and coaches who participated in this meet, and extend best wishes to those athletes who advanced to the regionals in Bridgewater on May 28th and May 29th.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver. That notice of motion was kind of long as well.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 3030

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

Whereas this year's federal budget provided a minimum of $594 million in additional transfers for health care over the next five years; and

Whereas the federal budget also confirmed a doubling of health research funding over the next five years; and

Whereas this money will be spent on reversing health care cuts and on health services presently running on a deficit basis;

Therefore be it resolved that the Health Minister should try a dose of honesty by admitting how much of his promised new health spending is actually federal money to compensate for existing deficit financing of hospitals and health boards.

[Page 6321]

MR. SPEAKER: That notice of motion was too long as well.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3031

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

Whereas last Saturday Nova Scotia's Bosom Buddies practised on Lake Banook in preparation for a national dragon boat race in Vancouver scheduled for June; and

Whereas sponsored by MTT, all 30 women from around the province who have joined the dragon boat team have one thing in common - each has battled breast cancer; and

Whereas in exchange for a sponsorship, the group meets with MTT employees to talk about breast cancer and about the importance of early detection;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend sincere congratulations to MTT and to the dragon boat paddlers for bringing about this inspiring exchange of services in the fight against breast cancer and further that all members offer best wishes to the entire team.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

That notice of motion was also too long. I think we are getting long notices of motion today.

The honourable member for Inverness.

[Page 6322]

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, if I may take a minute as well, before my resolution, I would like to introduce to you, and through you to the House, Mr. Frank Gillis, who is in the gallery in front of you. Frank was a long-time worker in the Community Services Department for this province and for the County of Inverness. I would ask Frank to stand and receive the approbation of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 3032

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

Whereas yesterday in this House, the NDP Leader demanded to know what the Premier would do about TD Bank jobs leaving Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this attack rings hollow for the NDP since they have been defensive and evasive on why they went outside of Nova Scotia to fill paid campaign positions during the last election; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are still waiting for a full and honest account of all funds the NDP received from out-of-province labour unions who appear to be trying to set up a puppet government here in this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP Leader put his union money where his mouth is and clean up his own backyard by committing to hiring only Nova Scotian workers in any future election.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 6323]

RESOLUTION NO. 3033

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

Whereas yesterday the president of Devco indicated that the Phalen Colliery might close more than a year ahead of schedule; and

Whereas an earlier closure of Phalen would mean that even more miners with long years of service would fail to qualify for benefits under the proposed federal package; and

Whereas the Premier responded to yesterday's announcement by saying that if Phalen doesn't reopen, there needs to be some major rethinking of the benefits package;

Therefore be it resolved that the time for rethinking Ottawa's package was five months ago when it was first proposed and that the Premier take immediate action to secure a fairer transition package for Devco workers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 3034

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

Whereas four Nova Scotia companies were recently recognized for contributions to workplace health and safety; and

Whereas awards were announced by the North American Occupational Health and Safety Week organizing committee; and

Whereas the winners include the Sheraton Hotels in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association, Harris McNamara, and Jim Peach, an employee of Bowater Mersey and a member of the Communications, Energy and Paperworks Union;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House extend sincere congratulations to all those who have participated in organizing North American Occupational Health and Safety Week.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 6324]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 3035

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

Whereas the first annual Judique Celebrity Celtic Golf Tournament will be held at the Keltic Links Golf Course in Ingonish on July 6 and 7, 1999; and

Whereas funds raised by this event will aid the Judique Celtic Music Interpretive Centre; and

Whereas this tournament will service to enhance the survival and perpetuation of Celtic music in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House designate the Judique Celtic Music Celebrity Golf Tournament as the official Celtic music golf tournament of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

[Page 6325]

RESOLUTION NO. 3036

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

Whereas sporting bodies and associations across Nova Scotia are now into their second year of a four year evaluation which will determine the amount of long-term funding available to a particular sport; and

Whereas this four year evaluation is causing concern for the Badminton Association of Nova Scotia which will see their funding cut by $8,000 by the end of the third year of this four year evaluation; and

Whereas while not being a high profile spectator sport, badminton is still involved in a critical developmental process that has been designed to increase membership and tournament participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission review the present funding formula now in place and move to correct the necessary hardships it is imposing on sport organizations such as badminton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 3037

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

Whereas Antigonish plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Brennan, recently received the 1999 Lea C. Steeves Award; and

Whereas the award honours teaching excellence in Dalhousie's continuing education program for Maritime physicians; and

[Page 6326]

Whereas before becoming a surgeon Dr. Brennan spent time in family practice which, he said, has given him additional insight into the concerns of primary care physicians;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dr. Michael Brennan on receiving this prestigious award and wish him luck as he continues to offer his expertise in teaching Nova Scotia doctors.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 3038

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

Whereas the Truro Lions Club celebrated its 53rd Charter Night on April 17, 1999; and

Whereas during its 53 years its members have provided exemplary service to the citizens in Colchester County and raised between $35,000 and $45,000 per year for charitable purposes; and

Whereas among its many community services the Truro Lions Club has provided 52 cars to the Victorian Order of Nurses and has been very active in projects relating to the improvement of vision;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank and congratulate the Truro Lions Club for its 53 years of exemplary service to its community and wish it success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 6327]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 3039

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

Whereas the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold and Silver Awards was held yesterday at Government House in Halifax; and

Whereas Lieutenant Governor James Kinley presented the awards to 17 young Nova Scotians who achieved levels of excellence in community involvement and personal development; and

Whereas also recognized at the ceremony were the parents and volunteer leaders who helped these special young people achieve their goals;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate all young Nova Scotians involved in the Duke of Edinburgh program and extend thanks to the many volunteers who have contributed to the success of this program for more than 40 years.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 6328]

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 3040

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 turn of the century settlement at New France in Digby County was commemorated in the popular non-fiction novel, The Electric City; and

Whereas the serenity and natural beauty of the New France area has inspired a number of local artists, writers and artisans; and

Whereas Family Heritage Productions has recently published local environmental activist and writer Fran Doty's novel, My Place of Peace: One Woman's Insight on New France;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Fran Doty on the publication of her novel.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 3041

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

Whereas the Truro Tide Volleyball club won the 1999 provincial midget boys championship on April 17th; and

[Page 6329]

Whereas the team then made a very credible showing at the midget national volleyball championship in Sherbrooke, Quebec; and

Whereas the team's success was due to a tremendous team effort and the season-long support of the players' parents;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Truro Tide players, coach Harvey MacEachern and the players' parents for the dedication which led to the team's outstanding season.

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 Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3042

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

Whereas lighthouses are vital to marine safety and have long been a proud symbol of maritime heritage in our coastal communities, and the provincial government, led by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, is a staunch guardian of our history; and

Whereas our department has been approached as advocates for lighthouse preservation by several community groups and fishermen to support their efforts in saving these treasures; and

Whereas 160 lighthouses in Nova Scotia are constitutional responsibilities of the federal government and they must be preserved;

Therefore be it resolved that all Parties should urge the federal government to review and revise their current position of divesting lighthouses and make it easier for Nova Scotians to maintain access to this critical part of our heritage.

[Page 6330]

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.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3043

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 350 students at the Joseph Giles Elementary School in Forrest Hills participated in the CREATE Program, which stands for cultural, recreational enrichment activity time in education; and

Whereas the students had an opportunity to cover curriculum in innovative ways such as creating videos, participating in African drumming and dance, and moulding clay into various art forms;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the teachers and staff for exposing our students to innovative alternatives in curriculum and the man from whom this program was adopted, Robert Angel, an Amherst area principal who has held similar events in his school for over 16 years.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully 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.

[Page 6331]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 3044

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

Whereas Theodore Tugboat is a live-action, animated series for preschool children which explores feelings, fairness, friendship and belonging, through the adventures of a little tugboat; and

Whereas Theodore Tugboat was conceived in August 1989 by former Mahone Bay area resident, Andrew Cochran, who decided that a life-sized replica should travel to the Eastern Seaboard; and

Whereas the full-sized version of Theodore Tugboat is being constructed in Snyder's Shipyard, Lunenburg County;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the creator of Theodore Tugboat for recognizing the quality of Lunenburg County's shipbuilding tradition and for his success with Theodore Tugboat.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is 2:47 p.m. We will terminate at 3:47 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 6332]

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: TECH. SUPPORT - INEQUALITY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question, if I may, to the Minister of Education. Horton High is one of 55 new schools which will be equipped with all the latest in technology, high-speed Internet cables, and the latest computers, at a cost of $504 million. Meanwhile, there are more than 400 other schools in this province that continue to have trouble affording the very basics of learning, such things as textbooks. My question to the minister is, why is this provincial government not providing the same level of technological support for all public schools; in other words, why are more than 400 schools being shut out?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition, who raised this question. Our government believes in giving all students across the Province of Nova Scotia a fair chance, the same chance, in order to succeed. Are there needs out there? There are needs out there. Currently there are 460 schools across Nova Scotia and these schools, a lot of them, are old, a lot of them need to be replaced, and a lot of them need to be renovated. Our government will continue to respond to the needs as they are brought forward by the school boards across this province.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, by the year 2003 more than 120,000 students in this province will not have the advantage of attending a high-tech school. I ask the Minister of Education, why is this government creating an unequal education system that disadvantages at least three-quarters of the students in this province?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, as the honourable member indicated, the level playing field across Nova Scotia is not a level playing field. We have students, for example, in Pictou County, who need to follow correspondence courses to meet the requirements in order to graduate; correspondence courses, where in other parts of the province high school students can actually follow those courses in the existing schools. We will continue to work with all school boards across this province in order to provide a level playing field wherever these students are . . .

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education is absolutely right. There is not a level playing field currently and what the minister and his government is doing is exacerbating that problem. Four hundred schools and at least 120,000 students being left out . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, when is he going to provide equal educational opportunities across this province to our children?

[Page 6333]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable Leader of the NDP that this government will not do what the NDP did in B.C., continue to build schools and add to the provincial debt and have taxpayers in the province bear that debt.

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

HEALTH - CARE: FUNDING ($1 B.) - COMMITMENT CONFIRM

DR. JOHN HAMM: My question is to the Minister of Health. Yesterday, the Minister of Health appeared again to pre-empt the Minister of Finance when he said that over the next five years health care spending in this province will be bolstered by $1 billion. My question to the minister is, yesterday, were you making a serious commitment or was it simply wild speculation?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in answering that question, I would simply refer the honourable member to Hansard. It will clearly say that I essentially said that if we do nothing in managing our health care, the growth in the next five years, if spending continues as currently in place, that the growth will be an extra billion dollars. That is simply in Hansard and I would defer the honourable member to that.

DR. HAMM: I don't blame the minster for not answering the question. My question to the minister, yesterday, the minister acknowledged in this House that we are not getting the best value for health care dollars because he acknowledged that many seniors are in expensive acute care hospital beds, seniors that could be in long-term care beds which are less expensive.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. HAMM: Would the minister agree that millions of dollars are being wasted on acute care beds for seniors that could be in long-term care beds because 170 beds that this government promised 14 months ago have not been delivered?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, what we have said is that we intend to make a significant investment in health care. That will involve maintaining the acute care sector as we expand into the continuum of care; on one side home care and day care for seniors and on the other side, long-term care. So we are in the process of creating a continuum of care in health care that will be best practices for patients and also more cost-efficient.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the minister. Will the minister please explain to members of the House and others why it is that we should put any credibility in what the minister says today as to what he is going to do with health care when 14 month old promises that this government made prior to the election have not been kept?

