Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1994



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Second Session



2:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mr. Gerald O’Malley






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will commence this afternoon’s sitting at this time. The first item
on the agenda is the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as MLA for Dartmouth East, I beg leave to introduce a petition
“. . . on behalf of the Church in Society Committee of the Halifax Presbytery of the United Church of Canada
to withdraw Bill 120 - the Gaming Control Act -and to redraft the law to establish the proposed Gaming
Control Commission with suitable authority; and without establishing the authority for casinos. The direction
of a Gaming Control Commission is (as we understand it) to control not to promote gambling.”. It is signed
by several members, attached with some resolutions.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, in the long list of petitions that have been presented on the topic,
a few more names who would like to have their petition tabled. The undersigned, of course, are opposed to
the establishment of casinos in Nova Scotia and oppose any legislative change that would permit the
establishment of casinos in Nova Scotia. This is signed by residents in a number of areas of the Province of
Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.






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PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.



RESOLUTION NO. 1152



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



Whereas rescue crews provided a spirit of hope during the five arduous days following the Westray
explosion; and



Whereas nearly 200 rescuers braved the horrors of one of Canada’s worst coal mining disasters; and



Whereas Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn is today in Stellarton presenting medals for bravery to the
miners and draegermen who faced life-threatening challenges to search for the bodies of 26 trapped miners;



Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join all Canadians today in paying tribute to each
of the rescuers for their compassion, unwavering professionalism and steadfast courage.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed, then, that we deal with that item at this time?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 1153



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



Whereas Thursday members of the Law Amendments Committee heard very powerful and extremely
disturbing testimony regarding the impact of casino gambling; and



Whereas casinos encourage the most addictive forms of gambling; and



Whereas the Savage Liberal Government is proceeding with the establishment of casinos apparently
without necessary information on impact with respect to addiction, drug trafficking, crime, violence, money
laundering, income distribution and personal relationships;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and all members of the Liberal caucus stop ignoring the
testimony of Nova Scotians who appear before the Law Amendments Committee and heed their advice to keep
casinos out of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1154



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 Premier said on Wednesday that the Municipal Affairs Minister had “exceeded her
authority” and that he was “taken aback” when she announced “her so-called elections”; and



Whereas on Thursday, the Premier added that the government has made no decision on whether or
when to hold special elections for the proposed amalgamated municipality; and



Whereas the minister turned around on Friday to declare publicly that she was well within her
authority to set a date for elections to a proposed metro amalgamated municipality;



Therefore be it resolved that the government should seek a special donation from the Liberal trust
funds to hire a choir master and choreographer so government members can at least appear to be singing from
the same song sheet.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1155



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



Whereas metropolitan Halifax will play host to the world between June 16 and June 18, 1995 by
hosting the G-7 Economic Summit of world leaders; and



Whereas Halifax will be visible to the world through the American television networks, the BBC and
Japanese network television, just to name a few; and



Whereas the summit is expected to generate millions and millions of dollars for tourism in metro, but
also for tourism operators in the Annapolis Valley, South Shore and Colchester County areas of Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency
play the lead role in encouraging all levels of government to work in unison with Nova Scotians on this huge
project so that our province can benefit, not only in 1995, but many also many years into the future.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 1156



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



Whereas a report in this morning’s Daily News said, that if your job has you stressed out, don’t turn
to the province’s Workers’ Compensation Board for help; and



Whereas the government is now studying the definition of chronic stress to better understand how it
relates to the work place; and



Whereas the executive assistant to the Minister of Labour has asked the question, “Can stress be solely
attributable to work?”;



Therefore be it resolved that the executive assistant to the Minister of Labour understand that stress
can be caused by situations not relating to work and presently the highest form of stress being faced by Nova
Scotians today are the policies of this Liberal Government.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1157



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



Whereas workers’ compensation was important enough for the now Premier and his Cape Breton
MLAs to make a special statement in the final weeks of the May 1993 election campaign; and



Whereas a threat of massive cuts in workers’ compensation benefits is just as important today as it was
18 months ago; and



Whereas Liberal MLAs in good standing boycotted last night’s public information meeting about the
effects of workers’ compensation changes upon Cape Breton miners and other workers; (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: If there is a point of order, I would appreciate it if some an honourable member would
rise and state a point of order. Otherwise, the honourable member has the floor.



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



Therefore be it resolved that this House thanks . . .



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would just like to inform the
House that the resolution to which he is talking about, I did not receive an invitation to that particular
meeting, wherever it was held in Cape Breton last evening, and that is the reason I wasn’t there.



MR. SPEAKER: The point is noted, however, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party has
the floor.



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that those who sent out the notices will be interested
to hear that. I will just read the resolve (Interruption) Maybe a special meeting can be held for the Minister
of Education.



Therefore be it resolved that this House thanks the MLA for Halifax Atlantic for providing Cape
Breton miners (Interruptions) I will start over again, Mr. Speaker, because I lost my spot with the
interventions.



MR. SPEAKER: You lost your train of thought.



MR. HOLM: Yes, and I think it is an important enough message that it should be repeated anyway.



Therefore be it resolved that this House thanks the MLA for Halifax Atlantic for providing Cape
Breton miners with a direct means of having their views known to this House, and the MLA for Cape Breton
West for demonstrating his own solidarity with Cape Bretoners who are seriously concerned about this
government’s intentions.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 1158



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



Whereas the Minister of Transportation is intent on dramatically increasing the bankruptcy rate among
Nova Scotia truckers with his government’s imposition of an $800,000 budget cut in the rate for hauling salt;
and



Whereas with today’s weather conditions salt trucks should now be spread out on Nova Scotia’s 26,000
kilometres of highway, ensuring safe driving for the motoring public; and



Whereas despite the Minister of Transportation’s denials the highway salt dome in Bridgewater is once
again soon expected to be out of salt;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation make it his number one priority this
afternoon that highway domes across Nova Scotia have an adequate supply of salt so that Nova Scotians can
be assured of safety when travelling on provincial highways.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications.



RESOLUTION NO. 1159



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



Whereas the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley tried to have Nova Scotians believe there
was a shortage of salt in some of the Department of Transportation sheds and that safety hazards existed as
a result; and



Whereas the information the member used was false, misleading and served only to undermine the
public trust in highway personnel and in matters of grave importance; and



Whereas this despicable style of political game causes great stress to Nova Scotians travelling on Nova
Scotia highways;



Therefore be it resolved that in the future the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley be asked
to do his homework, so he will not be misleading Nova Scotians about matters of safety on our highways.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would like to inform the House that on
Friday, November 25th, I phoned the Bridgewater Department of Transportation depot around 10:30 a.m. -
I am not sure if it was 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. - and the Department of Transportation personnel, a member
of this minister’s own staff, informed me that there was hardly a granule - that was his terminology - hardly
a cupful of salt in that highway shed in Bridgewater. I understood that some arrangements were being made
to truck it from Liverpool, mind you. Now, there was definitely a depot in this province out of salt on Friday.



AN HON. MEMBER: How many more?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, with great deference (Interruption) I don’t want this to become a free-for-all.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. Just for the record, as of Friday morning,
there were in excess of 400 tons of salt in Caledonia; there were 400 tons in Liverpool, 300 tons in Hebbville
and between 150 and 200 tons in Marriotts Cove, and those are the four bases in Liverpool. (Applause)



[2:15 p.m.]



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order, I will just say that it is very fortunate that the
storm has struck today rather than the end of last week (Interruptions) because the salt has just started being
trucked into my area in the last number of days.



MR. SPEAKER: If I might rule on the point of order, having heard from various shades of opinion on
the question. Beauchesne is very clear that a dispute between members as to facts does not constitute a point
of order, and I so rule.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 1160



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



Whereas the Minister of Municipal Affairs said she had the authority to give the municipal
amalgamation contract to Grant Morash, the Premier said she did not; and



Whereas the Minister of Municipal Affairs said the elections for the new metro super-city would take
place in November of next year, and the Premier said they would not; and



Whereas the Minister of Human Resources said she made a mistake in the hiring of a co-ordinator for
human resource development, only to have the Premier say the hiring of the co-ordinator was fair and above
board;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier of the province decide immediately if he is in charge of the
Departments of Municipal Affairs and Human Resources or are the ministers in charge of their departments.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might before I introduce my notice of motion
make an introduction. I take pleasure in welcoming to the Legislature today and would invite all members
to give him a warm welcome, the hardworking, long-serving New Democrat Member of Parliament from
Burnaby-Kingsway, Svend Robinson. I would ask you all to welcome him to our midst. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1161



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



Whereas it cost $100 a plate yesterday for brunching Liberals to hear the Premier’s hand-wringing
poor-mouth justification for seeking power by making promises he could not and would not keep; and



Whereas the Finance Minister shot that justification full of holes with the news that Nova Scotia’s
lagging economic performance has produced big federal transfers and thus fiscal breathing room; and



Whereas growing dependence on federal transfers to compensate for the provincial government’s
disruptive economic policies will run headlong into federal transfer slashing;



Therefore be it resolved that this House challenges members of the Liberal Cabinet and caucus to find
two Liberals who can tell the same story about the same policy on the same day, instead of instantly
contradicting each other.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 1162



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



Whereas Nova Scotia has approximately 140,000 hunters, more per square mile than any other
Canadian province; and



Whereas illegal hunting has been described as rampant in Pictou County, with eight does being shot
during the first couple of days of the 1994 hunting season; and



Whereas only days into the 1994 hunting season, a Colchester County Natural Resources supervisor
said, the number of does taken illegally in the first few days of the 1994 season has already exceeded the entire
total for last year;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources undertake an immediate review of
spending within his department to ensure sufficient resources are allocated to capture as many illegal hunters
as possible before the entire resource is wasted.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1163



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



Whereas the Minister of Municipal Affairs announced in a press statement on November 4, 1994, that
metro elections would be held prior to the end of 1995; and



Whereas this was the same day the Minister of Municipal Affairs announced the $225,000 appointment
of Grant Morash as metro municipal amalgamation commissioner; and



Whereas on Thursday, November 24th, the Premier changed the 1995 metro municipal election to a
much later date;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier explain why it took him 20 days to determine that the
Minister of Municipal Affairs had made another mistake and that elections would be postponed.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1164



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



Whereas the Health Minister, NDP Leader and many others joined with Canadian Pensioners
Concerned for today’s launch of Action Through Advocacy - A Guidebook on Advocacy for Seniors’
Organizations; and



Whereas our democratic system gains tremendously from the effective advocacy conducted by seniors’
organizations and other strong, membership-based groups who are true to their mission; and



Whereas legislators and governments could learn much from the guidebook’s emphasis upon
accountability, planning and grass roots involvement;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Canadian Pensioners Concerned, Jane McNiven
and all those responsible for the successful publication and launch of “Action Through Advocacy - A
Guidebook on Advocacy for Seniors’ Organizations.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.



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 West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1165



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



Whereas MT&T has enjoyed significant corporate profits in recent years; and



Whereas MT&T’s recent investments on the information highway are expected to eliminate nearly 35
clerical jobs and displace another 36 employees and their families province-wide; and



Whereas the provincial government has entered into an agreement with MT&T in its drive onto the
information highway;



Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House the provincial government take caution
against any initiatives which will yield greater economic and social costs rather than benefits.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: 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. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 129.



Bill No. 129 - Public Highways Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The debate on this bill was adjourned by the honourable Leader of the New
Democratic Party who would appear, from Hansard, to perhaps have used up 15 or 20 minutes. So, certainly,
you have 40 minutes or 45 minutes remaining if you wish.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to say a few more words on the legislation
that is before us. I have not necessarily, as I said on Friday, planned to speak for a long time on the legislation
that is before us. I am not sure that my plans have changed all that much, but I think that I would be remiss
if I did not touch on a few things and to try to set the record straight with regard to the legislation that is
before us.



In introducing the bill, Mr Speaker, the minister, of course, said, and even the explanatory notes that
accompany the bill would have people believe that what we have before us is really just simply a housekeeping
matter and that it is . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: . . . clean house; open the windows and throw everyone out.



MR. HOLM: I am getting some help, Mr. Speaker, and some people are saying that what they really
mean by house cleaning is that it is a cleaning of the House and what they did is really, they opened the
window and they threw out of the Liberal House or out of the Government House approximately 160
employees who had provided service to the residents of Nova Scotia and who had provided, as I say, many -
when you are looking at it in the collective sense - years of excellent service and of experience to the Province
of Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, having said that and I will say at the outset that I do not for one minute approve of or
condone the methods that were used by the former government to hire most of those individuals who were
swept aside by the Liberal broom. However, one has to ask the question, do two wrongs make a right? In
everything that I have learned or heard, certainly that is not the case. Certainly, we had commitment. We had
promises made by this government when they were seeking a mandate that they were going to depoliticize
the Department of Transportation and Communications and that they would not be involved in political hiring
and firing.



Certainly, Mr. Speaker, many, but not all - and I underscore that not all - those who had been hired,
particularly at the end of the former Tory Regime, were hired by the political process and I am pleased and
I have no hesitation in saying, none whatsoever, that I am very pleased at those who are still employed in a
supervisory position, had been there before, and that they had been hired originally, for example, the foreman
who is now in charge of the area had been fired through an open competition through the Civil Service
process. Mr. Speaker, that person has maintained their job because they did have security as being a member
of the collective bargaining unit and I would suggest also because that person does have competence in the
job that they are doing.



Mr. Speaker, the rules of the game, bad as they were and wrong as they were, that the Tories used to
hire their friends to these positions, that is the way that the positions had been filled at that time. If the
government was truly committed and had been truly committed to depoliticizing the process, they would not
have set out to try to cleanse the department by getting rid of everybody who may have had some Tory
connection. I am not a member of that political persuasion, certainly, so I have absolutely no intention or any
reason to try to support, for political reasons, anybody who had been hired on in that former regime. I had an
endorsement when a moment ago somebody said that they would not have me. Well, that is an endorsement
because I am not prepared to compromise these extremely important principles that I hold very dearly to be
considered by any other group. (Interruptions) And that criticism still stands, I say to the Minister of
Education.



Now, Mr. Speaker, if the government was acting in a truly non-partisan, non-political way, one has
to ask the question, why didn’t the government do what the Minister of Transportation had said that he
planned to do and that was to do an assessment, or have an assessment carried out of the personnel to find
out if, in fact, those persons were doing a competent job. If an employee is found not to be doing a competent
job, would it not have been reasonable and responsible for the government to have engaged in some
evaluations and maybe some retraining programs to assist the employees so that they would be able to do a
competent job. I know that many of those who certainly were let go do not think that politics had nothing to
do with their dismissals, the mass layoff or the eliminations of the positions, because it is my understanding
that they have brought complaints to the Human Rights Commission, as they have a right to do, and we will
only find out sometime down the road what decision the Human Rights Commission may make in terms of
the validity or the lack thereof, of the claim that they are making.