[Page 6334]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we are discussing long-term care and the continuum of care here and I suspect that is what the honourable member is alluding to in long-term care commitment and if that is it specifically, I will address this. But that was the commitment during the mandate of this government. We have already acted on that, we are receiving proposals for nursing beds, that type of commitment and we will act on that. That is the mandate of this government and we will fulfil that promise.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC. - COMMUN. SCHOOLS: COMMITMENT - UNFULFILLED

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct a question through you to the Premier. In the summer of 1997 this Premier made a public commitment to the people of Nova Scotia and I quote, "If we don't have schools in our communities, we don't have communities. That's as simple as that.".

My question to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, why has he failed to live up to his commitment to the people of this province to put communities first?

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I know that the Leader of the Opposition has also told people in various parts of this province that P3 schools are not the way to go, that they are the wrong way to go. Now, of course, he is trying to make sure that everybody in Nova Scotia has a P3 school within the next six months. I mean you can't be all things to all people, there has to be some kind of responsibility here.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this province's school construction program is having a devastating impact on communities like Judique-Creignish, which is under the threat of losing its school. I want to ask the Premier if he will tell us exactly how many more communities are going to lose their schools over the next four years?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have announced 55 new schools over the next few years and that is as much information as has been determined on future school policy in Nova Scotia.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, schools, by the way, that Nova Scotians are not going to have to pay for, according to the Minister of Education. My final supplementary to the Premier is Nova Scotians want to know when is this Premier going to fight for small schools and rural communities, as he promised he would in his leadership campaign?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has also stated that over the next few years they will be renovating 50 other schools. Communities are the backbone of this province and the fact is the strongest aspect of a community is the strength of the people who live there and the education that the young people receive.

[Page 6335]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

JUSTICE: JAIL (BEDFORD) - CONCERNS

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Would the Premier agree that the concerns of the residents of Bedford, relative to the proposed correctional and forensic facility, are significant and require the Premier's attention?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the concerns of all Nova Scotians are important but I would to refer that question to the Minister of Justice.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, it is important to take into account the concerns of citizens from one end of Nova Scotia to the other. A badly needed facility for both forensics and corrections is needed, it is needed in metro and we plan to complete that project.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. I am glad the Premier admitted that it is important to all Nova Scotians, particularly to Bedford residents. Bedford residents have had four public meetings in the last month. They wanted you there, they asked you to be there, yet you were not in attendance. Would the Premier explain why he had demonstrated to area residents that their concerns are not significant to him by failing to attend all four of these meetings?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the concerns of Nova Scotians are of concern to me and to all members of the government but the Minister of Justice is directly involved in this question. He has attended meetings and he will continue to work with the people of Bedford.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. It is the Premier they asked for, not the Minister of Justice. The residents of Bedford are tired of waiting for you to come to them. They are coming here today. Will you give us your commitment today that you and your Minister of Justice will meet with those Bedford residents today, listen to their concerns and work out a solution to the siting of this facility?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has already offered to work with the residents of Bedford and I will refer the question to the Minister of Justice.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the four public meetings he referred to in fact were six public meetings and numerous newsletters. We continue to meet with Jack Gale and his committee, there is a meeting scheduled for Friday. We have exchanged information on site location and we will continue to meet with that community because the interests and concerns of that community are important to us.

[Page 6336]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS:

RENOVATION/UPGRADES - PROMISES UNFULFILLED

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. In December 1997, the government announced a $90 million, three year program of school renovation and upgrades and the minister has been mentioning that. To date, almost halfway into the three years, virtually none of the money has been spent and the Department of Education can't produce a schedule saying when it will be spent and the parents and schools have no idea when the money is coming. My question to the minister is why hasn't the government done what it promised to do?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, the New Democratic Party in Nova Scotia, I cannot really understand where they are coming from. One day they want new schools, the next day they want to delay these schools for communities across Nova Scotia. I can assure the honourable member that this government will continue to provide much needed schools to students across Nova Scotia.

[3:00 p.m.]

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, the minister is clearly muddled. We are talking renovations here. In December 1998, an additional $2.5 million was promised for school repairs. The Halifax Regional School Board was promised over $600,000 of the money. Where is the money? Why hasn't the government finally kept its promise?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, in December 1997, our government did approve a list of 57 renovation projects to be conducted across this province. Our government will continue to work with school boards across this province in order to try to meet their needs, whether they are new schools or renovation projects.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I have to ask the minister, why is he ignoring the Halifax Regional School Board's renovation priority list? He hasn't answered the question.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as we have done in the past and we will certainly continue in the future, again, to work with all the school boards, and they will certainly be treated fairly as they have in the past.

[Page 6337]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - JACK LAKE: LOCATION (BEDFORD JAIL) -

PLANNING STRATEGY CONTRAVENTION

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. The 1998 Municipal Government Act has several pages of provisions which allow for municipalities to develop planning strategies. My question to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs is this, will he confirm that the correctional and forensic centre, which is scheduled for the Jack Lake site in Bedford, is in fact contrary to the very municipal planning strategy adopted for that community and approved by his department?

HON. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, as the members know, a facility built by the province is not required to meet these planning strategies. It is a facility that is needed for the province and it can be built under those manners.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I again ask the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs if he will please explain through this House to the citizens of that community how it is that he on the one hand supports the Municipal Government Act and the provision and creation of municipal planning strategies - this one in particular approved by his department and his government - when in fact that municipal planning strategy is being subverted by the Minister of Justice? How can he explain that?

MR. WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said in response to the first question. There are circumstances by which when the government builds needed facilities such as hospitals or correctional facilities, which are for the benefit of all Nova Scotians, that these procedures are not required to be followed.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the people of Bedford seem to be getting nowhere with the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs today. I will address my final supplementary to the Minister of Justice. In view of the fact that the municipal planning strategy has been subverted by the decision to build at Jack Lake, will the Minister of Justice agree to halt the project and to make the community part of the decision-making process with respect to such a project?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, prior to proceeding with a badly needed provincial facility located here in metro, meetings were held between the then Minister of Justice and the mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality to explain the process that would be used for establishing a provincial facility and for keeping in constant communication with the communities affected. Those plans have been followed to the letter, and the needed facility will be completed.

[Page 6338]

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

JUSTICE - JAIL (BEDFORD): SITE - FINALIZATION

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice has been playing a shell game with the residents of Bedford. One moment the correctional facility is going to be at Jack Lake, the next moment it is not. The residents are fed up, they are fed up with the rhetoric. My question to the minister is quite simple, is the selection of the jail site a done deal?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, there was no rhetoric last summer when the province announced, after a selection process, that the site beyond the rifle range, on an 860 acre location, was the preferred site for the province. And it was not rhetoric when the members of the community of Bedford were invited to at least two public sessions to discuss that issue.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, an October press release from the minister's department boasted about resident support for the Jack Lake site. One need only read the newspaper to know that this isn't true. My question to the Minister of Justice is, what public consultation was done prior to September 1998 to ensure there was support for the jail site?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, when the meeting took place - to which I referred earlier - with the Halifax Regional Municipality, a process designed to make sure that the community was fully consulted was put in place: six public meetings have taken place, public meetings organized by the province; newsletters established and sent out to thousands of Bedford residents; full media coverage of the story of the site selection; and continuing meetings with community groups on the process that we have used.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, if public consultation happened, would we not have Nova Scotians not going to court to try to stop this process? So, my question to the minister is, will this minister table proof of consultation that occurred prior to September 1998?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we would be more than happy to table all of the information that has been conveyed to the citizens of Bedford, from day one when this project was launched; we would be happy to table that in the House. In fact, it is being sent out to Bedford residents; those who are coming today will receive the latest newsletter explaining information that they need.

[Page 6339]

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

JUSTICE - LABOUR ORG. (C.B.): INVESTIGATION - STATUS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in this House the Minister of Labour made some very serious allegations of criminal acts by the leadership of a major Cape Breton labour organization. The exact words used by the minister - and I have reviewed Hansard - are forgery, financial mismanagement and extortion.

My question is to the Minister of Justice. To the minister's knowledge, is there currently any criminal investigation or prosecution under way into the very serious matters raised by the Minister of Labour?

MR. SPEAKER: I am not sure that that is an acceptable question, because you are asking a minister about an ongoing investigation, as to whether or not there is. (Interruptions)

Order, please. The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, in the interest of trying to solve your dilemma, the answer to the question should be sought from the authorities who would do an investigation like that; those authorities would be the RCMP.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour indicated yesterday that he is conducting a personal investigation into the alleged criminal activities. He also indicated that the investigation is taking up a lot of his time and energy.

My question is to the Premier. Is it the policy of this government that ministers should personally conduct investigations into alleged criminal activity?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, ministers from time to time indulge in inquiries, investigations, studies, whatever you want to call it; the nomenclature is relatively similar, however you want to term it. Getting information on subjects is very important.

MR. CORBETT: It is apparently taking up much of his time, Mr. Premier, so again I go back to you, through the Speaker. Is it the policy of this government to condone allegations of criminal activity made by a Minister of the Crown that the minister cannot or will not back up?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the honourable member that if the honourable member has questions concerning what the honourable minister has said, he should ask the honourable minister.

[Page 6340]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

HEALTH - CARE: FUNDING ($1 B.) - COMMITMENT CONFIRM

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Yesterday, the Minister of Health made a commitment that he felt that this government needed to spend $1 billion over the next five years in health care in this province. Is his government committed to putting $1 billion of additional funds into health care in this province over the next five years?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in case I wasn't clear, I would refer the honourable member to Hansard. He may or may not have been in the House at the time to hear what I said, which was that the unchecked growth of spending in health care, as it is now, would expand by $1 billion over the next five years. We are making a significant investment in health and the honourable member, like other members of the House, will learn that at the time of the budget, which has been announced for next Tuesday.

MR. BAKER: The minister must have a problem in hearing, because my question to the minister was quite simple: is he making a commitment, on behalf of his government, to invest $1 billion in health care over the next five years or was he not serious when he said that yesterday?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, what we are investing in is a sustainability of the acute care system as we expand the continuum of care under best practices for quality of care in this province. We will do what we can do and certainly we will be working with the regional health boards and tertiary care hospitals and the community health boards as to where that will go.

MR. BAKER: My question to the minister, am I to take it from that that when he misspoke yesterday about the $1 billion, it is now much less than that? Is the minister now indicating in the House that it will not be the $1 billion he indicated yesterday?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member would like to refer to Hansard, Page 6273, I would send this across to him. They seem to have some problem of understanding the English that is written there, if he has any problem in reading that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: TECHNOLOGY - AWAITED

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Approximately one year ago on May 29, 1998, the information economy initiatives was announced jointly by the federal and provincial governments that $35.3 million was to be

[Page 6341]

spent over three years to improve computer technology in Nova Scotia schools. My question for the Minister of Education is, why are schools in this province still waiting for the promised package of 4,000 computers and software?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the honourable member and all members of the House a formal announcement will be made next Monday in regard to the computer announcement that we have already indicated. Nova Scotia is one of the few provinces across Canada that all the schools are connected to the Internet. With this announcement that we will be making next week, we will be providing schools across Nova Scotia, junior and senior highs, with 6,000 computers.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, in September 1998 have-not schools, like Annapolis Royal Regional Academy, spent weeks developing proposals so their students could meet the October 31st deadline to access this technology. My question to the minister is, the first machines were supposed to be available in November. The tender was awarded in December. Where are the computers?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, our department has been working with the school boards and, as I have indicated earlier to the honourable member, a formal announcement will be made next Monday where this information will be released to all the schools, junior and senior highs.