Certainly, Mr. Speaker, those 160 employees are not all of the view that that which was done,
supposedly in the name of depoliticizing the Department of Transportation, that the government’s story was
as straight as an arrow. They somehow, and I cannot help but say that I think that they have some validity to
what they are saying, especially if one considers what was going on at the time. Now it is still going on and
that is that there are those who are trying to save the Premier’s bacon. There were, of course, at the time when
the government announced that this was happening, that they were going to be laying off all of these people,
there were riding associations that were speaking out and being critical of the government for not having
purged the Department of Transportation of all those who were hired by the former regime.



It is very interesting that the timing of the two coincided so closely and, of course, the government did
not want to say that they are trying to do what they were told to do by their Liberal friends and that is to get
rid of people who have been appointed by another Party, so, they followed this route.



[2:30 p.m.]



I have yet to see, in the Department of Transportation audit, which did, I concede, I acknowledge,
recommend that there be changes in the structure of the department and eliminating some of the divisions,
in terms of management. But I have yet to see anywhere in that, where they were recommending the changes
that the government, in fact, proposed. Based on correspondence that I have had with the Minister of
Transportation, certainly, if they had a well thought out plan as to how all of the reorganization and structural
changes were to occur, one has to wonder why it was that they were so disorganized for so many weeks and
took such a long period of time trying to figure out how that would all take place.



It wasn’t me who said that the supporters believe Tories within the department are still hiring their
friends and who wanted changes. That was the member for Inverness, in support of that which was done. That
wasn’t my assessment, that was taken out of an October 28, 1993 edition press report, a quote referred to the
member for Inverness.



I would have to say and as I said when I began my remarks, that what we have before us is, in effect,
legislation that is intended to legitimize, to put into law, something that was done approximately a year ago.
It is housekeeping insofar as the positions that had been there were eliminated and new positions were being
created on the guise of that, the government was able to, supposedly, in the name of reorganization, lay all
of these people off, many of whom did not or were not able to be hired back on in the process.



We can be cynical and I think that people have a right to be skeptical given the timing of the events
that went on at the time. The reality is, no matter how you cut the pie, those positions, those people are gone.
I will say and the one thing that I will have no hesitation saying to the minister and that is that the process
that was followed, in terms of hiring others, whether the reason was as pure as it should be for eliminating
those 160 positions, whether that was as pure as it should be, certainly, there is a great deal of doubt about
that. But I was pleased, at least, to see that when the minister did set out to have new persons hired to fill
those new reduced number of positions, that the age old practice that had been followed for so many years in
Nova Scotia, that is to the victor goes the spoils and that means the jobs, I am pleased to see that the minister
did try and did set up a process for selecting others to be hired on that it was not in the same category as that
which had gone on before, in other words, based strictly on political partisanship.



So, on that the minister does deserve congratulations. However, one can’t help but wonder, especially
given the timing and the events that were going on, how pure the decision was and how much of the
motivation behind the decision to eliminate these positions was more to satisfy some disgruntled Liberals, as
much as it was to really try to promote a more efficient and effective Department of Transportation. I guess
the weather and conditions like we are seeing today and over the next number of months will help to
determine whether or not the so-called new efficiencies are going to lead to safer standards on the highways
in the Province of Nova Scotia in the next number of coming weeks and months.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I suppose today is probably as good a day as any to discuss the
Department of Transportation, particularly with respect to the weather that Nova Scotians are facing today.
If I may digress for a moment and I know that the House will not object to this, today of course, also is the
opening day of lobster season in southwestern Nova Scotia. With the storm raging about us now, I know that
all members in the House join me in hoping that safety will attend all of those men and women who are
employed in that industry and particularly those who are out setting their traps for the first time this season
today. Mr. Speaker, what we have in front of us is an interesting piece of legislation. In the former Soviet
Union . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Before the honourable member moves to a topic of great interest to me, as he knows,
that of the former Soviet Union, I might caution the House that this, as I read it, is a rather narrow bill. It is
a technical bill to remove three categories of officers from the Act on the grounds that those offices no longer
exist. That being a rather narrow concept, I would invite - I know that many like to draw very long bows based
on these and possibly the former Soviet Union does relate to the bill - but I will be interested to hear how, as
the honourable member continues his remarks.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, you are absolutely correct, this is a very narrow bill and it comes from a
very narrow mind. In the former Soviet Union, whenever somebody disappeared they became known as a non-person. This is a non-person bill because in effect what it is doing, it is causing those persons who previously
held these positions and the positions themselves to disappear, to be expunged from the law books of Nova
Scotia. So in effect, these persons are becoming non-persons as a result of this minister choosing to make
these positions non-positions and by replacing them with others.



This bill has a rather interesting purpose, one which is not belied by the rather simple and narrow
parameters into which the minister and some others perhaps would have us put it. There has been some
significant and extensive discussion about the hirings and firings in the past with respect to these positions
in the Department of Transportation. I don’t suppose there is much more that one can add to that, excepting
to say that in my own constituency, the only time that a person was replaced was in 1978. A person who was
an employee of the Department of Transportation and who had been removed as superintendent in Queens
County in 1973 I believe it was, was reinstated in the position from which he had been removed.



There has been a lot of talk about this being associated with a new hiring process. I find that rather
interesting because from the time that we had our first foreman retire in 1979, we began to use a procedure
in my constituency whereby the divisional engineer and the superintendent would use the facilities available
through CEIC to advertise and to do the hiring. The minister in touting his new system, is in fact some 15
or 16 years behind where we were in Queens County that long ago.



I know that the minister takes great umbrage at the suggestion of this, but I make no hesitation in
saying that there are many people in my community and I certainly am one of them, who believes that one
of the underlying motives - and not necessarily the sole underlying motive - of this entire initiative, was to
exercise a kind of political cleansing in the department. What the minister has succeeded in doing and I
suppose in a Machiavellian way, one should be prepared to extend credit to him for his process. Instead of
doing the firings himself, he hired consultants and they recommended to him that the positions should simply
disappear and that strikes me that that still has the same end result, about 160 people lost their jobs, people
who I think, for the most part, had been providing good service to Nova Scotia and many of whom had
received their positions as the result of a competitive process.



I think, too, that while the government is busy slapping itself on the back for instituting a new and fair
hiring policy with respect to what we used to call superintendents and foremen in the department, that we
should recognize that the process essentially is the process that was created by the Cameron Government and
that this government chose to employ it to hire the new people once the old people were all gotten rid of and
having that formalized in the bill that is before the House this afternoon.



There has been a lot of talk about who has the right facts and whether people are misleading and being
misled and so on. We should never fail to recognize that more than just the 52 members of the House express
an interest in this place. People, in fact, are watching us as we speak here during the afternoon and the
evening when we are on TV through Mount Saint Vincent University. Just to underline that, just a few
moments ago, a telephone call came through from the Sackville base and one of the employees of the Sackville
base pointed out, with respect to salt, that this morning, before the snow started, number one salt dome was
completely empty and there were only about 65 tons of salt left in number two dome. He was very concerned
that with the storm continuing the way it is, that safety may be compromised. Mr. Speaker, it is important that
we understand that people outside this place look at us. We are not exclusive with respect to just watching
each other.



Mr. Speaker, the bottom line, of course, has to be safety and safety requires that people who are in
positions of responsibility be properly trained to fulfil their duties. I think it is unfortunate that with the new
system that this bill formalizes, we have pretty well lost, at least in rural Nova Scotia, people who live and
who grew up in our communities, who worked in our communities, who live in our communities and they are
replaced, not infrequently, by people who not only are strangers to our communities but in some cases who
have refused to move into our communities and perhaps use only a courtesy address to try to demonstrate that
they have a mailing address that is not too far away from their place of work. I think that is very unfortunate
and I do not think the people will be well served. I am very much afraid that this wonderful new system will
break down at least to this extent that persons who apply for these positions all too frequently . . .