MR. DELEFES: What can the minister tell the students at Annapolis - who currently have 28 antique computers, 20 of them broken down - about equal opportunities for education in the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can tell those students across the Province of Nova Scotia that our government will be making a formal announcement where we will be providing 6,000 computers to junior and senior highs across this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

EDUC.: TEACHERS - SHORTAGE

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education. The teacher component in Nova Scotia, it is becoming harder and harder to find substitutes and there is a looming teacher shortage. Does the minister agree with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union that there is a looming teacher shortage?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member and to all members of the House, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with the President of the NSTU, Mr. MacIntyre. At our meeting that topic was raised - if there was currently a shortage of teachers in the Province of Nova Scotia. I assured the President of the NSTU that along with

[Page 6342]

our staff in the department, along with all stakeholders, that staff is collecting data to make sure if there is actually a teacher shortage. Once this data is collected, a formal meeting will be set.

MR. FAGE: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education does not know whether there is a teacher shortage or not, is what he is trying to tell us. His government, whether it is health, whether it is education, paid nurses, paid doctors, paid teachers, to get out of the industry and out of the professions in this province over the last four years, and now we have a shortage and they are going pay money to put them back in. My question to the minister. When will the report on teacher supply and demand in Nova Scotia be tabled? It was expected in April.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that our staff in our department is currently collecting the data. I was told just recently that data had been collected and all stakeholders, the NSTU, along with the universities, will be invited to meet with our staff to look, if there is the potential of a teacher shortage.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the minister didn't hear my question. When will the report on teacher supply and demand in Nova Scotia be tabled?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again to the honourable member. The information that was recently brought to our attention is currently being reviewed. All stakeholders will be invited to the table to review this information before any set plan is decided.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: CONSTRUCTION - EQUAL ACCESS

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Guysborough County, with a population of about 12,000, has three high schools; Victoria County, with a population of about 8,000, has two high schools; and Richmond County, with a population of 11,000, spanning some 12.5 thousand square miles, will have one new central school requiring students to travel in some cases three hours a day. My question to the minister. Would he call this equal access to public school education?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the honourable member. She made reference that Richmond County will only have one new school built and that is not correct. In order to meet the requirements under the Canadian Charter of Rights, Richmond County will be provided with two schools.

[Page 6343]

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I was referring, as I indicated, to high schools. Isle Madame District High School and St. Peters District High School have recently had approximately $10.4 million in repairs and renovation. My question to the minister. Has your department included the cost of these wasted renovations in the price tag for its P3 building blitz?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, to the honourable member. In Richmond County we will be building two high schools for the students. There will be one that is currently being looked at as the Richmond Academy, and one that will be built in the Village of Petit-de-Grat in order to meet the requirements under the Canadian Charter.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hope in answering my third question that the minister will go back and answer my second question, because he didn't. In addition, other schools in Richmond County slated for closure have had $10 million spent in repairs. Do you consider spending $20 million on schools that are scheduled for closure to be wise spending and planning for education in Nova Scotia?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, for the honourable member and for all members of the House, initially, back in December 1997, we had 57 renovative projects that were approved. Since that time, working with the staff in our department and other government departments, just last week government announced 16 new projects, some of the new schools that have been announced have now been taken off that renovation list that was approved in December 1997.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: CONSTRUCTION

(FALL RIVER-BEAVER BANK) - WATER TESTING

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Education. My concern is that the government is not following the criteria that it set out in its document, Site Design Planning, relative to new schools. I am speaking particular with regard to the Fall River-Beaver Bank new high school. The site is not serviced by central water and no wells have been drilled, and yet construction, in spite of this document which states that if a well is required, it must be drilled and tested prior to the commencing of school construction. Will the minister explain to this House and to Fall River residents why was this project allowed to proceed before potable water was identified?

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable member to table that document, please.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, for the honourable member, when a new school capital project is approved under the Education Act, the school board has the authority to appoint a site selection team in order to make recommendations to the minister to be

[Page 6344]

approved. In this situation, where the honourable member refers to the school in Fall River, there were some questions raised. Our department staff is currently working with those individuals in order to address those needs.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, excavation and footings, cement is in place regarding the Fall River-Beaver Bank school. No potable water has been identified. What is this government going to do about that, whereas it is in breach of the government's own guidelines as laid out in the document that I just tabled?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that our department and our government will continue to work with the municipality and with the school board in order to address these concerns of that said community.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary, if I might I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. The municipal planning strategy for the Fall River area, especially Lockview Road (Interruptions) Have you got a question?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is simply this, to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, a street that has over 100 homes on it requires to exits/entrances, why was this project allowed to proceed with no plans in place to establish another exit or entrance?

HON. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, in reply to that, exits for schools are determined by looking at traffic patterns, the needs of the community. I will review the member's concerns and reply to him later.

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

LBR. - BLDG. AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL (C.B.):

ALLEGATIONS - EVIDENCE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Labour. Yesterday in this House when asking questions about the Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trades Council. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this is to the Minister of Labour, through you. Yesterday, in asking questions about the Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trades Council, yesterday I asked the minister some questions regarding that and he went off

[Page 6345]

on a rant about extortion, forgery and financial mismanagement. Has the minister any evidence of this, and more importantly, has he submitted this to the proper authorities?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, any evidence that I would receive of any allegations has indeed been passed on to the RCMP several months ago.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, obviously, there has been nothing done with it. He has impugned the leadership and the membership of this council, and will he apologize to them today? (Interruptions)

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: The honourable member . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will name the honourable member.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, as minister (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will not caution the Minister of the Environment again.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Labour, any time an allegation of a serious nature is brought before my department, particularly in reference to some of the ones that were touched on yesterday, I do exactly as the advice of legal counsel from within my department and indeed from senior staff. I did, in fact, pass it along to the RCMP. My understanding is that - that investigation is still ongoing and I strongly suspect that investigation will be expanded to include a number of recent incidents.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I am asking the minister then, if he has these allegations and he has proof of these allegations that he is moving forward, will he make these allegations outside of this House and stop hiding behind the protection of this House?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I have no intentions of interfering with a police investigation whether the honourable member would like me to or not. I did exactly what I was required by law to do. I went through a proper process. I passed the allegations, the concerns, along to the Department of Justice and, indeed, to the RCMP. Again, Mr. Speaker, I reiterate it will be expanded.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - CORMORANT HELICOPTERS:

CONTRACT - SHARE (N.S.)

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, yesterday, in the House the minister failed to provide even the

[Page 6346]

most simple answer to questions regarding the aerospace industry in this province. From his failure to answer, I can only surmise that either he feels Nova Scotians do not deserve an answer or he does not know the answer. Perhaps, today, he has a little more knowledge to draw from. The Cormorant helicopter contract has a potential to be worth $25 million.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. BALSER: What is he doing to ensure that Nova Scotia does get its fair share of those contracts?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in regard to what I said yesterday, I suggest that honourable member also take the advantage of reading Hansard and he will know exactly what I said. What I said was the aerospace industry is very important to Nova Scotia and we will continue to work with that industry to maximize benefits to that industry in Nova Scotia for Nova Scotians.

MR. BALSER: So the answer again today is nothing. Is the minister aware that IMP, one of this province's leading aerospace industry workplaces, has had to go to four-day work weeks to ensure that it does not have to lay off its long-time employees?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: As far as the number of hours worked in that industry each week, IMP, or anybody in the aerospace industry, does not check with me about their work schedule.

MR. BALSER: To avoid answers, there is no point in checking because he does not know. Knowing that the minister never answers questions, openly or directly, how would he respond to the criticism that Nova Scotia's failure to procure more work in these helicopter contracts is a direct result of the Liberal Government's failure to promote and reinforce Nova Scotia's proposals?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, from time to time that honourable member gets quite upset about different issues. I wish he would calm down. The aerospace industry is very important to us in Nova Scotia. We are continuing to work with that industry and I suggest that he can get all the information he wants about what our department is doing by asking me for it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

EDUC. - PICTOU SCHOOLS: SITE REPORT - STATUS

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. The Department of Education and Culture requested a complete facility and site

[Page 6347]

evaluation report of East Pictou, Thorburn and West Pictou Schools in Pictou County back on January 12th of this year. My question to the minister, where is that report?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I do not know where that report is, but I certainly will report to him on a future date exactly where that report is.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, the report originally had been due to be released by the end of February. Then it was delayed until the end of April. My question to the minister, what was the purpose of doing this facility and site evaluation?

MR. GAUDET: Again, Mr. Speaker, I will take that question under advisement and I will report to the honourable member at a future time.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Education, why does his department start one process and then even before the results are available, announce new replacement schools?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member across the floor that there are students across this province that are in desperate need for new schools. Our government is the only Party in the province that has a plan. We have heard the NDP coming up with all kinds of stories of their own, stories of their own. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that our government will continue to provide schools to students across Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - HFX. WEST HS: AIR QUALITY - ADDRESS

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Air quality studies were done in Halifax West High School in April 1994 and March 4th of this year. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee is asking for a full independent environmental assessment and management plan to make the school safe. The board is offering to review old reviews. My question for the minister is, what is the minister going to do to address the air quality and health concerns at Halifax West High School?

[Page 6348]

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member, if there is an air quality problem at the Halifax school, I will certainly have my staff look into it immediately. I will certainly be very glad to report to the honourable member on a future day.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, there is more than enough documentation available to the minister about the health problems of staff and students at Halifax West High School. I want to ask the minister, how much of the $2.5 million promised by that department to deal with unexpected air quality concerns will this minister commit to actually doing something at Halifax West High School?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I will commit to the honourable member that our department has certainly worked in the past with the Halifax Regional School Board in trying to address their immediate concerns. My commitment today, I certainly undertake to return to our department, and certainly find out and provide the honourable member with an update on the current school that the honourable member refers to.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, in light of what the minister has said I would like to ask the minister if he will commit himself right now in this House to the people, the students and teachers at Halifax West High School to finding out within a matter of days what the problem is and meeting with that Occupational Health and Safety Committee and the board to solve this problem which is making . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, I will make a commitment to the honourable member here today that I will certainly return to my department, I will check with the staff in the department and provide the honourable member with an update to the Halifax school that she raises here this afternoon.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - MENTOR NETWORKS:

INVESTMENT - SOUND

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. If I am upset, I have good reason to be upset. He never seems to be able to answer a question. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order.

[Page 6349]

MR. BALSER: In August of last year, you announced another good news announcement for the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. In the eleventh hour, Mentor was going to be purchased by ITC with the help of a $2 million loan by your department. Do you still consider that was a good investment, $2 million to help save Mentor?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, any time we can create jobs in Nova Scotia, it is a good investment.

MR. BALSER: Consistency. Another non-answer. ITC's third quarter earnings report indicates that revenues are down by 42.8 per cent. What assurance can you give taxpayers of Nova Scotia that this investment is not going to be another Mac Timber?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, unlike the member opposite, I am not a financial expert in predicting what may happen (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . what may or may not happen in the future. I am dealing with the present. In Nova Scotia our job is to provide jobs in Nova Scotia for Nova Scotians.

MR. BALSER: We will try a new tack since he doesn't seem to be forthcoming. To the Minister of Education and Culture, part of the ITC deal stated that ITC would provide the province with access to 153 of its technical training programs for use in Nova Scotia schools. They would have them for two years for merely the cost of shipping and duplication.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please. Order, please.

MR. BALSER: Did they honour that part of the contract?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated earlier to the members of the House, our IT initiative will be announced very shortly. We will have a formal announcement, and I will certainly undertake to provide the honourable member with a copy of those briefing notes.

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

HEALTH: SOUTH SHORE REG. HOSP. (BRIDGEWATER) -

PAEDIATRICS CARE

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, on May 20th, I raised in this House the issue of a petition by all doctors at the South Shore Regional Hospital to keep their only pediatrician, Dr. Ardila on staff. An hour later the Minister of Health advised the House

[Page 6350]

that, and I quote from Hansard, ". . . the doctor has reached an agreement with the western board and the Department of Health and he will be staying at that particular hospital. (Applause)".

My question to the Minister of Health, who gave you that information?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the information was provided by senior staff of the Department of Health.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, my next question is to the Deputy Premier. In a May 20th press release, the Minister of Finance stated that the hospital was able to retain its paediatric service. My question to the Minister of Finance is, who gave you that information?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, actually that response was out as MLA, not as Minister of Finance.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, on May 25th, Dr. Ardila told me that nobody contacted him, that he signed no contract and that there is no deal and that he was bewildered. I ask the Premier of Nova Scotia, will he apologize for this ministerial misinformation and reassure the doctor that he is still wanted?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the Minister of Health would be pleased to check on this situation and get back to the honourable member.

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

DND - ARMY RESERVISTS: CUTS (N.S.) - ACTION (PREMIER)

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. The Premier is aware of the extraordinary role that 1,600 Army reservists play in the Province of Nova Scotia. The Premier is aware that on May 13th the federal Minister of Defence confirmed that there is a proposed cut of Army reservists of some 60 per cent. Given the importance of that military presence in Nova Scotia, what has the Premier done since May 13th when he heard that our reservists are to be cut?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with the Minister of Defence and told him, just as the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party has said, the importance of the reservists to Nova Scotia. I said that we certainly would not accept any cuts in the reserves in this province.

[Page 6351]

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I will table an internal document from the Commander of Land Forest Atlantic Area confirming that the information that we have heard from Ottawa is, in fact, correct. I will ask the Premier, there is a proposed meeting on June 26th and June 27th and that information is in the letter that I just tabled. What intervention, and who will appear at that meeting on June 26th and June 27th, on behalf of the province, to put forward our position of the proposed cuts to the Army reservists?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would have to check to see if we would actually be privy to such a meeting. I am not sure that we would be invited, but I will certainly look into that request made by the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, 350 Army reservists helped out with the Swissair tragedy; hundreds are working today to look after the Kosovar refugees. The Premier knows how important this is. Is the Premier going to wait for an invitation to go to the meeting, or is he going to do what he should do: protect the rights of Nova Scotians and our reserve units by going to that meeting and put forward the Nova Scotia position?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I agree that the reserve is important, and I agree completely on the support and the work that the reservists have done for the disaster of Flight 111 and the help that they have given the Kosovo refugees. But this also has to be an ongoing question because the decision may be made long before that meeting in June, and it is something that we will continue to push up until that time and beyond, if necessary.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: FUNDING FORMULA - INEQUALITY

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The per capita funding formula for schools is only making worse the inequality of educational opportunities across the province. This is particularly pronounced outside of metro. I would like to ask the Minister of Education, when is the minister going to stop imposing a one-size-fits-all funding formula and instead work out with the school boards a formula that is based on equity?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, currently and especially in the last number of years the funding for the school boards is subject to recommendations from the funding review committee, that each school board across this province has a member sitting on this board which would certainly be making recommendations to the minister. Again, the fact that the budget will be released shortly, I am sure the honourable member will see that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview, your first supplementary.

[Page 6352]

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I have to say the minister is not famous for listening to the funding formula review committee so I would like to ask him on behalf of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, which has a list of priority concerns, when is he going to start listening to what people are saying about real funding priorities in the system?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that immediately when you look back at the budget from last year and with the upcoming budget, education will be one of our top priorities of this government again.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, in that case will the minister commit in this House today that when this happens this budget will close the gap and stop the march toward a two-tiered education system in this province?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can commit to the honourable member again, that in the budget that will be tabled very shortly, it will show to all Nova Scotians that education is one of this government's top priorities.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - LAB TECHS.: SHORTAGE - CONCERN

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health is aware that the program at our Nova Scotia Community College for the training of medical laboratory technologists was phased out in 1995. He also knows that we purchased seats in New Brunswick and one Nova Scotian has graduated from that course since that time. Is the minister concerned about a shortage of medical laboratory technologists in the future?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there are several issues around medical laboratory technologists that we are concerned about: one is education; the supply; the recruitment, but also the professionalism; and to have some legislation that is strong and will support their profession. Those are just three or four of the issues that we are dealing with in the Department of Health with that group.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, the minister is acknowledging the issues. I am wondering if anything has been done to address them. There is an opportunity through the implementation of the Baccalaureate Health Science Program at Dalhousie to introduce such a program. I am asking the minister if he is considering such a program?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question. It is my understanding that, in fact, that is one of the alternatives we are looking at. The Department of Health Human Resources Committee is actively pursuing the issues of which I speak and that would be one of them. I think that is a valid point and it is a good suggestion.

[Page 6353]

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister because that is a possible solution. Since in the next four years we are going to have 100 of them retire, I would ask the minister does he expect a decision be made in the very near future regarding that program at Dalhousie which would be able to train our own Nova Scotians here in our own province?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the need for ongoing, high-quality, well-trained medical laboratory technologists will most likely, in my personal feeling, be dealt with in our own province. I would like to see that happen and I will be waiting for a report from the Human Resources Committee and hopefully that will be addressed, but it is one that I would agree with.

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

LBR. - BLDG. AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL (C.B.):

INVESTIGATION - RE-OPENING

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you again is to the Minister of Labour. As he may well be aware, the investigation he talked about was a case closed in 1995 by the RCMP which he asked to be re-opened, knowing full well that these charges were dropped. Can the minister explain why?

[3:45 p.m.]

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I can. The fact of the matter is there were additional concerns raised surrounding that particular issue. In fact, just recently someone approached my office and provided me with a sworn affidavit making allegation of alleged bribery, attempted bribery I should say.

MR. CORBETT: I have talked to the RCMP. The RCMP say the case is closed, there will be no charges laid, and they have advised the complainant. Will that minister apologize?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I believe the honourable member is totally in error. I have no intention of interfering with a police investigation. This is a very serious matter. It is a very serious matter and that is why I referred it to proper process, to the Department of Justice and to the RCMP. I have no intention of being derelict in my responsibility and following up on any complaint that comes to my office.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre, a quick question.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, very quick to the Premier. Do you support the allegations and the actions of that minister?

[Page 6354]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if there is an investigation with the RCMP, if there is anything that has to be brought out, then I would suggest the honourable member go to the RCMP and ask.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has now been completed.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 102, the Petroleum Resources Removal Permit Act.

Bill No. 102 - Petroleum Resources Removal Permit Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour of calling, for second reading, Bill No. 102, the Petroleum Resources Removal Permit Act. This bill is all about safeguarding the future prosperity of Nova Scotians. Offshore Nova Scotia has gone from a promising project to become a major industry, one that can light the way to a better tomorrow for all of our citizens.

This bill reflects the government's determination that Nova Scotians benefit the most from the exploitation of our own natural resources. We have benefited greatly from the exploration and development stages of the Sable Offshore Energy Project; more than 2,000 Nova Scotians can be found working today building the infrastructure of this new industry. This summer another 1,700 or so Nova Scotians will build the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline across the province. Nevertheless, the real value of petroleum development is not just in the construction phase, it is in using the resources to develop well-paying, sustainable jobs and profitable industries.

Getting the gas ashore is an important step; however, it is just one step of the journey. The ultimate destination is the development of a petrochemical industry. That is what this bill will help to do. We can and we must determine our own economic destiny; we can and we

[Page 6355]

must make the most of our opportunity now before us; and we can and we will turn the offshore from a project to an industry. This bill provides us the legal framework to ensure that Nova Scotia interests come first. The bill gives government a mechanism to ensure that when the private sector wants to invest in petrochemicals, they will have access to the feed stock needed to create products, paycheques and prosperity right here in Nova Scotia. This is our Nova Scotia first policy.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, our natural resources should produce jobs right here and not be shipped on a pipeline to create jobs elsewhere. The bill is similar in its philosophy as those in place in the western producing provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Each has over the years developed a secondary petrochemical sector as a result, and we will do the same in the years to come. The bill states that no one will remove Nova Scotia petroleum products from the province unless the needs of the province are met first.

While the bill provides for permitting of all petroleum products, all of us in this House recognize the most valuable products are the natural gas liquids. Such things as ethane can be the building blocks of a petrochemical and plastics industry and that is what we want to concentrate our efforts on in the next few years. This legislation speaks to what kind of province we want to become. We do not want to be the source of raw materials that provide jobs elsewhere, we want to stand on our own two feet, ready to use the resources we have, to shed the title of a have-not province.

When the petrochemical industry develops, depends on the free market. We are not interested in subsidizing industry, but we want to ensure that when the private sector is ready to invest in our province we can use our natural resources to provide jobs for Nova Scotians. No one would ever agree to shipping all of our trees out of the province to be turned into pulp and paper elsewhere. Why would we ever be expected to do that with gas?

This bill is all about the future. The development of the first stage of Sable is just the first step. There is tier two of the Sable field, which will come onstream in the next few years. The recent record bidding for exploration rights, nearly $600 million, shows we are only beginning to tap the surface.

Let me give you an example of what we are talking about. The Sable project has confirmed reserves of 3.5 trillion cubic feet. The entire Province of Alberta produces just over 4 trillion cubic feet a year. The Geological Survey of Canada estimates there are about 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in and around Sable. That is on top of the vast potential of the Laurentian sub-basin. As you can see, it is not a matter of if but just a matter of when we will see the development of a Nova Scotia petrochemical industry.

[Page 6356]

So, Mr. Speaker, what this bill shows us is that we are prepared. We are determined to ensure Nova Scotians are the first to benefit. I believe that all members of this House will agree with the principles and the process we have outlined in this bill. In reality this bill sets us on a new course of economic development related to the offshore. We want to ensure we are masters of our economic destiny. The people of this province have waited a long time for this to happen and the government is determined to accept no less.

Mr. Speaker, I would move that this bill be read for a second time, at the appropriate time. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to stand and say a few words on the legislation before us. This is not the first time we have had very positive sounding words coming from the minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate. As I lead into my remarks, I want to indicate that yes, I will be voting for the bill, but part of the reason is (Interruption) the minister across the floor says it kind of figures. Well, it does kind of figure because what we in this caucus have been saying for a long time is that the government has dropped the ball badly and that Nova Scotians - and they understand this - know that we are not getting the benefits from our natural gas and our reserves that we should be getting.

Mr. Speaker, it was over a year ago, in fact it was on December 3, 1997, prior to an event that was coming up, called an election, that the government - and then it was the Premier who was responsible for the Petroleum Directorate - just down the hall, amidst great fanfare, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. One of those clauses, Clause 10, has to do with the supply of petrochemical feed stocks.

In that Memorandum of Understanding that was unveiled as the evidence and the proof that this government was finally starting to get it right, one of the things included in that Clause 10 was the fact that supposedly, agreements had been reached with the SOEP partners and that there commitments that the fractionated natural gas liquids produced, that there would be no commitments to deliver those products outside the Province of Nova Scotia for a period greater than two years. It would enter into no contracts to export those products, supposedly on the basis that that would provide the impetus, that would be what is needed to develop the industry here.

What didn't get much play at that time was the fact that there had to be formalized agreements put into place and that very same Memorandum of Understanding, Clause 15, said that that formalized agreement - and it comes under the heading of Termination Rights - had to be completed by December 15, 1997, and that unless it was done by that time, that anybody who was a partner to this agreement had the ability to give 30 days notice and that would terminate any obligations that they had under that Memorandum of Understanding. So

[Page 6357]

in less than two weeks after it was unveiled, there had to be the agreement in place or the parties had a right to terminate that agreement.

Mr. Speaker, there was a provision in there, of course, as well, that it could be mutually agreed that another date would be set. But, to date, as I am standing on the floor of the House today, those agreements are not in place, which is part of the reason why I suggest we have the bill before us. There were some comments that the minister said, when he introduced the bill, that I wholeheartedly agree with. I totally agree with a policy of put Nova Scotia first. We have been saying that for years. Nova Scotians have been saying, put Nova Scotia first. But we haven't seen that yet.