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I heard you carefully explain that the
technical nature of this bill was such that one dared not stray too far from its essential argument and principle.
I have heard the honourable member talk about fully competent and capable people who are part of a
restructured department that is, and sees, as its essential mission, public safety. Yet, I hear in the discussion
just previous, scurrilous statements about people in this province being less than fully competent and capable.



It seems to me that not only are we straying from the intent of this particular bill in his discussion, and
I would ask your ruling on that, but I would also say that the honourable member, in straying, is also
spreading fear and doubt where none should exist at all in the minds of the public of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: I am troubled by the points raised by the honourable Minister of the Environment.
This is a very short bill. It is only five clauses long and all that those five clauses do is to remove from the
Public Highways Act all references to the Chief Engineer, division engineers and superintendents of
highways. Now that is all that this bill does. That is the principle of the bill. Now possibly those names ought
to be remaining in the Act. That would be a proposition that one could make, perhaps, in speaking to the
principle of the bill but if one is in support of the principle of the bill, then one would support the deletion of
those three titles from the bill. If one is opposed to that, one would presumably support the retention of those
three titles. But the bill has nothing to do with salt, it has nothing to do with the former Soviet Union, it has
nothing to with a great deal that I have heard introduced here in debate. I would caution honourable members
that in the interests of an orderly transaction of business here in the House, if we are speaking to the principle
of a bill, we have to look at what that principle is and then speak to that particular proposition.



[2:45 p.m.]



MR. LEEFE: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of the Environment must have had a bad
weekend, he is very touchy today. I was getting ready to wrap up. Now I am going to have to think of where
I was, so that I can remember how I was going to wrap up. It may take me a little longer than I had originally
intended and the fault certainly resides with the Minister of the Environment who interrupted my train of
thought but did not derail it, I can assure him.



At any rate, Mr. Speaker, you mentioned the position of superintendent and it was that decision to
which I was referring when the Minister of the Environment rose on his point of order. The position of
superintendent has been one that traditionally in Nova Scotia has been held by a person in the community who
is respected and knowledgeable and who, by virtue of living in the community, has a real stake in what
happens there.



The point I was trying to make when I was interrupted by the Minister of the Environment is this, that
the new process, at least insofar as I can determine, has broken down - not universally but in some areas - to
the extent that we no longer have somebody who lives in the community fulfilling that function. We have
people who live outside the community and who, in my view and likelihood, see the position they are
fulfilling, that was formerly known as the superintendent’s position, as a stepping-stone to something better
in the Department of Transportation, rather than an end in itself.



While we may have the same service available to us on paper, I simply don’t believe that a person who
lives outside the community can bring the same kind of knowledge and the same sense of purpose in the
community to their job, as is currently the case. Now, of course, there will always be exceptions and we
understand that. But nonetheless, I think we have had a disservice done.



So, Mr. Speaker, this bill formalizes a process that was put in place by this government and this
minister, to get rid of 160 people who, friends of his across the province claimed, were Tory hacks and to
replace them with somebody else. I think the bill is less than honest, in the sense that it uses a back door
method to accomplish something which is not desirable at all, that is the firing of a lot of Nova Scotians who
had worked long and hard on behalf of the people of this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I really did not intend to speak on this bill but when I think
about it and think about what the bill does, removing chief engineers and superintendents of highways, I want
to say this to the minister, that I think the business of the chief engineers coming out was good. I don’t think
we need it; that business was good, the chief engineers coming out.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order. The honourable member was a former Minister of
Transportation. I would like to point out that there was one chief engineer who existed in the department; so
chief engineers did not disappear, there was one. The individual is still there, he worked for that minister, he
is an executive engineer. It is just that he has been taken out of the line position, to eliminate a management
step.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I was trying to say, that I
thought there were four. The minister is there now and he knows all about the department and I congratulate
him for that. The point is that I think there was a level there that we really didn’t need and I congratulate the
minister for doing that.



The laying off of 160 superintendents and foremen was quite a concern to a lot of people in our area.
As a matter of fact, our superintendent was a foreman appointed in the early 1970’s by the Liberal
Government of the day. I was very pleased that he was able to stay on as a foreman and then worked himself
up and got to be superintendent of highways for West Pictou and he did a very good job. I think that he felt,
personally, very hurt that his position was eliminated.



Perhaps there were too many foremen. There were four foremen in my area and they were let go. Now
we have the three areas with three front-line supervisors. I must say those front-line supervisors are doing a
good job in my area and they are very cooperative. But I think it is unfortunate, a lot of those superintendents
and foremen were good men who were doing good work across this province. Some of them felt very hurt that
they had been there for a long time and, of course, I am not saying there would not be some of them that were
political, some of them probably were, but the majority of them in our area were very fair and tried to do a
good job.



But I would say to the minister that is what the bill does. It gives the authority to take chief engineer
and superintendent of highways positions out of the Act. Since they are gone, that has to be and so I will be
voting for the bill, but, I am disappointed with some of the superintendents who were laid off who had put in
many years of service for the people of their area and were very dedicated. My superintendent was certainly
not political. I will be voting for the bill.



MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member for Queens earlier
indicated that there is no salt in Sackville to salt the roads. I checked with the base and there is plenty of salt
there and there is salt coming tomorrow. I would just like to make that clear that this was going on television
across the area and that people would be concerned if they have the wrong impression that there is no salt in
the Sackville base. There certainly are plenty. There are 500 tons there and there will be plenty there
tomorrow morning. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to close the debate. I
think it is fitting that the member for Queens was one of the last speakers because the incoherence with which
he spoke, perhaps, typified the type of debate we heard on this bill. When he got up and starting talking about
salt domes in Sackville, it said to me, these individuals, these former ministers are still trying to interfere in
other ridings. That typified the type of style they had when they were in government and tried to run the
Department of Transportation.



I think it also shows that many members of this Assembly, the members opposite, are stuck, they are
stuck in time. They are afraid to make changes and they are afraid of what those changes might bring. In fact,
they are so out of touch with reality that it is absolutely frightening.



It is also amazing that these changes were made last January 4th when individuals in the department
received lay-off notices - Mr. Speaker, I am responding to the debate that took place on Friday and this
afternoon and I would hope I would be afforded the same leeway that was given members opposite - on
January 4th, the notices were given out and we went through a three-month session of the Legislature
following that and not one question was raised by the members of the Opposition about these individuals that
were laid off in the Department of Transportation. In over a month in this session, not one question was
brought forward in a bill that came forth, that I will say, again, is truly a housekeeping bill, eliminating the
reference to positions in an Act, positions that no longer exist.



The members opposite use this piece of legislation to beat up on the staff of the Department of
Transportation, to bash the staff at the Department of Transportation who work so hard on behalf of all of us
in this Province of Nova Scotia. (Applause)



The first speaker was the honourable member for Kings West, Mr. George Moody. Mr. Moody was
a former Transportation Minister and I am going to say, clearly, that Mr. Moody is well-respected in the
Department of Transportation of Nova Scotia and is spoken of quite highly, former Minister Moody. He said,
the jury is still out, and I think that is fair. I think it is fair that the jury is still out on the performance of the
new individuals. I will accept that. I think it is very fair.



I think it is also very fair to say, that thus far, the changes that have resulted, as a result of the new
operations supervisors being in place have been extremely positive, the feedback.



That honourable member for Kings West, I remember when he was Minister of Transportation,
standing in this House and talking about the hundreds and hundreds of letters he used to receive and the
phone calls he used to receive with concerns and with complaints about the road system in Nova Scotia. I
remember him saying that. When I got to be Minister of Transportation and Communications, I said, I am
going to do something about that. Because the people of Nova Scotia deserve to be treated better than to have
1,000 letters or 600 letters sitting on desks, waiting for responses when in fact the responses should be done
much more quickly.