We know when it comes to royalties that Nova Scotians are getting a pittance. We know, Mr. Speaker, that we gave away the opportunity to own a guaranteed moneymaker by having the right to back in to 50 per cent ownership of the offshore line. We know that the way that we are granting exploration licences, there is not a commitment for those who are bidding to spend money, to spend that money in Nova Scotia in buying goods and services from Nova Scotia businesses, or to hire Nova Scotians, so the benefits are not there.

The minister talks about the number of jobs that exist in Nova Scotia, and there is no question that we have a lot of people working in Nova Scotia, but many of those jobs are about to come to a rapid end. The pipeline routes are being cleared, the construction of the fractionation plant, et cetera, and the liquids plant will soon be concluded. When Phase I is completed, when that gas comes onshore, the actual number of jobs on the platform that is producing it, in the liquids plant and the fractionation plant and on the supply vessels providing the supplies out to the plant, are expected to be in the range of between 246 and 250 jobs. That is the long-term number of jobs. With the greatest amount of respect, Mr. Speaker, to the government, that was not putting Nova Scotia first.

We take a look at the legislation. This bill, as the minister says, yes, it does set up a framework, but a skeleton framework, and all of the meat that is going to go on that skeleton is going to be depending totally upon what regulations this government does or does not introduce. During the press conference, when the minister was unveiling his bill, which, of course, they announced a number of months ago that they were going to be doing, he talked about the fact that there is a similar type of legislation in other jurisdictions, and that is absolutely correct. He also talked about the fact that there are regulations that back up the legislation in those other jurisdictions.

[4:00 p.m.]

Well, I ask and maybe many of my concerns will be allayed if, when the minister is wrapping up his debate he will agree to do this, and that is to provide the draft regulations, if they exist, to lay them on the table before this bill goes on to the Law Amendments Committee. Although this bill does say that permits will be required for a lot of items like the

[Page 6358]

export of particular products, the liquids and the petroleum products, the bill also states that the Governor in Council - and you know and members of this House know that the Governor in Council is the Cabinet and that that Cabinet meeting in secret has the ability to pass the regulations. They are not laid out before us in this House, we don't vote on them, the public generally is not consulted on them, although there have been occasions where that has been done. I ask the minister to lay the regulations on the table so that we can see what meat is planned to be on the skeleton and to see what kinds of amendments, if any, are going to be needed to give some substance to this bill.

For example, in the bill it says that, "A permit is not required if the removal is permitted by the regulations.". So here we are, we are talking about a piece of legislation which the minister - and I support this principle, we have been arguing for this for a long time, and that is that Nova Scotians should have first access to not only the resource but to the jobs, good paying jobs, that should come from that. I support that. We have long supported that. I have told the minister, I have told the Premier, I have said that to anybody with whom I can speak and who cares to listen.

But this legislation states clearly that Cabinet without consultation with anybody has the ability to pass a permit to state that a particular product does not require a permit, to be exported from this province. You go on farther, go down, that is under Clause 6, you go down to the end, "The Board may make regulations respecting", a whole bunch of things, that is Clause 21; then Clause 22, "The Governor in Council may make regulations". This again, I underscore is not a public process.

We in this House, the member for Kings North who is the Energy Critic for the Third Party, he won't be asked to vote on the regulations on the floor of the House because they don't come to us, do they? They are made in Cabinet. You know that. But you know, that is why I am stressing that we should see them as we are seeing the bill, because, "The Governor in Council may make (a) regulations respecting the circumstances in which a permit is not required to remove a petroleum resource from the Province;". So they can set up any terms, conditions they want when it is not required, "respecting persons or classes of persons who are exempt from this Act;".

The way that reads right now, we can pass this legislation as warm, feel-good, fuzzy, good public relations for the government. It would make great fodder saying, look, we are very concerned, we have a Nova Scotia First policy, we want to ensure that the jobs and the industries are created here, but despite that if this legislation passes without our seeing those regulations, we have no assurances whatsoever, none, that in fact the government won't exempt all of the partners who, for example, are currently involved with the Sable Offshore Energy Project; they could exempt them all. They have that power according to this bill. I suggest that is wrong.

[Page 6359]

I also agree with the minister in some of his comments that you have to ensure and the minister has tremendous power according to this bill. The minister can accept an application and grant it a permit to export certain products. He can require that additional information be produced, he can turn it down. The person or the company that applies for that application can appeal to the Utility and Review Board, which will make a report to Cabinet. Then Cabinet would have the decision of either accepting the recommendation of the URB, rejecting it, altering it, doing whatever, and the minister then has to make a report but it doesn't even say a public report.

There is no requirement, as I understand it here, and if we are talking about the public interest, that means the public has to know what is going on so that they can express their views as to what is in their interest. There is nothing in this, that I see, that would require that those who are seeking permits to export our valuable resource - and the most valuable part of that resource, the liquids from our province - there is no requirement that I found in this legislation that requires that the information about that application, or any details on that application, have to be made public to give the public an opportunity to make comments.

As we look at a lot of this, I am reminded of one brief conversation that I had with a gentleman, sitting around a dinner table down in Houston, that keeps coming back to me. In so many ways it capsulizes the whole crux of the issue and I will relate it very briefly. This was at the same dinner that the Premier and Premier Tobin gave an address. Sitting around this one table there was a consulting engineer who was doing his job for himself, and that was trying to find ways that he could use myself and others to put in contact with businesses in Nova Scotia for the development of our offshore and onshore resources, so that he could be hired and bring his so-called expertise to the fore.

He gave an example that he recently concluded some work as a consulting engineer on a project - I believe he said it was off South America - that because of his contacts he was able to get the engineering work done in Houston and in England. He said, because of those contacts that I have and the connections, I was able to get the detailed work done in India and, he said, the things that we needed to procure we were able to get from Korea. Now, I have nothing against people in any of those countries and I have nothing against any of them working and selling their skills, but I do say that Nova Scotia comes first.

I asked him, what is in it for Nova Scotia? In the proposal you are suggesting to me, what is in it for Nova Scotia? He seemed a little dumbfounded. He said, well, I have this expertise, I know all of these people, and we can get the work done. I said, yes, but who in Nova Scotia would be hired? What businesses or industries in Nova Scotia would be hired? Where are the jobs for Nova Scotians? A gentleman who was sitting beside me who was with an energy company based in Houston, when this person I was speaking with said he had the expertise, he turned to him and said, didn't you hear his question? What is in it for Nova Scotia? You haven't said anything that is really in it for Nova Scotians. That has been in so many ways part of the problem.

[Page 6360]

If, for example, we were requiring, when we are putting our resources up for bid, and offering companies a right to bid to explore for our, Nova Scotians', resources, that is who it belongs to, it is ours, so if we were requiring them to bid not just on how many dollars you are going to spend exploring, and we can't audit the books of companies down in Houston or over in Norway or in Scotland, we can't do that kind of auditing to ensure, first of all, that they are spending what they say they are, or that the monies they are attributing to the projects here was all spent here, what we can audit is Nova Scotian content. This is why I say, let's change our bidding process. Let's not just say the highest dollar value is going to be accepted. Why don't we say, in support of Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia businesses, we want to consider who is going to provide the maximum amount of benefits for the people of this province? Who is committed to hire and to train the maximum number of Nova Scotians? Who is committed to employ the excellent services of Nova Scotia businesses?

Let's try to focus on maximizing benefits for the people of this province so that your sons and daughters and my sons and daughters and all Nova Scotian sons and daughters can stay home or come back home and develop a secure and strong industry here, not elsewhere from our resource, but here. To me, I guess I am being a little parochial for some - the minister says, no. Well, I don't think I am. I am elected to represent the good people who live in the community of Sackville and I would like those who live in the community of Sackville to have, along with other Nova Scotians, first option on the jobs that are going to be created from our resources.

Now I know some people will say, well, if we make things too tough, companies can invest their monies elsewhere, they can spend their money anywhere they want. That is true, but a couple of points, Mr. Speaker. First of all, those companies have a big investment already, billions of dollars in the offshore area of Nova Scotia. Secondly, there is a market for natural gas in North America, and particularly in the New England markets. I can tell you there is a surplus of natural gas, again based on conversations with actually some parliamentarians I talked to from Australia, there is a surplus of natural gas in western Australia. I can tell you, it is one heck of a pipeline to pump that gas from western Australia to get it to Boston and the New York markets. (Interruptions) The Minister of Natural Resources said it would have to be the right size, too. It sure would be.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill wants to know what size the pipeline is, which, of course, could lead into some other comments about the size of the laterals that we are getting in Nova Scotia and the fact that the Petroleum Directorate, the government has supported, of course, Maritimes & Northeast's application for the size of the pipeline coming to Halifax, whether they know it is adequate or not they are supporting it and we even have to ask the question why Maritimes & Northeast is having that lateral regulated by the National Energy Board instead of by the Utility and Review Board here in Nova Scotia, as that is a transportation entirely within Nova Scotia.

[Page 6361]

We also have to ask the question - because, as I understand it, in the fractionation plant being built in Guysborough, we are talking about being able to insist that the products remain in Nova Scotia - I understand that the scrubbers needed to remove the ethane are not even being installed in that plant. So, under this agreement, and obviously there was no requirement that they put them in, in order to get the permit to build that structure, so after the fact now we may be going to come along and tell them that you have to put the scrubbers in so that the products we need to develop our petrochemical industry and the jobs here in Nova Scotia can be extracted. Are they going to tell the government, well, if you want us to do it, are you are telling us as private industry that we have to pay for it or that the government has to pay for it? It is an interesting question. I am pretty sure I can say what the company would say.

[4:15 p.m.]

I also, Mr. Speaker, have to say, in all honesty, that I am not sold on the argument that we hear from some of the big players that say that the volumes of liquids and of the most valuable products are not sufficient for the development for a petrochemical . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member permit an introduction?

MR. HOLM: I would be happy to.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: M. le président, c'a me fait grand plaisir et honneur aujourd'hui a demander aux membres de faire donner le bienvenue à un membre ancien de cette législateur, représentant la circonscription d'Argyle et ancien ministre de la Couronne pour cinq ans dans différents postes. Chers amis, je vous présente M. Allister Surette. (Applaudissement)

MR. HOLM: I didn't see Allister up in the gallery and I want to add my welcome. We may have had some political differences but, on a personal basis, I think that we have developed a pretty good friendship and I am pleased to see him visiting us here in the House. I am not sure who that gentleman is sitting beside him, but he wasn't introduced, so I won't introduce the Minister of Education.

Mr. Speaker, I was on a bit of a track in terms of talking about the need to have in place the infrastructure, but also - as I am finding where my thoughts were drifting off to - I had started to talk about the fact that some of the big players, the big boys if you can call them that, in the petrochemical industry argue that there isn't sufficient quantity of resources here to justify the development of a petrochemical industry.

[Page 6362]

Well, I don't happen to buy that argument. Yes, initially, as a 530 mm Btus worth of gas is being brought on shore, on that volume itself, no, there may not be sufficient volume, but, Mr. Speaker, by jacking up the production rig, which I understand there are already some discussions that they may do that, they can rapidly increase that volume and the pipe will hold it, up to 960,000, all of a sudden the dynamics change.

It may not be a petrochemical industry to the scale of so-called world-class petrochemical industries - and I am talking about the massive ones like the new one that is being developed in Alberta - it still can be a world-class petrochemical industry on a smaller scale, aimed at meeting niche markets. We also know that if we are able to put in place, and willing to put in place, the stringent guidelines that will ensure that that resource is available here in Nova Scotia at a fair, and I would actually say a more competitive price than it should be if it is taken out somewhere down the line because it is ours and the benefits should come first to us, I would say that we can develop.

One of the things that maybe the minister can also explain as he is wrapping up is what concrete steps the government is taking, or prepared to take - and I am not asking it to lay out dollars - what is it prepared to do to try to promote the development of it here in a concrete way, whether that be to call for proposals from companies, to try to find ways to assist those companies to have it located here.

One of the questions is, if you are going to be taking, for example, the ethane out of the lines, the ethane has a higher Btu value and the Memorandum of Understanding that the government signed, which supposedly everybody agreed, that these products would be remaining in Nova Scotia if we so wished, but there is, of course, a provision in here, on Page 6 of that Memorandum of Understanding, that the owners, SOEP partners, cannot suffer any negative financial consequences related to either the upstream processing of gas or the downstream transportation and sale of gas.

In other words, those companies, according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by our Premier and the leaders of those companies, we cannot require that that be stripped out and used here if that would possibly mean downstream, somewhere in the United States, that there could be some problems created for the processing of those products. Well, there is going to be, obviously, a problem because if they do not get the gas, they cannot process it.

We somehow have to provide them with replacement gas and we have to ensure that they do not lose any Btu value because that could affect their sales costs. One of the questions that was asked actually of the minister by the press during his press statement announcing this bill was, how will that Btu value be replaced? There was no answer. Will Nova Scotia's 8.5 per cent share of the resources be used to pump into the line to replace it? The answer was, ask Nova Scotia Resources Limited. But I thought the minister was responsible for Nova Scotia Resources Limited. (Interruption)

[Page 6363]

The Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for Nova Scotia's natural resources, I understood, but I guess there have been some changes. The current minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate does not have responsibility for that. Then I apologize for the incorrect slur that I gave to the minister, but I would hope, Mr. Speaker, and it is on the record. You did not put it on the record. You corrected it across the floor and I am pleased to put it on the record, and it would not be the first time, I assure you if I am doing my job, it will not be the last time that I create an error or put my foot in my mouth, but I would have thought that the minister at least would have talked to his colleague, who sits three seats away from him, and I do not know how many seats around the Cabinet table, to ask how that issue might be addressed. That might be a reasonable thing in a Cabinet. It is not so big a Cabinet that one does not know the names of one's colleagues.

Mr. Speaker, I will be supporting this legislation going forward. I firmly believe that whether you live down in Argyle, whether you live in Sydney, whether you live in Sackville, or any part on either side of it, towards Sydney or Argyle and so on, we have a tremendous opportunity. I contend that to date we have not done a good job. We do not want to be looking at what we are doing now as Nova Scotia's Churchill Falls. We saw how short-sighted decisions cost that province dearly.

The key, since we are not getting the revenues in the way of royalties - and every dollar that we do get in royalties, we are going to lose 70 cents of it in lost transfer payments, so we are going to get 30 cent loonies when we do get royalties.

People in Guysborough are very strategically located to benefit tremendously in the industrial park. The bypass option where you can take the gas directly off the line before it goes into Maritimes & Northeast's pipeline, so you won't have to pay that huge toll, I agree totally. I would have said though that that bypass option should have been for all, because the information I have is that the cost of constructing a pipeline - the transportation system, whether that be to Halifax or to Port Hawkesbury and beyond to Sydney and down to Yarmouth and through the Valley - that the pipeline and the cost of transporting gas along that line would have been lower than the toll that is going to be charged by Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline on their tolling structure.

We have no control over it. It is the National Energy Board in Ottawa, they come down here for the hearings and go back and they make the decisions, not on the basis of what is necessarily best for Nova Scotia, but rather what they perceive in the national interest and they only award the pipeline sizes, for example, based on the contract commitments for that gas.

We have not done a good job in this province. I really don't think that many Nova Scotians would disagree with that, and I know that many of the businesses that I spoke with who are involved with the offshore - whether they are going to come out publicly and say anything to the minister or the government for fear of retribution, I don't know - would like

[Page 6364]

to see policies that were aimed more at ensuring a maximum Nova Scotia economy, because in this province we have some very capable individuals and a skilled workforce and we have some very skilled entrepreneurial businesses.

We may not have 100 per cent of the engineering technology that is needed for the development, for example, of our offshore. But if we have 80 per cent, the other 20 per cent of those companies can either hire or they can partner for. If they hire it, they aren't giving up any share of their business. If they partner for it, they may end up giving away some percentage of the share of the business. My preference is hire, but that would be their decision.

Nova Scotia businesses know other Nova Scotia businesses, they know what materials they can get from the Trenton Works, they know what they can get made down in the shipyards, whether that be in Shelburne or in Halifax or in Dartmouth or in Pictou, they know what products can be procured within Nova Scotia. Those who are doing the work and who are coming in from away, yes, they also have their tentacles, but they don't have their tentacles in Nova Scotia in the same way.

I am suggesting that we put in place requirements that require them to start looking to Nova Scotia first. So that Nova Scotia businesses can grow and prosper, so that those Nova Scotians' businesses can hire more Nova Scotians, whether they are your sons and daughters or my sons and daughters, the sons and daughters of the people who live within my community of Sackville or in Sydney or in Annapolis Royal or in Bridgewater, whatever the case may be. Let's maximize it here.

I say to the minister, I plead with the minister, I urge the minister, when you wrap up this bill, when you do finally do that, please, I ask you, agree to table the regulations that exist, that are going to go along with this bill so that we can see what substance is there.

[4:30 p.m.]

If this legislation is really based upon the kind of legislation that exists in other jurisdictions that used it and I know that some Legislatures, for example, Saskatchewan - I will say it - has suspended their legislation that was similar to this and they leave it to the market place now to develop it, and others are doing the same thing. But there is a big difference. Those industries have already developed, they already have petrochemical industries, and so on, developed in those provinces. It is like in the distribution, we are starting fresh. We have to put in place the regulations and requirements to force them to ensure that Nova Scotians get the benefit first.

I would ask the minister if he will agree, since this is based on legislation from elsewhere, if they also have regulations, if the minister will agree to table those regulations. I also ask the minister to agree or to clarify that if it is the intention of those who are going

[Page 6365]

to be applying for applications to export our valuable resources, that they, those applications and the information contained within them, also be made public. Unless we do that we are tying up our resources and if this is truly in the public's interest - I am taking the minister at face value when he says it is, that it is not politics, because this is far too important for our future - it is critical that we start to do things right for our future. I ask the minister to clarify whether or not that information will also be made public so that the public will know when somebody is trying to export our gas or our ethane and all of the other products, valuable liquids that are in that gas.

In closing - and I think that the minister agrees with me on this - our primary purpose should not be to try to create jobs in the petrochemical industry and others in New England. They can get their gas and get those resources, develop their own industries there and expand them.

The minister certainly comes from an area of high unemployment, as does the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, that would just love to see good-paying, long-term, secure jobs being developed in both of those communities to strengthen and give life to those communities and a future. People there deserve that, as they do in other parts of the province. So I ask the minister, show us the meat, show us the regulations, show us a commitment so that, in fact, we can be assured that those jobs in this province are a real possibility and probability, and that we can depend upon the industry being able to be developed here. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that after hearing the words of the critic from the Official Opposition chatting away, I think all of the bad things that you could think of to say about the oil and gas industry have already been said. I think all of the bad things you could think of to say about probably everybody in the province have been said. So I think we should concentrate on the positive aspects of the people who are involved in this industry.

This bill, sure, maybe it is overdue. There is no gas ashore yet so maybe it is not overdue, maybe it is right on time. I don't know if it should have been done six months ago or six weeks from now or today but I do know that Nova Scotia needs this legislation because Nova Scotia needs a gas industry with the by-products that are going to be arriving, particularly from ethane. Ethane is the building block of the world, really and truly. If you look at your clothes, a lot of people, if they have polyester in their clothes and they are not all wool or 100 per cent cotton, then you have a little bit of ethane in, your eyeglasses probably, your toothpaste. If you were wearing make-up there would be petrochemical by-products in your make-up, Mr. Speaker. So all of the things you can think of would be contained from the petrochemical industry.

[Page 6366]

I was reminded by my honourable colleague, the member for Cumberland North, my cousin from Cumberland North, he said fertilizer - being the very large dairy farmer that he is, he knows about fertilizer and that fertilizer is actually a by-product of the petrochemical industry. Nova Scotia has the right to develop a petrochemical industry. Mr. Speaker, you know what? We will.

Look, I want you to indulge me a little bit, Mr. Speaker, and I want to go through a couple of little articles in a magazine which I will table, only if you promise to read it. This magazine is Canada's number one offshore oil and gas publication, Ocean Resources. This is a magazine that is published for Nova Scotians in Nova Scotia. It is chock full of exciting happenings in the Nova Scotia oil and gas industry. What is exciting about it - there is a picture of the Premier on the front page - it begins with the people, OTANS, the Offshore-Onshore Technology Association of Nova Scotia. That is an organization of over 300 people who are actively involved in the natural gas and oil industry right here in our province. Those people, and the industries they represent, have made it possible for a lot of employment in Nova Scotia.

When you look at Guysborough County, just think of the opportunities in Guysborough County. Our caucus was in Guysborough not very long ago and we visited with the Economic Development Commission and looked at the new gas plant. It is just absolutely astounding, the change in the community in a relatively short period of time. The people have made the difference. Guysborough knows they have an opportunity, they have over 700 acres of land for an industrial park and they are going to make sure that park is fully utilized and they have been conducting meetings right around North America and Europe, to attract new industries to come to Nova Scotia.

This is our future. Our future is not just having an oil rig off the shore, pumping gas to New England, our future is holding the gas here as long as we possibly can. That is very important to all Nova Scotians. The engineering firms that have formed alliances and partnerships with other firms from across North America and from the British Isles have done that so they can generate business and provide employment in Nova Scotia for Nova Scotians.

There is a whole advertisement on the Irving Company who plays such a big role in the oil industry in Nova Scotia and around North America, Mr. Speaker, and the companies they represent. They are Nova Scotians and there will be more of them. They are building ships right here in Nova Scotia to service the offshore. Associated Marine Equipment, Jay Abbass is President of that company and Jay Abbass used to sit right across there. He is working today because the offshore is successful in providing him employment.

Atlantic Towing, Mr. Speaker, that is a very active Nova Scotia company providing employment for a lot of people; Dominion Diving; Cougar Helicopters. These are Nova Scotia companies that have expanded and continue to employ Nova Scotians. Fabco

[Page 6367]

Industries, they built the huge living quarters for the new rig that is going to be delivering the gas to Nova Scotia.

The list, Mr. Speaker, of companies that are involved in the offshore is almost endless and the employment that they are creating is for Nova Scotians. The back page, this big picture from Secunda Marine, over 600 employees around the world. They are refurbishing two huge ships, building Nova Scotia craftsmanship so that they can service the offshore. They are working 24 hours a day to rebuild those, with 200 Nova Scotia welders and pipefitters and all the things that go along with it.

This shows you what can happen, Mr. Speaker, in Nova Scotia because Nova Scotians know how to take advantage of a real opportunity. We have an opportunity in Nova Scotia to make a huge difference when the natural gas starts coming ashore and we, as Nova Scotians, will be insisting and demanding a petrochemical industry to be developed.

We have met with people that said, look, the petrochemical industry can develop in Nova Scotia right now with the amount of gas that is projected to come ashore. We had a company from Calgary that indicated they have gas plants in Calgary that are no larger than what would be required from the supply that will be available from the Sable fields. The Sable fields are only the beginning, Mr. Speaker. We have the Laurentian Basin, which is one of the most promising areas on the Eastern Seaboard. The Laurentian Basin, if you look at the map, the pipeline is going to be coming right through Cape Breton. Can you tell me any area in Nova Scotia that both needs and deserves jobs any more than industrial Cape Breton? There is not another area in all of Canada that deserves the opportunities that are going to be coming from the Laurentian Basin. (Interruptions) All my colleagues agree, so it must be right because they would disagree if it wasn't.