What we have done, Mr. Speaker, is we have attempted to get the complaints from the public down
and we have been very successful in doing that. In fact, we have reduced the number of written complaints,
and the member for Hants West can laugh and scoff at this if he wants to, but this can be substantiated. The
written complaints have been reduced to the Department of Transportation by between 85 per cent and 90 per
cent.



If someone writes in now, we do not send it through nine layers of management that has been the
practice for probably 100 years. It goes to a district director who dispatches someone to visit the individual
who makes the complaint or has the concern. The individual gets the concern dealt with. They do not get a
letter of acknowledgment and wait three months to get a letter telling them that someone will be along to do
this.



Mr. Speaker, the professional staff in the Department of Transportation are to be commended for the
way they have taken up the challenge in dealing with the public of Nova Scotia. We are, presently, in the
midst of a process to put information systems in place, because in the Province of Nova Scotia - despite the
fact that this is one of the oldest departments in government - information systems did not exist to tell us about
the effectiveness of what was being done.



If you wanted to know how much money or how much salt you had used, it might take you three weeks
to find out. We are bringing the department into the 1990s; every one of our operations supervisors will have
pagers, so they can be contacted 24 hours a day, morning, noon and night. There will be a 1-800 number
established, province-wide so that any individual, with a concern about road conditions, can call that 1-800
number and that concern can be passed on to an operations supervisor anywhere in the province almost
instantaneously.



We have put in place in the department, a customer relations division that allows us to identify the
needs of employees and, hopefully, to provide the training necessary to have them become better employees.
We have focused on public relations and communications, so that initiatives such as we have all, in the House,
saw the other day with communication packages to all MLAs. Public messages to the public to better assist
them in contacting individuals if there are concerns. Those are the type of things that we are focusing on in
the Department of Transportation.



I think it is very unfair that members have used this debate to put so many untruths on the floor of this
Assembly and that is exactly what they did, Mr. Speaker. We have, in this Department of Transportation
(Interruption)



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, on point of order. The people talking about untruths, it is
unfair. I never said one untrue word about any of the department people.



MR. MANN: Yes, but I will. (Interruption) It is down here, last page. (Interruption) Mr. Speaker,
Bam-Bam is over there again, watch out, he will be throwing a glass of water. (Laughter)



Mr. Speaker, we found out, in this department, that operators, snowplough operators and equipment
operators with 30 years’ experience were not being permitted to go out and do their jobs, until a foreman or
a superintendent came along to tell them what road to grade and how to do it. Tell me, what kind of employee
you would have for 30 years that you would treat in that manner?



We have heard over and over again about 160 people out supervising. Mr. Speaker, most of those
people did not have the authority to make any decisions and we all know that, each and every one of us in this
Assembly, from having tried to phone and deal with highway foremen and superintendents over the years.



They did not have the authority, they were not permitted to make decisions and so, in fact, when we
put 80 professional people in place to deal with the public of Nova Scotia, to deal with the roads and to
supervise the operations of the departments, I suggest to you, sir, that that is an increase in the number of
people who are making decisions and are responding to the public.



[3:00 p.m.]



One of the documents, I found a very comprehensive study when I went to the Department of
Transportation, was a fleet management plan. The previous administration had hired consultants, private
consultants to do a fleet management study. I believe it was done in 1991. It was then thrown on the shelf and
it wasn’t touched. In the Doane Raymond study commissioned by this administration last year, Doane
Raymond made reference to that study and said that study should be looked at and implemented and Mr.
Speaker, we are now implementing that.



So, we have focused on customer relations, we have focused on reducing the response time to the public
and are truly making an attempt to turn things around and I congratulate the professionalism in the
Department of Transportation for accepting that challenge and going forward to do that. (Applause)



One practice in the department and this directly references the reasons why this bill is here today, three
of those members opposite who were Ministers of Transportation would know that if a constituent called or
wrote to the minister, that the minister would take the letter and put a yellow sticky on it. It would go the
deputy minister, to the chief engineer, to the director of maintenance or construction, to the assistant director
or regional manager head office, or both, to the division engineer, to the superintendent and then to the
foreman. Each and every one of them would add another page and another sticky and you had eight or nine
layers of management. Now when you got to the bottom and you addressed the problem, it would all come
back up the line in the exact same manner.



Now, when individuals have concerns on the highways that are to be dealt with, it is an executive
director at head office, a district director running one of the four districts of Nova Scotia and the area manager
and operations supervisor. Those layers of management and it is not done with stickies any more, it is done
with a hands-on approach with the supervisor, the area manager or the district director dealing directly with
people. These individuals have done a tremendous job. The response from the Nova Scotia public has been
overwhelmingly positive, in support of their efforts to go out and deal in a hands-on manner with people,
address the concern if they can and if they can’t, to explain to people why they can’t. These individuals have
been given a budget and they have been told to do their job and they have been doing it and have been doing
it very well.



Mr. Speaker, the member for Halifax Atlantic was concerned about the number of people who were
in the field actually making decisions. I suggest there are more now in the field who can make decisions and
do make decisions. He spoke about people from outside of the areas and we have heard this from several
members and I suggest to you that it is a minority of operation supervisors who are not in the areas where they
are supervising. They are local people for the most part.



Yes, there are some people who scored very high in the test and the area that they wanted or preferred
was filled up, so they had the opportunity to go elsewhere. If what they are really saying is that the individuals
who scored at the top of the test should not have been given a job because those areas were filled up, then
please stand up and say so, because they were the people who scored the highest on the test and they had the
right to get those jobs and they got them. If what they are trying to say is that we should deny excellence in
favour of geography, then they should stand up and say that clearly.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: A question, Mr. Speaker. I don’t intend this in any vexatious way, I am really
looking for an answer from the minister. Has there been any effort made or was there a requirement made of
persons who were being employed in these positions, after winning the competition, that they should have to
live in the community in which they are working?



MR. MANN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure, the legislation passed by that government opposite
when they were over here, human rights, I don’t believe you can discriminate, based on geography. I don’t
think I can tell anyone where they have to live. I think I can demand that they do certain things as part of their
job and if they do those, they have that job, but I am not sure that I can tell anyone where they have to live.
I would suggest that the legislation passed by the administration he was a part of would prohibit that.



Mr. Speaker the operations supervisor in my own area came to us from the Eastern Shore, from Eastern
Passage. I have to tell you that individual came in and in very short order made it his business to get to know
the area and made it his business to get to know the roads in the area, as many of the people in the area as he
could and has done a tremendous job, an excellent job in adjusting. I have had no complaints whatsoever
about that individual’s performance. So I suggest this may be a red herring thrown out for lack of something
more substantive to complain about.



Mr. Speaker, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley didn’t have a lot to say on this bill. I
think for the most part he commended the department for putting out the communications kit that we put out
to all MLAs last week, attempting to help out as best we can with informing members who their supervisors
are, what their phone numbers are and what the department is attempting to do and communicating it to the
public for the winter season.



I want to tell you that a couple of weeks ago the four district directors in this province came in to head
office for a couple of days, to review the summer operation and to talk and prepare for the winter operation.
This is very interesting, Mr. Speaker, most members of the House will want to hear this. They came in and
one of the district directors said, we did more work this summer than we have ever done and we have done
it with less money. I said, well how could that be? The individual said, because this year we were not told
whose trucks to hire and how many of them we had to hire. This year we could put the money on the roads.