Mr. Speaker, we have an opportunity that Nova Scotians are going to be leading the way. This bill, what in life is perfect? The problem that I see with it, and it may not be a problem, but it looks a little problematic, it is Clause 22(1), "The Governor in Council . . .", which is the Premier and the Cabinet, ". . . may make regulations (a) respecting the circumstances in which a permit is not required to remove a petroleum resource from the Province; (b) respecting persons or classes of persons who are exempt from this Act;".

Cabinet, on any given Thursday morning, or if they have a special meeting some other day, could make exemptions to the bill. Now, I don't know if they are going to, if they are planning to. I know there would be a lot of people, if I was part of the Sable group, I would certainly be down there saying, listen, buster, if it wasn't for us, there would not be any gas here at all. Say that this takes effect for everybody that comes into the province after July 1, 1999. That is what I would be telling the government and, hopefully, the government won't be listening to that sort of thing because jobs for Nova Scotians are too badly needed and they are too important to have any exemptions that would allow ethane, the building block of the petrochemical industry to be exempt.

[Page 6368]

So we do welcome this legislation, Mr. Speaker, because it is so important that we do develop this industry. When I talk to my constituents in Kings North about a petrochemical industry, it is not the most exciting thing that I could discuss with them, because so many people in Nova Scotia don't realize the potential that this natural gas is going to have for Nova Scotians. It will employ thousands of people in Nova Scotia both indirectly servicing the gas industry, either in the offshore or at the plant, and then all of the other services that they need. As time goes on and as Nova Scotia companies continue to forge partnerships with other companies throughout North America and Europe, they will bring the expertise to Nova Scotia.

[4:45 p.m.]

This year the offshore technology conference that was held in Houston, Texas, was attended by over 100 Nova Scotia people. That is a very large contingent; in fact, it was the largest contingent of any area from the Eastern Seaboard. That was 100 Nova Scotians that paid their own way to go to Houston to meet with and to make partnerships with new companies, so they could bring more technology to Nova Scotia to provide more employment.

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that our caucus will certainly be supporting this bill. We would like to see the regulations before the bill is finally through, but if we did see the regulations before the bill is passed, I think that would be probably a real first because I do not recall ever seeing a bill and the regulations tabled at the same time before but, if this government wants to do that, I think that will be a nice touch to this feeling of cooperation because even the socialist Party said that they would vote for and support this bill.

When you get the socialists agreeing to anything, you know it is kind of a surprise, to me, anyway. Perhaps to you, Mr. Speaker, too, being one. You would probably be surprised when you heard your speaker say he would support this bill. We are not used to that spirit of cooperation from him.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, our caucus will certainly be supporting this bill because this bill means, in short, employment for Nova Scotians and this bill means employment for Nova Scotians, not just in one area of the province but in all areas, and it will be a benefit to each and every one of us. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, just before I close the debate, I would like to thank the very honourable member for Kings North, who is leaving the room. He did not even want to listen to all the good things I was going to say about him - oh, here he comes - for his most insightful and valuable comments. I was trying, I was straining to listen to every word he was saying, there are a few distractions here this afternoon.

[Page 6369]

Certainly the honourable member for Kings North made some valuable points and I appreciate that, and also certainly the Leader of the Opposition, or the House Leader of the Opposition, I should say, (Interruption) maybe some day, also had some very good comments to make regarding his concerns of the bill, but I think all three Parties will realize that this is a good bill for Nova Scotia. I think that spirit sort of manifested itself here today in the remarks during the debate on second reading.

Mr. Speaker, I would move second reading and send this bill on to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 102. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 103 - Gaelic College Foundation Act.

Bill No. 103 - Gaelic College Foundation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, An Act to Amend Chapter 89 of the Acts of 1980, the Gaelic College Foundation Act is just simple amendments to the legislation, dealing mainly with the composition of the board and dealing with the terms of their appointments, staggering them so that they do not all fall due at the same time, and just some general changes to the Constitution of the Gaelic College Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 103.

[Page 6370]

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, we have reviewed the bill and we certainly are prepared to vote in support of the bill going on to the Private and Local Bills Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 103. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 106.

Bill No. 106 - Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, this bill is quite straightforward, it is a request by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities to amend their Act which would allow for an additional head table officer in the name of the second vice president. This is supported by the executive of the UNSM, and was adopted at their last annual conference. They are asking for this change to allow for an expansion of the membership of the executive to give broader Nova Scotia representation and also to allow the executive to function if any of the members happen to be absent for illness or other reasons. I therefore move second reading of this bill.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I must say it is also a pleasure to attend the UNSM conferences and to read the resolutions and matters they bring before the convention. They do extremely important work and the request they are asking in this legislation, I think, is a very reasonable one. It is aimed at improving the efficiency in which the executive and the table officers can operate. I certainly am only too pleased to indicate not only my support of the bill but also my support for the UNSM and the municipal councils across this province who are, as we all know when we say so freely, that they are the level of government closest to the people. They are dealing with those issues that are in the neighbourhoods and anything that we can do to assist the UNSM carry out their important responsibilities, I am only too pleased to be supporting it. With those few brief remarks, I am pleased to indicate that we also will be supporting this legislation to go on to the Private and Local Bills Committee.

[Page 6371]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus I would like to indicate our support. I think the UNSM has put forward a very reasonable request. It seems to be very straightforward and we would have no objection to it and we will be offering our support.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 106. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that completes the government's business for today. The House will sit tomorrow morning from the hours of 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon and we will be calling Bill No. 105, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act. I believe we will be ready for that tomorrow morning? I move that we do now adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

MR. SPEAKER: We have reached the moment of interruption, and as I indicated earlier there was a draw for a debate on the Adjournment motion. The draw was won by the honourable member for Preston. The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes will be debating the matter.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

DEVCO - TRANSITION PACKAGE: FAIRER - SECURE

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cape Breton Centre.

The resolution before the House tonight is:

"Therefore be it resolved that the time for re-thinking Ottawa's package was five months ago when it was proposed and now we are asking that the Premier take some immediate action to secure a fairer transition package for Devco workers.".

[Page 6372]

What I will do, if I may, Mr. Speaker, is, again, just review a little bit of the history of coal mining so we can really understand and feel the importance of why we are requesting this. Time is long past due where we must move forward. The mining of coal in what is now Cape Breton County has taken place since the early 1600's. Twenty-four coal seams were identified at that time, with varying degrees of commercial viability and, to date, 10 of those seams have been mined. The first submarine mine was opened in 1866 and our history of mining has been troubled and rich in Cape Breton.

In the early 1900's, we saw primary ownership of the Cape Breton coal mines held by the British Empire Steel and Coal Corporation, known as Besco. When Besco went into receivership, its Cape Breton holdings were taken over by Dominion Steel and Coal, Dosco, at that time. Then, in the mid-1960's, Dosco had made public their desire to abandon coal and steel operations in Cape Breton and, at that time, a Royal Commission was established to investigate the whole issue around the coal mining situation in Cape Breton. The commission's report, as we know, as it is known today, is the Donald Report.

The Donald Report, very clearly, as we have been told by many people and many groups that have presented to us as members and as legislators, the Donald Report had made a considerate and deliberate decision to move away from the coal industry. It advocated the gradual decline of coal mining and, in fact, the establishment of a Crown Corporation with a mandate to continue operating the mines for a period of time, sufficient to establish other or alternate economic capacities for the Island. So that was back in the 1960's.

Now, we know what happened there. We know that this was completely ignored. The Cape Breton Development Corporation and the federal government made a decision to introduce a whole new generation of Cape Bretoners to the mining industry, but in excess of some three decades ago.

What we had, Mr. Speaker, in Cape Breton, pre the Devco announcement, was a county, a community already facing very serious economic challenges. We saw in a report that was prepared on behalf of the Cape Breton coal industry, on behalf of educators, a report prepared by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which does an excellent job of enumerating these economic indicators, prior to the Devco announcement. The economy, and I will quote from the report, if I may, is declining at an annual rate of 0.5 per cent of the GDP. Personal income is 31 per cent below the national average. This is Cape Breton before the Devco announcement; retail sales are 21 per cent below the national average; the population has declined 4.1 per cent from 1991 to 1997; taxable commercial assessment actually declined in 1998-99; labour force participation rates are 10 points lower than the provincial average; more than 12,000 people unemployed; out-migration levels in excess of 3,000. So the list goes on and on, it gives us an accurate, clear picture of the pre-Devco announcement.

[Page 6373]

[5:00 p.m.]

Now when we put on top of that what happened in January 1999, the plan that the federal government had for getting out of the coal industry in Cape Breton, the first thing we notice is that it bears a big resemblance to what actually happened in Cape Breton over three decades ago, but when we take it and put it in the reality of today, it is easy to recognize that what is being offered is not suitable, it is not acceptable for Cape Bretoners, it is not acceptable to the mining community, it is not acceptable to the community in Cape Breton.

We know that pensions with their benefits provide more stability to an economy than severance, and yet we have huge numbers of people who are being severed. The current unemployment levels are such that they just can't absorb more unemployed. The whole issue around medical plans in the mining community is a big issue. The job, as we have been told many times, is one that has created people with many medical difficulties along with the environment that we have in Cape Breton.

So when we place all of that within the economy in Cape Breton, we realize that what we are asking for in this resolution has to happen. The Premier has to consult, has to bring together other political Party Leaders in this province, he has to bring together representatives of the community and representatives of the mining unions and has to immediately secure some kind of a better package for Cape Bretoners. I will allow my colleague to continue this discussion. (Applause)

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: I would like to thank my Party member for Cape Breton The Lakes for yielding some time to me on this very important subject, because it truly speaks to the fact of what the Premier has done. It is not a very hard number to total, because zero is zero. That is what he has done, if you exclude his little partisan rants. Where was the minister, where was the Premier when this was announced? He was hunkered down here in Halifax. All these other Cape Breton ministers and MLAs were hiding. It was easier to find someone suntanning on Dominion Beach than finding a Liberal in Cape Breton that day.

I see that the member for Cape Breton Nova is licking his chops to get up. Well, where was he with his chops the day of the announcement? He was with the rest of the spineless, he was hiding. What we want is some straight action from this government, not partisan ranting. We want for him to sit down with all sectors of that economy, an economy that will be devastated worse than it was during the Great Depression if something is not done.

What we don't need is an economic aid package from the federal government giving it to the same Liberal cohorts that drove that industry into the ground and under. They buried most of their mistakes. What I want from this Premier, this government, is leadership, to involve everybody from every political stripe in this province to find a solution to help that

[Page 6374]

economy prosper, yet he has this gunslinger "I will go it alone" attitude. Well, I have no problem with that because I see that with what is over on that bench, he has nothing to work with, but I invite him to come over and see us and we will certainly give him some help. Thank you.

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, it should not be necessary for me to have to get up in this House and defend the Honourable Russell MacLellan at any great length, in terms of the leadership he has given on the Cape Breton coal crisis. There is no elected politician in Canada who is more committed to the welfare of the Cape Breton coal miner than Premier Russell MacLellan. There is no other elected politician who has worked harder or done more to help the Cape Breton coal miner than Premier Russell MacLellan.

The Premier is perhaps not a very boastful person by nature. He is not inclined to enumerate every last act and every last deed he has undertaken on behalf of the miner and perhaps he suffers somewhat politically because of that. Some people do next to nothing and yet boast about it, such as Peter Mancini, the federal NDP Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria who, in a recent Parliamentary newsletter, made the claim that the NDP was leading the fight for Devco in the House of Commons. (Interruptions)

We are going to examine that in just a moment but before I turn to Peter Mancini, let me say, Mr. Speaker, that were Russell MacLellan to take the same approach and to actually enumerate all the efforts he has made on behalf of the miner and continues to make, it certainly would require a great deal of paper, far more time than the scope of this brief debate here in this House allows, to even begin to enumerate the tremendous efforts that he makes and continues to make on a daily basis.

Mr. Speaker, there are very few members of this House who depend more on coal miners and their families for the votes needed to get elected to sit in this House than Russell MacLellan does. He has a far higher percentage of coal miners in his constituency than I do, and yet I recognize their tremendous importance. I would say you would have to look at Cape Breton Centre and Cape Breton East to find constituencies that would have either an equal or greater number of coal miners, active and retired, casting votes in those constituencies than you would find in the constituency of Cape Breton North, which the Premier represents. So the Premier has a very personal and real reason to be active in this matter and not to lie down on the job at all but to be active every single waking moment of his day. This matter is constantly on his mind and he acts on it continuously.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are told that perhaps the Premier has not done enough, or perhaps can't do as much as could be done. I don't suppose anyone could do all that ought to be done, but we are told that because of a perceived insufficiency of effort, insufficiency of action, that what the Premier ought to do is take unto his bosom members of other Parties

[Page 6375]

and they would help, they would provide support, they would provide some additional beef, I suppose, to the lobbying effort and thus the results would be better.

You know, Mr. Speaker, when I look around the political horizon I do not find people in other Parties who are equally committed to the Premier; I don't find people who could keep up with his efforts on behalf of the coal miners. I asked for some information about the recent efforts of Peter Mancini, the federal Member of Parliament who represents the area that the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes and I come from. I received these items here; from the Globe and Mail, March 27th, Mr. Mancini was in Peru. Another item here, from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, March 6th, Mr. Mancini was in Jamaica. (Interruption) Ah, listen to this, Mr. Speaker, my, my, there are none so blind as those who will not see. I would ask the honourable member to direct her attention to the front page of the Cape Breton Post, of April 13th, which accounted how Mr. Mancini spent his two week break from Parliament. Mr. Mancini stated that he spent the majority of the break reading up on the history of the Balkans; "I spent four days in the McConnell Library (in Sydney) reading everything I could on the subject", he said.

Well, Mr. Speaker, our Premier, Mr. Russell MacLellan, has not got the time to spend four days in the library reading books because he is too busy working for the coal miner. If you could call the din on the other side so that I could speak, sir, it would make my job somewhat easier here and perhaps I might be able to speak in a softer tone of voice.

I have another clipping here, May 25th, from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Now Mr. Mancini is down in Texas. So between Texas and Peru and Jamaica and the James McConnell Memorial Library, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't seem to me that Mr. Mancini is spending very much time fighting for the Cape Breton coal miner. It doesn't. Such being the case, I don't see any particular advantage for the Premier to encumber himself with useless extra luggage and taking onto his bosom those who don't want to work, who won't work and who will never be able to help in any significant way. (Interruptions) This is why . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACEWAN: You can tell when you are getting to them, Mr. Speaker.

I can tell you this, Russell MacLellan is second to none in terms of his commitment and dedication to the Cape Breton coal miner and the Cape Breton coal industry, and if Peter Mancini were able to do one-tenth of the work that this man has done for the coal miner, he would have something to boast about instead of the types of global travel, jet-setting and comfortable snoozings and smoozings in the library, of which he appears to be so fond. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order.

[Page 6376]

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, it might help, perhaps, to quell those across the way if I told them that I intend to yield the floor at this time to the honourable member for Cape Breton East, who also has a few words he would like to say on this subject. I think there is some time.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, there is.

MR. MACEWAN: Four minutes, I think.

MR. SPEAKER: Gentlemen, if someone wishes to speak, would they please rise.

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: It's good for you to recognize me again. It is awfully nice and I appreciate the opportunity and I am very pleased that this is the subject for debate today, because there is not a crisis situation in the province today that is as serious as the plight of Devco miners. We can hear, we can speak and we can listen to people talking about the business devastation taking place in industrial Cape Breton. I think it has been eloquently explained by other speakers, perhaps, the personal devastation to the people who are directly involved with Devco, both in the mine and in the supply industries, all because of this early closure.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are hearing that there is going to be a real early closure, because it isn't one and one-half years from now, it is closing perhaps. So when you get an early closure, you need early help, and the help that Ottawa is offering just doesn't cut it. I am very disappointed in the federal government because I know the MPs who were elected and are representing constituencies from coast to coast, they didn't run for political office to be miserable sons of guns. They all ran so they could help make Canada a better and a stronger country but, for the last few months, in dealing with Devco, I think they have lost both their vision, their common sense and their compassion.

We have to hear about the human side, Mr. Speaker, of Devco. We have to hear about the people and how it is going to affect them. Not many Nova Scotians realize that a Devco miner gets to work and then he drives for two hours to get to the work face, straight down, under the ocean. When he gets down there, the best description I have ever heard is standing with your work clothes on and the guy behind you holding a garden hose right over your head, because it is dripping wet and it is cold water. That is what the miners have been doing. Why are the miners doing that? Is it because, as young fellows, they all said, well, I want to grow up and be a policeman or a fireman or a farmer? How many of those guys grew up and said I want to be a coal miner? There weren't so many that said they wanted to be but, for one reason or another, that is what they are.

[Page 6377]

Let's look at the human side, Mr. Speaker. Devco was founded by the federal government to close down the coal mines. That is what the job at Devco was: close down the coal mines and diversify the economy.

We all know that but something happened after Devco was founded and it was the oil crisis of the early 1970's. Do you remember that? Well, if you were old enough to drive at the time and you might have been, I was not, but if you were old enough to drive and had a car, you traded the big V8 and you bought one of those little four cylinders. The first attempt that North America car makers had at making those little econo-boxes were not great. They rusted out the second week you had them and so on. Things have improved, but do you remember that, Mr. Speaker, the oil crisis?

[5:15 p.m.]

At the time of the oil crisis, we said what you have is a problem and we depended on oil to generate electricity to a large degree in Nova Scotia. The government said, listen, we got a problem and we are going to correct that. We are going to generate electricity by burning coal and we are putting the fellows in Cape Breton to work in the coal mines. There was a Donald Report in 1966 and can I quote? Do you mind? Thank you.

"It is ethically wrong and economically unsound to be introducing young people into the mining force where there is no assurance of future employment where operations are basically unprofitable and where no skills useful in other fields of industry except mining are acquired.".

That is the report from 1966. Nova Scotians, Devco and Cape Bretoners, they said all right, we will buy into that, diversify the economy and so on, but then the oil crisis came and Devco started hiring people to work in the mines. It is not the Devco miner's fault that he is in this plight now, Mr. Speaker; it is Nova Scotians' and Canadians'. We all share because the federal government owns it and the taxpayer of Nova Scotia benefited because the coal that they mined to generate electricity saved Nova Scotians money. Our electricity cost of generating, according to the people at Nova Scotia Power, will tell you we saved millions of dollars by burning Nova Scotia coal.

We are looking at 1,200 families in Cape Breton, Mr. Speaker, that are going to be out on the street without a job. It is not just a job. Coal mining, as you know, is a dangerous occupation. People injure themselves with a bad back, a bad leg, a bad knee, and their lungs - coal miners have more difficulties with cancer and more different types of cancer than any other occupation in Nova Scotia.

So what happens when they are out of work? I will tell you what happens. They lose their medical benefits. We are going to have a whole lot of people that up until now have had an employer who provided them with medical benefits. We are now going to have 1,200

[Page 6378]

families without the medical benefit card. Who is going to pick up the tab for their medical problems when they go to the drug store to fill the prescription? Do they walk in and say, look, I am sorry, Devco closed, I do not have a job so I do not have to pay you for those. The druggist is not going to say, well, here, take these pills.

This is one of the problems. The medical situation has to be addressed, Mr. Speaker, and up until this point, today, as we stand here, it is not addressed. This is a source of great concern for 1,200 families in Cape Breton; 1,200 fellow Nova Scotians. Some of them are family members of members of this House. Some of them are relatives and there is not a person in this Legislature who does not know somebody that is going to be adversely and directly affected by this shutdown.

What is the federal government doing to help, aid and assist the people in need? So far, Mr. Speaker, not very much. Now, why is that? The federal government can do a lot when they want to. I used two examples a little while ago but I am only going to use one today, because it might be misinterpreted if I use the other one. You look at the closure over in Summerside, of the Air Force base, did the federal government send a note, we are closed, see you later, goodbye? The federal government said, we are setting up an industrial park and we are going to see that there is more employment here after the closure than there was before the closure of the Air Force base. The federal government stuck to its guns and did exactly as they said. There are more people working in Summerside now than there were when it was an Air Force base.

Where is that commitment that we know the federal government can deliver, when it comes to Devco miners? Is it because they are just coal miners? What is the problem with Ottawa? Don't they care? I care. MPs, when they knock on your doorstep, they care. How come Ottawa, how come Mr. Chretien isn't down there saying, listen boys I am with you, I am going to solve this problem so you can live in dignity, so that the pensioners are going to be looked after, so that people who are close to pensionable time and age are looked after? Where is the care, the compassion that Cape Bretoners and Nova Scotians are both used to and entitled to? We don't see it in this Devco offer and I think we should. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. REEVES MATHESON: Mr. Speaker, my thanks to the member for Cape Breton Nova for according me just a few minutes to express a few thoughts on this particular motion. First of all, let me say that the comments from the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes are appropriate in terms of defining already what has happened in Cape Breton in terms of the statistical information that is available as to the decline in the industrial area prior to the announcement with respect to the coal industry and Devco.

[Page 6379]

Not only that, but today we learned that the probability is quite strong, if not certain, that the decisions that have to be made with respect to the industry will be visited on us in the next month or so with the announcement that the Phalen Colliery will not be reopened, which means the whole debate as to what we do with the workforce that was employed there becomes even that much more urgent in that we have lost in effect the supposed window of opportunity that was accorded to us by the federal government in terms of its announcement to shut down the industry in two years.

I want to stress it is critically important for those displaced workers that some decision be made with respect to the compensation package that has been offered, but I want to caution the members as well, although that issue in terms of its urgency is paramount at the time, that the question as to what is going to happen to the coal industry in general has to be addressed. What will happen to Prince Colliery? Will there be an industry in the future? And what plans are put in place now to ensure that if we can preserve 500, 600 or 700 of those jobs, then how can we put plans in place to ensure that that happens? I hear very little discussion on that point, outside of the fact that the government says they want to sell Prince.

In addition to that, there have been some very legitimate concerns raised about the future of Sysco, on top of that announcement. The crisis with respect to coal has to be weighed in the context of any decision that is made on Sysco. If we are to lose Sysco, we in effect will have the industrial area of Cape Breton plunged into an economic nuclear winter, the fall-out from which will far exceed, in terms of costs to the province, any money that we might commit in the short term now to give that industry a last chance at pulling itself up by the bootstraps.

In addition to making sure that those displaced workers are looked after, we have to begin to plan for what will be left as a consequence of the loss of these jobs in the industry and the coal industry in general, and I would like to hear some discussion on that as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allocated for the late debate having expired, the House will now rise until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 5:25 p.m.]

[Page 6380]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3045

By: Hon. James Smith (Minister of Health)

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

Whereas May 29th marks this year's annual Hip Hip Hooray walk, a fund-raiser for the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation; and

Whereas the funds raised from this walk have bought special equipment to enable surgeons to reduce the waiting time for joint replacement, furthered the ingenious studies on gait analysis research, and made it possible for nurses to keep in touch with the latest developments; and

Whereas the Hip Hip Hooray fund-raiser raised over $47,000 in Halifax and over $1 million across Canada last year alone;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to recognize and thank Dr. Grogono, Chair of the Hip Hip Hooray Committee, and the organizers of this fund-raiser, and encourage Nova Scotians to participate in this year's Hip Hip Hooray walk on May 29th.