They made the decisions as to how much ditching, how much gravelling, how much brush cutting.
(Interruptions)



MR. DONALD MCINNES: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, there was a truckers’ association started
in Pictou West in 1979 and there was no interference whatsoever with what trucks were hired.



MR. MANN: I repeat, Mr. Speaker, those were the words of the district director.



Now, Mr. Speaker, last year you will recall that my department contributed a significant amount of
money to a summer works project to cut some brush to get some people to work. Now I am not going to argue
the merits of the program because I think there are pros and cons to it. But does anyone know how we found
the money for that? It was in what was called a special maintenance fund of about $5 million. I ask, what was
that money used for in the past?



Well, it was used, I think, and I won’t say each Cabinet Minister in the former administration got the
same amount but it was divvied up among 15 or 16 Cabinet Ministers for special maintenance projects. Now,
Mr. Speaker, that is the type of thing we have eliminated by bringing professional people in . . .



MR. GEORGE MOODY: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, and to try to bring some fairness to this
whole debate, and I think I tried. When I was Minister of Transportation, there was no special fund for five
or six Cabinet Ministers. If he has any proof of that, I would ask him to produce it; otherwise, I would ask him
to withdraw those remarks because it is totally untrue.



MR. SPEAKER: Before the honourable minister resumes the debate, I might state that Beauchesne
clearly states that a dispute between honourable members as to facts does not constitute a point of order, it is
merely a difference of opinion.



MR. MANN: Perhaps the honourable member got cheated, Mr. Speaker, I don’t know. I would say one
thing, whether the brush cutting program was good or not, it was for all ridings in this province and it was
distributed equally and fairly.



The member for Kings North entered the debate and he spoke about fair hiring. I do not know if it is
worthy of comment but I am going to comment, Mr. Speaker. You will recall the last session of the House,
in the spring, when I relayed to the House a story about his idea of fair hiring, when he and a defeated
candidate were demanding that supervisors be put in the Civil Service without competition after the election
because that is the promise that had been made.



Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that it has offended greatly the staff of the Department of Transportation,
the remarks made on Friday, that directors and managers need permission from head office in order to buy
pencils.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I want to make a comment on - I
want to rise on a point of order. The reference he made to a statement he made about six months ago in the
House was wrong then and it is wrong today. The minister should know and he should recall that after the
election, the former Premier of this province indicated there would be no hiring done without specific
permission by the Premier-elect and the transition team.



If there is any question about that, ask the Premier. He will tell you that there was no hiring done at
the last minute after the election or immediately prior to the election. If you have any difficulty with that, ask
the Minister of Finance, who is charge of the Liquor Licensing Board, there was a gentleman hired by
independent and that person was not hired without the permission of the elected government. There was no
attempt by me or any other member of the previous government to try to hire, underhandedly, anybody after
the election.



For the Minister of Transportation to indicate that not only degrades members of this government, but
he degrades himself by sending out messages that are totally wrong, totally misleading and certainly without
any foundation in fact.



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, these employees were in place. It was the placement to the Civil Service
that was the suggestion that was made.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Oh yeah, now he is trying to change it.



MR. MANN: I made it quite clear, the attempt to evade was on the other side.



Mr. Speaker, the reference to district directors and area managers requiring head office approval to
purchase pencils, these are the individuals who said that they were able to do more work because they were
given their budget and people got off their back for the first time. It is very offensive to those professionals,
the suggestion by that member opposite.



Mr. Speaker, we talk about fair hiring, or if we do talk about fair hiring as the former Minister of
Transportation attempts to do, it becomes a great disservice to staff who were tarnished by this process, if you
will. (Interruption) They talk about 80 new supervisors. How can 80 people do the work of 160? As I said,
it was not 160 to begin with but attempting to put and having succeeded in putting truckers associations in
place with the assistance of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia in all counties, truckers associations that
are functioning, and functioning well, has eliminated a great deal of the dispatch work that was previously
done by individuals and has also allowed this process to go forward. I commend the Truckers Association of
Nova Scotia for their professionalism and their dedication to trucking in Nova Scotia and for the work they
do in dealing with the Department of Transportation.



Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Halifax Fairview, the former Leader of the New Democratic
Party, got up on Friday and said she had really not much of an understanding or did not know too much about
the roads in Nova Scotia and then she spent 45 minutes demonstrating just that. She did not know, for
example, that there were nine layers of management in the Department of Transportation, I bet, and when
she talks about people’s jobs going and 160 replaced by 80 - I guess that would be a net loss of 80 - did she
talk about the 132 individuals who are eligible for early retirement and the 128 who left, most of them in
senior management and most of whom have not been replaced, like about a 15 per cent or 16 per cent take-up
rate? Of course she did not because she did not want to do that.



She suggested that this bill was necessary to legitimize what had been done and that is not true, Mr.
Speaker. This Public Highways Act sets out authorities that are referred to by title and I think it would be a
mistake to leave a Statute on the books of the Province of Nova Scotia that refers to positions which no longer
exist.



[3:15 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, I make no apologies for attempting to professionalize the front-line supervisory staff in
the Department of Transportation. I make no apologies for that, that member chose to ignore that fact that
the front-line supervision had become professional and that the standards had been increased. I think what
was interesting as I listened very attentively to her was her rant about the consultants’ study that was done and
how we were hiding behind a consultants’ study and how we shouldn’t be using consultants’ studies that this
was a farce and a joke and this is the same member that has been standing in her place suggesting that we do
what with casinos, get a consultant’s study.



Say one thing do another thing, all things to all people. She made reference in her remarks and was
I think trying to take credit for the fact that the human rights legislation in the Province of Nova Scotia does
not allow discrimination based on political affiliation. Then she goes on to say why it was so important for
her to push for that. It was because of the hirings in the Department of Transportation. She talks about these
individuals who served the province so well, well some of them did. Some of them were probably very good
employees and others they served as well but who did they serve. You see there were many practices in the
Department of Transportation that were at the discretion of the superintendent. For example, regular
maintenance work in the Department of Transportation was done at the discretion of the superintendent. I got
a letter from the member for Kings North telling me that, that the superintendent picked the roads that were
going to be graded, gravelled, ditched that were going to receive maintenance.



Do you know what else the superintendent had the discretion for? Deciding whose trucks were used,
that is the discretionary power they had as well. (Interruption) Hauling gravel, discretionary power of the
superintendent; hauling salt, the discretion of the superintendent as to what truck was used.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My point of order will be very simple.
In Kings County, much to the surprise of the minister and the member for Kings South all trucking was done
with the assistance and through the Kings County Truckers’ Association. If he doesn’t realize that then I am
telling him now and I hope that he will perhaps contact (Interruption) would the honourable member for
Kings South like to stand up and tell us what he has to say, he may know about it than the rest of us. But, I
am telling you the truckers’ association did the hauling and if the member for Kings South knows something
different (Interruption) No, I don’t think he does.



MR. MANN: He wrote to me about Richmond County and the Grand River area in particular and about
all the work that was done in Richmond County was being done in the Grand River area year after year. I was
trying to find out why, I knew why, I was trying to get someone to admit why. The answer he gave me was
that it was at the discretion of the superintendent. Now, either it was or it wasn’t. But, if it was then I have
a serious problem about the discretion of that superintendent (Interruption) Well, that is not what your letter
said. Your letter said the discretion of the superintendent and the engineer would tell you that in most cases
they were directed to take directions from the superintendents (Interruptions) All baloney and poppycock now
but I think we are starting to get the comparisons and the member chose to ignore that in her comments.



Talk about a fair hiring policy and the former Premier Don Cameron made a great to-do about putting
in place a hiring policy. One of the first tests of that hiring policy came when there was an opening for a
foreman, not a superintendent, a foreman in the County of Antigonish. We had a civil engineer who applied
to be foreman but couldn’t get the job. He couldn’t get the job because there was someone down there who had
more experience. It was a previous foreman, hand-picked a couple of years earlier. That is how the fair hiring
policy worked.



Mr. Speaker, when I got to the Department of Transportation in June of 1993 - I think it is fair to say
and I think there are very few people that would argue - in this province it was a department that was
perceived, it was a department that had been steeped in politics, in patronage and there may have been, by
some members, attempts to do something about that.



Mr. Speaker, let me tell you that the politics in the Department of Transportation existed only in the
lower levels because, once that lower level was removed, what you found was a group of professionals that
I would pit against professionals in any department of this government or against the department of any
government anywhere; professionals who have dedicated themselves to the Department of Transportation and
take pride in the work that they do.



Mr. Speaker, evaluation, talk about evaluating employees. I had superintendents that would not return
my calls. Is that a form of evaluation? I had foremen that would not return my calls or would not answer a
letter. Is that a form of evaluation? All of a sudden some day people want to wipe the slate clean. I had a
superintendent who put application forms in corner stores.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: A question, Mr. Speaker. Speaking of politics and patronage, I wonder if
the minister is aware or perhaps he could shed a little light to the rumour that the half-tons that have been
bought for the now 80 front-line supervisors, the hand-picked 80 front-line supervisors, I wonder if the
minister is aware that the half-tons came in with racing alloy wheels? I wonder if he is aware that they came
in with racing wheels that are of considerable expense?



MR. MANN: Let’s see now, let’s get this straight. This is a rumour, he said first, now he is asking me
if I am aware that it actually happened. It is one of those two, I guess. These are for the hand-picked
supervisors? The members opposite were commending us a few short moments ago for the process in choosing
the new supervisors. I guess this is withdrawing that support for the process.



Mr. Speaker, I have no idea what the trucks came in with but, let me tell you this. I have a contract
that fixes the price of those vehicles, so it really does not matter to me what they come in with because the
price is set. The member - I guess he was not here last Wednesday when I agreed to return his own House
Order and give him all the information in the contract - he will see that the price is set. If the wheels on the
truck are blue or red or green, it is not going to affect the price. The price is set. So if that is the biggest worry
he has about this Department of Transportation, then God love him.



Mr. Speaker, we had superintendents in this province who deposited the Department of Transportation
applications in a neighbourhood corner store. When I complained about that, they fired the superintendent.
They did not fire him for putting them there, they fired him for telling me he put them there.



They had a job open in my own constituency - on fair hiring again, Mr. Speaker - for a bridge tender.
They had a competition for that. The meat cutter who ran that corner store where the applications were, he
got more points for experience than someone who had been tending a bridge for Parks Canada for five years.



Mr. Speaker, you can talk about the process all you want to and the members of the Opposition can
laugh and make fun of the staff of the Department of Transportation and take their shots if they want but the
people of Nova Scotia are seeing the results of what has happened and they are responding very favourably
to that.



Mr. Speaker, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, the Leader of the NDP, got up and spoke about the
timing of these layoffs. These individuals were laid off on January 4th. I will clearly admit that date was
picked so that we would get through the winter season and have an opportunity to go through the selection
process and give the training that was necessary. So we make no bones about.



But what really amazes me, and I am not going to mention names, is the members of the Opposition
who approached me outside this Chamber and commented in a favourable manner about the changes that were
made in this department, yet they then come in here and do a 180 degree flip, for the sake of being on the
record. Mr. Speaker, I say to those members, shame on you.



The member for Sackville-Cobequid got up and said, ah, the chief engineer is gone, the division
engineers are gone. They are not gone at all, Mr. Speaker. The chief engineer’s position has been taken out
of that cumbersome management ladder. I would have thought that now that he is Leader, he would have
known that. The division engineers competed for new jobs of area managers. We have very professional
people in those positions. I would have thought, now that he is Leader, he might have known that, but he had
no idea about that whatsoever.



MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I just would not want the minister to leave the
impression that I didn’t know about those competitions. I also would not want the minister to leave the
impression that I had not said in here that I had every confidence, for example, in the people who had won
those positions in my area because, in fact, they were deserving and they have served well. I just want to make
sure that the minister is not leaving a false impression by mishearing what I may not have expressed clearly
enough for the minister to understand.



MR. SPEAKER: I am not ruling on points of order of that type because I take it that they are made in
the sense of a member trying to set the record straight, from his or her own perspective . . .



MR. MANN: Mishearing what he may not have said.



MR. SPEAKER: . . . and I do not find a point of order but the honourable Minister of Transportation
may continue.



MR. MANN: Well, what he clearly said was they were gone. They are not gone, I guess that is the
short point I was trying to make, Mr. Speaker.



One of the things that jumps out at me, as I listen to the comments from members opposite, is that they
think the job has not changed; they believe that the supervisor’s job has not changed. Maybe that is the
confusion they have in trying to evaluate or assess the performance of the 80 individuals and why they can’t
understand how the 80 individuals can do that job. The job has changed; these individuals now can go out
and make decisions and don’t have to run back to managers, directors, five or six more people up the line, they
can actually make decisions. So it is important to note that the individuals are performing in a different set
of circumstances.



The member for Queens talked about non-persons, non-positions and basically his speech was a non-starter. He repeated much of what was said on Friday afternoon, maybe that is because he went home early,
Mr. Speaker. That seems to be a habit of his on Friday afternoons. (Interruptions)



Mr. Speaker, when you suggest that a community is disappointed in what happens, (Interrruption) Yes,
Antigonish was disappointed, but the member for Halifax Fairview forgot to mention that in her remarks,
about watching television when Liberals were putting pressure on to have individuals remain in positions.
This government did not cave into that.



She neglected to mention that. She neglected to mention the petitions and the battering that some gave
the Premier and the minister because people on the Eastern Shore didn’t get to keep their position because they
didn’t meet the qualifications, or that the minister would not hand pick someone from Antigonish, chosen by
the Liberal executive down there. The member didn’t mention that, Mr. Speaker, to put a little bit of balance
on her remarks. Perhaps some of the disappointment that exists in certain areas is because the favouritism is
no longer there for them.



Now, Mr. Speaker, you can talk all you want to about Pictou and what did and didn’t exist in Pictou,
but I gave an order last year, one that didn’t give me great joy but I think was a fair decision. I gave an order
for the plowing of 250 private driveways by the Department of Transportation to stop. (Applause)



[3:30 p.m.]



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would ask the minister to say Pictou
East.



MR. MANN: Pictou East, the riding of the former fair Premier Donald Cameron, there I said it. Those
250 private driveways in Pictou that were being plowed by the Department of Transportation for a long time.
So, I don’t doubt for one moment that there are people who are disappointed in what we have done because
we have eliminated that blatant favouritism that existed in some areas. I make no apologies for that either.



The member said and I know that member and I have a great deal of respect for him and he said, some
people were hurt by the decisions we made. Well, if we are not going to make change in this province because
we might hurt someone’s feelings, then we may as well all toss in the towel now. Because if that is going to
stop us from making changes that are long overdue, changes that are necessary because we might hurt
someone’s feelings?



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: A question, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if the minister would agree that he was
acting in the best interest of the citizens along the Kempt Shore, when he ordered that the plows no longer
plow the road into a quarry which was filled with water and provided a water supply for fighting fires in that
area by the Summerville and Kempt Shore Volunteer Fire Departments?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I am not even familiar with what he is talking about but I can
(Interruptions) Yes, I am very familiar about that and all the driveways that are private driveways that are
being plowed which the Public Highways Act does not permit to be plowed, are all being looked at
individually by district directors and recommendations are forthcoming. If there is a road that we snow
plowed, I assume, in the winter to get to water, then we certainly would look at that one as well. But that is
the type of thing that went on the province that had to be addressed.



To suggest that we stand still in time so that we don’t offend anyone and we don’t hurt anyone’s
feelings, perhaps explains better than anything the $8 billion to $10 billion debt in this province. Perhaps love
means never having to say you are sorry. Perhaps Tory means never having to say no. Perhaps that is what
happened, perhaps they wouldn’t say no to anyone because they might hurt their feelings but look where it
has got us.



I, like every other member in this Assembly, when I got up to speak on this bill I had not intended to
speak very long because I truly do believe that this was, at least it was, I don’t know what it is now, that it was
a housekeeping bill. I want to say to all members of this House very seriously, when you see weather in this
province, the likes of what you see today, I think it puts a shudder through each and every member of this
Assembly. Old Man Winter in Nova Scotia is not nice and we have a climate that is one of the harshest
anywhere for trying to deal with roads and keep roads clear of snow and ice. We have more freeze-thaw cycles
than almost any jurisdiction and this is a very serious problem, not to be diminished with petty and silly
politics.



We have 27,000 kilometres of roadway in Nova Scotia and if anyone can suggest a method that would
keep all of those roads clear all of the time, I would truly love to hear it. I tell you, we would employ that in
a moment. No one yet has come up with a way to deal with freezing rain in a manner that doesn’t have
highways in Nova Scotia become treacherous. No one, in all the years this department has been in existence
and all the methods of clearing roads that have been tried, we have not been able to perfect a method to deal
with freezing rain. We, and the staff in the department, are working diligently in an effort to constantly
improve the delivery of service in this province. Newer machines, more dependable machines, machines with
less likelihood to break down will get more roads cleaned in a day, but it will continue to be a very difficult
job.



Will there be accidents in Nova Scotia in the winter, Mr. Speaker? Of course, there will; most
unfortunately, there will be accidents and, yes, regrettably there will be fatalities too. There will be fatalities
for any number of reasons, for excessive speed, for inattention, for failing to adjust your driving to winter
conditions, for the same reasons there have been fatalities for many years but that will not stop anyone in the
Department of Transportation from working, and working very diligently to lower those numbers.



Mr. Speaker, in 1993, we had fewer fatalities on Nova Scotia highways than ever, the lowest number
ever, and we are going to continue to work to try and bring those numbers down because even one is too
many. I am sure all members of this Assembly would be unanimous in their agreement on that principle.



It is why we have looked, Mr. Speaker, at issues such as graduated licensing, and tougher and more
immediate, harsher penalties for drinking and driving and excessive and dangerous driving. We will keep
trying with the excellent staff we have to perfect that despite the attempts by members opposite to mislead that
we are going backwards in time, because we are not.



Today, Mr. Speaker, they come in and they want to talk about salt and that is fine. We have
professional individuals with a mandate to keep the salt sheds in plenty supply. After hearing the notices of
motion today and some comments from members opposite, I again went to check the records. I found that in
Sackville, on Friday, our District Director, Martin Delaney reported on Friday morning that there was a
sufficient supply of salt in the Sackville shed. There was plenty of salt. So why would an employee - if it is
an employee - call up and suggest that the shed is empty? I do not know. I cannot answer that, but I think it
is incumbent on everyone to try and check the facts before we jump to the conclusion and have Nova Scotians
believe that something is awry out there with the salt hauling.



Mr. Speaker, Lunenburg was used as an example as to sheds that were low. I checked again today to
triple-check; I had checked twice on Friday, but I triple-checked and found, in fact, that the storm last week
in that area used between 75 and 80 tons of salt. In the four sheds there were 400-plus, 300, 300, and between
150 and 200 tons in the four sheds; plenty of salt.



The member - perhaps he does not know - but I am going to tell him, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, the truckers from Lunenburg are hauling the salt in.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would ask the honourable Minister of
Transportation and Communications to name me the name or the names of some truckers from Lunenburg
County who are trucking salt to the Bridgewater depot. I would like to know the names of some of those
truckers.



MR. SPEAKER: I do not know that that kind of a challenge constitutes a proper point of order at all.
I rule that there is no point of order.



MR. MANN: Fine, Mr. Speaker. Unlike the previous administration, we do not dispatch them so I do
not know them. They are dispatched by the truckers’ association and the department is arm’s length from that.



I think this debate, one thing that it did - and I am grateful, I guess, in the long run - it has given me
an opportunity to tell some members of this House about some of the changes that have been made in the
Department of Transportation, why those changes have been made, and why those changes are working. Is
everything going to work perfectly? I doubt it. Trust me on this, Mr. Speaker, we will keep trying to improve
the service, improve the safety and continue to try to improve the Department of Transportation and
Communications in Nova Scotia and with that I move second reading of Bill No. 129. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 129. 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 the Government House Leader.



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



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



The motion is carried.



[3:40 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O’Malley
in the Chair.]



[9:56 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O’Malley
in the Chair.]



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



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



Bill No. 103 - Pharmacy Act.



Bill No. 110 - Peggy’s Cove Commission Act.



and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideation of the House,
each without amendment.



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



Bill No. 29 - Power Engineers Act.



Bill No. 30 - Crane Operators Act.



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



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



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, Tuesday, we will be sitting from the hours of 12:00
p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period, we will be doing Committee of the
Whole House on Bills and we will be dealing first with Bill No. 115 and then with Bill No. 114.



I move that we adjourn until 12:00 p.m. tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion has been made for adjournment.



The House will now rise to sit again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 p.m.



[The House rose at 9:59 p.m.]






NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



RESOLUTION NO. 1166



By: Mr. Robert Chisholm (Halifax Atlantic)



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



Whereas with support from both Liberal and NDP MLAs, the former government extended the
moratorium on exploration and development of uranium deposits until the end of 1994; and



Whereas there has been neither evidence nor consultation to indicate that the uranium moratorium
should now end; and



Whereas the government has not released the results of any internal studies or deliberations about the
moratorium;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Minister of Natural Resources to extend the uranium
moratorium for another five years, and make public new government information about the moratorium and
possible uranium mining in Nova Scotia for the information of all Nova Scotians.



RESOLUTION NO. 1167



By: Mr. Robert Chisholm (Halifax Atlantic)



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



Whereas the Premier has affirmed that “environmental illness is a real illness that is affecting far too
many Nova Scotians”; and



Whereas the Premier has stated further that “workers’ compensation will be forthcoming to those
employees who become environmentally ill as a direct result of their work place environment”; and



Whereas the Labour Minister stated that the November 1993 Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board
decision granting compensation to Elaine Nepjuk for work-caused environmental illness was “a precedent set
in this case as regards to the Camp Hill environmental illness cases”;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and Labour Minister should honour their many specific,
unambiguous commitments to provide workers’ compensation for environmental illness rather than letting
any group of injured or disabled worker be arbitrarily denied compensation.






NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS



(Given on November 25, 1994)



(Pursuant to Rule 30)



QUESTION NO. 18



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)

 

To: Hon. John MacEachern (Minister of Education)



(1) I want to know, as does B. Stevenson of North Sydney, why, when education is supposedly paid
through our taxes, students/parents have to pay a student fee and under what authority is that fee collected?



QUESTION NO. 19



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)

 

To: Hon. John MacEachern (Minister of Education)



(1) I want to know, as does L. Telfer of Middleton, when will our school system get back on track -
back to the three Rs because why should we, at the college/university level, have to do remedial math and
English with high school graduates?